Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ready Your Weapons!

FINALLY!  I can feel comfortable making Halloween-related posts.  Not that I haven't been plotting, planning, scheming and collecting all year, because I have. Oh, I have. My first finished project for adding to our haunt stash is repainting some cheapo Dollar Tree weapons. If it weren't already apparent, I get excited about Halloween. I get excited about DIY and craft projects.  Thus, I barge ahead when I'm finally ready and sometimes forget to take before photos.  That is the case here, but I think that you can see enough of the original finish in some of the in-progress shots to get the idea.

If I had a before shot, this is where it would be.

I picked up two weapons at the Dollar Tree; an ax and a flail (labeled "Ball and Chain").  C'mon, "flail" sounds way more nefarious and deadly.  The flail needed a lot more work than the ax.

First, I ran some #000 steel wool over the surface, then I primed with UG30, my go-to sticks-to-anything primer. I'm sure most or all high-adhesion primers would work.  UG30 dries almost clear which is why you can't see it in the photo. What you can see though, is that the whole flail was a light bronze/dark brass colored plastic  (right side of the ball and handle in background).

The white stuff is some decorative painting material by Proceed; Rough Irregular Texture.  I covered the ball and the top sections of the handle with that.  My hope that after it was painted it would give the impression* of rough cast iron .

After the texture dried, I painted all the "metal" parts with black craft paint I had on hand. I wish I'd had something much less glossy on hand.

I painted the handle with a light tan color as the first layer of a three-layer process to make it look a bit like a leather-wrapped* handle. After this dried, I decided that the very end should be black, but I did not go back and add the texture before painting it. Remember what I said about getting excited?

After the tan paint, a layer of burnt umber glaze was added, then pounced off with a paper towel.

The very last step was a quick coat of  Modern Masters Dead Flat Varnish to cut the shine.

Once it was dry and hung out on the house one of all those ridiculous nails we're stuck with, I thought it needed a little something more. A little something to make it seem more authentic, scarier.  That little something would be some blood!  Oh, and hair!  YEY!  EWWWWW!  But really more YEY!

The hair detail just tickles me, because I love little surprise details and because something is broken inside me. 

The gore is made from another Proceed product called Clear Transparent Glazing Gel tinted with red oxide, burnt sienna, quinacridone magenta, and carbon black acrylic paints.  The hair is from a package of "whiskers" I picked up ages ago on clearance and some craft store.  I used the same whiskers to make the hair on my $1 Mummified Woodland Fairy Prisoner prop last year.

Even though I originally set out to repaint the whole ax, too, I realized that the handle was pretty good* already.  I just dry brushed a little Modern Masters Metallic Paint in Brass to the double-headed eagle on the top of the handle to make is show up a bit more.  But the blade was chrome-bright and looked more like a hood ornament than a deadly weapon.  The blade got the same steel wool and UG30 treatment as the flail.  When the primer was dry, I coated it with black glazing medium that I pounced off with the paper towel.

And finally an already-cool-looking ax that my mom got me last year at the Urquahart Castle on the bank of Loch Ness in Scotland!  How cool is that?

I am going to find a better way to hang this, but without putting a hole in it for a thong.

*One of Halloween's best traits is that it's a nighttime celebration; fun had in dim light. This means props and costumes can be a little less than perfect and still be impressive. It also means that sometimes they have to lack subtlety in daylight in order to be seen well in twilight.

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