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One of my goals for this years display was to have a couple animated props. My choice: A Peeper.

The idea is to have an old looking tree stump with a head/skull that rises and lowers. Nothing real fancy, just something with a little movement.

I started with a 10" sono-tube as the base.

I cut it about 24" tall. It actually was about 2" too small. I should have used a 12" sono tube but I made do with what I bought. If you notice, it has 1" 'wings' so the arm wouldn't hit the sides of the tube. It doesn't really matter since it will be covered with foam.


 

I then made a few roots out of twisted newspaper and taped them at the bottom. After that, I used Great Stuff spray foam in a can.


My plan was to spray on the Great Stuff and then smooth it out some for texture. As you can tell, it didn't work. So, my next idea was to carve it down with something.


Well the razor knife and the hot knife didn't work so I had to resort to a hacksaw blade. It did fairly well so I figured I could sand it down for added texture. Nope, the sanding didn't work very well so I went back to my hacksaw blade and did my best.


Not exactly like I had pictured but with some paint and some mood lighting, it should pass for a tree stump.


I started with a grey spraypaint to give it a base coat. It took almost 2 cans to cover up the foam.


I added different paint colors until I got the look I wanted. There is dark brown, light brown, greys and a tan for highlites. Not a real plan, just throw some paint on until it looked like old wood.



Here is a completed picture of it with the moss added. I may add some spider webs, spanish moss and a few pieces of fake grasses.

The next section of this build will be the peeper part of the prop.

I'll leave that posting for another day.


I never did do a write-up on the mechanical part of this build, but I did shoot a video for someone who asked how the setup works.

This gives you the general idea on how it works, you'll have to work out the dimensions for yourself since you peeper could be taller/shorter than mine.