Well, I set out to make a cheap skeleton that was way more realistic than blucky, and settled on paper mache. This is what you need to begin– about 50 or so sheets of newspaper.

Roll Them Up

Roll up 2-3 layers of newspaper corner to corner. You’ll need about 22 rolls for a full skeleton.

Arms and Legs

Fold the arm tubes and leg tubes in half. Then, using your own limbs as reference, fold over the extra paper on the thin side and tape it down.

Everything Else

Build the ribcage like you would for a paper mache corpse, but leave out the piece in the middle for now.

Pelvis and That little thing in the middle of the ribs

The pelvis is a loop of newspaper tube, and the other thing is cardboard taped in the middle of the ribcage. Also, I reinforced the legs with another tube.

Boney Bits

Crumple up some 1/2 sheets of newspaper for the knobbly bits on the ends of the bones and tape them on.

Paper Mache

Just give the whole thing a coat or two. I use the flour and water mixture, but it really doesn’t matter.

Base Coat

Give your skeleton a good coat of light brown paint.


With some dark brown acrylic, sponge on the texture all over. You can cheat, if you know what angle people will be viewing the final prop at.


If you want, just glue on a paper mache skull and be done. On this skely, I wanted to take it a step further. I’ll be using a fogging skull (purchased AFTER halloween) for the remainder of the tutorial.


The skull is heavy, and needs to be level with the ground, so I’m building a base for it that will attach to the body. This is made of some sort of scrap plastic, however, I would recommend something with a bit more friction.


A little ultimate glue and the base should stay pretty well. While it’s drying, put a piece of 3/4″ pvc between the two upright pieces and a bolt in the hole. This keeps it in shape. Meanwhile, cut another piece of pvc for the neck and glue it over the newspaper one.

Attaching the Base

A hole through the neck and a nut and bolt later, you’ve got a nice stand for your skull.


The bones have a piece of wire hot glued between them, and the hand is just a standard corpse hand. Slip him in your favorite coffin and wait for nightfall.

In the Dark

I put a string of orange christmas lights around the coffin and plugged in the skull. There’s lots of possibilities with this guy!

Post Disclaimer