The Art of Darkness

Interesting Frame Idea

March 29th, 2010 by Cobwebs

Skull FrameThis foam-and-latex mirror frame is currently on clearance at Terror Syndicate for $55. I think something fairly similar could be DIY’d pretty easily and inexpensively if you’ve got an existing mirror (or picture frame) that you’d like to skullify.

Foam skulls and bones are popular Halloween props, so they’re fairly easy to come by. If you don’t want to wait until Halloween decorations start showing up in local stores,* you can find them online year-round: Searching for “bag of bones” will turn up a lot of products like this, and you can also get foam skulls with flat backs here. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can also cast your own bones: this article at MAKE explains how to make foam skulls.

You’ll probably want to choose a wooden frame, since adhesives might not stick as well to slick metal or plastic (and if you use hot glue to attach the bones, it may also melt plastic). It doesn’t matter whether the frame has dents or nicks, since it’s going to be covered with bones, and you’re also going to paint it so the color isn’t important either. Nose around local thrift shops for ugly old frames that you can convert.

Lay the bones on the frame, moving them if necessary until you’re happy with their arrangement, then glue them in place; you may need to cut flat spots on the backs to seat them properly. Decorate as desired. For a rotted-corpse look similar to the example above, use pantyhose and latex to make sticky-looking “skin” (this tutorial goes into detail on that process). You can also make drippy-looking strands with hot glue similar to the method used for this frame, or use papier-mache or polymer clay to smooth off cut edges and add detail. When thoroughly dry–which may take a while if you use latex adhesive–spray-paint the desired color. You can also hand-paint additional detail such as “moss” or “ichor” if you like. (You can also go in a completely different direction and cover the whole thing in glitter and fake gemstones if you’re feeling particularly perky.)

Add a mirror or appropriate photograph and hang with pride. Cheap! Easy! Customizable! Whee!

*Incidentally, I like to wait until right after Halloween when everything goes on clearance, then stock up on craft supplies for the rest of the year. I’ve got more fake skulls in my basement than you can shake a femur at.

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