I love Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas! For Halloween one year, I really wanted to make some NMBC characters and props from the movie. I couldn't find many examples, or really ANY help online...so I'm posting this to help/give others who are interested some ideas...good luck
Click here to see my other Nightmare Before Christmas props
Here is a tutorial on how to make the scary "Man-Eating Wreath" as seen in Nightmare Before Christmas & Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. As you can see , the Disneyland version and the film version differ in some ways. I chose to make mine a sort-of hybrid. The great part about this prop is that it is fairly simple to make. Also, you can make it as big or as small as you would like .
2 strands of wired garland - 6ft
2 plastic spoons
Scrap foam core board -white
Red Christmas bow
Red holly berries
Acrylic Paint- yellow & black Scissors / X-acto blade
It is way more cost effective to buy all of your supplies the day after Christmas. I did, and got everything for 50% off or more .
And always Shop .99 cent Store & Dollar Tree First.
Total Cost: $10
Time Invested: 2 Hours
Detailed tutorial corresponds with picture Tutorial above:
1. Buy wreath and garland.
I found my wreath at the day after Christmas clearance sale at Biglots for $6. It is a good size at 18 inches in diameter. I got the garland at the .99 Cent Store day after Christmas sale for .50 each. They measure approx 6 feet each and have a heavy gauge wire running through them. The wire makes it easy to pose the tentacle arms with out having to suspend them with hooks and strings,
2. Remove any unneeded decorative items the wreath may have come with. Fuff and shape your wreath to the desired fullness and shape.
3. Flip your wreath over.
You want the front facing down. Unravel the garland and twist the two strands together near the center so they become one piece.
4. Make a slight bend in your garland and shape it to the wreath.
With the wreath still face down: You want the garland to extend across the wreath and stick out like tentacle arms, but not show through the mouth opening of the wreath.
5. Secure the garland to the wreath.
With the wreath still face down: Use some of the wreaths wire branches to twist tightly around the garland. I have highlighted the garland in lime green, and where it is secured to the wreath with red.
Flip wreath back over and complete the project with the wreath face up:
6. Measure & Make the teeth.
Lay the wreath's mouth opening on a piece of Dollar Tree white foam core board. Draw the size and shape of the teeth.
7. Remove the wreath and cut out the teeth shapes with an exacto blade.
Peel off the papery layer because its pretty much going to peel off anyway. You will be left with the soft white foam core.
8. Make the eyes.
Use two plastic disposable spoons for the eyes. They are the perfect shape for the Disneyland version. Cut the handles from the spoons with sharp scissors.
9. Glue in the teeth.
Use hot glue to glue the teeth into the "mouth" of the wreath.
10. Attach a red Christmas bow.
I found this bow in the Dollar Tree clearance for .50 cents. It came with a twisty-tie attachment on the back.
11. Paint Eyes.
Using acrylic craft paints, paint the eyes yellow. After it dries, use black acrylic paint for the "eyeliner" and black pupils.
12. Attach eyes with hot glue .
13. Attach assorted holly berries with hot glue .
I found the whole bundle of holly berries in the Dollar Tree clearance for .50 cents
Lastly, Arrange and bend the tips of the garland to look like out-stretched fingers
Finished! Please comment if you have any comments or questions. Thank You.
Here is a tutorial on how to make the spiderweb snowflake that Jack makes in the movie
Nightmare Before Christmas.
Here is the actual screen used snowflake cut by Jack in the filming of Nightmare Before Christmas.
It sold at auction for $700+ back in 2009
As you can see, this snowflake is not symmetrical on both sides and therefore, if you want it to be exactly, completely accurate, you will have to use the above picture as a template and cut it out with an xacto blade.
However, If you do not have the time to precisely notch each detail out with a blade, there is hope.
Penolopy Bulnick has made a symmetrical version of the spiderweb snowflake that can easily be cut out with scissors. She was even nice enough to create a free PDF printable:
I just finished Scary Teddy last night. He is one of the toys made by the citizens of Halloween Town during the "Making Christmas" song. He is later given as a gift to a child in the "real world" and chaos ensues.
-Fine grit sand paper
-Paper towels or soft tubing
-1 yard cheap black fabric
-1 Sheet or section of white felt
-Hot Glue/Wood Glue
-White colored pencil
-Wire Spool: 20 gauge
Detailed Tutorial Coming Soon!
