You’ve heard of a Jack in the Box, right? Well, this is my version.
Only it’s not really a box.
And Jack is a skull.
Oh! And he doesn’t *actually* spring up and grab you.
Mwah ha ha…
This skullalicious Halloween Jack in the box started life as a battered old Lloyd Loom laundry basket that we inherited (already painted) from a departed family member. This sad old vintage lady was destined for the tip when Beloved had one of his light bulb moments.
Anyone would think HE was the Halloween obsessive.
Having far more faith in my abilities than I’ve ever had, he knew that if he mentioned the H-word, I’d be all over it like a rash.
He was right.
What I used:
- Wicker Basket with Lid
- Paints & Brushes
- Foam Skull
- Coat Hanger
- Hot Glue
- Pipe Lagging
- Skeleton Arm
- Creepy Cloth
- Old scarf
- Philips Hue Go
Making a static Jack in the Box Halloween Prop
First up, the basket needed creepy colour. I used what I had lying around in a selection of blacks, browns and greens in chalk, acrylic and emulsion paints.
Onto the skull, which I painted in a range of acrylics, followed by a head-scratching moment trying to figure out how to get the skull to “pop out” of the basket.
Having no animation skills whatsoever, I looked around for inspiration and remembered this utterly brilliant video from Pins and Things for making a Harry Potter Dementor. Which incidentally is one of my all-time favourite Harry Potter makes on the planet EVER.
I’ve set it to start at 0.41 so you can see how Rebecca makes the “body” of her dementor using steel wire and a pool noodle. Now I didn’t have any wire, so I used a wire coat hanger. No pool noodle? No problem! I used a length of cheap pipe lagging from B&Q.
For my purposes, I didn’t need the wire to go through the shoulders. All I did was gently bend the lagging and it held in place inside the basket.
It’s magic, I tell ya!
Although I didn’t need to hang my prop, having a loop did come in handy. Using a little fishing wire, I secured the skull to a hook on the lid of the basket, which helped keep the head up and take some of the weight so the lagging stayed in place and didn’t start falling down the basket.
If you keep watching the Dementor video, Rebecca shows us how to make skeleton hands. Genius!
Me? I cheated with a couple of skeleton arms from my Halloween stash. You know… the ones that come in a “Bag of Bones” that you stick in the ground like the picture below.
All I did was push the points on the arms into the foam lagging. Simple!
After that, it was just a matter of dressing the prop in some creepy cloth and an old scarf. Well, I say “old”. I only wore it once. I bought it for a wedding in Utah last year. You remember…where I had my first taste of Halloween shopping Stateside. Turns out the muslin-like material wasn’t terribly robust for a scarf, but it was perfect for a Halloween prop.
I got more Halloween than I bargained for from that holiday!
Philips Hue and Hue Halloween
Finally, I added a Philips Hue Go – a portable colour-changing LED smart lamp that forms part of my Hue Halloween set-up.
If you’ve seen my Halloween Home Tour video, you can’t fail to have noticed the spooky sounds and colour-changing lights; special effects that were created with Hue Halloween and Philips Hue bulbs – my big Halloween investment of 2017. I haven’t blogged about Hue yet but if you’re serious about Halloween, it’s definitely worth looking into.
But Hue ain’t just for Halloween. Smart lights are also rather fantastic the rest of the year, especially paired with Amazon Alexa. I videoed Alexa in action a while ago, showing how the system works in the OneandSeventy living room. The clip shows a different brand of smart bulb, but the principle’s the same.
This Halloween Jack in the Box was my first real attempt at a static Halloween prop after the ghostly mirror. It’s a bit rough and ready, but I think you’ll agree, it works well as part of a wider Halloween scheme.
It’s magical what you can do with an old basket and a foam skull, isn’t it? Why not give a try?
A hui hou,
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