DIY Skull Garland 💀 (sewing + embroidery)


It’s Halloween month!!!! Skulls and bats and cats and spooky ookies all month long 🎃
I have a friend who has the cutest little one bedroom apartment that I’ve ever seen on a REGULAR month, but let me tell you…this girl goes hard on holiday decorations. After a puppy play date at her place I was in awe of all her skeletal decorations (plenty of pumpkins too, don’t you worry) and immediately started making some of my own when I got home.

My problem with Halloween decorations is $$$, as much as I love them I have a hard time justifying spending money on something that I’m only going to use one month of the year and have to find storage for the rest of the year on top of that.

The solution: make your own decorations! Okay, okay, this only solves the money problem not the storage problem but let’s just tackle one thing at a time. I don’t have to worry about storage until the end of the month, right? Now this garland was completely free for me to make because I already had all the materials to use at home. If you don’t have hordes of craft stuff hidden in your closet then I highly recommend looking at thrift stores and clearance bins for odds an ends to make cheap decor, which is where I get most of my stuff anyway.


For this project I used:

  • scissors to cut everything out
  • an old black sheet
  • needle, thread, and pins
  • plastic grocery bags for stuffing! (recycle, right?)
  • yarn/ribbon/etc for hanging

1. I started by cutting out the basic shape of a skull, that sort of almost-circle with a partial square jutting out of the bottom for the jaw. If you need to, use a piece of paper and sketch your shape first and cut that out to use as a stencil. Personally, I do better cutting and sewing free hand for most things, but I did use my stencil to make sure I got them all approximately the same size for the garland. Although, I think if you were to make all different sized skulls on purpose that would make a funky decoration too.


2. After you have 2 pieces for however many skulls you want cut out (I made 5, so 10 pieces cut out for front and back), you can start embroidering the faces onto the front half. If you don’t do a lot of embroidery don’t worry. I don’t either. The only stitches I really knew going into this project was a basic straight stitch and the blanket stitch, and then I used the great and vast world wide web to learn the back stitch and chain stitch. If that still sounds scary and confusing to you I promise it’s not if you have any general concept of sewing at all, and the videos I’ve linked make it super easy to follow along and learn.


Again, this is another thing you can draw out in pencil on your fabric if you need a guide to follow, but personally is something I’m better at free-handing. I tried following a pencil line on one of my skulls and I feel like it was the worst one for me, though in retrospect holding the skulls up next to each other I can’t even tell which one it was.


I used a chain stitch for the eyes and nose (just elongate your loops for the nose), and a back stitch for the line of the mouth. For the stitches across the mouth line I just used a basic straight stitch at intervals across the mouth.

3. After the face is embroidered on, you can begin sewing the front and back piece together. I used a blanket stitch for this. Pin your pieces together and make sure the edges line up. If your cuts are a little crooked like mine it’s fine, just line them up as closely as possible and cut off any excess that is too much of a difference. If it’s only a small amount the stitches will hide it. As you sew around the edge make sure you leave an opening big enough to add the stuffing.


4. Add the stuffing to your skull, I used cut up plastic grocery bags for mine because I didn’t have any sewing stuffing on hand. For the size skulls I made it took about half a plastic bag for each. You could also use balled up newspaper or mail adds, or really any junk material you have that can be smooshed into the skull to give it a little puff without being too lumpy. Once it’s stuffed, just finished sewing your blanket stitches around the edge.


Viola! You have a skull.


After you’ve made as many as you want just string them up on a long piece of yarn or ribbon or whatever you desire, and hang them up for some spooky festive vibes. I made my yarn extra long on the ends because I wanted to be able to hang it on a shorter or longer space if need be. I’m considering adding some colourful tassels or pom poms to the ends of yarn that are hanging down, just to give it a little extra flair.


Have a spooky Halloween month, babes ✌️


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