Scary Vampire Teddy Head Construction Tutorial
(Detailed description corresponds with picture tutorial above)
1a. Use reference photos to get accurate details, scale, and measurements.
1b. Make or Buy a round foam head.
(I could have bought a foam ball, but I had tons of pink foam just laying around so I figured I might as well use it. I used 3 squares of pink foam, stacked and glued them together into a 6"x6" cube . Then once it dried I used a kitchen knife to shave off all the edges until it formed a ball.)
2. Notch out a wedge shaped mouth area with a knife .
3a. Cut out small ear pieces. Glue them to the head.
(You can use toothpicks to help them stay in place as they dry)
3b. Draw out with pen the placement of the eyes, nose, and widows peak.
4. Cut a small "dot" of foam for the raised nose, and glue into place.
5. Use some sort of flexible tubing for his lips.
(I did not want to spend any money, so I used rolled up paper towels dowsed is white glue. I blow dried them until they were tacky, then applied them to his mouth. Once they fully dried, they hardened and were very strong).
6. Use an exacto blade to notch, cut, and shave out the details of his eyes and widows peak
7. Paper Template later used to cut out foam teeth.
It is a replica of the front half of a skull used in Disneyland Park on the iconic Haunted Mansion.
The facial details are an exact 1:1 replica, as far as dimensions. It has been cut in half, losing the weight and bulkiness of the back, making it ideal for hanging and decorating.
6.25" L x 5.5" W x 2.25" D / Weight: 14 to 16 oz.
Print out the images onto a card stock. Cut out the two images and fold inward, the white side is the inside of the cube. Glue the tabs to the inside of the dice to hold it together. To add weight to your dice, tape or glue a penny to the white side of each dice, or place a cube of pink insulation foam inside the dice to help hold its shape. Use black acrylic paint on any white paper showing through on the edges for a more realistic look.
I recently received the ultimate Nightmare Before Christmas prop as a gift...
It is an actual, full-sized NBC skull, that came directly off of the 2011 Haunted Mansion Holiday from Disneyland Park, Anaheim, California.
In 2012, I believe the tons of NBC skulls that covered the Mansion, inside and out, were replaced with new ones, and the old ones were auctioned off individually. The new ones are painted differently, with more black around the eye and nose area.
As a HUGE Disneyland aficionado and NBC fan, I freaked when I opened it.
2 . The Hard Part is you need to print these out yourself. If you want to print out large scale paper, you will need to have access to a large scale printer, such as Fedex/Kinkos, or other copy shops, which can be pricey.
(I happen to know someone that owns a large scale printer, so I lucked out)
Hey everyone, This is a non-NBC post, but it is completely related to NBC in the fact that I used this material in nearly all of the NBC prop tutorials on this blog. I feel that the majority of amateur prop makers might not be aware of this great material:
This post is going to be about the use of Owens Corningpink Foamular insulation foam for crafting and prop making. I found out about this amazing substance sometime in early 2012, and ever since, I use it for EVERYTHING. I wanted to share my knowledge about this foam because i wish i found out about this stuff much
It is an insulation found at Home Depot, used for insulating homes. ( There is also ablue version from Dow, that you can find at Lowe's). It is sold in large 4'x8' sheets. They may have some smaller cut down pieces that vary. Last time I went, my Home depot had 2'x2' squares randomly. Due to its large and awkward size, make sure you are able to fit it in your vehicle (or borrow a truck or van), to get it home. This foam can be cut and carved into limitless shapes and sizes, and comes in a variety of thicknesses. It can be crafted to look like wood, stone, metal, animals, statues etc. You can use knifes, saws, exato blades and hot-wire foam cutters to shape it. You can paint and sand it, as if it were wood, but its ultra light weight.
The pink foam is pretty durable and able to withstand a variety of heat and weather situations, however, it might be a good idea to waterproof your foam props, especially if they will be out side or in a damp environment. I have had had success painting on a coat of "Drylok" masonry waterproof sealant on. You can buy a pint or gallon at home improvement stores. Once it dries, paint your prop as normal.
Warning : Acetone, spray paints and heat melt the foam. This could work for you, or against you.
For example: To achieve certain texture effects, you can use acetone to eat away at the foam.
But, if you finish carving a really detailed project and try to spray paint it, you will watch it melt before your eyes. Hot glue will melt away the foam where ever it touches, so its best to use other types of glues (or non-glues). I found that Aleen's Tacky Glue, and white silicone caulk work well. I have also heard that Glidden Gripper works well at adhering the foam together and it's actually a primer...
