2016 halloween inspiration series… project by: vicki evans

1when it comes to the imagination you simply never know what can come from thinking outside the box.  today’s project is from creative mind of vicki evans (aka that crazy chick) sharing a rather elaborate tutorial to design a setting of masterful puppetry. creating this functional assemblage certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted, however the finished theatric masterpiece seems undoubtably worth the effort…t!m


Wet Ingredients:

  • Crayons – Distress Fossilized Amber, Hickory Smoke, Peeled Paint, Picket Fence, Seedless Preserves
  • Ink – Alcohol Pitch Black; Archival Mixed Media Palette; Distress Chipped Sapphire, Forest Moss, Hickory Smoke, Peeled Paint, Spiced Marmalade, Walnut Stain
  • Markers – Distress Black Soot
  • Other –Collage Medium (Matte & Crazing), Multi Medium (Matte)
  • Paint – Distress Antique Linen, Shaded Lilac
  • Spray Stain – Distress Black Soot
  • Stain – Distress Hickory Smoke

Dry Ingredients:

  • Wooden Cigar Box
  • Cardstock – Materialize Paper Stash, Curiosities Ephemera, Tissue Wrap (Plain), Yupo
  • Hardware – Adornment Wicked, Boneyard Bones, Chipboard, Materialize Designer Tape Materialize, Fluted Fasteners, Jump Rings, Long Fasteners, Mini Fastener, Textile Surfaces, Remnant Rubs Gothic, Ring Fasteners, Washer
  • Ribbon – Black Cord, Black & Orange Jute String


  • Dies – Headstone, Lost Zombie, Mini Cloud, Tapered Fringe
  • Hand Tools – 1/8 Hole Punch, Blending Tool (with foam), Craft Mat, Collage Brushes, Craft Pick, Heat Tool, Spray Bottle, X-Acto Knife
  • Stamps –  Mini Halloween #5, Webs


Step 1: Cut three BIGZ Lost Zombies from chip board. Cut the limbs and heads off of two of these, save the torso from one and the pants from the other. Using a 1/8” hole punch add eyes and holes in the shoulders and hands. Adhere the two extra heads, one each front and back, to the remaining zombie piece with Multi Medium (matte).

Step 2: Base coat the zombie and the extra limbs with Antique Linen Distress paint and scumble some Shaded Lilac over the surface and let dry.  Dot the eyes with a Black Soot Distress Marker and apply a coating of Crazing Collage Medium to all pieces; once crazing has taken place, use a Peeled Paint Distress crayon to fill the cracks and colour the surface.

Step 3: Cut two shirts from Heavy Linen and two pants  from Chambray Textile Surfaces, tatter the edges using a Tonic Craft Pick, and dab with Hickory Smoke Distress Stain; once almost dry add Black Soot to random areas using a Distress marker.  Once completely dry decorate the front of the shirt with a Gothic Remnant Rub and back with the reserved chipboard torso (from step 1).  Back one half of the chambray pants with ½ of the chipboard pants (from step 1) layer and adhere to the zombie legs with Multi Medium (matte).

Step 4: Sever right arm just left of the 1/8” hole and adhere the right shoulder and sleeve from the first shirt to the loose limb.  Attach the chipboard backed shirt to the zombie with Collage Medium (matte).  Cut two pieces of Yupo (it won’t tear) one sleeve and one upper torso, line up layered pieces to match original die shape and poke a small hole and join with a mini fastener to make a pivot hinge.  Lay severed arm back against the zombie face down and glue the Yupo to the back and upper arm with Multi Medium (matte) along the outer most edges, be sure to keep adhesive away from the mini fastener as this needs to move.


Step 5: Create collages using assorted Curiosities Ephemera & the Materialize Paper Stash layering on chipboard using Distress Collage Medium (matte) and die cut after (the moon ephemera piece was already round to start with).  Decorate the layered moon with additional Gothic Remnant Rubs, ink with Chipped Sapphire and Walnut Stain and outline collage edges with Fossilized Amber Distress crayon.  Using the Mini Cloud Mover & Shapers die cut 3 pieces, attach two pieces together along the flat edge to make one larger cloud.  Ink all over with Picket Fence Distress ink and heat set (to opacify), randomly ink edges with Walnut Stain ink and outline collage edges with Picket Fence Distress crayon.  Cut collaged pieces using only a portion of the BIGZ Headstone die.  Randomly ink the surface with Hickory Smoke Archival Ink and and outline collage edges with Hickory Smoke Distress crayon. Punch a 1/8” hole in the top the moon and the clouds and secure a jump ring and long piece of black cord to each.

