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 "skeleton":

Axe Man sculpture from History Bones!

I’m still recovering from Halloween, and this is a thing I’ve been dying to post about for weeks: Lee from History Bones sent me her sculpture of my Axe Man costume! Holy shit! Incredible! The whole thing is not even 7″ tall! The mask comes off! And the likeness underneath is uncanny!

Axe Man sculpture by History Bones

Read more…

Published by Manning on November 1st, 2018 | No Comments

Axeman skull mask! — part 2

Axe Man paper mache skull mask

This is part two of my Axeman paper maché skull mask for Mardi Gras 2018; see part one here.

Making the mustache

You may remember from part one I wanted to make the mustache attach to the skull with magnets so it’s removable. Here’s my convoluted process for designing the mustache, getting it to match the curvature of the skull, and getting the placement of the magnets correct.

Read more…

Published by Manning on February 12th, 2018 | No Comments

Axe Man skull mask for Mardi Gras 2018

Axe Man paper mache skull mask

Here’s my Axe Man skeleton costume for Mardi Gras 2018! The Axe Man was a semi-legendary serial killer in New Orleans in 1918-1919; you can read all about him here. This year Skeleton Krewe designed skulls and costumes based on figures from New Orleans history, to celebrate the city’s tricentennial, so of course I picked the creepiest guy I could find. Here’s how I made his skull mask, and don’t miss my other article about making the oversized paper maché axe prop.

Read more…

Published by Manning on February 12th, 2018 | 2 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

DIY mummy props

My fiancée and I made these mummies for our ancient Egypt Halloween party. I didn’t get any pictures of our process but they were really easy! I’ll explain how we made ’em…

We started with a 5-foot articulated plastic skeleton; we buy these whenever we see them on sale and we’ve got a ton of them now. We ended up using two of the skeletons to make two mummies; the others went into different projects.

Read more…

Published by Manning on October 30th, 2017 | No 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

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

Wolf skull mask — part 3; painting, etc.

Painting the wolf skull

Before painting the wolf skull mask, I applied a coat of gesso over the whole thing. Gesso is a thick white paint-like substance that can help smooth out any imperfections in your paper maché surface. In this case it really helped smooth out the teeth in particular.

Read more…

Published by Manning on March 2nd, 2017 | No Comments

Paper maché wolf skull mask — part 2

What big teeth you have!

Hooboy, the teeth were one of the hardest and most time consuming parts of this whole mask project! Like I mentioned in part 1, the four big fangs were made out of foam insulation tubing and masking tape; those were pretty easy. I tried a few different methods for the other teeth; I’ll spare you my failures and just show you where I ended up…

Read more…

Published by Manning on March 2nd, 2017 | No 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!

Read more…

Published by Manning on March 2nd, 2017 | No Comments

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…

Read more…

Published by Manning on February 13th, 2017 | 6 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

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!

Read more…

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

Making the bird skeleton for my cuckoo clock mask

I made this bird skeleton for my cuckoo clock skull mask for Mardi Gras 2016. Making this skeleton was extremely challenging, and I basically made up all the steps as I went along. I had no idea what I was doing, but I learned a lot and I’m very happy with the end result. I didn’t take as many pictures as I should’ve along the way, so I’ve done some sketches to explain certain steps.

Cuckoo clock skull mask -- bird skeleton

The main materials in the bird skeleton are:

Read more…

Published by Manning on February 9th, 2016 | 2 Comments

Cuckoo clock skull mask — part 3

This is part three of my cuckoo clock skull mask project. See part one and part two.

Where were we? Oh yeah, it’s time to paint!

Painting the mask

Cuckoo clock skull mask - roof and clock body spray painted!

I painted the clock body and the roof separately for the most part before joining them together. I first protected the screen in the eyes/nose/mouth with blue masking tape (the kind that’s really easy to remove), and then I spray painted the entire exterior of the clock white. I separately spray painted the roof black. I let these pieces air out for about three days outside.

Read more…

Published by Manning on February 9th, 2016 | No Comments

Cuckoo clock skull mask — part 2

This is part two of my cuckoo clock skull mask project. See part one and part three.

Scale-pattern shingles on the roof

Cuckoo clock skull mask - house-shaped clock body and roof panels

I started the roof with two foam board panels. My process for creating the scale-shaped shingles was kind of convoluted…

Cuckoo clock skull mask - close up of roof texture made with craft foam

The pattern on the roof is made with a few layers of craft foam (aka Wonderfoam). I made this way harder for myself than it needed to be! Since all my wall and roof panels were irregular shapes — there isn’t a single 90-degree angle on this whole mask — I needed the scale-shaped roof tiles to start out larger near the top of the roof and get smaller toward the bottom. I ended up designing the whole roof surface in Photoshop, starting with a nice regular scale pattern on a rectangular shape (figure 1). Read more…

Published by Manning on February 9th, 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:

Read more…

Published by Manning on February 9th, 2016 | No Comments

My nightmare-themed Halloween party

The theme for my Halloween party in 2013 was: nightmares! The name of the event was Night Terrors, and I chose purple and green as my main color scheme for the party. Here’s some info about the decorations we made, our costumes, the animated invitation, etc.

Invitation — I create a short animated invitation for my Halloween party ever year; it really helps set the mood and establish the color scheme and give people some inspiration for their costumes. Here’s the invitation I sent out for Night Terrors. Note: there is audio. Also, it’s made in Flash, so it won’t work on an iPhone/iPad.
Read more…

Published by Manning on July 13th, 2015 | No Comments

Tips for applying Halloween makeup, hair color, fake blood, contact lenses, etc!

zombie makeup tutorial

My makeup method is pretty simply and I use different variations of it almost every year.

For my face, the main type of makeup I use is Ben Nye Creme Colors — they come in a little flat jar and you can find them at a lot of Halloween stores, often behind the counter because they’re a little pricier.

For zombie makeup or general scary ghoulish makeup, I usually just use black and white Ben Nye Creme Colors, and I just use my fingers to apply it. I start off with a base of white, all over my face. Then I use black makeup on my finger tips to apply heavy black areas around my eyes, under my cheekbones, etc, and blend them out toward the white. I use my finger tips to add shadows down the creases on the side of my mouth, and on the sides of my nose, at my temples, above my brow ridge, etc.
Read more…

Published by Manning on June 26th, 2015 | No 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!
Read more…

Published by Manning on June 23rd, 2015 | No Comments