Tag Archives: displays

Transform Candles into Cool Halloween Candles

I’ve done many sorts of decorated candles for other seasons of the year; I just hadn’t ever considered a Halloween candle before. Your imagination can go crazy with this project because there are so many varieties of decorative items to choose from!

Materials List

  • Candle(s)
  • Glue
  • Wax Paper
  • Tooth Picks
  • Butcher Paper or vinyl tablecloth
  • Decorative shapes: Brads, confetti, adhesive jewels, sequins, glitter, etc

Prepare your work area by spreading out a table cloth or butcher paper out on a hard surface before letting any little hands help with opening the decorations – especially if you are using brads or tacks with sharp points. It will also help with keeping glue off your counter or table.

decorative-candle1Decorative brads and tacks will be difficult for younger children to push into the wax. We also tried using straight pins to attach some of the confetti shapes; we had to use a hard object to help push them in because the pinheads were so small they quickly became painful. We decided that glue would be a good choice to finish the project with. Regular Elmer’s glue was sticky enough to hold the small plastic confetti pieces to the candle. If you chose to use larger shapes you’ll need a stronger glue (like Gorilla glue) so that the shapes will curve with the candle.

Little children will just go for it without thinking about a particular design, but you can do some lovely things with these candles. Twist a stream of glue around a taper candle and roll it in glitter. Shake off the excess and you have a decorated candle. You could stand the candle up and let the glue start to drip before rolling it in red glitter…… that would be a really spooky effect.

When we were shopping around there were all sorts of Halloween or Autumn brads to choose from as well as sticky “gems”, and glitter galore. Enjoy this project for the easy fun it is and let your imagination take the lead!

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Adult Alternative: Candle Molds

For a more advanced Halloween candle, try using candle molds. If you buy a candle that has a diameter that is a little less than the mold, you can then sprinkle decorative shapes into the mold with the candle, then pour melted wax around it and let it cool. For Halloween it could make for interesting and Gothic decor!

How to Make Your Own Halloween Tree

 

We loved this fun tutorial from guest contributor Nicholas Efastathiou. Thanks, Nicholas!

In recent years several holiday companies have started producing “Halloween Trees,” often complete with lights and decorations.

Money, however, inevitable raises its head, and we find ourselves asking, “Is this something I can really afford?” It may well be – but if not, or if you just have that creative itch, make your own with this easy tutorial. Enjoy!

Make Your Own Halloween Tree

halloween-tree01Halloween trees can be made quite easily, and the search for just the right tree – usually a branch which is gnarled, twisted, and something which represents the disturbed thought process of the villains in a Shirley Jackson tale – can be quite enjoyable!

Local parks and woods offer up tremendous opportunities, as there is almost always dead fall around, regardless of how often a park may be cleaned up. For those of you fortunate enough to live next to an ocean or other large body of water, driftwood pieces can add an exciting flair to the Halloween holiday.

Once you’ve located your piece, and you’ll know it’s the right one when you see it, all you need to do is bring it home and prepare it for display.

Creating a Base to Stand Your Tree Up

halloween-tree02When you’ve brought your selected Halloween tree home, you need to make sure that it’s going to fit into the place which you have chosen for it. Having done that, it’s a fairly simple task to make sure that the bottom of your tree is flat.

All you need to do is mark where you want it cut, and use a small handsaw to give yourself a flush edge. With this complete, you can use a small piece of board, perhaps 12” x 12”, as the base.

To do this, mark the center of your board and carefully drive a small nail, about 1” or longer, depending on the depth of your board, through the mark (and make sure you don’t nail the board to the table!).

With the board prepared, you can carefully push your Halloween tree’s flush edge onto the nail, keeping it centered so the wood doesn’t split. Once you’ve done this, wiggle the branch a little to make sure that it is fastened securely, and stand it up, turning it if necessary to the position that you want.

With all of this complete, you have your Halloween tree, and it’s ready for you to decorate and display as you wish!

 

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!

Big Halloween Displays in Small Spaces

I love Department 56 and Spooky Town collectables, but I don’t have room for all the different houses and building in the collections. So over the years I’ve bought several pieces that I couldn’t live without, but I couldn’t display them either because of no room and to protect them from my two cats. You know what I mean – small collectables make great cat toys!

The first thing I thought of was to get a display case made for goodies – it would have cost the same as a second mortgage, so that idea was out. Then I went out and priced already made display cabinets, and realized that I couldn’t make my kids go without braces. However, I was determined to find a way to display them so the cats couldn’t get at them and so that me and my guests could see them without breaking the bank.

