Friday, October 5, 2018

Get Your Spook On! - by Claudia Neubacher

Servus and thanks for stopping by today, dear friends of absolute stencil happiness! Claudia here today, and I am sharing a fun Halloween project that I have made for my son so he can decorate his room with something unique for the Halloween season.

It is an almost monochrome colour palette I have used - mainly different shades of grey and a bit of a brown-red (with the hanging hands) and as this month's theme on the StencilGirl® Talk blog is "Treats" I treated myself to a very happy messy time at my craft desk - trying not to overthink or overdo any of the steps (as this is something I usually tend this time I focused on having loads of fun and not aiming for the ultimately perfect result and finish).

And of course, my son got a treat by being given this piece of home decoration (at least he said he liked it a I guess it felt like getting a treat for him ;).
There was even a surprise as I have used transparent glow-in-the-dark paint on some details that only become visible when the lights are off (and the images have been sufficiently exposed to light before). I tried to capture the effect, but my camera didn't do any better than this (as the glowing effect fades really fast and my new camera sadly has no manual override for shutter speed).

But you get the idea I think. I have not only used that paint on the skeleton of the bat, but also on the beetles, the crow's eye, the branch and some invisible (watching) eyes (you can only guess them above the two beetles to the bottom left) in the by daylight the unsuspecting viewer does not know that he is being looked at too ;)

For those who prefer watching a video instead of reading a long post, I have done a (not so) short video in which I chat about the idea behind the project, the process, and the products used. For a tutorial stick to the written text and images in this blog post.

StencilGirl® stencils used:

Thicket Background (Trish McKinney)
Three Crows (Kimberley Baxter Packwood)
Rat and Bat (Roxanne Coble)
Wolf (Roxanne Coble)
Three Owls and a Branch (Jessica Sporn)
Scarab Beetles (Margaret Peot)

Here's the how-to:

I started by cutting out an arch shape with large scissors from heavy cardboard (brown kraft packaging material) and priming the surface with a thorough coat of sprayed on DecoArt Carbon Black media Mister.

Once that had dried, I placed the Thicket Background stencil on top and used a makeup sponge to dab on different tones of grey and mixes with white and black DecoArt Americana and premium acrylic paints. I mixed the paints on my palette as well as directly wet on wet on the substrate to create different shades and texture.

The result was just beautiful! I really love that background stencil a LOT!

Then I used the same sponging technique to prepare another piece of cardboard for all the animals and other elements. This time the grey background was done first and the black shapes were added afterwards using different stencils. Only the bat had to be done the other way round (like the thicket) as that was a mask.

Once the black paint had dried, I went in with a soft brush and different shades of light grey and white to add the details on the branch, the bat's wings, the crow's feathers, and the beetles' carapaces. I went from darker to lighter colors and added some highlights as final touches (on the crow's legs and eye and the beetles and the branch too).

The finished animals and the branch were cut out (not too neatly) and put to the side. Then I went in with DecoArt Glow It Paint and added the bat's skeleton, some detail to the beetles and the invisible eyes from Roxanne Coble's "Wolf" stencil in the background.

The chopped off hands for the "Blair Witch mobile" were added using the same stencil and white and red-brown acrylic paint. The strings were added using a ruler and a black archival ink fine tip pen once the branch had been fixed to the background with sticky foam pads.

To keep the platform of the arch in a sturdy angle I added thick bent to shape cardboard strips to both sides. I had cut these off the leftovers from the background panel for the animals.

This way the lower section of the arch stays at its 90 degrees angle even if you hang the piece on a wall. But you can also put it on a shelf and lean it against the back.

The crow was glued to that section to create dimension and depth.

The bat, the branch and the beetles were glued in place with stacked black sticky foam pads. 

I tried to create the impression of a spooky thicket with creepy crawlies and other scary stuff.

I definitely need to do more Halloween projects using the Thicket Background stencil (well, not just Halloween projects) - it's just perfect for creating an eerie mood, isn't it?

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you liked what you saw and leave inspired and in the mood for a fun and spooky Halloween!

See you soon and hugs and happy crafting,



  1. What a fun project, Claudia! Thanks for sharing it. I'll bet your son LOVED it!!


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