Friday, September 17, 2021


Hi All,

Well, it's that time of year again -- HALLOWEEN SEASON! My favorite holiday. All the stores have their Halloween merchandise in, and it's beautiful!

I try to make at least one new prop for my front yard & porch each year. So, this year I've made a Man-Eating Plant (from "Little Shop of Horrors") out of a foam pumpkin.

(*Full disclosure - this is not an original concept. There are many tutorials on YouTube that explain how to do this.) 

I bought a large, 12" oval foam pumpkin (that happened to be cream colored, not orange). I marked the cut lines, and cut out the mouth shape.

After cutting the mouth, I went ahead and cut the whole pumpkin in half (along the seams) to make working on the inside easier.

Next - sculpting the LIPS. This is important, because the lips make it NOT LOOK LIKE A PUMPKIN. I used Crayola brand, air-drying clay (because it was the cheapest in the craft store). All air-drying clays shrink a bit when they dry. This clay shrank a LOT, and pulled away from the foam. When it was dry, the edges broke into pieces and I had glued it back onto the foam edge.

Now, I worked on the INSIDE OF THE MOUTH pieces. I used expanding insulation spray foam ("Great Stuff" from the hardware store.) I made sure to put an "edge" of foam on the inside of the lips -- this will become the "gums" to attach the teeth. Then, I just sprayed lots of noodles of foam in the back of the mouths to fill it up. (Sort-of looks like intestines, doesn't it?)

I was using an old can of spray foam, so it wasn't expanding as much as it should.

I added some HOT GLUE "veins" and blobs on the outside of the 2 pieces. 

I wanted to unify all the TEXTURES -- the foam pumpkin, the hot glue, and the clay lips. So, I sprayed it all over with "Stone Finish" spray. This spray has tiny bits of cork (?) in the paint to make the surface bumpy -- like stone. 

Then, I PAINTED the whole outside with a layer of yellow acrylic paint. More paint was blended in so the surface goes from yellow to lime to dark green. Orange paint was used at the edge of the lips to blend into the red lips.

The INSIDE of the pieces are painted with RED LIPS, blending into magenta "gums", then purple and dark blue at the very back. I wanted the inside of the mouth to be dark in the back to help hide the wood dowel I needed to put in to make it stand up.

I added a "TONGUE" to the bottom piece, made of 2 layers of "Fun Foam" with a small strip of foam weather stripping and wire sandwiched inside the foam. "Fun Foam" is a sheet of very thin (1/16") foam rubber in bright colors (found in the children's craft aisle). I chose a lavender color. 

I researched the "original" man-eating plant/puppet creature from the movie. The designer had mentioned they decided the inside would look something like an orchid. So, that was my inspiration for the tongue. After painting the tongue, I glued it to the inside of the lower mouth piece. I added several coats of clear gloss to the inside of the mouth pieces.

 Now, I could glue the two mouth pieces back together, using contact cement.

I bought some artificial plant leaves at the craft store, and glued them to the back of the piece. 

Now, the TEETH. I glued plastic "pumpkin teeth" (sold to put in jack-o-lanterns) into the "gums". I bought these teeth on-line, as I couldn't find anything to make teeth from, and the stores didn't have a lot of Halloween items in yet. (It was the end of August when I started this project).

Okay, now for the STAND. I already had a plastic urn that would work. I filled the urn up with green floral foam. I got a wooden dowel and put it in the foam, all the way to the bottom of the urn. I cut a small hole in the bottom of the pumpkin, & worked the dowel up inside the mouth to the top of the pumpkin. I realized that the dowel couldn't go straight into the pumpkin, as it would have to go through the wire in the tongue. So, I had to put the dowel into the pumpkin at a slight angle, to miss hitting the wire. I painted the top of the dowel dark blue to match the inside of the mouth, and the bottom green.

Now, "realistically", (if there are such things as giant, man-eating plants) the STEM would grow out of the back of the plant mouth -- not out of the bottom, where the dowel is. So, I got some 2" foam pipe insulation for the stem. I put a length of wire inside the foam pipe and bent it into an "S" shape, going around the wood dowel. I covered the pipe insulation with masking tape, (as acrylic paint won't stick to the "skin" of the foam). 

(I took this photo before the "teeth" came in the mail)

Then, I painted everything a dark green. I bought a leaf vine from the craft store and wrapped it around the foam pipe, to help hide the wooden dowel.

The whole plant (with urn planter) stands 40 inches tall.

Here's to a spooky Halloween! -AB

Thursday, September 2, 2021


 Hi all,

Wow, it's been a few months since my last post. I got really busy with my Halloween order this year. I took 2 months off this summer to travel to Santa Fe where I worked in the SF Opera costume shop, making hats for this season.

And, here are the last Halloween dolls I made for this year -- More Ghosts! 

(I'm thinking of making this doll into a pattern)

I made 3 new "Dearly Departed" dolls to sell at Roger's Garden this year. Their Halloween event has just opened, so if you're near Corona Del Mar in California, go check it out.

I make a few of these dolls every year, and somehow, they always end up getting finished after everything else is done.

The dresses for these Ghosts are mostly "improvisational". I make them up as I go. I don't use patterns (I do have some basic sleeve patterns, though). Mostly, I just start pinning fabric to the doll and start sewing.

I have a large bag of bits of white lace, trim, and beaded pieces I attach here and there -- again, no plan.

Okay, I'm off to make something new for my Halloween Yard!

Have fun! AB