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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Glitter & Bones

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For Halloween this year, I headed to the Craft Department where Hannah Milman taught me some easy tips for glittering objects to decorate with. I've accumulated an assortment of faux skulls and bones that I want to coat in a shimmering hue for Halloween arrangements. The transformation from dull gray to a wonderful, tinseled autumnal brown was not only fun, but also informative. Check out these pictures of my process!

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The sparkly skulls are from last year's decorations; I'm recycling and I want them (plus some additional skulls and bones) to have a fresh look!

1 The sparkly skulls are from last year's decorations; I'm recycling and I want them (plus some additional skulls and bones) to have a fresh look!

Those boards with pins sticking up are designed by Crafts to rest a glittered piece on while it dries. This is especially important when coating all sides of an object with glue and glitter.

2 Those boards with pins sticking up are designed by Crafts to rest a glittered piece on while it dries. This is especially important when coating all sides of an object with glue and glitter.

My office is right next to the Craft Department, so I was thrilled for an opportunity to rummage through their supplies!

3 My office is right next to the Craft Department, so I was thrilled for an opportunity to rummage through their supplies!

This gorgeous Antique Silver glitter was a contestant for my skull and bones project.

4 This gorgeous Antique Silver glitter was a contestant for my skull and bones project.

Until I found this tinsel-cut Brownstone hue; how warm and luscious is this color?

5 Until I found this tinsel-cut Brownstone hue; how warm and luscious is this color?

The first line of Martha Stewart glitters were all shades of stone; the neutral hues are so fun and sophisticated.

6 The first line of Martha Stewart glitters were all shades of stone; the neutral hues are so fun and sophisticated.

Testing out glitter! I just loved this tinsel variety. The Craft Department also designed these pans to catch [most of] the glitter that doesn't stick to the glue.

7 Testing out glitter! I just loved this tinsel variety. The Craft Department also designed these pans to catch [most of] the glitter that doesn't stick to the glue.

The Antique Silver color is on the right, but it almost felt like a repeat of last year. The coppery Brownstone is glamorous and unique.

8 The Antique Silver color is on the right, but it almost felt like a repeat of last year. The coppery Brownstone is glamorous and unique.

A lesson in painting glue on a skull; I'm new to this and there's definitely a technique!

9 A lesson in painting glue on a skull; I'm new to this and there's definitely a technique!

Shake, shake, shake! The key is to keep the glue evenly coated and not too goopy, so that it dries well with the glitter on it.

10 Shake, shake, shake! The key is to keep the glue evenly coated and not too goopy, so that it dries well with the glitter on it.

My turn! The first section is a success. We love the look of the tinsel glitter.

11 My turn! The first section is a success. We love the look of the tinsel glitter.

The glue had to be thinned a bit to stay smooth in all the eye and nose cavities. You paint right over the edges of the glittered parts to ensure no breaks in the final layer.

12 The glue had to be thinned a bit to stay smooth in all the eye and nose cavities. You paint right over the edges of the glittered parts to ensure no breaks in the final layer.

Looking spooky; the darker shade of glitter is just a hint more ominous than silver--perfect.

13 Looking spooky; the darker shade of glitter is just a hint more ominous than silver--perfect.

We switched to brown paint that helped fill in the crevices.

14 We switched to brown paint that helped fill in the crevices.

It looks a little like peanut butter but it worked with the Brownstone glitter much better. All glues used were basic water-soluble types.

15 It looks a little like peanut butter but it worked with the Brownstone glitter much better. All glues used were basic water-soluble types.

As I learned how to handle the glue and skulls, the process sped along. I was so excited to see some results.

16 As I learned how to handle the glue and skulls, the process sped along. I was so excited to see some results.

Chavo was concerned about my glittering skills.

17 Chavo was concerned about my glittering skills.

I deftly erased his doubts.

18 I deftly erased his doubts.

Good morning! We let the skulls dry overnight before filling in the missed spots.

19 Good morning! We let the skulls dry overnight before filling in the missed spots.

Here are the other bones I glittered to use in some arrangements. Love the spindly little feet and hands.

20 Here are the other bones I glittered to use in some arrangements. Love the spindly little feet and hands.

The texture of the tinsel glitter is so coarse and reflective; I love how it gives depth to these delicate shapes.

21 The texture of the tinsel glitter is so coarse and reflective; I love how it gives depth to these delicate shapes.

A tray of glittered jawbones.

