Intro: Halloween Trophies: Putting Movement Into Skeletons and Mini Zombies!
I love Halloween, I love parties, I love celebrations, and contests held all in good fun. I love skeletons, all shapes, sizes, and qualities; blow mold, Bucky, blucky, each one has its own special place in my heart. I'm particularly fascinated with the little ones you can find at dollar stores. I use them for loads of different things, but in this case, I'm going to use them to make Halloween trophies! Our city is putting on a "zombie event" this year, they asked me to create some trophies for first, second, and third place. (I added an "honorable mention" one into the mix.) This is how it's done.
Step 1: Supply List
You will need the following:
Mini Skeletons (These usually can be found at dollar stores, I found these at Walgreens for only a little more money. At our dollar stores, you can get four mini skeles for $1, at Walgreens I got six mini skeles for $3.)
E6000 (Can be found in craft stores)
Petroleum Jelly (This is for the E6000)
Tape (Any kind will do, clear tape, masking tape, it doesn't matter)
Acrylic Paint (Black)
Your Imagination (Not Pictured)
Bases (For mounting the trophies, can be found in craft stores) Also see the "alternative bases" section.
In addition to the list above, for the Zombies you will need the following:
Acrylic Paint ("Peach")
Dolly Clothes or Scraps of Fabric
Alternative Bases - Caps from a glass bottle, black cardstock, and small stones for weight.
Step 2: Break (Well, Bend) Those Bones!
First things first. E6000 is wonderful stuff, but BEFORE you puncture the tube, lightly coat the threads of the tube with petroleum jelly. This will keep you from losing an entire tube because it glued itself to itself.
Figure out the pose you want to use for your skeleton, and glue those feet to the base. This year, I'm doing a zombie theme, so I found some good "shambler" poses online. I glued down the feet and taped them so they would hold their position while drying. I also bent the knee into position added a drop of glue and taped it so it would dry correctly.
Step 3: Alternative Bases (In Case You Have More Imagination Than Money.)
Last year, I was asked to make some trophies for the office, I was short on time, so I used the one thing I happened to have a stock of... Coffee lids. These are the little, metal lids from the glass coffee containers you can buy in the store.
I took these skeletons apart at the hips, because I needed to get a better stance on the small surface, and glued them to the lid. Then I bent (not broke) the knees into position, added a drop of glue, and taped them into place to dry (not shown).
When my poses were set, I painted the bases black. Then, I went out to the yard and found some very small stones to put "under" the lids. I then traced a piece of cardstock around the base of the lid, put the stones inside the lid and glued the cardstock to the bottom. This gave it a little bit of weight.
Step 4: The Devil's in the Details
When the glue is dry, remove the tape and start embellishing.
You'll want to paint the entire skeleton with black acrylic paint, then wipe off the top surfaces of your skeleton. (This will keep the paint in the hollows only. Notice the difference in the detail on the first and second pictures.)
Then, paint your base. Don't paint the base first. Your skellies may have trouble sticking to it.
When your base is dry, you can add clothes (if you so desire).
Step 5: Corpsing and Hair
If you're making zombies, you'll need to add some flesh back onto your skeletons. You can do this in many different ways. I find the easiest to be liquid latex. You can also do it this way, but the little skeletons really don't do well with too much heat applied to them.
Simply dip a disposable paint brush into your liquid latex and brush across your bones to give them sort of a connective tissue look. You can do several layers at once. If you're corpsing for a zombie, don't forget to add the little details, fill in the eyes and add a nose (you can "build" one out of liquid latex).
If you want to add hair, wait until your liquid latex has finished drying. You can use wig hair, or go to the dollar store and buy whatever "princess" hair is available for the little ones. There are "proper" ways to lay hair, in layers, these things are so small, I say just glue it on there. They are zombies after all, photo-ready perfection isn't really the first concern of the undead.
If you're adding blood/gore, this is the best recipe I've found. (In these zombie pictures, the blood and gore is toned down; in amount and colour, based on the projected age of the participants.)
Step 6: Zombie (and Skeleton) Crossing...
That just about covers it. The zombies really don't photograph too well, they look very "stagey" you really do need to see them in person to appreciate them. But, this should at least give you an idea. The crawler is still my favourite.