I think we all have a bit of a piratey side (some more than others).
Living along the sea brings out peoples’ salty side here especially. You can’t throw a peg leg without hitting some buccaneer-related item, especially this time of year.
As I pillaged my decoration supplies this year, scouring the depths of boxes and into the very corners of our attic, I surprisingly came up short on things to adorn our house for the Gasparilla season.
Having finally made my own Gasparilla wreath a while back, and being ridiculously happy with it, I figured it was time to tackle another DIY project, to beef up my seemingly landlubber-ish home.
Finding the write inspiration was key, which is why I was so relieved to have stumbled across this on Pinterest. It was everything I wanted – a little creepy, but also slightly glam, and just the right size to serve up on a platter for a centerpiece. Thus was born my idea for the Treasure Skull.
Though I’m pretty sure you can pop out to a craft store and pick up all the supplies you need, I cheated a smidge and just ordered most of mine from Amazon. The price is right and the selection is great!
To make your own Treasure Skull, here’s what you need:
- One natural skull (I opted for a smaller than life-size version)
- Bag of different sized plastic pearl beads
- Bag of different sized “crystal” gems
- A hot glue gun & glue sticks
On a clean working surface (something you won’t panic over if you drop a bit of hot glue on) layout out your skull supplies.
Take a disinfecting or cleaning wipe and wipe off the surface of your skull. Who knows where that thing has been.
Let your hot glue gun warm up as your open your bags of beads. Feel free to get completely OCD and organize them by size if you’d like. (I won’t tell.)
Start by placing some of the larger to medium sized gems along the cracks in the skull. If your skull doesn’t have any, just imagine a sutured seem along the top left side of your skull. This is the guide for your jewels.
Once you’re comfortable with where a few of the larger gems go, place a small dollop of hot glue on the back and place on the skull. Hot glue dries fast so you don’t need to hold it there for more than a second.
Once some of your larger guiding gems are in place, start gluing cluster of the larger and medium sized plastic beads clustered around the gems.
Don’t go too wide, but rather work either forward towards the front of the skull, or towards the back.
Once you get to the front of the skull, take some of the smaller gems and glue them around the eye socket.
Pop some smaller pearl beads around the gems and eye socket.
I saved the tiny beads as sort of the last step to fill in holes and define smaller cracks that branched off the main trail of treasure and gems. I actually brought out a pair of tweezers to help hold those tiny little buggers, since I kept gluing my fingers!
I used some of the smaller and medium gems to help guide those shapes as well.
There’s no real science or specific map to it – that’s what makes it fun!
Towards the end, when you’ve used up most of your large beads and are filling in holes, I would just put glue directly on the skull in the “bald” sections and then place the beads on them to stick. Worked great.
For the sparkling eyes, I actually glued two circular gems back-to-back and then placed glue on one side before squidging (technical term) it into the eye socket of the skull. The result is that your skull sort of starts winking at you as you move it from side to side, the sparkles of the gem catching the light.
Creepy or cool? I couldn’t really decide, but it worked for me!
Once all my beads were gone, my skull was complete.
It looked like something you’d find in a pirate’s treasure grotto. A skull that spent so long piled high with jewels and treasure, that they embedded themselves into its surface.
I placed my Treasure Skull on a platter piled high with the treasure that created it.
End result – awesome.
Slightly creepy, but a fun twist on the usual pirate decor of bandanas, beads and feathered hats. It made a wonderful new addition to my Gasparilla decor, which I’ll work on growing year after year.