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The Golden Apple

I know the traditional harvest decorations are corn and pumpkins but what about apples.  Specifically golden apples.  Ever heard of the goose that laid the golden apple?  Yeah, this tutorial is kinda like that, but I’m not laying anything and we are making an golden apple… With letters…  So basically not the same at all… Anyway on to the tutorial:

Creating a gold apple with lettering



Vinyl Letters* (I have a craft machine that cuts vinyl but any vinyl letters will work)

Gold Spray Paint*

Fresh Apple

Step 1: Set up the Setup

This is going to seem like a no-brainer tutorial but there are a couple tips you can use to make this go a lot smoother.  First, measure the length of your apples.  Measure a few of them and get an average.  Because you will need to either cut or buy vinyl letters that fit.  So don’t just measure one and assume all the letters are going to look good.  (I can’t imagine how I learned this trick)

While you are measuring set the apples in there final location, because guess what?, they are fruit.  A natural product.  So is every apple going to sit nicely in your display? No.

Getting an average size for your apples


Step 2 Vinyl: Not pleasant on your thighs in summer and not pleasant to adhere

Do not get me wrong.  I love vinyl, but I also worked as visual manager and spent a few years of my life adhere vinyl decals to everything.  Once you have worked with a 10 ft vinyl decal it becomes easier.  That being said trying to adhere a flat decal to a rounded object, without a lot of bubbles and distortion is tricky.

Adhering vinyl letters to apples
See that tiny piece on the ‘T’? Yeah I had to adhere that decal twice to get it straight.


Remember to look at how your apples are sitting so you can get all the letters in line.

This is what I meant about in line. I am ATTEMPTING to get the 'A' and 'N' about the same level. Except I kinda failed. You have been warned... Do a better job!
This is what I meant about in line. I am ATTEMPTING to get the ‘A’ and ‘N’ about the same level. Except I kinda failed. You have been warned… Do a better job!

Step 3: Bring on the Shine

Take your apple and spray it with metallic spray paint.  What?! You can spray fruit?!  Yeah fruit turns out lovely and inedible.  Please tell me you wouldn’t dream about eating an apple covered in regular spray paint…  Please.

The smooth surface of the apple takes the paint really well.  I just did two quick coats, let it dry fully and got a really nice shiny surface.

spray painted apple


Step 4: Peel

Don’t peel the apple!  Just peel off the decal to let the apple color show through.  For my thanksgiving mantel I only wanted one golden apple accent so I only painted the ‘T’ and peeled the vinyl away.  I spelled the rest of the word using brown vinyl I left in place on the other apples.

You can see the completed Thanksgiving Mantel Here (11/6)

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Halloween Mantel

Halloween Mantel with Dripping Flesh Garland

I have stated before that I usually like the ‘prettier’ halloween.  Glittered skulls, pretty potions, mystical & magical versus ghouls and gore is more up my alley.  However, this year I just wasn’t feeling it.  I even had ravens, black tulle, and lots of green glitter all ready to go.  Instead I opted to make a huge mess with paint and plaster.

Halloween Mantel with Dripping Flesh Garland


I think once you have a giant eye attached to your mantel, you kinda have to continue with the theme.

Zombie Candles and Spider Webs


In comes spider webs and zombie candles.  Lots of spider webs…

Zombie Candles


And lots of zombie candles…

Best part?  My kids and husband didn’t even bat an eyelash at the giant evil eye.  I think they are immune to Mama’s decorating insanity.

Tutorials Used

Rotting Flesh Garland

Zombie Candles

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A Garland: Evil Eyes & Rotting Flesh

Evil eye and rotting flesh garland

The title of this post tickles me to no end.  I usually make ‘pretty’ garlands like these, but I just couldn’t help but make some gruesome rotting flesh with an evil eye centerpiece to go along with my Zombie Candles.

Evil eye and rotting flesh garland


I adore pretty Halloween with glittered skulls and fancy cocktails potions, but I was just in a more gruesome mood this year.  I don’t think many people will want to recreate this garland, but I did a quick mashup of the process in case anyone was interested.

It involves plaster, paint, and plastic sheeting.  Here is an interpretation of events from McClain, my 3 year old:

McClain: “Whatcha doing Mama?”

Me: “What does it look like I am doing?” (said nicely b/c I was curious what he thought)

McClain:”You’re making a BIG mess”

But it was a melty, drippy, bloody, gruesome mess.

Process to make a rotting flesh garland


After swirling plaster came a layer of paint (same colors used in the Zombie Candles).  FYI: you don’t have to wait for the plaster to fully dry before painting.  Just wait till it hardens.

Next week you can see the full Undead Mantel (10/16)

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See other spooky decorations, crafts, and recipes at these link parties: 52 Mantels, Shabby Creek Cottage

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Zombie Candles For Halloween

Undead Candles

I happen to be just a tiny bit obsessed with the undead.  I love to watch zombie movies! Needless to say with Halloween rolling around I needed to make something related to zombies.  In comes the idea for inanimate objects turned into zombies and out rolls my tutorial for undead candles:

How to make your very own, undead candlesThe following tutorial involves flame, knives, and paint attached to questionably flammable surfaces.  Basically, do not try this at home and then sue me.  I have no money anyway. 

