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 "prop":

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 paper maché kitchen knife

I made this paper maché kitchen knife prop to go with one of my evil gingerbread people that I made for Halloween 2018!

Paper mache kitch knife - finished!

I actually did another fake knife project several Halloweens ago, but the goal of that project was to create lots of knives very quickly, and I knew they’d be hanging up high enough that no one would get a good look at them, so they didn’t need to be perfect. Read more…

Published by Manning on October 15th, 2018 | 2 Comments

Making a giant paper maché lollipop

This giant paper maché lollipop was the easiest project in the world! I made this along with a bunch of other types of giant candy for my gingerbread house Halloween party. Here’s how I did it…

Paper mache giant lollipop - finished

I started by searching Amazon for “inflatable ball” and bought the cheapest one I could find in the 15″ – 18″ range; it turned out to be a globe, which is kind of funny because the last time I ordered inflatable balls it was to make two paper maché globes!

Read more…

Published by Manning on October 5th, 2018 | No Comments

Hansel and Gretel light-up oven prop! — part 2

This is part 2 of my paper maché oven prop for Halloween 2018; see part 1 here.

Making the fake flames

Making the fire was an interesting challenge! I needed to find a material that would be translucent enough to diffuse the light properly, and also rigid enough that it could stand up in the oven. One thing I thought of ahead of time was that if I curved the material for the flames, that might help it stand up better; think about holding a piece of paper vertically and curving it a bit so it’s somewhat rigid. Make sense? More on this coming up.

Read more…

Published by Manning on September 25th, 2018 | No Comments

Hansel and Gretel light-up oven prop! — part 1

I’m making this big light-up oven prop for my haunted gingerbread house Halloween party in 2018! It will eventually be a lightweight wall hanging with some battery powered lights and one Hue light inside. So far so good! Here’s what I’ve done so far…

Hansel and Gretel oven prop - paper maché on the the bricks

Building the oven base

First I designed the basic shape of the oven in Photoshop — it’s 40″ x 30″; I chose this size out of convenience because it allowed me to base the design on two sheets of 20″ x 30″ foam board connected side by side. Read more…

Published by Manning on September 25th, 2018 | No Comments

Giant scary clown Pez dispenser — part 2

This is part two of my giant scary clown Pez dispenser project! See part one here.

Giant evil clown Pez dispenser - finished head

Making the evil clown head

For the spooky clown head, I started by cutting a panel of foam board that’s the same size as the top panel of the Pez dispenser body (see part one), to use as a base for the head, in order to ensure the head will fit nicely on the “neck.” I built the rest of the head onto this panel.

Read more…

Published by Manning on September 16th, 2018 | No Comments

Making giant paper maché Pez candies

I made these giant paper maché Pez candies to go with my scary clown Pez dispenser prop for Halloween 2018! I made half a dozen of them, one to go in the Pez dispenser and the others to have strewn around nearby. They were easy to make! Here’s how I did ’em…

Making giant PEZ candies - finished!

Read more…

Published by Manning on September 16th, 2018 | No Comments

Giant scary clown Pez dispenser!!! — part 1

I made this 6-foot scary-ass clown Pez dispenser for my Halloween party in 2018! The idea came to me when I was working on some other giant candies and realized this would be a pretty easy project that would really add to the overall ambiance.

Giant evil clown Pez dispenser - finished!!!

My first step for this project was laying everything out in Photoshop and figuring out the exact measurements for the “body” of the Pez dispenser — the evil clown head I pretty much just freestyled!

Read more…

Published by Manning on September 16th, 2018 | No Comments

Making an oversized medieval key prop

Check out my giant medieval key! I made this for our spooky gingerbread house themed Halloween party, to hang on our bathroom wall across from the bathtub-converted-into-a-cage-full-of-bones. This thing was so easy to make, and it only took one day (besides painting).

Medieval key prop - painting

I started out by doing a Google image search for medieval keys. There are so many cool styles to choose from; I sort of mixed and matched some elements from a few keys, with the goal of keeping the design simple and iconic. Read more…

Published by Manning on August 29th, 2018 | 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.

Read more…

Published by Manning on September 5th, 2017 | 6 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!

Read more…

Published by Manning on September 5th, 2017 | 2 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.

