Monday, July 19, 2010

104 Days 'til Halloween: Bloody, Dripping, Head Sack How-To

I'm not a big fan of extreme gore at Halloween, but a touch of it is okay by me, especially if creepy and mysterious such as an unseen severed head wrapped up waiting to be disposed of or saved for some unspeakable reason. The fun of this prop is it actually can drip blood for upwards of 2 hours (depending on how you make it) and is easily refilled as needed.

It's really simple to make and requires zero high tech. Basically you just wrap a plastic jug full of colored water and poke a few holes in it. It also lends itself to numerous variations creating different hanging "parts" using different sized containers. A bunch of these will be dangling around my Frankenstein lab this year. Imagine a tree full of these that folks have to walk under Halloween night and get hit with a few drips doing so. It would give me the "willies".

The one pictured here is sort of a quick "proof of concept" version. I hope to make improved ones later with added details in more natural shapes. One with visible strands of hair or an ear or nose poking through the burlap would look great. Fake hands and feet attached to longer thinner bottles are definitely planned on.

Materials: Used milk gallon container, red food coloring, pitcher of water, nail (or something similar to poke small holes with), burlap, rope and black spray paint (I suggest Krylon Fusion for plastic).
Step 1 - Spray paint the milk container. This will help disguise it if seen through any gaps in the burlap weave.
Step 2 - While the paint dries, mix up some blood in the pitcher of water by adding red food coloring. Make extra and have standing by for refills on Halloween night. Store bought fake blood will work but thin it out, thicker fluid doesn't flow as well through the small holes.
Step 3 - Once the paint is dry enough, fill the container about 3/4 full and close cap tight. Having a funnel on standby is a good idea, especially for refilling.
Step 4 - Place on your piece of burlap. Tie the rope to the container handle. This will be taking all the weight when hanging so use a good strong knot.
Step 5 - Pull up the sides of the burlap, wrapping the container and tie off with a separate piece of rope. Fray and trim the burlap if needed. Some extra looping of rope will help create the illusion it and the hanging rope are one piece. Keep loose enough to open or untie easily should you want to refill.
Step 6 - Test hang from somewhere and make sure all the knots are good. While at it, a good time to embellish with paint if you like creating blood stains or adding other aging.
Step 7 - The fun part. Hang where you like and poke 2 or 3 very tiny holes at the base of the container. Don't poke any above the water line as this will allow air in and create a stream of water flowing out (unless that's what you want). Also don't poke any too high on the sides as once the water decreases below the hole, it will affect the same way. You might try experimenting on another spare container first. Red food coloring can stain, so make sure where it's dripping will not damage anything or has a catch basin. Small push pin sized holes will drip slow and should last about 2 hours before refilling. Obviously the larger the hole the less dripping time. The one I made here has 2 fairly big 1/8 wide holes and lasted about 45 minutes.

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