Monday, October 9, 2017

DIY Skull Sconces For Halloween And/Or Your Guest Room

I'm back with more Dollar Store spookery! This time we're taking two plastic shields, skulls, and battery tealights...

... and turning them into a pair of creepy wall sconces!


Admit it, these would look great in the guest room. Over the bed. When your in-laws visit.

(This is as close to gore as I get for the holiday, btw - though I was going for more of an "old and dusty" look.)

Also I really struggled with these pics; my back room is so dark! Which is great for ambiance...

 ...but not so much for photos. :D

Since I already had the tealights, hot glue, and craft paints, both sconces cost me less than $5 to make. Oh, cheap crafts, how I love you.

I'm sure you already get the general gist of how everything goes together, but let me walk you through the nitty gritty.

In addition to the skulls, shields, and lights,

- a craft blade
- hot glue & gun
- craft paint in brown, black, red, & bright orange
- a heat gun or hair dryer
- nips (or small scissors)

First, flip the shield over and cut off the strap and plastic rivets holding the dragon emblem on:

Leave the top hook though; you'll use that later to hang it on the wall.
Pop the emblem off:
(Be sure to save the dragon for later crafting; I have THOUGHTS.)

 The shields are curved, so next heat them up with a heat gun or hair dryer and smash 'em as flat as you can:

John propped ours between two plates so he could push the center down further.

Don't worry about getting your shields perfectly flat; ours are still a little wonky, but they sit just fine on the wall.

Finally, cut a rough square in the center of each shield, connecting the four rivet holes like this:

 This will be your access panel so you can reach the tealight switch later.

 Next use your craft blade to cut your skull like this:

 Use the plastic seam as a guide to keep your line somewhat level. (I used a dry-erase marker to mark my line, which wipes right off.)

Trace your tealight on the top of the skull, then cut out the hole:

Again, doesn't have to be perfect; we'll be filling in the gaps with hot glue later.

Testing the fit.

Glue time! Heat up your hot glue gun, then slather the gooey goodness all around your tealight, securing it in place. Just be sure the on/off switch is in the back, so it's easier to reach later:

Glue around your tea light both underneath and on top of the skull. When that's done and dry, hot glue the skull onto your shield:

It probably won't sit flush, and there will be plenty of gaps you'll need to fill in with hot glue, but trust me: THAT'S OK. The seams won't show at all by the time you're done, so you just worry about making sure the skull won't fall off. Skulls falling off are always bad.

All glued up!

Now comes the fun part:

Or, you know, paint.

Slop a messy coat of watered down brownish/reddish black paint all over the skull, then pounce/wipe it off again with a paper towel.

I discovered (on accident) that if you let water drip down the skull after the first coat of paint, you'll get some cool lighter areas and tracks:

Be careful, though; water can also take ALL the paint off if you scrub.

While you're at it, paint the eye cavities solid flat black to get rid of the plastic shine. 

For the shield, slop on a heavy coat of reddish black to the inner section:

Then roughly wipe that off, too:

And finally, for the shield's outer rim, paint any too-bright areas black, and finish up with some red-and-orange rust spots around the bolts and design work:
That rust really sells it for me - and it's SUPER fun to do. Just a little pouncing here and there with bright orange is surprisingly realistic.

The beauty of creepy Halloween crafts is that the faster and sloppier you are with the paint, the better. So don't get too hung up on perfection (I'm talking to myself here more than anything), and just keep moving.

Ok, final step: the candle. Wipe off most of the paint you got on the tealight with a wet rag, then fire up your trusty glue gun again.

Use your glue gun to make lots and lots (and lots) of drips down the skull. Start at the bottom of the drips and work your way up, just like on my Potter floating candles. Getting the drips random was the hardest part for me, but do your best, and keep going 'til you're happy with the look.

Once the glue has fully dried/cooled, paint the drips white or cream-colored - that'll take at least 2 coats.

Next paint the in-between areas a darker yellowish cream, and finally streak the whole thing with a watered down brown. It'll look kind of terrible up close, but from a distance? MAGIC.

I suggest temporary Command hooks for hanging, but you could even use thumb tacks, these are so ridiculously light. And with that back access panel through the shield, you can easily reach in from the back to switch your tealight on and off.

