Here is something to wrap your mind around

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This is all ideas gleaned, shared, offered up located or otherwise swiped from folks on a number of forums I subscribe to. Some might be mine, others from known sources, and yet others from unknown sources.

If images are associated with the ideas, of course I will have them here, if not, time to use that vivid imagination of yours.

I will try to bunch them together in like categories if at all possible.

LEDS and Electronics

OK, well for simplicities sake, lets just leave out caps and inductors.

Its just wires and resistors and power supplies (and LED's)

Lets all learn Kirchoffs(sp) Voltage law.
All voltages encountered in a complete loop have to add up to zero. Using this and ohms law you can determine your resistor size to limit the current to your LED.

This is how you start to figure your resister size for your LED circuit.

(The Real) Grim Shady
aka Todd Snyder (icq 381881)

Add up the number of LED's you plan to put in series and multiply that number by 4 (the forward drop voltage of each LED).

example 2Led's X 3.8(volts) = 7.6 volts
Power supply must be at least as large as this number.

Subtract the LED voltage from the power supply voltage.
example 12v(supply)-7.6v(leds)= 4.4 volts left that must be dropped on the resister you put in series with the rest.

You know that you want 30ma running through the LED's and so that means that 30ma must also run through the resistor.

so using algebra and ohms law 4.4v = R X 30ma or 4.4 / 0.03 = R = 146.6667ohms
for two LED's in series using a 12v source.

Easy as Cake

Now you do it for a 9 volt source.......

Equation is [{(power supply voltage)-(sum of LED voltages)} / (0.03 Amps) ] = (resister size)

The only unknown is the resister size.

(The Real) Grim Shady
aka Todd Snyder (icq 381881)

Ok, dis boy doan do no Java, BUT...

You treat the LEDs as a Zero resistance (even though they are not, they have a bit). The resistor defiens the current through the LED, and you want to nail it at rated current.

So for a 9 volt supply/battery, you lose 3.8 in the LED that leaves 5.2 volts you need to loose in the resistor.
So V=IR, R=V/I, R=5.2/.03, R=173.3ohms.

Now your nearest standard values are 160 and 180 ohms. One 160 will work, be nice and bright, but may shorten life. 180 (you probably won't be able to tell the difference in brightness really) is probably best.

So 180 ohm resistor for ONE LED on a 9 volt supply. Goes in series with the LED DO NOT hook up the LED without it! You will burn it out instantly.


Now, P=VI, P=5.2 (resistor) .03, P=.156 watt. Why is this important? Because resistors come in power ratings.
1/4, 1/2, 1 etc.

More LEDs? You can use one resistor for a set of them in parallel:


But remember now each LED adds 30mA (.03amps) to the total current through the resistor. So:



R=5.2/(the number of LEDs)*.03

So for example 10 LEDs, R=17.3ohms.

Power dissapated by that resistor?



P=1.56 watts!

Play it safe and DOUBLE the power rating of the resistor. Above 2 watts you usually have to go to ceramic "box" resistors. RS has them usually in 5 and 10 watt.

Summary, these are pretty high power LEDs. As you add them together, the current through the dropping resistor
goes up. .156 watts for each if you have used to math above. If you use the math above, you have optimized the
brightness of the LEDs.

Have fun.

Now, how can I get some of these LEDs?????

-- John Henry

Visit the bug shop at

  R = (V1 - (V2 x N)) / A


R = current-limiting resistance (in ohms)
V1 = battery voltage (in volts)
V2 = LED voltage drop (in volts)
N = number of LEDs in series
A = LED forward current (in milliamps)


P.S. If you don't have a value for 'A' use 15

Ok Wil - here's your "Lazy Man" - 7% ($) solution  

Get on the stick this Monday morning - 7 or 8 am your time, and call Hosfelt Electronics at 888-264-6464 or 800-524-6464.

For each Boris, ask them to send you:
1) one - 6 volt, 800 ma regulated A.C. adaptor Cat. # 56-586 cost = $ 3.99
2) one - 3 volt, 300 ma (unregulated) Universal A.C. adaptor Cat. # 56-431 cost = $ 2.99 (this is an adjustable kind but you set it at 3 volts for this purpose of course :)

The reason to call early Monday is that "regulated" power supplies like # 1 above "sell out" pretty quick - but you may be in luck, I just got the catalog that lists this one :)

After you get them - cut off the "connector ends" and strip back the insulation about an inch on both. You must be able to identify the plus and minus leads of each A.C. adaptor - either by knowing which wire is which, stated on adaptor itself, or by measuring with a meter.

Then all you have to do is:
Connect the negative leads of both A.C. adaptors together and solder this combined negative lead to the battery compartment, negative terminal, shown as the black wire line in the diagram. Next solder the 6 volt positive lead to the (red line) 6 volt battery terminal
and Finally solder the 3 volt positive lead to the (other red line) 3 volt batt. terminal.

Bingo.. Boris has busted his battery boundary !!

:>) Jim

p/s if Hosfelt is sold out of the above *regulated* 6 volt adaptor, ask for # 56-889 which is an unregulated 6 volt adaptor that should also work in this application, now that I know the approx. current (100 milliamps) as shown on the diagram you found.

I dont know how a solid state relay works..I thought they were Triacs also???
They have to be something like that....

For the signal bridge here's the values:
You need a Cap in Series with an inductor. I wound my own indiuctor here at work.
Cap needs to be rated for voltage above the 230V. I used a 500V one and its value is 0.1uf
The inductor should be about 17 or 18 uh.

This resonates at about 120khz

-------- = 2*PI*F

(The Real) Grim Shady
aka Todd Snyder (icq 381881)
Bloomington, Indiana

I may be missing the point here (or perhaps this is what you said, and I
didn't comprehend it right), so here is how I would set this up:

Relay +------------------- 110 HOT to solenoid
+9V ------O . /
O / Relay Switch
-9V ------0 ./
Coil |
+------- 110 HOT from Wall

Where the 110 COLD is ran directly to your solenoid from the wall.

(note, this is for a 9VDC coil relay). If you are trying to do the opposite, where a 110VAC trigger is used to switch on a 9VDC device, you will need the proper relay, and just hook it up inverse to this diagram.

-- I

Typically, LEDs of old had an approximate forward voltage drop of 1.2 - 1.5 volts. Many of them these days run 2.2 - 3 or higher. As long as you know the current spec ( which you have - 10 mA), you can test one out with a 9 volt battery (or other known voltage supply) and a few resistors, and watch the brightness come up to a usable level.

First, decide on a supply voltage - I'm using 9 volts for this example.
To try a particular forward voltage, calculate the resistance needed to drop the remaining voltage at 10 milliamps. So to test a LED on 1.2 volts, you'd need a resistor to drop (9 - 1.2) 7.8 volts at 10 mA.
(9 - 1.2) 7.8v / 0.010A = 780 ohm.
If your LED doesn't give you a decent brightness, try 1.8 volts.
(9 - 1.8) 7.2v / 0.010A = 720 ohm

Keep bumping this up until you get the results you like, or poof an LED.
(9 - 2.2v) 6.8v / 0.010A = 680 ohm
(9 - 2.4v) 6.6v / 0.010A = 660 ohm
(notice how 10 milliamps makes the math easy?)

Any of this jabber make sense?

-The YardHaunter
-Est cucurbita res...

Power= I^2 X R

LED likes 20ma (right?)
R=330 ohms

P=0.132watts on the resister

(The Real) Grim Shady
aka Todd Snyder (icq 381881)
Bloomington, Indiana

If the LED's are run in series then the current remains the same (20ma) as one LED (but the voltage drop across the 2 would be twice the forward voltage drop of a single LED). In that case you still only need a 1/4w 330ohm resistor

I didn't look at the diagram but using one resistor to feed two LED's in parallel would take 40ma and would require a 0.528 watt resister.

I^ time R is (40e-3)squared X 330 = 0.528watts.

(The Real) Grim Shady
aka Todd Snyder (icq 381881)
Bloomington, Indiana

Yep, long air lines OK
Long Electrical lines BAD.

