Quilled Paper Skull & Halloween Mantel


Hello spooktabulous friends mwah ha ha ha!  I hope you don’t mind if I share a little Halloween project with you today. I was looking to make something new for my mantel to add to my decorations this year and this is just the perfect piece!

This was a CHEAP project to make, as in it cost me all of $1.63! Unfortunately, I can’t promise that it was quick and easy.  Although, it was one of those projects that isn’t labor intensive and you can sit in one place (unlike most of the projects I take on), so I was able to relax and get some good thinkin’ done. Don’t you love projects like that? It seems I’m not alone with my thoughts very often these days.

“Being creative is good for the soul.” -Christy K. James

(Looks like a legit quote when I add my name to it, huh?)

Have you ever quilled before? I had not, and actually wasn’t exactly sure what it was called when I started!

My inspiration came from this framed Victorian print I found at the thrift store. It was the perfect size and I knew I could do something fun with it.


I originally only bought it for the frame. It was $3.25 and half off…love that.

I started by removing the glass and spray painting the frame and picture, including the mat, satin black:



While they were drying, I found a picture of a skull online and enlarged it, then printed it out. Don’t reach for your glasses…it’s a fuzzy picture!


Then I started making my quill strips. You can buy strips of paper made for quilling already cut at your craft store, but I am the serial do-it-yourselfer you see, so I had to make my own 🙂

I used my paper-cutter and cut my cardstock to a little less than 1/4 of an inch wide:


Then I gathered the rest of my supplies:


(Two sheets of white card stock, one sheet of black cardstock, glue pen, scissors, quilling tool or very small flathead screwdriver)

After cutting around the edge of the head, I took my strips of paper and outlined the facial features, starting with the eyes:


I used the glue pen to secure the paper in place.

After all the facial features were outlined, I started rolling my paper strips. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of strips! I only used two pieces of white card stock to fill in the skull, but being so tiny, that is a lot of strips!

To roll the paper, I wrapped the end around the flat head portion of my tiny screw driver and continued to roll the entire strip.

Use a tiny flathead screwdriver to roll paper for quilling

There are several things you can do with your rolled paper to achieve different looks. I started filling my skull in with a flower:

quilled flower

I made my large petals first and glued them in place. Then to make the center pieces, I rolled my paper, let it unwind  to the desired size, and added a dab of glue to keep it from unraveling. Then I pinched one side to make a teardrop shape.

You can pinch both sides to make another shape.

If you were using different colors, you could really get creative with it. I did use black for the eye sockets.

After I was finished filling in my skull, I used a few of the leftover to strips to create a thin border to break up all the black:



I attached my skull to the spray painted print and replaced the glass. From far away, it just looks white. Up close, you can see the all the detail.

quilled skull

Fun, no? And not bad for $1.63 since I already had everything else to make it on hand.

quilled skull

You can’t see it in these photos, but if you look closely at an angle, you can still see the perfect impression of the Victorian house. It looks like a hollogram of a spooky old house in the background… a really cool unexpected effect!

My mantel is very high and shallow, so it’s a bit hard to work with, but here’s a close up:

Halloween Mantel


And the full frontal ha ha (The banner came from Target. I was too pooped to make one after making the skull art!):

Halloween Mantel

I love this sassy skeleton lady. She was a T.J Maxx find a couple of years ago.


Brennan came over to see what I was up to and when he caught a glimpse of the skeleton head, he just stood there staring at it. I’m not sure what his little mind was thinking.


He just went through a phase of pointing to everything and asking me what it is.



This is my project for our Get Your DIY on Party this Sunday(7:00pm EST). Our theme is Thrifty Halloween Projects. You can’t get much thriftier than this that’s for sure!

Here’s a peek at my co-host’s projects. These are some creative gals! Click the links below the pictures to see more.Thrifty Halloween Projects

Thrifty Halloween Mantel  The Happy Housie

 DIY Halloween Sign  House by Hoff

   DIY Batmobile Just a Girl and Her Blog

Happy Halloween Sign  The Hankful House

I know ya’ll have some awesome thrifty Halloween projects, so don’t forget to come back this Sunday, Octobert 13th at 7:00 EST, and  link them up!

Check out all sixteen weeks’ themes for our Get Your DIY on Fall Party Challenge here. Our Chalkboard Party is still open until Friday!

Even if you’re  not a blogger, these parties are just as much for you! Come get inspired. This Sunday’s party will be full of fun Halloween decorating ideas!

