Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I hope you all are having a delightfully spooky Halloween! I had big plans for Halloween this year with lots of new and intricate props....then life and work got in the way and all of that went out the window. I was able to finish a handful of projects that I was pretty happy with but most of this month you could hear crickets here at the ol' blog. It seems to have been a common thing in the Halloween Blogging World this year so at least I'm not the only one who slacked off. I didn't even remember to get pictures of my costume before my makeup started rubbing off. :( Oh well! I am already planning for next year and hope to get things done way in advance. 

Anyway, I don't have any new tutorials to share today but I thought that I would show off some pics of our Halloween decor all put together in the new house. 


For the witch's brewing area, I covered the buffet with some tea stained cheesecloth. The apothecary area has grown so the bubbling cauldron got moved to the right and set up on a stack of styrofoam blocks draped with brown fabric.


This area includes a lot of previous years' projects like the Embroidery Hoop Bird Cage, Snow White Spell Book...



Since our new decor is really bright and retro, I tried to make things a little spookier by covering the tables with our old burgundy curtains. I also took down the table lamps and replaced them with candelabras and covered the mirror with cheesecloth. You can also see my Paper Rose Bouquet on the coffee table.

Sally's Worm's Warm Soup Supplies and a pic of Lizzy Borden. 




In the Mad Scientist's area my old DIY X-Ray Light Box has been replaced with a real x-ray light box that we picked up this summer at the Habitat For Humanity Store for only $10! I meant to order some real x-rays this year too but I didn't think about it until it was too late so I just printed some onto regular paper again.


My Worm Hole Generator and some erlenmeyer flasks filled with colored water. I also haphazzardly tossed around some test tubes and tools from Shelby's electronics kit.


Some of the things in this area are normal pieces that we found at antique stores. When put in this context they look kind of creepy. Like the sewing kit above that looks like it is being used as some sort of torture device...


...and the vintage canning tongs that have been repurposed as a rib spreader...


...we also found some funky gourds at the pumpkin patch that seem to have been the subject of some weird experiment.


Our new piano (which we found for free on craigslist - Score!) is being used as another surface to spread out blueprints for inventions, old anatomy books, and the Creepy Light Box.


Those are some seriously strange looking gourds.


We liked this one because it looked like a claw holding onto a ball.


If you are looking for a cool skull, I think the ones at Walgreen's are the best. I believe we only paid $6 for this one.


We found those wire stand things at the local surplus store and thought they kind of resembled a burner so I placed some of the flasks on them.


This collection of chemicals has an eerie glow thanks to the black light set up behind it. We used tonic water, antifreeze, and laundry detergent to fill the various bottles.


A full view of the piano area at night complete with my Coffee Dyed Canvas Skull Print and a huge leaf that Jer found and thought looked kind of weird. 


The tombstones were actually made last year and I never got around to sharing them with you. I planned to go back over them with some textured paint to give them more of a stone look, do a couple of washes of color to age them and  then share a tutorial but that will have to wait until next year as well. At least I remembered to snap some pics which is better than I did last year!

Some of the stones were made to look like the ones in the old cemetery that we visited, others are people that we don't really like (Will Ferrell, one of Shelby's old bosses, etc.), and a few were suggested by facebook fans (a deadbeat ex-husband, a bully from high school, Lizzy Borden).


We had some old pallets laying around so Shelby and Jer busted them apart and made a rickety little fence. it added to the spookiness and will hopefully keep Trick or Treaters from tromping through the cemetery and breaking things. 

We didn't get everything set up out here until the night of the party so when the neighbor kids noticed it the lights and fog machine were going as well. Shelby heard them yelling, "Mom! Look! They've got a cemetery!". He stepped over to the door and looked out to see who it was...not paying attention to the fact that he was dressed up like the Emperor from Star Wars. The kids started screaming, "AHHH! MOOOOMM!!!! There's a GHOST in their house!!!!"  We may not have a very extensive yard display but it freaked out the neighbors so I consider it a success. :)

We also displayed the other projects that were new this year like the Dexter Room, Spider Nest, Dracula's Pub SignMagnetic Interchangeable Jack O' Lantern, and the Kid's Halloween Crafts. Those displays didn't really change much from when I first showed them off though so I didn't take any new pics. 

I hope you enjoyed the little tour around our haunted house! Hopefully next year will be even bigger and better!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Link Party

It's time for more Halloween party features! Remember, you still have a few more days to link up your last minute projects. :)

Thanks to everyone who has linked up so far!  If your project was featured feel free to grab a button from my sidebar.

PARTY ETIQUETTE:
  • Please become a follower of Polish The Stars
  • Halloween related links only
  • No links to shops
  • In the "Name" spot put the name of your project or recipe.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Add my button or a text link to your post to spread the word.
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.
This party will be open through October 31st at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured each Monday and added to my Pinterest Halloween page!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Polish The Stars


Monday, October 22, 2012

Spider Nest


I saw the idea for this spider nest over on Instructables and knew that it had to be part of our Halloween decor this year. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't find it last year though. One of our friends in Minnesota is an arachnophobe and it would have been fun to torment him with this. ;)


Blow up a balloon and cover it with newspaper strips dipped in paper mache paste*. I tried just laying it on the table when I was doing this part but it kept rolling around and the paper on the bottom would stick to the table and come off of the balloon. It is much easier if you use a clip (like a pants hanger) and hang it while you are doing this part. Let the paste dry completely.

