Friday, 17 October 2014

How To Make A Life Size Halloween Mummy for Under $50

I was planning on making another Halloween 'thing' this year, but between all the stuff we've had going on lately plus it being only FOUR weeks until we leave for the States, it's just not going to happen. So instead I'm going to repost my Halloween Mummy tutorial from my old art blog. I can't wait to get Morris or Mortimor or was it Ahkmenrah, the Mummy out of storage. At the moment he is wrapped up tightly in some black plastic gargbage bags in the shed. He actually really looks like a dead body which is kind of creepy in itself...maybe that's what I'll make next year.....

Anyway........   Here is my tutorial on how to make a Mummy for Halloween!



As you all know and I've said many times, I love Halloween. So this year I thought I'd make a Mummy. I am extremely happy with how he turned out, he was cheap and easy to make, although he was a little more time intensive than I had thought it would be. Materials were easy to find and very inexpensive, and the end result is way cooler than any store bought one you might be able to find.

So what materials do you need?

Chicken Wire, also called Bird Netting. The stuff with the smaller holes is better for this project. I bought a roll of 10 meters and it cost $15. I used less than half I'd estimate. There's still plenty left for another project. You can get this at any hardware or garden centre.
A bamboo garden torch. I used this instead of a plain garden stake thinking it would add stability, but it didn't, so a plain garden stake would probably work just as well. Cost of $3. Available again at a hardware or garden centre.
A plastic (and very unrealistic looking) skull. It was actually filled with lollies originally (I bought it last year), and it cost about $3 from Big W. 
I bought 2 meters of calico for around $10, 2 meters of cheesecloth for $12, and 1 meter of muslin for $2. (Actually that was free because it was all they had left, so the lovely lady at Spotlight gave it to me with my other fabric!)
I also used about half a meter of polyester wadding that I had left from a quilt, 2 pairs of old gardening gloves, some duct tape, and a lot of old fabric scraps and old sheets. These I had around the house so they didn't cost me anything, but you can pick up old sheets at Op shops (Thrift stores) for next to nothing, and duct tape, wadding and gardening gloves are also quite cheap if you don't have them already. You will also use cable ties or wire (even garbage bag ties will do), and a little bit of glue.
So for less than $50, I have all my materials to make my life size Mummy (he's right around 5').

The Process

(this post has LOTS of images to help you make him!)
Plastic Skull and Bamboo Garden Torch
I took the torch part of the bamboo garden torch, and turned it upside down so that the wider part becomes my base
.
I have a tendency to injure myself when making things - I'm a bit of a clutz. So safety first! 
I wore safety goggles because making a hole in the plastic skull was way harder than I thought it would be. I broke a piece off my craft knife (which is when I put the goggles on!), and switched to using scissors to scrape a hole in the plastic. This took me a good 30 minutes or so. 

Scraping away to make a hole for the bamboo torch
He doesn't look very mummy like yet!
Once I had the hole big enough, I plonked his head on top and voila! The base structure for the Mummy is complete! 

 
Chicken wire body
To make the body, I simply cut off about a meter of chicken wire using tin snips, and then rolled it into a rough cylinder shape. I then squeezed the top corners together to form the shoulders, and squeezed the bottom to make the hips skinnier.  

Attaching the body to the structure.
 I used the wire that the roll of chicken netting was held in place with, to secure the body to the stake, as seen above. 

How it looks so far.
Attaching the arms
I made the arms and legs the same way as the body, just using less chicken wire. A basic cylinder that was squeezed to make it arm or leg shaped, and then I used cable ties to secure it to the body. (You could use wire or garbage bag ties, or anything you have on hand, I just had cable ties on hand and they made it easy!)
He's looking a little more formed now.
I used the wadding and duct tape to give him some shoulders.
I filled the gardening gloves with leftover bean bag beans and taped them on to his wrists.
I did the same for his feet - I used heavier duty gloves because they were flatter.
I used beans, but you could use anything to stuff the gloves: cushion filling would work well, but so would plain old plastic shopping or freezer bags. Anything to fill them out but keep them soft.
I used an old pillowcase cut into strips to bulk out his neck.
Then I started wrapping the arms and hands, using duct tape to secure in place.
His body was slipping too low, so I used cable ties to secure one side to the other, and both sides to the neck.
Then I kept wrapping, using cut up strips of fabric roughly 3 inches wide.
My fabric strips were roughly 3 inches wide at this point, but for the fingers I made the strips only about an inch wide and about 7 inches long. It's important to wrap the fingers individually and with small strips of fabric to achieve an authentic look.  Because my Mummy's body kept slipping down, I used cable ties to make a chain and link both sides to each other. Then I used more cable ties to secure the chains to the neck. This was definitely a bit of a 'secure it any way you can' moment. Don't forget also, that everything you use will be covered up, so it doesn't matter how messy it is at this point. (It's also helpful to have someone hold the Mummy while you wrap!) While I was wrapping him, I made sure to pull tightly so that I could control the shape of his chest. I made it skinnier at the waist and hips and kept it wide at the shoulders. Because chicken wire is so pliable, it was easy to keep adjusting his shape, pushing and pulling the wire until I was happy with it, right up until the last wrapped layer.  When wrapping these initial layers, you can simply tie the ends off, or just tuck it in to either the chicken wire or another layer of fabric. You will secure the final layers with glue which will hold all these initial layers in place. 

The hands are starting to look much more 'mummified' having covered up the original duct tape
To further secure the chest in place, I used longer strips of fabric and wrapped it more like a 'mankini' in between his legs and up over the shoulders, then over the head to hold everything together.
It was at this point I thought his right leg was too skinny, so I used toilet paper to pad it out.
Almost ready, just the final layers of 'proper' fabric to go.
Once he was all secure, and I had covered up all the duct tape, I tore my store bought fabric into strips about 2 inches wide, except for the hand pieces, which were 1 inch. I then proceeded to wrap the final layers, this time securing the start and end of the pieces with a little dab of glue. I used Aquadhere because it's a strong PVA that's pretty water resistant. I think he has about 3 full layers of fabric on him here at this point. 

Close up of the hands and feet - crisscrossed feet and fingers wrapped individually
I tucked in the final layers and secured with a dab of glue.
I'm not sure what the neighbours would have thought when we took him to the front yard to age him with coffee!
I used 2 jugs of instant coffee, and poured plain water over him as well to dilute some parts.
 And so here he is all finished! We left him in the laundry to dry overnight, but the smell of coffee was so strong that the next morning I took him outside where he has stayed ever since! The smell has worn off though, and he looks suitably old and dirty. So there you have it. Like I said, he was pretty time intensive, but if you don't have a baby that needs your attention you could probably do him in a day. A full day, but a day nonetheless. He took me two. The bamboo torch end will be useful for holding him in place. That end will be buried in a pot of sand, but you could just as easily pile some heavy pumpkins around that to steady him.






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