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What's This? Nightmare Before Christmas Figurines

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I don't really decorate for Halloween; the most I usually manage is a pretty Fall wreath and maybe a pumpkin or two by the front door. (All my efforts go toward decking the house out for Christmas. [Can't wait!])

Last week I finally did a little Halloween craft, though, so now at least I have this!

You like? I just put this together last night. It's always fun ransacking the house to find little doodads to make a new tabletop vignette. (The flower is a napkin ring. Hee.) And I always considered The Nightmare Before Christmas more Halloween appropriate, anyway.

The figures are the only new bits, and are the result of another of my painting projects. I hope it's not too obvious anymore, but they're actually soft rubber bath toys:

I bought these over a year ago at a Disney clearance outlet for $5.99. I immediately knew I wanted to try aging them with paints, but it's taken me this long (and my relative success with Donatello) to finally get down to trying.

Here's a pic in the light cube, so you can see the detail better:


And here's the dramatic before-and-after of Oogie Boogie:


Before you could barely see all the great texture he had. Not the burlap weave and stitches really pop:


Most of this was simply putting paint on and rubbing it off again, although the soft rubber proved especially challenging on Zero:

The paint soaked in and wouldn't wipe completely off again, so I just went with the extra grungy look and did my best to soften it. (I also painted in the black gaps under his ears & changed his collar from pink to red.) Now Zero is actually my favorite; the finish reminds me of the Armani figurines at Disney I love, which have a matte, soft look to them.

Not much more to tell, so here are a few more before-and-afters (I'm still kicking myself for not taking "before"s of Sally and Zero) and finished photos:


For Jack I had to repaint his suit gray, and then age it down with black paint. I also cleaned up the paint lines around his hands.


It's definitely a dirtier, creepier look, but we can get away with that for Halloween, right? (Right?)

Oh, and the rubber toys were really sticky right out of the package - not sure why - and even after cleaning and painting they still have a tiny bit of a tack to them. I'm going to test a few different kinds of matte clear coat to see if any will take the stickiness away. I'm guessing an oil-based spray should do the trick, but if any of you have a suggestion, please let me know in the comments!

And that's it! I hope these gave you a smile, and that you never look at bath toys quite the same way again. ;)

*****************

P.S. - Just so you know: you guys are amazing. All of you. Thank you for all your comments and e-mails and tweets and messages of support regarding my post yesterday. I promise to always strive to bring you as much joy and support and sincerity here on the interwebz as you bring to me. I don't think I'll ever quite manage it, but I'll happily spend my days trying!

Posted by Jen at 2:44 AM Labels: , , , ,

76 comments:

  1. These look fantastic. Better than the "real thing" even!
    Too bad I don't have any figures I can try this out on. Might have to get some....

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  2. They look fantastic - if I had any painting talent I would give it a go (luckily I have a husband who does)...off to raid the toy box....

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  3. Holy cow! Never, ever would have guessed that these were rubber toys before! You are truly an inspiration! :-D

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  4. I don't know if it would work for what you are doing, but a wash might accomplish this same look as well. I paint my husband's gaming minis and have found it very effective. You can get them at gaming stores like gaming workshop. These look fantastic though! So much better than the originals!

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  5. I am a HUGE NBC fan and I really really want to do this now! Every time I go to the Disney Store I end up leaving with something related to NBC. You are a true inspiration!

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  6. I love love LOVE NBC (ha! not the channel obviously :) ). My husband and I watch it every year at Halloween AND Christmas with our children, and this is fabulous! I started checking out my husband's TMNT collection after your last toy redo, now I'm looking through my own collection! Thanks for charing so many awesome ideas. When we purchased our first home, it was your crafty inspiration that turned me into a thrifty decorating madwoman mmwwaahaha. Maybe I'll share some pics some day of what I've done. I have an awesome 80's TMNT curtain I turned into throw pillows I think you would love :). You are truly inspirational!
    Nikki T

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  7. oh wow i love these, they turned out great! this is my hubs' favorite movie and we watch it every year on halloween AND christmas :)

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  8. Oh wow they're awesome they look like wood now! Halloween is the time I most get sad I live in England where no one but little kids make a fuss over it. :(

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  9. I have rarely been inspired as much as in the last two days. Yesterday because I realized I should shut up and enjoy what I've got. Today, Jack!

