Intro: Rats! 2017 99 Cent Store Finds
Hopefully, I got this ible out quickly enough for you to find the items you need. This is a quick, cheap, but pretty good looking prop for this Halloween season. I go all out for Halloween, but I like to do it on the cheap, get a little creative, and sometimes turn something not so great into something cool (my wife is so proud). I always check out thrift stores and businesses like Dollar Tree and the 99 Cent Store. This year, I found a plastic rat and a plastic cage at the 99 Cent Store. I'm not usually one for plastic rats, but for the price, I thought the sculpt was actually pretty good and he looked like he'd fit in the cage (the rat is about 8 inches tall). So, I spent $2 and this is what I did to the rat and cage:
Step 1: Cage
I used cheap acrylic craft paints for this entire project.
First, I took the cage apart then brushed silver paint all over the outside, inside, the hook, and the base. You're not trying to make the entire cage silver. This paint smears around and you will end up with a lot of black showing through. That's fine and actually what we want.
Next, I applied cinnamon paint with a tiny painter's sponge (you could use a paper towel or brush as well) to cover various areas of the cage (again, inside and out). The sponge allowed me to easily make areas look less or more rusty. Experiment, but again, you're not trying to cover the entire cage. You want some silver and black coming through.
Congrats! You just turned a plastic cage into a rusted metal cage.
Step 2: The Rat
1) Use a medium gray paint and dry brush over the "fur" areas. This already makes the rat look 100% better in my opinion, but we're going to keep going.
2) Mix red and white or use a pink paint to paint the tail and the whiskered part of the snout. I put a little inside the ears too.
3) Use a pea colored paint and mix with a very tiny amount of water. Use this on the now dry pink areas. This will grime those areas up a little and tone down the pink. I went a little heavier with the green inside the ears and on area of the tail I wanted more disgusting. I also dry brushed this on the fur wherever I felt like doing it.
4) Paint all the teeth white (the manufacturer only puts a couple dabs on). Once dry, apply a little watered down yellow to them.
5) Use red paint to paint the entire eyes (the original just had a couple dots of red). Paint the tongue red and a little bit of the teeth/mouth red if you want a little bloody effect. The eyes and tongue needed 2-3 coats.
6) I mixed a little brown, red and white to get a brownish/pink skin color. This was applied to the hands and feet. I covered these areas fairly well, but I still left black between some of the digits. For example, on the front feet a more or less dry brush on top of the hands.
7) I took some more of my green paint and lightly touched it to the rat's claws. You could add a little red here and there if you like, but I chose not to.
8) I went back to the inside of the ears and gave it another coat of the watered down green then a very light coat of a watered down brown.
I encourage you to experiment. Maybe use a watered down brown on the tail too. Do what you like!
Step 3: Final Prop
The cage came with a hook, so it can now either be hung, placed on a table or whatever.
I also took a bone off a little plastic skeleton, wrapped it with a little plastic (Saran) wrap then used a heat gun to shrink the plastic wrap around the bone. This gives a "meaty" texture. I then painted it brown as much as I could in the recesses, dry brushed with yellow, then added red for the bloody areas.
That's it! Go out and get yours today!