*Paper Mache Paste Recipe: dump some flour in a large bowl. Using a whisk, gradually stir in water until you reach a runny pancake consistency. Stir well to get rid of any lumps.


Pop the balloon and start wrapping your nest shell in fake spider webbing.You will want to put it on there thick to cover up any of the newspaper print and to make it look like a soft nest instead of a hard shell. Some of the webs didn't want to stay in place so I stuck some straight pins in it.

To hang it up I tied some white thread around a toothpick and threaded a needle on the other end. Then I took the needle and stuck it in the open end of the nest and poked it through the top of the nest towards the back. Then I just tied the string around a hook on the wall.


Add some more webbing coming out from the nest and running onto the walls.


Pop on some plastic spiders making sure that there are a bunch around the entrance to the nest as well as a few lurking inside.


Add some more spiders to the web along the wall as well. Now you are ready to freak out an estimated 55% of women and 18% of men!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Halloween Features - Part Four

It's feature time! Remember, the link party will be open all month and you can add as many Halloween themed links as you want. :) 


Witch Finger Cookies @ Worth Pinning

Halloween Wreath @ What Amber Loves

Pom Pom Spiders @ A Pinch of Joy

Skull Candle @ Design DNA

Witch Cupcakes @ White Lights On Wednesday

Thanks to everyone who has linked up so far!  If your project was featured feel free to grab a button from my sidebar.

PARTY ETIQUETTE:
  • Please become a follower of Polish The Stars
  • Halloween related links only
  • No links to shops
  • In the "Name" spot put the name of your project or recipe.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Add my button or a text link to your post to spread the word.
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.
This party will be open through October 31st at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured each Monday and added to my Pinterest Halloween page!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Polish The Stars


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hocus Pocus Spell Book Tutorial


Show of hands: Who has seen Hocus Pocus? If you haven't - go watch it now! It is my all-time favorite Halloween movie. Sure, it is kind of cheesy but the set and the costumes are AMAZING! Plus Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy did a great job portraying the Sanderson sisters. 

When planning this year's Halloween props, I decided that it was time I finally attempt to create my own Hocus Pocus spell book. It's pretty intricate so I was a little intimidated but it ended up being a lot easier than I anticipated. 


Start by making your book. To make things easier, you could just buy an old book (some kind of reference book would be a good size) but I was trying to keep costs down by using stuff I had laying around so I made my own instead. 

Take a stack of plain printer paper about an inch thick, clamp it down on the sides, mark a few holes about half an inch in from the side, use a small drill bit to make holes all the way through, then sew it together using heavy thread. To see a diagram for the binding stitch go here. To age the paper, put some coffee dye on the edges and let it dry. 


To make the metal accents, I used Model Magic. To figure out how big they should be I laid them out on a sheet of paper. For the snake on the spine I rolled out some model magic with a rolling pin and cut it down to the shape I wanted using an exacto knife. I made the snake bodies by rolling out a piece with my hands. To add texture, I poked the snakes all over with a toothpick. I used a toothpick to make the dots and lines on the ring around the eye as well.

Let these pieces dry overnight then paint them all with silver acrylic paint. Once that is dry, lightly go over the silver with some watered down black acrylic paint. This will give it more of an aged look and settle into all of the crevices to show off the texture.


Cut down some cardboard pieces to make a book cover that measures 8 3/4" wide x 11 1/2" tall and as thick as your stack of paper (even if you use an existing book, you will want to remove the cover and make your own using cardboard to make the stitching part easier). Cover the whole thing in newspaper strips coated in paper mache paste (dump some flour in a large bowl and use a whisk to mix in water until it reaches a runny pancake batter consistency). 

Allow to dry completely. If there is any moisture left when you paint, your book will eventually rot from the inside out. To speed up the drying process, you can place your book on a cookie sheet and put it in a warm oven (no higher than 200F) until dry.

Place your metal pieces on the book and sketch out where you want your seams and some lines where the corner snakes are biting the book. Get a Half-Round Acrylic Eyeball and set it in the appropriate spot.


Go over the lines you traced with some tissue paper dipped in paper mache paste. Do the same to make eyelids for the eye and a few lines on the spine. Use a toothpick to create a line in the middle of the seams. This will make it look more like it is separate pieces of skin that has been sewn together instead of just one big piece. 

The tissue paper is really important in this step. Since it is so thin it gives you way more texture than you would be able to get with newspaper. Paper towels might work too.


Once your book has dried completely, paint all of it with brown acrylic paint and let it dry. Go over that with a lighter brown. I just added some white and yellow to the brown and kept mixing until I found a shade that I liked. 


Use an awl to create the stitch holes along the seams. In the photo above, I had used the pointy edge of a seam ripper but the holes weren't big enough so I had to go back over them with the awl.


Go over the entire book with some watered down dark brown paint (I used my basic brown and added a bit of black) going heavier on the seams, eyelids, and the snake bites. You can play around with the shades that you use. Just make sure that the previous layer shows through the next one so that it adds dimension and texture. Watering down the paint and doing multiple layers instead of one thick layer really helps with this.

Once the paint has dried, make the stitches by lacing dark brown paper beading cord through the holes that you made.


Glue the metal pieces and paper in place. 


To make the side piece that is holding the book closed, I braided some model magic pieces and flattened it out a bit. Then I glued it in place and painted it to match the other metal pieces. 




I love how old and wrinkled the tissue paper made the eyelids look. :)


Now I have a fun new addition for the witch's brewing area!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.