    I need to find these, or something similar, because, perfect Christmas for my sister!

    Keep being awesome. We love you out here. And in there. We love you everywhere! (Aaaand, now that I've sounded like Dr. Seuss, I'm thinking it's time to go, Sam-I-am). :)

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  10. Wow, these are amazing!

    I know that when sealing Sculpy and polymer clay objects that have been painted with acrylics, a lot of people use Varathane and other similar wood finishes: http://www.polymerclayweb.com/Materials/Finishes/Varathane.aspx

    I'm not sure how it would hold up with painted plastic, though--I'd test it on something else first!

    DO NOT use Mod Podge as a sealant on painted acrylic objects! I learned that the hard way. It looks fantastic, but it will remain slightly tacky on a more-or-less permanent basis. I tried wrapping some stuff up in paper towels for transport once, and they stuck, leaving the figurines coated in a layer of white fuzz.

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  11. In the first picture I totally thought they were ceramic. Those look really great!

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  12. These look SO much better! Modge Podge is the best for coating tacky things like this in my experience.

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  13. I never would have guessed that they were bath toys- even after seeing their original state and transformation! The mayor is the only one that looks a bit like a squeaky toy, but from what I remember (and I haven't seen the movie in quite awhile!) I always thought he kind of looked like one anyways!

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  14. I LOVE THIS! Nightmare is one of my all time favorites! Adn they were kind of cheezy before but now they are excellent! And i TOTALLY can't tell that they are soft rubber bath toys! Good job oh Paint Wizard!

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  15. LOVE the look of dog-thing. Zero? (Forgive me for never having seen this movie.) Now I want to try this technique. Drat you for always making me want to take up new hobbies. :) I also blame you for the fact that I'm about to buy a dremel-type tool with no specific projects in mind. :P

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  16. Wow! I would never have guessed these started out as bath toys. When you said they were new I assumed you bought them like that. If I find some suitable figures I might have to try the aging thing myself.

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  17. I would have never guessed they were bath toys. I love oogie boogie!

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  18. So cute! I saw the first pic and went where did she get the cute ceramic figures? My son had some of the old bath toys from the other sets, I'm now wondering if I could fix them like this! Great job!

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  19. It totally cracks me up that I got distracted by the Tom Swift book you used to display the statues in the one photo!
    (We met you in San Diego--we were the Tom Swift people with the crazy event, the TS pins and shirts, etc.)

    Nice paint job on those, btw.

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  20. LOVE the oogie boogie man!!! And to think I stared at SEVERAL of these sets when I was down there after SWCVI this year...

    And to your PS - I have EPBOT automatically load as one of several tabs in my browser every day. Much joy and relaxation and ABSOLUTE AWE from all this awesomeness! In my insomnia last night (when I really needed to be asleep so I could get to work on time today) I was thinking we need a new word to describe the height of awesomeness that is found here on EPBOT... all I came up with was EPtastic or just turning EPBOT into an adjective like how Google is a verb. So walking through a store and finding something really awesome, you could just say "OMG - isn't this so EPBOT?!" So keep it up. Even if you're in your house you bring the AWESOME to us while we're home or at work or miserable or happy :) And John is pretty awesome too - you guys are so. freaking. cool. And awesome. And EPBOT! ºoº okay... back to work for me...

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  21. Jen - have you been to www.craftgawker.com yet? They have a link for a steam punked Nintendo console. www.gadgetose.com

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  22. I would absolutely buy these in a store... or from you... or perhaps tiptoe into your house like our friend The Pumpkin King and hijack them.

    Beautiful work, as usual!

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  23. I love these! I do have to say Halloween is the best holiday ever! You may have just given me my new hobby!

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  24. These are SO great!! They look tons better than they did out of the package!! I bet you, if you ever decided to sell these, they'd be gone in a second!! Love, love, love!!

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  25. Those look awesome!! I've used Testors Matte Clear coat for model painting and it tends to work really well. It comes in a small spray paint bottle and you can get it at most craft stores in the model paint section.

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  26. I can't even say how much I LOVE these (and I'm not even a huge fan of Nightmare Before Christmas.) My hubs would die if I made something like this for him. He loves Jack and all the rest. Great job Jen!

