Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Disney's Haunted Mansion Inspired Wreath!

Squeaking in juuust before Halloween to show off my last crafty creation of the month:

A Haunted Mansion inspired door wreath!

(Yep, my front door is HM purple. I painted it last year around Halloween, so it seemed only fitting to finally make a wreath to match!)

Appropriately enough, this thing was a nightmare to photograph, but I did my best. I think you can see everything Ok, but I do wish the two lighted elements showed better; they're really much brighter in person!

The first light is in the coffin:

The green shining through the cracks looks super cool at night.

It was inspired by this coffin in the Mansion's conservatory:


And the second lit element is little Leota's head - or more specifically, her eyes:

John and I discovered that if you cram a LED inside a porcelain doll's head, the eyes glow. Nifty, huh? (Now imagine all your dolls with red glowing eyes... that only turn on... AT NIGHT. MWUAH-HA-HAA!)

Here's how the wreath looks during the day:
A bit of a glare on the Welcome sign, but otherwise still pretty fun in the light!

I painted the coffin & clock green as an homage to the HM cast costumes:

 The wreath materials were quite cheap, but since almost everything had to be made from scratch, it was pretty labor-intensive. Keep reading if you'd like a quick break down & explanation for of all the parts!

Wreath: An old grape vine wreath, spray-painted black. The lower half is covered with "spooky cloth" - a shreddy fabric from the Dollar Tree that cost - you guessed it! - a dollar.

Crows: $1 each at the Dollar Tree, though I replaced the eyes with red crystals.

Leota: One porcelain doll head, painted all spooky-like, fit inside a clear plastic Christmas ornament. To do this, cut the back third off the ornament with a craft blade, so you can fit the head in through the back:

Testing the fit.

It was a tight squeeze - wish I could have found a larger ornament! - so I had to chop off a lot of hair. The doll I used had bangs, so I removed the wig and turned it around. And it doesn't really show, but after this I also sprayed the hair with watered down white & teal craft paint.

To attach the head to the wreath, wrap a thick wire around the neck stump (there should be a recess there already, where the body attached), and then poke the wire ends straight down into the wreath.

Coffin: Plain wooden coffin ($2.99 from JoAnn's), painted, with a plastic skeleton arm & hand glued inside to hold it open. The little wreath is a sprig from an Autumn flower arrangement, twisted into a circle.
Note the authentic cat's tail. :) Thanks, Lily.

The green LED is held inside the coffin lid with Velcro, and to attach the coffin to the wreath, we drilled two holes in the back side & threaded a wire through.

Demon Clock: Here's the inspiration clock in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion:

The clock is either gray or wood-toned, depending on which Mansion you visit, but I decided to make mine green to fit the wreath's color scheme.

John carved the clock face from pink insulation foam (you can buy big sheets of it at Home Depot or Lowe's for cheap). Just print out the face, glue it on the foam, and carve through the paper. The foam doesn't carve well for little things like this - really rough & snaggy -  but after I painted it, you'd never know!


I also added the tail, cut from thin craft foam. Then we used hot glue to attach a long wire to the back.

Signage: Whipped up in Photoshop (you can download the Haunted Mansion font for free here), printed on gloss paper, and glued to black craft foam for stability. The Welcome sign is attached with wire, and the "Foolish Mortals" chains are attached with hot glue.

Watching eyes: Cut from white craft foam, using this photo as a reference:

Then attached to the wreath cloth with Glue Dots.

Bats: A last-minute addition, since I just got my HM bat ice cube tray in the mail and was desperate to try it out with some casting resin! Here's the painting progression:

After spraying the resin gold (which looks gorgeous on its own), I brushed on a heavy coat of blackish green craft paint, and then quickly wiped it off again. The result is pretty close to the real ride stanchions!

Needless to say, I'll be playing with these resin castings more in the future; I cannot WAIT to make some jewelry with them!

So I think that covers everything on the wreath, but feel free to ask questions in the comments!

And since this is my last Halloween craft, I hope you guys have a spook-tacular Halloween this weekend!


Come see ALL of my craft projects on one page, right here!