Supplies for the Zombie Apocalypse:

Candles: White or suitably decaying flesh color

Steak/Serrated Knife

Flame in the form of lighter

Cheap Acrylic Paint: Black, White, Red, Green

Foam Brush

Step 1 Day One/Ground Zero: Distress Their Nervous Systems

Distressing the exterior of the zombie candle


First you need to infect your candles with the zombie virus.  I find the best way to accomplish this is to burn, hack tooth like marks, and roll them in melted pools of wax.  Basically get the exterior all roughed up.  I make sure to saw some nice tooth marks into the surface.  Be very careful when applying flame and using a knife.  You wouldn’t want to infect yourself.

Step 2 Day 5: Rot Sets In

Sponging thin green paint onto the surface of the candles


Once the candles have died and risen as zombies, rot will begin to take over their bodies (especially if you live in the humid southern regions).  To help your zombie candles along, thin some greenish paint with water and sponge it over the candles.  Since the coat of paint is thin it will bead on the surface of the candle.  This is fine!  Just let iit dry.

Step 3 Day 10: Zombie Candles Begin To Moan

Adding a greyish layer of paint to zombie candlesIf your candles begin to shamble and moan don’t worry!  You are almost done with those decaying pieces of decor.  Mix some black, white, with red or green to get a nice thick coat of undead color.  Sponge it on liberally and do NOT thin with water.  Any gashes and tooth marks can be left unpainted.  Let dry and try not to leave your candles near any brains.

Step 4 Day 15: Transformation Complete No One Makes It To Day 28

Adding faux blood to the candles


Your candles are probably shambling about the neighborhood.  Now is the perfect time to corral them and check out any bloody wounds they may have received on the hunt.  Simply apply a thick coat of dark red paint to any bite marks/gashes and let it drip down.  For an added bonus add ‘bloody’ fingerprints.

Once dry you have your own piece of undead decor.

Undead Candles


Since I have no urge to become undead myself I use caution when burning these candles as acrylic paint is not meant to be burnt.  I prefer to use older candles that are burned down in the center so I can insert a battery operate tea light and stay away from the whole flame thing.

Check out my Evil Eye and Rotting Flesh Garland (10/8) and Final Halloween Mantel (10/16)

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Faux Cast Iron Finish

The final finish has a lot of texture and is matte in nature like real cast iron.

I developed this paint technique to create a cast iron finish on a HID-E-OUS brass lamp we had in our living room.  My husband and I have a lovely cast iron legged side table and a shared like of Restoration Hardware.  Also a shared like of not spending that type of money.  I tried to find a good tutorial to fake a cast iron finish but gave up and started playing with paint.  After multiple attempts, hauling the side table around to compare, and scraping off bad finishes I found a way to paint a faux cast iron finish.

Faux Cast Iron Tutorial


It looks great on furniture but also works to make an ‘urn’ like finish for Halloween.


Supplies to create a faux cast iron finish.


For the basic finish you need:

Rustoleum American Accents Stone Finish in Mineral Brown* (long enough title?)

Bronze Spray Paint*

Matte Clear Finishing Spray*

Sand Paper (higher grit is better for smoother finish)

If you want to paint glass:

Add a glass primer or frosting spray*

Step 1 We All Hate It: Priming

Depending on the piece you are covering you’ll need to prime it.  Glass required a coat of frosting spray.  My horrible brass lamp needed a clear coat sanded off.  Google directions for the piece you want to cover.

Step 2 Using the Rustoleum American… Ah to hell with it: The Stone Paint

Faux Cast Iron: Spraying Stone

I’m just going to call it stone spray paint from here on out.  The title in supplies should let you know what I mean.  By the way, I am only suggesting that particular brand for the stone paint because it is the only one I have used.  I tried a variety of bronze paints and they worked fine, but I haven’t had a chance to try a different texture brand.  If you do please leave a note in the comments.

Lightly cover the whole piece with a splattering of the texture.  I moved waaaay back than my usual spray painting technique.  You can see if just splattered a coating.

Step 3: Bronzer instead of Blush

Cast Iron Paint Finish: Adding bronze

You can go ahead and spray a covering coat of bronze spray paint before the stone paint is dry.  Save some time and it doesn’t hurt anything.  However, let the bronze mostly dry.  I say mostly because I am impatient and if it is a bit tacky and peels up you’ll be fine. If you are doing it right it will look shiny and warty and you’ll be thinking “what the hell is this?”

Step 4: More OMG This Looks Awful

After the bronze ‘mostly’ dries take the sand paper and give it a buff.  It will knock off a lot of the texture leaving pits, holes, and scuffs.  Then cover in bronze paint again.  Repeat step 3 & 4 if you don’t feel like it had a lot of varied texture, or you were impatient (like me) and gummed up the paint into a wad.

Step 5: Now It Will Come Together

Finishing the faux cast iron finish
From What? to Wow! all in one coat of paint.

Let everything dry and then cover the whole item with a thick coat of matte spray.  By thick, I mean disregard the manufacturers guidelines and get that puppy about 3-6 inches from the surface.  You want the matte paint to pool in the pits and any decorative carvings.

That is pretty much that!  There aren’t really notes with this process other than more layers of paint give a richer finish.  You can see how I styled these cast iron ‘urn’ vases for a Halloween Vignette.

The final finish has a lot of texture and is matte in nature like real cast iron.

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See more great DIY, Decor, & Crafts at these Link Exchanges: 52 Mantels, Lambert’s Lately, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Craftberry Bush, The Pin Junkie, The Stitchin Mommy, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, Craft-O-Maniac, Dream A Little Bigger, By Stephanie Lynn, Kitchen Table Art