You can count on a wire run of 50ft at its rated load before the voltage drop becomes an issue (2V drop).
For a max 2V drop on a 50ft line you can get away with
#14 wire is good for 15.84 amps Peak @ 28.4watts loss in line
#12 is good for 25.18 amps Peak @ 49.6watts loss in line
#10 is good for 40.04 amps Peak @ 80watts loss in line

(for a 100' line you would need to halve the current listed above to keep your voltage drop within 2V)

To keep your wire cool (plastic insulated) enough you will need to limit your AVERAGE current to this:
#14 (can run all day at 18 amps without overheating) (any length)
#12 wire to 21 amps (any length)
#10 wire to 28 amps (any length)

For better wire (rubber insulated) wire you can have an average current in your wire of.
#14 21amps (any length)
#12 25amps (any length)
#10 36amps (any length)

#14 is good for 16amps continuous for 50' with no surges
#12 is good for 21amps continuous for 50' with surges to 25amps
#10 is good for 28amps continuous for 50' with surges to 40.04amps

(The Real) Grim Shady
aka Todd Snyder (icq 381881)
Bloomington, Indiana


A couple of things that I don't think has been mentioned yet:

1) Air compressor will not have a problem with long air line runs. It will just take longer to compress the system up, which isn't usually a big deal! The air compressor WILL have a HUGE problem with a 100' ELECTRICAL run to it. Keep the compressor as close to the outlet as possible, make sure it is a dedicated outlet, and DON'T use extension cords for this.

2) Any circuits that you run outside should have GFCI protected outlets!

3) Make sure to keep your loads within spec for the circuit. Add up the AMPS for each device you have plugged into each circuit. If you don't know the amps, but you know the watts, you can calculate the amps by using the following: x WATTS / 110 VOLTS = y AMPS. For example, a 100 watt flood lamp would pull: 100 watts / 110 volts = .91 amps.

4) If you use extension cords, make sure they are big enough! There are many rules and regulations on how many amps a cord can carry, and these are usually marked on the cable/packaging. Don't exceed that value! When looking at gauge, remember that the smaller the number, the bigger the wire is (and usually more expensive!).

Those are my tips for the moment...

- I

The part number you want is 275-217. The plug 275-220 might also be handy. However, the detailed instructions can be a bit TRICKY here. Needs graphics. And hand-waving.

On the bottom of the relay you will see metal bits in three groupings. Along the bottom are two prongs that are perpendicular to the other six. These are attached to the line voltage to make the relay go click.

The other six prongs are grouped into two sets of three. The center bit on each group is the center of the switch. When the relay is off, this center is connected to the top (or bottom, I don't know which) bit. When it is on, it is connected to the other end.

You want to wire "hot" 110vac to the center of both switches. Then one water valve is switched off the top prong on one side, and the other valve is switched off the bottom prong on the other side.

Ummm.... I guess that's it. Maybe someone will draw a picture...


A TRIAC is basically a solid state relay. It looks like a big power
transistor, with three pins. Two of the pins act as a switch, and the
third pin is a logic level gate. When +5V is applied to the gate, the
switch is turned on.

With a proper heat sink and TRIAC, you can sink up to 6Amps into one of
these at 110 VAC, so they are suitable to replace relays.

Interesting enough, they are MUCH faster than a relay, and can be used
in automated light dimming solutions, etc, and their contact's will not
wear out.

-- I

At 08:56 AM 8/27/2003 -0600, you wrote:
With 4,200 sq ft - battery lighting is a good thing! I'm trying to cut down on total overall power needs (as well as extension cords, etc). There are several corridors that would be perfect for VERY dim (practically non-existent) lighting - and not having to use additional cords for them would be a bonus.

I'll be using batt. operated (4 - D's) lanterns (cheap at WalMart) in two different rooms this year, as well - as directed 'up lighting' on walls. I used them last year to illuminate the direction (driving to the haunt) signs - 7 nights, all night. Still going strong. Good use of lighting and batteries - especially where there is no electricity (or long extension cord runs).


Subject: Hall: LED's in the Haunt

How many of you haunters have those solar LED lights that some use to line the driveway?

These are operated with a 1.2 volt re-chargeable "AA" cell - but the LED takes 3.5 volts to light. Neat trick to increase the battery voltage 2.5 times to feed the LED (anyone know exactly how they do this?? There's not much to the circuit board so it must be rather simple)

Anyway I was thinking -since I've got them along the driveway - that I could take advantage of the lighting on Halloween night. Put something like those bags they use for Luminare over the lights and have faces or some such painted on the bags?? Anyone with a better or revised idea?


Haunt Master Products, Inc.
"Products that scare at prices that don't!"

Hi Jim,

I hope your season is going well!

The chips that do that kind of thing are called charge pumps or boost circuits. They are made for handheld devices and are typically capable of taking from 1.5-3v and pumping it up to 5v to run standard 5v circuitry. They don't have huge current capabilities, but they can certainly run a few LEDs etc. There are a number of manufactures of the devices, Maxim ( is the first that comes to mind though. You can even get some that are buck/boost chips, which will reduce (buck) the voltage if the input is above 5v or increase (pump) the voltage if it is below 5v.

Talk to you later,

Carl Cowley
Hauntingly Good Electronics Products!

Assorted Ideas, Notions and Observations
MANY Years ago they made a bag of STRETCHY web that actually had the Words FIRE RETARDENT on the bag.

(We would save the bags to show the Fire Marshal.)

Then, when this stuff got popular many companies started producing similar products but the bags had BIG lettering that read KEEP AWAY FROM FLAME!

It got to the point that I could no longer find the good stuff (by good I mean
The stuff the FM would accept.)

Just the other day I stumbled over a new company that is producing the product with FIRE RETARDENT on the bag again.

It is called Phantom Fiber Webs a BOO BATTS product By the Putnam Company, P.O. Box 310 Walworth Wisconsin 53184 USA.

Jerry ^v^

Where to find GITD Paint

You can get this at Wal-Mart in the paint section as well... it is in the small cans near the stains. The particular product is called "GLOWZ"

I am using graphite powder in my home-made cylinder, with "rubber" o-rings as the packing material instead of a "plunger."

Here's a source:

part # 20-883
(graphite 19-821 powder, $4.09)

The graphite provides lubrication, and since it's not petroleum based, it isn't caustic to rubber products. Since you'll be pouring your own plunger of latex or silicone, you may want to experiment with different oils, as they may have no negative effects on these products.


The bore is the diameter of the piston, or the inside diameter of the cylinder.
Here's why that's a factor... the force, or amount of work you can get from an air cylinder, is equal to the air PRESSURE times the AREA of the piston.

So if you applied 30 psi to a cylinder with a 1 inch bore,

you get 23.6 lbs of "work power" out of it.
Area of piston = radius squared times pi, or 0.5^2 x 3.14159 = 0.78539
Area x pressure = 0.78539 x 30 = 23.5617 pounds force

Working backwards, if you needed to lift 40 pounds, and you have 30 psi air pressure, you'd need at least 1.3 inch bore, and would want to look for a 1 and 1/2 inch bore cylinder.

Make any sense?

-The YardHaunter
-Est cucurbita res...

At 10/12/2003 08:39 AM-0400, Wayne didst break the silence of the night, and thusly spake:
>I have an idea bopping around my head for a pneumatic prop the would require >the prop to rotate 180deg from start to finish. Anyone ever design a cylinder >that could do this, or any mechanism that would do this?

There are commercial pneumatic cylinders that do that very thing. They use what is essentially a pin following a groove in the cylinder wall, and that groove makes a spiral around as it goes up the length. But these are expensive, especially in longer lengths.

You may want to consider using a regular cylinder, and having the prop mounted on a simple swivel at the end. Use a spring to keep it pulled to one side, and a string to pull it the other way. Attach the string to the other end of the cylinder, so that as the cylinder extended, the string would be pulled, rotating the prop on the swivel. As the cylinder retracts, the spring rotates the prop back to its starting point as the string slackens.

Does that make sense?

-The YardHaunter
-Est cucurbita res...

