Halloween DIY: Easy homemade Crystal Skull

Demons are a lot like magpies.  We love shiny things!  We also love skulls, so you can imagine how excited I was when I figured out I could combine those two loves into one damned easy (and impressive) craft!

This project is one of my favorites simply because it is so simple to do and the results are so impressive!  It’s the perfect project for the lazy: minimal effort with a spectacular end result.  If only everything worked out this way!

These crystal skulls are a perfect project to make and give away this holiday season.

To make your own crystal skull you will need:

  • Powdered Borax crystals (available at most grocery stores in the laundry detergent aisle)
  • Plaster of Paris (available at most craft stores)
  • Skull mold 
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1″ screw
  • 1′ or so of cotton string
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Clear spray paint/sealer

That’s it!  No, really, that’s all you really need for this project.

The first thing you need to do is to make your skull using your plaster.

I suggest doing this step at least a week ahead of time as you really want it to dry before you use it in this project.  Using a plaster skull that still has moisture in it will cause your crystals to eventually separate and crumble.  The moisture will evaporate out of the skull and become trapped beneath the crystal layer, pushing the two surfaces apart, leaving you with a skull with crumbly crystals and ugly bald spots.  Trust me on this one.  

Mix up your plaster according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.  Rubberband the two sides of your skull mold together to prevent leaks.

Pour into your skull mold filling it all the way to the brim.

Wait about 5 minutes or so for the plaster to start setting.  When it’s set enough that it is no longer runny and has a slightly gel-like texture, press your screw into the bottom, flat side of your skull until all that remains is about 1/4″ sticking out.

Allow your skull to completely cure.

Open your mold and examine your skull.  Smooth down any rough spots while the plaster is still damp and crumbly.

Set your skull aside and allow to cure for about 3 days.

Once your skull is completely dry, it’s time to move onto making crystals.

Tie a length of string to the screw sticking out of the bottom of your skull.

In a heatproof glass container (Pyrex works the best), bring to a boil your 3 cups of water.

Once your water is boiling, start adding your powdered Borax.  Pour a little in at a time and then stir until fully dissolved.  We’re going to be making a saturated solution which means you’ll be dissolving as much Borax as you possibly can until no more will dissolve in the water.

There’s no real measurement here, just keep dumping powdered Borax in, stirring continuously, until no more will dissolve.  I managed to get a fairly even ratio of Borax to water, so roughly 3 cups to 3 cups.

Once it’s fully saturated, dunk your skull, top side down, into the saturated water.  shake it off and then roll it in a little powdered Borax.  You want the powdered Borax to really stick to the skull.  This is called ‘seeding’ and will help kick-start your crystals growing.

Suspend your seeded skull in the solution.  I used a few chopsticks and a popsicle stick to make sure the bottom of my skull was even with the water line.  I also stacked a few pieces of pipe and some pennies onto the skull so it would sit evenly in the water.

Try to keep the bottom of your skull out of the water.  You don’t want crystals to grow on that surface as it will make it uneven.  By keeping the bottom crystal free, it will sit flat when it’s all done.

Now comes the hardest part of the project: ignoring it.  That’s right, walk away.  You want your crystals to grow nice and big and shiny and the only way that will happen is if you leave the solution and skull alone.

Depending on how saturated your solution is, these puppies will grow fast!  I noticed tiny crystals on my skull within 15 minutes!  In half an hour the entire skull was covered, and when I pulled it out an hour later, I had a gorgeous white crystal skull!

Feel free to play around with your skull and how you suspend it in the solution to create different effects with your crystal growth.

If you want colored crystals, simply add a few drops of food coloring to the solution.

When you’re happy with how big your crystals are, or how covered your skull is, simply remove it from the solution and place on a paper towel to dry.

Once dry, gently remove the screw from the bottom of your skull by unscrewing it.   Spend a few minutes enjoying the sparkly magnificence you have just created!

Finally, give your crystal skull a few coats of clear gloss spray paint to seal it all up.  As it’s water soluble, an unsealed skull runs the risk of dissolving if it gets too moist.

You can also reuse the solution if you plan on making multiple skulls.  Simply reheat the solution and the crystals will dissolve.  Add more Borax and water as needed and keep going!

Because these skulls are made from plaster, they’re heavy and make beautiful, sparkly paperweights and room accents.  Make a few for yourself, or, if you’re feeling particularly generous (don’t worry, the feeling should eventually pass, it’s just the season) make a few to give away.

And why stop at skulls? You can use this technique on just about anything you want to crystallize.Have fun!  Go wild!  Crystallize all the things!

No matter what you end up doing with your skulls, this is an easy project that is as satisfying as it is beautiful.

And if you make any, let me know!  I’d love to see how yours turn out as well!

Looking for more skull related projects?  Since you already have the plaster out, why not use it again and make this Flaming Skull Tabletop Firepit? 

 

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