Intro: Monster Mud Reaper
2 – 90 degree PVC elbows
3 – 45 degree PVC elbows
1 – 4-Way PVC Cross
2 – 1 1/4 “ --> 1” PVC Adapters
1 – 8ft. 1 ¼” PVC Pipe
1 – 1” PVC Cap
1 – Metal hook with screw end
~ 25ft. of chicken wire
1 – 1 ½” steel flange
1 – 1 ½” x 4” steel pipe
3 – STC-R brackets (home depot) Store SKU # 464163
1 – RTU2 brackets (home depot) Store SKU # 251352
1 – 2’ x 2’ 3/4" MDF Board
1 – Gallon of Black Paint (cheapest you can find. Got mine at Wal-Mart)
1 – Rust-o-Leum Stone style spray paint (optional) (Photo)
3 – Foam brushes
1 – Drywall Mixing tool
1 – Gallon of Dry-Lock Masonry Sealer (Link)
Step 1: Building the Base
Place your 1 ½” Steel flange in the center of the 2’ x 2’ MDF Board. Mark off the locations of the four holes so we can secure the flange to the board.
Step 2: Building the Base - Part 2
Drill the four holes in the board. On the back side use a bit that is the size of your nuts or slightly larger. Drill part-way through the board to allow the nut to sit flush with the bottom of the board so you reaper can stand flat. (I messed up on that first hole...lol)
Step 3: Making the PVC Skeleton
Affix the flange to the board with bolts and nuts and then thread the 4” steel pipe to the flange.
Take your PVC pipe and cut it to whatever height works for your prop. Remember that the top of the pipe will be at shoulder height. Sand down one end of the pipe with sandpaper or I highly recommend using a dremel. The main goal here is to make the pipe fit snugly into the 4” steel pipe on the base.
Next, stick the 4-way or 3-way PVC cross on the top of your PVC pipe. Now we need to cut the pipe for the arms/hands. I used this web page to figure out proportionate lengths of shoulders and arms for the overall height of my prop.
Zombietronix - Biped Proportion Calculator (Human. Creature. Monster. Other.)
Once you got all your pieces cut and put together. Drill some drywall screws through each PVC fitting and pipe to hold them secure so they don’t come apart or twist. On the end of the hand on my prop I attached a PVC cap and screwed in a metal hook. This is where my lantern is going to hang from.
Depending on the position of your reaper you may need to add some supports to support the weight of the burlap when it has the monster mud on it. I used a couple brackets I listed above that I found at home depot and some scraps of wood. The brackets are nice because they are thin enough to bend to the shape you need and can be easily attached using drywall screws.
Also, now would be a good time to run any wiring if you are going to hard wire a lantern or electrical prop. Next, we take the chicken wire and give the prop some shape. Try to wear some thick gloves when doing this because the chicken wire can be sharp. I made a big cylinder for the body and shaped it a bit. Next, I took a small piece and attached it to the top to shape the head. Lastly, I made another smaller piece and draped it over the arm. (The second picture I changed the arm support so it would be hidden under the burlap)
Step 5: Making Monster Mud
Now for the fun part! To make the monster mud I used a mixture of half a gallon of black latex paint with 5 gallons of drywall mud. I ended up using ¾ of the mixture for this prop. Use a drywall mixing drill bit to mix in the paint. You will thank yourself for spending the 5 bucks to get this tool if you don’t have one already.
Step 6: Burlap
Cut you burlap and test fit them on your prop so you can make sure everything will cover correctly. Next I took a blade and tattered up all the edges of the fabric to try to give it a worn look.
Step 7: Messy Time!
** Before you start this step put some plastic down on the floor as this part is messy :) **
Take each piece and submerge it in the monster mud mixture. Make sure you thoroughly coat each piece. When you pull the pieces out try to squeeze off any extra mud. It also may be a good idea to have a friend help you with this process since the burlap is extremely heavy when coated with monster mud. I made the mistake of doing this by myself. You should have seen me trying to lift these huge pieces weighting a ton onto my 7 foot prop….not pretty…lol
Once you got all your pieces on play around with them until you like the overall flow of the fabric on your prop. You can also slap on some mud and work it onto the fabric if you missed some spots.
Step 8: Waterproofing
Let your prop dry for a couple days and it will become significantly lighter when all the water dries out of the mixture. Spray the inside of prop where you can see the chicken wire with black flat spray paint. I sprayed inside the hood and under the arm. Makes it looks really creepy at night when it’s just a super dark nothingness inside his cowl.
Now we want to water proof our prop so it doesn't turn to mush when its outside in the weather. I used a can of Drylock which is a masonry sealer. It has a grainy texture to it which actually gives it a stone like appearance.
Optional : I bought a can of Rust-o-Leum stone spray paint and sprayed my whole prop to give it and even more stone look.
The next painting step I applied a dark grey wash. Mix some black paint from the same can you used for you monster mud with water. Dilute it with water so you can let it run down your prop. I used some foam brushes to soak up the water then blotted them on and let the wash run down.
Step 9: Finishing Touches
A little while after I built this I wanted to add something different. Most people had seen the props for a couple years and new it was static so I decided to add a spitter mechanism to the inside to really catch people off guard. You should have seen the people jumping on Halloween after I would set this off.
I purchased the spitter mechanism from Brent @ DC Props: Link
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Third Prize in the
Halloween Decorations Contest