"When the Lights Go OUT!"

   by Cindy DeGraw for Somewhere in Time (2015)

When you were a kid, did you ever make a 'flying leap' into bed at night because you just knew there was something under there? Did you ever imagine and truly believe there were things creeping in your bedroom at night or shadows on the wall or something in your closet besides clothes?
After much thought and many options, I selected this theme for the Mystery Build 2015. "When the Lights Go OUT!" is a work that portrays an array of things so many children experience in their bedrooms when it's time for bed and the lights are turned off. It is that eerie period of time when you lay in bed all tucked in, unable to fall right to sleep, and your imagination takes the dark.

The scene was designed in a whimsical manner to help lighten the mood of the subject matter. In contrast, the audio is edgy and spooky.
The young boy, creature, and snakes are sculpted in cartoon style. The bed was designed to have a topsy-turvy feel. Twisting the bed and having only three feet on the floor help to portray the idea. The skewed nightstand depicts a menacing face. The square headed man in the window is, well..., my own, personal, nightmare.

Project base : The floor is made from the Mystery Box itself. Most of the scene sits on top of the inverted box. But the creature under the bed, the rug, and the bed all appear to be falling because of the collapsing floor. The collapsing floor is created from the attached lid of the Mystery Box; inverted. The cardboard from the underside of the lid was carefully peeled away, layer by layer, until it was thin enough to manipulate. When dry I freehanded a whimsical faux wooden floor. Then, the collapsing floor ripples were formed on top of cylindrical objects, like paintbrush handles, dowel rods, and pencils of diminishing sizes, and allowed to dry. The underside is heavily coated with glue and peeled cardboard layers were used to stabilize the shape of the ripples. The Friendly Plastic Metallic Stick was used underneath the collapsing floor for suspension support when filming.

Boy in Bed : His body, head, face, ears, and pajamas are sculpted from EZ Shape Modeling clay. The eyes are baked balls of Premo! clay painted white and inserted into the hallowed orbs of the face. He is built on Armature Wire. His hands and feet are made from Premo! clay. He was then painted and airbrushed. Single strands of burlap from the Burlap Fabric was taped to the worktable and then shredded with a wire brush. It was these fine strands that are implanted into the head piece by piece to create a full head of hair.

The Bed : The bed is made to scale based on a twin size. Armature Wire is fabricated in the shape of a bed frame. Strands of burlap are tied across the bed frame. The frame was then twisted to portray a bed in motion. The Foam Pad was cut in half to make the mattress. The sheet is made from thin white Sheet Foam material. The sheet was placed over the mattress and a heat gun used to conform the shape of the sheet to the mattress. In each corner of the sheet a single strand of burlap, painted white, is sewn in place with Nylon Thread in a circular loop to serve as a sheet keeper. A wavy paper pattern was drawn to create a twisting motion in the bed. The pattern was transferred to the Wooden Disc and utilized both in the headboard and footboard. The attached panels are created from the thin Sheet Foam. Popsicle sticks were soaked in water, cut into strips and dried on a jig that was made to replicate the top line of the headboard and footboard. The strips were then used as trim on the bed panels. Wood Dowels are used for the four corner posts of the bed. Premo! clay was formed in twisted spirals for finials of the bedposts. The thick, heavy spiraled feet of the bed is made from EZ Shape Modeling clay and painted.

Floor Lamp : Pre-painted Armature Wire is twisted together to form the lamp support and the lampshade ring. From the peeled Label of the Mystery Box, a strategically selected section was cut and adhered to a clear sheet of Shrink Film to make the lampshade. The base is made by gluing the Armature Wire support to the Steel Marble; sandwiched in EZ Shape Modeling clay, then glued to an inverted Wood Bowl and mounted on three Popsicle sticks. The light bulb is a Wood Egg.

Square Headed Man : The window and ladder was created first so the man and his appendages would fit properly to the scene. Made much like the boy in the bed, Armature Wire and clay is utilized to create the man climbing through the window. A square block of wood is used as underlayment for the head and a short piece of dowel for the neck. Unlike the boy in the bed, where only the hands and feet are created with Premo! clay, this entire man is made from Premo! clay. But, to save on clay, small scraps of Popsicle sticks were used as filler for the body and overlaid with clay. The work was then baked and airbrushed.

Creature Under the Bed : A Wooden Half-Ball is the base for the head. A rolled sheet of Premo! clay is shrouded around the Wood to form the face. To save on material, the body and legs are sculpted in a reptilian fashion from Premo! clay then baked and airbrushed.

The Nightstand : From scrap cardboard, the panels of the dresser are designed to suggest movement. The front of the dresser carries a "face" of hardware and trim made from Sheet Foam and Premo! clay. The sidewalls and drawer are crafted from cutouts from the peeled core of the Painting Board. The front and back are cut from the Mystery Build Brochure. The top of the dresser and face panels is Sheet Foam.

The Mirror : Aluminum Bar was cut on a scroll saw and manipulated to form a wave shape used on the sides of the mirror frame. The top and bottom is square Hardwood Rod. The horizontal base and supports on the back is Popsicle sticks and the half circle legs are from the Wood Ring. The ghost image in the mirror is drawn/painted on the backside of Shrink Film.

Window, Wall, & Ladder : The window is constructed from Painting Board. The hinges on the window are small pieces of hammered Armature Wire. The curtain rod is also made from Armature Wire with clay finials. The wall is made from 4 x 6" Artist Canvas Panel. The ladder was created from Popsicle sticks cut to size and glued.

Curtains, Bedspread, Pillow & Rug : The white Cotton Bag that held the small Wood craft pieces in the Mystery Box were used to make soft goods. First, the bag had the white draw string and sewn seams removed. The red sewn seam was left intact and can be seen at the top of the bedspread and curtains in the finished work. The material was then ironed flat and hand dyed. With a paintbrush, various line patterns are made in the bedspread, pillow, and curtains. Removing threads from the edges created fringe. The rug is made from the Burlap Fabric. A diamond paint template was created to provide a pattern on the rug. Thin cut and dyed strips of the Cotton Bag were dyed, ironed, and fringed to use around the edge of the floor rug.

The Spider : The spiders legs are made from Burlap strands. The body is made from EZ Shape Modeling clay and painted.

Video Audio : A voice altering phone app was used to change my voice and inserted into the audio: "Ha, ha, ha. Look around you. What do you see? Your fears I feed upon! Won't you come and play with me? Ha, ha, ha!" Various Apple stock sound effects are used throughout and one eerie sound track from a co-worker.
Background music tracks are "Chee Zee Cave" and "The Complex" by:
Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

My inspiration comes from a love for the spooky, eerie, and bizarre! The poetry of Edgar Allen Poe, the music, sights and sounds of Halloween, a haunted house to explore are all right up my alley. For me, growing up was an unshared bedroom, my brothers in the next bedroom over. But, when the lights went out, my imagination took over. Could this be where die-hard Halloween fans like me are created?

P.S. I give credit to my daughter, Cody, for coming up with the collapsing floor idea! A huge kudos to my friend, Prudence, for helping with the photography! And a thank you to Jesse B. for an original sound clip used in the video!