Here's my little wall display with them:
The swords are another fun-and-fast makeover, but I'll save those for next time.

Hope you guys enjoyed, and maybe got some new crafty ideas yourself!

'Til next time!


Pssst. Want more? Then check out my Craft Page to see ALL of my tutorials in one place!


  1. Awesome! Looks like I need to spend more time in the dollar store now that I have a small child who wants to decorate THE ENTIRE HOUSE for Halloween. = )

    - Jamie

    1. Me too! I put out all my pumpkins in the living room, and then she asked "where are we going to put the rest of it?" Uh, that's it, kiddo! Daycare had set an unreasonably high bar!

  2. At first glance, I thought this said DIY Skull "Scones"...ummm, yeah...aren't ALL scones DIY unless you buy them at the store...I've never thought of recipes as "DIY"... Anyway, since I am much more into crafting than cooking, I like DIY "Sconces" better.

    1. New Goal: SKULL SCONES. Someone who can bake should get on that, stat. ;)

    2. Ok, not scones EXACTLY, but OOOOH:

    3. Now all I can picture is Matt Smith saying "Would you like a scone, dear?" is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

  3. Creepily cool! You are so creative!

  4. everything you do is so amazingly creative - I'm in awe.

  5. LOVE THIS! Craft # 394 to make for Halloween this year.

    You can totally bake skull scones, BTW. There are several awesome 3D skull pans out there, in all sizes. I'm planning on making pizza calzones for Halloween filled with lots of tomato sauce and sausage! May also have to make some red velvet mummy cupcakes for dessert. Also, for my fellow Harry Potter peeps, Michael's has a set of perfect black silicone cauldrons that are just the right size for a single serving of dessert. I couldn't find them on their website, but both Michael's stores I've been in have had them.

  6. *looks down at chest* well, not sure why I need these, but I am equipped for this project! 😉😉😉

  7. These are amazing. I totally need to make several. Not only would they work wonders for my Halloween supplies (of which my husband says Enougggghhhhh, you have 6 I could hang a few in my boys room as part of their arsenal of weaponry collection. They have swords, shields and cosplay parts hung at the top of their walls as a border. I need to finish filling it in and a few of these would be great!

  8. I firmly believe there's nothing you can't do. Bravo!

  9. I don't know if you know about this, but FolkArt has new painted texture kits, and the rust one looks really cool!

  10. I am a complete neophyte so don't laugh at my question: Where do you get the skulls? I may be one of the few readers that does not have a handy stash of skulls in my closet.

    1. Jen says at the very beginning that the tealights, skulls and shields are from the dollar store. That'd be the first place I'd look! Bargains galore!

  11. This is so great! I think I'm going to adapt this project for a large plastic ram skull I've been meaning to work with. It'll be much heavier than these wall hangings, but most of your tutorial will translate really well! Thanks so much for another great post!

  12. Between this and the HP floating candles, it always surprises me that you don't just get some colored glue sticks and save yourself some painting.

  13. Being a marketing-type gal, I think you need to approach the corporate folks at the dollar store you like best (it's the "currency arbor" one, right? *wink, wink*) and see if you can work out some kind of tutorial publishing gig. I know the mainstream craft stores have freebies for all kinds of projects, hanging up near the related supplies, so why not the dollar stores?

  14. Love it! We bought the supplies today and have started working on the shields. So glad the SO is on board! This was also a good reason to get out the hot glue gun. We put up our eyeball wreath (from last year's tutorial!) on our door, but it's been so hot in PA that the hot glue melted and all the eyes fell out! Some of the eyes even deformed and melted, but they're still mostly round.... Now they're back in place, but I don't want to put the wreath back on the door until the weather turns for good! That might not be til December at this rate...

  15. I made this! It was so much fun and looks awesome! I emailed you some pics, I'm a terrible photographer and my lighting sucks, sorry! I know you don't read your email too often, but I'm not on social media. Anywho, thanks for the crafty goodness
    ! :)

  16. I know we're almost to Thanksgiving, but I finally started this project tonight! :) I'm letting the skull dry from the wood stain tonight. I have to substitute a wooden backer piece instead of a plastic shield because I waited too long to find a shield at any of our Dollar Trees, but that's okay. I'm going to Modge Podge on a Jolly Roger emblem to it.


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