The Solution – The Craft Store

I ran off to Michaels and found the perfect fix for very little money! They had several different sizes but I chose one that was 7 ½ ” tall x 4 ¾ ” wide. I was shocked to find an unfinished display box with glass for under $5.00! I bought two – one to use for a tall display and the other for a horizontal display.

What To Put Into Your Display

Gather any item you think will fit in the display case and set them in. I’m sure you have lots of little collectables you’ve picked up over the years or you can always add doll house miniatures to your display. Of if you have one larger Halloween statue or collectable – use just that. Arrange and rearrange your items until they fit like you want. They may not fit at all! I was surprised when I got home that some of the Halloween collectables I thought would be perfect for my display case didn’t come close to fitting. Others looked dwarfed in the case and didn‘t look good at all. You just won’t know what will look best until you try them all!

The Gory (and Fantastical) Details

Once you’ve decided what to put in your display – start playing around with what details will make it better than just the item. Do you want to go with true scale of one inch equals a foot? Not bother with scale at all? Perhaps you would like to try for realism or fantasy in your display. All these things are good to consider since they will add lots of interest to you collection. If you decide to showcase you’re best mini tombstones for a mini cemetery add greenery, trees, fences and plants or vines to add to the creepy feel of fantasy cemetery in your head. What about adding a wisp of cotton batting to look like low laying ground fog between the tombstones? No matter what you’re planning to exhibit there are always great details you can add that will set it apart from humdrum to eye popping – perfect for Halloween!

Supplies For a Mini-Fantasy Display

  • Unfinished display box
  • Access to a color printer and the internet
  • Scissors
  • Double stick tape
  • Several different colors of paper or felt for the flooring
  • Ruler
  • Collectables
  • Paint (optional) I’ve decided to leave mine the natural color of the pine for now but you can paint yours anyway you want.

Getting Started

Gather all your supplies so you won’t have to stop later and look for something – it ruins your creative juju if you have to go cussing around the house scaring small children and pets just to find scissors. See, I know you guys – wait. That’s what I usually do!

Anyway, set up in an area with lots of light and space to work so you can spread your supplies out. Carefully measure the area where you want to put your background and write it down so you won‘t forget. As you can see with mine, (insert pic here) I decided to use a background only on the very back. but there are many ways to install your background. For instance, you may want to not only put it on the back of the case but also around the sides of the display. Just make sure that you can still see the items clearly or you may have people picking it up to see what’s inside – that’s bad for breakable collectables!

The Haunted Background

Once you’ve measured, go online or to your favorite graphics program and select a few different backgrounds to print that will add to the feel of what you‘re displaying. Use the rulers in any program you use to make them the exact size of your display so you won‘t have to trim them later or lose part of your background trying to cut it down to make it fit. Select the best background from all the ones you’ve printed and cut it out. Do the same with either felt, colored paper or a design you’ve printed for the floor of the display.

(Of course, if you’re an artist, draw and paint your scene!)

You have to make a decision at this point if you’re going to want to change the display later or if you want it to be permanent. Me? I’m way too fickle to make the display permanent so I used double stick tape to attach my background and flooring. But if you are good at making decisions – get a glue bottle and a Q-Tip. Careful not to get glue on your print since most pictures done on an ink jet will run or smear if it gets any dampness on it – I suggest that you take the background or flooring out and on a covered surface. Then put a thin layer of glue directly on the wood and smooth the glue all over the surface. Carefully lay the background paper in and watch for glue blobs that’ll bubble up around the edges. Take a Q-Tip and gently wipe it off making sure to not rub it over the picture. Let dry completely before doing anything else.

Populating Your Scene

“Time to make the doughnuts” as an old ad used to say when it was time for the good stuff. You’re now ready to start filling your display! Since you’ve installed your background and flooring you’re ready to put your collectables in the display. Try all kinds of combinations before closing the door and being done. You can always hang a bat from the ceiling, add a last minute skeleton or any other thing that will make your items scream with realism or show great flights of fantasy in your showcase. Enjoy!

Halloween Shadow boxes

A Fun Way For Your Jewelry to Make New Shadows this Halloween Season, or Year Round

Every Halloween I can’t wait to get out my massive Halloween jewelery pile and sit on the bed to marvel at some of my better pieces. Each piece is a work of art in my eyes, and I can’t help thinking how neat it would be to have a way of showing it off when I’m not wearing it.

I got a great idea when I cruised through Hobby Lobby and saw some great, single shadowboxes without slots. They were perfect for a few of my favorite necklaces, bracelets and rings. This is a great way to create a one-of-a-kind Halloween artwork and have a way to protect as well as display your best Halloween jewellery. It’s easy, cheap and so made for creative people like us who want to put our own spin on our holidays and decorating. Before we get to a list of supplies to make your own, here’s a bit o’ history.