Props & Effects

I also wanted to have a Flying Crank Ghost but never wanted to get involved in building the crank motor.  Then someone on the list built the "el Cheepo" FCG that used an oscillating fan motor to turn the crank.  That was when I  thought  "why build a crank at all... why not just use the osc. fans to move the arms and body of the ghost?"  So here's the How-To:

- Three oscillating desk fans, no smaller than 12 inch.  Depending on where you live, you may find these at a great sale price in November, or the stores may have put them away.  I think most Home Depots carry them all year though.  These are the only thing that will cost you much money for the FCG.
- Cheesecloth
-Toelle fabric (as in a bridal veil)
-Three wire clothes hangers
-Heavy black thread or nylon line (strong)
-Horshoe nails (U-shaped, sometimes called carpet tacks

Step 1:  Build the ghost armature.  Take the three clothes hangers and using pliers, straighten them into three straight rods.  Now take two of them and bend a loop onto both ends of the rod.  These are the ghost arms.  They'll look like this:   o-----------------------------o
The little O's are the loops on each end.
Now take the third one and bend it into an upside-down T, with each length about equal.  These will be the shoulders and head support.  Put the little loops on the end of each shoulder like you did the arms:
Now interlink the loops of the arms and the loops at the shoulder, as if they were links in a chain.  You have:
Where there are two O's, you have linked the loops together.
 The upright piece is where you'll attach the head.

Step 2:  Make the ghost.  I used both cheesecloth and toelle fabric for his body, or shrouds. Remember if you use cheesecloth you have to spray it down with RIT Whitener/Brightener for it to glow in blacklight.  Toelle glows on it's own.  Refer to any of the websites with FCG pictures to decide how you want the body to look.  Drape it over the armature's arms and shoulders and attach the end of the material where the hands would be, at the ends of the arms.
To keep the head lightweight (easier for the fan to "lift"), I also used cheesecloth.  Blow up a party balloon until it's the size of a human head.  Take a double-thickness piece of cheesecloth and soak it it Tacky glue diluted with water, or use that "Stiffy" product made for use with cheesecloth.  Spread the soaked cloth over the front half of the balloon and allow to dry.  When it has dried, you'll have the front half of a head.  Using scissor or X-acto cut out the eyes, mouth, nostrils, as you see fit to make the face you want.  This "head" is then attached to that upright piece of the armature.

Step 3:  Set up the fans.  Nail three horshoe nails into the ceiling above where you want the ghost.  Put the middle one where you'd want his head to be.  Put the other two out at the extended distance of his arms.  One fan will go behind him, pulling up the head, the other two fans will go out to his sides, pulling the arms up.  Like this, looking from above him:


Fan              o-------------oo-------Head--------oo------------o                            Fan

Now just tie your strong thread to the cage of each fan, run it up through the horseshoe nail, which you did NOT pound all the way into the ceiling, the tie the thread to each "hand" and one to the top of the head (the hanger).  When you turn on the fans, they will move back and forth, pulling then releasing the thread, and moving the arms and body up and down.  You need to adjust the direction the fans are facing in order to get the maximum movement from them, as they "sweep" back and forth.  Presto, you have a great looking ghost!

Other notes:
- You could replace the horseshoe nails with small pulleys.  That's more sophisticated, may improve the thread life.  I will probably do that next year.
- You can leave the blades on the fan or not.  It's better for cooling the fans if you leave the blades on it, but if it blows you ghost around too much you may want them off.  Sometimes fans will overheat and stop running if you take them off.
- You get as much movement as you get fan sweep.  In other words, if your fan head moves back and forth six inches, you'll get six inches of up and down motion from the arms.  I wasn't satisfied with that, so I straightened three more hangers out, and just ran them through the fans and attached them.  Then, by tying the threads way out toward the end of the hangers, I got about a foot and a half of  "sweep", and a foot and a half of arm movement.  It was like this:

Fan cage ----->    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
                              xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx---------------  <--- clothes hanger strut sticking out
                               xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                     from cage.  Attached on left side

That's all it takes!  Most of the adults who were staring at mine thought it was either a hologram or a projection!  So, I guess it worked pretty well.  Be sure to ask me if any of this doesn't make sense.  Good Luck with it.  One of these days I'll get some video of mine up on my website.


Need your help again! Now, I know that Cinema Secrets
(perhaps other companies?) have a special mixture
(some kind of 'stuff' mixed with warm water)
that can be applied then covered with makeup to give the appearance of horribly fresh burns.
I've use it.. absolutely LOVE it!

Problem: I'm now spending personal funds (boy, is hubby gettin' pissy!)
and can't afford 7 nights worth of this particular 'set'.

Question: Does anyone know what this stuff is they mix with water? It kinda become gelatinous - but it's not gelatin
(which would 'melt' when the actor gets hot/sweaty).
Any ideas on something I could use to create the same bubbled/burned" skin effect?

Thanks for any help!

I'm not postive, but I think the goo in question is called "Gel Effects," and a number of places sell it. I got mine last year from Burman Studios, I believe. And yes, while it is somewhat pricey, it is reusable. Just peel it off, rewarm it, and it can be used again. Of course, if you're putting makeup over it, it may
not be reusable then, so I can certainly understand your problem.
Now, about what it is -- basically, it's gelatin. Yup. Just as others have
already replied here, it's just unflavored gelatin, mixed much thicker than one would normally make for jell-o. <g> They also mix in some glycerine, which helps it stay soft and also raises its melting point a bit.

And, in practice, it's not so much body heat that melts the gelatin, it's sweat. If you first apply a layer of spirit gum, Pros-Aide, or even liquid latex over the area where the gelatin will be placed, you'll find that it lasts a lot longer. (Of course, the standard rules about where you can apply liquid latex apply! If you apply it to hairy areas, it acts a lot like a much more expensive waxing treatment! <g>)

You can also create a burn effect by putting a layer of derma wax onto the area to be "burned," and then pulling parts of it away. You can start by applying a base of red makeup before applying the derma wax so that what you remove leaves behind a red, raw area. Then gently apply some dark red, dark brown, and even a bit of black makeup to the surface to give it that "just-charred" look.

If you're trying to create the look of blisters, you can take a small amount
of vaseline and put it onto your skin, making a small mound. Over that
mound, lay a piece of single-ply facial tissue, then paint that with liquid latex. The latex will soak into the tissue, blending it into the skin; it will also
keep the vaseline from oozing out of
the tissue . . unless you want it to,
heh-heh-heh. A little powder over the latex will keep it from sticking and will likely be all the makeup you need, assuming you keep the amount of tissue used relatively small.
I hope this helps.


I will give you advice but it will cost you $300.00 per hour. I always think of lawers as parasites or zombies feeding off worthwhile living people. For a foam fabricated costume use sheet foam 1/2" or so, make your patterns out of paper first so you know what you are doing before you cut the foam. I make a paper mock up. use contact cement to glue it, two coats on each surface, let it dry and then stick it! To seal the suface of the foam there are three options.

1. cover it with fabric, spray glue it on

2. Use 3M foam fast 74, not 77 or 80 it has to be 74 foam fast. spray two coats over the surface this will "skin" the foam. Paint or spray liquid latex over the whole thing. It can be tinted for the base color.

3. Spray on your 3M foam fast 74, and then spray or paint on "Plasti-Dip" that is the stuff used to give tool handles their rubber grips, it used to be called tool dip. This will give a firm durable skin that is like vinyl.

NOTE: The spray 74 and plasti-dip will attack the contact cement and cause your seams to open up; to prevent this paint two coats of liquid latex or pros aid over the seams and let them dry. You can fill some gaps with pros aid and cabosil or paintable latex caulk like dap, don't use too much smooth it out with a tool and them blend/smooth it with a paint brush and water. Do any filling before you latex or plasti dip the surface. Plasti dip comes in a spray can or brushable, it comes in many colors and clear which you can tint with Pro line tints. You can get it Home Depot along with the tints. They might not have clear, so try a paint shop or call plasti dip.

