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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have any of the propbuilders had any catastrophes while building a prop?

One of my more recent props springs to mind when thinking of propbuilding oopsies: The Obelisk

If you look back a few months, you'll see I was starting to work on an obelisk to add to my graveyard. I had the foam all cut to size, glued it all together and put a coating layer of spackle on the outside to give it a uniform texture.

Well, unbeknownst to me, you need to use a spackle that's made for outdoor use otherwise it will get all mushy in the wet weather. So, after it rained outside, the spackle on the obelisk turned to mush, even though the obelisk was inside my shed. I hoped it would eventually dry off, but it never did and eventually the spackle started to peel off in places and just made a big mess. :eek:

I have a few other mishaps, but first I'd like to hear some of your tales of woe. What big mistakes have you made as a propbuilder?
 

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The sagging reaper

My worst failure was when I built my Grim Reaper in 2003 using pvc as the frame for the upper body. He was okay for Halloween that year but over the winter the weight of the monster mud got to be too much for the poor fellow. He slumped forward so far that the pvc that was supporting his extended arm broke. I ended up having to tear him all apart and put in some new pvc. I thought I did a pretty good job of fixing him but about a week after I finished covering him in the monster mud, he slumped over yet again. I was ready to throw him out. Then I remembered the heavy duty orange cpvc pipe that Vlad was kind enough to give me and I used it to make a whole new upper body frame. While I was at it I bought the reaper a new skull and installed green LED eyes. I had an old plastic skull that had a cool laugh so I hacked the components out of it and rigged it into my "new" reaper. I gave him a new monster mud robe and he's better than he ever was. Thanks for that pipe Vlad, you literally saved the reaper's life :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
With all the new people rummaging around the forums these days, I thought I'd bring the propbuilding catastrophes thread up for some renewed discussion.

You may now look back at your previous mistakes and laugh... though, I'll bet it wasn't so funny at the time. :D
 

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I have one after I was done with it. I built a crypt last year and really didn't have a place to put it so it went in the back or the garage. The foam roof split due the snow and all that, and came loose from the nails. Of course, it can be fixed, but now that is just one thing I didn't want to do before Halloween. I guess it could be worse. But my wife wants me to change the Daae on the font of the crypt to something else. So now I have two things I have to fix.
 

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OMG Madmax. I am sooo sorry but I L my freeken A off. Keep us posted please. and thanks for the heads up I was about to put great stuff of a baloon myelf! LOL
 

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I was building my "great stuff" monster dog ghoul thingy when my real dog thought it prudent to wag his tail into the "wet stuff". had to shave part of his tail and clip some fur from his side.... no biggie really.
 

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Prop Building Catastrophies

One of my bigger mistakes happened in a rush to make a Monster Mud Spooky Tree for my GraveYard like 3 weeks before Halloween. Just when I thought I mastered the MM art I used Craft store bought thick burlap. The tree looked good and held up till after Halloween but the Burlap had to be resealed every damn day cause it started peeling like a mother F#*$ER and on top of that my tree was top heavy so the sleightest gust of wind sent the thing flying which cracked the arms and body alittle every time we got lift off..lol Im so Glad that tree is gone I went through so many cans of touch up spray paint its not even funny. :jol:

Another Mistake was using a Drill for my Electric chair one year and plugging it into a Flashing circuit "Normally used along time ago to make Christmas lights have a random flash" until the new type of lights came out. This was supposed to make my the drill activate randomly to make for a more realistic electric chair. But what I didnt know was the Drill was to powerful for the Flasher Circuit the Circuit got pipeing hot and set my porch on fire..lol Good thing I was out there when it happened or I would be porchless right now...lol :jol: So be careful with your homemade electronics. Later all :jol: [/FONT]
 

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Well, I'm still a newbie...so I don't have much to report- yet. heh

I just tried to do a paper mache skull from a candle mold and had to throw it out after three days. I grew spots of mold. :-/

I can tell you about our theatre set earlier this year though. I was stage manager and we were building the set for "The Graduate." Well, unexpected to us, the house manager told us we weren't allowed to use screws in the stage!

Wooden sets are heavy and I was worried about safety, but we did what he said...

Sure enough, dress rehearsal the curtain closes, barely brushes against the front of the set, causes a chain reaction and topples over the whole stage right side!!!

Luckily no actors got hurt and the house manager thought of the bright idea to allow screws in the stage..DUH! We put it up by opening night. LOL

Plenty more stories where that came from, but as far as props for halloween goes- the above story is my only one so far.
 

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HibLaGrande said:
I was building my "great stuff" monster dog ghoul thingy when my real dog thought it prudent to wag his tail into the "wet stuff". had to shave part of his tail and clip some fur from his side.... no biggie really.
That reminds me of making glue-and-newspaper-mache dragons eggs last year. Salem was a kitten then and into everything. I can't tell you how many times I had to wipe glue off of her! It got to the point where whenever I was working on the eggs, I'd blow up a balloon for her to chase around the house so she would stay occupied.

