Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Halloween: Elegant and Inexpensive...Glam Up A Dollar Tree Skull


When life gives you lemons you make lemonade right? An early retirement plus a pandemic has meant I've had more time to focus on creating and I don't know about you, but for me, the more I create the more ideas I come up with. 

I've seen this trend in "Glam Skulls" or "Jeweled Skulls" for the past couple of Halloween seasons and decided that I could come up with a version for far less than the price of them. So here we go! 

  • Plastic Skulls (Dollar Tree)
  • White Tissue Paper (Dollar Tree)
  • Mod Podge  
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Glue Gun and Glue
  • Embellishments

Step 1: 

If you've been in a Dollar Tree around Halloween, you recognize these skulls. These I already had in my Halloween decorations and have used them as is before but this year I decided I wanted to glam them up. The easiest thing would have been spray paint but I have asthma and fumes are not my friend. Several years ago I tried this technique on Easter Eggs and it's been my go to ever since for projects where I don't need a smooth finish and which need something for the paint to grip. 

It's so simple and works so well! Use any white tissue paper, scrunch into a ball, crunch your ball and then tear your tissue into smaller pieces.

Step 2: 
Once you have your tissue paper pieces, start covering the skull with Mod Podge then start placing your tissue paper. Doesn't matter where you start, you just keep going until covered. I prefer to use a bristle vs foam brush for this. You can push into the eyes and small spaces to make sure you get good adhesion. As needed tear pieces smaller to fit where needed. It's a totally random process.

This is what your skull will look like once covered. It would work just like this for Halloween but let's keep going! 

Step 3:
After your Mod Podge is dry , it's time to paint! I chose the same color palette as the Upcycled Candleholders I shared earlier. I used a dark grey basecoat as my first coat: 

"But did she stop there?" Of course not. I went over the grey paint with Martha Stewart Metallic Titanium, and then wiped on and wiped off a black glaze of watered down black paint. 

I didn't wipe out the glaze from the eye sockets and only lightly wiped it out of the nose. Now it's time for the real fun! 

Step 4:
Now it's time to embellish! 

I pulled out miscellaneous embellishments from my stash. Sequins, flat back rhinestones, seed beads, and faceted crystal beads for the eyes. I went with embellishing only one eye per skull, starting by gluing a large crystal bead in the eye socket. From there, it's wherever your imagination takes you! I spread some hot glue in the eye socket, sprinkled on a seed bead mix and while the glue was still setting stuck in some mirror sequins. Then working up and down from the eye, laid down more hot glue, sprinkled more seed beads, added rhinestones and other beads randomly. 

I had some skull beads so I added those too. Skulls on skulls on skulls! 

I love that with a little paint and imagination, you can create high end looking and elegant Halloween decor for very little. Shown here: Glam Skull on top of Dollar Tree candleholder ; my Mackenzie Childs Inspired Pumpkin from Target's impulse buy section ; Goodwill Candleholder Makeover; Painted and Mod Podged Wood Coffin (bought the plain box at Michaels years ago but they still have variations of them). 

I hope you found some inspiration. Until next time, 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Goodwill Finds: From Plain to Pretty Candleholders for Less Than The Cost of One


I continue to "upscale" my Halloween decor.  Since PhD Man left for college I've switched out a bit each year. This year I knew I wanted some more candleholders to give height and depth to my Halloween decor so, masked up and went to my local Goodwill to see what I could find because as Makers, we're not going to go pay big money for the look we want right? 


  • Thrifted Candleholders 
  • Acrylic Paints ( I used Craftsmart Dark Grey, Black  and Martha Stewart Metallic Titanium)
  • Antique Gold Rub n Buff

Here's what I found: three un related pieces that would work together

I have no idea what the one on the left is made of but it's heavy ! I cleaned  my finds to get any residue off and then got to work!

Step 1: 

After cleaning, removing stickers etc. paint with a base coat to make everything match. I used Craftsmart Acrylic paint from Michaels in Dark Grey:

I like how they almost look like cement but I wanted more shine. 

Step 2:

Once they were dry, I went back over them with Martha Stewart Metallic Titanium (also Michaels). But then they were too shiny! So I dabbed on a black glaze and wiped off to age them just the right amount. I'm like Goldilocks...too matte...too shiny...just right.

Step 3: 

I wanted to bring out the detail and the raised edges so I grabbed the Rub n Buff from my Faux Spooky Candle project and went over the raised areas, finishing the "buff" part with a soft cloth. 

I'm so happy with how the turned out and coordinate not only with each other but the rest of my decor! While I made these for Halloween decorating, I kept them versatile enough that I can use whenever. Total cost: $9 for all three pieces. 

Until next time...

Monday, September 28, 2020

Halloween: Trash to Treasure Spooky Faux Candles

I've been on a bit of a "roll" lately. Pun intended. I have several projects I'm excited to share starting  with this one: Haunted Faux Candles made from repurposed craft rolls. We'd hoped to make another trip to Disneyland around this time but 2020 had other plans. Subconsciously, I think some of my Halloween ideas came from fond memories of things like the Haunted Mansion which this project reminds me of with its Gothic spookiness. 

