This weeks project is a cement grim reaper that has been cast using cement and an old towel. I chose the grim reaper because Halloween is just around the corner and people will be looking for new Halloween Decor.
Cement Grim Reaper
This method of using cement and a towel to cast is great for the Halloween grim reaper but there are other projects you can do.
I used a spindle as the main support but any 2 x 4 piece of wood will work. You will also need some chicken wire to make the shape and a bag of skeleton bones. I bought a bag a few years ago from a budget store for less than $10 and reuse them each year to create new projects. If you missed last years project I created a Halloween flower arrangement. For the base of the stand, you will need a heavy chunk of wood to support the weight of the cement grim reaper.
Start by drilling a hole in the base and slightly countersink the hole so the base is stable once the screw is inserted. Next, predrill a hole into the spindle, then screw the spindle to the base from below. You can also add some wood glue for extra support.
The idea is to have the head attached to the top of the spindle. To achieve this, I cut an X shape into the bottom of the skull and pushed it down onto the spindle.
Making the grim reaper shape
I used some chicken wire to make the shape of the shoulder for the towel to be draped over. The “Arms” were created using scraps of wood that I screwed into the spindle.
Making the grim reaper cloak
I mixed some cement with water and mixed it until I got a running consistency. To protect the skull from the cement I added some saran wrap around the skull before draping the cloak.
I pushed the dry towel down into the cement and realized straight away that was a mistake. The towel just sucked up all the fluid and the cement did not stick. I would recommend wetting the towel before putting it into the cement mixture, which I did after the fact.
I would also recommend protecting the floor and stand from the cement drips with plastic or scrap fabric. Once the towel has been completely covered in the cement you drape it over the form and shape the cloak as desired.
You will need to leave the cement to dry overnight. I had all intentions of painting another layer of cement over the cloak the next day to make it stronger, but mine was solid. If your cloak still has any movement you can make up another batch of cement and paint it over the surface with a paintbrush. I wanted the cloak to be away from the face, so I used items I found around my shed to hold the cloak in place while it dried. These were removed before the cement was totally set, I was afraid I would not get them out otherwise.
Painting the cement
Painting the cement was not as easy as I thought it would be. I used black spray paint and had to apply about 4 coats to the surface. The cement seemed to absorb the black colour and the grey colour kept coming through. I painted the stand black to blend in with the grim reaper. Once the paint was dry I removed the plastic from the skull.
Adding the hands and feet
I used the hands and feet that came in the bag of bones and attached them to the grim reaper using hot glue. To make the bones look a bit old and worn you can paint them black and wipe off the excess. The black will stay in the grooves giving the hands that dirty look. To finish the look you can add some accessories like the pumpkin and the trick or treat sign.
- Old towel (Recycled)
- Cement (Hardware store)
- Bag of bones (Budget store/Amazon)
- Black paint (Amazon/Hardware store)
- Scrap wood (recycled)
- Hot glue gun (Amazon)