If you have cash, You can use L-200 foam from Foam Mart in Burbank. It is
a special foam often used for foam fabricating costumes in movies. All of the power rangers costumes and the monsters were made out of this stuff.
They also sell foam fast 74

Ralis, Special Make-Up Effects

Wow...there must be a whole lot of new people and very little of the Original list
people here now. This thread was done to death years ago and I would Have
thought one of the oldtimers would have commented. But as I have not
seen any yet, (could be me as I could have deleted it by mistake) I will do so:

When Great stuff first came out I was very excited about Utilizing it in my Prop shop, I have found it to be a good replacement for the professional 2 part mix As long as you know how to use it and only expect Theater quality results rather then movie quality.

First off, in an enclose mold you will need to spray a heavy Mist of water to act as a catalyst.

With plaster molds:
Separators such as plastic film work great if detail is not needed. Using a latex skin FIRST then spray the foam if detail is needed. This is done by brushing in the liquid latex and allowing it to dry first. Then close the mold and us the Great stuff.

Simple mold:
I designed a VERY simple and cheap method of casting hands by car waxing a surgical glove, then put it on (wax to skin) Then duct taping it tight to the hand. Now cut the mold from you hand and retape back together. You will have a cloth and rubber mold. Spray water, then Great stuff one finger at a time. Once hard (about 3 hours if done properly) The mold is cut from the cast. You will find amazing detail (such as finger nail outlines) That you would never expect form such a simple process!

I had this entire article on a web page 8 years ago, but after Getting ripped
off with no credit for the articles by numerous Web sites I gave up trying to update that web page. One last note, a new product is trying to claim they Are better because they can produce more from their can and can restart the foam spray after days.

This is all marketing bull, the same method can be used To restart great stuff (plugging the end of the straw.) They have a bigger can with more products in it. But it cost twice the price as great stuff. It has not sold very well, they just reduced the price of the product. The only good thing about it is that it will harden in less time.

Jerry ^v^

I didn't have the patience for dry brushing.

I use a sea sponge: ~casadesade/polyfoam

one shade of grey - Splat Splat Splat < rinse with water >
some white Splat Splat Splat < rinse with water >
some black? - Splat Splat Splat < rinse with water >
next shade of grey - Splat Splat Splat Done!

Yeah - the sea sponge was pricey when compared to a paint brush, but I made it all back up in sanity retention.


I'ved use a simple and cheap way to make rock formations. A paper machet which is made from flour and elmers white glue, cheesecloth used for the actual substance of the wall and chickenwire (octagon shape seems to work the best) for the structure.

Hang and shape your chickenwire onto a flat surface like a wall or piece of playwood.

Mix the flour with the glue until you get a thick mud simular to spackle or wood putty.

Run a piece of the cheesecloth through the mixture, ring the mud into the cheesecloth so that it is saturated and actually wet with it.

lay it across like you would any machet type of work and tuck the ends around open holes in the chicken wire, if the mud is tacky like it should be, the pieces will stick to themselves and when hardened, will actually bind together.

cover the wall with this same process.

You will find, when the wall is nearing completion, you will have a lot of holes where you bound and places the ends of the machet through, here you simply need to soak a strip of the cloth in the mud, and lay it over the hole like a bandage, again, if the mud is tacky, it will hold better.

Let this wall dry for about 12 hrs, it may take as long as 24 depending on the consistancy of your mixture.

When the wall is dry, it will be stiff like white styrofoam board and give about the same before you begin to break the bonds of the machet.

Now you can paint.

Start with a primer grey colored paint and work in some sprits of green and black.

In normal levels of light, the wall will not appear to be more than grafitied with stripes of the green black and grey, but with appropriate levels of low light and back light <not BLACK lighting which wont detract from it> it will appear as a real rock wall.

seal with a light coat of urethane to proof it agaisnt moisture.

if too shinny after the sealer, then re-paint as needed.

I know this is a low tech way to do it, but it is more cost effective than hydrocal or plaster and much lighter. As well, if this is a tear down and re-do the next year, you wont have a lot to do to dispose of it when you are done. You MAY be able to keep this over a period of a few years, but with the flour mixture I wouldnt suggest it since it may attract insects and rodents over time.

I've used this effectivly in a haunt for the March of Dimes in a booth I designed.


Three ways I have tried:
1. Sculpted out of billets of EPS foam. Cover with either Polyester resin or Sculpt-or-Coat and sand. (See my portfolio for this technique)
2. Chicken wire frame- Great Stuff -sculpt to your liking and finish like above.
3. Probably the best - Construction wire frame - Polyester filter material stapled onto it - Smear Portland cement, sand, color mixture over it.
Second coat of cement mixture - Texture - Color
See these videos for the technique #3 - it is the absolute best way if weight and transporting isn't an issue. I have both videos and they are worth their weight in gold !

Gene index.shtmll

While I don't suggest anything as elaborate, watching the HGTV behind the scenes show about the Rose Parade made me think there's got to be a way to get that spray on material they shoot onto a form to create bases for the floats. I've seen it used in mass productions at our local zoo and assume it's done everywhere you want to create a large, permanent (well, relatively) weatherproof freeform structure. It's what those fake 'rocks' and caves, etc. are made of. I've also seen this stuff used to make those fake waterfall/rocks at car dealers where they put a featured car up onto this 'natural' looking ramp/platform. Guess it's used to make home pool grottos, etc.
At the zoo they built a large framework (2x4's, etc.), covered it with chicken wire or a stronger wire (the floats used what they called 'pencil steel' that was small bendable tubes). Then they (zoo construction) used fire hoses to spray this substance on (like a resin-based liquid) on, layer by layer to build it up. The float makers used smaller sized hoses and I assume it's hooked up to a tank and a pump. Seems to me we should be able to explore the construction (or pool, hot tub, etc.) industry and find this stuff and get our own tanks and hoses and spray away, wearing protective masks, of course....that stuff is sure to be toxic or at least risky to work around.
Viola! Dinosaurs (and anything else you make a frame for) that never die.
Surely this is the stuff those portable trailers that fold out into a haunt on wheels or carnival funhouse, etc. entrances are made of.
Practically indestructible and relatively lightweight.
Then, there's that spayed on foam-like stuff the "Smoking Gunslinger" and other commercial props are made of. If our people can make latex masks and appliances, horns and custom-fit fangs, we surely can solve this one. Of course, you need a permanent storage solution for this idea.


Saw the same show last night. They were using the industrial size
version of spray foam or AB foam. Check your yellow pages under foam to
see if you have a company in your area. About and hour away we have a
group that will foam frames for you. Ive seen entire sets built with
this construction method. The EXTREME down side to this form of
construction is you can't recycle it. It has to go in the garbage after
you break it a part in big chunks. Not isn't an issue if you plan to
keep what you build but not so environmentally friendly in terms of
float and set construction.


There are all types of Crackle mediums out there but for a large application such as a wall they are just not economical... SO I will give you a trick that actually works better than the medium... TiteBond Hide Glue is the same thing they use to make crackle medium and it is much more affordable and does a better job.. For a realistic crackle you apply the glue over your base coat (the color you want to show through) ... let it dry making sure you have no seperation or bubbles in it. Then paint your after color or the color you want to be seen more over the glue..

For more realism, after the top coat dries add more paint and the cracks get smaller and more real looking.. for a peeled look you can (while the paint is wet) use a paint scraper and pull some of the paint off leaving what you pull off on the wall.. just a tid bit.. hope it helps..

Ray Mitchell

I think the crackle question has been answered, but I
know some great techniques for antiquing or
distressing. It is disgusting simple. You simple apply
a very watered down paint in areas you want to look
distressed in browns or blacks and then with a large
pump sprayer spray it while it is wet it will run and
give you lots of nice streaks and stains. Add
different colors for depth.

Kevin R. Alvey AKA MR. Gore
Gore Galore

I don't know how well this will work for you but I came across this method by accident.

1) Apply a darker Latex paint as a base coat. Allow to dry well.

2) Apply a lighter Oil base paint over the latex painted surface. Allow to dry well use a fan to help it along.

3) As the oil base dries it will crack and show the dark color underneath. This offers a distressed look when dry.

4) Finish it up with a medium wood stain lightly wiped on with a rag in an up and down or left to right pattern. This gives it an aged look.

Try this on a small area to test before doing a whole wall.

