Whats This? Make Your Own Life Size Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington

What’s this theirs magic in the air! What’s this build your own Jack Skellington! At our house we love The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington is our favorite character. I wanted to share it with everyone. My hope is to have a few charters from the Nightmare Before Christmas throughout our Halloween decorations. In the future I would like to make Oogie boogie, Sally, zero etc. This project is very time-consuming. It took me a few months to work on it spreading it out over the weekends mainly. You could finish it maybe in a few days if you have the time to dedicate to it. I would estimate I spent close to $100 to make him.

Here is the DIY on each thing  to make the full Jack Skellington.

Jack’s Head

live size jack skellington nightmare before christmasTo start the project I started working on the pumpkin kings head, it’s made of paper mache, paper paste, spray paint, acrylic paint, wall joint compound, and PVC pipe

I used a punching balloon for the base. A 20-inch beach ball might work better to make his head. With the balloon or beach ball inflated start covering it with your newspaper cut into strips 1-2 inch strips wide and 5-8 inches long. Use this mixture Elmer’s glue 1/2 cup to 1/2 cup of water ratio to cover the strips in. dip a paintbrush in the mixture, painting some glue onto the balloon stick the strip down and then painted the strip on. Cover the whole thing until the balloon or beach ball is no longer showing. Repeat this process 2-3 times so you have a total of 3-4 layers. I allowed each layer to dry before adding the next layer.

Cut eye holes and mouth

Once it’s all dry you will want to cut the holes for the eyes and nose also mark the mouth. What I did was draw on the eyes nose and mouth with a pencil until it was where I wanted it. Then I took a kitchen knife to cut out the eyes and nose holes, this did break the balloon in the middle. I then carefully pulled all the balloon pieces from my eye holes.

This picture is my first attempt at the face but it’s the only pic I had of the newspaper part. The next step you will need to take strips of newspaper dipped in the paste to make the eye sockets you lay it across the eye and let it slide to the depth you want. Then fill it in until the hole is no longer a hole.
paper mache jack skellington

Next step is to fill the whole outside and eye sockets with paper paste this makes it stronger and more filled out for details. I used the following recipe for the paste.

1 Roll of inexpensive toilet paper. Do not use Costco or an expensive brand it doesn’t break down as well
2 tbs of Mineral Oil (baby oil)
1 cup of regular, all-purpose joint compound
3/4 cup of flour
3/4 cup of Paper Mache Paste Source





Paper clay

Take the paper clay and start placing it all over the head. I put it fairly thin on the whole head. Around the eyes, nose and mouth I built it up to and edge to help bring out the features more. On the mouth, I left the line in the middle open and just built up around the line.


At this point, you can add the pipe or an attachment piece. If you do the pipe you connect the head directly onto the shoulders. If you do the attachment piece you would attach it to a neck

Cut Teeth

Once this is all dry take a Dremel tool and cut out the slits for the teeth. Then take sanding paper or a sander and sand it down I used 220 grit piece. The paper clay I had was pretty lumpy you might be able to get yours less lumpy then I did when you make the paper clay. Once I had it all sanded down I took the joint compound and filled in all the holes and lumps etc. I had to make it more smooth it was bugging me. Sanded it to get it more smooth using the joint compound. Make sure it’s dry before you sand. This picture below is before I filled it in with joint compound

After it is all smooth to your liking take something to wipe the excess powder off with a towel, compressor hose, etc will do the trick. Now you can add spray paint it I used Rust-Oleum white. After it is coated well and dried you can take your black acrylic paint and paint in the black for the eyes, nose, and mouth.

The last step for the head seal it with clear spray paint.

paper mache and paper mache jack skellington






















Jack’s Bones

You may want to make yours a little shorter or different. Currently, I have mine leaning against the wall till I find a better solution. When I find one I will update this post.

I took the current lengths and put them together.1 inch PVC pipe cut to shoulder to elbow 13 inches, elbow to hand 14 inches, the neck is 5 inches, shoulders and hips are cut to 3 1/2 inches each, middle body 23 Inches, thighs 15 inches, knee to foot 13 inches.

Start with a board for the base with floor flanges attached. To get the distance of where I needed the floor flanges I put his legs and hips together then drilled the flanges onto the board.

4 90 degree connectors, 4 45 degree connectors (you could do two more to adjust arms differently), 4 connector piece, 3 connector piece




Jack’s Shoes

You will want to build shoes for him. I took a box of soda cut it up and made it look like shoes by taped it with masking tape, then I added some paper clay, and spray painted it black I used Rust-Oleum black spray paint.

Leave holes so the PVC pipe can fit in it.



Jack’s Clothes

After you put it all together put the white shirt on it then stuff it with filling. Sew the bottom and leave a hole for the PVC pipe to fit. I used safety pins to hold the top part together you could sew this too I find it easier to adjust things when I need to just have safety pins.


