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2009 $20 Prop Challenge Do you think you can make a great prop for under 20 bucks? Then join in on the 2009 $20 Prop Challenge and test your skills against other HauntForum members. Hosted by HauntForum with prize announcements coming soon! Please see the contest rules for more info.

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Old 04-10-2009
SpookySam's Avatar
SpookySam SpookySam is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Austin, Tx
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Default Spooky Sam's '09 $20 prop: The Gravity Grabber

Introducing - The Gravity Grabber.

Here it is mounted to the ceiling:

And here it is in operation:


Used wiper motor off craigslist $10.00
Used PC power supply at garage sale $3.00
Diode $0.17
Leftover thermostat wire $1.44
Wire nuts $0.39
2.5 square feet of plywood $0.50
2 feet of 2x4 $0.16
Screws $0.15
2 feet of 1/2” gray conduit $0.22
Bolt, nut, and washers $0.13
1/10 can of black spray paint $0.10
1/10 can of white spray paint to cover black – changed my mind. $0.10
Drop down mechanism total $16.35

Foam skull from clearance last year $1.00
Wire hangers from cleaners Free
Packing peanuts Free
Part of a roll of duct tape (not much) $0.35
Plastic grocery bags Free
White kitchen trash bag $0.08
¼ can of brown spray paint $1.12
Corpse total $2.55

Grand total $18.90


There are essentially two main components to this prop.

The first is the motor & lever mechanism that houses the simple mechanics that cock and release the prop. The housing was built using plywood and 2x4 pieces. Conduit is used as a lever that the wiper motor acts against to raise and drop the prop. I used the parking switch function on the motor to allow the use of a momentary switch to trigger the prop. 3-conductor thermostat wire was run between the power supply/activation switch and the lever box. A diode prevents the parking switch from shorting the power supply. I painted this portion of the prop white with spray paint to blend to the ceiling.

The skeleton was created using mostly wire clothes hangers and a cheap-o foam skull. I used some packing peanuts and duct tape over wire to create the hand form. The rest of the body was shaped using only wire hangers with a bit of duct tape. For the arm, I also utilized one of the cardboard tubes off of a wire hanger for pants to create a radius and ulna. Once the rough form was in place, I began tying on plastic bags to “flesh out” the corpse. Using a heat gun, I melted down the bags to give a rotten appearance and used the trash bag to skin the torso using the same principles. I used a spray-on/wipe-off technique to paint the corpse.

I'll post some "build in progress" shots for you later.
The following 6 users liked SpookySam's post:
Old 04-14-2009
Joiseygal's Avatar
Joiseygal Joiseygal is offline
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Location: Union County, New Jersey
Age: 44
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Holy Crap Spooky, very nice prop!!! I love how you corpsed the skeleton and the idea of it coming from the ceiling. Very original!
Old 04-14-2009
RoxyBlue's Avatar
RoxyBlue RoxyBlue is offline
Totally Gargoylicious
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Gaithersburg, Maryland
Age: 61
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The corpsing is fantastic! I had no idea you could do that with plastic trash bags.
"Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome." (Isaac Asimov)
Old 04-15-2009
Sickie Ickie's Avatar
Sickie Ickie Sickie Ickie is offline
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Location: Illinois
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absolutely outstanding!
Old 04-15-2009
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Revenant Revenant is offline
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THAT is some first-rate corpse. Love the technique idea; gotta try that.
When choosing between two evils, always go with the one you haven't tried yet.
Old 04-15-2009
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Draik41895 Draik41895 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: castroville,ca
Age: 20
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Liked 12 times in 11 posts

that is some most genius work!I love it.did you think of melting it yourself?
Credo Quia Absurdium Est-I believe in it because it is absurd
Old 04-15-2009
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Bone Dancer Bone Dancer is offline
Batteries required
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Central Michigan
Age: 62
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Liked 21 times in 4 posts

That is one great looking corpse. Looking forward to more pics. Excellent job, Bravo.
No matter where you go, there you are.
Old 04-15-2009
SpookySam's Avatar
SpookySam SpookySam is offline
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Location: Austin, Tx
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Here is a photo progression of the body

Old 04-15-2009
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DeathTouch DeathTouch is offline
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Two thumbs up.
Old 04-15-2009
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joker joker is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: North EastTexas
Age: 42
Posts: 2,035
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Liked 24 times in 12 posts

WOW another great prop idea from SS!!

Will definitely have to try the plastic bag corpsing technique.

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