Corpse Torso/Ribcage

Introduction: Corpse Torso/Ribcage

This instructable shows how to create a textured, realistic, partially-skinned torso for a Halloween display.

I started this project with a hollow, half-mannequin torso I bought from a local surplus sale at a department store. It is only the front of a torso.
After I sketched the ribcage layout directly on the torso, I began to cut out material using my rotary tool.

Step 1: Carve the Ribs!

I cut out all the material between the "ribs", removed any stray pieces of plastic, and did a quick sanding on the edges to reinforce the illusion of ribs. Pay close attention to anatomical details because these small details will give your finished torso more believability. WEAR EYE PROTECTION!

Step 2: Add Bone/Skin Texture

This is where this prop really shines! I used several layers of clear and white garbage and grocery bags to build up the texture and detail. Each layer was "fixed" to the torso by using a heat gun to melt and shrink the plastic. I cut out any printing on the bags prior to shrinking them. Pay attention as the plastic does get very hot. It is a good idea to wear a respirator due to the plastic fumes.

Step 3: Cut It Out!

After shrinking several (I used around 12-15) bags onto the torso and making certain there was ample material to wrap around the torso to lock the shrunken plastic onto the torso, allow the plastic to cool. Because of the thinness of the bags, this happens very quickly. I used a keyhole saw with a fine-toothed blade to cut slits in the plastic between each rib and in the abdominal space. Then I used the heat gun on these slits to shrink these cut edges and wrapped the malleable edges around the ribs. Be careful: the plastic will be hot!

Step 4: Finishing Details!

I added additional stripes of bags to the abdominal area and shrunk them to give the appearance of remaining tendons and muscle fibers. Next, I added some light color accents by lightly spray painting random areas: red around the abdominal cut out to hint at a recent evisceration and black to show some age to the corpse torso.

I plan on using this prop in my outdoor Halloween display, probably in my graveyard.
This was a relatively easy project and I was amazed at the stunning detail the melted plastic bags gave.

Step 5: Done and Done!

I also used this technique on a child mannequin adding a skull head. Again, just thrilled with the results!


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