Read more…

Published by Manning on August 26th, 2017 | No Comments

Skeleton playing a cello decoration

This is just a fun thing I want to share; not much of a “making stuff” project, but a really fun decoration. I recently got my cello out of storage and decided to work it into a Halloween decoration for my seance party: a skeleton playing the cello in a bathtub full of blood!

Skeleton playing the cello in a bathtub full of blood -- Halloween decoration

I had a nice store-bought skeleton that I’ve used for several scenes I’ve set up over the years. These skeletons come with very limited mobility, but I’ve modified mine to make them better for posing. Normally their mobility is limited to the following: their arms can only swing forward at the shoulder and bend forward at the elbow, and the legs can swing forward at the hip and bend back at the knee. Read more…

Published by Manning on November 11th, 2016 | No 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…

Read more…

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

Cheap and easy DIY knife props

These are so easy! For my séance Halloween party, I wanted a quick and easy method to make dozens of knives and have them floating in our kitchen, held aloft by murderous ghostly hands (i.e. hanging on fishing line). The knives needed to be lightweight, cheap, and relatively quick so I could make a ton of them. (I also wanted them to not actually be dangerous if one of them were to fall on someone; the lightweight part is key there.) I came up with this method that’s really fun and easy and the knives look great. Read more…

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

Crystal ball decoration for my séance Halloween party

This homemade crystal ball decoration was for my séance Halloween party. The main decorations for the party were lots of pieces of lightweight paper maché furniture hung upside down on the ceiling. This crystal ball was the centerpiece for all of that, hanging upside down from the little paper maché table I made. It was fun and easy to make!

I considered a lot of options for the clear ball part itself; my main criteria were that it had to be lightweight, transparent, and preferably cheap. I ended up buying an 8″ acrylic globe off of Amazon; these are meant to go over a light, like on a light post in front of your house or whatever. They come in a lot of sizes, with options for clear or frosted, and mine ended up being about $11. You can find these at Home Depot too.

Read more…

Published by Manning on October 31st, 2016 | No Comments

Creepy paper maché hands for my ghost costume

I made these creepy hands for my “guy being strangled by a ghost” costume! (Article about that whole thing coming soon.) You could use this same method for posable, realistic hands for any kind of monster decoration: a witch, a vampire, a zombie, etc!

First, I traced my own hand onto a sheet of craft foam (aka Wonderfoam). I kept my thumb stretched way out since ultimately I wanted these hands to be in a strangling position around my neck.

Paper mache ghost hands - tracing and cutting

Read more…

Published by Manning on October 20th, 2016 | No Comments

Paper maché spooky lamp prop

This is part five of my paper maché furniture projects for my séance Halloween party; see part one; chairs, part two; table, part three: mantel, and part four; nightstand.

I got the idea for this lamp when I saw this plastic bottle of almond milk in our fridge; it’s a neat bowling-pin shape that’s perfect for an old-timey lamp. I decided to add this lamp project to the list of lightweight paper maché furniture that we’re hanging from the ceiling for our spooky séance party.

Read more…

Published by Manning on October 20th, 2016 | No Comments

Paper maché Victorian nightstand

This is part four of my paper maché furniture projects for my séance Halloween party; see part one; chairs, part two; table, and part three: mantel.

Paper mache nightstand

Okay, one last piece of furniture before I lose my mind! This time, a floating haunted nightstand with a floating haunted lamp.

I started the nightstand with three big pieces of foam board — the front, back, and top.

Read more…

Published by Manning on October 20th, 2016 | No Comments

Mantel prop for my séance Halloween party

This is part three of my paper maché furniture projects for my séance Halloween party; see part one; chairs and part two; table.

Mantel and fireplace decoration for my seance Halloween party

This mantel is possibly the biggest paper project I’ve ever made! (Well, this or the giant spider.) I don’t have a ton of work-in-progress photos for the construction of the mantel — I did a tremendous amount of sketching and measuring beforehand, and a lot more along the way as the thing came together and I kept adding things. Almost all of the pieces are foam board, with a little bit of poster board, all held together with lots and lots of packing tape and masking tape.

Read more…

Published by Manning on October 20th, 2016 | No Comments