I love using branches brought in from outdoors as part of our Halloween decorations. Something about those organic, natural shapes really inspires me. As part of our Moon Over Bourbon Street theme this year, I decided to use a branch with bats, skulls in masks and lots of beads hanging up – just like you often see in New Orleans. And I got almost everything I needed at Dollar Tree. Here’s a closeup:
You will need:
7-8 plastic skulls from Dollar Tree
4-5 packages of Halloween beads from Dollar Tree
3-4 black rubber bats from Dollar Tree
Cardstock you print with a mask shape
Black Acrylic Craft paint
Copper Acrylic Craft paint
Here’s how you make it:
1. Find a stick with an interesting shape. Be sure to think about how much room you’ll need when hanging it, so nobody gets poked in the eye. This branch was quite cool, and came from a ravine near our house. Of course check for spiders and other critters!
2. Tie the branch to your chandelier using twine. To keep it stable, use at least three points of contact. You may need to break small twigs off if they pose a poking hazard.
Here’s a closeup view of how I tied the twine. Don’t worry about it showing. Once everything is on the branch you really don’t notice it.
3. Print out as many copies of this mask shape as you need. My masks were 5″ wide. Then just cut the masks out and paint them black. Let the paint completely dry.
5. Paint a narrow strip around the edges with copper paint and quickly sprinkle with copper glitter. When paint is dry, gently roll the mask around a glue stick or 3/4″ dowel, to give it a bit of a curve. That way the mask wraps more snugly around the skull.
4. Create small rolls of masking tape and tape the masks onto the skulls. I had to add masking tape a couple of times to get them to stay.
5. Using the sharp point of a scissors, poke a small hole in the top of the skull, so that when hung – the eyes look straight out. For these skulls, there was a joint in the top that worked perfectly. Cut the necklace just below the clear plastic joiner tube, and insert one bead into the hole in the skull.
Here is how they should look when they are done. (You can see the masks want to pull away from the skulls – so be ready to add more tape as needed.)
6. Gather your beads and bats.
7. Hang skulls first at different heights. You can just wrap them around the branch, and use the trick of snapping two joints together. Don’t worry about where they are “looking” – you can twist them on the bead in their skulls. (Gosh, that sounds kind of icky…)
8. Next hang the bats and finally add the beads at different heights. I was able to hang most of the beads on the smaller branches, or find broken-off stems to hold them.
Everything will sort of sway and twist for a few moments. Wait until it’s still and them fix masks and turn the faces where you want them to look. This was a lot of fun and looked pretty cool!