The Freak

The Knight Breed

Here is a detailed how to that I started writing but never finished. It will help you through the project but is missing some of the later steps on
re-assembling the motors to a skull etc.


Notes from Sue’s Dougy/Bucky Hack Fest

Parts list
1 – Bucky skull with removable skull cap (
1 – Dougy Singing Christmas tree with Aux port
1 – ½” x 1/8” x 15” (or so) piece of flat iron with pre drilled holes – similar to plumbers tape but sturdier.
I got mine in the plumbing dept. at Home Depot.
1 – 18” piece of ½” PVC pipe
1 – 8” piece of round metal rod (hammered square).

General Info

First let me start out by saying that these instructions do not include using the Dougy eye motor to make moving eyes. In this assemble I only discuss using the flashing light/eye effect. You can refer to other plans for installing the eye motor.

External Sound source and the motion sensor – The Dougy Trees that we used came with both a motion sensor and a sound sensor. These sensors are wired into the Dougy circuit board and activate the Xmas
carol playback function when triggered. The bass notes from the Xmas Carols activate Dougie’s jaw so he appears to sing.

When an external sound source is connected to the Aux. port of the Dougie these motion sensors are disabled so the Dougy will only sing when the external sound is playing. I plan to use my Buggy with an endless loop tape or CD player with auto repeat turned so I don’t have to worry about triggering the prop. If you plan to use the Buggy (Dougy and Bucky morph) as a motion activated prop you will need to find a way for the sound source to be triggered at the appropriate time.

So…. unless you plan on leaving the internal speaker in place and having your Bugie sing Xmas Carols (oooohhh scary) you can cut the sensors off, as they will serve no purpose when the Aux port is in use.

Denuding the Dougy –

First locate the motion sensor and sound sensor devices and cut them free from the tree or pull them off the branch their attached to depending on if you want your Bugie to sing Xmas carols or not (see above). The motion sensor is a piece of black plastic tubing about 1/8 inch in diameter that is glued to a branch somewhere in between the eyes and mouth of the Dougy. The sound sensing device is a shiny metal object about the size of a quarter and can be found glued to a branch near the base of the Dougy tree.

There are two approaches to be used when denuding your Dougy tree depending on if you plan to use the tree base the Dougy comes on or if you are going to mount the Bugie on some other device. We did a little of both at the Buggy hack-a-thon. Most of us chose to mount the Buggy on a piece of ½ inch PVC. This gives a fairly flexible (as in useful) mount for the Buggy allowing him to be easily used in a variety of props.

Using the Dougy Tree Base - If you are going to use the base the Dougy comes on you should leave the central metal wire that the tree branches attach to in place. You will need to cut, pull and hack all the branches and greenery off of the central wire assembly. This makes for a lot more work than the PVC mount option described below but will leave you with a strong enough base to attach the Bucky skull to.

Note: If you remove the central wire the remaining plastic motor supports will not be strong enough to support the weight of the Bucky skull. We had a couple people who did remove the central tree support wire and we ended up having to add a piece of heavy duty plumbers tape to support the weight of the Bucky skull. We bent the metal plumbers tape in an “L” shape and attached it to the plastic motor support and the base of the Dougie using a couple sheet metal screws on the base and a couple of the black screws that came off the Dougie jaw assembly on the plastic upright support. The plastic motor support has a couple of holes already drilled/molded into it that are great for mounting the brace. Sorry but I don’t have any pictures of this setup.

If you choose the mounting option described above then skip ahead to “Morphing Bucky and Dougy”

Using a PVC Buggy Mount – Working from the front of the Dougy separate the branches and bend them around to the back of the tree exposing the plastic column that the motors are mounted to. Cut and remove the piece of greenery that covers the front of Dougy’s Jaw. Dig around in the greenery and find and then cut off the 3-4 plastic tie downs (zip ties) that hold the tree to the plastic motor mounts. After all of the tie downs have been cut the tree part of the Dougy should be free from the motor mount. You should be able to wiggle the tree freely.

Remove the screws from the bottom of the Dougy base on so you can access the “Guts” of the Dougy.

Remove the screws that hold the “guts” (circuit board) in. Pull the large circuit board free from the bottom of the base. In some of the Dougy’s the circuit board is glued in so this step may require a bit of tugging. Be careful not to break or crack the board in any way.

Using your thumbs press out, from the inside of the tree trunk, against the small circuit board that the power supply, auxiliary speaker jack and switch are attached to until it breaks free from the tree trunk. What you are trying to do here is push the small circuit board unit out from the inside. This circuit board is held in place by some glue and melted plastic so it should break free with just a little grunting
and groaning. Turn the small PC board at an angle and push it back through the hole it came out of so all the “guts” are now inside the tree trunk.

Remove the screws that hold the speaker in place and pull the speaker free with the rest of the “guts”.

Cut a groove down the side of the tree trunk from the hole that the motor wires feed through at the base of the tree to the bottom edge. The groove will need to be wide enough to pull the wires out through without damaging them.

Remove the screws that hold the plastic motor mount to the base of the tree. Separate the guts, motor mount assembly and wires from the tree and tree base. Be careful not to pull any wires loose from the circuit boards or damage them as you guide them out through the slit you cut in the tree base.

If you don’t want to use the speaker that comes with the Dougy you can cut it off. Try to leave enough wire on the circuit board so you’ll be able to connect a speaker at a later date just in case you change your mind. I cut mine off because I plan to use external speakers to get a better sound.

Remove all the little tidbits of greenery from Dougy’s
eyes, mouth etc.

Remove the screws that hold both the eye and jaw motors to the black plastic motor mount.

Give the tree and base to your kids, toss it in the trash or pack it away with the rest of your “Other Holiday” stuff.

Morphing the Bucky and Dougy – Flashing eyes

Prepare the Bucky for surgery by removing Bucky’s skull cap. Also remove the springs, nuts and bolt that hold Bucky’s jaw on. Perform the craniumotomy. Using a hole saw, Dremel or other suitable cutting or grinding device remove the plastic/resin stuff from Bucky’s skull. Reference the area marked in Sues photos. Drill a small hole into in the top rear portion of each of Bucky’s eye sockets. The hole needs to be small enough for the Xmas light and base to fit in snuggly.

Pull the eyeball assembly from the eye motor. Remove the eyeball (white plastic with iris) from the rest of the eye assembly by twisting it to the right a bit and pulling out at the same time. Cut the green plastic that forms the back half of the eyeball assembly from around the bulbs and bulb sockets being careful not to cut the eye wires.

Cut the wires that lead to the eye motor being careful to not cut the wires that go to the Christmas lights in the eyes. On some models of the Dougy the eye wires are connected to the motor and so you may have to cut them and reconnect them later.

Remove the screws from Dougy’s mouth/jaw flap and remove the jaw flap from the two jaw supports.

Slide the two jaw supports and the return spring off of the square motor shaft and save them for later.

Remove the square motor shaft by pulling it straight out.

Take the round rod listed in the parts list and pound it using a hammer and vise or some other suitable flat, smooth hard surface. Keep shaping your rod until it is square and will slide through the Dougy motor housing where the short one came from. Note: there is a gear inside the motor housing with a square hole for the shaft. If the shaft you are making wont fit keep pounding it square until it does. It might help to compare the extended shaft you are making to the one you removed from the motor in the step above. You’ll need to get enough of the rod squared up so it can reach from one side of the Bucky jaw, through the jaw motor and gear (inside the motor) to the other side of the Bucky jaw. Once your round – now square rod will fit through the motor at least far enough to reach both sides of the Dougy Jaw you’ll be ready to begin the assembly.

Took me 10 minutes with a wire sniper.
Removed the arms at the cable ties, and peeled any residual needles off by hand or needlenose pliers.

Happy Hauntings & Nul Illigitimi carborundum est,

Minions Web Haunt
The Hallow-links List

Hey Joe, I used Grainger #6z418 $530.50 you can buy the combo motor and controller #7z335 for $577.50 the controller will need a box to put it in.This motor is continuous duty ,1/2 HP 146 rpm 202 in/lbs full load torque. I used this motor on a 10' diameter blackhole with a 10" wheel to achieve a 12 rpm of the blackhole.

