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concrete skull feature image

Everyone gets to be a bit silly sometimes. Some over-the-top ideas for Halloween from too much time alone with concrete. But, oh my; how amazingly textured and aged are these!? These Super Real Look Concrete skulls may cause quite the scare…

plastic hollow skull

Get them now!

I picked up inexpensive plastic skulls at the local Dollar Tree store. I liked that they are flexible and pretty good scale. ‘And you know I’m always looking for easy molds… Look for pretty thin and good details as the inside is what matters.

cutting skull

To use these as simple molds for these you will need to get ample access into the inside by cutting open the back and also cut a line up the back of the scull.

cut plastic skull

This will allow you fill from the back. The chin is still in place as well as much of the top of head.

concrete supplies and skull molds

These Super Real look skulls use my favourite concrete mix; Rapidset Cementall. There may be other mixes than can substitute but the regular mixes will not be strong or fine enough. If you are not sure about mixes see here for some help. Read specs for setting time and recommended thicknesses. You do not want a mix with aggregate in it.

The other ‘Key’ ingredient is this unique procedure is some simple sand/soil mix. It can pretty well be any fine organic material. This is my own design and makes all the difference of details. Why cast something if it looks like plastic?

dollops of concrete

Mix some of the Rapidset Cementall mix to a pretty low slump (not runny) consistency. Give it a minute to slightly set up and make it able to be scooped up in little ‘squishable’ bits. Take small dollops of the mix and press into the back of the face. You are NOT trying to for perfection at all. I try to get 3/16″ to 3/8″ thickness.

Note: keep areas that are meant to be open like eyes and nose free from the concrete. If you can’t fit fingers a wet brush works well to push too.

add some texture with sand/soil

Sprinkle some of the Sand/soil mix in between the dollops and don’t be too fussy. This is what will give the texture and aged look. The edges should also be quire rough and random as if it’s been around for a few hundred years….

filling in mold

Each skull can have different edges and be more or less complete. Some may have more skull top or even no bottom of the jaw. These are so forgiving to make.

concrete pushed into mold

Generally the inside is not that important but if you like you can make it look even more rustic by dabbing with the soil/sand mixture. Note the open eyes and nose.

taking concrete out of mold

Wait a bit:

Yes, in about an hour these will be set. That’s why I like this mix, hardly any waiting!

crack open skull mold

Manipulate the form to open up the back and pop out that skull face. Wriggle a bit if it’s being stubborn. Even if you break one you can ‘cement’ it together with some more mix to look even more cool.

opening skull mold

You just never know how exactly these will look. The rustic rough edges add extra character that you just don’t get from any plastic junk.

detailed texture from soil/sand

The rough broken bits and sand texture look like they have been decaying for many years; as if they have been chewed by all the little bugs…

no paint on concrete

Make a bunch:

Once you make a couple you just can’t stop; they are so easy, quick and cool.

quick Matt Medium on high points

Aged Finishing Technique:

You can certainly leave them as is, but as an artist I always like to take it up a notch.

To age these even more I give them a quick once-over with a Matt Medium. See also this post for making concrete look aged. This is so that they are less absorbent to the antiquing. Concrete will take in colour quite easily so this will close the pores, but do not seal every part, do not cover completely.

liberal dark wash

Once the Matt medium is dry, mix some black acrylic paint with water and matt medium to make a thin runny mix. Liberally let this flow over all the details so that it gets in all te details but does not obliterate them.

wipe off antiquing

Before it dries wipe off the excess. The dark will stay in the details and crevices to look even more aged and ‘dirty’

dry brush white on skull

If you think you want the details to stand out even more, use a soft brush with a light white or cream colour to bring out the highlights by the dry-brush technique. Use the acrylic paint undiluted and only work a bit into the brush at a time and rub on some paper towel to rid of the excess. Quickly rub over the high points of the skull and it will look even more defined. and bone-like.

textured skull close up

How amazing is this texture?! ‘Hard t believe it’s not a real old bone?! To accent you can also darken the inside and the eye socket and nose holes. If you would like a mossy look you can add some green flocking as getting moss to grow is almost impossible. I figured that out here.

collection of concrete skulls

Since they are not solid and fairly thin the amount of concrete used is quite small so I made a whole bunch as more is always better than less!

few concrete skulls and turkey bones

Hide these in the garden amongst the moss and (turkey) bones. Maybe make a whole sculpture with these stacked on a post, or nestled into some autumn arrangements.

skulls in moss

Do not skip the sand/soil mixture, that’s what makes all the difference here! You won’t see this design process anywhere else.

many skulls in mossy hill

Yes, there’s a crazy burial site in my backyard… but no one was harmed in the making.

Join in the concrete fun and more projects here. If you are a bit nervous about working in concrete see some Tips & tricks here. Happy Halloween and scary concrete!

barbmaker

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 25 Comments

        1. Who would have thought?! That first time I cast some plaster as a wee child it was like magic to me. It must have made quite the impression; good lesson for child education.

  1. Hello Barb, Wanted to thank you for sharing your project. They are beautiful. I happen to be one of those people that like bones and skeletons. I was wondering if a release agent can be used inside the skull for easy release of the cement or is it not needed. Thank you for taking the time to answer. 🙂

    1. I have found that concrete does not stick to plastic. They come out easily once to pry them open enough to get the eye/cheek sections out. An elastic can hold it if you cut further. The mix is not runny so it stays put. The cheap thin plastic is quite flexible. Some of the more thick ones would need to be possibly cut in half and taped/elastic. These masks were made in a similar way.

  2. Amazing I can’t wait to try these! You are so inspirational, your posts are always so original and thinking outside the box. Thank you, yours is by far the best art and craft blog I’ve seen.

  3. These are crazy cool! I could only score one plastic skull, so I’ll be making one at a time. Can you give me an idea of how much Cement All mix to use for one skull? I can’t wait to make my own boneyard.

    1. I use a 500ml sour cream container to mix in and make about 2/3 – 3/4 full of mix. This mix comes together different than others, so don’t add too much water. How much also depends on how much of skull you cast. Happy bone yard…

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