Tag Archives: crafts

DIY Dollhouse of Horrors: Part 2

Well, it’s another DIY Wednesday, and I’m sure you were waiting on pins and needles for the next installment of…

THE DOLLHOUSE OF HORRORS!!!

I wrote about why I decided to make a haunted dollhouse and the planning stage in the previous DIY Wednesday blog post, so if you haven’t read that yet, go here.  

After the planning stage, the only thing left to do was buy the actual dollhouse kit.  I waited for a 40% off Hobby Lobby coupon (believe it or not, they didn’t always come every week back in 2009) and off I went to my favorite craft store where I bought this:

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I won’t lie.  I was really excited to get this thing, but when I opened the box and saw all the little parts, I was a bit overwhelmed.  If you decide to build your own dollhouse, don’t fret.  Just follow the instructions, and you’ll be fine.

Even though I got a case of the ‘Uh Ohs’ after I saw the contents, I still couldn’t wait to get started.  I like to be completely prepared before I start a project, so I made sure I had all the necessary materials for construction before I jumped in, including:

  • Wood glue,
  • Painter’s tape,
  • A craft knife,
  • Sand paper,
  • A ruler,
  • Measuring tape, and
  • A pencil.

Then, the fun began.

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Sadly, I don’t have many pictures of the actual construction process, but you can see from the pic above that there was a lot of gluing and drying time involved.  It wasn’t too hard to do after I got started; it just took a lot of time and patience.   It was just like a big puzzle. So. Much. Fun.

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There were also a lot of little parts that were easier to paint before I glued them to the house.  I went with a dark purple and gray color scheme because I wanted it to be really dark, but I didn’t want it to be black.  Plus, purple is one of the primary Halloween colors.  It just felt right, you know?

Here’s a pic of the painted house waiting for a roof:

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And here’s a pic during roof construction:

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And then another of the house with the roof completely on:

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And…drumroll please…here’s the finished house!

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Well, almost finished.  And you can see the plywood “yard” I put the house on.  I ended up gluing the base of the house to the wood so it would be a little sturdier.

I enjoyed building the house, but my favorite part was decorating it!  That part is still in progress, so be sure to check back on the next DIY Wednesday for another installment of…

THE DOLLHOUSE OF HORRORS!!!

PVC Pipe: A DIYers Best Friend

PVC pipe.  If you haven’t played around with this stuff, you’re missing out on some fun.  It is so versatile.  Just type “PVC PROJECTS” in Pinterest and feast your eyes on all the cool things you can do.

I never knew how much I loved PVC pipe projects until I saw a picture of a zombie prop frame and decided to try my hand at it.  I got my project list, headed to Lowe’s, and ended up with this just a little while later:

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You’ll have to forgive the low-light pic.  Just look at this cool thing.  It was my first prop project, but let me tell you something.  It wasn’t the last.  Check out these fun monsters I made this year with a PVC pipe base, some masks, clothes, and foam heads:

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20151018_16243820151101_133003I’m really glad I had the after picture for this last one.

If you want to try some projects out for yourself (and I know you do), just go to your local Lowe’s or Home Depot and check out their selection.  The pipe itself comes in quite a few sizes, and there are fittings of all sizes and angles to make your wildest dreams come true!

Okay. Maybe not your wildest dreams, but you’ll be able to do some pretty cool stuff with it.  They’re like adult tinker toys.  Seriously.  It’s so fun.

Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started:

1)  BUY A PVC PIPE CUTTER!  There’s a reason this one is #1 and in all caps.  It’s important.  I tried using a hacksaw the first time followed by an extra small rotary saw blade.  It sucked.  PVC dust went everywhere, and that’s just not healthy. You can buy one of these cutters at Lowe’s or Home Depot for cheap, and it makes all the difference.

2)  Use PVC glue to make your props permanent.  Or you can use them on select fittings to keep your props a little more stable but still able to be deconstructed easily.  I don’t use the glue much because I like to be able to take my props apart completely.  When you have as much Halloween stuff as I do, space is a big deal.

