My favorite part of my Halloween display has always been my torture chamber. But, I grow progressively discontent with the weaponry and tools of destruction that I find in shops, so this year I decided to make a few of my own.
The inspiration for my first round of tools came from the HalloweenForum.com user TwistedUK, who credited Alan Hopps Stiltbeast Studios when he posted his tools. I actually hadn’t watched the Stiltbeast video until I looked up the credit for this post, but I will certainly be doing some larger weapons using some of his advice!
Both Hopps and TwistedUK used a sheet of Sintra plastic to create their tool. I instead opted to use real metal as I’m never very impressed with metallic paints. I was able to procure some large food service size cans from an employee of a local pizzeria. I used metal cutters to cut the basic shapes which were modeled after several of TwistedUK’s.
Next, I pounded out the indented lines around the can using a ball pein hammer and an anvil. The metal cutters were serrated and left little indentations around the edge of my pieces. I was able to hammer these out, however I discovered that my fiskar gardening scissors could also cut through the metal everywhere except on the rim and seam. So, I went around the edges with them and was able to get better, smoother curves and detail with the scissors.
I also noticed, which you can see from the picture, that the inside had a bronze colored coating on it. I was able to get this off scrubbing it with steel wool. After the cuts, pounding and scrubbing were complete I rewashed them all in dawn to take any oil from my hands off and leave a clean surface for the paint to better adhere to.
Once content with the results, I took twine and wrapped it around the metal to create a place to hold the instruments. To secure it I started by smearing the metal on both sides with clear, fast dry Gorilla Glue gel. I also laid the starting end along the metal & wrapped over it to anchor it. On the other end I either tied it off or tucked it under & then coated it with the glue. I actually poured some glue over the top of the twine as it seemed to make it look older. I also added holes using a hammer and an awl in case I wanted to hang them for the display.
Finally the paint job, the part I worried about being capable of doing the most. Turned out it was easy! I used 3 colors of acrylic tube paints: black, burnt sienna and red. I first took a round brush that was cut flat on the top and used the brush like a stamp as you would for stenciling. I dampened my brush and stamped on the thick burnt sienna and then the red sporadically, everywhere but concentrating along the edges that would be used for slicing into flesh.
Next, I used a large regular brush and dabbed quite a bit of water onto my pallet (a disposable paint roller tray liner) and thoroughly wet the brush. I pulled some of the red, black and burnt sienna into my water puddle and mixed it but not thoroughly so that different places had different amounts of each color. I brushed this solution generously all over the metal as well as blotched it on the twine handles. As I went I added more water and held them with the cutting edges down so that the liquid mix ran over the surface and gathered on the bottom edges. I propped them up so that they would dry like this, leaving the color thicker on the bottom and around the joints between the “handles” and the blades.
Since I wasn’t sure how well the acrylic would stick to metal, especially if they were displayed outdoors, I used spray acrylic to coat the whole thing once the paint was dry.
I was able to complete all the tools shown in one evening and was pleased with the results. So, I’m eager to try some larger weapons using some of the ideas from Stiltbeast Sudio’s “Making Prop Weaponry” tutorial on YouTube – http://youtu.be/AZqWq5yBIBM