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Make a Dead Fairy for Your Halloween Display

Brothers Grimm, look out – this is the stuff nightmares are made of.

Have you seen those dead fairies in jars or trophy cases? So cool! They look complex, but you’re about to be surprised. I made a dead fairy for our Halloween garden display in a creepy little twinkle. (And they call me butterfingers. Or worse.)

Here’s what I did to turn a pair of wings and a little plastic into something truly Grimm.

ONE: First I gathered my materials. I already had a set of 5” plastic skeletons on a string. I cut one off the string and laid it aside. Meanwhile, I had done some bargain shopping on the internet and found a small pair of craft fairy wings. (Google for options. I think I paid $.98.) I also harvested a few pieces of hair from an old wig. And (shhh) I stole a skirt from one of my daughter’s Barbies. I know. For shame.

TWO: My skeleton was already distressed-looking. If you have an all white skeleton, make it more realistic by taking black chalk and gently feathering it into the eye sockets, between the ribs, etc.

THREE: I heated up my trusty glue gun and put a dot on the wings where they joined. I pressed the wings onto the skeleton’s back. Then I placed the skeleton on its front, wings upward. The glue hardened within about three minutes.

FOUR:  I took a few strands of the wig hair, cut them to length and hot glued them to random spots on the fairy’s skull. This wasn’t necessary; I just thought it looked really, really cool.

FIVE: Next, I placed the skirt onto the fairy. I had to tuck the top under due to sizing issues, but the effect was still great. If you have any tulle, lace or other foofy material around, cut a bit and make a skirt out of that. Simply hot glue a seam and hitch it over your skeleton’s legs.

SIX: I placed the dead fairy in what we call The Grotto at our house. This is where we plan to have part of our spooky walk-through on Halloween. The fairy and other creatures will be spot-lit on the big night. You can put your fairy in a jar, pin it down onto a matte board taxidermy-style or prop it up anywhere.

dead fairy prop for Halloween

Tips and Alternatives to the Above  Method

  • Some truly inspired souls use modeling clay to create dripping flesh, pointy ears, etc. If you’re the artistic type, go ahead and try this. However, if you distress your skeleton as in Step 2 above, you don’t necessarily have to add anything to the fairy’s bones.
  • You can also hot glue tiny antennae on the skull (in fact, I may do this with my next dead fairy). Have one antenna bent down. You can use small cuttings of craft wire to create this effect. Ball a tiny bit of clay on the end of each and allow to dry before positioning your antennae and gluing them on.
  • The creepiness of this prop lies in the fact that most of us associate fairies with whimsy and sweetness. To see one lying there rotting in its tutu is a bit of a shocker – and makes for a great Halloween prop. Dress your dead fairy in bits of adorable draped fabric or, like I did, with doll clothes. You can dress your fairy male, female or androgynous.
  • Position the arms and legs so that the fairy looks like it has expired. If your miniature skeleton isn’t poseable, break off the arms and legs carefully and then hot glue into the position you want them.

Remember: you can always buy a creepy creation if you don’t have the time, materials or will to make one. Check out ebay and etsy for artists who will be happy to creep up a sweet memory just for you.

And now … I’m out of here. (waving wand)


About Melanie Henson

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One comment

  1. I really like this idea. I want to try this for this year 🙂

    I could see that “corpsing” the skeleton before you add the wings and skirt, then distressing the skirt and wings (make it look old and decrepit) could really intensify the ghoulish features 🙂

    If you’re interested in corpsing, there are some really great videos on YouTube. One of which I particularly like is using plastic drop cloth sheeting.

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