This photo was taken last Halloween (2008), but I left it out of the 2008 page because of the blemishes in the paint job (if you click on the photo, you can see them easier). I originally built this corpse in 2006, so it was one of my earlier designs. After finishing the paper mache, I used a white spray paint as the initial layer of coverage and then went to darker additional coats of latex, applied with a brush. This probably would have been alright, except for the fact I chose the desert southwest as the location to set up my yard haunt. New Mexico usually hits around 98 degrees in the summer. My props get stored in different locations – none of which happen to be air conditioned.
Because of the heat, the mache has a tendency to tighten up. Once it constricts, it reveals little nooks and crannies which were only covered with the initial layer of white paint. The result: white blemishes begin to peek through the darker top coat. Once I finally dig this corpse out of storage, in preparation for Halloween night, I inevitably have to do a ton of extra touch up to cover the blemishes. And, even then, some are hard to detect until the camera highlights them.
For me, the moral of the story is to no longer apply a base coat that’s lighter than my final top coat of paint. Doing this on my most recent props (plus a slight change in my mache technique) has made a big difference and I no longer have any lighter color playing peek-a-boo.
In the next couple of months, as the weather begins to warm up, I’m hoping to film another Halloween Haunter’s Reality Video in which I’ll demonstrate some groundbreaker painting techniques.
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