Tag Archives: witch’s kitchen

Make a Decaying Mummy Skull Prop

I love Halloween, and I love Halloween projects.

And by the way, I’m seriously lazy.

So when a friend of mine told me he had a great, terrifying-looking, gory, easy prop to show me, I was all in! But even I (the corner-cutting queen) was rather delightfully surprised at how easy this really was. Together, my friend and I created three creepy decaying skulls in less than 10 minutes.

And the best part? They were cheap to make…very cheap. Yet they looked incredible. Want in on my friend’s and my little secret? Follow the directions below.

How to Make Your Skull

You will need:

  • A plastic novelty skull
  • Saran Wrap or bargain/store brand cling wrap
  • A heat gun OR a hair dryer with a “high” setting
  • Any medium to dark color wood stain or crafts paint
  • Paint brush, sponge/crafts brush or stippling brush

Directions:

1. Wrap the plastic wrap COMPLETELY around the skull, including the bottom, at least 4-5 times. (The more you layer, the more “decaying skin” you’ll get, but don’t go overboard. We found 4 times was our minimum to produce a really good result.)

2. If your heat gun or hair dryer has settings, start on the lowest unless it is a “cool shot” setting. Wear protective gloves if you wish; otherwise, WATCH OUT, YOUR SKULL WILL GET HOT. Hold the heat source approximately 4” from your skull. The plastic wrap will begin to shrivel in some areas; in others, where the heat is concentrated for more than several seconds, you will achieve holes (see pic, below). Don’t overdo this; melt a little bit at a time, all around the area of your skull.

Skull Holes Halloween decor

3. Do NOT hold the heat source directly against the plastic wrap/the skull. If the wrap is melting too slowly, turn up the heat source in increments and/or hold it closer to the skull, but never closer than 1.5” away.

4. When you have the effect you want, set the skull aside to cool completely.

5. After your project is cool, dip your paint brush into a small circle of paint or dip no more than 1/4” deep into your wood stain. Begin painting your skull. You will want to paint it all over; inconsistencies in color are a good thing and add to the realism, so don’t worry about painting “perfectly.”

6. Allow the project to dry completely, about 10 minutes.

Decaying skull Halloween prop

Where Should Your Skull Rest in Peace?

You can do practically anything with this cool skull. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Have it be a prop in your witch’s kitchen.
  2. Set it up next to a candelabra (I suggest battery-operated flicker candles for safety) with faux cobwebs all over to make an awesome, spooky and very realistic-looking party centerpiece or decoration.
  3. Skull Halloween PropStraighten the curved top of a wire hanger using wire cutters or a bending tool. Stuff the head with cotton balls or cheese cloth; anything to create bulk and resistance. Stick the point of the straightened end at least halfway up into the skull, so it’s on the hanger firmly. Drape cheesecloth from the “shoulders” of the hanger, allowing them to float. Hang so your decaying ghost floats in the autumn breeze.
  4. Using the above idea, hang an old shirt from the hanger’s “shoulders.” Stuff the shirt with any material you have on hand to bulk it up. Place the torso on a chair near the area your trick-or-treaters will be approaching. Now take an old pair of pants and stuff them similarly; place on the chair, bending the knee area and placing the cuffs at ground level. Gather each cuff and stuff it into a shoe. Very scary and very cool!
  5. Stuff the head with cotton balls or pieces of styrofoam. (If using cotton balls, stuff very firmly.) Stick a tall dowel – 5-6 feet – into the cotton or styrofoam. Carry with you as an evil walking stick or wizard’s wand; dress in draping clothing and, if you wish, a scary mask.
  6. Remove the head from a life size (or at least 4′) plastic poseable skeleton. Carefully remove the head that came with the skeleton using the easiest and safest means; some pop right off – if so, you’re in luck. If not, you may have to cut to remove the skull – BE CAREFUL. Stuff your mummified skull with any method mentioned above; stick firmly down onto the now-empty top of the spinal column of your skull, replacing the manufacturer’s skull with your mummified one. Set up your creeped-up skeleton in a faux spider web, leaning against your front steps to scare the ghost out of trick-or-treaters, etc.