Step 6: Cut several 2” strips of patterned Materialize Paper Stash with the Tapered Fringe Decorative Strip (each pass will give you two sets) and colourize with Peeled Paint & Forest Moss Distress inks.  Tear into smaller sections, for ease of handling, and using a Tonic Craft Pick twist the ends of each taper and accordion fold the base strip.

Step 7: Stamp the poison labels from Mini Halloween #5 on Plain Tissue Wrap using randomly applied ink from all the colours of the Distress Mixed Media Archival ink pad, let dry and tear into trapezoid shaped pieces. Take the extra limbs that were prepared in steps 1 & 2 and fill the cracks and colour the surfaces with Peeled Paint & Seedless Preserves Distress crayons; bundle with several pieces of the twisted fringe and wrap in tissue wrap – I used Collage Medium (matte) so that these bouquets held together instantly. Make one (badly wrapped) bouquet using Boneyard Bones in place of the arms or legs.

Step 8: Completely cover the two mortuary adverts and two woodgrain sheets from the Materialize Paper Stash with Spiced Marmalade and Chipped Sapphire Distress inks, spritz & flick start to dry and blot droplets with a towel.  Stamp these pages with Webs in Picket Fence Distress Ink and randomly ink over stamped images and paper with Walnut Stain Distress Ink. (I temporarily attached a small strip of scrap card stock to one edge so I could hold the paper while inking and not leave finger prints).


Step 9: Use an X-Acto knife to cut a window in the top of a wooden cigar box (the one used here measures apx 7” X 10”) leaving a ¾” frame.  Line the back and inside walls of the box using mortuary adverts cut to fit (pieced as necessary) with Distress Collage Meduim (matte).  A few pieces of foam board covered in the woodgrain card stock make up the stage floor.  Cover the front of the box with woodgrain card stock and trim and wrap the window edges to the inside of the box lid, creating a seamlessly lined window opening.  Angle the Headstone, shim and adhere with double sided tape.  Place twisted grass around the headstone and along the back lower right-hand of the stage.  Poke three holes, at staggered depths, in the top of the box and thread the moon and cloud strings though, adjust the sting for hanging height and knot and glue on the outside of the box.  Poke three more holes close to the front of the box top that line up with the shoulder and left hand strings of the zombie.  For the right arm put a screw eye in line with the previous three holes and punch a hole through the back of the box straight back from the eyelet.  Thread the right arm string though the front of the screw eye and out through the hole in the back; thread and attach the stationary zombie strings just like the moon and clouds.  Place extra bouquets, Boneyard Bones and limbs on the stage glue in place with Matte Multi Medium.

Step 10: Tint the Wicked Adornments, Ring Fasteners, Fluted Fasteners. Long Fasteners and Hitch Fasteners with Pitch Black Alcohol ink.  Mist the Orange & Black Jute with Black Soot Spray Stain.  Wrap several times to create two small bundles, tie close to one end with black sting and cut the other end loops to create tassels.

Step 11: Completely cover the exterior of the box with the woodgrain paper, tear jagged strips of Materialize Designer tape and expose the torn edges on face of the box.  Lightly sand the taped edge and ink with Chipped Sapphire and Walnut Stain. Attach Hinge fasteners to the bottom of the box to create feet.  Decorate the lower corners of the box with Fluted Fasteners and the upper corners with Ring Fasteners.  Swag and loop the Orange and Black Jute through the ring fasteners and attach Wicked Adornments.

Step 12: Weight the string that exits the back of the box using a ¾” metal washer, this holds the arm up; releasing the tension this weight creates allows the string to slide and will puppet the arm down.    Nothing else says, “I love you”, quite like limbs…

Tim Holtz Creative Chemistry 101