Day of the Dead Skull Project

In any culture, we are drawn to the beautiful, the unique and the different! With Halloween around the corner, we’d like to present the fun crafting of a “Day of the Dead skull” or also known as “sugar skulls.” No, these aren’t made from sugar (but originals are created with sugar in Mexico).
Supplies needed:

• Skull (styrofoam preferred): Where to get one? Find a local craft store such as Michaels, etc and check out their Halloween department. You’ll probably find some that are “shaded” to look spooky. If you find a “white blank” one, you’re in luck. If you found a “shaded one”, just bring home and paint white Gesso over it with a big paint brush. It may take a few coats to get rid of the dark shadows. Gesso is used to prime a surface for “acrylic paint.”

Blank, gessoed skulls ready to paint!

• Bling: This means any loose glitter, glitter paint, rhinestones or random broken jewelery parts

• Markers: Oil-based or water-based Sharpies are fine. Choose how many colors you’d like.
I recommend broad-tip since fine-tip are more hassle.

• Acrylic Paint: Recommend acrylic over tempera or oil paints. Easy and water-soluable.
Absolutely no watercolors!

• Pencil and eraser

• Glue for stones

• Anything else laying around your craft room: Random flowers, goldfoil, weird attachments
small mirrors, etc

Let’s get started!

Once you have your skull ready (and it may take a day for it to dry if you had to paint gesso over it), you are ready to begin designing it! I hear so many crafters say, “Where do I begin? What if I mess this up?” Time and time again, my answer is the same. The worst that can happen is that you mess up and REPAINT over your boo-boos. That’s it! Therefore, let’s move forward and begin! I start with a dull blunt pencil. If you have looked on the internet for a general idea, that’s great! If not, start doodling. You do it in meetings, at school and waiting for dinner. Now let’s put that doodling to good use. Start with the eye area. This will set the tone for your design. Literally draw on the skull! Yup, you can erase if your line is light and restart. Once you get your eye design, move to the nose and the back of the head. How to approach this? Think of shapes! Hearts, diamonds, pokers, swirls, triangles, fleur-de-lis and more! Curled lines are awesome! They can fill a space very well. Now that your done with the sketching part, let’s move on.

Begin painting, glueing and “glittering” to your heart’s content!

Paint, Markers and Glitter (Oh my!)

First of all, let go of your anxiety. This is a fun activity. Grab a paint marker and begin outlining your shapes and design. Colored markers are awesome and don’t get me started on “metallic” markers. Once you’ve outlined your design, we will begin filling our large shapes with our acrylic paints. If you have small areas, remember that you can use your colored markers to fill in.
Consequently, you can leave some of these shapes empty for your glitter paint or loose glitter.
Bright colors of paint are awesome. May I recommend my favorites? Turquoise, orange and white!

Bring on the Bling!
To re-emphasize, have fun with this! Grab your bottle of glue or brush on your glue where ever you will be placing your blingy stones. (Crafter note: be aware of where you are placing your stones. They will slide if they are on the side of the skull and not on the top area.) If you decide to place stones on the side of your skull, lay the skull down on the side so that the stones have time

Amazing skull eyes

to dry in place before propping your skull. Think of stone placement. We had a creative crafter who placed the biggest red stones inside the eye sockets and clear stones for the teeth….brilliant!

Finishing touches!
If you happened to mess up some of your marker lines, re-trace your shapes now! Also, don’t forget those flowers that are placed on the top portion of your skull. Since the skull is styrofoam, poking artificial flowers with plastic stems into your skull should be easy! Embellish and bling as much as you desire.  This project is certainly a labor of love and will probably be a favorite! Have fun and craft on!


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