Built this for my 4 year old son for our annual halloween house decorations. He begged me for a rotta the hut, so here it is. Took 1 day to build from start to finish, cost less than 15 bucks to build (had all the paint already at home from other projects.
This will also be used for his 5 yr birthday party in January as a centerpiece for a star wars themed birthday :)
To build this, you will need
1) 1 roll of poultry wire (about $8.00 a roll for 10 ft)
2) 1 quart size container of plaster of paris (about $6)
3) bunch of old news papers cut into strips
4) roll of toilet paper
5) cutting pliers
6) Misc paints (I used basic green, brown, etc highlighted with neon blacklight paints.
Step 2: Cut Strip of Poultry Fence About 3 Feet Long
Using your cutting pliers, cut length of poultry wire about 3 feet long. this first section will be the tail. begin shaping from tip and increase in size and you get toward the main torso.
Once you get a rough shape, you will need to cut an additional piece of fencing about 2 feet long and begin shapping this into the belly section and head. Don't worry to much about features yet, you are just trying to get a rough shape.
You attach the 2 peices by twisting the wire end pieces together. You can use either your hands or the needle nose cutting pliers.
For the arms/hands, cut 2 strips about 6-9 inches wide and shape to fit. Attache also with ends of wire.
You might find it useful to use a rough mold for the hands - see next picture :)
Step 3: Addjusting the Frame and Getting Ready to Add the "skin"
As I described it to my 4 and 3 yr old. The chicken wire is the bones, and then we needed to add the skin. At this point, you should have a rough shape for Rotta (or baby jabba), you can manipulate the frame as needed at this point. You can also add some wire features if you know you need some additional bumps, simply cut small pieces of wire and attached in the appropriate places. I added a few to the belly section and to the lips and chin as I know this needed additional work. Once you get all this done it is time to begin layering on the skin.
See next set of photos. to prepare:
1) cut your news paper into about 2 inch wide long strips. You might also find it useful to have some larger squares, but this is more difficult to work with. Have a good bit cut up in advance and ready to use.
2) mix your plaster of paris, I used dap and found a 1-1 mixture worked best. Use small quantities to start with until you figure out exactly how quick it sets. Generally, you might find it best to wait about 1 minute until mixing for it to thicken slightly
3) dip your newspaper strips into the plaster and then begin layering over the chicken wire frame.
Step 4: Applying the Skin Aka Newspaper and Plaster of Paris
1) dip strips of newspaper into prepared plaster of paris, very gently remove excess from newspaper and apply to wire frame
Note: after finishing my rotta, I found it would have been useful to also stuff the wire frame with loose balled up newspaper to provide additional internal support. If you look real closely, you can also see i used a 46 inch fence wire as a skeletal support, but this wasn't needed.
2) layer over the top half of the wire frame allowing gravity to hold it in place. For the arms, I used longer strips and just wrapped it completely allowing both ends to overlap on top.
3) plaster dries pretty quickly, but will depend on local humidty. One way to tell it is dry, if it still feels cool, it is still probably wet.
4) Once you complete the top, and it is dried, turn it over and begin to layer the bottom sections. You will find the plaster/newspapers sticks better to the already dried layers.
3) You will have enough plaster to cover the entire frame with newspaper once.
Step 5: Adding Facial Features
Did I mention you also need toilet paper? If I weren't so cheap, I might have opted for molding clay at this point, but I used what I had on hand.
Mix up another batch of plaster and take small squares of toilet paper, dip in plaster and then mold to the appropriate facial features. I added the eyes, eye socket, lower chin and lips using this method. to create the eye itself, just ball up about 3 squares and place into socket. Don't worry, it all magically just sticks together.
Do the same for fingers, although this takes only about 1/2 a sheet. You can be as creative as you like...If I had more time, I probably would have spent about 2 days building this with most of the time spend on the facial features. Oh well.
Step 6: Smoothing Out the Features and Skin
You will need the remaining plaster. If I had purchased 2 quarts, I would have used at least half of the second on this step, but made it fine with just one.
1) once you have completed all of the newspaper layering and have covered the wire frame completely and have added all of the facial features, it is now time to smooth everything out.
2) if you have a 4yr old helper, it might help to tape some latex gloves on him!
3) mix a rather large amount (mixed all of the remaining) of plaster of paris, again a 1-1 ratio works good
4) let it sit for a few minutes to thicken
5) using your hand, take out smallish scoops and smoother over all features, this helps to smooth things out, but also to give it a little extra strength.
6) do this over the entire body
7) let dry completely!
8) if you look real closely, you will notice my pitcher of water is brownish, I thought if I added some food coloring to the water, it might go toward adding some color and I wouldn't need to use as much paint...didn't though..i don't think I added enough to make it noticeable.
Step 7: Optional - Spray Painting
I added a little bit of black spray paint once the entire model was dried just to have some color, and also it helped with some shading of the eyes and mouth...also painted a few shadows on the lower half...again, this is optional.
If you wanted, I suppose you could have painted the whole thing with spray paint, but again, I'm cheap so used what I had around the house.
Oh, I also used a 3yr old assistant :)
Step 8: Painting...1st Step
Kids actually do a good job with this step, but adults can probably manage it.
As I mentioned earlier, if you wanted to spend the extra money on spray paint, you could probably get way with completing this even sooner...it dries quicker than the paint i used (basic latex water soluble paint). This came either from walmart arts and crafts section or a craft store.
Step 9: Final Touches (enhancements)
Now it is just basic painting. I used the photos online to give me some point of reference.
I also used the flourecents paints for most of the enhancements you see - this is, again, because of the black light.
what you can't see is I also painted the entire thing with rough dabs of glow in the dark paint (otherwise, you wouldn't see the entire body in the black light).
this is it, you are now done..and have one small jabba like figure (or rotta if you are 4 yrs old)...
Participated in the
DIY Halloween Contest