How to Make Styrofoam Skulls

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A fake skull can look real or obviously for decoration.
A fake skull can look real or obviously for decoration. (Image: skull image by vb_photo from Fotolia.com)

For parties and events surrounding Halloween or the Day of the Dead, it’s often fun to decorate your home in somewhat morbid ways. While many stores stock their shelves with fake chains and skeletons, you can save a little money by making some props, such as skulls, at home with Styrofoam. To make Styrofoam skulls you only need a few supplies and about an hour and you’ll be ready to decorate your house or yard.

Things You'll Need

  • Styrofoam ball, 3-to-6-inch diameter
  • Pencil
  • Skull picture, if needed
  • Knife
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Clear coat spray sealant

Cut a thin straight line across one side of the ball to give you a flat surface your skull can rest on. Place the ball down on the flat surface to make sure it rests still without rolling over. Re-cut the ball if needed until the ball sits without rolling.

Use a mental picture or an actual photo of a skull to draw the outlines of your skull features onto the Styrofoam with a pencil to mark where you want each item (eyes, nose, and mouth) to be and how large you want them.

Carve into the Styrofoam to make the eye holes using small cuts at a time. The center of the eyes should run midway between the top and bottom of the ball, leaving plenty of cranial space along the top and back of the head. The eyes can be proportionate to the size of the ball or oversized depending on how you want it.

Cut a nose opening in the center of the “face” of the ball, slightly down from the eyes with the sides and slanting away from one another like a triangle. Don’t make this opening as deep into the Styrofoam as the eyes are.

Cut out an opening for the mouth and make deep cuts to show each tooth individually or just make slight marks in the Styrofoam to denote where the individual teeth would be.

Paint onto your skull as desired with acrylic paints to make it look realistic with grays and browns, or make the skull stark white with colorful swirls and designs for a more festive skull. Allow the paint to dry for two to three hours before spraying down the entire skull with a clear coat to seal the Styrofoam.

Tips & Warnings

  • For sharper details and crisper cuts, use an X-acto knife rather than a regular knife. This kind of craft knife can also allow you to make fractures in the skull, if needed, for a more gruesome display.

References

  • “Making a Monstrous Halloween”; Chris Kullstroem; 2009
  • “Halloween: Customs, Recipes, Spells”; Silver Ravenwolf; 1999
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