Now on another blackhole I used was Grainger #2z843 $408.25 115 volts no controller ,90 rpm 1/3 HP 220 in/lbs torque. continuous duty, I used this motor on a 8' 2' blackhole , it spins at 10 rpms with a 10'" wheel, I can make it go faster or slower by changing the wheel to a 8,9,11 or 12"

If you can find a surplus motor make it between 85 -150 Rpm ,1/3 HP, 150 in/lb torque and Continuous duty. If you need any info on bending those rings let me know I'll give you the 411 on doing it yourself.
See Ya,

Phil Miller

I know what your talking about I had a shop bend ring out of aluminum and they were like a bent bike rim, I had to use 3 wheels in some spots just to keep the ring in place. The shop used a ring roller which just doesn't get a perfect circle. What I did was I cut two 8' half circles out of 1/2" plywood, I screwed them together and down to a 3/4" piece of plywood, then I put a block on the end to hold the metal in as I bent it around the wood. I took some little scarps of plywood 2 x 4" and screwed them around the top of the half circles, this keeps the metal in and on the arch of the plywood so it wouldn't jump off. The key to it was I screwed the whole jig down to a picnic table so it was waist high and would hold the jig in place, the other thing is I pulled on the longer part of the metal and had someone else work on the inside. I used 10 PC 1x1" 14 gauge steel 20' lengths which were $11.50 each here in NJ. I bent a little more than I needed, I took a piece of string and made a perfect circle on concrete, I lad two bent halves in the circle mark then I marked the best spot to cut them. Be sure to label each piece and there partner. I used 3/4" metal to piece the two halves together using self tapping screws.
The metal ring were a lot stronger than the aluminum ones I had, I actually hung from one ring (180lbs) and it only bent 1" I used 2" wheels for the cradle and every ring stays on. It took me 2 1/2" to build the jig and bend the rings. I don't know how long it would take to make plywood ones but it seemed easy to use metal.
Oh , the jig had to be smaller because the metal springs back some, I made an 8' 2" blackhole and the jig had to be 6' 8" so 8' jig should give you 9'6" - 10' rings.

Hope this helps,

Phil Miller


One of the other hints I've heard (forgive me, I forget who) was to collect tall weeds during the summer, tying them together to dry and then staking them around the tombstones to make the stones seem more neglected. Since most of us don't put our graveyards in long enough before Halloween for real weeds and dead grass to grow, this works nicely.


You can use gelatin. here is the formula:
100 grams of glycerin
50 grams of clear Kayro Syrup
50 grams of water
100 grams of Knox Unflavored gelatin

You will have to multiply this formula to get the correct volume that you need.

Heat the glycerin in a glass bowl in the microwasve until very friggin hot!
Stir in the gelatin.
Mix the water and Kayro together and heat until very friggin hot!
Mix the kayro/H2O and the Gelatin/glycerin together.
Cook for 2 minutes at a time for about 6 minutes stirring in between.

Let this cool a bit. Once it has cooled enough to touch but is still pourable pour it into the hand with your armature in place. if your latex is not strong enough to hold it's shape fill up the hand and dump it out. Let the "skin" of geltatin cool and repeat until it is filled. You can accellerate the cooling by place the hand in a bucket of ice water up the the wrist/forearm. Don't let the water get inside.

The hand will be solid and flexible.

I have made heads and body parts out of similar gelatine formulas, it looks just like silicone.

Ralis, Special Make-Up Effects

allow the vinyl to yellow, then apply talcum powder... let stand for days... and then go back and wipe down.. it's an old method that does work in spite of what anyone may say...

> Is there any way to grow real moss on it? Any tips are greatly appreciated!
> Thanks-
> Bruce (peter475@a...)

Okay... I've never done this, but I've heard this from several different sources. This is the "National Home Gardening Club" advise on how to grow moss on new surfaces:

"1. With a metal brush, lightly scratch the surface of your pot.
(This makes small crevices where moss will take hold.)
2. Mix up a moist paste of one quart buttermilk, one pint composted manure, and one pint pulverized wood-land moss. Brush the mixture on the pot as if you were icing a cake.
3. Place the pot outdoors in a cool, moist, shady spot, or place it on a shallow pan filled with gravel and water. Keep the pot moist by misting it or using a fine hose spray as needed. In a few weeks, the moss should grow into the crevices. If the pot smells a little odd at first, be patient. The aroma should go away as the moss spreads."

The version I heard first switched yogurt (the plain type) in place of the buttermilk. Regardless, this recipe is probably the best use for either yogurt or buttermilk.

Hmmm.... this might look pretty impresive on a Bucky skull! ChiaBucky!

Pete, I can see what you mean. I dubt that they sculpted directly on any animatronic head of any kind. It is too risky with the molding process. I am sure that ther was a set of generic head forms that had the exact placement of the eyes etc..
It depends on the robot head. Here is what I would do.
Take the robot head that I want to create a new skin for and wrap it in plastic wrap. I would seal the eyelids etc with Klean klay so that no mold material could seep into them tape other areas for that same reason. This is hard to explain in an email but I will try. You want to maintain the dimensions of the robot head but eliminate undercuts and protect the electronics. Once this was done I would apply vaselint to the eyes, mouth, anything not wrapped in plastic. You want as little plastic as possible and for it to be smooth as possible.

Basically do a full head life cast, with alginate and then at least a two part plaster bandage mother mold. when this is removes make a hollow plaster casting. this will serv as your scultping form. Clean up any defects in the plaster casting, seal it with a few coats of shellac.

I would sculpt with WED clay. Make sure that your sculpt is at least 1/8 inch thick at it's thinnest 1/4 is better. If you did a full head sculpt you will have to mold it in at least two parts. Front and back usually. Seal it with Kryolan crystal clear first. Then demold your sclupt and remove all your clay. Once the mold is cleaned out place some plastic wrap or paint some latex into the mold. Cut sheets of white clay 1/4 inch thick and lay them into your mold, conform them to the negative shape thus creating 1/4 inch layer of clay on the inside of your mold. This represents the skin that will be cast. If the nech opening is large enough you can create you core with the mold closed. if not you must do it in two halves then close the mold and join them. seal the inside clay with crystal clear. mix up some plaster and paint it into the mold reinforce this with plaster soaked burlap. When the core is set demold. you know have a three piece mold the front the back and the core. If you put the core into the front and back halves and them fill with you silicone you will get a 1/4 inch thick skin.

But first you need a core mold. Do a brush up mold with molding silicon on the core and create a two piece platser and burlap mother mold.

Demold when set. You can lay up a fiberglas core in this mold. This is what the silicon skin will be attached to. Or you could puor up the core in a rigid polyfoam and cut it in half to make a vacuumform core.

In anycase attach your fiberglas or plastic core to your robot. Then cast your silicone skin in your three piece mold. Put some fabric like power stretch or panty hose on the core so that you can attatch snaps. You can intrinsically color your silicone as well as extrensic painting or, and hair work. Attach your finished skin!.

It sounds like a ton of work and it is and it isn't. There are a lot of steps depending upon what you want. There a bunch of little things like keys and releases etc. If you want to get into this let me know and we can go step by step.

Ralis, Special Make-Up Effects

I use three different paints on latex.

For masks, gloves, appliance and some props I use rubber cement paint.
5 parts rubber cement to 1 part artist oil color, thin with naptha to spray.
Use good ventilation and a respirator.

I wipe down the the piice with naptha to prep it for painting. after I am done painting, if I want a gloss I use some acrylic gloss medium thinned with amonia.

For props that don't take a lot of abuse I use Badger airbrush paints thinned with 99% alcohol.

If I need a good base color I use PAX paint.
1 part Pros Aid prosthetic adhesive to 1 part acrylic tube paint. I sponge or brush this on. It stays sticky even when dry. This helps the other airbrush acrylics stick and remain flexible. You have to do a clear coat of gloss or matt to remove the tackiness or you can powder with tranlucent powder. You can use any airbrush acrylics with this.

Ralis, Special Make-Up Effects writes:
>After finishing, go back and paint the eyes with many coats of clear nail polish.
>The more coats the more depth your eyes will have. Just a thought.

