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Humanitarian of the Year
4,241 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had a request for a tutorial so here it is...

This inspired me: SKAustin's Blaircrows
Here's the album: My blaircrow album
This is the finished product: My blaircrow finished
Special thanks to Sytnathotep, Acid Pop Tart and MommaMoose for inspiration as well.

SKAustins Blaircrows - these are what I copied.

Tools you absolutely need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Long rope (if you want to lasso the branch and pull it down)
  • Bare hands and brute strength
Tools that make the job a lot easier:

  • Cordless drill (Philips/flathead bits, drill bit for bolts)
  • Cordless sawzall (pruning blade)
  • Tree pruner with extension pole
  • Chainsaw
Hardware options:
*In hindsight, I would bolt them together instead of screwing them for the sake of transporting and storage.
Screwing Hardware:

  • 2" (or longer) wood screws. All screws are not equal - get ones that won't split the wood without a pilot hole.
  • Cut screw off on back side if needed.
Bolting Hardware (in lieu of screwing):

  • #8 bolts (or #8 all thread and JB Weld or thread lock if you want to make your own)
  • washers
  • nuts
Finish Materials:

  • Skulls
  • Cheese cloth or Dollar store creepy cloth
  • Tie wire
  • Twine or rope to lash diagonally
  • Velcro (optional)
Blaircrow Anatomy:

  • Body: The vertical stick, thickest piece
  • Shoulder: Horizontal stick, thinner than the body.
  • Ribs: Another horizontal stick, varying thickness not to exceed 75% of shoulder thickness.
  • Sternocleidomastoid muscle (optional): The V shaped muscle on the front side of your neck between jaw and collar bone.
It's kind of up to the look you want but my only semi-constant dimensions are:

  • Verts (bodies) are roughly 9.5' - 12' tall
  • Top of vert to shoulder is (or will be) roughly 12"-18" (we're not making giraffecrows)
It helps to draw out how you want yours to look. This sort of helps when looking up into trees for your blaircrow pieces because the shapes kind of pop out at you. It is easier to take the sticks off the trees that you need instead of cutting a branch off then sorting through it later.

Building the structure:

  • Go get the wood that you want. Don't mix different types of trees within a blaircrow - it looks silly.
  • Prepare sticks by cutting off excess branchlings and leaves.
  • Lay bodies out to see what you have to work with.
  • Lay the other pieces out in place to check if your vision matches reality
  • Break pieces to fit as needed
  • Lay out sticks either on the front side or back side of the vert stick (mine are screwed to the back of the vert).

  • Screw the horizontal sticks in place on the vert carefully so you don't risk splitting the wood.
  • Tie wire (optional & recommended) if you want it to be extra sturdy. Wrap a couple of times, X, around the intersections and twist with pliers snug.

  • Hold sticks together in place and drill a hole through both - repeat as necessary.
  • Piece together using bolts, washers and nuts.
Real diagonal lashing:
Lash it with twine or rope at every intersection diagonally (X shaped).

Here is a pic before lashing, screwed with tie wire to hold in place better:

Velcro diagonal lashing (conceptual - I haven't done this yet):
Picture is diagrammatic for construction purposes, your means and methods and final look are up to you.
  • Cut 2 pieces of Velcro to length and check it by wrapping them in an X around each intersection. Trim if necessary.
  • In theory, you can make two separate straps or an X strap as shown.

Throw on the skull and creepy cloth to finalize the base look. Add more trimmings if desired!

"Following Eyes" amulet/talisman:
Sytnathotep's eyeball amulet can be the ultimate centerpiece to this already creepy prop. I saw his eyeball necklace and thought that would be sweet on the blaircrows... then I thought it would be AWESOME if the eye followed the observer (like the busts in the Haunted Mansion). Below are two links to create this.

I bought a touch light at Dollar Tree to make a 4" dia eyeball, big enough to see from farther away than a standard eyeball. The plastic lens could be an awesome mold. Remove packaging, tear the light apart with your bare hands and use the round plastic light diffuser. Just an idea for larger eyes.

Sytnathotep's eyeball necklace:

Making an eyeball that watches you:

Clean "cut"
27,005 Posts
I swear LordH can read the wood and tell what it is just waiting to become!

IN MEMORIAM - A Wee Bit Wicked....
8,670 Posts
:jol:This is very cool LordH. I will add this to my project list for 2013. I am going to knock everyone's socks off with my prop completion in 2013!!! Uhm... Wait...didn't I say I was going to do that in 2012??? Oh well, you have the creep factor here for sure!!!:D

P.S. You are very good at giving instructions... Very thorough and well thought out. Even I could follow these directions....

Humanitarian of the Year
4,241 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you folks very much. If you have additional questions, just ask.

392 Posts
We'll probably be making about 10-20 of these guys for our Halloween walk in October... just need to go out and find some wood...
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