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A new monster mud project

I have begun work on a new prop for 2010. While searching for ideas online, I came across this picture of a prop available for sale:

This will be my reference photo for this project.


I bought a Barney Skeleton from: to use as the base. I will build the structure to support the skeleton and dressed with clothing dipped in monster mud. I will update as the project begins and the build progresses.

The build has begun, on to the progress photos



First part of the build was to make a monster mud boot. I used an old shoe that had holes in it and built up the shape with a cardboard form.




Then it was time to add a few layers of blue shop towel mache. Afterwords, I covered it with some cotton fabric dipped in monster mud.

Next was to build the top boot top/cuff using bubble wrap and duct tape. I put 3 layers of blue shop towel mache over the form.

It was covered in cotton fabric dipped in monster mud and then painted a base coat of dryloc and black latex paint.



Finished boot, side view.

Finished boot, front view.

Next was the peg-leg ...



I didn't take photos of the build, but it was a cardboard tube glued to a plastic bowl and duct tape to form the tapered look.

I was covered with several layers of blue shop towel mache and coated with monster mud.

I added some craft foam for the metal accent pieces and painted with dryloc and latex paints to make it look like wood and metal.

Next comes the skeleton structure ...



I bought some 1" PVC conduit and fittings, 2 - T's & 4 - 90 Elbows. I figured that it would still be light weight and still very strong. I used my Barney skeleton as the reference points to mark and cut the pieces to length.

One leg is shorter, that's due to it being the peg-leg side. I also wanted to give the stance a little "movement", so I heated the PVC with my heat gun and softened it to make it bendable.

Here it is with the test fit of the skeleton. Yes, I know the leg bone doesn't go all the way down to the end of the PVC. It's going to be inside the boot, so I decided to make him a little taller. The skeleton comes at about 5 feet tall, he now stands almost 6" taller.



I painted the PVC frame flat black to help hide the structure. You won't really be able to see much of the frame anyway because it will be covered in monster mud fabric/clothing.

I attached the skeleton with some long screws in a few places and everything seems to be very strong. You might notice that the top sections of the arms/hands are attached with zip-ties. I did that to test fit the position and make sure I was happy with how he looked.

Once I get the clothing on him, I will attach them to the PVC with a couple screws or glue. After he is fully dressed, all openings will be filled with spray foam to fill any voids. I don't want him to hold any water if he gets rained on.

Next comes the monster mud process ...



I picked up a cheap pair of plain pants to add to the skeleton. Instead of just dipping the entire pair into monster mud, I decided to mix up a solution of liquid starch, water and white glue. I would submerge the pants into the solution, squeeze out the excess and slip them onto my skeleton.

The bags around the bottom part of the legs was to protect the finished pieces (the boot & peg-leg) from getting messed up during this part of the build. After I slipped on the pants, I stuffed some plastic bag inside the legs to fill it out a little and help hold the shape. Because it wasn't monster mud, the pants set up in about 4 hours.

This doesn't make it very rigid, but helps hold the folds in the fabric until I'm ready to apply the monster mud. I am able to wet the areas I don't like and refold the pants when necessary.



I painted a quick coat of flat latex paint to the pants to help stiffen and also to help reshape and fold the fabric. I could do this step too much, so one coat of paint and left it to dry. After 1 hour, I applied the first layer of monster mud onto the pants.

At this stage, the folds are fairly set without a lot of worry they will come undone. I am looking at getting 3 good coats of latex paint & monster mud on with a few hours dry time between.

At the very top of this picture, you can see where I had to add some duct tape to help hold the pants up. They are beginning to get a little heavy and began to sag. When the majority of the fabric gets 3 coats and is very dry, I will finish up the waistband and cut out the areas where you will be able to see his leg bones.

I will most likely use some sort of filler for the inside of the pants, spray foam around the cut out areas and inside the boot to help anchor in the PVC leg bones. I will also epoxy glue on the peg-leg to the PVC/bone stump.


The next step was to cut holes in the pants and that was a little unnerving to say the least. I sketched out where I wanted the holes to be and used a Dremel tool to cut out the pieces.


I wanted to add a little more detail to the holes, so I went back and added little "flaps" of fabric to parts of the holes to make it appear the fabric tore and was hanging down. Do I think most people will notice the little details, probably not ... but I do.



So here it is with the first coat of Drylok to help seal it from the weather. Although it will be dry in a few hours, I'm going to wait one day before I continue with it to make sure its good and dry.

It will get one coat of flat latex paint and a second coat of Drylok before I add the final paint color to the pants. I'll wait for the final paint color until after I get the boot and peg-leg secured to the skeleton frame (that's why there is those plastic bags sticking out from the bottom of the legs).



I've filled in the opening with spray foam in a can, stuffed plastic bags inside for a little filling and covered everything with a layer of home-made paperclay.

Everything is ready for painting. The boot was filled with spray foam, and the peg-leg was glued on to the cup. I added a little paper mache to fill in the gaps and used some more paperclay to seal the edges.

Everything was given a good week to dry/cure so I would have a good solid base to apply my paint colors.



I decided on a light orange color for the base coat. I applied 2 coats with 1 day dry time between each. I picked a dark brown, black and white to finish my color choices. Some were mixed, others were made into a "wash" (50/50 water/paint) applied with brushes, sponges and rags to achieve the look I was after.

Next is to work on the jacket. Here is Part 2.