Fit the jacket

Take a thrift store cotton sports jacket and fitted it to the arms. I added black fabric to lengthen it( his arms are really long) and add tails. The picture with my son shows how long the arms are, they reach his feet.




Next, I took black yoga pants and I fitted them to the legs. After you’ve got it to where its all fitted you can start painting the puffy paint stripes on it to turn it into the black pin-striped suit. The white stripes are made from white and glow in the dark puffy paint together to give it an extra pow. It ended up taking 2 white and 1 glow in the dark paint to get it all stripped. I took the paint and mixed it all then poured it back in the bottles. Lay the clothes on a table and started painting the stripes on. Let it dry overnight before turning it over to add it to the back side.20150903_175621

Now you can dress him I added filling to the crotch part of the pants to make it more filled.




Jack’ s Hands

I took wire put a 12mm spray painted black bead on the end. If you can find black beads it’s better to use them then to spray painting some. Next, I molded air dry clay for the white parts on the hand and strung on the beads as I went. Once I had created the fingers I used duct tape and taped the wires together. Then I filled the top and bottom with air dry clay. The wires stuck out the back so then I attached it to a PVC coupling (one where you can connect two pipes), taping the wire and hand to it then added it to the arm. Make sure you use black tape it helps hide it better.


jack skellington hand clay and beads


Bat Tie

I drew on the foam paper in pencil then cut it out. It took 3 foam pages to make this tie, 2 pages for the wings and 1 for the bat head.jack skellington bat wing tie

Bat face

  • Cut out the shape then take the edges and cut slits in it and glue it together to make it more 3D.
  • Then take 2 flat pieces to cover the face and make it more smooth if you don’t do this then it doesn’t look as nice.
  • Next, draw the lines and eyes with the white puffy paint.


Jack skellington bat wing tie 2

Back of Bat

  • On the back, I laid out the wire and Put the duct tape over it to hold it on.
  • Add the elastic band onto the bat. I hot glued it to the back of the bat head.
  • Now you can add it around his neck and bend the wires on the back.



The Total Look

life size jack skellington

Christmas Outfit

life size christmas jack skellington

I used 3 yards of red fleece fabric I think it might have been too much so I do have extra. I took the Halloween pants and cut out the red fabric the same length and width, I did this with the jacket too.  This way the legs and arms were to the correct length. Then added the white fluffy fabric around the neck hole, the base of pants, hat trim, nd beard. The white fluffy fur fabric is impossible to cut without getting the fluffy part all over so keep that in mind when cutting.

To make the boots I added black fabric around the bottom of the pants and used his shoes as the base.

For the hat, I measured his head and cut out the red fleece to fit. I double checked with the fabric around the head to make sure I cut it right. once Then I sewed the fabric and added the white fluffy fabric to the edge and a ball for the other end















Items you will need for the project- 

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  1. Newspaper the black and white sections work the best (I used a lot of the ads but they tend to fall off easier)
  2. White Elmer’s glue or off brand (1/2 water to 1/2 Elmer’s glue ratio for paper mache paste)
  3. Toilet paper the cheap kind
  4. Cheap paint brush
  5. Joint compound I bought the premixed can.
  6. 1 inch PVC pipe 4 8 ft lengths
  7. beach ball
  8. 220 sand paper
  9. 1 Inch for all:2 PVC connectors to connect to the floor flanges, 4 90 degree connectors, 4 45 degree connectors (you could do two more to adjust arms), 4 sided connector piece cross style , 3 sided connector piece, 2 pipe couplings that will connect the hands to the body. (please note some of these links are for more then 1 peice)
  10. 2 Floor flanges plus 8 screws check your board so you don’t go through. The link isn’t the same as the one I used its more for a reference 🙂
  11. wood board
  12. Clear spray paint
  13. White spray paint
  14. black spray paint
  15. black acrylic paint
  16. thrift store pants, jacket, white shirt,
  17. puffy paint 2-3 white, glow in the dark if you want
  18. Air dry clay
  19. 12 mm beads
  20. 3 foam black paper sheets
  21. wire
  22. black tape ( I used gorilla glue duct tape)
  23. elastic 4 inches to be safe 🙂
  24. Black fabric 2 yards
  25. stuffing for body and hip filling
  26. Hot glue gun and a few glue sticks
  27. Red felt fabric 3 yards
  28. white fluffy fake fur fabric (Christmas outfit) 2 yards
  29. safety pins

I really enjoyed making this project it did take a lot of time. This will be something you can be used for years to come. If you make one post it in the comments!

I originally got this idea from a youtube video

Here is the source



Please note while I do DIY and tutorials I am by no means a professional please read through each post carefully and consult a professional when needed.  I will not be responsible for injuries or damages while following a tutorial from my site. All tutorials are done at your own risk. Please be safe and smart while doing projects.

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