I wasn't going to do Halloween this year. My neighborhood doesn't get many trick or treaters, but when a friend, who lives in a neighborhood that gets droves of kids, decided on a Stranger Things theme for her yard, I was all in. After all, who hasn't wanted to create a Demogorgon? Happy to say the Demogorgon had many admirers, but everyone guessed that it had been made from paper mâché. Nope, I wasn't going to work that hard, lots of newspaper, bubblewrap, plastic tablecloths, pipe insulation and duct tape.
Heavyweight umbrella stand for the base
PVC pipe and connectors
PVC pipe adhesive
Inflatable small donut pool float
Pool noodles or pipe insulation
White plastic tablecloths from dollar store
Clothesline or rope
EVA foam or cardboard for base of hands
Foam board or cardboard
Great Stuff foam insulation
White plastic forks from dollar store
Paper clay, homemade or store bought
Paint, I used leftover house paint in beiges, also need 1 can black spray paint and red acrylic paint
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Step 1: Building the PVC Frame
I had leftover 1 1/4" PVC from a previous project. If I were to do it again, I'd use 1 1/2" so I could at least use ABS for the back bone, so it wouldn't bend so much. As lightweight as it turned out to be, the PVC still arched. In my previous project, I had to change 90 degree elbow connectors to about 60 degrees. I did this by inserting a piece of PVC and slowly heating it with a heat gun and gradually decreasing the angle. The 4 way connectors are for PVC furniture construction. I didn't want the Demogorgon to stand straight up, but again with the torso weight, it would have been better had he stood straight, then just his head curved down. To get that effect, I inserted small lengths of PVC into the 60 degree connectors.
I started with a short piece of PVC for the base, which was secured into an umbrella stand. I knew I'd replace that with a longer piece, but I just needed to be able to reach the top of the Demogorgon at this point. Glue in 2 lengths of PVC approximately 8" long to the first 4 way connector and 2 lengths around 18" to the top 4 way connector. The spine PVC was about 42" or so. Inflate the pool float about half way full and duct tape to shoulder PVC, leaving the pipes open.
Step 2: Filling Out the Torso
Cut pipe insulation or pool noodles, too late in the season for pool noodles from dollar store so I had to opt for pipe insulation, to fit on either side between shoulder pipes and hip pipes, duct tape.
Create 2 circles from pipe insulation, one larger for the rib cage and one smaller for the pelvis. Duct tape the larger circle around the pipe insulation and duct tape the smaller circle inside pipe insulation.
Cover with bubble wrap and duct tape to secure.
Make butt with wadded up newspaper and duct tape.
Cover with plastic tablecloth and duct tape in place.
Step 3: Adding the Arms
This is why you needed to leave the pipe open. The arms and legs are like a marionette's. Cut palms for hands out of EVA foam or cardboard. Make a hole in the middle of the palm, thread clothesline/rope through and knot at end, hot glue in place. The Demogorgon has especially long arms with an extra wrist bone, so cut pipe insulation for that bone, the forearm and upper arm. Thread through pipe insulation. Thread through shoulder PVC pipe. I got stuck in the middle connection and needed the assistance of a broom handle to get through to the other side. Thread through pipe insulation on other side with corresponding pieces. Tighten up rope, insert through palm, knot and hot glue into place. Duct tape joints. Wad up newspaper and add to shoulders, upper arms and forearms, duct taping as you go.
Make the hands by cutting the pipe insulation into fourths and into the lengths of finger bones, including the bones over the palm. Hot glue to palm base. Hot gluing foam insulation is tricky because the heat tends to melt the foam, so be quick about it. Duct tape finger joints together.
Step 4: Making the Legs
I changed out the base pipe to a longer piece to work on the legs. I also inserted a smaller diameter pipe within the base pipe to keep it from bending. Again, I don't think ABS would do that.
The process for making the legs is similar to making the arms with a couple of differences. The Demogorgon has and extra joint in its calves that goes backward, like a horse, so you need to add an extra piece of pipe insulation for that. For the feet, I cut a section of pipe insulation in half for the base, then glued and taped on 2 shorter 1/2 sections for the front 2 claws and one for the heel. I glued in a half pipe insulation ring for the the claws. For the thighs, add two more sections of pipe insulation to fatten up the thighs. Then add bubblewrap and wadded up newspaper to fill out the thighs and calves.
Cover with white plastic tablecloths and tape. Tip: put the tablecloth seams in somewhat hidden places. For the torso, I taped the sides, for the arms and legs, I taped along the inside, next to the body.
Step 5: Add the Head
On to the head, I dug into the styrofoam and inserted a section of PVC. Hot glue and tape it in good. I covered the styrofoam head with bubblewrap because the head needed to be bigger, then covered with the tablecloth. Leave a bit extra of the tablecloth at the base of the neck to make a smoother transition to the body. Glue the PVC head pipe into connector. Add extra hot glue and duct tape to secure head and extra tablecloth to shoulders.
Step 6: The Fang Flower Face
Cut the shape of the flower face and a face hole from foam board or cardboard. I made a circle of pipe insulation to fit around the inside and glued onto the foam board. Slightly bend the petals in half lengthwise to give them a bit of dimension. Get out your Great Stuff and go around the edges and add a bit to the inside of each petal. Add a lot to the foam pipe ring on the inside. I'd intended to leave the pipe ring in place, but when I fitted the flower to the head it was too tight, so I wound up taking out the pipe ring and cutting the face hole a little bigger to fit. But the pipe ring made the perfect mold for the Great Stuff.
I also added some Great Stuff to the body, especially along the back bone. It can add a bit of texture, though it's not easy to control.
I painted the front and back of the flower face with beige house paint, then added a little red to the house paint for pinkish highlights. Painted the front red and highlighted with black spray paint then added more red paint.
For the fangs, hand mold paper clay into large fang shapes and let dry for a couple of days. I had some store bought paper clay, but homemade would work just fine. I bought a package of 48 white plastic forks from the dollar store and proceeded to snap off all the tines. I also used some artificial fingernails, but those didn't look great and they weren't cheap. Hot glue the large paper clay fangs around the face hole and to the edge of the flower petals. Hot glue the fork tines to the inside of the petal, pointing the tines in toward the center.
Because the Demogorgon had to be moved, I wanted to add the fang flower face when the Demogorgon was in place. I added straps to both sides of the flower face mask and added velcro to the straps. That way it could be added at the last minute and duct taped over in place. I'd planned to then paint the duct tape, but it looked good enough without it.
Step 7: Painting the Demogorgon
At this point, he was moved outside to be painted. It must be noted that as long as he was outside, we didn't get one bird in the bird feeder or birdbath.
I used leftover latex house paint to paint him. Pays to be a packrat sometimes. I covered him with a base of beige then added some taupe highlights and some pinkish highlights. He wasn't looking defined enough so I used black spray paint to define his muscles and ribs. Painted the base pipe and his face black too. Then he was looking too skeletal, so I went over that with a thin coat of taupe. It's just a matter of layering paint to get a more textured appearance.
Step 8: The Final Test - Halloween
I knew I'd succeeded when my friend's neighbor's children wouldn't walk by her house because they were too afraid. This thing was creepy in the daylight, but at night it was downright frightening. And yet there were some Elevens and other small Demogorgons who were brave enough to pose with it. All in all a fun project and so worth it for the reception it received on Halloween.
First Prize in the
Halloween Contest 2019