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I wanted to share with everyone something I thought up while doing a craft with my kids to make  Halloween decorations.  While they were playing outside and taking Breaks I got to playing with the paper mache and came up with this fellow here & thought I would share how I did it.

What you will need:

Materials-
1. Newspaper
2. Flour
3. Water
4. Magic Markers
5. A wire coat-hanger
6. White Paint.
7. Balloons
8. Duct Tape

Tools-
1. Scissors
2. A large bowl
3. A sack- or something to hold your paper shreds in.
4. Needle-nose or regular pliers.
5. A whisk or a spoon.

Step 1: Prepare Your Materials

For this I bought a regular daily paper for 50 cents and then completely shredded it.  I cut each section in half and then tore the paper into strips - sticking it in a plastic bag for later.

I did take the slick sales circulars and shred them, but I put them together a little separate from the other paper for another reason I will get into later.

Little Note- if you tear from the top to the bottom of the page it tears into strips easier.

Next I mixed 4 cups of flour with about 6 cups of water.  This made a paste for me that wasn't too thin or too thick - but there is no hard and fast formula as the flour you have could only take 4 cups of water or take up to 10 depending on how dry it is. Just mix the water in slowly and when you get a paste that is about the consistency of potato soup then you have a good start.

Finally, I gathered all my materials outside (Because this makes clean-up easier when you can simply hose everything down when you are done)


Step 2: Prepare Your Balloons

For the skull design I blew up a balloon to the size I wanted to for the top of the skull, then I blew up a second balloon to about half that size.

Next I used Duct Tape to secure them together, making sure to use several strips to not only ensure the two were joined but to reduce gaps between the two balloons for later.

Be Sure when using Duct Tape on Balloons to go slow as Duct tape is stick and balloons are unforgiving. As you can see, I lost a few balloons during this first step.  Use small strips of duct tape at first as they are easier to manage.

Finally I ran three longer pieces around the top, bottom and middle of the strips of tape to cover the gaps.  THis will help keep the paper mache from having to fill in too many gaps and allows me to make a general shape of a skull to build on.

Step 3: Start Papering Your Balloons.

To apply the paper to your balloons I tend to dip paper into the bowl and then start applying it directly to the balloons.
(as you can see in the pictures about my daughter is demonstrating that process on her own project .)

Continue to apply a layer of news paper until you have the balloon completely covered.  If you can, try to make the strips go one direction on the first layer and then alternate the direction on the next to add strength to the construction.

Once the balloon is completely covered with regular news paper, it will be sticky, wet and generally a mess.

At this time I take the slick paper and apply it to the outside of the first layer in the other direction - WITHOUT dipping it into the paste.  This layer applies itself directly to the sticky mess below itself and helps absorb extra moisture as it does so.

 Don't worry about the loose edges of the slick paper here as the third layer will get rid of that.

Once the second layer is on, you can go on to apply the third layer using regular news print or you can let it dry a bit before continuing.

You can continue to apply layers of paper to the skull if you like.  Each layer will add more strength if you alternate them, but it will also add more bulk and more drying time.  I stopped at three layers as I usually don't do more than that unless I am expecting something to take a little more stress. 

Step 4: Build Your Skull's Face!

Using wadded up scraps and other bits of news paper you need to make a face on your skull consisting of a eye-brow & eye lines, a nasal ridge and the cheek-bones.

Don't worry about the dimensions and the accuracy of the skull. The point here is to have some fun and not get a nervous break-down.  If you want, you can get super specific with your dimensions, but I don't as this is just for fun!

I used quite a few little bits of paper that weren't good for much, soaking them in the paste and applying them until I have something that looks like a skull- even a cartoon one at that!

Note- If you don't want the large bulge at the bottom of your skull you can fix that on the balloons with more duct tape before applying your first layer of paper.

Step 5: Let Dry and Then Paint.

I'm sorry I don't have pictures for this part.

TO dry just place the skull in a dry spot and wait.  I put mine out in the sun on my work table and waited for a day and a half before it was dry.

After drying I placed the skull on some excess news paper and used white spray paint in two coats to cover the news print, allowing each layer to dry before applying the second coat.

Step 6: Put a Face on Your Skull Face!

Using the ridges and other some pictures of other skulls its time to break out your magic markers and put some eyes, nose holes and a mouth on your skull.  

Take your time and don't worry about mess ups as you go.

As you can see in the pictures I wanted to have my skull with his mouth open so I didn't make the bottom of the model any smaller.

Once you are complete give the magic marker a few minutes to dry out and then it's time to make this guy hang!

Step 7: Hang the Skull! Hang the Skull! Hang... You Get the Point.

Hanging the skull is pretty straight forward.  Cut a slot in the top of the head and then cut a wire coat hanger about two inches from the hook on both sides.

Holding the loose ends together, slip them into the slot in the head.

Before you shove the whole thing in there, push it in about halfway and then spread the coat hanger ends with your pliers a little bit so they will hold up your skull!

Once that's completed I like to turn the end of the coat hanger hook until it makes a loop so it won't slip off the hooks I have outside so easy.

Then hang up your skull, sit back, and enjoy your festive halloween decoration.
Paper mache is great for a creepy skull!

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am the author the novel Future Useless. I am semi-retired now as I work on taking care of my family and writing my next ... More »
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