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

Posts tagged "cosplay":

Paper maché axe prop

I made this here paper maché axe prop for my 2019 Halloween party — theme to be announced soon! It was really easy; here’s how I did it…

Paper mache axe - finished!

A little background: you may remember I made a way-oversized axe prop a while back for my Axe Man skeleton costume (why would you remember that?). So I’d already learned a few lessons from that project, and I decided to do this one a little differently. Along with being oversized, I intentionally designed that axe to be a little bit exaggerated in its proportions; almost a little cartoony. Read more…

Published by Manning on August 5th, 2019 | 4 Comments

Painting a skeleton shirt with fabric paint

I’ve already posted two articles about painting skeleton clothes — my first skeleton suit, and a new pair of skeleton pants — and I learn something new every time I paint up some new clothes.

I’ve been wearing my skeleton suit every Mardi Gras for years now, usually with a black dress shirt, sometimes with a tie and/or vest, but last Mardi Gras (2017) was so warm it made me realize I also need an option that doesn’t involve layers. So I decided to paint this skeleton dress shirt. Read more…

Published by Manning on December 27th, 2017 | No Comments

Cleopatra headdress

I made this feathered Cleopatra headdress for my lovely fiancée 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 | 3 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

Wolf skull mask — part 4; making the ears

This is part 4 of my paper maché wolf skull mask; see part 1 here.

I wanted to give my wolf skull some ears; I had this idea because in researching wolf skulls I realized that basically all carnivorous mammals’ skulls look almost indistinguishable, and the main different from one mammal head to another is the ears. So my hope is that adding ears will help people recognize my skull as a wolf (or at least a dog! I’ll settle for a dog!). Read more…

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

Paper maché wolf skull mask — part 1

Paper mache big bad wolf skull mask

I made this here paper maché wolf skull mask for Mardi Gras 2017! It’s got detachable ears, a movable jaw, and it’s one of my most lightweight and comfortable skull masks yet. It was a lot of fun to make; here’s how I did it!

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Published by Manning on March 2nd, 2017 | 1 Comment

Painting new skeleton pants

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…

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Published by Manning on February 13th, 2017 | 6 Comments

Now offering custom paper maché masks and sculptures

Interested in a custom papier-mâché mask, sculpture, cosplay armor/accessories, etc made by yours truly? I’ve been getting a lot of requests about paper maché commissions 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!

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Published by Manning on January 14th, 2017 | 6 Comments

Strangler ghost costume!

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…

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Published by Manning on November 1st, 2016 | 2 Comments

A video of my cuckoo clock skull mask in action!

A friend of mine took this video of me opening and closing my mask on Mardi Gras morning, around 9am at Jackson Square. The hinge mechanism in the door (made from a plastic file folder and some magnets) held up great over the course of the long day. Check out parts one, two, and three of my process for making this mask, and the article I wrote about making the little cuckoo bird skeleton. Fun!

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Published by Manning on February 22nd, 2016 | No Comments

Cuckoo clock skull mask, Mardi Gras 2016

Behold my cuckoo clock skull mask for Mardi Gras 2016! Wow, this one was complicated and fun! Here’s the short version…

Cuckoo clock skull mask by Manning Krull

Cuckoo clock skull mask with bird skeleton

This mask was made up of a lot of individual paper maché parts that I built separately and assembled. Here’s a very quick rundown of the parts and what they’re made of:

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Published by Manning on February 9th, 2016 | 3 Comments

The Devil Man and the Swamp Goddess

The Devil Man and the Swamp Goddess

This old-timey photo of me and my fiancée — dressed as the Devil Man and a swamp goddess — is an edit of a photo by New Orleans photographer Kevin O’Mara, taken at our Voodoo Bayou Halloween party in 2015. In editing the pic in Photoshop I wanted to try to make it look like an authentic vintage Halloween card; I think it’s pretty close! Let’s see if this pic starts turning up in dumb listicles about terrifying old Halloween pics; I see those kinds of lists every year and half of the photos in them aren’t actually vintage, or aren’t actually Halloween-related.

You can see the original, unedited version of this pic (with crazy green lighting) in my post about making the foam board antlers for my fiancée’s headdress.