So whatever your craft or prop is, chances are you can use insulation foam to make it. Go to your local Home Depot or Lowe's, get some insulation foam and start experimenting, you will be so glad you did.
Here is a tutorial on how to make a life size Barrel from the movie. He is one of the three trick-or-treater kids /Oogie's henchmen: Lock, Shock & Barrel.
-Pink insulation foam (2" thick)
-Carving supplies -Cheap pool noodles (Dollar Tree/.99Store)
-1 Yard grey fleece fabric
1 Sheet white felt (8.5"x 11")
-2 plastic Easter eggs
-Plastic toy lollipop (Dollar Tree toy section)
*Optional: Alternate version uses a foam-core poster board (Dollar Tree).
(Detailed tutorial corresponds with the picture tutorial above)
1. Cut a 9.5" diameter disc out of insulation foam. I used a plate as a template .
2. Use a knife or carving tools to shave off the harsh edges, to create a dome shape .
3. Use a fine Grit sand paper to sand and smooth the disc shape .
4. Using a photo for reference, trace the features of Barrel's mask lightly with a pencil.
5. Use an exacto blade to carve and cut out the features of the mask (eyes, nose and mouth).
6. Take the bottom (wider end) of two plastic Easter eggs. Twist and press them into the mask's eye sockets.
7. Prime : Use a grey primer to coat the entire mask.
8. Paint : Using acrylic paints, paint the mask white . Add black accents to the eye sockets, nose and mouth. Add off-white color to the teeth and eyeballs.
9. Dip a nice pencil eraser into some black paint to make a perfect stamp for the eye pupils. Optional : Add a acrylic gloss varnish to the eyeballs for "wet", life-like eyes. The Mask is done .
Hands, feet and Lollipop:
10. Feet : Cut two horseshoe shapes out of insulation foam. Notch out two triangle shapes out of each. Using an exacto blade , shave off the harsh edges, for a rounder, softer top. Using a fine grit sand paper, sand and smooth the feet. Prime and then paint the feet using a green color.
Hands : I carved the hands out of insulation foam. Then primed and painted the hands using a green color. (I forgot to take progress photos of this, sorry).
11. Lollipop : I found a plastic lollipop toy in the toy section of Dollar Tree . Try to find one there . Re-paint it with black and red acrylic paints. (If you can't find one , make your own out of a thin insulation foam disc and a wooden dowel stick)
Body Assembly: Here is the tricky part to explain...
12. Cut Barrels body shape out of a solid piece of insulation foam. The insulation foam body continues up behind the bottom half of the mask to support it. There are no photos shown of this. (*Alternate version uses a foam-core poster board (Dollar Tree). I did use a foam-core poster board as a backing for the majority of his body. Due to the fact that I only had scraps of insulation foam left. I wanted to use up my scraps. I pieced them together and secured them to the foam-core . Ideally, I would have cut his body out of one solid piece of insulation foam.) Slice cheap pool noodles in half vertically, use them for Barrel's arms and legs. Secure all the pieces together. I happened to use screws, but you could use glue or caulk . Side note : Hot glue will melt insulation foam and not stick...
13. Wrap body with grey fleece fabric. Measure , Cut and fit material onto body. Secure it with glue or pins. Hot glue works well on the fleece . (One yard was only $2.99 at Joanne's Fabrics with coupon).
Head/Hair & Ears:
14. Hair : Since Barrel wears a mask, his real head and face are supposed to be behind the mask. I used a segment of a pool noodle to make the top of his head. I bent it in to a horseshoe shape and screwed it to the back of the mask. (Use short screws so you don't poke through the front of the mask and ruin it). Cut and tear the surface of the noodle with scissor cuts to make the illusion of his claymation hair.
Ears : Cut the ears out of insulation foam. Secure them to the back/sides of the mask with caulk or short screws.
15. Paint the hair with a black primer, and then a dry brushing of olive and army greens (use photo for reference). Paint the ears with white acrylic paint, use a grey/black to shadow the inside of the ear.
16. Measure and draw the bone shapes for Barrel's costume . Use a black Sharpie marker on white felt. Cut them out with scissors. Hot glue them onto the clothing. (Use a photo for size and placement reference)
Now you should be done ...Please comment if you have any questions. Good Luck...