I know it’s not technically the right time of the year for skulls and morbidity but indulge me. Surely it’s not as bad as the endless hearts, cynical corporate cash-ins and worship at the altar of materialism. As Romeo and Juliet teaches us, love and death often go together.
That’s enough from me. Partly my annoyance comes from being born on V-day, which means all the shops are so full of schmaltz that you can scarcely find a birthday card among all the heart-brandishing bears. You could make one of these skull brooches for the love-bashing skeptic in your life.
- A small piece of shrink plastic. I used translucent but white or black would also work.
- A scrap of sandpaper. I use 400 grit wet and dry to prepare my plastic
- A selection of pens and pencils. I used ordinary coloured pencils, and silver and gold marker.
- Sharp scissors
- Strong glue
- Findings. I used a brooch back.
- Diamantes or rhinestones (optional). I bought a little pack of these from Amazon ages ago and they’re handy for all sorts of crafts. They’re intended for nail art.
- Acrylic sealer and/or clear nail polish. I bought some Plasti-kote matte acrylic spray. I’m not in love with it but I don’t know if any other brand would be better.
Draw a skull template
I used online reference images. Feel free to cheat and borrow mine if you like.
I did mine carefully and cut out the outline, folding in half to ensure it was symmetrical. It’s 9x6cm.
Sketch out your design
If you want to hang your skull, eg as a necklace or earrings, leave space to make a hole with a hole-punch.
Transfer design onto plastic
The advantage of using translucent shrink plastic is that you can simply trace straight over the design. I stuck the plastic to the sketch using masking tape.
I used black coloured pencil for all the outlines. Be careful to blow away dust from the pencils frequently to avoid smudges. Remember that colours will become much more saturated when you cook the plastic.
Cut out carefully and bake according to instructions
My few experiments with shrink plastic thus far have gone well and baked nicely. So I was horrified this time to open the oven and find the plastic totally curled in on itself. Fortunately I didn’t panic. I remembered reading that the plastic is malleable when hot so I gave it a few 15 second bursts in the oven, straightening it out in between and it worked!
Remove from oven and put a smooth book on top to help it stay flat
That’s a lot of shrinkage!
Carefully glue on additional embellishments
I used the dampened end of a match to pick up my rhinestones, and a pin to position small dots of glue.
Spray with several thin layers of sealer
I also used clear nail varnish on top for a shiny finish and to help prevent the rhinestones from falling off.
You could use nail polish instead of sealer if you don’t have it but MAKE SURE you test using it over any pens you put on your skull. The polish can cause some inks to spread.
Add your findings
Glue on a brooch back, or pop jump rings though any holes you punched and you’re ready to celebrate dia de los muertos, or indeed any dia, in sweet skully style.