I can't say I've had a catastrophe (yet), but my faux-flame Goblet of Fire last year was a real pain in the butt. The fan I put in the urn was evidently too small to keep the "flame" aloft, so we would frequently have to make sure the fabric hadn't flopped over into the urn.
 

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madmax said:
My last mistake was a messy one. I'm building 10 to 15 egg sacks (Van Helsing rooms) so I had the ideal of using those big punching balls (the type you blow-up and has a rubber band on the end) as the form.

I blew them up till they were about to burst. Then I took great-stuff and sprayed lines and blobs of foam on it. Then I heard....BOOM....it exploded and wet great-stuff went flying. From past mistakes...I learnt it's best not to try and get great-stuff off of anything (including your body) till it dries. Then pick it off. I have way less hair on my arms than I did a few days ago.....and it HURT! getting it off.

My next try was with paper towels and carpet latex glue. I'm about to get the whole ballon covered and.... BOOM....it happened again. I had sticky carpet glue on my arms, face and even some on my eye lids.

I'm a glutton for punishment....so today I'm giving it another try. Only this time I'm doing the 1st coat with water down plaster and paper towels.
I love it madmax, I will forever remember, no ballons with anything I would not want to wear LOL.
 

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The only prop that I've ever "irrevocably" lost to error was a 2 foot tall angel I was making as the topper for a monument
(the monument was going to be an enclosure for a fog machine and built in chiller...machine in upper part (back exposed to air), fog piped into lower chamber with ice, outlets along a seam at the bottom)

I had put a number of hours of work into finding blocks of foam large enough to construct the angel and her wings - I had a good shape carved out, with some rough detail...so far so good.

I decided to use fiberglass to make her solid and weatherproof...

I primed the angel well (so I thought)...as latex primer keeps the foam from touching the fiberglass resin...which eats foam like a kid eats M&M's...

Applied the resin (didn't want to use fabric and lose detail...doh!) and discovered a dime sized spot that I failed to prime...

...and watched my angel dissolve into herself...




Someday, I'll make that monument chiller after all...
 

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Our town ran out of fog juice long before the big day for a couple years in a row, so we bought a bunch of bottles from Spencers at the end of September last year just to be on the safe side.

Sure enough, almost 3 weeks before Halloween there was none to be found. We were so pleased with ourselves for thinking ahead!

Got out our foggers to see what was working this time around. And can't find the juice! Had a quart and a half leftover from the year before, but searched high and low for the new bottles and they were nowhere!

Hubby was certain that they had been stolen, I knew that that was completely nuts, but what could have happened to them?

Managed to scrounge enough juice to run 2 foggers and they went out shortly after the last ToTer came. WHEW!

Around Thanksgiving when repacking the shed to fit all of my bins we found the juice! It wasn't hidden, it was still in the store bags, it wasn't out in the open, but should certainly have been seen in my frantic search. I swear there were bigger forces at play last season!
 

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Madmax,

I'm making Great Stuff eggs as well (Alien) and have had great success with styrofoam rose cones. They are about $4 each (I got mine from the previous homeowner) and work really well.
 

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Halloween Mishap

Just wanted to know whats the worst (or funniest) mishap that you've had during one of your haunts?

For me, i had undersecured the body of a pop up i had made. the pop up was designed to lunge forward at you

Instead the whole body flew out and hit a TOT in the head. He wasnt to badly hurt but i sure got yelled at for that one.
 

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I saw a painting called "The Dance Macabe" which was a picture of skeletons dancing around a fire. I loved the visual. I bought 3 3ft skells from ACC, a windshield wiper motor .mounted them on a round piece of plywood which was turned by a washing machine motor. The windshield wiper moter moved the arms and legs of the skells ala FCG mechanism. The large moter moved the round ply wood and the wiper motor made the skels dance like marrionettes.I put a cauldron with a silk fire in the middle and turned it on and....oh they danced and danced. When I lit them just right they were a wonder to watch. I tested them for 2 weeks to make sure I had the whole thing balanced because it hung from the fir trees in the front yard. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL.! When I turned it on on Halloween night all the smoke escaped from the 2 motors(electricians will know what I mean)....almost simultaneously...I got to the plug before I caught the tree on fire but sadly for the rest of the night they just sort of wobbled in the wind. And then my axeworthy ghost which looked like a full sized human specter,which my wife had worked days creating took a header into the flower bed....OH WELL...the jack o lanterns looked good and I got video of both before they self destructed. I will try tham again one day...but i need to let this year pass without them. LPL
 

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My kicking legs broke. I used wood that was to thin at a point than had a lot of pressure. I fixed that, forgot to put the lid on the motor and a towel got really would up in the motor. The prop died. But I shall rebuild.
 

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As everyone know I sculpt prop heads well.
one day the sculpting table fell down and so did the head I was working on.
then on another sculpt my grandson (2 at the time) gave it a hugs ..oops bye bye sculpt
Then today while sculpting big foot boom he hit the floor face first had to start all over. so I had my share of fubars..:googly:
 
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