Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Ancient Egypt Halloween party

My Halloween party theme for 2017 was ancient Egypt! This is one I’ve been wanting to do for about 20 years! The theme is so rich with built-in imagery, colors, mythology, monsters, etc; it was insanely fun to explore. Here are some of the projects and costumes that went into our ancient Egypt Halloween party…

I started off by sending out our annual animated invitation; I make these every year, and my friend Robbie Davis always supplies music, and in this case, lots of cool sound effects. Read more…

Published by Manning on November 8th, 2017 | 2 Comments

Paper maché Anubis mask

I made this paper maché Anubis mask for Halloween 2017, for my ancient Egypt-themed Halloween party.

Paper maché Anubis mask - finished!

My main goals for this mask were to make something that would be wearable for all or most of my party; I wanted to figure out a way to make a large paper maché mask like this that allowed me to hear very well, see very well, and have good air circulation. I’d never worn a full head mask like this for my Halloween party, and I know from experience with my big Mardi Gras skull masks that seeing and hearing can be a challenge! Read more…

Published by Manning on October 31st, 2017 | No Comments

Cleopatra headdress

I made this feathered Cleopatra headdress for my lovely wife for our ancient Egypt Halloween party in 2017. I neglected to take any pictures of this thing while it was in progress! I was so rushed in the last week leading up to Halloween I just didn’t have time to document my process. But I’ll explain how I made it.

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Published by Manning on October 31st, 2017 | No Comments

Making a foam board Egyptian sarcophagus

I made this standing sarcophagus for Halloween 2017 — basically a big selfie booth! Here’s how I did it…

Paper mache Egyptian sarcophagus - finished!

Making an Egyptian sarcophagus - designing in Photoshop

I started by planning out the dimensions of the sarcophagus in Photoshop. The red and cyan boxes represent 30″ x 20″ sheets of foam board, and the grid is square inches, with dotted lines to denote feet. I don’t have a Photoshop template for this stuff; I just wing it and lay out and measure whatever parts I think are going to be important. You can see that my design was 6’2″. I built the sarcophagus at this size and later decided to add three more inches at the bottom, for a total of 6’5″. Read more…

Published by Manning on October 30th, 2017 | No Comments

Paper maché ancient Egyptian canopic jars

Paper maché ancient Egyptian canopic jars

I made these canopic jars as decorations for my Halloween 2017 party. Canopic jars are a set of four jars with the heads of Egyptian gods on top, and they were used during the mummification process to store various organs. I’ll let Wikipedia explain more about them rather than try to write about them myself. I wanted to make these for our ancient Egypt Halloween party to use as decorations in our mummification scene. Read more…

Published by Manning on October 30th, 2017 | 2 Comments

Spiked ceiling for my ancient Egypt Halloween party

I made this spiked ceiling for the entranceway into my ancient Egypt Halloween party. We have a small private hallway that you have to go through before entering our actual apartment, and we wanted to turn this space into the entrance to the tomb, like with hidden traps to foil would-be thieves or explorers. I didn’t take a ton of work-in-progress pictures of this project because there’s not a whole lot to show; this was a pretty easy one!

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Published by Manning on October 30th, 2017 | No Comments

Paper maché pickaxe and shovel decorations

I made these here pickaxe and shovel decorations for the entryway into our Egyptian tomb Halloween party. They were super quick and easy! I didn’t need to make them sturdy at all, since they were just for display, and they only needed to last one night, so I was able to cut a lot of corners! I didn’t take any photos of my steps (I was in a huge hurry for all these latest Halloween projects!), but they’re pretty easy to follow; check it out…

Paper maché pickaxe and shovel decorations in the entrance to our ancient Egyptian Tomb Halloween party

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Published by Manning on October 30th, 2017 | No Comments

Paper maché scarab beetle decorations

I made these very quick and easy paper maché scarab beetle decorations for my ancient Egypt Halloween party. They were a breeze! Check it out…

Paper mache scarabs with skeleton decoration

I started with these plastic bowls from the dollar store — four for a buck! I cut one of the bowls in half to make the head and back end of the scarab beetle. One half would be the head, and I cut the other half in halves again to create the division between the wing coverings.

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Published by Manning on October 30th, 2017 | No Comments

Egyptian hieroglyphics wall decorations

I made these craft foam wall coverings with hieroglyphics stenciled on them to create the look of ancient Egyptian tomb walls for my 2017 Halloween party. They were fun and pretty easy!

Egyptian hieroglyphs wall decoration - day time view of apartment

I’ve experimented with making big wall coverings for previous Halloween parties, using different materials that all come with different pros and cons… I’ve tried hanging big rolls of craft paper and applying a pattern with a giant stamp and tempera paint; the paper didn’t want to hang straight and the paint made it get all warped and wrinkled. Read more…

Published by Manning on October 30th, 2017 | 2 Comments

DIY mummy props

My wife and I made these mummies for our ancient Egypt Halloween party. I didn’t any pictures of our process but they were really easy! I’ll explain how we made ’em…

We started with a 5-foot articulated plastic skeleton; we buy these whenever we see them on sale and we’ve got a ton of them now. We ended up using two of the skeletons to make two mummies; the others went into different projects.

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Published by Manning on October 30th, 2017 | No Comments

Halloween 2017 theme revealed: TOMB

Check out our ancient Egypt Halloween party invitation! You (probably) ain’t invited but feel free to check out the video.

Coming soon: tons of paper maché and mummies and other spooky decorating projects!

Published by Manning on October 5th, 2017 | 2 Comments

Paper maché Necronomicon sculpture — part 2

This is part two of two of my paper maché demonic book project. See part one here.

Making the 3d “BOO!” logo

To create the “BOO!” logo in the mouth, I started out by printing several copies of the logo (designed by my friend Jon Morris) at the actual size; I’d planned out my sketch for the face along with the logo in Photoshop so I’d be able to plan all of these parts to fit together the way I wanted.

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Published by Manning on October 2nd, 2017 | 2 Comments

Haunted book paper maché sculpture for BOO! Halloween Stories — part 1

Haunted book sculpture - three-quarter view

I made this paper maché haunted book sculpture for the cover of the 2017 edition of BOO! Halloween Stories — a comics anthology that I’ve been doing with my friend Jon Morris off and on for about fifteen years. The cover is usually just a regular illustration, but this year Jon had the idea to have me sculpt a demonic book — you know, like the Necronomicon or whatever — and then photograph that for the cover of the digital comic. This was an insanely fun project; here’s how I did it!

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Published by Manning on October 2nd, 2017 | No Comments

Three-headed paper maché dragon sculpture! — part 2

This is part two of two of Isabella the dragon! See the first part here.

The sea serpent’s bodies and heads and fins and other various parts were done, but I had to do some other steps before assembling them. It made sense to switch gears here and work on the pedestal and tray area, to figure out how they’ll fit with the dragons.

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Published by Manning on September 5th, 2017 | No Comments

Three-headed paper maché dragon sculpture! — part 1

Isabella three-headed sea serpent sculpture

This was an incredibly fun commission piece I got to work on! I was contacted by a member of the Crewe of Columbus, a Mardi Gras crewe in Mobile, Alabama, and asked to make a sculpture of one of their parade floats — a very charming three-headed sea serpent(/dragon) named Isabella. The sculpture would have a serving tray area on top and be the centerpiece on one of the buffet tables at the group’s annual ball. The client sent me tons of photos of the Isabella float and asked for a sculpture that was approximately 40″ long from head(s) to tail(s). I couldn’t wait to get started!

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Published by Manning on September 5th, 2017 | No Comments