Wednesday, August 10, 2011

82 Days 'til Halloween: Building a Better Cauldron - Part One

I was going to begin making my Zombie a Month characters for the yard with Capt. Umpkin, but I changed my mind. I'm starting with the first one sketched, November's Cauldron Zombie, who by the way, I've now named Grool.


Grool is going to be a simpler but better quality looking re-imaging of an old cauldron character from a few years ago. Back then he was a jungle explorer boiling in a cannibal's stew. He's since fallen into serious disrepair.


First, I stripped down the old prop to just the cauldron. It's the ordinary plastic type found at most stores around Halloween. I want to make it a better looking one.


I honestly really love these classic blow-molded cauldrons, they have a great shape. Unfortunately they also always look cheap and fake. Obviously a good paint job will help, but there are two things that the best faux finish could never fix that I want to change - the loosely implied handles and thin edge to the lip.

Since the lip's edge is curled inwards a bit, I realized I just had to fill it in to give it a good thick and heavy cast iron look. I used a bead of expanding foam applied underneath all the way around. Once fully dry, I carved it down with a paring knife and sanded into shape.


Next I made a thin mix of DAP Presto Patch and coated it over the foam and entire edge filling in gaps. As it dried I added a few more layers building it up to look solid.


I moved on to making handles. I used my old friend Crayola Model Magic to create the rings. I simply rolled out a long band, like making a snake, then wrapped around a roll of tape for a decent shaped circle and trimmed.


For the handle bases, I used two Styrofoam balls coated in Presto Patch and drilled holes through the center to loop the rings through.


One dry enough, I glued on top of the cauldron's original molded handles (now they look like part of the new handle's base).


That's it for now. In Part Two, the cauldron is painted, weathered and finished.

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