How to Make a Scary Wooden Fence Picket Skull





Introduction: How to Make a Scary Wooden Fence Picket Skull

Halloween Decor Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Halloween Decor Contest 2016

Trick and treat your neighbors with this scary wooden skull. Hang it on the fence close to the front door or hang it ON the front door to help greet your trick-or-treaters on Halloween. This project is fairly easy and inexpensive to make. All you need are a couple of power tools and wooden fence pickets to get stared

Step 1: Supplies

1) Fence Pickets - I used Red Cedar (5/8-in x 5-1/2-in x 6-ft) which are about $2.50 each. One picket makes one (1) skull head approximately 18" x 12" in size. You can make smaller skull heads by using smaller fence pickets (5/8 in. x 3-1/2 in. x 6 ft) which are about $1.50 each.

2) Skull pattern

3) Jigsaw

4) Drill and drill bits

5) Eye protection

6) Wood dowel rods

7) Wood glue


Small screws

Chain for hanging

Black shelf liner material

Step 2: Capture and Resize Skull Pattern

1) Click on skull pattern above and hit 'print scrn' on your keyboard then copy and paste it into Photoshop (or other photo editors). Resize the image so that the center portion is the size of your fence picket width; 5-1/2 inches for 5/8-in x 5-1/2-in x 6-ft pickets

Full pattern size is about 20'' X 20"

2) Save the file and take it to FedEx Kinkos (or other custom printing establishments) and have the pattern printed


Use the attached Photoshop (psd) file for printing. Just take this file to FedEx Kinkos and they can copy the pattern for printing. Pattern is for the 5-1/2-in wide pickets

FedEx Kinkos charges $0.75 a square foot to print so this should cost around $2.00

Step 3: Trace and Cut

1) Cut out the paper skull pattern and place each piece on the fence picket and trace around it with a black marker

2) Cut out all wood pieces with a jigsaw by following the black marker lines as a guide (make sure to use eye protection for this step)

NOTE : Cutting out the nose can be a bit tricky. I drilled a hole through the center of nose first to allow for the jigsaw blade. No worries if the nose doesn't look like the pattern. I messed up a few times and ended up making a triangular nose instead and it looked great.

Step 4: Skull Head Assembly

1) Draw 6 straight lines across the wood skull pieces with a pencil as noted in diagram

2) Using the jigsaw, cut the dowel rod into 1/2 inch size pieces

3) Using a drill, drill holes into the side of skull pieces about 1/4 inch deep using the pencil lines as guides. This will help keep the drill bit as straight as possible as you drill. This will also help ensure that the holes in both mating pieces line up during assembly

4) Starting with the left skull piece, fill the drilled holes with a small amount of wood glue and place a small dowel rod piece in each of the three holes

5) Fill the three left-center skull holes with glue and fit the two pieces together

6) Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the right skull and center-right skull pieces

NOTE: Drill bit and dowel rod sizes are dependent on wood thickness. Try to make drilled holes no larger that half the thickness of the wood

Step 5: Finished Fence Picket Skull

Here are pictures of the finished product. This one is approximately 18" X 12" in size.

It's a bit large but it looks great on the fence AND it's relatively inexpensive to make !!!

Step 6: Optional Ideas

If you want your skull to have black color (or any other color) behind the eyes, nose and mouth you can add black shelf liner material (or other materials) to the back. Just cut out the liner and screw it to the back. I also added chain to mine for hanging

Step 7: Other Fence Picket Skulls

Here are a few more Fence Picket Skulls that I made.

Some I left 'naked' (raw wood) and others I stained with wood stain.

I also found some old weathered fence pickets and made skulls out of them too.

5 People Made This Project!


  • Pocket-Sized Contest

    Pocket-Sized Contest
  • Science of Cooking

    Science of Cooking
  • Pro Tips Challenge

    Pro Tips Challenge

We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.




Sorry I just now saw your response JohnBirdsong. Wow, I didn't get the idea from your Etsy site. I saw a picture on Pinterest and thought that I could make myself and some family members one. There was no link, just a picture and the picture didn't look like the one you have posted here. I am truly sorry about this JohnBirdsong. I truly truly didn't intend to rip anyone off. That's the trouble with Pinterest sometimes; No way to tell where an item originates. I am a big time crafter and I like trying new things and this seemed like something that I could do with some success. So sorry again for unintentionally ripping you off. I just went to you Etsy and you are truly talented. No doubt about that. Please accept my apology. No malace inteneded

I hope ya do and I would love to see them if you make any.

I made three smaller than you did. I used basic 1" x 4" strapping, so they came out 7 1/2" wide x 10 1/2" long. I cut them out with my jigsaw and glued the pieces without dowels. Next time I think I'll just cut them out of plywood. They hang from my tree outside my small shop. Here's a link to my blog:

Thanks again Karen!


nice work. They look great ! Thanks for sharing your creations :)

KarenK116, thank you for the creative and well-thought-out instructable. Really strong work, young lady! My 2 year old son, Alton, and I now have our "Whatever We Want Wednesday" project for tomorrow! I'll post pics of the two of us in action tomorrow and am really looking forward to seeing his face light up when he sees the finished product come together. Thank you for helping me blow his mind and for the fun we're going to have re-creating your work. If you accomplish nothing else tomorrow, know that you helped a single father make another wonderful memory to share with his only son. You have my vote.

Oh you made my day Jay :). Thank you so much for the very kind words. I hope you and your son have a delightful day today making the skull and I can't wait to see the final product. Have fun you two :) :) :) :) :)

Well, we didn't get past the home depot trip - have a few other projects going on and ended up making the materials run our day's activity. 2 year olds make horrible contractors - jobs are never on-schedule and always cost more than the original estimate. But we had a good time shopping and will hit it again this weekend, with pics to follow. Thanks again and good luck!

Yes, those things always happen, especially with a 2 year old. I'm looking forward to your picutures.