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  27. Oh my goodness! These are amazing! When I saw them I thought they were wood figurines. I'm so impressed with your creativity. I don't think I can ever pull anything like this off. Thank you for sharing. :)

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  28. Brilliant!

    I bow to your crafty knowledge. I'd buy something like that MAYBE come up with the idea to age it, but not know where to start or how to go about it.

    I love the finished look on all of the figures.

    Andrea

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  29. so glad you could share this, and that you have an outlet to share everything, it really helps to talk about it all. I love these.

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  30. Love love LOVE these! You are so inspiring me to do more of my own work for decorating, especially as money seems to get tighter and tighter every year.

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  31. I seriously thought these were wooden figurines, looking at that first picture. I was going to ask where you'd bought them so I could get some.

    Fantastic!

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  32. Oooh, I love Oogie's texture, and I agree, Zero's my fave. Excellent inspiration, I wasn't going to do anything for Halloween, but now you've got my noodle spinning!

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  33. They look great! Going into museum professional mode - the tackiness might just be because the plastic/rubber is breaking down. Most people don't realize that plastic and rubber have a shelf-life, and after a few years it starts to go bad. You mentioned you got these on clearance, so my guess is they sat on a store shelf for a few years (their prime years), and now they're past their prime. Also, the fact that they were stored in plastic doesn't help. I always find that storing things in breathable containers keeps them fresher, longer. The only other sure way to stop them from deteriorating further is to store them in the freezer. Coating them will help with the feel though.

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  34. I never would have guessed these were bath toys! Totally awesome!!

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  35. Wow, great job! I wish I had those little figurines so that I cold have the perfect gift for my sister who collects Nightmare Before Christmas anything. I guess I'll have to settle for just sending her the link so she can ogle your pictures. :)

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  36. Wow, Jen, I you'd go crazy decorating the house with Ghostbusters stuff at Halloween, lol.

    These toys look great. I would've never known they came from a bath set if you hadn't of told us.

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  37. These are fab! It's amazing how much detail they built in to tub toys! Who doesn't love Nightmare Before Christmas?! <3

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  38. ok these turned out sooooo cool! you are awesome!

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  39. Those look amazing!! You did a great job! I am jealous. I LOVE Jack!

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  40. Great job!

    Do you have any of the Vinylmation NBC figures? I wonder how well they would age?

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  41. These are too awesome! I'm so jealous of your crafty genius!

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  42. I would have never guessed those were BATH TOYS to begin with. They look fantastic! Your painting skills are amazing, keep up the great work.

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  43. omg these are spectacular! They look so expensive. :O Well done, I'm totally inspired now.

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  44. #1 - SO FREAKING FABULOUS!!

    #2 - Inspired me to go looking for these toys. For the low (*cough*) price of $33 (+ $13 shipping!!!), you can buy them on Amazon.

    #3 - Amazon does have good shots of the "before" for Sally & Zero, if you are interested.

    Awesome inspiration!! :)

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  45. Those are amazing. I love the Oogie Boogie one especially because he looks very similar to how he does in the movie.

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  46. These look absolutely amazing Jen! Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my all-time favorite movies. Sadly, I don't seem to have ANY collectibles form it.

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  47. I think Google ate my comment so I'll try again...

    Wow I am green with envy here! What a great clearance score and you did a fabulous job sprucing them up. They look fantastic.

    I checked online and those bath toys run $15-$30, boo. I would totally make myself a set, I've always loved Nightmare Before Christmas.

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  48. I love NBC! And they look amazing, you seriously have talent! I would have never known they were rubber toys if you hadn't said anything. :D

    Btw, you painted Donatello earlier, not Leonardo. ;)

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  49. You have inspired me to do so many more crafts. I can't wait to make my own nixie clock. And these look amazing!!

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  50. These look amazing! I still cannot believe that they are kid's bath toys! Great job!

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  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  52. I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but the turtle in your tutorial is Donatello, not Leonardo. Sorry to be picky, but believe me when I say that I cannot help it.

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  53. Wow these look so cool. Like painted porcaline. I am going to be hunting out bath toys now.

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  54. These are so cool! I love them so much. NMBC has a special place in my heart, especially Sally as my best friend and I made her dress for my costume many years ago.

    As for sprays, everyone that repaints Monster High dolls swear by Mr. Super Clear.

