Upcycle Plastic Skulls into Ghoulish Glam Decor

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The first day of October: the leaves are starting to fall and the temperatures are slowly starting to drop at night! With only a month left to get all of my Halloween projects, I have been traveling to all sorts of places for interesting supplies. One of my favorites is the many local Thrift Stores in our area that support local charities. At this time of year many will get in all kinds of Halloween items and one store had a lot of plastic skulls. I noticed that while the paint job on the skulls wasn’t particularly grand the sculpting of the skulls was nice. It got me thinking how they would look if I changed the paint and finish, replicating the look of ceramic!


Plastic Skulls and Metal Candle Stands
Liquitex Gloss and Matte Varnish
Black Chalk Board Paint
iZink Pigment Ink bottle – Gold
Fiona Accessories Red Crystal Drop Beads, Black and Red Crystal Rondelle beads
Beadsmith 1 Step Looper Tool
Black enameled chain, jump rings and headpins
Paint Brushes
Cosmetic Sponges

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Along with the skulls I found some old candle stands with a old bronze finish. I noticed the skull fit perfectly on them so I bought them along with the skulls. I scrubbed the plastic skulls and candle stands, removing any dust, stickers and uneven edges.

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While I could have easily spray painted the pieces, I wanted to go with a nontoxic and child friendly direction by using chalk paint. I painted the skulls and candle stands with 3 layers of black chalk paint. Most chalk paints require a 1-2 hour dry time between coats of paint for best coverage and adhesion of the paint.

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The skulls already looked better than they used to but I wanted them to look more like ceramic. Using a cosmetic sponge I applied Gold iZink Pigment Ink to the raised portions and detailed parts of the painted skulls. The ink dries rather quickly allowing me to add several layers on sections for a dramatic effect.

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I applied Liquitex Gloss Varnish to the sections on the skulls with gold ink to make the gold tone visually stand out more and give the illusion of ceramic.

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Compared to the original factory paint I was pretty happy with the new version, replicating the look for ceramic. However I felt the skulls needed something more.

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With the candle stands already painted with black chalk paint all I needed to do was paint them with Liquitex Matte Varnish to seal and protect the stands.

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On four black enameled headpins I threaded on one black crystal rondelle and one red drop. On four more black enameled headpins I put one black crystal rondelle and one red rondelle. These will become embellishments for the candle turned skull stands.


Starting with two beads threaded on a headpin I threaded the wire through the Beadsmith 1 Step Looper Tool, cutting and creating the loop I needed for the start of the beaded dangles. I repeated this the rest of crystal drops and rondelle beads on the headpins.


I cut black enamled chain into 2 inch lengths and placed eight black enamel jump rings with each chain and crystal bead drop.


I opened up a jumpring with flat nose pliers and put the jumpring through one of the crystal bead headpins, and one of the cut lengths of chain.


Flipping over a candle/skull stand I lopped the chain around one of the metal curls. I picked up the end of the chain not looped on the jump ring and carefully hooked the still open jump ring on it. I closed the jump ring with the pliers, making sure both ends of the chain and beaded headpin were threaded on the ring. Chain and beaded headpins were added to all four sides of the stand, then the stands were flipped over allowing the chain and beads to become a decorative element.


I placed the plastic skulls on their stands and placed them along with my ever growing collection of Halloween decor!

What old decorations might you find in your travels that you can upcycle?

Until Next Time, Safe Travels!