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

Giant scary clown Pez dispenser — part 2

This is part two of my giant scary clown Pez dispenser project! See part one here.

Giant evil clown Pez dispenser - finished head

Making the evil clown head

For the spooky clown head, I started by cutting a panel of foam board that’s the same size as the top panel of the Pez dispenser body (see part one), to use as a base for the head, in order to ensure the head will fit nicely on the “neck.” I built the rest of the head onto this panel.

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Published by Manning on September 16th, 2018 [No Comments]

Making giant paper maché Pez candies

I made these giant paper maché Pez candies to go with my scary clown Pez dispenser prop for Halloween 2018! I made half a dozen of them, one to go in the Pez dispenser and the others to have strewn around nearby. They were easy to make! Here’s how I did ’em…

Making giant PEZ candies - finished!

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Published by Manning on September 16th, 2018 [No Comments]

Giant scary clown Pez dispenser!!! — part 1

I made this 6-foot scary-ass clown Pez dispenser for my Halloween party in 2018! The idea came to me when I was working on some other giant candies and realized this would be a pretty easy project that would really add to the overall ambiance.

Giant evil clown Pez dispenser - finished!!!

My first step for this project was laying everything out in Photoshop and figuring out the exact measurements for the “body” of the Pez dispenser — the evil clown head I pretty much just freestyled!

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Published by Manning on September 16th, 2018 [No Comments]

Paper maché giant gummi bears!

These were so fun! I made these paper maché gummi bears as part of a set of giant candy decorations for my haunted gingerbread house Halloween party!

Making giant gummi bears - painting

I created a reusable base for the giant gummi bears; I built one nice solid gummi bear shape and then used it to make multiple paper maché copies. (Other projects where I used a reusable base: paper maché baby chicks, twin skull masks)

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Published by Manning on September 1st, 2018 [No Comments]

Giant candy cane decorations!

I made these giant 4-foot paper maché candy cane decorations as part of a set of giant candy decorations for my haunted gingerbread house Halloween party — that’s why they’re orange and black rather than red and white! Our theme was basically “haunted gingerbread house” so I made lots of different kinds of giant spooky candies. I did these in Halloween colors but of course you could do them in more traditional colors for Christmas!

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Published by Manning on August 30th, 2018 [No Comments]

Making an oversized medieval key prop

Check out my giant medieval key! I made this for our spooky gingerbread house themed Halloween party, to hang on our bathroom wall across from the bathtub-converted-into-a-cage-full-of-bones. This thing was so easy to make, and it only took one day (besides painting).

Medieval key prop - painting

I started out by doing a Google image search for medieval keys. There are so many cool styles to choose from; I sort of mixed and matched some elements from a few keys, with the goal of keeping the design simple and iconic. Read more…

Published by Manning on August 29th, 2018 [No Comments]

Halloween 2018 theme revealed: Gingerbread house!

This is the earliest I’ve ever announced our Halloween theme! This year for our Halloween party we’ll be transforming our apartment into a haunted gingerbread house, à la Hansel and Gretel but Halloween-ified, with tons of giant paper maché candies, a huge witch statue and an oven, and probably some bits from other spooky fairytales mixed in. We’re still refining the theme but I’m very excited about this as a starting place! Read more…

Published by Manning on August 27th, 2018 [3 Comments]

Baroness de Pontalba skeleton costume, Mardi Gras 2018

This is my fiancée’s Baroness de Pontalba skull mask and costume for Mardi Gras 2018 — her very first mask for Skeleton Krewe! She was very clear from the beginning of the project that I wasn’t allowed to lay a finger on her mask during its creation, but she let me explain my methods and show her some techniques while I was working on my own skull mask at the same time. I don’t have any work-in-progress pics of her skull mask but I wanted to post the results, which are lovely!

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Published by Manning on August 27th, 2018 [No Comments]

“Good enough for Halloween!”

“Good enough for Halloween” is a phrase I say all the time; it’s basically my mantra during all of August / September / October, and I do not say it lightly!

I hope I don’t need to explain that Halloween is my favorite time of year, and I care about it so deeply that I can get super emotional about it if I’m not careful! So you might think that I’d want to obsess over every detail of my Halloween projects, but it’s really the opposite! I honestly try to cut as many corners as possible for my Halloween stuff. Read more…

Published by Manning on August 25th, 2018 [No Comments]

Custom SLY skull trophy sculpture

SLY skull sculpture - painting finished!

I made this skull sculpture (skullpture??) for my good friend, Twitch superstar Slyvinlisha, aka Sly. I made the sculpture based on two different versions of her logo illustration, pictured below.

SLY skull sculpture - reference illustrations

I started with a nice plastic skull from one of my Halloween skeleton decorations that broke in half due to a spooky Halloween mishap! I broke the neck off at the base and put the rest of the bones away to use for other Halloween decorating purposes. Read more…

Published by Manning on March 31st, 2018 [No Comments]

Axeman skull mask! — part 2

Axe Man paper mache skull mask

This is part two of my Axeman paper maché skull mask for Mardi Gras 2018; see part one here.

Making the mustache

You may remember from part one I wanted to make the mustache attach to the skull with magnets so it’s removable. Here’s my convoluted process for designing the mustache, getting it to match the curvature of the skull, and getting the placement of the magnets correct.

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Published by Manning on February 12th, 2018 [No Comments]

Axe Man skull mask for Mardi Gras 2018

Axe Man paper mache skull mask

Here’s my Axe Man skeleton costume for Mardi Gras 2018! The Axe Man was a semi-legendary serial killer in New Orleans in 1918-1919; you can read all about him here. This year Skeleton Krewe designed skulls and costumes based on figures from New Orleans history, to celebrate the city’s tricentennial, so of course I picked the creepiest guy I could find. Here’s how I made his skull mask, and don’t miss my other article about making the oversized paper maché axe prop.

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Published by Manning on February 12th, 2018 [No Comments]

Skeleton Krewe — That’s how we roll!

Just a fun animation I made; indirectly related to my paper maché skull masks!

Skeleton Krewe - That's how we roll!

A thing I used to keep quiet on this website but have gotten more in the habit of mentioning is that I’m a member of a Mardi Gras marching krewe in New Orleans called Skeleton Krewe. That’s (obviously!) the reason I make all my paper maché skull masks and skeleton clothes. I’ve been a full-fledged member of Skeleton Krewe since 2013, so I’ve made six skull masks so far. I’ll be unveiling my new one on Mardi Gras morning, February 13th! Read more…

Published by Manning on February 3rd, 2018 [No Comments]

Making an oversized paper maché axe

I made this big ol’ paper maché axe prop for my Axe Man skeleton costume for Mardi Gras 2018 (read about the real Axe Man here!). It was easy to make! Here’s how I did it…

Paper mache axe

(Wax mannequin for scale.)

Paper mache axe - printouts

I started by grabbing a photo of an axe online and editing it in Photoshop to be the size that I wanted; about 48 inches long total with an oversized blade that’s about 16 inches long. Read more…

Published by Manning on December 28th, 2017 [4 Comments]

Tiny hand-made crown for my bunny rabbit!

I made this tiny crown for my old blind bunny rabbit, Acide, for this 13th birthday! It was a quick last-minute project and I didn’t take any pics of my steps, but it was really easy; I’ll explain how I made the thing…

Tiny paper mache crown - Acide wearing the finished crown

I designed the basic shape for the crown on paper and then traced that onto craft foam and cut it out.

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Published by Manning on December 28th, 2017 [No Comments]