Monday, October 10, 2016

Halloween Quick Craft: Spooky Glowing Skull Frame!

John and I just wrapped up the fastest craft we've ever made, and DANG IT LOOKS COOL:

  Even better, it tricks your eye as you walk around it. From straight on it looks 2D, but move to the side...

A video posted by Jen Yates (@epbot) on


Even better, this cost just $4 in materials, and took maybe 20 minutes to put together. Think you're not crafty? Then start here, peeps, for instant, easy craft gratification.

Here's what you need, all of which I found at our local Dollar Tree:

 - 1 plastic skull
- 1 plastic frame
- 1 pr of large dress trouser socks
 - 1 strand of LED battery lights in your choice of color:

 (Sorry, forgot to photograph 'til after we were done.)

We actually grabbed blue lights on accident, but it turned out looking nice and ghostly. Green or red would also be excellent Halloween choices.

In addition to those materials, you will also need:

- a hot glue gun & glue sticks
- a utility blade
- a Sharpie or marker
And that's it. Seriously, easiest craft evahhhhh.

Now let's put it together!

Step 1: Pop the cardboard center out of the frame, flip it over, and cut an access panel like this:

 This is to fit your lights through later, so make sure it's large enough for the battery pack.

Step 2: Cut your skull's face off. (Go on, get those frustrations out!)

To get an even cut line, John placed the skull nose-down on the counter, then set a low bowl beside it to brace his Sharpie. He held the marker steady and rotated the skull, giving him a level cut line like this:

Once your line is in place, cut with a utility blade:

 Step 3: Hot glue the skull face to the mirrored cardboard from the frame:

Do a nice thick bead all the way around.

Step 4: Cut open one of the dress socks, then use more hot glue to stretch it across the skull face, securing the fabric on the back side of the cardboard.

  To avoid wrinkles, glue side-to-side first, then top and bottom, then finish up the rest.

When all the fabric is securely glued down on the back, trim off the excess:

You covered skull should look like this:
Already kinda creepy, right?

 Stuff your LED strand in through the back access panel. (Remember to turn it on!)
Adjust the lights as needed so you don't have any "hot spots" where the LEDs are too close to the plastic. If necessary, you can add a little tissue paper or cotton balls to diffuse any problem areas, like the nose.

(As an alternate, you could also use a glow stick bracelet for the light.)

Now pop the whole shebang back into the frame, hang it up, and ADMIRE:

Ooooh, aaaaaah.

 I tried to capture a few different angles:

These are just cellphone pics, but you really can't take a bad picture of this thing. I'm temped to make a few more in different colors, because how sweet would it be to have a whole row of them? Or you could add this to the center of a Halloween wreath, ooooooh. Yep, that would be AWESOME.

Hope this gets some creepy, creative juices flowing out there! And as always, if you try this out yourself, pleaseplease share pics on the Epbot Facebook page, so I can see!


Want more? Then check out my Craft Tutorial page to see ALL of my projects in one, easy-to-browse place!


  1. I got 8" of snow today so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to hit up the dollar store for a new skull (as last year's skull got streampunked as your last year's Halloween projects). But, super excited to try this. Plus glad to see a post as it means you have roof and/or power.

  2. i want to try this for our Scout Group Halloween party! The children will freak out!

  3. i want to try this for our Scout Group Halloween party! The children will freak out!

  4. This is very cool, and I may have to make one. The one thing that bothers me is the battery-operated LEDs. My wife has a lot of light-up decorations, which we plug into cords with foot switches for easier operation. So, for another project, I went hunting a couple days ago and found these - - a very basic 20-light LED strand with a 3-foot cord to plug them in. I think it would work well for this, too, though it will bump up the price considerably.

  5. Man this looks so cool! I actually have half of that stuff already lying around the house, so I will have to give it a try! :) Great tutorial!

  6. Oh my gosh... Yours and John's creativity blows my mind! This might be the best dollar store hack yet. Thanks for the idea!

  7. Ooh, I can see this on my front door for the trick or treaters! Great craft!
    ~ Rachel ~

  8. That is freaking awesome. I don't know how you guys even come up with this stuff. I definitely want a whole row of these in different colors with aged frames.


  9. So awesome! I'm definitely not a crafty person but have always wanted to be. This is a project I can totally get behind. Thank you!

  10. This is going on my front door this Halloween! With some ghosty music and spiderwebs, it's gonna be awesome!

  11. No, the word "awesome" isn't overused and now meaningless. That's crazy talk.

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  13. I'm SO jealous that you found blue LED lights at the dollar store! I had to buy a $9.00 strand for this year's Death Of Rats.

