At the Virginia gathering at Niccodaemus’ house, Kathleen (Accokeek Amusements) taught me how to make a monster mud figure. I had made the frame from half-inch PVC pipe at home and brought it with me. I made a square box for a frame with the top slightly less wide at the top. After putting on the chicken wire, it was decided the top was still too wide, giving the shoulders too much width. So we cut through the chicken wire, cut off a couple of inches off the parallel pipes, put it back together and crimped the chicken wire back together.

The base of the frame was made using “T’s” instead of elbows at the corners. Once the figure was in place in my yard I put a piece of rebar through the parallel sides, extending out each end. A U-shaped piece of heavy wire was pushed down over the rebar into the ground on each side of the figure so that it wouldn’t be knocked over by wind, TOTer’s, or vandals.

The figure was made on the front porch, covered by a painter’s cloth. This picture was taken before the shoulder width was reduced and shows the wire wrapped around the frame for the body.

The next pictures shows the wire forming the head. It was decided the weight wouldn’t be heavy enough to warrant a rigid frame underneath.

Next the chicken wire arms were formed by rolling a long tube, flattening it in the center, and tucking the flat part between the cowl and body. One long piece of burlap was tucked under the “head” and hung to the floor. It was held to the chicken wire frame with baling wire “thread”. Several pieces were used to cover the arms, sides, and back. The burlap was pushed down into the pail of mud before hanging and more was smeared on by hand where needed. No measuring was done for the mud formula. Some of the drywall joint compound was poured out of the large container into a small bucket. Paint was poured into the space left in the compound bucket and mixing was done with a drill with a paint mixing attachment. My hand got tired using the drill and several people took turns mixing the mud.

The cowl was added last. Tiny holes showed through the burlap in many places and were covered by slapping more mud on them. Some folds in the material were pushed and pulled until I liked the way they hung. Below is the finished product, still wet on the porch. The finished figure weighed about 25 pounds. It was difficult to move because of it’s size, a little over seven feet tall.

Two spray cans of polyurethane were used to coat the figure after it dried. It wasn’t exposed to rain but stood outside a couple of weeks before Halloween. Below is the picture of “Francisco” in the cemetery a week before Halloween.

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