Friday, January 14, 2011
Cheap Duct Tape Dummy
One of the recent shows I worked on needed a dummy to sit in the background. None of the audience was closer than about 20 feet, it was rarely involved in the action, and was partially obscured by a platform; all of this made my job easier. Still though I needed a dummy that reasonably looked like an old man sitting at the base of the tree. I also needed it to be cheap because the budget for this show was tiny and had already been spent on more prominent props.
Add a beard to disguise the white wig head, and a noose just for fun, and from a distance it didn't look too bad. Even more importantly, the total price tag was around $20 (not bad for a full dummy)
To make the dummy I went back to a trick that my master carpenter taught me while I was working on murder mysteries in Pennsylvania. All you need is a model, pants and a long sleeve shirt you don't mind ruining, a couple rolls of duct tape and something to stuff your dummy.
Have your model put on the trash clothes, and then wrap them tightly with the tape, they will tell you if it is too tight, I promise. After you have finished wrapping, carefully cut them out of the clothing and then repair your cuts with more duct tape.
(I wish I had taken pictures of this part, my wonderful boyfriend is probably really glad I didn't think of grabbing my camera)
Here are a couple of pictures I took while I was in the process of stuffing him. For this project I just used crumpled newspapers, but you can see even from these pictures that the body is starting to get some definition (compare this to a scarecrow body you might see at Halloween where the clothes are stuffed directly).
After the stuffing was finished we dressed him in some rejected costumes and placed him on stage (the knee is bent back because we thought it might be a trip hazard).
When we created our dummy in Pennsylvania we used it for a series of fake outtakes from a fake horror movie film shoot.
Inside the duct tape shell we had a wooden frame and all the rigging for spurting blood. We filled out the dummy with Great Stuff expanding foam.
You should check out the videos on You Tube
My appologies to the actors who may have wanted to forget that they took part in this one (or had that hair).