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DIY Halloween Skull Decorations

Halloween always inspires me to make a little something to celebrate the season. This year I wanted to make some little skulls that I could use as decor or to give away. These skulls are fast and easy, and cost pennies to make. Let’s learn how to make some Halloween decorations!

How to Make DIY Halloween Skull Decorations

This project is very fast and easy, and you can choose to take your time and make a very refined, smooth skull, or leave it more rough and hand-made looking. Because it doesn’t require a lot of time or expense, and doesn’t require any tools, it’s a very kid-friendly craft project.

To make these skulls, you will need:

  • Scrap paper
  • Tin foil
  • Masking tape
  • Wire or a skewer for display
  • Air dry clay, which you can easily make yourself
  • Paints, markers, etc to decorate

Halloween Skull Video Tutorial

I made a quick time-lapse video if you want to see how this project comes together:

Halloween Skull Written Instruction

To make these skulls, follow these steps:

  1. Roll a sheet of scrap paper into a ball. You could also use something that is already round and the right shape, like a ping-pong ball, a Styrofoam ball, etc. You can take your time and make this ball very round, and cover it in masking tape to make a smooth round ball, which will help to create a smoother, more polished result. Or you can leave it less smooth for a more hand-crafted finished skull.
  2. Wrap the ball of paper in tin foil. The tin foil will hold it together and make the paper into a firmer ball.
  3. Use the end/tail of the tin foil to form the jaw portion of the skull. When you wrap the foil around the ball, you will end up with a little bundle at the end. Form that into a square shape at the base of the skull to make the shape of a skull. As above, you can really take your time with this step and make something very smooth if you like.
  4. Add your hanger. You can make a loop of wire and poke the ends into the skull, or use a skewer and insert it into the base if you prefer to support the skull from below.
  5. Wrap your skull shape in tape. Wrapping the shape in strips of masking tape helps hold it all together and prevent it from unraveling or unwrapping. It makes it more firm, and finalizes the skull shape.
  6. (optional) Roll out a thin sheet of air-dry clay. I covered my skulls in air-dry clay, because it creates a white, bone-like finish once it dries. However, you don’t have to cover them in clay. You could cover them in paper mache or decoupage a layer of paper over them.
    • If you are using clay, allow the clay to dry for 24 hours before decorating. If you are making this craft with kids, they may not be patient enough for that process, so it might be better to cover the skulls with a layer of paper instead of clay, so they will dry faster and be ready to decorate.
  7. (optional) Create surface indents for the eyes, nose, or teeth. You could take your time and add a lot of detail in the teeth at this stage if you wanted to.

After drying, the skull looks like this:

Decorating the DIY Halloween Skull

The nice thing about air-dry clay is that it’s very forgiving. I used several different methods to decorate my skulls, experimenting with different materials and techniques. You can use paint, pens, markers, paper, decoupage, or nearly anything to decorate the skull. The surface will accept paint, ink, glue, varnish, etc.

I did four different things here:

  1. Orange and black paint to create a jack-o-lantern look, finished with gloss ModPodge. I wanted the green ribbon at the top to look more like vines, but… well.
  2. Alcohol ink over decoupage. I have these pretty baroque gold napkins (in the picture), so I used elements from the napkin to decoupage one of the skulls. I wanted to use alcohol ink to try to create shadows and depth in a kind of trompe-l’oeil effect, which failed miserably. However, I did get better at blending alcohol ink, which is surprisingly tricky, so this was a good experiment for me.
  3. Metallic marker over chalkboard paint. It wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t at least one metallic marker mandala over chalkboard paint. I may keep adding to this design – the wonderful thing about mandalas is that the more you do, the better it looks.
  4. Sugar skull with markers. I do love the Dia de Muertos look, so I couldn’t resist making one in that style.

Hopefully when you see how fast, easy, and cheap it is to make these cute little skulls, you’ll be inspired to make your own. I think they would be wonderful kid crafts, party favors, or use them to decorate your home. Happy Halloween!

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