Sunday, October 21, 2012

Screaming Scary Wreath

A here.  J and I have never really been wreath people.  Maybe that's because we've always lived somewhere that they would be stolen right off our front door.  Whatever the reason, this is the first wreath I've attempted, and I think it may have changed both our minds!  Halloween wreaths can be an awesome vehicle for all those creepy little items you've been hoarding.  For the one in this post I started with:
  • 18" grapevine wreath (available at most craft stores for about $5)
  • Black, gray and white spray paint
  • Scraps of black and cream burlap (leftover from the Toiletpaper Pumpkin project)
  • Black ribbon
  • A plastic skull (we picked this one up at Spirit Halloween)
  • Faux barbed wire (instructions below)
  • Plastic spiders
  • Hot glue
  • Black string
  • Stapler
I started by robing my plastic skull in burlap.  Any skull would have worked, but I chose this one because it reminded me of a cross between Munch's Scream and The Silence from Dr. Who.  With a little luck and adjustment, the fabric shrouded the skull and was attached with hot glue.  To help it fit the shape better, J suggested I staple the back folds together at the base of the skull and it worked beautifully!

Then he was attached to the wreath with a combination of hot glue and black string.  The glue held him in place while the stitches helped me guide exactly how he hung from the wreath.  At that point the skull looked a bit like a terrified nun, so we shabbied his habit up a little with a pair of scissors.  I also used some cream colored burlap and cut a "ribbon" to wrap around the wreath.  To keep it from looking too perfect, I left the end hanging so the frayed end was visible.  The ribbon was attached at each end with some hot glue.  I left all the frayed strings on to keep it from looking clean.

Our original plan was to use some suction-cup bats to decorate the top part of the wreath, but we had suction-cupped them to the glass door of our apartment earlier in the week and were enjoying them too much to ruin them with hot glue.  Instead, we decided to use some leftover plastic spiders from our dollar-store collection.  They looked great in contrast to the cream ribbon!  I attached them glue. (I'm normally not a fan of hot glue, but sometimes you just have to play quick and dirty.)

I thought we were done, and I was decently satisfied with what we had, until J emerged from his man-cave with the faux barbwire from our craft day a few weeks earlier.  Sadly, I had almost forgotten about it!  The wire is super easy to make and is soft enough it can be worn as a costume accent without all the uncomfortableness of real barbwire. 

Instructions for Faux Barbed Wire (additional, and possibly better, instructions via Stolloween)
Start by cutting small shards of craft foam sheet.  Then double over a long piece of cotton string.  Lay two shards of foam together on the string and then tie a knot around them.  The presssure of the knot will make the shards look like a spikey X.  Repeat this step down the length of the string, placing the barbs as far apart as you feel looks appropriate for barbed wire.  Once you've tied up all your shards, mix some craft paint to a color of your choosing.  This version had a bit much black for my taste, but adding in some orange or red usually helps give it a rusty look.  Personally, I don't mind getting my hands dirty, so I mixed the paint in my palm before wadding up the string in the paint and working it into a stringy painted mess-ball.  After that, untangle the string and have someone help you twist it.  The paint will help the twist stay put while it dries.  Hang it somewhere you don't mind getting a little dirty and it should dry in about 30 minutes.

Back to our regularly scheduled program:

I wrapped the barbed wire around the entire wreath and secured it by tying the ends to the backside grapevines.  At that point, I realized that J's suggestion was genius!  The barbed wire made it appropriately dreamcatcher creepy.  We took a long piece of black ribbon from my craft stash and hung the wreath on our glass door.  Surrounded by the suction cup bats I mentioned earlier it makes for an appropriately spooky scene.


Now that I'm no longer anti-wreath, I'm looking for more creative wreath ideas!  Please feel free to share yours and/or photos of wreaths you've made below.  I'm probably going to need a non-traditional one for the Christmas season.

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