A good tip I've picked up recently to give painted prop eyes that shiny, wet look is clear, 2-part epoxy. This is a technique used by mask makers. Mix a small amount of the epoxy with a toothpick or the end of a cheapo paint brush, then dab in onto the eye until it's completely covered. If you want to add a touch of realism (though this can be tricky to do correctly - watch carefully as the epoxy sets), let the eye dry face down. This way, the epoxy will pool a bit on the surface of the eye and dry looking like a "corneal bulge". I've used this recently on some of my props and have been delighted with the result.

Carol, Mistress of the "House of Terra"

Subject: Liquid Nails Corpsification

All you do is squirt a blob on, take a stick and rub it around. I work in sections about 6 inches long. That gives me enough goop and enough time to make it look really a good way.

There is a time frame that if you use the flat edge of a stick and pull it downwards it will form sheets that break and string. Very nice over an eye socket or rib cage.

I've also bought cheap wigs and cut hunks of hair off and just jammed them into the Liquid Nails. Nice effect for pieces of flesh with hair on them. A one step rotting flesh and Hair Club for Corpses step!

The Liquid Nails has a nice flesh tone to it already so I don't paint. Just a little oak stain works in getting into the cracks and niches. I paint on the stain and wipe most of it off. If there's a little area of skull or bone showing I'll use mineral spirits or what ever cleans off the stain to make that area a little lighter.

You just really can't go wrong with Liquid Nails and a stick. Only word of caution is that once it's's on!

Spirit of Effie

> How does everyone glue or mount styrofoam to plywood?

Liquid nails is the best adhesive to attach styrofoam to just about anything. Its used in theater to attach molding carved out of styrofoam and I've seen set pieces that are 20 years old and still holding up.

Another tip for working with styrofoam is to cover it with cheese cloth.
It gives texture, help the paint stay on, and allows you to blend seams when joining two pieces together. Its also an easy way to repair damaged foam if an actor or paying customer should break off a corner or punches a hole. Cut a new piece of foam use the cheese cloth as patch and just paint it on with your base paint color. Then scumble with a sponge or roller with a darker and lighter color for texture and depth.


Marc Fields wrote:
> I sell Smooth-On, Alumilite and Dow. As a distributor for all of them I have found certain characteristics unique to each product.
> The mold-max 30 is an excellent silicone rubber and priced well below > normal for the market. The rep was correct in telling you that the rubber would last longer with cooling periods between pours, that is true with any > material as the heat breaks down the rubber over time. The longer the > sustained duration, the faster the breakdown.
> The Dow HSII is also an excellent rubber and more durable than the Mold-
Max 30, but twice as durable? Also Dow will stop making all its molding compounds within the next 5 years, they are looking to sell it off (which is why we are phasing it out of our line).

Hi Marc,

I meant to send this earlier but somehow became busy mixing juice and squirting it into cavities. 8^) Without sounding like a smart-aleck, I've a couple of questions regarding your statements above.

I have used a practice known as a bakeout or cookout to remove RTV killing substances from our RTV molds with success. I'm trying to understand how heat will break down a RTV mold. I know that heat will kill a urethane mold as I have a great story there <VBG> but I'm not sold on how it can kill an RTV mold. Can you give me some more info here. 8^)

Regarding heating and cooling of the molds, this is what I've found through researching with a couple of manufacturers: Dow Corning and Rhodia (two of the biggest suppliers to the entire silicone industry) recommend a bake out of molds after a period of time in which the molds have experienced numerous resin pours. The reason for the bake out is to crosslink and remove any of the hardeners, plasticizers, and other materials that leach out of the casting materials that are gradually absorbed into the silicone molds during the casting process. This bake out will also help the remaining silicone oil within the mold to move closer to the surface of the mold replenishing what has been drawn out by the resins being poured thus rejuvenating the mold and extending the use of the mold.

As an added extender, we have a practice of wiping down our molds with a silicone oil prior to putting them in the oven for cookouts/bake outs. Sometimes we just wipe on a plentiful amount of oil onto the skin of the mold. As a result, we are able to realize much higher yields than expected out of our RTV's. We have some Silastic M and S molds that have literally seen several hundred cycles. They have seen bake outs with the addition of silicone oil prior to oven entry.

If in fact heat breaks down the silicone molds by preheating them as you and the Smooth-On tech possibly suggest, why would the two largest silicone suppliers in the world suggest the above process as a mold life extender? If heat breaks down silicones, why would that not decrease mold life rather than extend it? You can realistically extend your mold life up to 50% or more (before your mold completely breaks down) by doing a 4 hour bake out at 200 F or a 2 hour bake out at 400 F. Also, if the mold rubber has service temperature of 400 F, how does one figure the mold will break down by warming the mold to 200 F periodically before casting?

I'm not trying to challenge you as much as to figure out whether I've been really lucky or others not so lucky. ;-)

Another item that comes to mind is that one should demold a polyurethane casting as quickly as possible from a RTV mold upon curing. The most potential damage comes when one leaves a urethane casting in a mold for a prolonged period of time. Would you agree?

My other question is related to your statement that D-C is looking to phase out or sell its mold making compounds division. I didn't see anything like this on their website. Maybe I overlooked it.
<VBG> Where did this come from?

Terry Wellman
St. Charles, IL

Hi Sue,
Yes I did find it.
Here are the correct ratios 1 part portland cement-2 parts screened sawdust (use chips,shavings larger pieces, not the dust.
Always dry mix before adding water add water untill you get the material evenly wet but not a liquid. Liquid mix will make material woody.
When mixed with right amount of water you can pack material on near vertical surface. the cured product should be strong and waterproof.
Note; if product dries without strength try dampining the sawdust first.
Since there is no aggregate you should be able to carve them with wood tools but I would recommend using good ones.
Hope this helps


Look for the kicking witch how to. If you only make one leg and turn it on it's side then you have a shaking head action. It uses the flywheel concept but adds a few things. Imagine the arm of the flywheel, attach it perpendicular to another members via a pivot point to form a T on it's side, mount one end of the T to a pivot point. I'm not describing this well. When the crank moves back and forth the leg will rock back and forth.

You could use a mechanical version for the strobing too. Just make a wheel with four hole cut in it that the black light can shine through, and mount it on a motor. Then when you turn on the motor the wheel spins, and the light goes on off as it passes through the holes.

Tom Johnson

I just tried a product by "Bondex" it's a pumice stone you mix with paint for traction on stair treads. One box is $1.49 and it recommends you mix it with one gallon of paint. I mixed in less paint to get a really sandstone look. It worked out really great and was much easier than sand, I think because it is so light weight.


There was an interesting article in the latest edition of Haunted Attraction Magazine about lighting. They had this trick: Instead of lighting an area with a solid color, try lighting it with more than one color from different angles to give the same effect.

He used the color blue as an example. Lighting an area in blue to simulate moonlight tends to wash out everything. I know this, since I've done it in my haunted yard every Halloween. It makes it very hard to read epitaphs and just seems to make everything blurry. Instead, the article suggested using 2 different light sources, each with a color on either side of the color wheel from blue: cyan and magenta. The combination of the 2 gives the same blue effect, but with interesting shadows, where one color shines but the other doesn't. I'm going to try it this year, assuming I can find some outdoor lights in cyan and magenta! I would assume you could do something similar with other colors.

Scott Messinger

The materials I use are the cheap Bucky Skulls, Cotton Batting and Latex. The Hair I get from Sally Beauty supply, Only 1.99 for a ton of the good stuff. The stain I use to give them the burnt, “Beef Jerky” look is you average run of the mill Minwax Mahogany Gel stain. I make my eyeballs out of Bee’s wax and paint.

Dribble bleach and or battery acid on the clothes., let it work for a few days then wash it out. After a few washings the bleached and acid areas will fade, rot and tear. Spray the clothes with a very dark tea and coffee mixture.

This will give them a very old aged look. This works well on lighter colors - I've never tried the tea and coffee thing on dark colors. The battery acid and bleach will work it's magic no matter what the colors are. FYI - get battery acid from an old car battery.

