AKA: The Mourner
Rough List of Materials (things may vary depending on how you make this prop):
(5) five 1"x2" pieces of wood
(30) thirty wood screws (or more depending on how you attach the blue foam)
(1) one tube of Liquid Nails (or use screws to attach the blue foam)
(2) two sheets of blue foam
(1) roll of chick wire
(1) roll of FiberTape, Dry wall joint tape
(1) Styrofoam head
(1) wig (the fuller and curlier it is the better)
(2) two Coat Hangers
(1) one roll of packing tape
(1) one amount Monster Mud or DryLock (amount depends on how you use it) For those of you who do not know, DryLock is a cement sealer what is used like Paint. I purchase mine in the paint section of Home Depot. I use oil based grey. I prefer DryLock over Monster Mud for detail work. Monster Mud is better for items that need strength.
First you need to make the frame for the stone.
I started with a top and bottom square.
Cut (8 ) pieces of 1"x2" - (24) twenty four inches long.
We used screws on one end and metal strapping thingies on the other end. There is no strength difference.
Here are both was we used for connection. If you want to do it quick, use the the metal straps. If you want to do it cheap, use screws.
Remember if you use screws anywhere in the project you must drill pilot holes.
Here is the finished cube. I ended up putting some 1"x2" pieces in the middle of each square to attach the foam to.
Note: After storing Alice this year I concluded that more center supports are needed in the cube walls to keep the cube from coming apart. I added "crosses" to each of the panels to make them stronger and give me more places to attach the foam.
You can use liquid nails to attach the foam. I just used screws. They were handy.
When I cut the foam I made a mistake. I put the frame on the foam and traced it out. I didn't take in account the width of the foam, so the edges are not flush, but if you add lots of Monster Mud the edges look beveled :)
Next choose what you want the stone to say. I made a stencil by printing to on my computer. I then used a handy knife and cut out the outline of the words.
Next choose if you want the lettering to be hollowed out or to have then raised. I have mine hallowed out because I will have a fire light inside.
My stone doesn't say "Beloved" anymore, I took off that panel after the 2002 season and recarved it to make a dedication to my mother. Mom died Aug. 20, 2002.
Replacing panels is an easy process if you ever want to change the wording. I replaced the Beloved back again in June of 2003 when Alice was sold to PropMaster in Provo, UT.
Here it is all carved out.
I wanted to make it look like it was on a plaque so I drew one. I had a straight stick, so I made a box around the word. Then I found a flower pot that had the circle size that I wanted, so I used it to make quarter circles in the corners.
Next was the fun and messy part. Making the plaque raise out of the stone. I used my Dremel with the flex wand and cut out the edge first. Then I used a grinding stone tip for the Dremel to feather the cut to the size of the rest of the stone. I wasn't worried about mistakes because I Monster Mudded the stone later.
This is what the final carving looked like. I know not very good yet. Remember the Monster Mud will cover a lot of the mistakes.
Next I Monster Mudded the entire stone. I used my a putty knife to apply the first coat. When it dried I used my hand and 'slapped' a texture onto the stone.
Let this dry well before painting. I painted the Monster Mud with Grey paint as a base. I painted the Beloved with a Water Based sealant. The water based stuff does not melt the foam!! Both the paint and sealant are available in spray paint cans.
Next is the dummy Alice.
I'm lucky enough to have a mannequin. So I wrapped her upper body in chicken wire. I had to make a lot of cuts and snips in the wire so that it would fit snug. Then I wrapped the wire in Fiber Joint tape used in dry wall projects around the home.
The fiber wrap also makes it easy to dress and undress dummies. Becasue it covers all the little pokies on the chicken wire.
If you've ever made a duck tape duplicate ... this is the same concept, but with heavier material.
I made the torso and the arms separate. I used zip ties to connect the arms to the torso.
Here is a picture of Alice being fitted onto the stone. Of course the head and hands are not in place yet. She is only half was done.
Now we are starting the details on the body.
I started with Monster Mud .. then decided that DryLock was better with the dress that I have. The dress has a LOT of lace details and I didn't want to loose that look. ZombieFred introduced me to DryLock. 8) Kisses to ZF, I love that stuff!!!
Here is a closer view.
I sealed only part of her face so the DryLock would eat part of it to give a better stone appearance.
I went through 3 wigs to try to get it right. I tried a short one and a long one .. then after I emailed Castle Blood I tried a Med. length curly one. I like the results. You are only seeing the first coat in this picture. I ended up putting 4 coats to make it look solid.
After the torso, I started in on the skirt part. The dress I have has a satin base with a 'froo-froo' top. I DryLocked the base first and let it set up into the look I wanted.
The DryLock will hold the dress in place like a VERY stiff starch. I didn't want to use Monster Mud because it was to heavy and would hold the dress in place like cement.
I started to work on the hands while the dress base dried. I started by cutting wire the length of my fingers from my wrist to the tips of each finger.
Next I used packing tape and wrapped it around the wire to make the knuckles and give the fingers some width.
I tried several ideas to make the actual hand part. I put the fingers in rubber/latex gloves ... didn't look right. I tried to DryLock them as is .... I got 5 goopy sticks. The last thing I tried was to take thin strips of packing tape and wrap it around the hand section.
I also marked the points that the webbing between the fingers would be.
Inside the sleeve I stuffed plastic garbage sacks. I guess you can say this is a recycle friendly project :)
I fit it into place to see see if it was the way I want it. Looked good to me :)
For the first coat I use as much DryLock on it as I could. I plan on at least 12 more coats.
That's pretty much it. If you have any questions, post a comment to this how to or email me.
This is not an original idea. I was email a picture by ZombieFred, and then found the original creators Castle Blood. Visit Castle Blood to see the original mourner and for other cool props. Castle Blood makes and sells their own costumes.
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