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 "craft materials":

Experiment time: paper maché versus plaster cloth

I’ve always used paper maché for my big masks and sculptures, and although I really enjoy the paper maché process it can be very time-consuming. A friend of mine mentioned that she recently tried plaster cloth — aka plaster wrap, plaster of paris strips, craft wrap, etc — and she said it saved her a ton of time. She’d made a couple Halloween masks with the stuff and they definitely looked great; she said she was so happy with the results that she’d never go back to paper maché. Huh! I was skeptical, but intrigued.

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Published by Manning on January 13th, 2019 | No Comments

Creating 3d relief shapes with craft foam

A few years ago I made up this method for cutting out precise shapes with craft foam, to create 3d relief shapes on a lot of my various sculpture projects.

Craft foam, aka wonder foam, is a soft rubbery material that I often describe as being similar to a yoga mat, but much thinner. You can buy it in any arts and crafts store, and it comes in tons of colors. Read more…

Published by Manning on January 10th, 2019 | No Comments

Making big paper maché masks — advanced tips

In making all my big paper maché masks I’ve learned a lot of important things along the way — things I could only figure out through trial and error, but now that I know about them they’re a huge help in every subsequent mask I make. I’m by no means an expert! I’ve only made four big skull masks so far, and I have two more in the works (one skull and one non-skull) but with each one I can see them getting easier and easier to make and to wear, thanks to these tricks I’ve worked out over the years. Here are some of them…

Making big paper maché masks - advanced tips

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Published by Manning on October 1st, 2016 | 6 Comments

Working with foam board for art projects; cutting, painting, etc

I use foam board (aka foam core) in almost all my big projects — masks, Halloween decorations, etc — and I’ve learned a lot of techniques that help make working with it a lot easier.

First, check out my article about buying cheap foam board in bulk. I’ve found that the cheap stuff is much easier to work with, and it’s less than half the price of the good stuff you’d buy in an art store!

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Published by Manning on September 7th, 2015 | 35 Comments

Craft materials — choosing the right brands and saving some money

some of my favorite craft materials

I use a few basic craft materials in all my big masks and decorations, and I’ve experimented with a lot of brands over the years. While I try to be cost efficient with all my projects, I’ve come to realize that for certain materials you can definitely use cheap stuff with great (or even superior) results, while for other materials you’re much, much better off buying high quality stuff. Here’s a rundown of the stuff I use and what I’ve learned about the various qualities that are out there.

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Published by Manning on August 26th, 2015 | No Comments

Paper maché alligator — waterproofing and painting

Paper mache alligator painting completed

It’s finally done! This is part three of my paper maché alligator project. See part one and part two.

With all the paper maché done, it was time to waterproof and paint the alligator. Originally this guy was just meant to go in the bathtub during my Halloween party and then get thrown out, but as I made the thing I got pretty attached to it, so now I’m hoping to be able to waterproof it well enough so that it might not be in too bad shape after being submerged in water during the party, and maybe I can keep it and use it as an all-year-round decoration in my apartment, maybe on top of my bookshelf, or hanging on a wall. So I’m trying to approach decorating this thing like it needs to look good not just in the tub but anywhere.
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Published by Manning on July 27th, 2015 | 18 Comments

Paper maché alligator, part 2

How to make a paper mache alligator

This is part two of my paper maché alligator project for Halloween. Part one can be found here. When I last left off, I had just applied Activa Plus clay to the alligator’s head in order to create the teeth, eyes and eyebrow ridges, and nostrils. So my next step was to paper maché over those bits; easy. See my article about my paper maché method here. The short version is: I use Roman PRO-543 universal wallpaper adhesive and alternating layers of newspaper and brown wrapping paper. Read more…

Published by Manning on July 16th, 2015 | 2 Comments

Best deal I’ve found for buying foam board: Deals/Dollar Tree

I use foam board (aka foam core) for the base of almost all my big art projects: my paper maché masks, Halloween decorations, etc. I go through tons of this stuff, and I’ve finally found a really great deal for buying it in bulk.

I have a Deals store (aka Deal$) near me, and they used to carry foam board in their store for just a dollar per 20″x30″ sheet; this was an amazing deal, as the art store near my house charges $2.41 per sheet, according to their website. I was bummed that my local Deals store stopped carrying the stuff, but I later found out you can order it on their site, in boxes of 25 sheets, for $25! And you can choose the “pick up in store” option so there’s no shipping charge! Fantastic.
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Published by Manning on June 22nd, 2015 | No Comments

My painting method for my paper maché skull masks and other projects

Axeman paper mache skull mask - with mustache added

I use basically the same process for all of my big paper maché skull masks, and a lot of my other big paper maché Halloween projects and stuff as well. Here are the materials I use:
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Published by Manning on June 19th, 2015 | 10 Comments

My paper maché method for masks, Halloween projects, etc

how to make a paper mache skull mask

Paper maché (aka papier-mâché aka paper mache) is the foundation of most of my Mardi Gras skull masks, Halloween decorations and costumes, etc. Everyone who does paper maché has their own favorite materials, recipes, and methods. I’ve tried a ton of combinations and this is the best paper maché recipe and process I’ve found. The main materials I use are:
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Published by Manning on June 17th, 2015 | 35 Comments