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  55. D'OH!! Thanks for pointing out my Donatello/Leonardo snafoo, guys. I just fixed it!

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  56. I love this more than I can even begin to explain. So much in fact, that I searched all over for those bath toys and found them... for $40. I just dont have that kind of money lying around. But Maybe someday. They are beyond amazing and it truly made my day to see them. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I usually am preparing all summer, but this year has been... hard. This put me in the halloween (and christmas) spirit which I just wasn't sure I was going to get this year. A million thank yous! And a million more.

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  57. I love these! This plus your TMNT repainting inspiration plus extremely successful first try have made me feel a little more brave in trying toy re-painting projects myself.

    Plus, I am really happy that you've got some good Halloween decorations now. Halloween has always been my favorite (and most important) holiday... I think because Christmas comes with familial stress and obligation, where Halloween comes with playing dress up and eating candy! The Nightmare Before Christmas serves during both holidays for me -- really it's an excuse to not put away all the decorations right away, and let some linger all the way through December.

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  58. As always, I am in awe and at the same time inspired by your fabulous DIY that makes everything better.

    I had trouble painting some rubber bugs and snakes with a matte black spray paint this Halloween. I had to abandon and toss them because they got insanely sticky. Let me know if you find something that works with your Nightmare figures to reduce the tack.

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  59. Those look SO much better than the originals! Disney should just make them like that in the first place!

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  60. Jen, you have talent upon talent. Not only are you an awesome craftswoman, you have a great eye for decor, accessorizing, and the like (see: your entire home; Lady Vadore costume; etc.). Your vignette is beautiful, beyond the extraordinary figures you aged. I am most envious of your many talents.

    Keep amazing us with your mag skills, young lady!

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  61. Ah-MA-zing!! Before I read the rest of the post I kept looking at the first picture and wondering what in the world the craft project was! I think they are completely appropriately spooky. Yay Halloween!

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  62. Wow, these look great! You've given them such an eerie/adorable look: perfect for Halloween!
    By the way, your previous post was so inspiring and touching. I sent it to a friend who has a child with anxiety disorder. She said they read it together, including the comments, and it was really moving for them. Thank you!

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  63. Have you seen this steampunk christmas fabric from Urban Threads? http://www.urbanthreads.com/products.aspx?productid=UTP1024

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  64. These are so amazing! I would never have looked at the first picture and thought "bath toys"! Exceptionally well done.

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  65. Those are fan-freaking-tastic! Love the grungy look of them.

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  66. I'm not sure where else I could post this link for you, but it's super cute and geeky kid and baby Halloween costumes. I've never left a comment with a link so hopefully it works!

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  67. Jen! Those look amazing! It would never have occurred to me to age a plastic tub toy. You are a genius I say, a true genius! Now I'm going to have to look at everything with a crafty eye.

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  68. You don't like decorating for Halloween? The one holiday that's official colors are black and ORANGE? I'd have figured you have your whole place decked out in as much orange as possible.

    Love the distressed figurines, by the way. I wish I had the time to do this myself.

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  69. Wow, the plastic painting seems to turn out so well. I'm currently working on a project that involves painting Nerf guns, and your advice will be really helpful. Maybe I'll send in pictures if they turn out.

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  70. Those are amazing! I'm really jealous! ^_^ We are a NMBC family and it's defiantly a watch at Halloween and then all through the holidays thing for us.

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  71. I am in AWE!!! These are uh-mazing!!!!!

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  72. these are amazing!! you have some amazing ideas in that noggin missy!!

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  73. Those are so fantastic!! Now I have to go find a copy of the movie to watch. I second the recommendation for Testor's Dullcote to seal them. I use it on customized My Little Ponies and it works really well on that particular plastic. It should be ok on yours too.

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  74. I wish you had done this post 4 years ago when I used rubber duckies to propose to my (now) wife. I tried to use paint markers to repaint the hats and whatnot, and it just was wet and sticky and everything. Well, done.

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  75. I love that Disney Outlet store in Orlando! I went after CV and CIV. I got a bunch of pins, a SW puzzle, and some SW sound buttons in 2010. But this year all I was able to find was a Steampunk Mickey mouse pad. They had iphone covers too, but alas, I don't have an iphone.

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