Category Archives: Crafts

Shrunken Doll Heads

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019

Even though Halloween is in the fall, spring is the best time to start planning. Plenty of time to shop thrift stores and garage sale for appropriate items, and I can work on the crafty stuff while glamping.

In anticipation of making a “Head Shrinker” costume for our next Halloween concert, I started shopping doll heads in the spring.

Since the costume will be worn at a concert for children, I wanted shrunken heads that are not too gross or scary.

Large second hand stores have rows and rows of dolls to choose from.
I was lucky enough to find appropriate subjects in new condition.
 

I put the dolls and some craft supplies in a bag and took it glamping. Sitting under the camper awning with my coffee, I took a good look at the dolls, my supplies, and came up with a plan.

The first thing I did was snap the heads off at the neck and put the bodes back in the bag. this took a little effort but was not hard. Yes, it did make a nice snapping sound.

My dolls had painted faces, I knew once they were covered in goop they would not have any definition so I decided to poke some eye sockets into them with a punch tool. When I pulled out the punch tool, the plastic went back to its original position – almost immediately. #UGH

I had some spent 22 shells in my metal detecting finds pouch so I used them to shape the holes and I set them in the hot sun for the day. At this point my husband looked at what I was doing and gave me a funny look, not funny “ha ha”, funny “WTF”. I told him these are for [my psychiatrist friend], she’ll vouch for me if I’m arrested. Although, I’m quite sure when I post this on my blog for the world to see, it will send up some red flags at the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit.

Roadblock:

When I was surfing Pintrest for ideas, all the really good looking ones were painted dark. I liked that “rotten” look and decided to mix some black chalkboard paint with some Mod Podge. It looked great when it was wet, it had a “gooey” look and the color was varied enough to look rotten.

BUT – When it dried it looked inappropriately like black-face. Totally not what I was going for! After having an “oh poop” moment, I retreated to my craft room to see what I had to change the look. I had some metallic paints so I grabbed a gold bottle and went to work. MUCH better! Bronze or copper would have probably worked too. Be sure to let me know what color comb you used in the comments.

Shrunken Heads

These creepy shrunken heads are made from doll heads found at second hand stores or a dollar store. You should find six (or as many as you want to make) the same size or similar size. They should have enough hair to ponytail at the top of the head and the material should NOT be brittle or ceramic.
Total Time2 d
Course: crafts
Cuisine: Halloween
Keyword: Creepy, Doll Head, Dollar Store, Halloween, Head Hunter, Second Hand, Shrunken Heads
Servings: 6 Shrunken Heads
Author: TetonTrekker
Cost: < $10

Equipment

  • Awl or Punch Tool
  • Brush for Mod Podge
  • Exacto Knife
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Sponge Brush

Ingredients

Thrift or Dollar Store

  • 6 Doll Heads of same or similar size

Craft Supplies

  • 1 Roll Jute Twine
  • 1 Stick Hot Glue
  • 1 Bottle Mod Podge
  • 1 Bottle Mat Black Craft Paint I used chalkboard style
  • 1 Bottle Metallic Craft Paint Bronze, Copper, or Gold
  • Tacky Glue

Household Items

  • Facial Tissue or Toilet Paper White
  • Paper Plates

Instructions

Prep Doll Heads

  • Break Head from Body. Save the body parts for other projects.
  • Clean the grime off the doll head. A little rubbing alcohol will work. If your dolls were extra loved in it's previous life a good scrub with Dawn, then a thorough rinse might work better.
  • Hair: Ponytail the dolls hair on top of the head so that when it hangs from the hair, the face looks out not down. Use rubber bands or wire ties, whatever you have handy. It will be covered later. Doing this first gives you something to hold onto for the rest of the project, and keeps the hair out of the Mod Podge and paint.
  • The head needs exaggerated eyes, nose, and mouth so when all the goop is added it still has depth.
  • Eyes: You will need divots for the eye sockets. If your doll's eyes are separate parts carefully remove them so you can use them for other projects. If the eyes are painted use an awl to poke eye holes into the head.
  • The plastic will want to return to it's original shape. Find something to put in the holes and set in the sun for a day or two. I used spent 22 shells, leaving my husband questioning my intentions. These will be removed before the Mod Podge steps.
  • Mouth: If your doll has painted or small mouth, use the hot glue gun and add a single line of glue to shape the lips. Don't worry about detail, they just need to stick out from the head so when all the goop is applied there is a protruding line where the mouth should be.

"Shrink" the Heads

  • Tear up the tissue or TP into random shapes between quarter and half dollar size. and set aside.
  • If you trained the plastic by leaving something poked in the eyes, remove them now.
  • Put some Mod Podge on a paper plate, Brush the doll head with the Mod Podge and press in the tissue pieces, working in sections and overlapping tissue. Cover the whole head, being careful not to get any goop in the hair. Be sure to press in the eyes so that they are covered but are sunken in. (there sould not be a hole showing, just an indent.)
  • Once the doll head is covered in tissue brush another layer of Mod Podge over all the tissue is there are no dry areas. Hang from hair to dry, or set on edge of plate resting on hair so wet Mod Podge does not stick to other things.
  • When the heads are completely dry use an Exacto Knife to trim any excess tissue around the hair line.
  • Mix some Mod Podge and black craft paint at a 50/50 ratio on a paper plate. Paint the doll heads covering all the white tissue. Let dry.
  • The dry head should not have any "white" showing but should also not be heavy black. Touch up and trim where needed.
  • Using a dry sponge brush lightly brush some metallic paint over the black areas so the black is still showing and the metallic is just highlighting the details to give your dead head some life.
  • Tie enough jute twine to each pony tail so that the knot looks rustic and there is enough twine hanging to tie the group together later. About 18" of twine works but don't worry about making them all match.
  • Unravel a section of jute twine to make 5 thin pieces of jute with a knot for each head. I cut long sections and tied several knots then cut them appart. Leaving a little extra on each piece to trim to size later.
  • Tacky glue a knot to each eye socket, and 3 knots to each doll's lips. Set asside to dry completely.
  • Trim the eye and lip knots to desired lengths.
  • Tie all the heads into a group with a simple knot so they can be untied if decorating needs change.

