Sunday, May 12, 2013

Nightmare Before Christmas Undead / Bullet Hole Duck Scary Toy Tutorial

This is a tutorial on how to make the scary duck toy from the movie Nightmare Before Christmas!
aka: Undead Duck & Bullet Hole Duck...

Supplies needed:
2 - Pieces of pink insulation foam cut 7"x9"x2" (Home Depot)
1- 3" Styrofoam ball (Michaels)
1- .5" PVC pipe Cut 3" long (Home Depot)
1 - Thin wooden dowel ( at least 12" or more)
1- small tube caulk
Acrylic Paints
Masking Tape
White Glue
Knife/Exacto Blade
Eyelet Screw

Approx. Cost: 
(Depending on what suplies you already have)

Time Invested: 3+ hours

Detailed description coming soon...

Detailed tutorial corresponds with picture tutorial above

1. Find a reference picture and choose your scale, determine measurements.
(or use my measurements )

2 . Take a 3" Styrofoam ball. You will need to cut two holes into it.
a .  One circle cut the shape and size of the PVC neck . Allow the PVC to be inserted about an inch into the foam ball so its secure. 
b . The second cut will be a rectangle for the mouth. The top of the rectangle cutout should start at the "equator" or half line of the foam ball and extend down ward. I cut a 1.25" wide x 1.5" tall rectangle. The rectangle was dug out to be about .5" deep. 
c . Cut the beak out of pink insulation foam. Cut two small rectangles 2.75" long x 1.25" wide x .25" thick.
One side of the squared corners can be rounded with an exacto blade. Sand the beaks smooth. 
d . Insert the top and bottom beak to the top and bottom of the rectangle cutout in the head.

3. Carve the body out of pink insulation foam.
* Use a larger cube if your scared about carving too much away at first *
a . I used 2 sheets about 7" x 9" x 2". Glue them together using strong white glue.Use masking tape to hold the two pieces snugly together while they dry. 
b . After it dries, remove the tape and draw the rough duck body shape onto the side of the foam cube.
c . Once you have the boxy body shape cut out, start shaving away all the harsh pointed edges, start rounding and smoothing.
d . Use an exacto blade to trim away an outline under the wing, so the wing is standing out 3D.
e . Use an exacto blade to cut out a hole in the duck's back for the neck pvc pipe to be inserted into.
(1" should extend into head, 1" should ectend into the back, and 1" should be exposed as the neck.)

4. Sand with fine grit sand paper. Patch and smooth: seams, cracks, holes, dents, etc. with paintable caulk.

5. Primer: Use 1-2 coats of white acrylic on the entire duck to give a even base coat.

6. Paint: Use yellow acrylic paint to paint the head, neck and body.

7. Paint the inner beak/mouth black. Paint the outer beak and edges orange

8. Dirt Wash:
a .  Age the duck so it looks authentic. Use watered down brown paint (water color consistency) and paint it all over the duck, a paper towel or sponge is also useful to dab and blend. Let it seep into the cracks to add dimension and tone down the bright colors.
b . Paint on brown lines onto wings using watered down brown acrylic paint.

9. Eyes
Paint on eyes using black and white acrylic paint. Use photo for reference. 
(The outer black eye circle on my duck is a little larger that 1.5" diameter)

10. Teeth
Cut 12 tiny thin tangles out of pink insulation foam to make the teeth. Use a photo for reference.
This step is trial & error as far as determining size.

11. Glue teeth into the mouth using white glue

12. Cut bullet holes. Use photo for placement reference. Hold exacto blade at an angle and cut in a circle.
Use acrylic to paint them black. Paint dripping red blood.

13. Optional: Use gloss medium on the bullet holes and blood so it looks wet.

14.  Finished Duck !

15.  Wooden cart: 
a . Cut a 6"x13"x1.25" rectangle piece of insulation foam for the platform.
b . Use a pencil to carve out lines to make it look like wood grain. Use an exacto blade to notch out jagged edges of wood. Paint it black. and use a dry brush technique with gray paint to achieve the faux wood look. 
c .  Cut four 2" diameter wheels about .5" thick or less. cut out holes in their centers to accommodate the dowel passing through.  Paint the same way as the platform
d . Notch out channels in the underside for the dowels to set in.
e . Measure & cut the dowel length. 
f . Cut four thin pieces of foam and glue them to the bottom to hold the dowels in place, yet allow them to still spin (if you don't care to make the wheels actually spin, just glue the dowels into the channels with white glue or wood glue)
g . Screw in eye hook in the front of the cart 

Done . 

Hope this helps you guys figure it out
Good Luck


Comment or Question below


  1. Hello can you please tell me the measurements of the wagon and also how you attached the axles to the wagon. Thank you Tonia :)

  2. is the body two piece glued together?

    1. Yes. It is 2, 2" rectangles glued together. For a total thickness of 4".

  3. can you post the details? i want to make this for a christmas present and cant figure some things out..

  4. I love these proyect thank you for sharing the details on how to do the duck

  5. Hello. Is there any substitution for the foam besides the blue Dow foam? I’ve checked both the Lowes and Home Depots around the area I live and they are not selling the pink or the blue foam :( would Michaels sell any easy carving foam to be able to do this project or if you can suggest anything that would be great! I really appreciate how you help everyone out : ) Thank you for your time :)

    1. I dont know of any substitute. Im sure there is something, maybe that green floral foam from michaels? It definately will not have the same texture or quality. Maybe someone else will commet with some ideas...

    2. Where do you live? State/area

    3. Your Props are Incredible!! I was also wondering about the substitute for the pink foam (I live outside Sacramento, CA).
      Also, what are you priming the foam with before you paint? It looks like you textured it with drywall compound or something similar.

    4. In step 4 I patched all the seams and cracks in the foam with white caulking. Step 5 I painted it directly with white acrylic paint. If I hadn't done white first, it would have taken 30 coats of yellow to get the right shade. As far as a substitute, I'm not sure. The only 2 I know of are at Home Depot and lowes. Please refer to my pink foam post. Hope this helps.

  6. could you please send the full Thank you!

    1. All of the instructions, information and photos I have of this project are already listed her on this tutorial post.

  7. hello, I love this!! you did an amazing job. I'm planning a nightmare before Christmas Halloween party for my daughter. im going to try to make everything you've posted. could you send me the details?


    1. All of the instructions, information and photos I have of this project are already listed her on this tutorial post.


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