End product. Meet Alabuster, my pride and joy.
To preface this, I'd just like to say that this craft project requires at least some previous experience with sculpting, BUT the hand bottle is significantly easier if you aren't feeling very confident in yourself. The beauty of halloween decorations though, is that imperfections are encouraged. The grungier, the better!
First things first, DRINK UP ME HEARTIES.
Jk, I don't even drink, these bottles are courtesy of my alcoholic grandma.
I scored a big ass Baileys bottle along with a cool Medinet bottle, which apparently is some red wine (thank you high school french class!).
To start with the hand bottle, get yourself a nice photo from google images of an anatomically correct hand. I just searched for 'skeleton hand'. Either print it out or trace 2 of them, making sure one is mirrored for the other hand.
Here is view of all my clay tools…
… But in reality, these are the tools I ended up using.
Here is my clay that I dug up from my crafting stash. It's just basic air dry gray/white clay.
I sculpted every little bone individually, mostly using my fingers. I laid them out in place and let them dry overnight, then flipped them and left them for another night to make sure they were completely dry.
Closeup. You can see how I actually added some imperfections to my sculpt because I felt that I needed some wear and tear on the bones, as if the bottles were an old part of a travelling voodoo doctor's kit in New Orleans during the 1920's. I glued the bones to the template with a hot glue gun.
Here you can actually see how much I sized the template down, just to make sure that it didn't look silly on my bottle. My hand is quite small to begin with so these are even smaller, but on the bottle they actually give the apperance of being sort of large.
I severed the thumb as shown in the photo above, so that I could pose it more naturally on the bottle.
I used my exacto-knife to trim down the paper template around the bones. Make sure to keep the bones connected by the template for easy handling when you glue the hands to the bottle, it will be a pain in the ass if you choose to glue every piece by itself to the bottle. The template base really makes sure that the placement looks natural.
Color the template with black in between the bones to match my Baileys bottle…
… Using either a small pen with black ink or black acrylic paint on a teeny tiny paintbrush.
Use your own hand as reference when placing the hand onto the bottle, to ensure that the pose looks natural. I hot glued the palm down first, and then moved on to individual fingers.
To start on the skull bottle, lay down a ball of clay onto the bottle, and wet your fingers. Then, smush the ball out to a thin sheet that covers the general area that you need to cover. With an exacto-knife, cut a straight line all around the perimeter of the bottle to make a neat bottom edge, and cut out eyes and nose holes as symmetrically as you can. The crusty looking edges are easily removed later in the process. Let dry for a few hours. It really depends on your clay.
Closeup of my imperfect work.
Comparison of added bone structure (right side) and not yet added (left side).
By the way, you WILL look like you just jerked off a gargoyle during this project.
To add bone structure, add a thick snake below the eye…
Blend the edges out into the base with wet fingers or tools.
Add a little 'eyebag crease'…
Add on another thinner snake for the browbone, using water to adhere it.
Blend it out into the base like before.
You might find that you prefer using either your fingers or a tool. I resorted to a tool right here because my nails kept making unwanted dents.
Add a long tear drop-like snake for the temple.
And add a little curve to the pointy end when blending. Let dry.
It might be good to take a look at the project from the top or from the bottom to see if it's symmetrical.
I got way too excited here and rushed without taking photos. Basically I laid down a small rectangle for the upper jaw in the same thickness as the base. Shape some clay into teeth by making rectangles and rounding out one end. Look at a reference photo or make a dumb ass face in the mirror if you need a reference. I did the latter. Add onto the bottle with water. I built up the nose bridge a bit as well.
Side view of my baby. To clean the edges, I used a baby wipe with acetone on. It removed the clay residue beautifully and if there's any larger pieces it's really easy to just cut them off using an exacto-knife.
I will happily answer any and all questions you might have about this little doo-dad!