In the hushed corners of forgotten blogland lies a tale that beckons with a blend of morbid curiosity and haunting allure. Picture this: a grimacing, dirt-encrusted skull, half-buried in the soil, its hollow, sunken eyes transfixed on a floating bottle eerily suspended overhead.
It’s a spectacle that challenges the very laws of nature.
How does that poisoned vial elude the clutches of gravity?
What sorcery is this?
And when the sun dips below the horizon, the bottle’s poisoned elixir casts an otherworldly glow over the scene heightening our sense of wonder.
It’s a story that tests the limits of our comprehension and makes you take a step back and ask…. How did she do that?
Well, fear not, my beloved readers, I’m here to help you unravel the mysteries behind this uncanny tableau 😉 But before we embark on this journey into the unknown, why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram? And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
What you need
- Threaded rod
- Clear Silicone or polystyrene glue
- Shrink wrap/saran wrap/cling film
- Fairy Lights
- Empty bottle
- Free Poison Label printable
- Mod podge
- 2 part epoxy glue
- Skeleton hand
- Skull with detachable jaw
You’ll also need plants (faux or real) and a suitable container. I used a large enamel bowl and filled it with soil and black Mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens,’).
Ageing and prepping the pieces
If you bought a cheap skull and skeleton hands, like I did, you may want to prep and age them first so they look the part, aka, old, dirty and slightly sinister.
Prepping the skull and hand
Detach the jaw from the skull and remove any plastic ridges using a sharp craft knife or sandpaper.
The joints on my skeleton hand were fused together, which is perfect if you want to use them as ice tongs. It’s not so good if they need to grip a bottle.
If your hand looks the same, you can slice through the joints with a craft knife.
It’s easier if you only slice halfway through the joint. But if you make an oopsie, don’t worry, glue will fix it later.
Ageing the skull and hand
This part is optional. My skull and skeleton hand were different colors and didn’t look as old and grungy as I pictured in my head. Easy enough to solve with a little paint and PVA glue. You only need three colors: black, white, and burnt umber. Burnt umber is a warm, slightly aged brown which is perfect for something like this. The white and black is cheap craft paint, while the burnt umber I used is oil paint. I love the richness of the oil compared with its acrylic, water-based counterpart. You can use either. Start by painting both the hand and the skull black.
Leave the paint to dry completely. Working in sections apply a liberal amount of PVA glue. When the glue gets slightly tacky, apply white paint. You can brush or sponge it on. As the glue dries it will start to form cracks, exposing the black paint underneath. The more glue you use, the bigger the cracks.
Keep the eye sockets and nose cavity black.
Once you’re happy with the cracks, use a smaller paintbrush and black paint to emphasize the sutures in the skull.
Mix the burnt umber with turpentine (if you’re using oil paint) or water (if you’re using the water-based version) and dab it all over the skull and skeleton hand. It will instantly give them a well-worn and aged appearance.
Prepping and ageing the bottle
Wash the bottle in warm soapy water and leave to dry. Print out the free poison label and glue it on.
Using a sponge, dab Mod Podge onto the bottle. While it’s still wet, randomly sprinkle a little bit of fine sand over the bottle to age it. If you prefer you could use this tutorial to turn the bottle into a metal relic.
Leave to dry. Mix up a batch of 2-part epoxy glue and attach the skeleton hand and fingers to the bottle.
Right, so that’s the skull, hand and bottle all done.
Floating bottle and poisoned elixir
Ahhh, now for the bit you’ve been waiting for; the floating bottle effect. And it’s soooo easy to do. We’ve made quite a few things float on the blog, from ghostly tin cans to succulicious teapots, and they all involve one magic ingredient……. A strong piece of metal 😀
Making the magic rod
For this glass bottle, I used a threaded metal rod. Its strong enough to hold the weight of the bottle without bending. Slip the rod inside the bottle and mark the rod where it comes out of the neck. Place the rod in a vice and bend it at a 30-degree angle on the mark.
To disguise the rod and help it tone in better with the poison elixir I painted it gold.
Slip the bottleneck over the bent rod and check if you’re happy with the angle and height of the bottle. Adjust where necessary by either cutting the thread shorter or tweaking the bent angle. Keep in mind that a piece at the bottom of the rod will go into the ground once the planter is ready.
Flowing poison elixir
To disguise the metal rod and create that flowing poison effect I used fairy lights, cling wrap, and clear glue. Wind fairy lights around the threaded rod, starting about 1/3 of the way up the threaded rod. You want to leave a piece at the bottom of the rod free of lights so you can stick it in the ground. Wind the fairy lights all the way to the bend in the rod and back down again. Just make sure the battery pack is at the bottom of the rod. Cover the fairy lights with cling wrap (Saran wrap). Whenever possible we try to salvage out plastic waste for crafts like this.
Layer the cling wrap so it’s thicker towards the bottom of the rod. Remember to leave a piece of the rod clear. That’s the bit we’ll be planting in the ground later.
To add large, gooey drops of poisoned elixir, I used polystyrene glue. It sets pretty quickly and dries crystal clear. You can also use clear hot glue. Stick the threaded rod in the ground before adding the glue drops and let gravity work it’s magic.
Add as many drops as you want until you’re happy with the look and leave to dry. Drizzle a little of the burnt umber mix over the flowing poison to change the color.
Since I’ll be staging my skull and floating bottle with real plants that need water, I wrapped insulation tape around the exposed wiring that goes from the fairy lights to the battery pack. If you’re going to use faux plants, you can skip this step.
And that’s it. All the pieces are ready to assemble and create a Halloween scene that defies gravity and conjures a sense of eerie wonder.
Planting the skull and floating bottle
Find a container or planter that’s wide enough to fit the skull and the plants. I used a large, rusty enamel bowl and added black Mondo grass. Any low-growing or creeping plants will work, as long as they don’t overpower the skull or hide that beautiful, glowing poisoned elixir.
Bury the back of the jawless skull in the soil. You want to embed the skull deep enough with the eyes looking straight up at the floating bottle. Insert the
threaded rod flowing poisoned elixir.
Reposition the battery pack so it hangs outside the planter.
Attach the jaw around the flowing elixir.
Adjust the skull and elixir until you’re happy.
Slip the poison bottle onto the threaded rod and glue in place.
Place the planter in a spot where its gravity-defying secrets can lure unsuspecting guests and ghoulish creatures alike.
And now as the sun sets on our tale of the skull and floating bottle, we hope it will evolve and continue spreading thrills and chills for generations to come.
If you enjoyed this macabre DIY story and want to make something similar, don’t forget to pin it for later.
Sharing caring 😉
Will you be upping the scare factor for Halloween? I’d love to hear what you have planned, so stop for a spell 😉 and leave a comment. And if you’re looking for more quick and creepy Halloween crafts, then you’ll love these ideas:
- Realistic of eyeballs with free printable
- Matilda the spider and her wire web
- 5-minute vampire wings
- Super easy skull and crossbones place card holders
- A magical floating tin can filled with ghost breath
- Loving skeleton couple and the ghost in the mirror
- Working skeleton hands ice tongs for that extra creep factor
- Creepy skull wall sconce
- Fairy graveyard with spooky gravestones
- Miniature witch legs in a cauldron
- Crazy sprouting seed skull
Oh, and for your convenience, I’ve added some affiliate links below in case you want to make something similar. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry, it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉
Poisoned Water Effect
And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then maybe these beauties will appeal.