22 A tray of glittered jawbones.

Gotcha. Spreading a project out over a few days makes it less rushed and therefore less stressful.

23 Gotcha. Spreading a project out over a few days makes it less rushed and therefore less stressful.

The Craft room in our building makes it easy to be creative.

24 The Craft room in our building makes it easy to be creative.

Voila!! A half-dozen bronzed beauties.

25 Voila!! A half-dozen bronzed beauties.

Afterward, we took the glimmer bones to a giant vent to coat them in spray-fixative, a finishing adhesive used by artists to make sure things stay put (charcoal, graphite, glitter). I solicited the help of my assistant Chavo, who aided me in this careful finalizing process.

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How fantastic is the coppery color of my bones?

1 How fantastic is the coppery color of my bones?

We had to get suited up because the funky-spraying fixative has to be handled carefully. I promise I'm excited!

2 We had to get suited up because the funky-spraying fixative has to be handled carefully. I promise I'm excited!

Ready to be sealed in glitter!

3 Ready to be sealed in glitter!

We set up our station right next to the vents.

4 We set up our station right next to the vents.

Hold on, Chavo! Make sure you face the vents while you spray.

5 Hold on, Chavo! Make sure you face the vents while you spray.

Chavo caught on quickly.

6 Chavo caught on quickly.

Getting ready to switch out from skulls to finger and toes and the other bones.

7 Getting ready to switch out from skulls to finger and toes and the other bones.

Carefully transporting our goods.

8 Carefully transporting our goods.

Almost there...

9 Almost there...

This is how it's done, sprayed at a clear 8 inches from the object.

10 This is how it's done, sprayed at a clear 8 inches from the object.

Perfect! These now need to dry overnight so that I can set them in all kinds of new configurations. Halloween goes glam!

11 Perfect! These now need to dry overnight so that I can set them in all kinds of new configurations. Halloween goes glam!

And finally, some images of an arrangement and then a peak at one final vivid element of the composition.

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Here it is! I put together this arrangement of bones and a scull with a little satin ribbon and a refined glass case.

1 Here it is! I put together this arrangement of bones and a scull with a little satin ribbon and a refined glass case.

Isn't the texture from the tinsel glitter just incredible?

2 Isn't the texture from the tinsel glitter just incredible?

Now, for round two of decorating options. I'm attaching the other sculls to these glass pillars with a hunk of wax.

3 Now, for round two of decorating options. I'm attaching the other sculls to these glass pillars with a hunk of wax.

I just crammed the wax into the top of that pillar and let the skull sink into it on top. Easy assemblage and easy clean up afterward!

4 I just crammed the wax into the top of that pillar and let the skull sink into it on top. Easy assemblage and easy clean up afterward!

Gently pressing it into the wax to position. So simple!

5 Gently pressing it into the wax to position. So simple!

There he is! Now, for the finishing touches.

6 There he is! Now, for the finishing touches.

These real preserved butterflies came all the way from Spencer, Ohio!

7 These real preserved butterflies came all the way from Spencer, Ohio!

Aren't they gorgeous?

8 Aren't they gorgeous?

I'm going to glue them delicately to the skull and bones when they're all arranged. One on the front temple, another on a finger or toe... A whole box of these little containers arrived; I can't wait to put it all together!

9 I'm going to glue them delicately to the skull and bones when they're all arranged. One on the front temple, another on a finger or toe... A whole box of these little containers arrived; I can't wait to put it all together!

These real butterflies are all harvested from butterfly farms, places that actually aid the survival and re-population of butterflies to their natural habitats, in addition to fueling rainforest preservation.  I got mine from Connie Hurt at Butterflies and Things; Connie is the only licensed dealer in the US who buys direct from these conservation-oriented butterfly farms. Aren't they completely gorgeous? I hope my glittering project gave you some inspiration for last-minute holiday crafting before the weekend arrivals.

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Comments (3)

  • What a beautiful and glittery project love love it, amazing tone of color. I am sure your Halloween this year is going to be extra fascinating can't wait to see it all. Happy Spooky Halloween!!!

  • The Antique Silver glitter is my all-time FAVORITE but I can't seem to find it anywhere anymore and I'm panicking! Michael's no longer stocks it, and I can't find it on the EK Success website for sale either.

    Any info on whether this beautiful glitter is still available or if I should start stalking eBay for it?

  • Hi, i want to know where did you buy the bones and skulls, i really needed for a party and i cant find it. thnks so much

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