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Creative Competition - House of Wax

23 October 2012

If you're a fan of life-size wax-works and enjoy the recreation of some of the gruesome points in history, then Helen Dunn's entry to the 2012 Creative Competition could be right up your street!

The unusual entry caught the eye of the judges, the quality of work and the curious subject matter. Helen tells us about the project in her own words -
The inspiration for my Victorian wax works museum was the Vincent Price film 'House of Wax'. I decided to put the stairs inside so first cut off the extra piece and filled in the upper door. I built a frame work for the two main lower exhibits from scrap wood and fitted an arch for the stairway. I added a false wall and entranceway upstairs and this was then all plastered and painted.  I wanted it to look a little run down so 'dirtied' the walls. The wall gaslights I made from paperclips and jewellery findings which were sprayed black. The red velvet drapes add to the Victorian feel.

The knight and Roman were pencil sharpeners that I spray painted and fitted to wooden plinths and the Egyptian figure on the stairs I made by gluing a chess piece to an upside down chimney pot. After a lot of trial and error, with a soft drinks can and plastic milk carton, I finally made the dungeon cage from a sheet of stiff card, seed bears were added to resemble rivets and then the whole thing sprayed black. I made the frame work for the proprietor's corner from builders mesh sandwiched between thin strips of wood bought from The Dolls House Emporium and then varnished. Once complete I made a desk and accessories including packing crates with the head of his next exhibit, Marie Antoinette, a hammer and chisel lie on the open crate.

Joan of Arc and Cleopatra were made from dolls that I altered but all the figures in the chamber of horror were the result of my first attempt at polymer clay figures. I lengthened the heads on the posts slightly to show the effect of gravity, yuk, and put a bloodied head in the basket. The guillotine was made from the railing pieces that were included with the upper shop kit and the gallows from balsa. I made a brick work effect on the  dungeon wall using a stencil and added chains and manacles and dirtied the wall behind this to simulate the effect of all those bodies that have hung against it. I tried to make the man in the dungeon look scrawny and old and added chains to his neck and wrists. I made a brazier with tongs and a branding iron to ad to the dungeon scene. The roped cordon was made from kebab skewers and jewellery findings.

Externally I 'bricked' the upper floor and plastered the lower floor and sides. I made the frames for the signs from mini dado rail and frosted the bottoms of the windows using a frosting spray. I used kebab skewers to make ridges on the rood and covered with thick cooking foil. The roof tiles were cut from thin card and painted  i dried real leaves in the oven and then cut out tiny leaf shapes using a punch. These were stuck to the roof and then pools of 'rain' added using scenic water.  I added two little pigeons and made splodges of pigeon 'poo' using acrylic paints.

I have really enjoyed creating this, I think it has been my favourite of The Dolls House Emporium kits, so far...

And here are a selection of images for you to check out, as we're sure you'll agree, there's a lot of great detail! Stay tuned for more of the creative competition entrants.

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