Introduction: Small Clay Halloween Diorama Decoration

I created a small clay Halloween decoration featuring a scene with a dirt mound decorated with jack-o-lanterns, two tombstones, skulls, and an old fence. My motivation for making this decoration came from the desire to have Halloween-themed decor as the holiday was approaching. This craft allowed me to use my creativity and add a Halloween touch to my living space, contributing to the Halloween spirit. Crafting my own decorations also provides a personal touch and a sense of accomplishment as I celebrate the holiday with a unique and homemade display.



Super Sculpey Original

Liquid Sculpey Bake and Bond


Cutting mat

Clay pasta maker or Rolling Pin


Paper, Pencil, Eraser, and Ruler

Lamp/light source

Sculpting tools


An oven

Step 1: Planning

To start planning, I loosely sketched some ideas about what I wanted to sculpt. At first, I was thinking about sculpting something to hold my Super Sculpey Bake and Bond, but soon after I sketched the idea, I decided that I didn't need something that had a function and that I would rather have a regular decoration. I quickly figured out what I wanted to sculpt without needing very many sketches.

Once I was done planning, it was time to start sculpting.

Step 2: Making a Tinfoil Base

To create the foundation for your project, accumulate a generous amount of tin foil. Mold the base into the resemblance of a small hill, with a level surface on the left and a slope ascending to a peak on the right. This involves layering and gradually applying foil until the desired form is achieved.

Step 3: Adding Clay to the Base

In the process of adding clay to the base, I start things off by coating it generously with Liquid Sculpey so that the clay sticks to the base. Then, I roll out large chunks of clay and stick them onto the base. The final touch before adding details involves smoothing out lines and imperfections to create the look of a singular piece of clay. To add extra details to the base, I opted to add extra rolls of clay, aiming to change the texture of the terrain. Following a smoothing process, I took a balled-up sheet of aluminum foil to add a distinctive dirt texture to the base. With this phase completed to my satisfaction, I set the project aside.

Step 4: Making the Fence

Now, I roll out two large pieces of clay, stacking them seamlessly. In the next step, I cut out seven rectangles, each tapering to one side, with a pointed cut for the artistic touch. Then I poked two holes through the sides of the rectangles using my tool. To make a wood texture, I use a metal tool to drag across each piece, creating lines that mimic natural wood grain. Once the sculpting is complete, I carefully set the textured fence aside on a baking sheet.

Step 5: Making the Small Tombstone

Starting off the smaller tombstone involves rolling out two large pieces of clay and sticking them together once more. Following this, I proceeded to cut the clay into the desired tombstone shape. Any leftover clay gets merged, which I form into a large, thin piece. I cut out a couple of strips from a sheet of clay, and then added them to the border of the tombstone. After this step, I smoothed out the lines, enhancing the overall appearance. To create a stone-like texture, I used a small piece of tin foil. Using my tools, I carefully write RIP in the center of the tombstone. As a finishing touch, I incorporate some curvy lines around the RIP, and with my scalpel tool, I cut small parts of the tombstone to simulate its cracking. Wrapping this up, I poked a bamboo skewer into the bottom and set the completed tombstone aside on the baking sheet.

Step 6: Making the Big Tombstone

Starting the creation of the larger tombstone, I rolled out two large pieces of clay, and layered them. Following this, I marked the areas where I intended to cut and cut out the shape. Then, a long piece of clay was rolled and attached to the tombstone's front face. Transitioning to the skull, I made a flat-ish dome and added it around the top of the tombstone. A thin square was then made, featuring lines to emulate teeth, each detail made using metal tools. This square was affixed to the lower section of the dome, and the connection was smoothed. Introducing facial features, I used ballpoint tools to poke into the dome, forming eyes and nose holes. For an extra artistic effect, I decided to make one of the eyes larger than the other. With the skull now completed, I carved RIP into the center of the tombstone, utilizing my tools. Onto extra details, I rolled two thin strips of clay into a noodle and added them on each side of the skull into a swirly pattern. Once the tombstone was done, I used a ball of tinfoil and pressed it into the stone to add texture, and then I poked a bamboo skewer into the bottom before setting it onto the baking sheet.

Step 7: Making the Pumpkins

Starting off with the largest of the four pumpkins, I made a sphere shape with clay and pinched one side to make a taller pumpkin shape. To make it actually look like a pumpkin, I used one of my silicone shapers to make vertical indents all over the clay. After that, I created the eyes by poking into them with a ballpoint tool. Onto the mouth, I used one of my metal tools to carve the thin jagged lines into a smile. For the last part of the largest pumpkin, I made a small stem for the top of the pumpkin. To make the medium-sized pumpkin, I repeated all of the steps from the previous pumpkin, except for the shape, which was more flat and squished than the taller pumpkin, the eyes were triangles rather than circles and there was no nose.

