Picture of Paper Mache Skeletons
Halloween just wouldn't be complete without a few skeletons laying around. The problem is, there simply isn't a perfect solution commercially available. The Big Lots skelies (known by home haunters as Bluckies) are cheap, but they look like a bulbous mess. Then there's the defective medical teaching skeletons, but those will cost you an arm and a leg. So, I set out to make a cheap skeleton that was way more realistic than blucky, and settled on paper mache. My method is a little time consuming, but the results are well worth it.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
This is what you need to begin-- about 50 or so sheets of newspaper.
You'll also need some duct tape, scotch tape, paper mache glue (I use a flour and water mixture. It's cheap and strong, but won't be weatherproof until you seal it), and paint (I used a can of light brown spray paint for the base, and some dark brown acrylic for details).
joanne finn4 months ago

well done

This is such an easy, fun idea! Soooooo using it this Halloween!
i know right
cool dude saves money
rickardj3 years ago
I found the best mix is 1 part flour and 6 parts water. Mix and then boil for 3 minutes, and then cool. This makes a realy nice thick sticky goo ready for the paper.
nisoe3 years ago
what did you do for the painting fx??
nisoe3 years ago
F* AWESONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
annithrax4 years ago
Hey, just wanted to add a little bit in regards to the skulls.

If you're making a whole bunch of skeletons and four bucks turns into more like 40, you can pick up a couple of foam heads, wrap it in foil (or anything else to stop contact between your mold and the mache) and paper maché on to that.

To remove it from your skully mold, just cut down the middle, the foil makes it easier to pry off, then tape on the inside, maché over the cut and you've got yourself a pretty good paper skull and still have a mold to make more =)

Your instructable is awesome by the way, and your skeleton looks really well turned out!
mommasmith4 years ago
You did not say how to attach arms or legs to body or head? Are there clavicles in this design? How do you attach the Pubic gurde and the legs to the pubic area? Your instructions could use an update. The idea is a great one and cheap. What do you seal it with?
You would probably want to prime it first before applying the base color, all that said, I plan to try this for next year.
wolfcrow4 years ago
Awesome idea, and I plan on using this during the current Halloween season. I noticed a lack of a skull/ pelvis... Big Lots (or any Halloween store) sells a 'bag of bones' that usually have those two pieces in there.

A full bucky or blucky is a bit out of my price range, so this will be great to... Well... "Fill in the pieces". I plan on doing a full corpsing instructable when I get under way, and you will definitely make a it to the 'links you'll need' page.
Hi there! followed your 'structible.....made this dude!!! Gr8! 'structible!! Boner is Wonderful!..I used a Marcus The Carcass for the head n hands......
seamaas5 years ago
that thing in the middle of the ribs is called the sternum
is there an easyway to make a skull?
Theolon5 years ago
This looks great! For sheets of newspaper, do you mean a single page or a full two page spread? I look forward to trying this in the spring.
p4trick956 years ago
2 parts water to 1 part flour is the mixture ratio commonly used
i use equal amounts of both and that works
neilh5 years ago
Great Instructable! I am building a version of one now. I am using PVC as suggested for the spine / tibia + fibula and femur. Your suggestion to curve the spine PVC with a heat gun gave me this idea. I took a 2 spare wire coat hangers, and cut 2 U shapes and one single length of wire, to get 5 total. I placed them in a piece of 3/4 in. PCB and then heated the pipe while squeezing the end in a pliers. This way I was able to crimp the wires into the end of the pipe. Once the pvc was soft, I transfered it to a vice and tightened it to completely hold the wire. I let it cool, and now I have a piece I can use as a foot or hand depending on how you mount / trim it. Each wire becomes one of the metatarsal bones (if we are talking about a foot) or one of the fingers of a hand.
l8nite neilh5 years ago
 I just saw the reply about building the hand/foot.. FANTASTIC idea ! ! Im going to try to incorporate it
neilh l8nite5 years ago
It came out really nice,  I need to paint it, but it looks good.
l8nite5 years ago

Well its that time of year again and as if I didn't have enough going on I decided to give this a try. Not to bad, it only took about 2 hrs to make all the tubes and construct the leg and arm bones. I noticed that after measuring against my own bones and then adding the "bumpy bits" the bones were a lot longer... duuuuh..bit of l8nite brain fade I guess !. I added an extra half tube to the upper arm bone and used 2 tubes for each thigh and since the forearm and lower leg have 2 bones I added those in as well. I still have to coat the "bones" with my glue/paint/paper mix and of course make the ribs and spine....

bones 001.jpgbones 002.jpgbones 003.jpg
This is so cool, I'm going to try this, for my haunted trail. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!
wow your skeleton looks great. I am trying some air drying clay for the hands and it is to fragile. but if you are careful with them they worked great and looked like real hands. but the skeleton worked great and saved me hundreds on my yard haunt this year. can't wait to see the trick or treaters eyes!!!
tomskull5 years ago
I used another tube in the place of the cardboard so the bone is very big and hard but I like the the result and in the rigcage I used more tube to do a bigger effect
Risuji6 years ago
This is really cool! Btw I sent this page to my friend and he thought it was spyware (look at the random page ID in the url) I definitely have to try this at some point! Thanks for this instructable.
l8nite6 years ago
great way to recycle!! If you use acryllic craft paint in your "glue" mix it will stiffen the structure and help waterproof it. I use a 50/50 mix of water and paint along with tissue or papertowel to make repairs to witches and other props as well as some small garden sculptures that hold up really well in the wweather
dludlow6 years ago
Your skeleton is great. Thanks for the help. Its turning out really well.
dchall86 years ago
Looks like this would work for the "skeletons climbing up the house" decorations posted last month. Cool!
Radioactive_Legos (author)  dchall86 years ago
You're right. Thanks!
Kiteman6 years ago
Nice job! You can stop paint soaking in to the paper with PVA glue - water some down, paint it on, and leave it to dry. It will harden the surface of the bones, and stop paint soaking in so much.
Radioactive_Legos (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
Good idea! Thanks for the feedback!