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 "decoration":

Voodoo Bayou Halloween party

Our Halloween party theme for 2015 was Voodoo Bayou! Here’s the animated invitation I made for the party.

Here are some pics our decorations, with links to how I made a lot of this stuff!

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Published by Manning on November 1st, 2015 | 5 Comments

Giant paper maché bat — part 3

Papier mache bat -- Painting finished

See part one and part two of my giant paper maché project. When we left off we were here:

Papier mache bat -- Paper mache finished

Now then, it’s time to paint!

Papier maché bat -- black spray paint base coat

I started my paint job on the bat by bringing him outside and protecting my work area with a cheap shower liner from the dollar store.

First, I simply applied a coat of black spray paint all over the whole bat.

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Published by Manning on October 20th, 2015 | 9 Comments

Making a giant paper maché bat decoration — part 2

Papier mache bat -- front view

See part one of this paper maché bat project here. Now, where were we? When we left off, I’d just added the wing membranes, and the head was nearly finished but not yet attached to the body.

Papier mache bat -- teeth and eyes

I cut the teeth out of an aluminum cookie sheet, and I put a layer of paper maché on them; this was very difficult and annoying because the shape was so small and intricate. For the eyes, I decided to stick with the buttons I’d been messing around with earlier, and cover them with paper maché so I can more easily paint them.

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Published by Manning on October 20th, 2015 | 3 Comments

Making a foam board coffin

Making a foam board coffin

One of my main decorations for my Voodoo Bayou party was this fake wooden coffin; I wanted to have it standing in the corner of the living room so people could pose for pictures in it. The main material in the coffin is foam board — 17 sheets total. I designed the coffin in Photoshop based on how large each sheet of foam board is: 20″x30″. Here’s my basic design:

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Published by Manning on October 15th, 2015 | 5 Comments

How to make a fake wood grain texture for signs and other projects

Believe it or not, these signs are just foam board! Plus a little spray paint and wood stain. I experimented with a few techniques, and here’s what I came up with…

How to create a fake wood grain effect

For the big Voodoo Bayou sign, I started by cutting out my foam board shapes and spray painting them with a light tan color. You can see that color on the white foam board at left, below:

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Published by Manning on October 14th, 2015 | 5 Comments

Six-foot Paper maché giant bat — part 1

For our Voodoo Bayou Halloween party, my fiancée told me she wanted a giant bat decoration. Okay!

I started with a rough pencil sketch of a bat to figure out the proportions, and then I transferred that to two sheets of foam board. I started with just the wing bones and body; no head. I cut out those pieces with an X-acto knife.

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Published by Manning on October 14th, 2015 | 2 Comments

Paper maché alligator — work in progress

I’m currently working on a 4-foot paper maché alligator to go in my bathtub for this year’s voodoo swamp-themed Halloween party. I’m excited about the progress I’m making on it, so here are some work in progress pics!
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Published by Manning on June 29th, 2015 | 19 Comments

Cabaret de L’Enfer Halloween party — devil mouth doorway

How to make a Cabaret de L'Enfer devil mouth doorway for your Halloween party

The theme for my Halloween party in 2012 was the Cabaret de L’Enfer — a Hell-themed café in the red light district of Paris in the 19th century. You can read all about it and see some amazing pics of it on my Paris website, Cool Stuff in Paris, and I have a whole post about the party decor here. Of course, the main decorating project I wanted to tackle was the iconic devil mouth doorway of the cabaret.
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Published by Manning on June 26th, 2015 | 3 Comments

Skeleton in a bloody bathtub Halloween party decoration

How to make an easy skeleton in a bloody bathtub decoration for your Halloween party

This project is so easy and creates such an amazing effect! All you need is a bathtub, a skeleton, and some tempera paint! I like this one so much I do it almost every Halloween, even though my party has a different theme every year. Skeletons in bathtubs go with everything!
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Published by Manning on June 23rd, 2015 | No Comments

10-foot grim reaper Halloween decoration!

Giant grim reaper Halloween prop

This giant grim reaper prop I made for a Halloween party in 2010 was the first paper maché project I ever tackled! (Well, not counting art class back in grade school.) I seriously had no idea what I was doing but it turned out okay, and my success with this project really inspired me to keep trying to make bigger and more complicated Halloween decorations every year.
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Published by Manning on June 23rd, 2015 | No Comments

Simple paper maché animal masks

Paper maché animal masks; easy Halloween decorations

For one of my Halloween parties I had the idea of creating tons of simple, spooky paper maché animal masks and hanging them up all over the walls. So my challenge was: how to make lots of masks quickly and cheaply? I came up with a plan that worked out great. Here are the materials I used:
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Published by Manning on June 22nd, 2015 | 1 Comment

Spooktacular Halloween party ideas, themes, and decorating ideas

Here are some Halloween theme party ideas that my friends and I have done over the years, with great success. I always establish a theme before my invitation goes out so people can get in the spirit and design a costume that goes with the theme if they want to. I’m listing the decorations we made/used for each party, but of course these are just suggestions! Consider them a starting point…
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Published by Manning on June 21st, 2015 | No Comments

Giant spider Halloween party decoration

Giant paper mache spider decoration for Halloween

This is by far the biggest paper maché project I’ve ever undertaken! I was working on decorations for my nightmare-themed Halloween party in 2013 when the idea hit me: could I make a spider decoration so big that the legs span all the way out to the walls, so the whole party takes place inside the spider’s grasp?
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Published by Manning on June 21st, 2015 | 3 Comments

Padded walls decoration for an asylum-themed Halloween party


I was planning an asylum-themed Halloween party in 2014, and I really wanted to figure out a way to make realistic padded walls as a main decoration for the party. I wanted something with a nice 3d quilted effect, not just a flat painted texture, and I needed to keep it lightweight enough to hang on drywall and sturdy enough that it wouldn’t fall apart if people touched it. I was really pleased with how it came out! Here are the main materials I used:
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Published by Manning on June 21st, 2015 | 20 Comments