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 "tips":

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

Hot glue gun tips!

For some reason I avoided getting a hot glue gun for years, and when I finally did it kind of changed my life! Now I rely on my hot glue gunS — that’s right, plural — for practically all my creative projects, and some real-life stuff too.

Different sizes

So yeah, I have two hot glue guns, which take different types of hot glue sticks; I use the two different kinds for for different types of tasks.

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Published by Manning on June 20th, 2018 | No Comments

Making paper maché shapes with a reusable base

This is my method for creating multiple paper maché copies of a shape using a reusable base. I’ve tried different variations on these steps over the last few years and have settled on this process as my favorite.

Start with a base

First, you wanna build a base for your sculpture, so that you can cover it in paper maché and make copies of it. Read more…

Published by Manning on April 7th, 2018 | No Comments

Attaching a hard hat in a paper maché mask

Hello! I’m just putting this long boring article here so I can link to it from other posts rather than explain the same thing every time. I mount almost all of my big paper maché masks on a hard hat. Obviously all my masks are very different shapes and sizes, so a lot of this can vary, but this is my basic method that I’ve settled on…

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Published by Manning on April 4th, 2018 | 2 Comments

Teeth-making tips for big paper maché masks

In all of the large paper maché masks and heads I’ve made, the teeth are always, always the most labor-intensive and challenging (and sometimes frustrating!) part. I’m always amazed at what a large proportion of my time and effort go into such a small part of the head! I’ve tried a few different methods for making teeth over the years, with varied success. Here are the methods I’ve used, and some pros and Cons:

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Published by Manning on October 3rd, 2016 | 2 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 | 8 Comments

Hanging heavy decorations using magnets and tape

I discovered this great but strange method for hanging decorations on walls without having to use nails or thumbtacks. All you need is masking tape and some tiny magnets!

If you’ve done lots of decorating, you’ve experienced what happens when you try to hang something slightly heavy on drywall with masking tape. Let’s use a small woode picture frame as an example. You can put as many little loops of tape as you want on the back of the frame and the thing will still fall down after a little while. Read more…

Published by Manning on July 2nd, 2016 | No Comments

Tip for drawing perfect circles

A lot of my projects call for drawing various circles to cut out of foam board or poster board. If the exact size isn’t important, I just trace a plate or a bowl or whatever. But sometimes I need a circle to be a precise size, so this is the trick I always use.

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Published by Manning on July 1st, 2016 | No Comments

Tips for working with gesso

If you’ve ever created any paper maché projects and then painted them, you’ll surely have noticed that the edges of your paper are often still visible, sometimes even after several layers of paint. I hate seeing those paper edges in my stuff, and I’ve learned I can reduce this with a few techniques, like being really precise with my last layer of paper, and doing a final layer of just paste smoothed over the whole shape with my hands. Still, even when I do that stuff I end up still seeing those paper edges through the paint sometimes. It drives my crazy.

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Published by Manning on July 1st, 2016 | No 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 | 37 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