Thursday, November 13, 2008

Making Stewie, Part 2

Yesterday, I began part one of how Stewie got built. I gave credit to Spookyblue for the design, and I want to mention today that he was very patient about my e-mailing with questions. Thanks, again, Spook!

On the left is a pic of the beginnings of Stewie's hatch. I stuck some foil over the hole I cut in his head and began the first of many layers of shop towels and glue to create the flap that would cover it. My first layer was just Elmer's glue (bought at Lowe's in a big jug) and water, and from there on it was shop towels and carpet glue.

At this point, Stewie had been papier mached with newspaper strips and a mix of Elmer's glue and water. I had added his ridges and bumps, some vein/vines on his chest, and a wicked grin. Now for the next step: carpet glue and shop towels.
For those of you unfamiliar with "corpsing" techniques, SpookyBlue has a great tutorial here. I want to stress how important it is for you to tear all the sharp edges off your shop towels before you use them for this. I spent an hour or so just tearing edges and creating different-sized strips before I even opened up my carpet glue. I also bought several boxes of latex exam gloves to protect myself from the sticky carpet glue.
I laid down two layers of carpet glue and shop towels, taking a toothpick to the tinier areas around the corners of his eyes and mouth to poke the shop towel around the edges. I seem to remember a lot of cursing and grumbling while I was going through this phase, as the carpet glue really does stick to everything. I went through a lot of gloves because eventually, the glue would start drying on the gloves and creating strings that would stick my fingers together. It was also the week we had 100+ degree weather, and I'm pretty certain that had an effect on the drying time of the glue.
After each layer of carpet glue and shop towel, I took a 2" chip brush (known in the industry as, "cheap brush") and painted a thin layer of carpet glue over Stewie's entire form. This is an important step, as it will prevent the texture of the shop towels from messing up your paint job (and cover up the "made" look, as opposed to creating the illusion of "grown in Hell's pumpkin patch") later on. I love chip brushes. They're perfect for this task, because once they get too gummed up, you toss them.
Once I finished that, it was time to add the stalk. I really wanted it to look very "root-y," and I needed to add some counter weight to Stewie's forward lean. I made the main stalk out of chicken wire, and after some thought, added a second chicken wire stalk down his back as a counter weight. After that, I added rolled-up newspaper wrapped in duct tape, and taped rolled-up paper towels wrapped in duct tape to the ends of those, so I had a gradual reduction in the thickness of his roots.
I added arms, made out of PVC and screwed to his shoulders. For "muscles," more newspaper. I was starting to run out of time, so after I made the hands and got them screwed on, I added several different sizes of plastic tubing to create more vine-like details on his arms. All these details got the shop towel/carpet glue treatment again. And once again, two layers, with a brushing of carpet glue in between layers.
The hands took a while to make. My husband suggested really long, root-y fingers. I had started the pumpkin patch in the front yard (alas, too late for the pumpkins to be ripe in time for Halloween) and thought this would be a great way to tie him in to the suggestion that he had grown there. Wrapping each separate finger took forever, and my fingers were sore from the duct tape attempting to yank my skin off and from wrapping each finger so tightly.
After that, it was all in the paint job.
I used exterior house paint, getting a couple of gallons of "oops," or mis-mixed paint at Lowe's and OSH in different colors for my primer and my first sponged-on layer of green. Unfortunately, nobody had the decency to make mistakes in the shades of orange I needed for my final two layers, so I had to go to Home Depot and get two quarts mixed of two different shades of orange. I chose a darker orange for my first orange layer, and then an orange several shades lighter to dry brush the highlights in. I also added a little glow in the dark paint, though it didn't show up all that well. After all that dried for a couple days, I added two layers of clear waterproofing sealant, some black feathers in his mouth to suggest he eats his crows instead of scaring them, and the terror of the pumpkin patch was done!


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