Site icon Joanna Campbell Slan

There’s an Alien in the Trash Can–My Halloween Project

Every year for the past three years, I’ve entered the HBS Halloween Miniature Challenge. I’ve won first and second places. My entry this year is and you can vote on it from Oct. 26-30, 2020.

This summer, I started work on my 2020 project. I decided it would be all recycled and handmade. Let me walk you through what I did…

  1. The house–It’s a cereal box. (GrapeNuts) So the siding is cut from strips from the box. The window was drawn onto the box and cut out three or four times. I sandwiched a piece of plastic packaging between the window layers–but only on the top half so the window would look open. The mullions are coffee stirrers. I painted the outside a dirty white.
  2. House interior–I found an antique scrapbook paper for the back wall. I had to figure out how deep to make that wall. I think it’s 2.5 inches, and of course, that determined how deep the sides of the house would be. I also created a small shelf, horizontal to the bottom of the window. The curtains are an old handkerchief, dipped in a mix of Elmer’s white glue and water. (I keep bottles of this around. When a plastic bottle is nearly empty, I add water and mix it. Then I label it for use.)
  3. The foundation of the house–The stones are actually bits of egg cartons, torn up, and glued down. If you soak the egg cartons (the pressed paper kind) in lots of glue, they will sort of break down and you can manipulate it into shapes like these stones. I also used some moss from the Dollar Store to give the stone foundation an old look.
  4. The lamppost–Sticking a length of string through a straw, I was able to pull up and through one of the tiny LED light strings. ( For the base, I rolled cardstock into a cone and cut a hole in the top of the cone, so that I could wrap it around the straw and have it flare out. I used more strips of paper to make the trim around the “glass” of the lamp. The glass is a piece of plastic curled and glued with hot glue into shape. Then I mixed yellow acrylic paint with Elmer’s White Glue to make the frosted yellow color and painted the inside of the “glass.” Hot glue holds the lights in place inside the “glass.” The lid was make by stacking buttons and a bead. Thin wire with a bead on each end makes the “arms” under the lamp. The base is a plastic nozzle from a plastic pump but I could have used the end of a tube of toothpaste. Everything is spray-painted black. The wires from the lights then run UNDER the bricks and the grass and up into the back of the house. The battery pack is glued to the back of the house.
  5. The brick path and curb–I used a piece of scrapbook paper with a brick pattern. The curb is a section from an egg carton or some other pressed paper carton. I kept it because it looked like a curb! The leaves are from a floral wreath I bought at Michaels.
  6. The grass–This is a piece of terrycloth, an old washcloth colored with green and brown paint.
  7. The trashcan–I drew a circle and divided it so that I could get the right shape. (Go to this tutorial for the general idea, only a trash can is bigger– You can also use a pop bottle or catsup bottle or anything with the proper shape. After I had the shape I wanted, I gently wet the top layer of a piece of corrugated card. I peeled off the “skin” and left the ribs. Then I formed the trash can around the top of the pop bottle. I wrapped a second piece of card around the first and secured it with rubber bands. (Otherwise, you’ll get dimples where the rubber bands go.) When it was dry, I glued the side together. I traced the small opening for the bottom and the larger, top opening on card to make the bottom and the lid. I put a large hole in the bottom, so I could run a light through it. I painted everything to look old and yucky. Then I chose my trash and stuffed and glued it inside, but I left off the lid.
  8. Pumpkin and Alien–Rolling a tight ball of aluminum is the key here. I put acrylic clay over the aluminum and shaped it into a pumpkin and an alien, but the trick is that after you bake the clay, you pull out the aluminum. That leaves you with a hollow center for lights. I also put some yellow plastic behind the alien’s eyes so they glowed.
  9. The cat was also made from clay.

That’s pretty much it. If you have questions, email me!

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