A great piece of decoration on the Haunted Mansion ride goes unnoticed by most everyone that rides through Gracey Manor. There is a creepy, decayed, and robed armed that is mounted on a plaque that holds a torch. The piece is famous to fans of the ride. In fact, Disney has even sold officially licensed replicas of the arm sconce. So, it is known to some but is not nearly as recognizable as the floating séance head, gargoyle candelabra, or 13-hour monster clock. So, how can it be famous enough to merit a full-sized replica but still be unknown to many? The answer comes down to placement. One of the places the arm rests is on the wall of mirrors where you see the ghost on your Doom Buggy. There 4 on that wall but you are so distracted looking eagerly into the mirrors for your ghosts that most people miss them. They are also found all along the wall as you exit but you are so busy getting off the buggies and onto the walkway you have probably never taken a moment to appreciate them. That is the story of countless masterpieces throughout the ride.
The arm sconce was in the top 10 of my first list of things to build from the ride for our home. The piece was relatively easy to make. It took me a while to come up with how I was going to make it and what to make the torch from. I started with a square piece of plywood bought at the hobby/craft store that came with a precut hole to hang it from. Similar to what I used on the Madame Leota tombstone. I simply cut the board into a coffin shape.
Next, I made the armature for the arm out of PVC pipe and fittings after I realized the position could be easily duplicates with some angled fittings. I added a screw and some Apoxie Sculpt to act as a brace to support the weight of the arm on plaque.
I the sculpted the arm out of Super Sculpey because I wanted the fine details the clay would allow me. I baked the Sculpey by using a blow dryer to harden.
I then sculpted the robe fabric using Free Form Air by Smooth On. It had a lot of mass and I wanted to avoid the weight with this insanely light weight product and it did not have fine details which this product struggles with. It is air curing, so I simply mixed the two parts, sculpted the folds, and let it dry. Utilizing the design of the T shaped PVC joint to hold the torch I simply sculpted the hand around and left the through portion open.
The torch gave me the most trouble. I needed something lightweight and wanted to have the correct basic shape. I looked at toy copies of the statue of liberty torch. But the flared crown top of the torch always gave me pause. I thought about using sheet metal, but it would be dangerously sharp, very easily bent, and never really straight. One day while googling funnels and funnel shaped things. I came across the vuvuzela, those annoying loud funnel shaped instruments used at soccer matches. It was perfect. It was long like the torch, lightweight and even had the right flared shape on the end. I simply cut to fit, cut the crown shape, and added a toy bowl from my daughter’s old toy kitchen set.
I added some round brads in the corners to serve as rivets and gave the entire piece a base coat of a dark teal. Then gave the piece a liberal washing of diluted black paint and wiped away most of it. When that was dried I dry-brushed a gold leaf pain over the entire piece to highlight the details. I even dropped a battery powered, color changing led puck light into the torch so it lights up at night.
I plan on posting 2 more builds before Halloween Haunted Mansion DIY project and you won’t want to miss them. Be sure to click Follow to get updates.
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Until next time…
The Imagine Ears features the DIY projects, adventures, and thoughts of a father and daughter who use a shared love of all things Disney to create memories together through encouraging her interests in architecture, design, Imagineering, while exploring history and science.