Thursday, August 2, 2012

Skeleton Wreath Tutorial

Ah August.... most people are savoring the last days of summer. Me... I'm thinking about Halloween.

Normally by the time September and October roll around I'm completely consumed with Halloween preparations and have a hard time posting about what I'm doing until it's almost too late. So this year I'm finally getting smart and using that unhealthy obsession to get a head of the game. 

During August I'll be sprinkling some Halloween posts in with regular crafts. I first made this wreath a few years ago- but it's never appeared here on Mega•Crafty so it's probably new to you.

It's made from a bag of foam bones I found in the Halloween section of a chain store. The wreath (which measures approximately 20 inches in diameter when completed) isn't difficult to create and makes the perfect ghoulish greeting for Trick-or-Treaters. 

I started by laying out the bones and evaluating all the pieces, dry stacking them a few times to get a feel for the shape and size of the wreath.

It seemed to work best if I used the flatter pieces- hips, hands, feet- to make my base. Each piece overlapped the other so that I could glue them to each other.

I found this glue in the craft store and it worked perfectly.

I wanted the skull to greet all my guests face to face so I gave it a prominent spot at the top, then worked my way around the wreath building the second layer of bones using mostly the leg and arm pieces (boy doesn't that sound strange in a wreath tutorial).

Once I had two solid layers I was left with some of the skinnier flat bones and some smaller little ones (I'm not a doctor and I'm really not sure which bones these are so I'll stick with my highly technical term of "the rest".)

I took "the rest" and stuck them in wherever I thought it felt a little bare.

The last piece of the skeleton I added to the wreath was the jaw (and in my opinion it was the best piece- I think it really makes the whole thing).

This was the only piece that needed to be propped up until the glue dried, everything else stayed in place on it's own.

I let the wreath dry flat overnight and the next day it was ready to hang. Since the skeleton is foam it's very light and only needed to sit on a small nail to hang it (but you could attach some floral wire and use a small hook it needed).

It's a little creepy (my husband shakes his head every time he looks at it and says how wrong it is) but I love the unexpected for Halloween! (Besides I think he secretly likes it.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dinosaur Bike Makeover

Another week down in the So You Think You're Crafty Competition. For last week's theme "Let's Hear it for the Boys" I made this Dino Bike for my nephew. ( BTW- This week's theme is "Out and About". Voting ends tomorrow.)

My dino-bike started with a $5 bike I picked up at a tag sale. The bike was functional but definitely needed a makeover!

My nephew loves dinosaurs. The shape of the handlebars reminded me of a dinosaur's jaw line, so I decided to create a dino's head on the front, and paint the rest of the bike to look like the body.

The mister took the bike apart. Then I cleaned off any dirt and grease on the frame and taped off the areas I didn't want to paint over.

To paint over the old blue paint I used the Martha Stewart Spray Kit. (If you're curious about this kit I used it for the first time recently on another project. I talk about my impressions of the kit in that post, which you can find- here.)

The main color of the bike was a green called Scottish Highlands. Once that was dry I sprayed highlights on the front and underside of the crossbars using a yellow called Yellowjacket.

Then I used a brush to paint dark green (a color I mixed myself) stripes.

Finally, I sprayed the entire frame with a glossy finish coat/sealer.

For the dinosaur's head I needed something that was light enough to easily attach to the bike, and most importantly, soft so if my nephew bumped his head or face on it he wouldn't get hurt. Craft foam fit the bill perfectly, but I would need to make it weather resistant if it had any chance of holding up on the bike.

Before cutting the head out of the foam I used a grocery bag to create a shape that matched the curve of the handle bars. I folded the grocery bag in half, cutting out just half the shape of the dino's head. When I unfolded the paper I had a symmetrical shape.

Once I had a shape I was happy with I used the grocery bag as a template and cut the head out of the foam.

Before painting craft foam it has to be sealed (otherwise it will soak up the paint and dry blotchy). Usually I do this with regular Mod Podge, but this was an opportunity to help make the foam weather resistant so I sealed it using outdoor Mod Podge.

Once it was dry I painted the dinosaur's features with acrylic craft paint, that was water resistant. Then sealed it again with a waterproof spray sealer.

The mister put the bike back together and I attached the dino's head to the handlebars using a waterproof glue that was for use on both metal and foam.

I'm really happy with how this $5 bike makeover turned out. I can't wait to see my nephew ride his new dino bike!

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