DIY Pallet skull sign

I love skeletons! When I was in college, I use to take x-rays. It was pretty neat to see the inside of the body, but my most favorite x-rays to take and view were BONES! Any kind of bone in the skeleton. I thought it was just so neat! Anyway, I have kind of an obsession with the skeleton and skulls! This project turned out so much better than I imagined.


  • old pallet wood to build a pallet sign
  • staple gun or nail gun
  • wood glue
  • jig saw
  • sand paper or palm sander (120-150 Grit)
  • wood clamps
  • work gloves
  • safety glasses
  • pencil
  • large piece of paper or 2 taped together
  • skull pattern
  • carbon transfer paper
  • Ebony stain
  • white paint
  • Color Shot spray paint (Color=Bubble Bath)–optional
  • black sharpie paint marker
  • black glitter medium –optional

Step 1: Building your pallet sign/base for you pallet skull

To begin this project, you will need to build a pallet sign/base to work with. We have a great tutorial on how to do so, with easy to follow steps. You may want to build a much smaller sign/base because this skull actually measures approx 10×14 inches.

Step 2: Cutting the shape of your pallet skull and prepping it to be painted

After you have your pallet sign/base built, you want to decide on the shape of your skull. I free handed mine on 2 pieces of paper, taped together, and folded in half (so both sides would be the exact same). Once you have the shape of your skull cut out the pattern and trace it on the pallet sign/base.

When you have a visible line drawn on your pallet sign/base, put on your work gloves and safety glasses. Clamp your pallet sign/base to the edge of your work table and begin cutting it out with the jig saw. You might need to un-clamp and re-clamp it several times as you rotate it around so you can get it all cut out.

When you have the basic shape of the skull cut out, you are going to soften up the edges. You will do this by using sand paper or a palm sander and sanding along the edges and corners to smooth it over. You don’t want any rough edges that will snag of things or cause slivers, so look over it real well before you move to the nest step.

After all rough edges and sides have been smoothed out, paint your whole pallet skull white. I used 2-3 coats of paint using my 15-minute quick-dry painting technique.

Step 4: Antiquing your pallet skull

When your white paint has dried completely, you are going to sand the whole surface down to antique it up a bit. Pay close attention to the edges as you do this step. The more you sand, the more the paint comes off.

Once you have antiqued your pallet skull, blow off or brush off all the saw dust from sanding. Make sure your surface is cleaned off. Now you are going to stain it with the Ebony stain.

Using an old towel, dip a corner into the stain and spread it all over the skull. Next use another old towel (or different section), that doesn’t have stain on it to wipe off any excess stain from the skull. The harder you wipe the more the stain is removed. Set it aside to dry.
**Your pallet skull is going to be almost black. Don’t worry about this, you are going to lighten it up in the next step, after the stain dries.

When your stain is dry, using the sand paper or palm sander, sand down the surface (It goes much faster and easier with a palm sander). You are doing this to lighten the stain. The more you sand, the more stain you remove. Watch closely, sometimes it removes the paint as well (which can also add to the antiqued look).

Step 5: Designing and painting your pallet skull face

After you have lightened the stain, by sanding, brush all the saw dust off. Make sure the surface is clean once again. In a well ventilated area, spray paint your pallet skull with the Color Shot Bubble Bath spray paint. This will give it the shimmery affect. If you don’t want the shimmery effect, skip this step. Let the spray paint dry for a good long time before trying to trace your pallet skull face.

While you are waiting for this to dry, decide on and print or draw your skull face. I printed mine and then measured it to my pallet skull size and shape. I had to enlarge it a few times before I liked how it looked and I also had to draw in a few extra lines/parts that weren’t there. My Skull was wider than the skull face I chose.

Once you have your skull face design, using carbon transfer paper, you are going to trace the design onto your pallet skull. Place your pattern on your pallet skull, gently lift the pattern one side at a time and place a piece of carbon paper underneath the pattern (shiny side down). Using a pencil, begin tracing the face onto your pallet skull.

After you have traced the whole face onto your pallet skull, you are going to paint it in, using a black sharpie paint marker. I always outline the area first and then fill it in.

Once you have painted the whole face on, it should be dry. It dries pretty quickly. Now it’s time to paint on the black glitter medium. How to make your own glitter medium is a great resource for your glitter medium. You are going to paint it on just like you would with regular paint. This step is optional. Once I applied mine, I realized you couldn’t really tell there was glitter there. I think it’s because of the kind of glitter I got. If you use holographic glitter, you’ll be able to see it much better.

If you do decide to do the glitter medium, make sure it is dry before you stand it up because you don’t want it to run and ruin all your hard work.

This pallet skull is a fun decoration to add to your Halloween home decor. It was pretty easy to make, you just need to be patient with the dry times. Defiantly worth the work and patience!

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