Here’s one more peek at my pretty skull…


He needs a name, don’t you think?  I need to work on that. In the meantime, thanks for visiting! And if I haven’t told you lately…I appreciate each and every one of you! 🙂




If you like what you see, there are several ways to follow along! :)

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  1. This is awesome Christy, it looks amazing!- I love that you pointed out it wasn’t fun. LOL I have yet to try this but you make me really want to. I guess I will have to pick a day I don’t want to have fun, teehee 🙂

    • Lol, you make me laugh miss Mandy! I actually really enjoyed it…a lot. It was a great slow pace project and I feel like I’m constantly on the go these days. You know the feeling 🙂 This did take a while to put together, though. I’d love to try something with some color next time. Have a great day! XO

  2. Love it, and the entire mantle looks great too! Can’t wait for the party!
    Dee 🙂

  3. This is sooo cool Christy!! I love it… what a great thrifty idea! Definitely sharing on facebook:) Have a great weekend!!

  4. Cat Colbert says

    Great project! I didn’t know what paper quilling was so I learned something new today!
    Your mantle decor is amazing. Want to come and do mine?

  5. Come visit us at http://obsessiveandcreative.blogspot.com/2013/10/craft-frenzy-friday-8.html
    We are having a party and it won’t be the same without your creativity!
    Craft Frenzy Friday!

  6. That is so amazing! I love how it is spooky and beautiful at the same time.

  7. You are one ambitious gal and patient. I’d love to try the quilling but my old arthritic wouldn’t hack it for five minutes. I have a quilling tool I got with some kind of kit long time ago and never used it. You really did a wonderful job on all those quills, fantastic. Makes me wish I could do the quilling. Your skull looks incredible. Happy weekend

  8. What a cool technique, Christy! I had never heard of quilling before, but now I’m going to have to find an excuse to try it. This turned out awesome! Have a great weekend, friend!

    ~Abby =)

  9. AHHHH! You make it look so easy, now I need to try it! LOVE the whole mantel. Oh, yeah!

  10. I have no idea how you do what you do, but this is freaking awesome.


    • Thanks, Andi…you are so sweet! I actually had to make this for our Fall Party Challenge, but I’m glad now that I did. I’d never quilled before, but I really enjoyed it:)

  11. So cute! We found you from That DIY party. Pinning! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Your Halloween mantel looks amazing! And that skull is just the coolest thing ever! Coming over from Between Naps on the Porch. =)


  13. so so clever, I loved your tut on how to recreate, your mantle looks so cool, wish I had that kind of mantle in my living room,, just one in the den…Love your post so much, I am a follower…Phyllis

    • Wow, what a compliment from the queen of Halloween! Just visited your blog and I am blown away by all the creativity! I’ll definitely being making those books next year! 🙂

  14. Wow! What an amazing skull! I just love the look – elegant and spooky – like a sugar skull!

  15. This is precious! WOW! What an awesome craft… that skull looks like an expensive holiday decor piece. So creative! I’d love for you to share your mantel with my readers at the party that I and two other bloggers are hosting this week… it’s a “MANTEL PARTY”! Eeeek! Your post would be wonderful! Hope that you can join us… http://stringtownhome.net/?p=632

  16. Absolutely love how this turned out. Great job! I’m hosting a pillow covers giveaway that you should enter! http://homecomingmn.blogspot.com/2013/10/pillow-covers-giveaway.html

  17. Very cute!! i love your quilled skull! Your Mantel looks fabulous!

  18. Christy, I am so behind this week – but WOW, this is so fantastic and I love your quilled skull! You did such a beautiful on this! Thank you SO much for joining us and sharing at Best of the Weekend! Pinned to my Halloween board and sharing today. Have a happy Wednesday!

  19. Oh my word, this is amazing and what a great tutorial too. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  20. what a cool idea! so arty and fun! I’ll be featuring your post on Be Inspired this week, thanks for joining in!

  21. Just wanted you to know that you have been featured on my blog! Thanks so much for sharing at The Scoop!…hugs…Debbie

  22. Oh how neat, you can not tell from the link at Debra’s what it really looks like, so glad I came for a closer look. Such detail. Love the Halloween decorations. Alaina

  23. Florabella says

    How lovely it is ^^
    Could you please send me the skull picture to my email: kimflorabellaWYJ@gmail.com ?
    Thanks so much. =))


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