Have fun with this prop. It’s versatile and if you pack it away carefully after Halloween, you can reuse it year after year. And it’s so inexpensive, you can create a whole army of ghouls if you wish. Happy haunting (and creeping-up)!

Sir David’s Window Witch Silhouette Template

What’s that peeking out of that window? Is it…can it be?? A WITCH!

Dress up your windows this Halloween with a life-sized silhouette to peer out at trick-or-treaters and frighten the neighbors. It’s so easy! Here’s how. (Psst! No time to brew up your own wicked silhouette? Check deals out here!)

You’ll Need:

  • Window-sized sheet of black paper
  • Sharp scissors
  • Chalk and pencil
  • Witch template
  • Ruler
  • Clear, double sided tape

Directions:

  • Look for a picture of a witch silhouette (or click and save the template below.) Print it out. This will be your template. Using the ruler and pencil, draw equal lines to create a grid, about one inch squares or smaller. Count the number of lines horizontally and vertically. There will be ten down and seven across if you spaced them out an inch.
  • window halloween witch template
    Right-click to download.

    On your large black sheet, calculate how large you have to space out the lines to fill. For instance, if your sheet is four feet long, each line will be spaced out a bit more than 4 inches (no need to make it exact!) The basic idea is that you’ll need the same number of rectangles in roughly the same proportions to those on the print out.

Next…

  • Look at the line in each grid square of the silhouette, and draw it large in the corresponding larger rectangle on the sheet. Once the entire witch is transferred, cut out carefully.

And Finally…

  • Attach to the inside of your window using double sided tape. The effect of this witch is greatly enhanced by placing it in a window where curtains can be drawn to provide better contrast between the witch and the background. Done!

window witch silhouette

Head in a Jar Halloween Prop

Image credit: instructables.com

Looking for a great new Halloween prop that hasn’t been done to death? Don’t lose your head – make this creepy decoration! Making a Head in a Jar prop is so easy, it’s almost scary – and the project won’t bust your Halloween budget. Read on to find out how to create this creepy Halloween decoration.

What You’ll Need

Make sure you have all of your materials ready before starting your project. Here’s what you will need to assemble your Head in a Jar:

  • a printed color image of a spread-out face; look here and here for examples
  • a jar that your head printout will just fit into when the paper is rolled up (tinted or aged/imperfect glass is preferable, or anything with a cloudy appearance)
  • scissors
  • school glue
  • small amount of wig hair, if desired

Assembling Your Severed Head

Jar for Head in a Jar Halloween prop(I just had to make the title gory!)

The first and one of the most important steps in this project is to locate a jar to hold your “head.” For a spookier effect, choose colored glass; otherwise, a standard Mason jar (you know….for preserves…even human ones, apparently!) will do.

Now find a great face image by Googling the words “3D face texture map.” The face should be realistic; a Photoshopped image of a real person’s mug is ideal. A tortured appearance adds to the effect, so look for squinty eyes, puffiness, an open mouth or other evidence that the donor was less than willing.

Print out the image you’ve chosen and make sure it fits your jar once it’s rolled up and inserted. Enlarge or reduce the size if necessary. (We cut around the top portion of a wonderful rendering by artist Ravinder Sembi).

Head in a Jar Halloween prop

Adding a 3-D Look to the Face

printed face for Jar Head in a Jar Halloween propNow cut small pieces of the wig and glue them to the face image. This step is not absolutely necessary, but definitely adds a touch of three-dimensional realism if done subtly.

Place the hair randomly across the forehead/hairline, trying to make it appear natural and in disarray. (We pasted tiny bits of hair to the eyes of our face image to make them look sunken and more dimensional, and then added a few wayward curls at the forehead.)

