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Skeleton Corpse - Page 3

Instructions (continued)

36. Paint your corpse liberally with the stain. Get the stain into all the nooks and crannies. (Remember, consistency vs. inconsistency.)
37. EDITOR'S NOTE: I like to use water-based stains, but any good stain will work. Water-based stains seem to be easier to work with and dry a little faster. Oil-based stains, however, seem to have a greater variety of colors available. And, there is nothing wrong with mixing them. In fact, all the corpses pictured in the 2010 gallery photos use a combination of water-, oil-, and gel-based stains.
38. I like to use varying colors/shades of stain. I normally start with the lighter colors and work my way up to the darker tones. Give each layer 30-45 mins. to dry before applying the next layer.
39. Use different methods of applying the layers of stains. Try blotch painting it in different areas, drizzling it over different body parts, or just pouring some on the head and letting it run down over the torso, chest, and legs. There's no right or wrong method.
  Layer on corpse's torso. Run down over legs. Pour latex over corpse's head.
40. After staining the corpse and letting it dry completely, it's time to blacken the inside of the chest cavity and the eye & nose sockets. This can really help make the ribs pop visually.
41. You can either brush the paint on, or, if you're good with a spray can, spray it on. Just be careful not to over do it. Give it a first application, then take a few steps back and see how it looks. Then, re-apply where necessary.
42. You can also try misting some black paint around the joints.
43. The point of the black paint is to help the corpse "read" better visually when you look at it in low light situations.
44. It's also a good idea to go back and brush in some more stain to blend the black back into the rest of the corpse.
45. STYLE CHOICE: If you'd like to include that "peeled back skin" or "exposed bone" look, proceed through the next few steps. If not, jump to step 48.
46. Select the part of the body you'd like to expose, and go ahead and peel skin away. Try peeling some skin off the skull and/or some off the ribs. The white bones become a stark contrast to the painted/aged skin.
47. Skeleton pirate corpse.Take some stain and go over the bones that are freshly exposed. This will help tie the bones into your color scheme. Don't put too much stain on the fresh bones! They will darken quickly. The goal is to have a smooth contrast between exposed bone and rotted skin.
48. Depending on the type of corpse you're going to create, you can choose to add hair or not. In the past, I've gone a couple of routes. I've created corpses with no hair such as my tribe of zombie pigmy warriors. I've used a Halloween costume wig like on one of my pirate corpses. And, I've created hair made of manila rope strands like on my scarecrow.
  Finished corpses hanging. Pirate Corpse. Scarecrow skeleton corpse.
49. If you want to add hair, the quickest and easiest method is to simply get a Halloween costume wig, rat/tease it up a bit, and place it on your corpse's head. You can even try adding some dried leaves and/or get it a little wet and throw some dirt in to give it that "fresh from a muddy grave" look.
50. If you want to make it permanent, you can use some latex to the inside of the wig's skull cap to glue it to your corpse's skull.
51. There's another method that's a bit more realistic. And, depending on the material you get a different affect.
52. In the past, I've unwound manila rope to its individual strands. You can also get a cheap Halloween costume wig (a grey witch's wig is a great example), and cut clumps of hair out of it.
53. Then, grab one end of the rope strands or wig hair and dunk it into the latex.
54. Press the strands/hair onto the skull. You can place them however you like depending on the look you want to create.
55. After placing all the hair, let the latex dry. Then, brush some stain over the new latex that holds the strands/hair in place.
56. Voila! You've just completed your first, personally-customized skeleton corpse. There are other things you can do to make it more realistic. You can add eyes, distressed clothing, jewelry, etc. Don't be afraid to experiment.
57. Credit and thanks. I cannot take credit for creating this method for skeleton corpsification. That honor belongs to Robert D. Brown. He used to run a website at "" Sadly, he's taken his website down. I've taken his original method and made some of my own modifications. I am posting this project because I do not want this method to be lost to the internet ether. Thank you, Robert.
58. Well, that's it. I hope you enjoyed this Halloween do-it-yourself project. Please let us know what you think at

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