History of Shadowboxes . . . Pretty cool!

Most of us grew up with shadowboxes our moms and grandmas proudly displayed on walls or in hallways. Some were filled with antique buttons, mementos from important events in their lives or just filled with life’s little treasures. But do you know where shadowboxes came from and why they’re called a shadowbox? Me neither until I looked it up!

No, they didn’t get the name shadowbox because the objects hung in shadowy hallways or in the shadow of real art. These modern-day, trinket-filled boxes got their name from our seafaring past and, like all good things, the name came from a superstition.

It’s said that it was bad luck for the shadow of a retiring sailor to leave the ship before his shadow did. So the rest of the crew would build a finely crafted box filled with honored items of the retiring man’s glories at sea that symbolically created a shadow of the man. Thus, the shadowbox would remain on board until the sailor was ashore and his safety was assured. Then his crewmates would host an elaborate ceremony where the man and his career would be honored. His captain or shipmates would present the honored shadow of the man box to him with much pomp and circumstance.

The sailor himself would invest in a quality shadowbox so he could see his many small trinkets that reminded him of his past exploits to distant shores during the course of his career at sea. Those souvenirs were traditionally small since sailors had very small places to call home on the ship. Let‘s face it – they didn‘t usually become rich men at the end of their careers, so usually one box would hold a lifetime of memories. Hard to believe in our consumer-driven days we live in, isn’t it?

List of Supplies for Your Shadow Box

  • Paint brushes (several sizes)
  • Acrylic paints in Halloween colors
  • Sandpaper (100 grit)
  • Pencil to mark out your design
  • Paper, paint, vintage postcards, artwork, pictures or felt for inside backing
  • Small hangers for the back of the shadowbox
  • Masking tape

If you plan on displaying jewelry, you will need a padded back for the box without slots. You’ll need the following to create one:

  • Double-sided tape
  • Scissors
  • Wood glue
  • Cotton batting (thin layer)
  • Thin but sturdy cardboard
  • Felt
  • Tacks
  • Objects to be displayed

Where To Get Your Shadowbox

Go to your local hobby store and select several inexpensive glass-fronted shadowboxes without slotted spaces to decorate and place your treasures in. The boxes come in many different sizes that will allow you to do more than one for an impressive grouping for not much money. I’m talking $2.99 or higher if you catch them on sale! I got mine for $1.49 each on sale.

What To Show Off

You probably have plenty of jewelry or other items to display around your house, so flea markets be damned! Gather a pile of jewelry, mini Halloween ornaments, antique cake picks or anything that you’d like to show off that will fit in your boxes.

Getting Started

This project is so easy and can be completed in one or two afternoons depending on how elaborate you paint your shadowboxes and what kind of paint you use. Your choices of colors or amount of painting are all up to you and is only limited by you!

Directions:

  1. Sand your shadowbox with fine sandpaper (100 grit) and wipe off all dust from the wood with a dry cloth so your paint will have a good place to stick to.
  2. Select acrylic paint colors of your choice, and you may need several different sizes of paint brushes depending on the design you choose.
  3. Let each session dry until you’re done with the painting.***A note of caution*** Do Not paint the tracks where the glass slides in or in the narrow strip of wood that locks the glass in place. The paint will stick, or you might not be able to close it or open it after the paint dries the next time you want to change the display. If you do find some paint has gotten in the track, take a graphite pencil and rub it gently on the sides of the glass panel and into the channel to aid in sliding over the tacky paint.
  4. If you want to display jewelry in the shadowbox, you’ll have to make the padded back so you can attach the jewelry before you glue it in place. Get your material, cotton batting, cardboard and either tacks, double stick tape or glue.
  5. Lay the back of the shadowbox on the wrong side of your fabric and carefully trace a light line onto the back of the material and then the cardboard. Cut on the line on the cardboard and around the cardboard on the cotton batting so that they are the same. This will allow room for the thickness of your material for your next step.
  6. Carefully cut the material with about a fourth of an inch outside the line you traced by laying the batting and cardboard on top. Snip the corners like in the example so you can make a good square corner as you fold and attach the material. This will allow room for the material to cover the batting and leave material to tuck behind the cardboard when you’re ready to attach all three together. Then you’re ready to install it in the shadowbox once you‘ve decided if you want to make it permanent or temporary.
  7. Either install the newly padded back of your shadowbox with permanent glue or, if your display objects are light enough, use double-stick tape or tacks if you need the extra hold if the backing is temporary. This will allow you to change the back easily at a later date.

I hope you’ve gotten inspired to make a new display for your jewelry or other treasures this year. A tight budget never gets in the way of good Halloweeners and their decorations!

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