Notes

I covered a TV tray with foil to do this project without making a big mess.

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A Pirate Hat with Style

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Every year the Jackson Hole Community band performs a Halloween Concert and the whole band wears a Halloween costume. The concert is for the children but adults enjoy it as well. In 2014 I decided to be a pirate.

When I started planning my pirate costume, [future post],  I knew I wanted a unique pirate hat to bring it together. I browsed Pintrest for ideas, adding the word “steampunk” to the search terms to find that swashbuckling look I wanted.

Once I had an idea in my brain of what I wanted my hat to look like, I dug through my craft supplies, and shopped dollar stores, craft stores, and yard sales for unique bobbles and scraps that would work in my color scheme.

 


 

 

I needed a plain pirate hat that would fit my head and I could glue and hand sew things onto. I found this hat on Amazon.com, I would not recommend this hat for someone with a small hat size, but it worked perfectly on my medium to large hat size head and it is very comfortable. The price is well worth it.  I gathered my supplies and spread them out to see my palette and went to work.

Junk and broken jewelry and some perfectly good pieces from the 80’s. Funny how the jewelry I wore in the 80’s is now appropriate for a Halloween costume!

Sewing box, buttons, tools, craft flowers, doilies, and some fabric scraps to get me started.

 

The first thing I wanted to do to the plain hat was dress up the smooth top into something more feminine. I had a few lace and crocheted scraps I picked up at garage sales. I dyed them brown to use in various places on the pirate costume, [future post]. Learning from the mess I made dying some things black for my Gray Lady Costume, I used the liquid, not the powdered Rit dye. 

 

I used the crochet scrap with the peacock design and some Tacky Glue to glue the doily to the top of the hat and let it dry completely before doing anything else. I dry brushed the scrap with some gold craft acrylic paint to give it some depth and sewed some old looking buttons to the front to give it a finished look.


For a really great costume remember to add detail as many places as possible. With this in mind, I added bobbles to all three sides of the brim.

On the left brim I stacked some doilies with parts of a burlap flower I took apart. I added an old broken broach to the center and used my jewelry tools to add some dangles. When I sewed it all together I added a couple peacock feathers behind the flowers. Later I added some felt to the back of the dangles because it was making sounds while I was playing my flute.

 

On the right brim I sewed on an old broken bracelet with coins, added a trio of buttons near the front, and a skull and cross bone button above the bracelet.

Fot the back brim I used a fancy Gothic black lace choker i had purchased for another costume but didn’t use. I used a needle and thread to tack the ends down, allowing it some movement. 

To finish it up I added a big set of pink ostrich plumes behind the brim, by the peacock feathers, and secured it by sewing it on with a heavy duty needle and thread, (a thimble on my thumb and finger was a life finger saver for this project). The bottom of the set of plumes is tied with a leather strip so if seen it looks finished, and the plumes stay in place. I found the plume at a garage sale back the 80’s and had used it on a couple other costumes and for decoration over the years.

 



In 2015 I brought the pirate costume, [future post], with me on a trip to to Cabo San Lucas, we planned to attend a Halloween event on the marina. I had to wear the hat on the plane because it would not pack, it made for an interesting flight. While there I was given this mask that gave the costume a less kid friendly look. And when I returned… I was wearing the hat when customs took my photo.




I took the photos with the black background with my new iPhone 8.

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Easy Cousin It

Monday, January 1st, 2018

or Herbie vs. Cousin It

I had to keep Cousin it locked away in a closet for Halloween until he made an appearance with the Jackson Hole Community Band at their annual Concert for the Kids.

Where’s Cousin It?

Easy Cousin It

This super easy Cousin It Halloween prop is a hit whenever he shows up for an event.
Assembly Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: crafts
Cuisine: Halloween
Keyword: Addams Family, Cousin It, Crafts, Decorations, Halloween, Props, TV
Servings: 1 Cousin It
Author: TetonTrekker
Cost: < $25

Ingredients

  • 1 Wire Tomato Cage NOT Plastic
  • 1 box Plastic Wrap
  • 2 – 3 Hula Skirts Buy in spring at Dollar Store or Amazon has them year round.
  • 1 – 4 Wire Tie From your junk drawer.
  • 1 Derby Hat
  • 1 Child's Sunglasses Buy in spring at Dollar Store or Amazon has them year round.

Instructions

  • Turn the tomato cage upside down and bend down the stakes.
  • Wrap the cage in plastic wrap.
  • Wrap the hula skirts around the cage. If the cage is taller than the skirt is long start low and use wire ties to hold in place. Use enough skirts to cover with a full head of ‘hair’. They are only a buck, don’t be stingy.
  • Use wire tie to secure ends to top.
  • Place hat on top.
  • Place glasses appropriately, it can be stuck through the plastic wrap or taped to it.

Notes

Keep the cuz out of your cat’s reach. I proudly put my new decoration on the kitchen table and went to get my camera, I came back to a hula mess on the kitchen floor. Herbie could not resist for a minute, he had cousin it on the floor in pieces and was still torturing his prey.

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