Introduction: VOODOO SKULL CANDLE...Sculpting, Painting and More! Perfect Halloween Project!
PROJECT OVERVIEW: In this instructable I show you how to create a voodoo skull candle using air dry clay, acrylic paint, soy candle wax and dancing. It probably won't help you curse your neighbors and/or coworkers, but I hope you still dig it as a Halloween decoration! Now, let's dive into the details!
If you like this project, I’d greatly appreciate your vote in the Halloween Contest! :D
- SCULPTING -
- Arteza Pottery and Clay Sculpting Tools- https://amzn.to/35c1i44
- Stonex Air Dry Clay- https://amzn.to/3hZEAjn
- Pottery Wheel- https://amzn.to/2Zcy1To
- PAINTING -
- ACCESSORIZING -
- CANDLE MAKING -
- Nitrile Gloves- https://amzn.to/2UBSgIw
- Pipettes- https://amzn.to/3hcQrcR
- Essential Oil Dropper Bottles- https://amzn.to/337bEQ8
- Essential Oil Bottle Labels- https://amzn.to/2F6SIsX
- Essential Oil Fragrances- https://www.candlescience.com/
- Wax Dye- https://www.candlescience.com/
- Wick Bars- https://www.candlescience.com/
- Natural Soy Wax Flakes- https://amzn.to/3568GOC
- Candle Making Pouring Pot- https://amzn.to/3jRgVlD
- Candle Making Thermometer- https://amzn.to/357vGgd
- Candle Wicks- https://amzn.to/3lZKeoe
(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)
Step 1: Sculpting the Skull
Let's get creative and begin bringing this creepy little dude to life!
A. PREPPING CLAY: Using white Stonex no-bake clay (which is a water based clay that hardens without baking or firing in a kiln), first cut a piece of clay from the larger block approximately the size that you want the skull to be. Use the wire tool from the Arteza tool set for this step.
B. SCULPTING SKULL: When sculpting, I find it easiest to work from a three dimensional reference. I used a small plastic toy skull for this project. Use a pottery wheel to easily work the piece of clay in 360º. Start by removing mass from the piece of clay to make the rough outer shape of the skull. Then, using a loop tool, remove clay from the eye socket, temple, and jaw areas. Smaller pointed sculpting tools are used to add the finer details to areas like the teeth. Keep in mind, this is air dry clay so it will harden as you work. To slow this, cover the portions of the skull that you're not actively working on with a wet paper towel. I sculpted this skull over the course of a couple of days and kept the piece moist by covering the skull in wet paper towel inside of a sealed gallon size Ziploc bag.
Step 2: Hollowing Skull for the Candle
A. MARKING THE SKULL: Using a pointed tool, draw a shallow "X" on the top of the skull to determine the center point where you'd like the candle to be located. Then, using the rim of a small juice glass, gently press down to leave a circular mark in the clay to act as a guide as you begin hollowing out the skull.
B. HOLLOWING THE SKULL: Using a loop tool, remove large portions of clay to the edges of the marked circle and approximately halfway to the bottom of the skull. The area for the candle is about the circumference of a standard tea light and about half an inch greater in depth. Once the majority of the clay has been hogged out, use a loop tool with a flat edge to level the bottom of the hollow area.
C. BAKING: JUST KIDDING! Remember, this is air dry clay? There's no baking required. You just have to allow the clay to slowly dry over the course of approximately two weeks before painting. I recommend keeping the skull in the Ziploc bag with a tiny opening in it so it doesn't dry too quickly and crack.
Step 3: Sculpting the Top Hat
A. SIZING THE HAT: You want a hat that will eventually be able to rest on top of the skull "comfortably" when the candle is not in use. To get the correct dimensions of the hat opening, simply flatten a ball of the same Stonex clay and compare it to the size of the skull.
B. BUILDING THE BRIM: Carefully remove a circle of clay of the appropriate size so that the hat rests on top of the skull without slipping down the forehead too far. You can do this with your fingers or I used the rim of the juice glass again almost like you would a cookie cutter. Continue pressing and smoothing the clay until it reaches the desired length for the brim of a top hat. You can also curl the brim for style!
C. BUILDING THE CROWN: The top portion of the hat; the area above the brim that sits on your head is called the crown. To build the crown, treat it much the same way that you do a coil pinch pot. Roll out snakes of clay and layer them vertically in a circular shape until you reach the height desired for your top hat. If your clay is no longer very moist, you may want to score and slip the coils as you build so they do not fall apart later. "Slip" is just a small amount of clay with water added to make a paint-like consistency. Then, smooth the sides of the hat so that they no longer show any ridges from the coils.