Allow the glue beneath the hair to dry completely, then roll up the face and insert it inside the jar. Spread it out from the inside with your fingers if it remains too tightly rolled. Rearrange the hair with a finger inserted between the face image and the jar if you need to.

Now screw the top on your jar. If you’d like, go ahead and get creative with some dripped-on candle wax (so that it looks as if the jar was hastily sealed) or a length of rattan or rope tied around the jar’s neck.

You’re done – display your creepy cranium among the gristly goods of a Witch’s Kitchen, in some wads of red-dyed “bloody” cotton as a sinister centerpiece or on a shelf where party guests will least expect it. They’ll never believe you were the “brains” behind the experiment – or how easy it was to put it all together!


How to Make “Shrunken Heads” with Apples

Image credit: marthastewart.com

Shrunken heads are the stuff of myth, legend and Hollywood voodoo movies. This Halloween, bring an eerie tradition to life by creating apple “shrunken heads” for your diabolical display.

Be as simple or as detailed as you’d like; they may look like they take a lot of effort, but making a creepy shrunken head prop is so easy, it’s almost scary.

You will need:

  • 1 (or more) large-size, fairly round apple(s)
  • Bowl of water
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 2 lemon wedges
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Small knife for carving
  • Whole cloves if desired
  • Dried rice grains if desired

Step One: Prepare Your Ingredients

Prepare your water about 5-10 minutes before you’re ready to dip your apple in (see Step Three, below). Start by filling a bowl with about four cups of cool water. Pour in the salt, then squeeze juice from the lemon wedges directly over the bowl. Mix for several seconds so that the salt will begin to dissolve into the water and the lemon juice will blend.

Step Two: Peel and Carve the Apple

Select an apple that is fairly round and as large as possible. Apples shrink significantly in size as they dry, so the bigger the apple you start with, the better. Peel the apple with your vegetable peeler; leave the stem on if desired (it will not affect the drying process).

Coring your apple isn’t necessary for drying, but if you wish, you can create a longer, more drawn “face” by coring. (Non-cored apples will end up more round or square in shape.)

Now begin carving a face into the apple. You will be carving inward around the most prominent facial feature—the nose. The eyes should be sunken into the apple. Don’t worry about details at this point; just exaggerate whatever features you’d like to stand out on your finished project. For deeply-set eyes, make sure the eyebrow ridge stands out fairly far, and place a clove in the center of each to make a dent once the head is dry.

Step Three: Soak and Hang the Head

Now you’re ready to soak your apple in the prepared water. Allow the apple to sit in the water for a minimum of 10 minutes (for dry, warm areas) or up to one hour (if you live in an area that experiences high humidity). “Spin” the apple a few times in the water during the soaking time. The salt will draw moisture from the apple once it’s out of the water, making the apple dry more quickly and helping to keep it from becoming moldy, and the lemon will help keep the color of the shrunken head light and uniform.

The best way to dry your apple is to hang it from a string. Try not to hang it directly in front of a window that receives a lot of sunshine; the warmth and brightness can encourage rot. You also want to avoid very moist areas, such as the kitchen sink or near the washing machine in the laundry room.

Please note that your shrunken head will take up to two weeks to dry. If you need a finished product sooner, try a vegetable dehydrator, or turn your oven to its lowest setting (200 degrees or less is ideal) and heat the apple for 3-6 hours, until dry and shriveled.

Finishing Touches

Once your apple is fully dried and shrunken, you can display it as is, or you may add details if you wish. Glue some faux hair onto the stem if you’ve left it on, or directly onto the top of the head if the stem has fallen off. The cloves you inserted for placement may have softened during the drying time; replace them for very beady, dark eyes. (Leave them out for a sunken-eyed look.)

Take your rice grains and glue them into the mouth area for teeth. For this detail, the more jagged, the better; place them at angles, or glue one or two into the top lip and just one on the bottom.

However you choose to display your proud creations, you’re sure to get comments from impressed friends, including “How did you make those?” Don’t worry. Your secret’s safe with us!