I have a really cool (and very easy) Halloween DIY project to share with you today: the tutorial for this DIY concrete skull candle holder! I experimented with making one and loved how it turned out, so I made an entire concrete DIY concrete skull tablescape for Halloween. I don’t really decorate for Halloween and the only “Halloween” (and not fall) DIY projects I have shared before are the ghost rat wreath and the DIY spider wreath – maybe the turquoise pumpkins with black rhinestones count too. To be honest, other than the candy, Halloween isn’t usually my jam, but DIY concrete skull idea sparked all kinds of enthusiasm for Halloween this year!
When I made my DIY concrete bowl with embedded amethyst, hubby also tinkered with a concrete DIY project and made a solid concrete skull. For what reason, I’m still not sure, but he’s been hiding them around the property for me to find and it cracks me up. He just thinks they’re neat – and I do too, especially when I realised I could hack his idea and make candle holders for Halloween!
Once I figured out how to add a small divot to set a tea light, I couldn’t stop making these DIY concrete skulls:
Supplies for Making DIY Concrete Skull Candle Holders:
- Concrete (approx. 1/2 of a 10 lb. bag to make one skull)
- Old, clean bucket
- Small spade to mix concrete
- Garden hose/water
- Plastic skulls*
- ABS cap hub (mine is 1-1/2″ found in plumbing section)**
- Permanent marker
- Duct tape
- Heavy duty utility knife
- Sandpaper (optional)
- Adhesive felt feet (optional)
*Note on Finding Plastic Skulls:
When choosing a plastic skull to use as a mould for this project, look for one that is hollow – we will hack it, so don’t worry about an opening or anything. What’s important is that the design is present inside as well – I saw plastic skulls that were detailed on the outside and smooth inside. But the inside is what will determine how the concrete skull looks, so try to peek inside and make sure the details of the skull have been pressed into the interior as well. Halloween is a great time to find these because dollar stores have them in all different sizes and the plastic is easy to cut. You also want to look for something solid that can contain the concrete – although you can make alterations and use duct tape to increase its ability to contain liquid, but try to find one that is already pretty solid. If you’d like to save money (and the planet), it is possible to make these one at a time, then carefully cut along a seam with a utility knife to cut the plastic mould in half, and then use duct tape to rejoin the halves and keep using the same mould over and over.
** Note on Plumbing End Cap:
For my trial run, we used what we had lying around which was a Lesso 1-1/2 ” ABS cap hub. It worked well, but I accidentally threw it away. When I went to Home Depot to buy a replacement, I realised it’s more than $3, so I shuffled down the aisle and found a cheaper, thinner, bright orange version. It worked perfectly was was only around $1 (and also reusable). You can see from the imprint below that it imprinted its bar code, haha, but it isn’t noticeable unless you’re zoomed in like this. If you can, sand off any bar codes or numbers.
How to Make a DIY Concrete Skull Candle Holder:
First, figure out where you’d like the candle to sit on the skull. Then position the end cap in that spot and trace with a permanent marker:
Cut out that circle with a utility knife:
Then test fit the end cap – trimming again if necessary. Remove all labels from the bottom of the cap, if you can.
With the skull sitting flat on a surface, make sure the cap is level in its hole – once the candle is in there, you don’t want it to lean or drip or topple off, so make sure to position the end cap so its bottom is level. Then secure the cap with small pieces of duct tape to create a waterproof seal:
Next, using the utility knife, cut the bottom of the skull. We experimented with cutting holes in different spots and the best place to cut an opening for the concrete is at the bottom of the jaw:
Mix up the concrete to a pancake consistency – just like we did for the DIY concrete bowl tutorial I showed you recently:
Scoop the concrete into the skull with the garden trowel, and position it somewhere (top of head down), where it can cure, undisturbed, for 24 hours. The gravel driveway was perfect for this because we could dig a little hole so it didn’t topple or roll around. You can even dig a little whole in a garden or some place outside. When you position it, make sure the concrete is filling up the round part of the skull so you don’t end up with flat head candle holders.
Let set for at least 24 hours. Once dry to the touch, cut along the seam of the plastic skull with a utility knife. Once removed from the mould, let the concrete cure some more, inside a heated building to speed this up, until it lightens up (I let it dry overnight again, inside my house sitting on an old towel). Then rinse off any residue or dust and let dry again, for just a few hours this time. Once fully dry, you can add felt feet to the bottom to protect surfaces (optional) or sand the bottom smooth (a sanding block and rougher grit sandpaper worked surprisingly well for this).
And that’s it! Now you’ve got your own DIY concrete skull tea light holder! Actual DIY time is really quick, budget an hour to prep and fill five or six – it’s just waiting for a giant lump of concrete to cure and harden that takes a little patience. In my opinion, the end result is super cool and worth the wait though! I completed this easy Halloween tablescape with a gauzy white scarf in lieu of a table runner, my DIY concrete and amethyst bowl, some battery operated twinkle lights, and some huge chunks of amethyst from my recent mining adventure (check my Instagram if you missed it). The concrete skulls would also look great lined up on a mantel, mixed in with some decorated pumpkins, or on a colorful Halloween print table runner. Plus storing these DIY concrete skulls is easy. In the words of hubby, “we can just huck ’em in the bush and dig ’em up later” lol. Works for me! I hate storing seasonal decorations.
There’s an extra noggin in this photo (lol):