  1. Seriously, when are you opening an etsy store? These would sell like hotcakes! :) So adorable.

    1. I also support the etsy store selling :D So much crafty

  2. ooh, the doll's head is perfectly creep-tastic. ::must resist the urge to drive down to joann's today::

  3. Jen!

    This is incredible! There is a contest you should enter this in!!! It's called Haunt Your Disney Side, and you have until November 4th to enter. You simply submit a picture in one of four categories--yours would be Home Decor. The overall winner gets a private party in the Haunted Mansion and a night in the suite in Cinderella Castle! Your work is so good that I think you would have a great chance of winning. If you have not heard of the contest, go check it out on Disney's website!

    1. AWESOME!! I think she should enter too!! :)

    2. Aaaaand WHEN you win the contest, you can invite my husband and me to be your guests since you get to take two people! :D

    3. Ooops..you get to take THREE people. I was counting you and John as one unit! :)

    4. Of course now that Jen knows about this, you know she's going to do a totally new project that will kick everyone's ass and be even BETTER than this little "just something I whipped up for 10$ and a few hours"!

      Jen - I look forward to seeing it!

  4. Absolutely fantastic! Happy Hallwoeen to you and John!

  5. As much as I'm adoring the wreath, that doll head is going to show up in my dreams!

  6. OH wow that looks so neat! I love the little coffin. I am always amazed at some of the wreaths I see people come up with. The first (and last) one I made i was in kindergarten and we took those smell-good 8 gallon white trash bags and cut them into bits and tied them around a stretched out wire hanger... put me off wreath making.. I actually rebelled in kindergarten and just didnt do it. I missed recess one day and they had a "helper/mentor" from another grade come and sit with me and help me finish it....i think the nail was in the coffin then.. I am just not crafty lol

  7. This is so great it makes we want to steal it off your door...except then I'd be afraid of what that doll head might to do me in my sleep. Thanks for sharing this really is great!

  8. Awesome job, girl! So creepy-chic!
    I'm not huge on wreaths, but this one I may just have to bend the rules for. :)
    Happy Halloween, Jen and John!

    --Piper P from Washington State

  9. I got that little coffin at Michaels crafts for 99 cents!

  10. What a great decoration! Crafts like this always make me wish I was able to decorate for Halloween.

  11. This is soooo great! The cast resin bats are awsome and i might need to find that mold for me!

  12. Very cool! I have to figure out some kind of door decoration before the 31st. We're in a new apartment this year and I think there's a small chance we'll get trick or treaters, gotta make sure they can tell we'll have candy!

  13. This is beautiful! You should totally enter that contest. Really gorgeous work! and I'm now embarrassed that I never notice that clock had a demon face....
    Happy Halloween!

  14. Lily cracks me up. Executive vice president of research, development and crafting! (Love the wreath, too!)

  15. Love all the little details you included! Good luck on the contest!

  16. This is so awesome! You are so creative!

  17. This is so cool! The doll kinda creeps me out though... as do some of the instructions, when taken out of context:
    "To attach the head to the wreath, wrap a thick wire around the neck stump (there should be a recess there already, where the body attached)"

  18. I recently bought a key chain with a Haunted Mansion Key at Disneyland which I'll be using as a an ornament. Your wreath looks perfect and complete to me, but if you want one more detail, you can find a fairly inexpensive metal haunted mansion key on Main Street.
    So creepy and fun! They eyes on the doll are amazing!

  19. Your imagination is amazing and inspiring. Just started following your blog. Love it!

    I've done some art projects with that pink (or blue) insulation styrofoam. Eventually it breaks. Do you know of a product to harden it without eating at it?

  20. Beautiful work! It a shame you can't fill the christmas ornament with water - it would make the doll hair look super creepy :)

  21. SO. COOL. The paint job on the doll's head is awesome, and I love the LED-inside-the-head trick to make her eyes glow. I'm going to have to use that idea someday for something. *wheels spinning*

    The coffin, clock, and bats all came out great, too. You're so freaking clever. I hope you entered that Disney contest, and I really, really hope you'll win.

    Happy Halloween, Jen and John! Have fun with the trick-or-treaters tonight. They're going to LOVE your wreath and your steampunkin!


  22. Awesome wreath, of course Jen! You always know how to get those really nice finishing touches in.
    BTW - did you know if you you start to type in epbot in a Google search, one of the top things that comes up is epbot bra?
    That post is famous! :-)

  23. Lovely (or should I say, creepy) work as always Jen!

  24. Pretty, fun, and creepy! It's the girly, geeky, Halloweeny trifecta!

  25. Psst... Make sure you don't use those bat trays for anything food-related! Once ya do resin in them, that's verboten.


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