Paper Mache Skeleton - A Skull Full of Mush

Most projects start out slowly - and then sort of taper off
Crow - A Paper Mache "Brigand" by Spooky Blue

Make your own paper mache skulls!

Building a skeleton isn't all that different from building a groundbreaker zombie. The only real difference is this guy is a lot taller.  Zombies don't have to worry much about blowing over.  Brigands, however, like their scarecrow cousins, will catch the wind like a kite. 

Crow, being a skeleton, needs a skeleton head.  Luckily, skeleton heads are easy.  Especially if you know how to make your own skulls out of paper mache

If you substitute paper with something else, keep in mind that weight is going to be a factor.  A bucky skull would work fine, but they're heavier.  Not to mention that Bucky skulls are kind of expensive to be stuck on a stick and left out in the rain.

My god, Jim.  His brain is gone.

Got your skull lined up?  Cool.  Now we need a neck bone to hold it up.

The average width of a US newspaper "broadsheet" is about 15" x 22.5".  Roll up three newspaper sheets so you end up with a 15" long neck.  We're going to use all of that length in just a bit.

I like paper skulls, but you can adapt the following instructions to a plastic or foam skull.

An empty skull is usually just a waste of air

In order to securely fasten Crow's skull to some kind of a neck bone, the head needs something inside. Unless you happen to have a bottle marked "Abby Normal" sitting on a shelf in your lab, you're going to need some mush.  Skull mush (expanding foam) is expensive.  Great Stuff is unpredictable and a genuine mess.  Wadded up newspaper is practically free, lightweight, and it works! How our empty-headed representatives in Washington keep their heads from falling off their neck bones is a mystery to me.

Fill your skull

Loosely wad half-sheets of newspaper and begin stuffing your skull.  When it's about half full, insert the neck bone, and press the paper wads tightly around it.  You might have to tack things together with duct tape to hold everything in place.  Now add more paper, wadded more tightly.

Be careful not to damage the skull.  If you stuff too much into your skull, you could split a seam.

As paper accumulates, things will firm up nicely.  Alternate between adding a little more paper, a little more duct tape until the skull is full.  Then tape it off and add extra strips from the base of the skull down the neck.

There shouldn't be any "flop", or at least very little, when you hold it up and march proudly down the street like Robert Preston, drum major of your own drum and bugle "corpse".

A significant number of people didn't get that joke.  Many of these are the same folks who forward you email chain letters about angels and use non-words like "irregardless" and "nook-yoo-ler".  Floppy-headed people of this type are generally lacking the proper amount of skull mush.  If, however, your neck is unacceptably floppy, wrap it with a few more sheets of paper and firmly tape it off.  Don't worry if things look a little blocky or misshapen right now.  We'll skin this guy later.  He cleans up real nice.

Continue:The skull bone's connected to the stick »