Easy Halloween Mantel
As far as Halloween decorations go, we usually just carve a couple of pumpkins and call it a day. However, this year, my kids requested more. I graciously indulged.
I decided to decorate the mantel (not really a mantel as much as a shelf with a mirror), which is the focal point in our open concept living/dining room. I used mostly items I already had at home (glass jars, vases, etc), with things from nature (tree branches) and a few inexpensive items I bought specifically for the occasion (ravens, spiders and bones).
Ravens and Tree Branches
I love decorating with tree branches. They are so versatile and create a lot of impact for very little money. Sometimes you may have to paint them to give them a more polished look, but in this case it wasn’t necessary at all. They were just perfect the way they were.
After putting my perfect Halloween branches in a clear vase (which I already owned), I attached three ravens to the branches and then just strung some spider web around. Very quick and easy. Take a look:
Next, I got to work on my bone collection. I just put up a bunch of plastic bones for display inside a clear glass vase. Added a few spider webs and a spider crawling up the vase. Done! I paired up by bone collection with a black wooden letter H (for Halloween) to balance out the glass. Take a look:
Spider Specimen Jars
By the time I finished with the bone collection, I figured the owner of this mantle was probably into spiders as well. I created an easy spider specimen jar collection using things I already had around the house. For instance, the base is just an old wooden votive candle holder that was destined for the donation bin. The kids broke the votive candle glass holders that went along with it a while ago. I never had the heart to get rid of the wooden base because I always knew I would use it someday.
I spray painted the wooden base, then sanded it a little. I then raided my recycling bin for some empty glass jars (jam, pickles, etc). Once they were all nice, clean and label free (wash them in warm soapy water to get labels off), I just inserted some spiders inside. Carefully arranged them on top of the wooden base and…all done! Take a look:
Well, I guess I wasn’t really done. I think the person who took the time to collect spider specimens would most likely label them. So I quickly created a label that reads “Arachnids”, because in the olden times they liked to use Latin more often…and because that’s their actual scientific classification. I had to take the “after” photo at night with poor lighting conditions, but here’s the end result:
The final component of my easy Halloween mantel is a witch’s cauldron sitting on top of a couple of old books. The books I already had. Actually, they are wooden storage boxes that look like big old books. Nothing to be done there.
The witch’s cauldron is just one of those black plastic pails for candy. Originally it looked like this:
I didn’t like the original look. I quickly fixed this by spray painting it with a metallic paint. I then sanded it to make it look used and previously loved. I propped a raven on the cauldron, some spider webs and crawly spiders and all done. Here:
One last look at my easy Halloween mantel:
By using things I already had, the total cost to decorate this Halloween mantel was only $10. The most expensive items were the ravens. The most time-consuming was waiting 10 minutes for the spray paint to dry off so that I could sand both the cauldron and the spider specimen collection base. The most difficult part probably was standing on a chair trying to arrange the spider webs.
When I started to decorate the mantel I told myself I was only going to do this one thing and then Halloween decorating was over. However, by the time I finished the mantel, I thought that a vintage witch’s kit for the coffee table would add to the decor. So I made one. Take a look:
I loved the final result. This was such a fun project. I will be posting a tutorial and more photos for this DIY Halloween Magic Kit tomorrow.