DIY Skeleton Bottles




About: Taking my obsession with halloween and prop making to the next level.

In 2016, I made these spooky bottles for my halloween shenanigans. I snapped photos of the process and uploaded it to Turns out it got extremely popoular and ended up on other websites and online articles. I didn't think I was going to upload it here on Instructables, until I stumbled across it on Pinterest, with some false information in the pinterest-post, as I was not the one who had uploaded it there. This made me reconsider making a proper Instructables tutorial. Let's not spread any more lies and clear up some misconceptions!

The original tutorial can be found hereon imgur, if you prefer to read the sassy, inappropriate version!

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Step 1: Supplies

Bottles: The Medinet bottle was a bottle that I'd had for YEARS, just itching to DIY something out of it. The Bailey's bottle was a random bottle lying around. I mainly chose it because of its sleekness and its size.

Template of the bones of the hand: I googled "anatomical skeleton hand" and sized it a little smaller than my real-life hand. It definitely does not look undersized on the finished product. My template was white, which meant I had to paint it black later. This could be avoided by making the template from black colored paper from the beginning and using a subtle pencil to draw on it, like pencil lead.

Sculpting tools: I had a bunch in my crafting area, originally from Michael's. I only really ended up using 3 of the tools, as well as every nook and cranny of my hands.

Clay: I used DAS Scuplting Clay since that was what I had on hand. This is an air dry clay, which was a property I liked during the making of this. In a lot of the "fake" posts they recommend polymer clay. I didn't choose polymer clay for a reason, even though I work with it a lot in other situations. I didn't want the clay to slide around, and baking it without it moving would just be bothersome. It's also easy to dent when working on the other side of the bottle. I also liked the fact that I could layer air dry clay very smoothly - plus the fact that it was matte in the end, not shiny.

Glue: Apart from superglue to glue your finger bones to your template, find some good glue that works well on glass. There is a thread all about the best glue for working with glass right here on Instructables.

Step 2: Sculpt Fingers

Turn on a movie and start sculpting your finger bones, one by one, using fingers and/or a ball tool. Place them right on top of the paper template for drying. Let them dry overnight, and then turn them upside down to make sure they dry all the way through. Then glue the bones directly to the template.

Step 3:

Sever the thumb and cut the template down as close as possible to the sculpted bones. I then colored my paper template black using acrylic paint on a tiny paintbrush and sometimes using a fine tip pen. Either way works, but let's face it, making the template from black paper would've cut down on this step.

You might ask, "why glue it to the template anyways? Wouldn't it be easier to skip that?" Well... sure... but you would have to keep track of 52 pieces when placing them on the bottle later, and using the template as a "spine" helps to place it to look natural.

Step 4: Glue

Use your own hand to gauge where you want to place your skeleton hands to make sure it looks natural on the bottle. You can make small dots with a marker as a guide if you want, and then rub it away with some cotton swabs and acetone later on. Apply your glass-appropriate glue on the back of your template and then place it on your bottle.

Step 5: Sculpting the Skull Bottle

To start on the skull bottle, lay down a ball of clay onto the bottle, and wet your fingers. Then, smush the ball out to a thin sheet that covers the general area that you need to cover. With an exacto-knife, cut a straight line all around the perimeter of the bottle to make a neat bottom edge, and cut out eyes and nose holes as symmetrically as you can. The crusty looking edges are easily removed later in the process. Let dry for a few hours. It really depends on your clay.

Step 6: Build Up the Forehead

Add some clay to build up the forehead to a slightly more squared off look similar to a real life skull. Let dry.

Step 7: Orbital Bone Structure

To add bone structure, add a thick snake below the eye and blend the edges out into the base with wet fingers or tools.

Add a little crease.

Add on another thinner snake for the browbone, using water to adhere it, and blend it out into the base like before.

Step 8: Temples

Add a long tear drop-like snake for the temple, and add a little curve to the pointy end when blending.

It might be good to take a look at your project from above at this point to see if the protruding height is about the same on both sides of the skull.

Step 9: Teeth

Add a rectangle of clay in the same thickness as your base coat of clay for the upper jaw. Clean the edges up with an x-acto knife if needed. Carve out some half circles of the lower part of this rectangle while the clay is still wet. Now, either find a good source photo of teeth, or make a stupid face in the mirror. I, of course, did the latter.

Sculpt the teeth, and place them using a drop of water as adhesive. Let dry. If there was one step that I really appreciated having the sculpting tools, it was this step. They by no means have to be perfect (There's a reason that dentists exist), but the tools helped me in making them look similar to each other at least.

Step 10: Nose Bridge

Using your thumb as a brace, add some clay to the nose bridge, making the end result lifted from the base. Don't think of this as a nose, as it is only the nasal bone, it isn't supposed to protrude very much, that's the job of cartilage, but skulls don't have any! Let dry.

Step 11: Admire Your Work!

Cry. Jump for joy. Scream at your neighbors. You did it! Fill your bottles with something if you want to, or just keep them empty at your kitchen counter to freak guests out.

If there are any questions, I'd be happy to answer them!

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    17 Discussions


    7 hours ago on Step 11

    Super, I want to try this out. I have the perfect bottle for the hands


    4 weeks ago

    These are great! thanks for giving me a reason to run out and buy some bottles of alcohol to drink so I can hurry up and make some of my own, and those online thief’s, well a big fat shame on them creeps for taking credit on your beautiful creations, that’s so not nice and such a very bad thing for someone to do.


    4 months ago on Introduction

    These would be great for Halloween or even a themed event like a birthday party. Kids would love them as they are not that scary but still a little spooky. I wouldn't mind keeping them after the event because they look so fun.


    2 years ago

    this is exceptional piece, bravo.


    2 years ago

    So cute! Thank you for setting things straight and sharing the "how to".


    2 years ago

    Very nice work! Great way to get the bone structure anatomically correct!!


    2 years ago

    Excellent job. I especially like your template method. I've always wondered how to get shape, relative position/size, etc. correct when sculpting finger bones. Thanks much.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Glad to have been of some help! :) I hope your finger bones come out awesome!


    2 years ago

    Those skeleton hands! I love it. :)


    2 years ago

    great job! excellent sculpting. keep up the great work.

    Penolopy Bulnick

    2 years ago

    These look just awesome! I'm glad you decided to share how you made them here :)


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you! So excited to be a part of this year's halloween contest!