Happy Halloween - The Home & Family Yard 2016

Here's how the finished Home and Family Show yard turned out this year, starting with the initial concept sketch. Click on images to enlarge. Happy Halloween Everyone!

Halloween Countdown: The Alien Project Part Three

When last left off, the alien cannister was roughly put together. One detail it needed was a large turn valve. I made this on the cheap by cutting out of a 99 cent frisbee. It's support was a short piece of PVC pipe glued to a plastic planter saucer. Detailed with a faux bolt. Once distressed and aged with paint, it looked pretty "first glance" decent.

The window was a piece of super thin plastic you find in those cheapo poster frames. It is incredibly light and flexible, I just painted on a metal looking edge and glued rivets to, then simply velcro'd to the tube so can access the inside.

After more detailing and distressing, I added the Alien inside with a light and smoke machine. Done.

The Alien itself was on the cheap too, using a mask put on a styrofoam ball, glued to a PVC pipe made stand and draped with fabric.

This was basically a one day build project, and one that I'll redo again and spend more time on. We used for our kitchen set Halloween show decor. Went with a whole hidden government lab look. Plus made a second with a broken window and missing Alien.

 The show airs Monday morning on Hallmark Channel. Speaking of which, tomorrow will be a mega post showing all the epic insanity we've been up to this month (which I hope explains my infrequent posting).

Halloween Countdown: The Alien Project Part Two

Here's how the Alien containment canisters are coming together so far.

We started with 2' wide concrete form tubes at 6' tall. Next a window was cut out of. Then painted a classic Army green, so feels from late 1947 when the Roswell crash happened.

Next, we created the canister interior using a really old school trick. We crumpled sheets of tin foil in balls, uncrumpled and made flat again, then spray glued to the inside. The wrinkled foil creates amazing texture plus will reflect any light put inside making a great effect.

Next we painted on a classic black and yellow hazard band. Hazard stripes on any "industrial" type prop adds character and ALWAYS makes seem more dangerous.

We capped the top and bottom of tube with plastic "planting rings" after painting silver. Then hot glued on faux bolts.

The faux bolt detail is easy to make. Take off the shelf 1/2" nuts and glue in a small slice from 1/2" wood dowel, then paint all silver. This same trick can be done for smaller or larger bolts.

More later...

Halloween Countdown: The Ghillie Scare

So Props bought a "Ghillie" suit. We decided to test it's camouflage effectiveness the other afternoon after wrap on host Debbie Matenopoulos as she left the set. It was a success.

Huge kudos to prop assist Tara, who sat there sweating in the afternoon sun for a long while wearing it for the gag.

Halloween Countdown: Candle Making

We're making epic amounts of faux candles for our show's Halloween set decor.

The entire prop crew has had glue guns going.

Halloween Countdown: Extra Hands

Work is overwhelming right now, luckily I was able to hire extra help this month. Many hands make light work.

31 Days 'til Halloween - Let it Begin

The past few years trying to post something daily counting down to the best day ever, I fail. Why? Because my job on this TV show I've been lucky to work on has consumed my life for 4 years. And now we're going into year 5.

I've decided to try something different this year. I'm just gonna blog daily as we prep and create Halloween for our set and make each post a behind the scenes as to what each day is like for my prop crew and I working on Hallmark's Home and Family leading up to our big Halloween show.

So day one... I'm sitting alone in our "prop garage" on the Universal backlot on a Saturday prepping our first Halloween DIY segment of the season for Monday (more about tomorrow).

But I'm not really alone, my crew of prop pirates pulled this old friend from storage to inspire our Halloween efforts placing in a corner. Hello October. I've missed you.

P.S. Jamie Lee Curtis will be coming to set Monday as a guest, not a bad way to kick the Halloween season off. Stay tuned.

Chipped Painted Metal Faux Finish How-To, The "Route 66" Look

Old weathered painted metal objects like a vintage road sign, or a abandoned car, or an enameled coffee pot, or even a zombie containment pod have a very unique patina. They have those specific areas of chipped or peeled paint, unlike wood or other surfaces, that just tell you at first glance it's made of steel.

Designer Ken Wingard and I worked together recently on a retro marquee sign wall prop DIY project that although was actually made of wood, had a vintage metal faux finish treatment that sold it as the real deal. It's a super simple trick I picked up from a scenic artist I worked with many years ago.

Here's how to do it. Four easy steps. I'm nicknaming it the "Route 66" look.

Step 1 - Base coat your prop in a dark brown or similar dark rusted aged metal color paint. Go thick with. Once brushed on, pounce it, creating a more textured surface. Let dry completely.

Step 2 - Pour ordinary grocery store salt over the areas on your prop you want to look aged (for this project we used heavier coarse ground salt, but finer ground would work too). For vertical portions, you can defy gravity and make a paste of salt and water and brush on.

Step 3 - Spray paint your prop the color of choice. Let dry.

Step 4 - Brush away salt. You can leave rough edges of paint infused salt or refine the faux finish with some sand paper. Any overall dusty haze the salt leaves easily wiped away with a damp rag or sponge.

There ya go. An easy way to give your props a fairly realistic aged painted metal look.