Countdown to Halloween: Calaveras

3 Oct

Last year, one of my coworkers brought in a really cool decorated skull for Dia de los Muertos.  I took a picture of it so I could promptly go out and make one for myself.


Unfortunately, she shared it so late in the season, I couldn’t find a single skull.  Yeah, I have gothy first world problems.

This year, I decided to start early and sure enough, Michaels carries the exact skull she used.  They don’t seem to sell them online, but check your local store or search “Styrofoam skulls” on Google Shopping for a decent collection.  They run about $6.

I searched online for sugar skull and calavera patterns for inspiration, then sketched the design in pencil.


I used regular acrylic paints, along with some novelty paints.  I bought clear glitter and glow-in-the-dark because they can layer over any color.  It’s a better deal than buying a pre-colored glitter paint.


I think outlining elements of the design in black helps a lot in making her fit the Dia de los Muertos style.  You could probably use a Sharpie, but the black paint worked fine for me.  Her teeth are glow-in-the-dark and the design on her forehead has a glow in the dark cross painted over it.  I’m going to run over those areas with another coat, since they’re pretty faint now.

For her head piece, I used E600 craft glue to attach the pieces to each other, but just used a part of the stem on the orange flower and stuck it directly into her head.  I glued the feather piece down so it didn’t stick up weird.  We’re going to put a few of these skulls on our altar for the Dia de los Muertos celebration at work.

You could try this in other styles.  A tattoo-inspired, Native American or Halstatt skull would be interesting.  I’m planning to make her a novio before the season’s out.

I’d love to see your creations!  Any other ideas for painted Halloween decor?

~ April


One Response to “Countdown to Halloween: Calaveras”


  1. And That’s Why You Should Always Wipe Your Feet « - October 16, 2012

    […] October I try to add a new homemade Halloween decoration to my collection.  Last year it was my calavera.  The year before I made my Halloween countdown calendar.  This year, I have not just one, but […]

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