One of the last gags you see as you leave the Swinging Wake of the Haunted Mansion is a thin skeletal arm extending out of a hole in a brick wall. It holds a trowel and and is in the process of encasing himself inside the crypt. It is just after you see the large opera singer who lets you know the ride is over as “the fat lady is singing”.
This was build was truly one of the easiest builds. I started by cutting a ton of bricks out of 1/2″ XPS foam. They have a great texture and are light weight.
I arranged them out to get the basic size I wanted and cut a wood base our of 1/4″ plywood. I wanted something with some stability as it would have to hold the weight of the arm holding the trowel. I glued them in place using Liquid Nails strongest construction adhesive.
To give the foam bricks are more rough and dimensional texture I rolled up a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. I then pressed into the foam. I made sure to move around a lot, changing the angle, and rotating the ball to not get the look of a repeated pattern.
I then gave all of them a base coat in a medium grey house paint. I followed that coat up with light drybrushing of browns and dark reds to hit the high parts of the bricks.
To highlight the raised areas more I gave the entire piece a heavy washing of a black wash of paint to run into to all the cracks, crevices, and recessed areas. I then wiped it off and blotted the rag that was damp with paint around.
As you can see above I had initially planned on mounting the bracket to hold the arm on the front. But after it was attached, I realized I wanted a more recessed flush mounting.
As for the arm, I had recently ordered a set of arms. One arm was used to hold the teacup for the pop up ghost effect. Really the arm for this build should have been a right hand coming out of the other side but the arms are sold in sets and it was not worth wasting $40 for a new set on a detail only I (an a select few) would notice.
I secured the trowel and joints using superglue, then Aves Apoxie sculpt, and then some 5 min. epoxy.
When the epoxy was almost dry I used a popsicle stick to touch the glue and then pull it away. It gave it a very cool rotten looking texture.
I secured the arm inside a PVC end cap that I had cut a hole in. I then filled the hole with 5 minute epoxy to hold it in place. The end cap slides nicely in the black mounting plate seen in the photos above on the brick wall’s back.
I taped up the trowel to not get green paint on it. I had made up a patch of Smooth On Free Form Air for another project and added the leftovers to the trowel to add some a cement looking substance but that adds virtually no weight but that is very durable. I have used it previously on things like the Madam Leota Tombstone and Wall Arm Sconce.
The arm was painted in the same technique I used on the pop up ghost layering greens and browns.
I would love to add some actuators and servos to the builds like the coffin, pop up ghost head, and this arm. But I do not have those skills…yet. Still, the piece looks stunning when placed against a wall and lit for effect.
Until next time…be on the lookout for more of our Haunted Mansion builds. We will have over 70 pieces life sized pieces in our Haunted Mansion this year.
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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.