How to make a skull ring using simple tools and easy to source materials! This tutorial includes a full video explaining every step or you can read through and see the whole process in pictures.
I made this skull ring with a box of skulls from Games Workshop, a few paints and a steel ring core. Links to all of the tools and materials are included so if you want to make your own skull inlay ring then check those out.
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I love inspiring others to create things with their hands as it's fun, therapeutic and can make a good side hustle or full time income. If you'd like to see more cool projects like this then I think you'll like my Youtube channel here:
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That's it for the intro ... let's get on with making a skull ring!
Ushabti Bone Paint
Agrax Earthshade Paint
Self healing cutting mat
Medium CA glue
Wet and dry sand paper
Polishing wheels and compounds
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Step 1: Preparing the Skulls
I bought a box of plastic skulls from Games Workshop and was so excited to see what was inside! You get a few plastic sprues that include a variety of alien, animal and demon skulls but I was particularly interested in the human skulls.
The skulls with no jaw bones were a perfect height for the inlay channel of my steel ring core (at 5mm) but they were a little thick. My first task was to liberate a bunch of the skulls and get them down to a 2mm width so they wouldn't protrude too much from the inlay channel.
To do this I used a sharp craft knife to slice the skulls in half and then sanded them on a piece of 320 grit sand paper until they were nice and flat.
In all I chopped up around 25 skulls for this ring.
Step 2: Painting Skulls in 3 Stages
I wanted to bring some colour to the boring grey looking skulls so decided to paint them. This really took me back to my youthful days painting Warhammer models!
I stuck each skull to a dot of bluetack on a piece of card to hold them in place while I painted them. This was a 3 stage process and went as follows.
Stage 1: Base coat
To base coat the skulls I used a Citadel layer paint called Ushabti Bone. It took 2-3 light coats to cover the skulls and I made sure there was no grey showing through.
Stage 2: Wash
I used a paint called Agrax Earthshade which is a watered down wash. When you paint it on it runs into all the low spots on the miniature to help define details. I applied 2 layers of the wash to each skull.
Stage 3: Highlights
To really make the details pop I used the Ushabti bone to "dry brush" the highlights. To do this I wiped most of the paint off my brush onto a paper towel until there was only a small amount left on. Then I lightly brushed over the skulls to pick out the highlights.
When I was done the skulls looked awesome and were ready to glue into the ring core.
Step 3: Inlaying the Skulls Into the Ring
I'd already painted the inlay channel of the ring with black acrylic paint and it was time to actually inlay the painted skulls into the ring.
I used a tweezers, a cocktail stick and some Locktite superglue to inlay the skulls.
Stage 1: Drop in a small amount of glue.
Stage 2: Place the skull in using a tweezers.
Stage 3: Position the skull with a cocktail stick.
Stage 4: Repeat.
This process was pretty fiddly but I just stuck on some music and got in the zone!
Step 4: Finishing the Skull Ring
To protect the paint job on the skulls and give the ring a nice aesthetic I used a UV resin from Alumilite. This is some pretty amazing stuff as it cures crystal clear and hard when exposed to UV light.
I applied the resin with a cocktail stick and then left it my UV bath for 10 minutes to cure. I repeated this 6-7 times until I had a generous amount of finish on the ring.
Step 5: Full Power Polishing
With my finish applied it was time to get the ring nice and shiny. To start I scraped away any excess resin from the steel portions of the ring with a sharp craft knife and got ready to polish.
You could totally do this by hand but I have a lathe so I thought I'd best use it! I mounted the ring on a spindle and proceeded to sand it with wet n dry sandpaper until the surface of the resin was smooth. I worked through progressively finer grits of sandpaper from 320-1200 grit.
The resin still had a kind of dull look to it so I used a finer abrasive called Micromesh to finish off the sanding (2.4k, 4k, 8k & 12k grits).
After the Micromesh I used a burnishing cream from Chestnut products to bring the ring to a beautiful satine finish.
The last stage of polishing was perhaps a bit overkill but I used a white polishing compound on my buffing wheel which got it to a full power shine!
Step 6: That's All Folks!
That's how to make a skull ring using simple tools and easy to source materials. I hope you enjoyed the project and if you decide to try it yourself then tag me in a photo on social media: you can find me @Zebranowoodcraft everywhere!
More of My Work
I love inspiring others to create things with their hands as it's fun, therapeutic and can make a good side hustle or full time income. If you'd like to see more cool projects like this then I think you'll like my Youtube channel here: www.youtube.com/zebranowoodcraft
This is an entry in the
Halloween Contest 2019