Thursday, October 2, 2014

Halloween Cubic 3D Skull Assembl or "mounty Guide

Is that a ghoulish grin? Or a haunted hello?
Our new, slightly steam punk 3d Halloween skull decoration
will add some "life" (or do I mean death)
to your Halloween decor.
Built as a box with jaw extension, back supports that let him lean,
and decor shapes that give the appearance
that his skull is really metal panels.

Each "plane" of his head includes fun details:
port hole eyes, grille/buckle nose, gear teeth,
gear ring ears, disc-n-twine disc closure on top,
vent on back.
He is a substantial size at approx. 4.5" wide x 6.5" tall x 4.25" deep.
(I don't normally promote skeletons as Halloween decor, 
but think you'll have fun with this one.)

Available now as a cut file from SnapDragon Snippets,
through the Silhouette American online store, and soon from 
SVG Attic, and SnapDragon .

1. Identify and cut the shapes.
A face and box bottom
B box top and back flap
C side panels
D face panel overlay
E jaw section
F supports for back to create "lean"

Also cut and organize the decor shapes. Shown here are all the panels that correspond to the base shapes in the image above.

Not shown are the bolt head punch dots that will fit into all the hollow circles in the panels.

(Please NOTE that the back panel decor shape has been changed from what is shown here in the final cut file. The vent panel has been shortened and moved to the top of the back panel.)

2. Prepare the top disc closure detail for the box top panel decor. position (and very lightly glue at circle cutout edge only, if desired) disc circles over center edge circle punches. Insert eyelets through both layers.

Of course, you may simply glue the discs in place without the eyelets, if preferred.

Use appropriate tools to set the eyelets.

3. Attach a 7-8 inch length of twine between disc and back panel using glue and a tool to help push it in as deep as possible, to simulate the conventional envelope disc closure.

4. Pre-fold the panels on cross perforation lines and at tab edges, all as inward or "mountain" folds. 

Assemble decor panels and contrast details onto side and top/back panels before assembling the box, to allow flat surfaces for smooth and thorough gluing.

This image shows the back, top and side panel decor shapes in place on the box base. You can see that the top has the two panels explained in Steps 2-3, and the side panels have a main shape, plus front and lower strips, with "ear" gear contrast outer and inner shapes that are roughly centered on the main panel.

5. Join side panels to front panel side edges, overlapping front edges over side tabs as precisely as possible (here and throughout).

6. Join top/back panel to the upper straight edge of the box front panel.

7. Fold the box into preliminary shape to bring the lower side edge to overlap the main panel's lower tab perforation line, and glue securely in place.

Leave the remaining box assembly until later in the construction process.

8. Prepare the jaw shape by folding on all cross perforation lines as inward or "mountain" folds. Fold tabs inward.

9. Fold back side reinforcement sections inward (being shown in this image) so that they lie behind the main section of the jaw and glue flat in place.

10. Add all decor shapes onto the front of the jaw section, including the contrast teeth base strips and teeth shapes.

11. Fold the lower teeth edge tabs back and glue in place.

12. Fold the under jaw panel back so that it's side tabs align with the lower straight edge of the side jaw (with decor shapes in place). Align edge and perforation line and glue in place. Repeat for the opposite side of jaw.

It will be helpful to invert the jaw assembly onto a flat surface so that pressure can be applied to the tab seam with finger(s) that can reach inside the jaw to press.

13. Fold the jaw's back rim tab back and glue in place.

14. Fold the box so that the back short section's side tabs line up with the back jaw edges, and glue both in place.

15. Fold the upper jar (near top teeth) front tabs back. Position the assembled face panel over the tabs so that the lower inner straight edges line up with the perf line. Adjust for accurate alignment, then glue in place.

Glue both face sides to jaw panel tabs in this manner.

16. Fold the face panel lower wide tab back and under the face panel and glue in place.

Here is the completed face with jaw assembly.

17. Apply sufficient adhesive to the upper face panel backside, then position it over the box front panel, align edges, and glue in place.

NOTE that the jaw assembly will slide into place below the box's front panel snugly, and is still loose at this point.

Turn the assembly with the face panel face down on a flat surface and apply thorough pressure to the entire face area surface to ensure a complete and smooth join.

18. Apply glue to the back side of the wide jaw side tabs, then re-position along the underside of the box. NOTE that the tab edges should line up with the box panel edges.

19. Fold the box back panel side tabs inward and glue in place (as panel rims)

20. Fold the box so that the top panel side tab perforation lines align with the straight top edges of the side panels. Align edge and perf line and glue in place. 

Complete both side top seams.

21. Prepare the back supports pair by folding inward at the center fold, and folding top tabs outward. Glue the main sections together, leaving tabs unattached.

22. Insert the tabs through the lower back flap so that the tabs create a sort of arrow shape on the inside that is pointing INTO the box, as shown. Adjust so that the tab perf lines are at slot edges (that is, supports are fully extended to the outside of the box), and glue in place.

23. Fol the lower flap up into place at the box assembly backside. 

Fold the back panel into position, inserting the support ends through the slots at the same time.

24. Adjust the back panel so that supports are extended fully outward, and at the same time, insert lower edge tabs into edge slots. to completely close the box.

NOTE:  if you wish to use the 3d Skull as a container, follow the closure assembly steps as described. If this piece will be purely decorative, you may wish to glue the back panel into place over the back flap. Apply adhesive to the surfaces that will join, including the side back flaps, etc.

25. The final step in the assembly is to position and glue the multitude of screw head circles into their recesses on all panels.

(Of course, you could have done this earlier, but for me this is a little bit like frosting the cake!)
Screw head circles are located on every panel on the skull.


  1. I can hardly wait for the rest of the tutorial. Could you please tell me what paper you used for construction of the skull base?


    1. Sorry about delay. Busy design time for us. The paper I used is Simple Stories Urban Traveler 2917 Grey Concrete/Chevron with a 2013 copyright. It may have come from a convention vendor closeout, and may be difficult to find. I actually bought it for the side you don't really see in this project. Ii fit all the decor pieces onto one 12x12 on my Cameo my moving and snugging them side by side. Hope this is helpful.

    2. The response above is for the "decor" paper. The "base uses a cement off-white/gray bazzil cardstock.