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

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 hieroglyphs 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 [4 Comments]

DIY mummy props

My wife and I made these mummies for our ancient Egypt Halloween party. I didn’t get 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 [4 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 [2 Comments]

Magic the Gathering cosplay — Avatar of Woe: scythe

After I finished the Avatar of Woe’s helmet, I moved on to her scythe.

Avatar of Woe scythe - foam board base

I drew the shape of the Avatar of Woe’s scythe blade onto foam board and cut it out with an X-acto knife.

Avatar of Woe scythe - adding foam shapes

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Published by Manning on August 31st, 2017 [No Comments]

Magic the Gathering cosplay — Avatar of Woe: helmet

Avatar of Woe -- paper mache cosplay helmet

Another fun commission! This client wanted to cosplay the Avatar of Woe card from Magic the Gathering, and she hired me to make this custom horned helmet and scythe.

Making the basic helmet shape

Avatar of Woe helmet - bubble wrap on base

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Published by Manning on August 31st, 2017 [No Comments]

Repainting a miniature Halloween gazebo

Repainting a Halloween village gazebo - before and after

Repainting a Halloween village gazebo - before

I was at the dollar store looking at Halloween decorations with a friend of mine when she noticed an item I would normally skip over — a 3″ miniature gazebo molded out of plaster or something, like the kind of thing you’d put in a little Halloween village set-up in your living room. Not the kind of Halloween decorating I normally do! My eyes usually skip right over this kind of thing. However, she thought it was cute, and upon closer inspection I agreed; the sculpture itself was really neat, with lots of detail in the skulls and bones, but the whole thing was kind of ruined by a bad factory paint job; hey, whaddaya want for a buck? So I decided to buy it and repaint it and send it to her as a gift.

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Published by Manning on August 27th, 2017 [No Comments]

Repainting a dollar store bird skeleton

Repainting a plastic bird skeleton - before and after

I’m sure it goes without saying that I vastly prefer hand-made Halloween decorations to store-bought ones, but when I saw this really cool spooky bird skeleton for just a buck I couldn’t resist! A few years ago I actually made a tiny bird skeleton for my cuckoo clock skull mask, and it was an insane amount of work for such a simple little skeleton! I’d never use a store-bought piece for one of my Mardi Gras skull masks, for I’m okay with it when I’m decorating for a big Halloween party; the more shortcuts I can take the better! Anyway, I knew this little plastic bird skeleton would look great in this old birdcage we have lying around, so I snatched him up.

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Published by Manning on August 26th, 2017 [No Comments]

Paper maché baby chicks! — part 2

This is part two of two of my paper maché baby chicks project; see part one here.

Making the chicks’ legs and feet

This was a fun challenge: I wanted the legs and feet to be hollow and removable, so when my client received them she could add a lot of coins in the legs/feet for weight and then insert them back into the body, so the chicks would have a nice solid heavy base. Without this weight, the chicks would probably fall over, and if I added the weight permanently while making the sculptures, the shipping cost for the chicks would go way up. Read more…

Published by Manning on July 22nd, 2017 [No Comments]

Paper maché baby chicks! — part 1

Another fun commission project: three big paper maché baby chicks!

I was contacted by a wonderful new client at Canadian Crane who commissioned three sculptures of these cartoon baby chicks that their company has in some of their marketing materials. They sent me a pic and I started planning…

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Published by Manning on July 17th, 2017 [No Comments]