DIY Halloween Lawn Ornaments
Halloween has to be one of my top holidays. I am so into the cutesy, fun side of Halloween and my lawn definitely proves that every year. I started making my own lawn ornaments last year, and this year was no different. I made a few characters from Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, and The Haunted Mansion.
I started off with picking up large slabs of wood from our local Hardware store. I went with a 1/4’’ thick pieces which works best for cutting. Always opt for a piece of wood that is going to fully cover the size you desire to cut your pieces.
I used my “Black and Decker” Jig-Saw to cut out my pieces. You can find it here on Amazon. I also invested in some folding sawhorses that can be used to hold up your piece of wood while you are cutting. You can find a great set here on amazon as well.
Now for the fun part! The next step depends on whether or not you are comfortable with free-handing your artwork. You can reference pieces through clipart online, for example through google images. Then use that as guide. I am not the greatest artist…trust me! So I used a couple of routes for my stencils. First, I used my projector, such as the ones you can find here, as a projected stencil to follow. I would project the image onto the piece of wood I would have standing vertically. Then I would take a pencil and draw everything out. I would also make sure to include details such as eyes, fingers, etc. Don’t leave anything out!
The second step I use for stenciling is printing out a large version of the image and tape the pieces together. You will be lining up the lines in the image and best as possible. Then when you pieced the image up together as best as you can, you will be cutting the outline of the image. Make sure to use a flat surface, preferably something like the sawhorses I referenced before, and place the piece of wood on that. Then place your paper stencil onto the wood. Without moving the paper around, outline your stencil with paper. Try to use your stencil as a guide to where you will be placing important features. Don’t trash your stencil! You will be referencing it throughout your project for accuracy.
Now to the cutting! This is a bit dangerous if you have never held a power tool please ask an experienced helper to do this part. Have them guide you with a few pieces so you can eventually learn how to comfortably do this yourself. Make sure to use safety goggles and work gloves. The way to use a jig-saw is by placing it, with the guide flat on the wood, and the blade touching the edge of the wood. You will slowly start your jig-saw tool and the blade will start to grab the wood, and eventually glide through. You need to make sure you take your time and follow your outline. When you come up to a curve, prepare yourself by moving around your piece to angle the blade. DO NOT lift your jig-saw at this point, just rotate your wrist to move the direction slowly of the tool. In hard to reach, intricate points, of your piece I suggest drilling a hole in that are outside your outline and inserting the blade through that hole and working around it that way. I use this technique for sharp angles and curves, such as scary edged teeth.
You will end up with lots of scarp wood. Try to hold on to those pieces, for you turn those into 3-D components to your piece, such as 3-d eyes, buttons, etc. Or you can use those extra pieces of wood for smaller crafts.
Once your pieces are cut, you will need to sand your pieces down to a nice finish. I use a power sander which really makes the process go by so much faster. You can also just simply use a few pieces of sand paper. Make sure to get those curves and edges. The surface must be finished off smoothly so that when you paint the piece it will keep that smooth finish.
Now the really fun part! Painting! Once you’ve cut out your pieces and sanded them down to a nice smooth finish, you can start the painting process. I like to prep my pieces with a primer, preferably a spray primer used to treat and protect for outdoor use, such as this one here. Once dry, you can begin to paint to your beautiful piece. I always start with the main base color of the character. For example, the SandWorm is primarily white, so I started painting the base white. I left the areas such as the eyes and mouth bare, so that I can have a reference to where the intricate areas are to be painted. After your base coat is finished drying, I would move onto the second most prominent color is, such as black for this particular character. Then after the primary colors are done, you can move on to the more detailed portions. Once fully completed, I like to cover the entire piece with a clear matte spray sealer. This prolongs the life of your piece. I use this sealer here. Presto! You are done! You can have so much fun with this and create something unique. You can make them into hanging pieces or mounted pieces by adding hooks or picture hanging hardware.