Halloween Art Dolls

This post is EPIC. 

Here is some suspenseful, EPIC music because I like it and you might need it! Don't listen while you are trying to go to sleep at night. You've been warned.

Longtime Coming

This was so much fun. I am so excited to finally be able to get this post written. Seriously, this was one of my favorite things EVER!

I mean just look how adorable and awesome they are!

It took me forever to make this project come to life. I got the idea from Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine in 2010. The link will take you to the specific issue that gave me the idea. The artist in the magazine article is Michael deMeng. Check him out. Amazing! 

This image is from the magazine. I got it from the website at the link provided above. I'm so glad to see another person's art hands. I teach art, so mine look like this 24/7. Art hands ALL DAY ERRRRRY DAY!

Anyway, he used wedding cake toppers for the bodies of his art dolls. I am so literal sometimes its frightening. I literally thought I couldn't do this without wedding cake toppers for the longest time. I couldn't find any that were affordable though. Every one that I found that was the right size with the right details was like $24. No kidding! I knew I was going to want to make more than one. So, $24 was just too much for me. 

I did find the skeletons immediately, though. Those can be found easily in October. So, I had this bag of skeletons in my pantry for 6 years. Count them...one...two...three...FOUR...FIVE...SIX!!!! Maddening.

That should tell you how committed I was to this. I fell in love with it when I read about it in the magazine. I knew I had to do it. 
These aren't the ones I bought, but they are similar. These were at the Dollar General. When I went to get the princesses, I knew I was going to want to write this post eventually. So, as I noticed these, I thought it might be helpful to snap a pic of them in the store.

Last fall, I was on maternity leave and had the time (HA!) to really put some effort into finding something that would work for the bodies. I went on Etsy and Amazon and even Poshmark looking for wedding cake toppers. Then, late one night while my husband was in Thailand, my two year old was in bed, and I was up rocking my newborn, I noticed some Disney princesses poking out from underneath the couch. At first I was irritated because I could've sworn I had everything picked up and put away. But, AHA!!!! The only thing showing from under the couch was their bodies. Their heads were hidden. 

So, there. I finally figured out what I could use for the bodies! Of course, I had to measure and make sure the skulls would be somewhat proportional. I ended up having to go to a couple of stores to find more of these princesses for this project. I knew the ones under the couch had come from the Dollar General. So, I checked there first. They only had a couple of different ones. I wanted the dresses to all be different. So, I went ahead and purchased those two, but ended up at Walgreens where I purchased the rest. These were about $5 each. Much more reasonable than $24!

While I was at Walgreens, I also found some marked down Dia de los Muertos figurines. So, I bought those to see if I could incorporate them into this project. I will post about that in a separate post in a couple of days. So, be on the look out for it!

Anyway, it was like all the stars aligned for me to make this happen when it finally did!

Okay, enough about stars and Dollar Generals and Disney princesses poking out from under couches!

Here's what I did:

First, I popped the heads off of the princesses and the skeletons. (I never thought I'd ever write a sentence like that in nonfiction. Also, this reminds me of Eminem's Evil Deeds...head popped off head popped off head popped off. If you know, you cool. Not gonna link it. This is a family-friendly blog.) The princesses heads were kind of hard to get off. At first, I thought I was going to have to get a tool and cut them off, but I ended up being able to wiggle them around. I think that stretched the plastic enough for them to just pop off. It took several minutes to do this.

I didn't have to use any glue to attach the heads. That nifty little knob on the necks of the princesses fit right into the skulls. I cut the loops off the tops of the skulls with a pair of scissors. 

Next, I painted a sloppy coat of plain ol modeling paste all over. After I'd spent the $5 each on the princesses and bought the figurines, I decided to try to use materials I had on hand. I deviated tremendously from deMeng's materials. The materials I used worked as well. (This is the poor ladies' version of deMeng's project.)
Here's the modeling paste I used.

After the modeling paste was dry, I painted a sloppy coat of brown craft acrylic paint over it. I actually let my two year old help with this, which was a good thing for a two year old. It didn't have to be very neat and not very neat is exactly how a two year old paints.

All of this sloppiness helps add to the idea of decay. The modeling paste wasn't smooth and the brown is spotty. This is so cool. I love the way this process communicates the idea of decay!

After the brown acrylic dried, I just added some colors with other craft acrylic. I used an off white color for the skulls. I chose a color scheme of yellow, orange and mint green. I also painted this sloppily. You can see in the photos how the brown shows through the other colors. I didn't really have to think very hard about how to make this happen because the texture from the modeling paste resisted my brush. I could feel it. I did go back in with the brown using a very small brush to give some depth to the eye sockets and cheek bones. 

I just love sister-on-the-right's shoulder pop. Michael Jackson would be proud.

The most time-consuming part of this was photographing the finished products. I spent about half an hour lying on the concrete photographing them. It was fun, though. I really enjoyed posing them for these.

How about that awesome shadow?

I hope you enjoyed this post. I am just tickled to finally get to share this with you. Make sure you stay tuned for the Dia de los Muertos post where I show photos of what I did with the figurines from Walgreens!


  1. Amanda, How are going to use this idea in class? Joy

  2. I love these so much! thanks for sharing :D

    1. Thank you so much. This was so much fun. I hope some people will give it a try!