3)  Measure your own limbs and proportions to decide how big you want your prop.  PVC pipe is relatively cheap, but you don’t want to waste it by cutting the wrong sizes.  Make sure to account for the length of the fittings you want to use.

4)  Draw it out.  The only art skill you need for this is basic stick figure drawing.  Drawing your prop first and counting the angles and connection points helps greatly with knowing how many fittings of each type you need.

5)  Get creative with combining these projects with other prop-making materials.  You can add thickness and depth to your props by using chicken wire or cardboard under clothes/costumes, or you can use spray paint directly on the pipe to make cages or “steel” pipes in your Halloween display.  There are just so many options.  For instance, with some thick-gauged wire, cardboard cut in the shape of my palm, and masking tape, I made these creepy, skeletal hands and arms.

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So get out there and try some fun projects of your own.  There’s no wrong way to do it.  Unless you don’t use a PVC pipe cutter.  That’s just dumb.

My First DIY Severed Head: A Love Story

I love severed heads.  Not real ones, of course.  I love the fake kind, and I experience quite the thrill when I finally get to check out the selection at Spirit Halloween and Halloween Express each year.  I usually buy one myself, and then my mother-in-law gets me one for Christmas.  It’s a tradition that I’m pretty fond of and one that makes my MIL one of the best in history.  Does your mother-in-law get you  severed heads for Christmas?  I didn’t think so.

Anyway, I love getting a “commercial” creepy head, but there’s a certain charm in the homemade stuff.  A few years ago, we moved from an apartment to our house, and with the added space came a new-found love of making props.  So even though I already had a pretty decent head collection at that time, I thought I’d try my hand at making one myself.

So this is how I made my very first DIY severed head.

I started with a foam head from Hobby Lobby that I bought using one of their 40% off coupons.  Aside from being a horror fan, I’m also a big proponent of getting the best deal, so I try to buy as many of my supplies on sale or clearance as possible.  Hobby Lobby has a few varieties of heads to choose from – female, male, and faceless – so you can choose whichever fits your project best.  Although the faceless ones are creepy on their own, I wanted mine to be pretty big, so I went with a male head.

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As you can see from the pic above, my first step was to draw out the features I wanted for my severed head.  I wanted it to be gross, and keeping both eyes weren’t an option.  I used a craft knife and some metal sculpting tools to pick and carve out one of the eyes, part of the scalp, and the base of the head to make it look actually severed.  We want realism wherever possible, people, and a clean-cut head just won’t – well – cut it.

I also carved out some of the area around the side of the mouth and jaw and used some fake zombie teeth that I bought (again, with a coupon) at Spirit Halloween.  The teeth were rubber and very easy to cut.  They were ridged on the back to make them easy to wear, so I sliced off the back to make them lay flat and fit my head.  I then used a hot glue gun to secure them in place.  You can see in the pic below that my guy was already looking pretty handsome at this stage.

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After the glue dried, it was time to make it PRETTY!!!  Pretty to me, at least.  I already had a lot of paint on hand so I mixed some random colors together to get a sickly, partially-decomposed skin color.  Like I said – pretty.  I also mixed some red, black, and brown to get a realistic bloody color.  I slapped my paint mixtures on until I got the look I wanted and – VOILA! – severed head!

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Isn’t he beautiful?

My zombie head has served me quite well these past few Halloweens.  Another benefit from these foam heads is that you can stick them on pvc pipe or dowel rods to make a full-body prop, a head-on-a-stake, or something else equally cool.  I turned my severed head into full-body prop the first year.  You can see by the shirt in the pic above that he was quite stylish.

If you want a great creepy project, I recommend you try making yourself a severed head of your own.  You could make one for a Halloween prop.

Or it could be especially therapeutic if you make one to look like an enemy.  No judgment.  We’ve all been there.

You do you, man.