Monday, October 27, 2014

Mini Monsters

If you made the Miniature Haunted House from last week's blog, it's probably looking pretty empty. I made these little Halloween characters from wooden beads, paint, and paper to give the place a little life. I'm providing basic directions for each monster, but you can pretty much use any materials you have on hand.

Dracula: Paint a round bead and a square bead white and then glue them together when the paint is dry. Use permanent markers or paint and a fine-tip brush to create the vampire's jacket details, facial features, and famous hairline. Cut a bat-wing cape from black paper and glue it onto Dracula's back.

Frankenstein's Monster: Paint a large round bead black for the monster's body and a square bead green for the head. Glue the pieces together when the paint is dry and glue a square of black card stock to the base for the feet. Add hair, a mouth, eyes, and a scar to the monster's face with paint and markers.

Ghost: Paint two round beads--one large, one small--white and let them dry. Cut a circle from a coffee filter and glue it to the large bead, then glue the small bead on top. Draw eyes and mouth (bedsheet-style ghosts don't usually have noses) and glue on a white paper base to keep him from tipping over.

Pumpkins: These pumpkins are more cute than spooky, but you can add more menacing features if you like. For each, paint a round, ridged bead orange and add eyes with white and black paint. For the stem, glue a piece of green twist-tie into the center of the bead and wind it into a spiral. Glue the finished pumpkin on a circle of card stock so it doesn't roll away.

Witch: Since witches come in all shapes and sizes, you can use any beads you like for this character. Paint the body black, the head green, and then glue the pieces together. Add paper shoes with curled-up toes and painted facial features. Top the head with embroidery floss hair and a pointed black paper hat.

Mummy: My Mummy is on the small side, but I think he's still pretty creepy looking. Choose two beads--one for the body, one for the head--in any size or style you have and paint them white. Glue them together and use a black marker to draw a shadowy face and layers of bandages. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Miniature Haunted House

My collection of boxes provided creative inspiration for this tabletop haunted house. I used a cereal box and an assortment of cardboard jewelry boxes as the construction materials for a creepy four-story mansion right out of a vintage horror movie. I had fun making it myself, but it would be a great Halloween project for kids too. 

Making the framework for the house was the trickiest part of this project. I started with a cereal box, cut away the top flaps and the back panel, and then used the scrap pieces of cardboard and a stapler to create the roof. It took several coats of acrylic paint--black on the outside, metallic silver on the inside--to completely cover the printed images on the box. I glued black and gray paper shingles to the top of the roof and sealed them with a coat of Mod Podge.®

Bottom floors

While the box dried between coats, I decorated the house's tiny rooms with paper cutouts, markers and paint pens. I furnished the hall with an ominous portrait and ticking grandfather clock--necessary elements of haunted house decor. Test tubes and a menacing machine fill the laboratory (every respectable haunted house has one). I decorated the dining room with a glittery chandelier and dramatic furniture. In the sitting room three creepy silhouettes watch over an overstuffed sofa. I created a stark kitchen, a deceptively cozy bedroom, an attic study, and a storage room to complete the house's layout.

Top floors
When the rooms were furnished and dried, a fastened them to the inside of the cereal box frame with heavy-duty double-stick tape. To keep the haunted house from tipping over, I mounted it on a base of corrugated cardboard dappled with black and silver paint.

Black and gray paper "shingles" cover the roof.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mad Scientist Bookmarks

Part of my annual October ritual is watching as many classic sci-fi movies as I can before Halloween. My favorites involve creatures produced through science run amok--Them!, The Fly, The Killer Shrews--you get the idea. In the spirit of misguided scientific experimentation, I created these mad scientist bookmarks. You can make them as favors for a children's Halloween party, or--if you're a sci-fi fan like me--use them to mark your place in your copy of The Day of the Triffids.

To make the microscope slide bookmarks, I used scissors and hole punches to create germs and squiggly creatures from colored paper. I arranged the pieces on a strip of clear adhesive-backed paper and added eyes--white punched-paper circles dotted with black-ink pupils. If you want to give your bookmark a name tag like I did, cut a small square of white vellum, write a name on it with permanent marker, and place it at the top of the "slide." Seal the bookmark with another layer of adhesive-backed paper, punch a hole in the top, and add a knotted cord or yarn.

Although they are not scientifically accurate, the round bookmarks are supposed to look like petri dishes (remember bio class?) filled with microscopic creatures. I used a circle of white vellum for the base of each design and arranged paper germs, glitter, and snippets of ribbon, thread, and feathers on top. When I liked the way the arrangement looked, I added a circle of adhesive-backed paper to hold all the pieces in place. If you have no need for petri dish bookmarks, use them as coasters at your Halloween party instead.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Halloween Treat Boxes

You never know when a box is going to come in handy. That's why I've become a hoarder of boxes--corrugated shipping boxes, shoe boxes, shirt boxes, etc. I made these tiny Halloween treat boxes from white jewelry boxes and odds and ends from my craft supply stash.

For the larger box, I used a classic Halloween palette of black, yellow, orange, and neon green. I painted the bottom black on the outside, green on the inside, and the top yellow on the outside, orange on the inside. The box top is decorated with orange and green paper (I used a small spool to stamp the black paint rings) and a big yellow button. I used a circle paper punch to make the polka dots, which I glued inside the box and along the top's edges. A few coats of Mod Podge® sealed the paper trims and gave the box a nice shine. I think my favorite part of this box is its legs. To make them, I just glued a pony bead and a striped square bead to the bottom of the box at each corner. 

The smaller box is even easier to make. I left the top white and decorated it with purple and black paper. Next, I glued tiny wiggle eyes in pairs to the black paper. They're supposed to look slightly spooky, but they're pretty silly. Strips of purple and green paper with pinked edges trim the sides of the box top. To make the feet, I glued clear glass pebbles to the bottom.

The boxes make cute decorations, and they can hold a special treat (fancy candy, Halloween confetti, a gift card) for a favorite trick-or-treater.