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I’ve always been impressed by real cow skulls. You see them lying in the desert in movies, on the front of 4-wheel drives and hanging on the wall in country bars.

Here's how I made mine from cardboard, newspaper, tape, tin foil wood glue, dry wall mud, and air-dry clay for the teeth. Enjoy!

You will Need:

  • Sturdy Cardboard for the frame
  • Newspaper
  • Masking tape and packing tape (optional)
  • Drywall Joint compound (optional. For smoothing only)
  • Paper Mache, Cloth mache, or paper mache clay. (I used wood-glue for paste)
  • Acrylic paint - White, black, brown, khaki

Buy one on Etsy at Mad Props Paper Mache

Step 1: Reference Photo

One of the most important things to have before you start any sculpting project is a reference photo. You'll need one master photo to actual size if possible and other close up photos for specific areas. The skull is 21”, similar to life-size. (And dead-size!)

That's a very impressive result. Well done.
<p>Thanks Jon!</p>
<p>It looks so realistic - great work :D</p>
<p>Thanks! Much appreciated.</p>
<p>Very impressive sir.</p>
<p>Thanks a lot! (You have a cool profile photo by the way.)</p>
<p>Very cool.</p><p>How about a skull of a dragon or an alien?</p>
<p>Now your talkin'. I was thinking of doing a bob-cat skull. They look pretty nasty.</p><p>Reply will a pic of a cool dragon or Alien skull and I'll check it out.</p>
<p>Some men in black suits came and took the only alien skull I had before I could take a picture of it.</p><p>Here's some from a Google search -</p><p>https://www.google.com/search?q=dragon+skull+image&amp;ie=utf-8&amp;oe=utf-8</p><p><a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=alien+skull+image&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8" rel="nofollow">https://www.google.com/search?q=alien+skull+image&amp;...</a></p><p>That bobcat one is cool.</p>
<p>That is so cool... I've gotta try it..</p><p>Well don!</p>
I don't understand the process and colors or product you used to convert the brownish hues to a the bonelike color of your finished product. Did i miss a section?
<p>I definitely should have included another step. Sorry for the confusion. The brown layer acts as a base coat. I mixed brown paint in withe the glue layer so I wouldn't have to paint another coat just to get the whole thing brown. </p><p>Everything is brown unless I paint white over top of it. I could paint the whole thing white, but then it would look like step 5 - kind of washed out with very little detail.</p><p>By leaving the lowest parts brown and painting the highest parts white, it kind of creates a 3D effect. The deeper, darker sections look like shadows regardless of where the light is coming from.</p><p>Dry-brushing is a technique where you dip your paint brush in (white in this case) paint, then rub most of it off on newspaper. Then gently 'brush' the skull so you barely touch it. This way only the highest areas get paint. You can use a sponge to dry-brush as well.</p><p>You can see in step 7 around the teeth, the only brown areas (on the skull, not the teeth) are the deepest areas the brush couldn't get to.</p><p>Here's a close up of the teeth after they were painted brown first, then dry-brushed white. I used a darker brown and very little khaki in the white, so there's more contrast between the brighter white and the deep, dark crevasses. The bigger the difference between the brightness of the bottom layer and the top, dry-brush layer, the more contrast you'll get.</p>
<p>bone comes in many shades, but sun bleached s doable with a layer of joint compound then wet cloths to remove most of it w.o sanding lines then just finish with matte finish clear acrylic. </p><p>Just thin some out and rub it on, let it dry, then &quot;wet sand&quot; it with a wet cloth. Kinda like &quot;Rub and Buff&quot;</p>
<p>After they sealed it, they put a layer of paint over it. </p>
<p>Could you use this same technique to make a human skull?</p>
<p>You might be able to, but I don't think I would use this method for a human skull. I would just start with a cheap plastic or foam skull from the dollar store. That's what I do for most of my zombies in my Halloween Display.</p>
<p>I see. I've been looking around on the web for the cheapest way I can make the most realistic human skull, which paper mache was just about the cheapest. I want to make a heap of them in my yard for the Hallow's </p>
<p>This is amazing, nice!</p>
<p>This is absolutely amazing! You are quite the artist. It looks, at least in the photos, completely real.</p>
Very sweet! Do you have any tips for making the cracks and texture?
<p>Because I had a soft layer of joint compound, I was able to cut into it with a box cutter and trace the crack with a black pen. I should have included this in the tutorial. Thanks for asking!</p><p>There really isn't much texture. It's pretty smooth except for a few streaks in the white paint from my stiff old paint brush. Most of the depth comes from leaving the deeper areas brown and just dry-brushing the white paint on the high spots.</p>
I should have read the comments and i would have my answer. Perhaps you add that into your instructions. Much cheaper and more rewarding then buying the real thing. Great work.
Wonderful!
<p>Wow!</p>
<p>nice work!!</p>
Wow, I totally thought the skull you made was real! Great job on the tutorial.
<p>Thanks for all the positive feedback!</p>
<p>This will be pushing my skill set a bit but I have to do this.</p>
Had to do a double-take. Excellent realistic work!
impressive
<p>That looks amazing. So real it, is hard to tell the difference. Thumbs Up!</p>
<p>awesome!</p>
<p>Wow! You did a fantastic job on this! This is sooooo cooooool! Thanks for the instructions!</p>

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Bio: I started making Paper Mache Props for Halloween and didn't stop! Visit my Etsy store: Mad Props Paper Mache
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