Intro: Victorian Skeleton Cryptmas Tree With Diorama Scene
This is for the Halloween lovers who want to enjoy the sparkle & twinkling lights of a Christmas tree but with a Halloween twist.
I started out thinking that maybe I would do a how-to, but after I started getting further into the project, I was forgetting to take pics & gave up on that idea. Hence, I don't have too many actual step by step pics - I pretty much winged it as I went along. But, since this is basically a dress up a skeleton project, any creative person can do this with just seeing pics of the end result.
With a few exceptions, pretty much everything on this tree can be removed & reused for other projects after the holiday is over.
Even if you are not a Halloween lover, you could use a mannequin instead of a skeleton. This project is versatile!
Think about it! How cool would this be if it were done in a Steampunk style, 50's Poodle Skirt & Goth to name a few?
You don't even need to do a Diorama scene if you don't want to. Leave the skirt down and hide presents under the skirt.
The possibilities of what you can do with this project are endless so be creative & make it your own! Just remember to post pics in the comments section so I can enjoy your tree too! :D
Step 1: What You Need
The only 2 things that would be standard to do this would be:
A Posable Skeleton and a stand to attach it to.
What I used for this one (besides the Skeleton & stand):
Fabric from a Patio umbrella
LOTS of safety pins
2 colors of Tinsel Garland with wire in it
Assorted floral pieces (Fabric poinsettias, blue berry type balls, leaves,etc)
6 small Styrofoam skulls
1 Clip on bird ornament
A piece of Deco Mesh
2 Elastic head bands
1 16" plastic blow mold skeleton (wired so it can be posed*)
* See my Posable Skelly Instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/Poseable-Skelly/
1 4 1/2" plastic skeleton
Pink insulating Styrofoam
1 Set of 100 LED String Lights
2 Sets of 20 LED battery operated lights
Piece of white cotton (fake snow material)
Piece of 16 gauge wire
Thin jewelry or florist wire
1 20" Christmas Tree
Chair to fit the Skeleton
Printer Card stock/Photo paper
Step 2: Dress the Skeleton in the Base Outfit & Attach to the Stand
I dressed the skeleton with the sheer dress and then ran the pole from the stand up through the pelvis straight up to the inside the rib cage and then attached the pole with zip ties to the spine. I bent the knees up behind the skeleton & used zip ties to make sure they stayed put. To make the dress a bit more Victorian style, I pulled up on the sides, moving toward the back to create sort of a bustle in the back, using safety pins to secure it.
Next I took the patio umbrella material and removed the upper vent piece - which left a decent sized opening in the center of the fabric - and the tie that goes around the umbrella when it's closed up. I stitched a few belt loops from scrap material to it so I could cinch it above the hip bones with the tie I removed. I also pinned small pieces of elastic to the bottom edge in the front to slip onto the skeleton fingers to hold up the front of the skirt.
Note: If you want the skirt to be fuller, add some chicken wire like they do on the Body Form Christmas Trees before adding the skirt (Google/Pinterest is loaded with how-to's for them).
Step 3: Pose TheSkeleton
Even though I was using a posable skeleton, the material from the patio umbrella was too heavy for the arms to hold in place so I used zip ties on the hands, elbow & the shoulders to make sure it stay put. However, if I were to do it again, I would use white coated wire because the zip ties do stretch & I have had to tighten them after it being up just a few days. If you use a lighter weight fabric, using zip ties may not be an issue.
Step 4: Adding Some Lights
Run the string of LED lights up from under the skirt, to inside the sheer dress and then out through the side of the neck of the dress. Attach the lights with zip ties to a piece of 16 gauge wire that is in the form of an up & down zig zag that will go from one side of the head, around the back, to the other side. I didn't need to secure it, it pretty much just stayed put the way I had it resting on the collar bones & back bones.
Go back to the dress area & pull enough lights up & distribute them through the sleeves & chest area.
Step 5: Add Some Curly Locks of Tinsel Garland
I took one of the elastic head bands and put it on the skull so that it went from the top of the head to under the jaw. Next I cut lengths of tinsel garland and slid them, to the half way point of the length, under the elastic band so that the tension of the band held it in place. I used about 8 to 10 pieces for the long hair & a small piece for the bangs.
Wrap the tinsel garland around your finger or piece of dowel to get the curly look. (This won't work if the tinsel garland doesn't have wire in it so check it before you cut it up for this project)
Step 6: Make a Small Top Hat
I painted the small skulls silver and once dried, I took a wooden skewer & put a hole through the back of each skull. Then I ran the jewelry/florist wire through each skull to form a circle for the base of the hat. Take a small piece of chicken wire & form the center of the hat and attach the wire from the skulls with a few small pieces of the jewelry/florist wire to the chicken wire. Slide the leaves off of the stems from some of the poinsettias & put a drop of low temp hot glue on the end of the leaves & tack them between the skulls to fill in the spaces. I then glued the blue berry type balls to cover the hole in the center where the stems used to be. Wrap a set of the battery operated lights around the chicken wire and then wrap some silver tinsel garland around it to cover it. Take a piece of the blue tinsel garland and wrap it around the base of the center, just above the skulls, as a hat band. Take a piece of Deco Mesh and roll it at an angle so that the ends are like cones. Twist it so that both cones are facing the same way & wrap a piece of wire around it in the center to hold it together & then take the end of that wire & secure it to the side of the hat. Clip the decorative bird on over (in front of) the Deco mesh.
Step 7: Add a Platform for Your Diorama Scene
I made a box using the insulating pink foam board cut to fit around the stand so I had a level area to do the Diorama scene under the skirt. I covered the box with the white cotton (fake snow) fabric and attached it with straight pins to secure it.
Step 8: Time to Decorate/embelish
Using safety pins, I added the icicle garland to the top of the dress, poinsettias, tinsel garland, snowflakes & icicles to the skirt. Also used the safety pins to add the creepy cloth to the lifted part of the skirt to create a veil to hide the pole from the stand & create a bit of a backdrop for the Diorama scene.
With a small piece of jewelry/florist wire, I attached a bow to that back of her hair. Using the T pins I secured tinsel garland around the platform base.
Step 9: Create Your Diorama Scene
I cut a hole through the fake snow fabric & the foam board box & added a little tree that is decorated with some of the icicle garland, some of the little blue berry type balls, some white snow covered sprigs and a set of the 20 battery operated LED lights. I wired a snowflake on for the tree topper.
I put one of my "Posable Skellies" in a chair holding a small skelly in it's one arm and the cover of the 1902 book "The Night Before Christmas" printed on a piece of photo paper hot glued to it's hand.
If I hadn't been in such a rush to finish this, the little skellies would also be wearing outfits.