When it comes to Halloween costumes, Scott and I go whole hog … clothes, wigs, accessories, etc. We even adopt entirely new personas to complete our outfits and spend most of fall planning every detail.
On principle, I never do “couples” costumes because I feel that it would always leave one of us with a mediocre outfit and the other in the spotlight. Instead, we each choose something different, then spend several months collecting and creating the pieces. Given my love for crafts, I do what I can to make many of our accessories at home using found materials rather than going with a pre-packaged costume. It doesn’t hurt that I wind up savings money in the process, too!
One such at-home material (that winds up in a lot of our costumes) is Sculpey clay. Sculpey clay, if you’re not already familiar, is a Playdough-like material that stays soft until it is baked in the oven. It’s especially helpful for making jewelry and logos like the Burger King necklace you see in Scott’s picture below.
This year, Scott needed a skull emblem to attach to a cowboy hat as part of his Brett Michaels costume. Since I’d already spent our Halloween budget on his shirt, hat, and wig, it was important to make his accessories at home. To start, I simply searched online for an image I wanted to use as the source of inspiration. Once I selected the skull emblem that I wanted, I printed it out, cut around the edges, and traced the outline onto a piece of scrap cardboard.
Using white Sculpey clay, I slowly shaped the form of the skull on top of the outline. I referenced the original print often to create the spaces for the eyes and nose.
I did my best to thicken and layer the clay to create a three-dimensional definition of each area of the skull; these indentations and markings will later come in handy during the painting process, but since they won’t be seen once the piece is painted, there was no need to worry about smudges or stains.
Once the skull was finished, it was time to move onto the crossbones. Shaping these as a separate piece was much easier than if I’d attempted to build it behind the skull as one piece.
Now that each piece was formed, I assembled them onto a cookie sheet wrapped with aluminum foil. Even though Sculpey clay is non-toxic, I recommend always using aluminum foil underneath the clay when baking just in case the clay sticks.
To connect the skull and crossbones together, I used liquid Sculpey, which acts as a glue and will harden in the over during the baking process.
After about 15 minutes in the oven (follow package instructions for time and temp levels), I removed the skull from the even and set it aside to cool.
Once it had fully cooled, I brought the hardened clay out to the back yard to paint. Several coats of spray paint later, I could see the piece was coming together.
To bring out the dimensional details that I created earlier, I brushed black acrylic paint into each crevice where I wanted to see shadow, then immediately wiped the paint away with an old rag.
Bingo, bango… a metallic skull and crossbones!