Make a Sugar Skull (Calavera) Door Knocker

calavera DIY

Halloween will be here before you know it!  This is my favorite holiday to craft and decorate for.  I like decorations that are spooky but not too scary or gory.  One of my favorite fall decorating themes is to make calaveras, or sugar skulls.  These increasingly popular decorative skulls are colorful and whimsical.  They’re perfect for my style of Halloween decorating!  When I saw the just released unfinished wood skulls at Walnut Hollow I knew immediately that I wanted to make a sugar skull.  I put a little twist on it and turned my skull into a sugar skull door knocker.  Keep reading to see how easy it is to make your own!

walnut hollow calavera


  • Walnut Hollow Skull
  • Stencils
  • Americana Multisurface Paint
  • AmericanaTexture Glass
  • Fabric
  • Flower Cabochon
  • Triple Thick Glaze
  • Glue Gun
  • Rope

Step one:  Paint the unfinished Walnut Hollow wood skull with a base color.  I used a pretty sea foam paint.  To speed painting time, I first covered the unfinished wood surface with gesso.  This step is optional, but I like doing it so I have a good base for my paint.  I’ve found that when I use gesso first I only need one application of the multi surface paint to good good coverage.

step 2 calavera

Step two:  Mix a small amount of the Texture Glass with a bit of paint.  Texture Glass creates a glass like finish, and by tinting it you can create high gloss, relief designs on your project.

stencil calavera

Step three:  Place the desired stencil on the painted skull, and carefully smooth the tinted texture paste over the stencil.  Remove the stencil and let the design dry.  When it is dry, seal the project with Triple Thick Glaze.

calavera flower

Step four:  Make two large flowers from fabric.  I used a flower die to die cut Oly*Fun fabric, which is a waterproof,  non fraying fabric.  Roll and make the flowers, and glue a cabochon in the center of each flower.  Glue the flower into the eye sockets of the skull.

last step calavera

Step five:  Cut a 12 inch piece of rope.  Tie a knot in the center, and twist a piece of craft wire into each half of the rope.  This will make it easier to shape the rope.  Bend the rope into a circle shape, and glue the ends behind the base of the skull.

Walnut Hollow Calavera DIY

To finish up the project, I nailed a photo hanger to the back of my sugar skull door knocker.  I then tied a bit of twine through the photo hanger so I could place the hanger on my door using a wreath hanger.  I love how colorful my skull is, and it adds a touch of non-gory spookiness to my front door.  Just how I like to greet my guests around Halloween! Check out Walnut Hollow’s new line of harvest and Halloween wood surfaces, and let me know which one YOU can’t wait to craft with.


Italian born and bred, Morena is the kind of girl who would rather have paint on her fingers than have a manicure. The daughter of two DIYers, she and her husband strive to pass the tradition and value of handmade to their four children. Morena’s passion is using thrifted and inexpensive finds to craft designer inspired creations, and she excels in creating colorful, bold pieces. She is on several design teams, but the best place to find her is at her blog, Morena’s Corner


3 thoughts on “Make a Sugar Skull (Calavera) Door Knocker

  1. Pingback: DIY Calavera Door Knocker - Morena's Corner

    • Of course! It’s a die by Sizzix and Tim Holtz called “Pinecone”. I used the large pinecone version for this project.

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