The two smaller pumpkins are smaller replicas of the two bigger ones, except for they don't have mouths. Once done all of the pumpkins, I placed them onto the baking sheet.

Step 8: Making the Skulls

Making the skulls is very simple. First I took a small sphere of clay and a smaller rectangle of clay and attached them together. Then I made sure to smooth the connection. For the facial features, I used my ballpoint tool to poke eyes and a nose into the sphere. To add what looked like teeth, I used my metal tool to indent four lines into the rectangular part. Keep in mind that this is not a correct representation of a skull, and the jaw is missing. Once finished with one skull, I repeated these steps three more times, gradually making them a tiny bit bigger until I had three skulls. I added a small detail to all of them by faintly making what looked like cracks in the skulls. Once I was finished, I added them to the baking sheet.

Step 9: First Bake

The first bake is only baking the fence, tombstones, skulls, and pumpkins. Bake the accessories in a preheated oven at 270F for 10-15 minutes.

Step 10: Assembling

My assembling started with the fence. I used some really thin metal wire to connect all of the fence pillars by putting it through all of the holes. I used one long piece for the bottom holes and another for the holes higher up. After connecting them, I added bake and bond liquid sculpey to the bottoms of the pillars, and then I pushed them into the flatter side of the base near the back. To make them look older and more spooky, I adjusted the positions and directions of some of the pillars.

Onto the tombstones, I started by adding a couple of drops of bake and bond to the bamboo skewers on the bottom and poked the stones into the base, the smaller one on the flatter part of the base, and the larger one on the taller side of the base around the peak.

Then I added bake and bond to all of the pumpkins and added those around the tombstones, the pumpkins with mouths around the larger tombstone, and the pumpkins without mouths around the smaller tombstone.

I proceeded to add uncooked rocks around the base, and tufts of grass/plant at the base of the tombstones.

Then I added the skulls to the caved part of the base, holding them all together with more bake and bond. Once I finished it and it looked exactly how I wanted it to, I set it on the baking sheet.

Step 11: The Final Bake

Bake the whole base in a preheated oven at 270F for 20 minutes.

Step 12: Painting the Base Coat (on the Base)

When you start painting, normally you want to start with a base coat. My base coat started as a dirty green, but I didn't really like it, so I changed it to more of a brown. I tried to only paint the base and not any of the objects, but it didn't matter too much if I got paint on the objects because they would just be painted over later. I painted around two coats for this step. Make sure to let the paint dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 13: Painting the Dark Wash (on the Base)

The reason why you need to let the paint completely dry before using a dark wash is because the wash has a lot of water in it, and if the paint isn't dry, it will just wipe away the paint that was used before.

The colour of the wash that I used was a combination of mostly black and some brown. When you paint with a wash, it goes into all of the cracks and crevices of the sculpture. If you think there is too much wash in one spot, you can either spread it out or remove some of it with a paper towel by gently wiping it. You can also be really imprecise with it because it spreads so much.

Once I finished with the wash, I had to let it dry for a while.

Step 14: Dry Brush (on the Base)

To dry brush, you barely need any paint on your brush, and the colour should be lighter than the colour used under it. Using a bigger brush is better for dry brushing. The way I can make sure there isn't too much paint on my brush is by wiping most of it off using a paper towel. Make sure you can barely see it on the paper towel before painting with it. When you do start painting, be really loose with it, and quickly brush over the base so you only paint on the raised areas. You should quickly see the results.

Step 15: First Coat of the Accessories

The first coat for all of the accessories will be basically the same steps as the base coat on the base, except that you will need to be more careful about not getting the paint on anything other than the accessories. Normally for the first coat, you either want the colour to be in the range of the mid-tone to the darker shade of the object. After the first coat, keep adding coats until they look completely painted and there are no spots.

Step 16: Dry Brushing the Tombstones and Fence

The reason why I skipped a dark wash on the tombstone and the fence was that their colours were already so dark that I didn't think that a wash would do much. So I just skipped to the dry brushing. Again, pick a lighter shade of the colour you are painting over, get barely any on your brush, and quickly paint over the tombstone and the fence.

Step 17: Dark Wash on the Pumpkins and Skulls

The dark wash can go on the pumpkins and the skulls because they are lighter in colour. Again, be a little messy with the dark wash, and completely coat the objects. It doesn't have to be perfect. I also added some wash to the rocks around the base.

Step 18: Dry Brush on the Pumpkins

For the final dry brush, I only painted it onto the pumpkins and the rocks, because the skulls were already so white that the dry brush wouldn't show up on them. Again, just use a lighter colour, and loosely brush over the rocks and pumpkins.

Step 19: Final Result

I am very happy with how this sculpture turned out. There are so many different ways to customize this sculpture, so if you sculpt this, be creative with it. And most importantly have fun! I hope you will enjoy making this just as much as I did.

Halloween Contest

Runner Up in the
Halloween Contest