  14. I'm usually pretty intimidated by these crafty tutorials but I am already planning a trip to the Dollar Tree on my way home tonight. Can't wait to try this one!

  15. Ooh, nice! I have all of those things in my craft pile RIGHT NOW! This is really fun.

  16. One question and one comment. First- awesome! I stopped at the Dollar Tree on my way to work, and my question is this: in what part of the store did you find the lights? I checked both the Halloween & Christmas areas, and then the rest of the whole store, with nothing similar to be found. I did ask for help- and was unhelpfully shown the plug-in, non-LED lights. It might just be because our store is ONLY NOW putting out their Halloween stuff (at the same time as the Christmas stuff- go figure). The comment is this: your picture shows the queen size Trouser socks, which are not the same as the Dress socks listed in your supplies. I don't think the dress socks would actually work, they're pretty small and not as stretchy. If I hadn't had the picture with me on my phone, I would have gotten the dress socks (since that's what I wrote down). But as soon as I can track down some battery lights (I might also try the many glow sticks we have) I will be making this. Thanks for a cool Halloween craft project.

    1. Eek, I'm sorry about the sock mix-up; in my brain "dress sock" and "trouser sock" were the same thing. I'll go change that now.

      The lights were with the Halloween stuff in our store, but it sounds like every Dollar Tree is VERY different, so that's probably no help. And yes, glow sticks (or glow bracelets, since they're smaller) would work, too!

  17. I concur with the trouser socks note on here; I bought the hose/tights they had in black and they're great. As far as the lights, I was worried about heat and I didn't like the colors I found locally (I'm going for subtle and eerie here), but I found led strands on amazon for cheap - multipacks, so I can use them in other places too. The three Dollar Trees in my area that I checked so far (I live in Kansas City, so there are quite a few) had none of the frames, and in fact they were smooshing the remaining halloween stuff to a small part of the stores so they could take up several aisles with Christmas. I decided to check my own supplies for a suitable substitute/upgrade and I think an old broken mirror and some careful work hiding the wires will do.

  18. This is really cool! I'm thinking a few of these would look great in the kitchen window. Spooky!


  19. Ditto on Dollar Tree being out of the frame. I went to two and am going to hit up a third to check, but so far no dice. I'm on the hunt for other options though! :) The LED lights were with the Christmas supplies, but not with the regular lights. They had red, blue, white and yellow options.

  20. Khalysta from VersaillesOctober 12, 2016 at 8:56 AM

    Hello Jen and John,
    As always, your crafts are... awesome !
    thanks for sharing

  21. I've been scoping out Dollar Tree Halloween stuff since it came out and have NEVER seen that frame! Much sadness!

    1. I had the same problem! They didn't have the LED lights either. Thinking I might check Michaels and see if they have something similar to that frame.

    2. I think I saw a frame similar at Target but it was gone the second time I made my way back to the store. I need to stop getting caught off guard about having all the money for Halloween stuff. It's like my brain forgets all the cool stuff sells out super fast.

  22. This is so cool! I absolutely want to make one. Annnd my dollar store is already out of all of these supplies or anything similar. I'll have to go supply hunting. ^_^

  23. Ooooh! This would make an awesome pendant if I could figure it all out in a smaller size! Maybe it'd make a nice fascinator...or tweak it to make a Voldemort-face mask to wear on the back of my head...hmmm lots to think about. Now if only I had more time! Thanks for sharing!

    -Just Andrea

  24. I just made these with womens dress socks because there were no trouser socks at either dollar tree I visited. Worked out just fine. I also snagged the last of the frames. Sorry Miamisburg peeps

  25. This looks so super cool! I love it

  26. Well, that was fun! I made it, and I'm pretty darn happy with how it came out. They didn't have the lights at our Dollar Tree, but I remembered that I had some red battery-operated lights from Ikea, and those worked great. I also tried using 2 flickering battery tea lights, and that was a different but cool effect. I tried to make the tea lights red with tissue paper, but that darkened them too much. It took some work to get the fabric glued on, mostly because of my ancient glue gun, and the first sock got runs in it so I was more careful with the second (good thing they come in pairs). And I also used some gold paint I had and a sponge brush to lightly brush the frame to give it a less plasticy look. I love how this came out, and it was so easy & cheap. I don't know how to post pics or vids here, but I posted both on the Fans of Epbot Facebook page (for which I am very grateful, what a fantastic group of people!). Thanks Jen for this awesome craft project.


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