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 "foam board":

Skull mask with dancing skeletons, part 4

This is part four of my skull mask project with rotating gears and marching skeletons. See parts one, two, and three.

Installing the hard hat

Almost all of my big paper maché masks are mounted on a hard hat. Hard hats are great because they’re cheap and they provide a lot of comfort and stability in a big mask. I usually saw off some parts of the hard hat for each mask depending on its shape, in order to reduce weight and to help the hard hat fit in the mask as well as possible. Read more…

Published by Manning on March 5th, 2019 | 2 Comments

Skull mask with dancing skeletons, part 3

This is part three of my skull mask project with rotating gears and marching skeletons. See parts one and two.

Building the skull shape

In part one I built the whole mechanism with the gears inside of a big circular wall; this would become the outer wall of the skull mask at around ear-level (not my ears, the skull’s ears — uh, wait a minute…). Read more…

Published by Manning on March 5th, 2019 | No Comments

Paper maché skull mask with dancing skeletons, part 2

This is part two of my skull mask project with rotating gears and marching skeletons. See part one here.

Attaching the skeletons to the rings

Dancing skeletons

I drew all 29 of the dancing skeletons at a larger size (about 6″ tall) on sketchbook paper, keeping the designs as simple as possible since I’d be re-painting them by hand at a much smaller size. I scanned ’em and cleaned ’em up in Photoshop, reduced them to about 2″ tall, and printed them out. Read more…

Published by Manning on March 5th, 2019 | No Comments

Skull mask with dancing skeletons, part 1

Welcome to the newest installment in my ongoing quest to kill myself with overly complicated art projects! For the 20th anniversary of Skeleton Krewe (my seventh year officially with the Krewe) I decided to make a paper maché skull mask with moving parts! Yikes! The mask has a crank and gears and 29 little skeleton figurines representing my fellow Krewe members; a sort of best-of selection of our skull masks and skeleton outfits over the last two decades. Here’s how I made the thing!

Skull mask with gears and rotating rings

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Published by Manning on March 5th, 2019 | No Comments

Giant witch statue! — part 1

My fiancée and I made this giant 8-foot witch statue for our 2018 Halloween party! This is by far the biggest thing we’ve ever made. It was a great learning experience. Here’s how we did it…

Giant witch statue made from paper mache, foam board, plastic table cloths, etc

I used my fiancée as a model for the witch! I had her pose with a broom and I took pictures from various sides to use for reference. Read more…

Published by Manning on October 29th, 2018 | 2 Comments

Making a foam board Egyptian sarcophagus

I made this standing sarcophagus for Halloween 2017 — basically a big selfie booth! Here’s how I did it…

Paper mache Egyptian sarcophagus - finished!

Making an Egyptian sarcophagus - designing in Photoshop

I started by planning out the dimensions of the sarcophagus in Photoshop. The red and cyan boxes represent 30″ x 20″ sheets of foam board, and the grid is square inches, with dotted lines to denote feet. I don’t have a Photoshop template for this stuff; I just wing it and lay out and measure whatever parts I think are going to be important. You can see that my design was 6’2″. I built the sarcophagus at this size and later decided to add three more inches at the bottom, for a total of 6’5″. Read more…

Published by Manning on October 30th, 2017 | 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 | No Comments

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

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 | No 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

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 | 30 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

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

Spooky mausoleum drawers Halloween decoration

Halloween party morgue drawers decoration

I was in charge of creating some decorations for a huge cemetery-themed Halloween party at a friend’s house several years back, and we decided to turn the dining room into a morgue/mausoleum by putting fake marble drawers on the wall. These were fun and extremely easy to make, and they’re great for a cemetery-themed party, a zombie-themed party, an asylum-themed party, etc. Here are the materials I used:
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Published by Manning on June 21st, 2015 | No 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 | 29 Comments