Milk Jug Skulls




About: My wife and I have a home haunt called Terror On 20Th....I love to build props...everything from a casket to pneumatic monsters! I am also a presenter, speaker and course teacher at Halloween conventions.

These skulls are made with the gallon size milk, water or ice tea jugs! The plastic jug is melted and shaped over a master skull.

Step 1: Tools Needed

To get started on this fun project there are some things needed.

A RESIN master skull...found on Ebay.

Good heavy gloves

Heat gun

masking tape

hot glue gun with glue sticks


scissors, razor knife

regular screw driver

bowl of ice water with a towel

plastic gallon size milk jugs!!

Step 2: Master Skull & Stand

1. I use a resin skull, this one has the removable jaw. I made the stand with some scrap wood and a section of PVC...I drilled a hole through the bottom of the skull but it can just be glued onto the pvc. This stand makes all of the difference!

2. I added some fiberglass matting to the back and top of the master skull to help "beef up" the rear of the skull as we will be cutting off the plastic when it's done.

Step 3: Prep the Jug

Cut the handle off of the jug.

Place the jug over the skull with the long part covering the face as shown.

Step 4: Start Making the Skull

Using the heat gun on HIGH, 1st heat up the decals and peel off. This should only take a few seconds

In a circular motion hold the heat gun about 3 inches above the top and keep moving the gun until the jug starts to turn clear.

With your gloves on, pull the soft jug down to take the shape of the skull.

Then heat up the plastic just under the cheek bone until clear and "tuck" in with your gloved hand...repeat on the other side...the jug is now "locked-in"

Step 5: Detail Work

Now we go back to the top...heat again until clear and now use a sponge dipped in ice water to push the plastic into small sections.

Work your way to the forehead, then each side.

Heat up the area above the cheek bone until clear and push the sponge in, repeat on the other side.

Now do the same under the cheek bone on each side.

heat the mouth area over the teeth and press the cold sponge over the teeth to get the basic shape of the mouth.

Cut off the extra plastic under the mouth, be sure to leave about 1/2 inch extra to fold under the teeth and base.

heat the nose area, when clear push the sponge into it.

Heat the eye socket and push the cold sponge into the socket...don't push in to far or the plastic will tear. Repeat on the other eye.

heat the teeth section and using the cold sponge, fold extra plastic under teeth.

Now heat the teeth again but use a small screw driver to push in between the teeth and get some detail!

Step 6: Getting the Skull Off the Master

I use some heavy duty scissors and cut up the back of the skull, once at the top I cut a small V shape. Now the back of the skull will open....facing the skull pull the open back towards you...the skull should "pop" off.

Now use some tape and get the seams as close together as possible. Using the hot glue, glue from the inside. Cover the whole seam with a good bead of hot glue. Now peel off the tape once the glue has cooled.

Step 7: Time to Paint

First I use an ivory flat spray paint and spray a good coat inside the skull.

I use some flat black spray paint on all of the lower sections...eyes, nose, mouth and around cheek bone.

Using some paint thinner I soak a sponge and wipe off the excess paint...I use the sponge with a scrub careful not to take to much off.

Last is a coat of flat interior latex paint...brown..I brush it on and using a water soaked rag I "blot" off the paint....once almost dry I take the sponge and clean off the teeth a bit!

Step 8: Finish

The skulls are super light...IF using them outside I suggest spraying a bit of expanding foam in them and toss in a handful of stones.

I like to attach the skulls in can use the hot glue but I use zip ties and screws so they won't come apart! HAVE FUN!!

Creative Misuse Contest

Grand Prize in the
Creative Misuse Contest

3 People Made This Project!


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125 Discussions


Question 9 months ago

Roughly how long does it take to do the mold?

1 answer

Question 11 months ago on Introduction

Awesome project. Are you able to substitute the heating gun with a hair dryer (set on high) to soften the milk jug plastic?

5 answers

Answer 5 months ago

Hair Dryers are not hot enough and are dangerous running at full for long periods of time


Answer 10 months ago

No!! MUST have a heat gun, and a good one!


Reply 10 months ago

You can get a cheap heat gun at harbor freight for around $15.


9 months ago

What a great Instructable. Your instructions were spot on. I had a challenge finding enough jugs for what I had in mind, and finally went 'dumpster diving' in the recycle bins on trash day. I was turning out about 4 of these things per hour (before painting). I have made 42 of them so far and plan on making a total of 50 for my yard decoration at Halloween. I did a 3 layer paint job on the exterior of the skulls. First layer- black; second layer- army green; third layer- brown as recommended. The greenish color makes them look a little more mossy and moldy looking. Had so much fun doing this. Thanks.

2018-0920 Skulls3.jpg
2 replies

9 months ago

This is one of the best ideas and best instructables...ever.
I'm still in the process of making more but I've made 3 so far. I'm not happy with the shade of brown I was able to get & the end result coloring is tough to get right...still working on experimenting with color.

The explanation and instructions for the instructables are spot on. Great work

4 replies

Reply 5 months ago

Awesome...they look like they came from my work shop!!


Reply 8 months ago

Try army green as an undercoat to the brown. See my post of 42 skulls. About half were done with the greenish undercoat.


Reply 8 months ago

Thank you very much! So glad to see you were able to make them! The more you make the better they get...yours looks great!


8 months ago

Wow! This is amazing, and a fabulous recycling process. Bravo, and congratulations on your Grand Prize win! If I had been active on Instructables (as I should have) I would definitely have voted for you. Passing this on, too good not to share.

1 reply

7 months ago on Introduction

Thanks for inspiring me this year. Many years ago my friends and I got heavily into props, makeup effects, and performing a haunted display in front of our houses on Halloween. I got away from it as I got older and got involved with other things, but the Halloween spirit has always been close to my heart. This year you helped me reclaim that enjoyment of Halloween as a craft project was a perfect distraction for me during some stressful times. And I never seem to have great ideas for costumes for myself (nor many places to go and be dressed up).

These skulls were a perfect little project. Thanks again.

1 reply