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Workbench Creations

Workbench Creations is the place for conversation and discussion about do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. This DIY blog will feature projects completed by its owner as well as projects completed by other do-it-yourselfers. Workbench Creations is the place where DIYers can discuss ideas, learn about what others have done, and share their expertise.

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Halloween Projects Part 1

Posted October 23, 2007 10:28 AM by frankd20

It's that time of year, time for my favorite holiday. Halloween is a great time to make spooky projects. I have a number of projects that I've done and many many more that I would like to do if I had the time.

Full-Size Toe Pincher Coffin.

The Halloween coffin that we are most familiar with is called a toe pincher due to its shape, opposed to the more regular box-shaped coffin. It is possible to make a toe pincher from a single 4X8 sheet but mine is made from two as I wanted it to be large and comfortable for someone to hide in. I used OSB board and some 2X2 boards in the corners to hold it all together. The concept is simple; you just need to determine how big you want it, trace it, and cut it out. You need to cut out 8 pieces in total in addition to some support pieces, which are just rectangular strips of wood for the sides. You may also want some hinges for the door. I painted my coffin black for effect. The only real problem I've had with my coffin is figuring out what to do with it for the rest of the year. For me it has become the box to store all my Halloween stuff in and it doubles as an interesting coffee table or couch depending on where I put it.

Flying Crank Ghost

A flying crank ghost looks like a ghost floating in mid-air moving in a very spooky way. They now sell cheap imitations of this in the store, but in my opinion the original looks much better. A general hint for making anything move slowly is to incorporate a gear motor. A great way to get a gear motor is from a BBQ rotisserie motor or from moving Christmas decorations. The BBQ equipment sometimes goes on sale before Halloween. If using the gears from Christmas decorations you have to wait for the sale and plan for next year. The flying crank ghost is sort of like a puppet on strings that is controlled by a gear motor. The motor turns a shaft pulling three strings to move the hands and the body. The body and arms of the ghost is made from a metal coat hanger and the hands are made from cardboard and expanding foam insulation. For the head I used a fake skull mask that I covered this with a see through fabric and painted with some glow in the dark paint. The strings that connect the shaft and the ghost are fishing line. For a complete the effect, hang the ghost somewhere where a blacklight shines on it.

3D TV Screen Spook

This is a cool effect and not a difficult one to make. You need an old tube style TV that you can destroy, a gear motor, a fake skull, and some stretchy black fabric. With flat screen TVs becoming increasingly popular, finding a TV to sacrifice isn't hard these days. All you want from the TV is the casing. Remove and properly dispose of the tube and electronics but be careful as they can store high voltage. Once you have a TV case, you need to mount your gear motor right behind where the screen was. When mounting the motor, make sure the turning part is pointing up. For me this was easy as the circuit board mounting holes were close enough for me to use. Second, from the inside of the set you need to stretch your black fabric over where the screen was and glue it in place. Once your fabric is in place, mount your fake skull on the gear motor offset from the center. In doing this the skull will push into the fabric and move away from it, thus giving the effect that a skull is pushing out into the screen.


I have made gravestones out of all sorts of things; the most difficult ones were actually made of flat stones that I carved words into. However, the most common material to use is Styrofoam that you can buy in a craft or hardware store. I have found the white Styrofoam to be the quickest as its uneven surface looks stone-like when you paint it. The pink and blue foam have a smother look but require more painting. Regardless of the Styrofoam you use, all you need to do is cut it out and paint it. You can carve it if you would like to give it an extra effect. I have also found that some spray paints will eat into the white Styrofoam, so you can use this to your advantage if you decide to carve it.

Actuated Costume Wings

I made these wings for a costume and they turned out so well that I ended up reusing them other years. I designed the wings to expand with a somewhat bird like action, which is more scissor-like than a single pivot point. I also designed these wings to expand when I push my shoulders forward so that I would still have the use of my arms and hands. The wings are made with flat pieces of aluminum that I purchased from the hardware store and small screws with loctite on them as the hinges. This frame was covered with fabric and I also added some curved points as decoration.

Come back next week for the second installment of Halloween Projects.


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Join Date: May 2008
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Re: Halloween Projects Part 1

05/13/2008 11:20 PM

I hope im asking the right person if not sorry I saw a post about a pair of wings I am making a pair for a stage production can you send me a diagram of how you accompished this ? I am at my wits end trying to figure this out and I despirately need help.

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Re: Halloween Projects Part 1

05/16/2008 3:20 PM

I sent you a message with some more details about the wings. Sketched below is the basic design, although its not a great drawing but should give you the idea. I found someone elses design, which appears similar to my own, although they eliminated a connection for more mobility, and used hinges and a different shape of aluminum, but the movement is the same.


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Re: Halloween Projects Part 1

05/17/2012 10:17 AM

Hallo, I also am making pair of wings for a stage production and was wondering if you could send me details on how you made them? just a basic outline maybe? It would be soooooo appreciated!

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