I enjoy making art pieces and props from various pop culture sources (many comic related) year round. Halloween is the perfect time to dive into the more eerie properties so I chose Ghost Rider. Instead of creating something wearable as I've done for this character before, I opted to create an eye-catching display piece. As with most of my creations I knew I wanted to make it light up. I thought of three methods to achieve this and instead of choosing one I went with all of them! If you're interested so far keep on reading!
- Base board- Ideally made of wood to support everything being mounted to it. Scrap pieces of wood, something from the wood/rustic section of an art store, or something from the art section of Target or Wal-Mart should do.
- Skeleton Pieces- These can be obtained from any Halloween decoration section. The skull I used was standalone and the rib-cage and spine came from a separate full body skeleton.
- Leather Jacket- Thrift stores are your friend!
- Casting Resin
- UV Glow Powder
- Red LED Strip
- Fake Flame Decoration Lamp
- OPTIONAL: These embellishments aren't 100% necessary to complete this project but add to it aesthetically
- 4 ft of Chain
- Spiked Studs & Button Clasps
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Sizing Up the Flames
For this step you'll want to decide the shape and size of the flames and how they'll crown around the skull. I found it easier to design each flame on card stock, cut them out, then use pushpins for positioning. Use the skull as a guide to make sure you have them exactly how you want them.
Once you have each flame where you want trace them one by one with a marker and remove them from the board. Save the flames in case you have to re-position them later (foreshadowing?)
Step 2: Carving
With the flame outlines exactly where you want them you can begin carving out the pattern. This can be done slowly with chiseling/carving tools but I suggest a rotary hand tool like a Dremel. There's no specific depth you have to carve to but the deeper you go you leave yourself more room for sanding off imperfections after filling. Just don't carve all the way through the board! It's not entirely necessary but after carving the flame pattern you can lightly sand over the freshly exposed wood.
Step 3: Resin (Mixing & Pouring)
This is the most precise part of this build.
For the resin to mix properly both parts need to be mixed in a 1:1 ratio.
To figure out the total volume of resin necessary to fill back what carved out fill each section with rice. It's okay if the rice is not flush to the board and you use a little more as it's better to mix more resin than not enough.
Transfer all of the rice into a disposable plastic cup and draw a line around the outside perimeter at half the height of the rice.
Do this on a second cup as this is a two part mixture.
*Easier (but optional) Electronic Method- Using an electronic scale obtain mass of the rice (making sure to zero out the cup). Divide this number in half.
Pour in the two part mixtures into the separate cups (to the line if done manually or to the mass amount if done electronically).
Combine both resin and hardener into the same cup and mix using a stir stick for 2 minutes
Pour this mixture into a new cup and continue to stir for another minute.
Pour the glow powder into the mixture and mix for an additional minute.
Now you're ready to pour the resin into the carved out flame pattern. You might want to tape off the other areas of the wood but you'll be sanding it down later so this is optional.
Pour the resin mixture slowly from the center of each flame building it up.
Use a heat gun, hair dryer, or torch to remove bubbles that might form.
Repeat this for each flame then set the board aside in a dust free area to dry for at least 24 hours. (I let mine sit for two days.)
Step 4: Positioning Elements on the Board
You'll want to line everything on on the board so you know where to drill holes allowing electronic cords to pass through the back.
Since the skull and spine are from separate decorations I had to cut out a section at the base of the skull so it would sit on the spine firmly.
Typically character busts end in a "V" shape on the chest so I kept that in mind along with the lines in the leather jacket while cutting it up.
Place the skull & spine with the rib-cage inside of the jacket and align it on the board with the resin flames.
Here you can see where the rib-cage and jacket cover the board allowing you to drill out small areas there to run cords through.
Step 5: Flame On! (wait...)
This is probably the step you were waiting for and conveniently it's actually quite simple.
I dissembled one of those fake (but real looking) flame lamps you usually see around Halloween and embedded its components inside of the skull. Luckily it was just the right fit.
This same effect can be achieved by using a separately obtained computer fan, tissue paper, and LEDs (which is essentially what it is).
Using an already established assembly allowed me to have this able to plug into the wall socket so I don't have to hit any switches anywhere on the skull to turn it on. However, if you want this cordless then using the previously mentioned method makes that possible.
Step 6: Final Touches
With the resin mixture completely hardened you can sand the flames and the surrounding wood to make it flush with the board.
I recommend using 150 then 200 grit and a palm sander if you have access to one.
You'll need to sand the flames again separately and much more finely to get it's clearness and smoothness back. I wet sanded starting with 400 grit up to 1000 grit.
At this point you can stain the would to give it a nice finish. I went with a darker brown so the flames and skull would stand out more.
Now you can wrap the red LED strip around the perimeter of the board and run the remainder up through the chest so it glows there as well.
I used red and yellow heat shrink wrapping material behind the rib-cage to diffuse the light. This LED strip is short enough to be powered by a 9 volt battery or a wall adapter that typically comes with LED strips.
Use a variety of screws and cable clamps to secure everything to the board.
You'll want to start with the top portion of the chain then the jacket so the chain sits behind it properly. Next you can attach the skull and spine making sure to run the cords down through a hole in the jacket and through the back of the board. Finally the rib-cage can be secured in it's place and it's ready to be lit up!
Step 7: Let It Stare Into Your Soul!
This project uses three different methods to light up and they can all be used together or separately.
- The UV flames around the head glow under black light and can even hold their charge after enough exposure. This was an important part of the build because I wanted this piece to be eye-catching even while turned off electronically.
- The chest flames and back light are great for providing a stable light source and illuminating everything around it.
- The moving flame on top of the head is really the apogee of this whole thing. From head on and even the light it casts on the walls it is a very convincing flame. (You can even drill out some eye holes in the skull to simulate the penance stare).
As a long time viewer of this site this was my first Instructable so thanks for reading!
Participated in the
Halloween Contest 2019