  • Empty Craft / Wrapping Paper / Paper Towel Rolls. I used empty vinyl rolls and an empty roll from some tulle. I prefer these to paper towel rolls because they're a bit thicker and heartier. 
  • Paint. I used Craftsmart Acrylics from Michaels
  • Hot Glue and Glue Gun. Stash
  • Rub n Buff. Available where fine art supplies are sold

Step 1: 
Drizzle hot glue along the top of your rolls to resemble dripping candle wax.

There's no right or wrong way to do this just drip drip here, drip drip there. 

Step 2: 
Once the glue has set, paint with color of your choice. I used white as shown. 

At this point it's personal preference how many coats of paint you use. I went back over with another coat then dry brushed with silver and black to age them. 

Step 3: 
Once you're satisfied with your candles, you can stop there unless you're me. I wanted to make these look elegant so I decided to highlight some of the candle drips using Antique Gold Rub N Buff. You can also do this with acrylic paint but there's a luster with the Rib N Buff that I love! 

It just so happened that a couple of the craft rolls were the right size to hold real tea light candles ( I won't burn these because "fire hazard" but I like the look) 

Where tea lights won't fit, you can rest an ornament. 

Next time, I'll share the candleholders I did for these! Until then...

Thursday, September 24, 2020

BFF Open House Link Party


Happy Friday Eve all ! Welcome back to another party here at The Answer Is Chocolate. Hope everyone's made it through the week uneventfully. Uneventful is my goal these days. I'm not sure if Mr. Chocolate is ready to call for a Halloween intervention yet or not. I haven't started decorating but I have been busy making stuff to decorate with once I start. I'm so happy about how this Witch Hat Wreath turned out! 

I think I've solved the issue I was having with last week's embedded link party so we will see! Let's take a look at some of the fabulous ideas from last week's party.  

As my son grew older, my Halloween decor got more gothic, elegant, and darker. Anita from Unique Creations from Anita shared this Halloween Goblet that I adore! It's just perfect! 

I love a good "green craft" that repurposes things that you have on hand. I have a fun one coming up next week! Naush from Doodlebuddies shared one that is easy and fun: DIY Pumpkins using scrap cardboard, twigs, twine and ribbon. I'll bet every one of us has the supplies! 

Priyam from Simple Joys shared this beautiful Fall wreath made from ... Paint Sample Cards! I love how it captures all the stages of leaves that change colors. 

Finally, this week's chocolate feature is from Lou Lou Girls and they are as cute as they look delicious. Who can resist Keebler cookies? I know so many of us bake but sometimes you just need a package of cookies from the store and to use them on top of cupcakes? Perfect! 

Hope you enjoyed these features! Now, let's see what you've been up to this week!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, September 21, 2020

Halloween Decor: Witch Hat Frame Wreath


When it comes to some things, I'm pretty easily pleased. One of those things is a trip to The Dollar Tree. $20 spent there is a joyous thing! On my last trip, I found a Witch Wreath Frame. I've seen these projects in years past but have not had luck finding the frame. No more!! Some fabric, ribbon, a few ornaments and voila: my Witch Hat Frame Wreath!


  • Wire Witch Hat Frame $1 (Dollar Tree)
  • Black and White Check Decorative Mesh $1 (Dollar Tree) 
  • Black Mini Ornaments $1 (Dollar Tree) 
  • Fabric ( Stash)
  • Grey Decorative Mesh ( Stash)
  • Grey and Black Organza (Stash)
  • Decorative Ribbon (Stash) 
  • Pipe Cleaners (Stash)
  • Hot Glue and Glue Gun ( Stash) 

Step 1:

I had some grey ultrasuede-y fabric in my stash. I cut it in two strips, measuring approx  5 inches by 48 inches. Tied a corner of one strip to the corner of the wreath frame as shown: 

Step 2: 

Anchor your fabric with hot glue and wrap the top of the frame, leaving the brim section uncovered. When you reach the end of the first strip, glue the second to the first and keep wrapping until you reach the top. Cut off any excess, tuck and glue edges. 

Step 3:

Now that the top of your hat is wrapped, time to do the brim! I used the decorative mesh I found at Dollar Tree ( and bought 2 more rolls because it's black and white so of course!) , some I had on hand along with some dark grey and black organza I had on hand. You'll want three strips for each bundle. 

Step 4: 

Make your bundles. Starting at one end (  short side ) scrunch / gather / pinch each strip. Hold the shape with either a binder clip or clothespin and when you have three (black and white, grey, organza) tie together w/ a pipe cleaner: 

Of course I would take a picture of one of the two clusters I made w/out organza because I didn't have enough but you get the idea!  I made 10 clusters. Using the ends of the pipe cleaners, secure to the brim part of the frame. 

Step 5:

Step 6:

Once the brim was filled in, I made a bow from some ribbon in my stash and tied to the frame with the pipe cleaner ends from the bow. To finish everything off, I grabbed some of the black mini ornaments from a previous trip and which I used on my Gothic Batty Wreath , strung them on a pipe cleaner and made a cluster for the center of the bow. 

Even happier with the end result  than I was about  my well spent $20 at Dollar Tree! Based on what I already had on hand, my total cost for this was $2!