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...New for 2005



I was cruising eBay in June 2005 looking for Halloween items when this appeared (Item number: 6540762136).
The seller had named her Black Widow and included a lot of detail regarding how she was made with many photos.
I thought this was one of the coolest props I'd seen for a while.
I watched it but it exceeded my price range.  It ended up sell for $203.50  + s&h.

I was struck by the simplicity of the prop.
A female mannequin with long black hair, a homemade black outfit and skeleton arms.
I could do this myself.... cheaper!!!!




I started pricing mannequins on eBay and via Google.
After doing some comparison shopping, I found a good price on a vintage 60s/70s mannequin with no hands on eBay.
Her arms are removable and she comes apart at the waist.
I got her for $50 with Buy It Now and paid $25 s&h. 

Next, I went looking for the arms.
Most I found cost over $25 each. I began to think it was going to cost more than I thought.
I found Anatomical Chart Company on the web selling Fully Articulated Arms with Shoulder Blade for 12.95 each.
I purchased a right and left.
I had the body and the arms for Walking Death and had spent a little over $100.


I found some extremely pale gray paint at Wal-mart ($5), and painted my mannequin. 
Several of the neighbors slowed or stopped as they drove by at the site of my gray 2-piece mannequin drying in the yard.
I already had the enamel model paint for the facial features.
On my 1st attempt at detailing the face I used too large a paint brush so, I'm going to repaint her gray and try again
after locating my good paint brushes...


Again after much searching on the web, found a long black synthetic wig on eBay for $10 plus $10  shipping.
It is in a different style than Black Widow's (I don't want her to look exactly the same).
Except for the dangling beads, I now have everything I need to finish making Walking Death and
I have spent $135 so far.

I decided to purchase the clothes at thrift shops.  Over a 2 wk period I visited most of my local stores.
I bought a long black full skirt for $7, a very decorative black silk-lined vest for $5
 and two black polyester nightgowns, one plain, one with an 8" lace centerpiece running down the front for $13.
(I also bought white sheets and white sheers.....always useful Halloween items)
Now the total spent on Walking Death was $160.

The Cape

I decided to cut the one lace nightgown in half so the lace would decorated the vertical edges of the cape.
I cut the straps at the breast top and use them to tie the cape on around the neck.
I folded over some of the lace at the top to make lapels.
I used the smaller plainer nightgown to widen the cape making two triangle inserts to give it more width and folds.
I made large irregular triangular cuts across the bottom to give tattered appearance.

August 18, 2005

Got busy sewing last night and made her top and belt. Bought a long sleeve shiny shirt at the thrift store for $5 and cut off the arms. Used the top of the shirt to make her top and used the bottom of the shirt to make the belt. Decided to cut up the pretty vest for trim since it didn't fit me anyway. Purchased the dangling beads for $8 at a fabric store. Will use the sleeves to make the cuffs for the cape.

August 19, 2005
99% finished sewing costume!!!

Got wide black lace trim at thrift store for $1
to decorate the cuffs to match the lace on the cape.
Made the cuffs from pieces of the shiny shirt sleeves and lace
and sewed onto cape.
Upper cuffs use Velcro to attach/detach to arms,
lower cuffs use existing shirt cuff buttons.

Could not bear to cut up the $7 skirt (too pretty).
Decided to keep to wear myself.
Bought a black linen skirt for $1 at thrift store and tattered bottom.

Remaining costume work:
Still want to place long tassel-like trim on belt.

Have not attached arms yet, just hanging in the sockets.
Once properly attached, I can pose them better.

Just tossed the wig I purchased on her head for photo.
Will permanently attach and style after face is painted.

I thinks she's looking pretty, don't you???

Total cost to date:
$160 previous balance
 + $5shirt - $7skirt + $1skirt + $1lace trim + $8beads =

August 28, 2005

Repainted her face. I think it turned out great.
Decided to add latex shoulder dragon purchased from eBay months ago to her display.
Used three pieces of Velcro to hold wig in place.

August 29,2005

Attached the arms.
Drilled small hole in arm socket
and used small screw and nut.
Sort-of holds her arms in place but not quite.
I'm trying to figure out a better way to pose
her arms.
I think I need some kind of hard fat bushings...

Decided her face was too shiny.
Bought clear matte finishing spray
at Home Depot for $3
and sprayed her face but,
it dulled her silver eyes too much,
will have to repaint them.

Decided I needed to add some tattered sleeves to her top to cover the attachment of the skeletal arms

Decided to pin the cape under the collar in the back so more lace is visible and cape hangs better off arms.


September 6, 2005

Purchased a 3/8" x 36" square metal rod
at Home Depot for $6 for the stand.
(white price tag near left foot)

Grand Total for Project:  $175

Well...I did it cheaper, but not by much.
I found finishing this project anticlimactic and even dallied with the idea of selling her.
 I think that was because of my uncertainty as to where she should go in my haunt. She needed a special place.
It wasn't until October that I came up with the Dungeon and Standee ideas.  Now I knew she she would be 'in pictures'.


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Copyright @ 2005, Holly A Zell
Revised:  October 08, 2007 11:17