D. ADDING THE TOP OF THE CROWN: To seal off top of the hat, flatten a ball of the same Stonex clay and compare it to the size of the crown opening. Try to make sure that the thickness of the clay is approximately the same as the rest of the hat so everything dries at the same speed. This prevents cracking. Score the top edge of the crown and underside of the top of the hat and add a bit of slip to adhere them together. Then pinch the edges of the top hat to ensure adhesion and use fingers and flat tools to smooth out the texture of your hat to your liking.
E. BAKING: JUST KIDDING–AGAIN! Remember, this is air dry clay? There's no baking required. You just have to allow the clay to slowly dry over the course of approximately two weeks before painting.
Step 4: Painting the Top Hat
The concept for this piece centers on voodoo and is meant to be trippy and psychedelic. Thus, the undulating pattern. So, I elected to use bright neon paint colors to make the hat visually pop with energy. Standard black or brown paint would work as well–it's your hat and you can paint how you want to! :D
A. DRAWING THE PATTERN: Using a graphite pencil sketch in the outlines of your pattern, if you want your hat to have one.
B. COLOR BLOCKING: Using acrylic paint and a brush of your choosing, begin painting in the open areas of the pattern with your desired colors. Depending on the opacity of your paints, you may require 2 to 3 coats to achieve full coverage.
C. DETAILING: We want to bring out the dimension of the different elements we've sculpted by adding some black outlines and white highlight dots to the pattern. We do this by using a black acrylic paint pen for the outlines and a white acrylic paint pen for the dots.
Step 5: Painting the Skull
A. PAINTING THE SKULL: Using acrylic paint, clear gloss medium, and a brush of your choosing, begin mixing black and brown paint with a good amount of gloss medium to create a "wash" to cover the lighter parts of the skull.
B. SHADING THE SKULL: To bring out the dimensional elements of the skull, mix black and brown paint with a much smaller amount of the gloss medium to cover the recessed areas of the skull–eye sockets, nose, temples, jaw, etc. Depending on the opacity of your paints, you may require 2 to 3 coats to achieve full coverage.
Step 6: Accessorizing the Top Hat
A. SELECTING YOUR ACCESSORIES: I searched online to find and purchase small plastic skulls and bones to adorn my hat. You can use beads, ribbons, feathers, fake bugs, whatever your heart desires, as flair.
B. ADHERING THE ACCESSORIES: Using super glue, press each of the accessories into place on your hat. Allow glue to dry according to the product's instructions.
Step 7: Candle Making
A. CREATING YOUR SCENT: The goal is to mix a total of 1 oz. of essential oil for your melted soy wax. Use individual pipettes to draw from each of your essential oil scents that you will use to create your ultimate blend inside of a 1 oz. glass bottle with dropper lid. Using individual pipettes will keep your scents pure for when you decide to use them again later. Smell as you go and mix the oils in the final scent by shaking the bottle. You may also want to wear nitrile gloves to keep the oils from getting on your hands.
B. MELTING AND ADDING COLORANTS TO THE WAX: Measure 8 cups of soy wax flakes into a small metal pouring pitcher and fill a pot with water to create a double boiler. Heat wax and colorant to 185ºF and remove from heat continuing to stir until the wax cools to 135ºF. This is the optimal temperature for adding the full 1 oz. of fragrance. Do not let fragranced wax continue to heat as the fragrance will evaporate out of the wax.
C. PREPPING THE SKULL FOR POURING: Place a wick bar with the center peak facing up on top of your skull above the hollow area. Pull wick straight and gently press wick into the opening of the wick bar. This will keep the wick straight and centered while the candle cools.
D. POURING THE WAX: When the wax cools to 135ºF, carefully pour the wax into the hollow area in the top of the skull.
Step 8: Wax Curing, Wick Trimming and Use
A. CURING THE WAX: After the wax has been carefully poured, allow the wax to cool and cure for 4 to 5 days (or ideally 2 weeks) before trimming the wick and lighting.
B. TRIMMING THE WICK: Use sharp scissors to trim the wick to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch in length.
C. PROPER USEAGE AND DISPLAY: Remove the top hat and light the wick for your guests to enjoy the light and scent of the candle during your Halloween get together. When finished with use, blow out the flame and allow the wick and wax to completely cool before capping the skull with the hat for display as a funky and spooky seasonal decoration. HAPPY HALLOWEEN! :D
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