What to do:
- Paper Mache Paste
- Balloons (any size)
- Spackle (available at Hardware store)
- White Glue
- Heavy Paper
- Sculpy Clay (optional)
I've been making paper mache vintage Halloween figures for years.
I use a paper mache recipe to create the forms. Instead of using cut strips of paper, I hand rip the paper into small pieces ( perhaps 2 inch sections).
Hand ripping and keeping away from the sharper edges of the paper, allows the bits of paper to blend on your work. I have found that using strips is more likely to cause gaps that may be difficult to fill in later.
For the skirt for the Jack o' Lantern head figure, I painted a circle of ordinary muslin black. Any cotton fabric will do. The circle was like a donut with a cut out circle in the middle. There's no need to sew, the paint will keep the fabric from fraying.
After painting the circle on both sides with a couple of coats of paint, the fabric was very stiff. It was then baked in the sun.
Once dry, I took a hole punch and punched a few holes all along the inner circle. Don't go too close to the edge; at the least 1/4 inch away. I then used the holes to run 1/4 inch wide orange ribbon through and pulled at the ends like a drawstring, knotted it, then tied a simple bow.
Before fitting the skirt, I dry brushed a little with orange acrylic paint and hand painted a little ghost
For the hair on the Jack o' Lantern head, I decided to use a little Spanish moss applied with hot glue and I believe the legs were created using wide drinking straws primed first, then painted black & orange.
I used black wrapping paper for one little bag, and printed out the other on my home printer... I think. I used painted fabric covered floral wire for the handles. I painted the wire myself.
The collar on the candy corn figure is just a length of crepe paper, hand stitched down the middle. I then pulled the thread to gather the paper and attached it with glue to the figure.
The little "buttons" are also crepe paper ..fringed and attached with hot glue.
The boots and bat hat were made using sculpy clay (the kind you bake in the oven) and the witch hat was sculpted using aluminum foil covered in paper pulp, then painted black once dry. Also, I used a small piece of bamboo skewer (about 2 inches or so) to connect the two orbs on the candy corn figure. You need a connector glued on to stabilize them, otherwise the figure will continue to fall into two pieces.
It takes a little longer using my method, but the results are great and last seemingly forever. The photo above shows two Halloween figures created with a similar technique using spackle. Notice the smooth surface. The figure on the right features the paper cut out eyes, while the other received a painted profile.
The cat in the photo at right was created using wire shaped into a frame as an armature. Its frame was then covered in ordinary fiber fill that had been saturated in diluted black paint and white glue. (wear gloves for this project). The cat's head of was made using paper mache. The box he is standing on was made using a cereal box cut to size, then painted.
Small Jack O' Lanterns can be made then placed on little homemade boxes for a vintage look. Staining with a water base stain will make any of these projects look as though they have been handed down over time. Check out the Vintage Pumpkins.
After painting figures, I finished off each with a matte spray, to keep the colors nice and bright.
Thanks to Sue for these terrific additions!