I’ve been wearing my hand-painted skeleton suit for five Mardi Gras in a row now, with a few Halloweens thrown in there as well, and for some reason the pants seem to be harder to squeeze into every year! Huh! I wonder how that could be; they must keep shrinking in the wash a little more every single year! Yeah, that’s gotta be it. So anyway, it’s reached a point where I absolutely needed to make new ones for this Mardi Gras; last year I seriously thought they might split open on me during a parade! I learned a lot from how I made these last time, and luckily this was a much more successful project my second time around…
Interested in a custom paper maché mask, sculpture, or decoration made by yours truly? I’ve been getting a lot of requests about this lately so I’ve added a page about custom pieces, with some guidelines about timing and pricing. Drop me a line and let’s talk!
For all my Halloween parties, I try to have at least one big decorated area that makes for a good backdrop for photos. This time our main photo area was this big ouija board wall decoration. It was really easy to do and ended up in a ton of our guests’ photos.
The letters and shapes are all cut out from black poster board. I photographed and measured the wall, and designed the arrangement of the letters in Photoshop to fill up the space nicely. Here’s what that looked like:
This is just a fun thing I want to share; not much of a “making stuff” project, but a really fun decoration. I recently got my cello out of storage and decided to work it into a Halloween decoration for my seance party: a skeleton playing the cello in a bathtub full of blood!
I had a nice store-bought skeleton that I’ve used for several scenes I’ve set up over the years. These skeletons come with very limited mobility, but I’ve modified mine to make them better for posing. Normally their mobility is limited to the following: their arms can only swing forward at the shoulder and bend forward at the elbow, and the legs can swing forward at the hip and bend back at the knee. Read more…
I made these lightweight fake books to hang from the ceiling for my seance Halloween party, to look like they were floating around the room due to spectral activity! These were really cheap and easy and fun to make!
I made graphics in Photoshop for several of the surfaces of the books: the pages, the left and right edges of the pages (those are the long straight pieces pictured below), and the tops and bottom edges of the pages (i.e. the curved pieces). I did some Google image searches of old books to find references for all of this, and then did a lot of tweaking and measuring in Photoshop. Read more…
This was the second of the two “person getting killed by a ghost” costumes that I designed. Read about mine here for most of the basic info. I made my fiancée’s ghost second, using most of the same steps and materials, with a few important differences. I’ll cover those below…
Hooboy, this costume was a big undertaking! The basic concept for this costume is a lightweight ghost sculpture, made with wires inside to make it somewhat adjustable, and it’s attached to a harness worn under one’s clothes. There were so many different parts to build and so many problems to solve, and I basically made up the whole thing as I went along, jumping around from part to part in a weird order. So, I’ve put together as much info as I can about how I made this thing here…
These are so easy! For my séance Halloween party, I wanted a quick and easy method to make dozens of knives and have them floating in our kitchen, held aloft by murderous ghostly hands (i.e. hanging on fishing line). The knives needed to be lightweight, cheap, and relatively quick so I could make a ton of them. (I also wanted them to not actually be dangerous if one of them were to fall on someone; the lightweight part is key there.) I came up with this method that’s really fun and easy and the knives look great. I made all of these in just a couple hours (with some drying time for the paper maché and the paint). Anyway, all ya gotta do is…
This homemade crystal ball decoration was for my séance Halloween party. The main decorations for the party were lots of pieces of lightweight paper maché furniture hung upside down on the ceiling. This crystal ball was the centerpiece for all of that, hanging upside down from the little paper maché table I made. It was fun and easy to make!
I considered a lot of options for the clear ball part itself; my main criteria were that it had to be lightweight, transparent, and preferably cheap. I ended up buying an 8″ acrylic globe off of Amazon; these are meant to go over a light, like on a light post in front of your house or whatever. They come in a lot of sizes, with options for clear or frosted, and mine ended up being about $11. You can find these at Home Depot too.
I made these creepy hands for my “guy being strangled by a ghost” costume! (Article about that whole thing coming soon.) You could use this same method for posable, realistic hands for any kind of monster decoration: a witch, a vampire, a zombie, etc!
First, I traced my own hand onto a sheet of craft foam (aka Wonderfoam). I kept my thumb stretched way out since ultimately I wanted these hands to be in a strangling position around my neck.
I got the idea for this lamp when I saw this plastic bottle of almond milk in our fridge; it’s a neat bowling-pin shape that’s perfect for an old-timey lamp. I decided to add this lamp project to the list of lightweight paper maché furniture that we’re hanging from the ceiling for our spooky séance party.
Okay, one last piece of furniture before I lose my mind! This time, a floating haunted nightstand with a floating haunted lamp.
I started the nightstand with three big pieces of foam board — the front, back, and top.
This mantel is possibly the biggest paper project I’ve ever made! (Well, this or the giant spider.) I don’t have a ton of work-in-progress photos for the construction of the mantel — I did a tremendous amount of sketching and measuring beforehand, and a lot more along the way as the thing came together and I kept adding things. Almost all of the pieces are foam board, with a little bit of poster board, all held together with lots and lots of packing tape and masking tape.
This is part two of my paper maché furniture projects for my séance Halloween party; see part one (chairs!) here.
With the chairs done, I moved on to the table! Unlike the chairs, I didn’t have a real table handy to use as a model for this, so I just made up a table based on some Google image searches for victorian round table.
For my upcoming séance party I wanted to have a few pieces of paper maché furniture stuck upside down on the ceiling — a table with a crystal ball, two chairs, maybe a little dresser with a lamp, etc. The main guidelines I set for myself are: the furniture all has to be extremely lightweight, since it’ll all be attached with thumbtacks to the ceiling, and it doesn’t have to be super realistic, since the lighting in the party will be low. I started with the chairs; here’s how I made ’em!
I have some simple Ikea chairs that I used as a model. My plan was to trace and/or draw the various pieces of a chair onto foam board, and then cut out all the pieces and assemble ’em and hope they resemble a chair.