Halloween is the favorite holiday for many. Some people go all out decorating their properties to create spooky scenes that represent the true horror of the holiday. If you are looking for ways to decorate your property for the holiday that won’t break the bank, it’s time to consider all of the things that you can make with wire mesh, such as from Midwestern Industries Inc, and paper mache.

To create outdoor-safe paper mache decorations, you will need a few supplies.

  • Wire mesh
  • Tin ships
  • Zip ties
  • Permanent marker
  • Work gloves
  • White glue – Elmer’s glue or off-brand variants
  • Newspaper
  • Spar urethane sealant
  • Scissors
  • Primer and paint
  • Cardboard
  • Box cutter

Now that you know what you need, it’s time to think about what you’re going to create. You can keep it simple and make things like giant jack-o-lanterns and headstones or you can get really creative and involved and create zombies, ghosts and ghouls. The instructions below are for a basic headstone. You can use them as a guide to get more creative with intricate creations like the ghosts, vampires and zombies that you want to make.

Step 1: Make a Stencil

Draw the shape of the headstone that you want to create on a sheet of cardboard. Carefully cut it out with the box cutter. You can create different shapes and sizes, but you want a stencil to work with so that you get both sides of the headstone equal in size.

You will also need a stencil for one piece of mesh to connect the front and back of the headstone. It needs to extend from one side to the other leaving the bottom open.

Step 2: Trace and Cut

Now, lay the stencil on the wire mesh and trace around it with the permanent marker. Put on the gloves and use the tin snips to cut the mesh leaving each side smooth – no pointy parts of mesh hanging out.  

Step 3: Tie it Together

Use the zip ties to tie everything all together. Use the scissors to cut off the excess plastic from the zip ties so that it doesn’t poke through the paper machete as you work to complete it.

Step 4: Cover with Paper Mache

Use strips of newspaper dipped in the white glue to begin covering the wire frame. Using the glue instead of the flour and water mixture will make the headstone more weather resistant. Using flour and water will cause it to fall apart and become crusty and gross while it is out in the rain and dew.

Continue working to cover the headstone frame entirely and then let it dry for a day or two.

Step 5: Get Painting

Now that you have a headstone to work with, it’s time to get painting. Cover the entire headstone with a coat of primer, let it dry and then finish with paint. The primer will help the paint to adhere and keep the newspaper print from bleeding through.

Step 6: Seal it Up

Your creation must be sealed to protect it from moisture damage. Apply a coat of spar urethane sealant to the outside as well as the bottom edges of the inside. This will prevent it from absorbing moisture and getting destroyed as it sits in your yard.

Your hand-made decorations will do well during the Halloween season if you take the time to seal them up well. Then, when the season is over, you can store them in your garage, basement or attic until next Halloween comes around.