What Goes Into Building a Vampire Killing Kit?
Article by the Artist Himself, CRYSTOBAL
I’ve built a lot of custom art items and stage props over the years. Usually people see the finished product. A lot, I get, “How the hell did you do that?” To which I usually answer, “I got drunk, went out to the garage, and a couple of days later I had this…”
Of course I’m joking. I save the booze for after the work is done, because unlike most creeps, I take my art very seriously. Especially when I’m doing a commission for someone…100% professionalism.
Anyway, it’s hard to explain what goes into a Vampire Killing Kit, as far as building and embellishing. Any idiot can put a bunch of crap in a box (and many do). To make these things look truly authentic, truly aged, takes some know-how, the right tools, and a lot of work.
I always start with a good looking box. IF commissioned to, I’ll build an antique-style box myself, but the cost involved turns most people off to the idea. It’s a whole other level of craftsmanship, and generally collectors who want a Vamp Kit aren’t that concerned about the intricacies of dove-tailing. So I find a good looking box, and start planning out the contents, first in my mind, then laying the different pieces in the box itself. Every box…as subsequently every Kit…is unique, and takes on characteristics of its own. Will this Kit include a knife? Or a pistol? Will it have Cross-stakes or stakes hand-hewn from tree limbs? Will it include any actual antiques? What era is it from? That last question dictates a lot of what the contents will be.
Next step is to start creating and antiquing the different items. I like to start with the Bible. If I’m using and antique Bible, I leave it alone. If it’s a new Bible that I’m making look antique, I use a combination of soil, liquids, and fire to get the weathered look I want. An old trick is to rub the spine and edges against concrete to get that worn look. There IS a trick to it…go too hard and you’ll rip it to shreds.
Next I usually start carving out the Cross-Stakes. This is fun. I won’t go into details of how I “antique” them because that’s a trade secret, and so far none of those *******’s who have copied my ideas have been able to duplicate it. I will say I learned the basics decades ago…my parents were antique dealers, and my Dad had to learn the way con men would take new stuff and pass it off as antiques so he wouldn’t get swindled. I took what he learned and taught me, and developed my own methods to get that CRYSTOBAL look.
Once the wood pieces and leatherwork are finished, I start on the weapons. Sometimes I have to take the pistols apart to get the right look. Sometimes a knife needs to be made “dirty”, with some hints that it’s had blood on it, a lot. Then the bottles…then last, I make the Rosary by hand. That’s tedious but people really appreciate the hand-beaded Rosary with the matching Cross-stake crucifix.
When all the pieces are done, I start building the interior of the Vampire Killing Kit box using wood “compartments” and shelves to hold the pieces in place. This is a very important part of the process, one that most cheapo imitators neglect. The compartments HAVE to fit the pieces. If not, it’s just junk in a box.
After the compartments are made and all pieces fitted in place, I take everything apart and apply my antiquing methods to the box. I usually adorn the boxes with crosses and coffin nails, too. For heavier boxes, I’ll attach new, sturdier handles. In most cases, though, for the Slayer Kits I sell to the public, I make sure to inform the buyer that these kits are made for display, and some light handling. Anyone who wants a sturdier, more robust kit to be used for cosplay, theatre, or whatever, should ask through the etsy shop for a custom piece. Prices usually aren’t too much higher, and if you’re going to lug the thing around to parties and whatnot, it’s worth it.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post. Next week join me as I share my tea biscuit recipe. (kidding)
- by Crystobal Artiste di Vampyre
- posted at 7:36 pm
- August 19, 2021