I have a number of cheap foam skulls that I picked up at a dollar store a couple of years ago but they all look the same and all look kinda blah.
I decided to change the look of some of them so pulled out the burning tool and the wood stain.
This is the basic foam skull. They’re not too bad for only 99 cents each but they could still do with some tweaking.
After drawing some patterns and runes on the skull with a Sharpie, I traced over them with a wood-burning tool. Initially, I used a Dremel, but getting a consistent depth and avoiding wiggles was too hard. The wood-burning tool worked much better, but be sure to wear an appropriate filtration mask and don’t do it inside…
After the tracing was complete, I gave the skull a good coat of Red Mahogany wood stain, making sure to work it into the grooves.
If you’re concerned about your work bench (or kitchen table) looking like the scene of something unpleasant, make sure you cover it with a garbage bag or drop cloth. Mmmmm, fresh looking….
After it dried, it started to sink in some spots. This was due to a combination of the cheap foam and the fact that the wood stain disolved some of the foam. The end result actually worked out well, however, because the beaded foam inside the skull looked like brains. I also gave the teeth a quick coating of transparent yellow craft paint and then wiped most of that off.
Another one just got a quick blast of silver and black spray paint. The teeth got filled in with a Sharpie.
One of the key points to remember about prop building for your yard haunt is that (in most cases) it will be dark out. Don’t worry about perfection, because just like a bar or nightclub, all the “mess” isn’t visible in the dark…