Make a Haunted Doll in Under an Hour

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Our 20-Minute Tombstone continues to be so.popular that it’s clear our readers love to haunt…in a hurry!

We feel you, boo. So here’s a quick-and-dirty tutorial to turn any adorable baby terrifying in just an hour (or less – your creativity and time are completely up to you).

STEP ONE: Gather Your Materials

This is the easy part, because you want your doll to look as “unfinished” and time-ravaged as possible. Non-negotiables are the paint to create cracks and of course, your starter doll. Everything else is the chilling cherry on top. We used these:

  • a used doll (we found ours on ebay for $6)
  • matte acrylic or enamel paints: we used Black, Yellow Gray and White
  • a sponge for stippling the paint (we used an ordinary kitchen sponge)
  • small-detail paintbrushes
  • spray paint if desired (we used Black and Claret Red)
  • a tie to hold the doll’s hair back while painting
  • something to protect your surface

STEP TWO: Paint the Clothes

This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but it adds a nice, creepy touch.

  • Wear a face covering if you’re sensitive to airborne paints.
  • Take the doll’s clothing outside and put it on newspaper or an old sheet to protect the area.
  • Stand about a foot and a half away from the clothing and LIGHTLY spray the Black spray paint randomly so the clothes look dirty.
  • Step closer to the clothes and squirt the Red paint in spurts to look like blood stains.
  • You can add splatter if you wish by using a completely dry paintbrush, barely dipping into some Red acrylic paint, then flicking the hairs of the brush over the clothing. We didn’t, but remember, you’re free to get as creative as you wish!

STEP THREE: Paint the Base Skin Tone

While the clothes are drying, you can move on to painting the doll.

Normally when you paint acrylics onto plastic, you’ll want to use a primer. If not, the paint won’t adhere well to the plastic, and over time it may crack.

In this case, that’s exactly what we wanted: a very damaged, antiqued look. We skipped the primer for that reason.

If you’d like, go ahead and use a layer of primer first. Otherwise, skip to these steps:

  • Mix Gray and White acrylic paints together until you achieve a pasty appearance. Blend very well until you get the shade you want.
  • Acrylic paints dry VERY quickly, even on plastic. Allow the paint to barely dry (two to three minutes), then dampen your sponge very slightly. It should not be wet; just barely damp. Now gently touch the surfaces you painted so that you get a stippled look. It should be uneven and may have areas of the original skin color showing through, which is perfect for this decoration.

STEP FOUR: Paint the Details

  • Using the smallest brush you have, dip into the Black paint and begin painting “cracks” or veins all over the doll’s skin. For either result, try to make this random and use a tree branch-style formation: a longer line with shorter lines stemming from it.
  • Use a light touch, as the lines should be as thin as possible.
  • Allow to barely dry (1-3 minutes).
  • The sponge you used previously to stipple the base skin tone will still have some paint on it. Make sure the paint isn’t too thick; dab the sponge on a paper towel if you need to.
  • Use the sponge to BARELY TOUCH the “cracks” you have just painted. This will produce a slightly shadowed, 3-D effect that makes the cracks more realistic.
  • You can add other grisly touches; for instance, we painted the eyes and the area just around the eyes black and gave our doll yellow irises. We also blushed under the cheeks with a slightly darker gray than the rest of the skin.

STEP FIVE: Dress the Doll

The doll should be fully dry within just a few minutes of final painting. Replace the clothing and muss the hair a little. That’s it; enjoy your creepy little character.


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