Published by Manning on November 15th, 2015 | No Comments

Devil Man mask with horns — part 2

The Devil Man -- horned mask

Okay, when we last left off, I’d finished the horns and the base for the mask. I neglected to take a lot of pictures of my process for putting the whole mask together, so I’ll explain all the remaining steps here.

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Published by Manning on October 31st, 2015 | Comments Off on Devil Man mask with horns — part 2

Making foam board antlers

How to make deer antlers using foam board

My fiancée needed antlers for her Halloween costume — swamp goddess; it’s a long story — and I made up this method that worked great!

How to make deer antlers -- cutting out the shapes

First I drew an antler shape on drawing paper and got the lady’s approval. I kept the shape a little bit on the thick side; I thought this would be important in order to keep the antlers from being too fragile, but it turned out to be unnecessary. If I were doing this again I’d draw the antlers a little thinner.

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Published by Manning on October 28th, 2015 | 4 Comments

Devil Man mask with horns — part 1

(See the finished mask in part 2!)

For my Voodoo Bayou Halloween party, I’m going as New Orleans urban legend the Devil Man! The Devil Man struck fear into the hearts of New Orleanians in the early 20th century; he’s mentioned briefly in this great book called Gumbo Ya-Ya, along with tons of other bits of Louisiana folklore.

There’s very little info available about the Devil Man; the only three details about his appearance that are listed in Gumbo Ya-Ya are 1) he has black horns, 2) he has eyes like a chicken, and even weirder, 3) he has “ears like pink sunflowers.” What the heck? Nothing else is mentioned about the Devil Man’s appearance but I set out to make a costume based on these details. I’m making a mask with horns and sunflower ears, and I’ll be sporting yellow contact lenses. I’ll be wearing an ugly old suit and white gloves, and I’m adding a monkey tail to the suit — one other detail about the Devil Man is that he can transform into a baboon! Naturally.

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Published by Manning on October 17th, 2015 | Comments Off on Devil Man mask with horns — part 1

Voodoo skull staff

For our Voodoo Bayou party, my fiancée wanted to design a swamp goddess costume; basically a spooky nature spirit who protects the animals in the swamp and chases meddling humans away. She wanted to carry a staff with a human skull on top with various bones and beads and trinkets hanging off, and I put together this plan to create the staff for her.

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Published by Manning on October 15th, 2015 | No Comments

Evil mechanical dolls Halloween costumes!

Evil dolls couples Halloween costumes

These were my fiancee’s and my costumes for Halloween 2010. They were our first-ever his-and-hers couple’s costumes, and we threw them together pretty last-minute! The only complicated/time-consuming part was the paper maché turnkeys that went on our backs. I had never done paper maché before and had no idea what I was doing, so they ended up having really rough, uneven surfaces. The base for the keys was foam board and poster board, all taped together and then paper maché’d over, then painted silver with acrylic paint.
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Published by Manning on July 17th, 2015 | No Comments

Failed vampire hunter Halloween costume

Failed vampire hunter Castlevania costume for Halloween

This costume was really simple but it makes me laugh so I’m posting it!

The way I described my costume depended on who I was talking to. For nerds, I’d say I was “Manning Belmont, least talented of the Belmonts” (get the Castlevania reference?). To non-nerds I’d just say I was a failed vampire hunter.
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Published by Manning on June 29th, 2015 | No Comments

Ghostly knight in not-so-shining armor Halloween costume

Ghostly knight Halloween costume

This was a costume I’d wanted to try for years, and it was a lot of fun! I decided to be a ghostly knight for my nighmare-themed Halloween party. My goal was to look like a knight that had been resting in a tomb for five hundred years; dirty and rusty and dessicated. After lots of research on how to make knight armor from scratch (which sounded really difficult and time-consuming), I opted to instead start with an ugly plastic store-bought suit of armor. As I often say, sometimes the best jumping off point for a beautiful custom Halloween costume is a crappy store-bought Halloween costume!

The suit of armor I bought was a nice shape, but a terrible color and texture; flimsy smooth silver-gray plastic; nowhere near as shiny or metallic-looking as you see in the photo there. That was fine, as I knew I wanted to change the look of the thing completely; I wanted to transform this plain silver-gray plastic texture into solid heavy old corroded metal. Here’s how I got it there:
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Published by Manning on June 26th, 2015 | No Comments