Halloween is my favorite holiday. What can I say, I love any opportunity to wear a costume. I was the child who never grew out of playing dress-up. I can’t say that I’m the type who always has fantastically elaborate or super-creative costumes, but I do enjoy getting the chance to make my own costume every year. The last few years I’ve also enjoyed making my daughter’s costumes. Last year I even made my husband’s. I’m usually scrambling to get them done in time, because I never start early enough, but this year I wanted an excuse to finish a historical garment that was already mostly done (my 1910s dress), so I had some extra time. I’m not the sort of person that likes extra time so I decided I should throw a Halloween party.
Unfortunately, nobody trick-or-treats on my street and so I have no good excuse to decorate the outside of the house, but a party is a reliable backup excuse to decorate the inside of the house. A few years back we did a Sweeney Todd party, and I do have some of the decorations stored in the attic. That was before I had a child, though, and I don’t think that 2 year olds appreciate meat cleavers and bloody handprints. So this year I’m going with something a little more child-friendly, a haunted/enchanted forest. Not super gory but still a little spooky.
These “spooky” eyes are going to be a part of my decorations for the party. A post on sparkly ghosts and maybe some Halloween printables will follow, maybe a bit too late for this Halloween. I really need to get on a slightly earlier schedule, but that’s just not my style. Deadlines. I like deadlines.
Anyhow, these are not a super quick project in the sense of requiring a lot of drying time. In terms of actual active time they are pretty quick, so if you are able to fit in five or ten minutes here and there throughout the day, you could easily get them done in a day. They’re pretty inexpensive, too.
What you’ll need: ping pong balls, glow-in-the-dark paint, a black paint pen, Mod Podge (glossy is best), clear glitter, and a small glitter sampler pack (or at least one shade of iris-colored glitter and one dark colored glitter), E6000.
Start by painting your ping pong balls with the glow in the dark paint. I used a mini-muffin tin lined with tin foil to keep the balls from rolling around. Paint half, let dry for 5 or 10 minutes, then pain the other half. I used 3 coats. The paint did come out a little blotchy, but you won’t really notice it from a distance. If you’re a spray paint sort of person, you could definitely go with spray paint instead.
Once your glow-in-the-dark paint is dry, it’s time to draw on the iris/pupil. I made a small stencil. The pupil area should be about 1 inch in diameter. Draw it in with the paint pen.
Now you will add glittery irises. I chose gold, violet, and green. A fine glitter works best for this. I found the easiest way was to dip the brush in the Mod Podge and then in the glitter and paint it on. If you sprinkle the glitter on or dip the eyeball in glitter, the fine glitter tends to stick slightly to everything and is a bit hard to clean up.
Leave a small circular black space in the center for the pupil, about 1/2 inch. If you get a little glitter in that space, it’s OK because you will cover it up with the dark glitter later.
Now, you will paint the dark glitter into the pupil area. Once that dries, coat the entire white area in clear glitter. Make sure it is clear because otherwise the glow-in-the-dark paint won’t show through. I used a coarse clear glitter and found that for this glitter I got a better coat by rolling the ping pong ball in the glitter; if you use a fine glitter you can paint it on like before. I finished the clear glitter with a final coat of Mod Podge to keep the glitter from getting everywhere.
If you want, you can use the eyeballs just like this. Put them in an apothecary jar or a mason jar for a fun table decoration.
I want to hang them on branches in vases for my table decorations, so I wanted them stuck in pairs.
To make hanging eyeballs, use some E6000. Put a small dab on the seam of each eyeball. On 1/2 of the eyeballs push the free edges of a loop of fishing wire or beading wire into the glue. Let dry for 2-5 minutes, then press two eyeballs together (one with and one without fishing wire). Make sure to line up the glue dabs.
The E6000 requires about 24 hours to cure completely. Then, they’re ready to hang anywhere you want them. Since they glow in the dark, you can hang them on your front porch to spook trick-or-treaters. You could hang them in the bushes, but Mod Podge is not waterproof so they might not weather well if it rains.
Evidently, cats love them, too. I hung one up to take some pictures and Hobbes came right over to check it out.
Stay tuned for some pictures of the spooky eyes in action at my Halloween party!