Haunted Mansion

My goal for this one was to recreate the house from the Tales From The Crypt intro sequence. Why? Because it's the coolest creepy house I know.

First thing's first - I drew out the basic floor plan on the base board.  Right angles and basic geometry were very helpful during this stage. 

I cut the from foam core & removed any space for windows & doors, then glued them together with a low-temp hot glue gun. This gave me a flexibility on the joints where the walls met to correct any angles that were not glued exactly square.

After having the all wall pieces fit together properly, I attached the frame to a masonite base board to prevent any further shifting. To give the walls texture and hide the tell-tale foam look, I applied spackle paste to the entire outside using a small trowel. While the spackle was still wet, I took a sheet of course sandpaper  and gently pressed it to the desired areas and peel off. I also used the spackle to etch in decorative bricks.
This can be done with a pointy device while the spackle is wet or dry. If you choose wet (pictured), you'll be pushing the the spackle & therefore causing higher ridges on either side of your line. If you choose dry, you may run into some bits chipping off while you're carving into the spackle. Chipping is less likely to happen the thicker your spackle layer is. Do a test piece to see which technique will work the best for you; I opted to do my brick carving in dry spackle.

To give my windows a dingy look, I did an uneven coat of watered down paint mixed with PVA on some clear plastic. I glued the side with the paint to the building so there would still be some shine when light hits them. I then painted the finer window details on the shiney/non-painted side.

The window/door frames and decorative trim were cut out of a cover stock paper. Layering multiple pieces helps add depth without being too bulky for this scale.

More complex details were sculpted from clay. Like the window frames, layering simple shapes can transform into a complex shape easier than making such a shape from one piece.

It's best to have your roof planned out ahead of time. I hadn't & ended up having to add on to some of the walls. But I found this out by taking an aerial view of the house & drew in where I needed my support beams & panels. Better to find the problem before constructing the roof, right?

I used bamboo skewers because I had very sharp angles to deal with on this roof. A wider rod or square dowels would prevent my card from joining as closely as needed

For the main structure of the roof, I used thin cardboard cut to fit each slope of the roof. Masking tape is a good way of keeping your roof cards together at their proper angle with a little bit of flexibility if you needed to make a few adjustments. 

After the base of the roof was attached, it's time to add some shingles. I used strips of a heavy paper with flaps cut along the length of them. Then it's just a matter of cutting the strip to fit area on the roof it is going to cover and gluing it on. To avoid warping and shifting from slow dry times, I used a cyanoacrylate glue only along the part of the strip that was still intact so that the shingles themselves would be free to turn up afterwards.

One thing to keep in mind when attaching your strips is that you want to makes sure each row lines up from one panel to the other. For example, on my tower, I did the bottom row around the whole thing then the 2nd row all the way around, etc. I used a small folded strip of paper on the corners to hide any rough edges.


With how delicate thin, dry spackle can be and to keep my roof shingles from flattening over time, I primed the whole piece in slightly watered down acrylic paint with quite a bit of PVA glue added. The walls and stone work were then painted using a sponge loaded with 2-3 colors at a time. This is a quick way to get a variation of blended colors in just 1 step.

 The bent shingles did sag a bit with brushing on this mixture, but a couple quick flips with the paint brush from the underside brought them back to their perky selves. The roof was painted a dark gray base color and then lighter dry brushing and darker washes were used to bring out the edges of the shingles. The house was actually held upside down to encourage the washes to flow under each row of shingles.

For details too small to sculpt or carve, I found various store-bought items. Such as a mesh splatter screen for cooking makes a good balcony railing after adding the tips of plastic cocktail skewers.

And decorative dowels used for dollhouses cut down and given a square base make good support beams for the porch


 I covered the base
with PVA and dumped on a mixture of coffee grounds and tea bag innards. A few dead trees, tall grasses, and birch seed pods break up the area

Some more clay work, foam core and a ballpoint pen got me a decent fence and gate for this house.

Again a PVA/paint prime to help make them sturdy & sponge painting, with black wash to pick up the stone lines afterwards.

There we have it! A complete house with a barrier for keeping out those pesky neighbors.

No comments:

Post a Comment