BTW, a blacklight and a strobe work wonders together when you use a green filter on the strobe.. the green complements the purple color from the blacklit objects. I used those combos last year in a crypt I had in the front yard.. really cool effect..

Its called an opaque projector and they are super easy to make. All you need is a box, a mirror, a light source, and a magnifying glass. And now for an ascci diagram. The thing on the left is the lense, the V's are feet on the bottom of the box to lift the contraption above the image you are trying to project, the tilde's are the image you are projecting, the slashes are a mirror at a 45 degree angle. You fill that box with light and you're golden. I built mine with a projection lense from an old projection TV and it works like gangbusters.

Not too long ago, there was a thread regarding finials on 1/2" PVC pipe. Some different ideas were exchanged and different vendors were mentioned. This past weekend I was working on my new fence. It has two levels of finials. Anyway one question was how does one fit a finial with a 3/4" square over a 7/8" OD diameter pvc pipe? The answer is very easily. Once the PVC is heated it behaves like rubber. All I need to do was gather the sides into the square and use my thumbnail to push in the 4th side. Press the finial down and let it cool. When the finial is removed, the PVC remains square and the finial will slide right back on. It took less than 30 seconds per piece. That's includes heating it.


So I am looking for a way to make it look like you are under water... I know there is a lighting effect to do this help????

There are 2 ways to do this:

1. Against a wall: fill a shallow pan with water (like a baking dish). Place a mirror in the bottom. Place a fan so that it blows on the water and creates ripples (an oscillating fan works well; set it so it passes over the water on each turn). Shine a light at an angle into the pan so the reflection of the ripples shines on the wall you want.

2. On the floor: Take a bucket and cut a large hole in the bottom. Cut a circle of Plexiglas and use silicone sealant to glue it over the hole from the inside. Add a small amount of water (a few inches). Hang it from the ceiling, and hang a light above it. Position a fan above it to create the ripples.

The second method is a little more difficult than the first method, but I hear it looks great. The advantage is that it keeps all the mechanisms out of reach of the public. The person who described this to me used it for an underwater exhibit at a museum.

Scott Messinger

If you want something to have a cracked paint look, first you would paint it a solid color such as black acrylic paint, smear Elmer's glue all over it, let it dry about half way and then add a top coat of another lighter color. When the glue and paint start to dry it crackles very nicely. I have been in the craft business for many years and that is the best and cheapest way I have found to do it. You can buy crackle spray paints, but they are expensive and you still have to start with a base coat. Just another idea
for ya...Evil Angie

You can also use things like rasps, files, hammers, etc. to do the beating up of a piece of furniture. Instant aging that way.

Subject: Hall: Re: ((())) How can I make ANTIQUES?

Well depending on how much of an antique and how much wear this "antique" should have I know of several ways to distress new stuff to make it look old. you can use a piece of chain and beat your piece of furniture with it to make gashes, dents and other wear on a piece. Another way to get that old finish on a piece is to use a white candle and rub it on all the areas that would normally wear over many years of use( edges, corners, etc..) then paint the piece and where the wax is, it wont hold the paint. You can then go over the waxed areas with sand paper and easily remove the color of the paint( instant aging) also, you can use what is called an antiquing gel( basically a very dark umber paint) and do a paint on and rub off technique. You paint it on and immediately rub it back off. the gel will settle in low spots and cracks, giving the appearance of years of dust, dirt and oils that have been deposited on it and settled in the normal places these things do. Hope this helps!
Get a taste of religion....lick a Witch!

From: "Susan Meeks" <>
Subject: Hall: Boarded Windows

This weekend I spent working on the boarded up windows. The boards are made of 1" foam insulation that I snagged from my husband's job site.
They are attached to the window with fishing line tied around the screen frame. I've still got the two smaller windows on each side of the bay to go, but so far so good. I was really surprised at how long it's taking to do the faux painting. I'm painting both sides of the foam so it looks like wood planks from the inside too. Check it out.

From: Gwen []
Subject: Re: Boarded Windows

That does look really great!!! What is the fishing line attached to on the board end of it?

What are you using to paint with for the wood look?

I find just waiting for paint to dry on the foam at this time of year is frustrating. I have to paint tombstones today. Inside.


The fishing line just wraps around the boards and through the screen. I dabbed some brown paint on the line where it crosses the board. I can see it because I know where it is and I look for it, but my husband said he couldn't see it at all. I had to point it out to him.

The paint wasn't hard, just time consuming. But maybe I'm just slow. I started with a base coat of milk chocolate brown and before it dried I smeared on gray and black. When that got almost dry I took a clean dry brush and smudged it all together. They I dabbed big spots of black for the knot holes. When that got almost dry I feathered out the edges.

I get impatient with paint drying too. I ended up covered in paint because I was trying to paint one side before the other side was completely dry. What a mess!

Pumpkin Preserving

I used to make dried apple rings, so make a solution of 1tsp bleach to a gallon of water to stop the mold... then I started making wine and now use sodium or potassium betabisulphate - cheap cheap stuff, spray it on, stops mold...

I'm no botanist, but I don't think its drying out that destroys a carved pumpkin.
Right after you carve it - it begins to grow mold, and I think it's the mold that eats the pumpkin and breaks it down to a gooey mess. I think if you could prevent the mold with some sort of preservative you'd have the battle won. (At least prolong the inevitable) So putting Vaseline on the pumpkin "seals" the pulp from air and refrigerating it also keeps mold from developing. But who has that much room in their fridge? That's why I think my idea of a preservative would work well - remember it doesn't have to be edible after its carved.
Maybe I can build a REAL science lab to test my theory then make the lab a prop. ;-)
Steve in Pa.

From: "Higgy"

I start carving my pumpkins a couple nights before Halloween. I rub the cut edges with Vaseline then wrap with saran wrap and put them in the fridge

Software, Video, and Tool of the Trade
John wrote:
"So, what company makes this PC-VCR or Power VCR? Is is capable of transferring VCR, or VHS tape to digital format? Or is the Title
I've got 3 of these...sort of says the first two didn't work at 100% of
advertised or to my satisfaction?

One is from Creative Labs - "Digital VCR"....records digitally from TV or VCR...not high quality capture...MPEG-1 encoding. I felt ripped off. ($100?)

The Second is a USB device "Instant DVD"....slightly better. Box claimed you could capture directly to CD-R or DVD drive...but this feature had a problem with drivers and did not stated on their web site...I felt ripped off. ($150?)

The third is Pinnacle Studios..."Studio 8" with a breakout box for analog input and a firewire input. This seems comes in 2-3 different versions. This one uses MPEG-2 compression. ($200-$300?)

As a side note, I installed a DVD-R drive and use DVD-X Copy to make perfect copies of my DVD collection (for back up purposes only?). I think this program which lists for $99 and I bought for $ on sale this week at Compusa for $19. I've since also used Nero to copy DVD's...which works fine for DVD's that fit on a single disk but DVD-X Copy works better for larger (newer/wide screen DVD's). Blank DVD's run about $1.50 - $2 each on sale.


Subject: RE: Hall: Loop tape

What model # for the DVR, and is it a kit or a finished device when you
buy it? Happy Hauntings & Nul Illigitimi carborundum est,

Minions Web Haunt
The Hallow-links List

Subject: RE: Hall: Loop tape

You could also use a digital voice recorder, you can get these in different lengths also. Radio shack has then for around 9.00. It comes with a small speaker that I cut and spliced a pair of amplified speakers to, the MIC is also the speaker that's on the device so I left it attached and placed it in one of the project boxes for about 2.00 2x3x2 in box.

The one I use is for up to 20 seconds, model # 276-1323 name on the box is Recording Module, Its already built and runs on a 9 volt or transformer. I had to solder some leads for my trigger.

Subject: Re: Hall: Loop tape

The endless loop tape works for me. The kind used for the old fashioned answering machines. Everytime they are tripped they start the recording at the beginning. Is this the kind of loop you were using? Maybe it's magnetic (or whatever that stuff is called) silver strip has worn away and it's not resetting correctly. I believe you can buy them at Radio Shack, in 15-sec, 30-sec, 45-sec, and 1 minute lengths and some longer.


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