Friday, October 27, 2017

Tim Holtz Halloween Village Lantern

Well, it's taken me quite awhile, but I have finally completed my biggest lantern scene yet! I've been itching to create a complex scene in this really big lantern I've been lugging around for two years now. I hope you like it! It's just in time lol. If you are interested in the tutorial, it is all the way at the end of the post (which is long!)

The whole lantern stands about 29 inches tall.

Eek! A giant spider is attacking the village ha ha.

I made some custom muslin "ribbon" for the top.
See how in the tutorial.
I built the whole village on a base that could just slide right into the lantern since it opens from the top. It was much easier that way!

Also, I wired it up with little LED lights!

It looks so cool in the dark!

The manor house is also outfitted with a strobe pumpkin light. Tim Holtz did this for his manor house tutorial video and I thought it looked so cool I had to try it too. Unfortunately my video tech is sorely lacking and I couldn't get a good video of it in action in low light. So check out Tim's instead lol. It looks like that minus the sound effects.

On to more village closeups!

Of course the little church needed a spooky graveyard. I also put plenty of bats in the belfry! More of the graveyard continues around the back.

I colored the windows of the church with some bright colors of alcohol ink so they would shine like stained glass windows when the lights are on.

I used Clearly for Art Modeling Film for the ghosts. Heat the plastic and it can be
molded in a rippled, ghostly manner. Once it cools it stays put!
Each of the brownstones has a different look (because why not?)

Grit Paste and the brick and stone mini stencils are perfect for adding texture to the houses.

The roof of the yellow house is made from wood veneer tape!

Now let's go visit the mad scientist who lives on top of the hill. I hear he's invented a death ray…

He's the type to have a steam punkin' of course. (I covered a mini resin pumpkin with
pieces of metal foil tape and antiqued it with black alcohol ink.)
If you'd like to see some 'how-to' info, keep on scrolling! It's coming. Otherwise, thank you for stopping by to see my project. =)

I'm entering this project into the following challenges:

• the Frilly & Funkie Trick or Treat Challenge. The treat is that the hidden lights are on a timer so as night falls they pop on!

• the Emerald Creek Dares Freaky Fun! Challenge. This project is definitely full of freaky Halloween fun.

• the SanDee & amelie's Steampunk Anything Goes Challenge. I think our mad scientist is definitely a steampunk type fellow. Look at all his gears he left laying around!

Dies Used: 
Sizzix (all Tim Holtz):
Village Dwelling (Sizzix / SSS
Village Manor (Sizzix / SSS
Village Brownstone (Sizzix / SSS)
Village Bell Tower (Sizzix / SSS
Village Rooftops (Sizzix / SSS
Village Bungalow (Sizzix / SSS
Village Landscape (Sizzix / SSS
Village Graveyard (Sizzix / SSS
Witchcraft (Sizzix / SSS)
Halloween Shadows (retired strip die)
Crescent Moon & Stars (Sizzix / SSS)
Vintage Spirits (Sizzix / SSS)
Candlelight Fright (retired / SSS)

Other supplies:
Stampers Anonymouse – Joyful Song
Tim Holtz Layering Stencils – Mini Set 28, ZigZag, Batground
Tim Holtz Mini Pumpkins
Tim Holtz Sprocket Gears & Mini Gears
Tim Holtz Fringe
Wood Veneer Tape (link for cherry wood color, I had birch, same brand though)
Wendy Vecchi Clearly for Art Modeling Film - Whiteout
Distress Ink – Black Soot, Ground Espresso, Pine Needles, Peeled Paint, Hickory Smoke, Forest Moss
Distress Ink Oxides – Antique Linen
Archvial Ink – Jet Black, Watering Can, Tree Branch, Tiger Lily, Orange Blossom
Alcohol Ink – Silver Mixative, Mushroom, Pitch Black, Butterscotch, Stream, Raspberry
Distress Stain – Hickory Smoke, Pumice Stone, Gathered Twigs
Distress Paint – Black Soot, Mustard Seed, Wild Honey 
Ranger Texture Paste, Distress Grit Paste, Distress Collage Medium, Wendy Vecchi Crackled Texture Paste, Simon Says Stamp and Sizzix links in this post are affiliate links which do not affect the price you pay but allow me to earn a small percentage of a sale. Thanks! (My husband also says thanks!)

TUTORIAL TIME!! You stuck in there, good for you!

I'm mainly going to talk about the base construction and lighting. There are lots of videos on how to put together the houses – Tim Holtz has really good ones on his blog.

To start, I made some quick little house mockups so I could move them around and get an idea of how I was going to fill up the space in the lantern.

Next I moved to making mockup pillars to play with the heights of the houses. It helped me to visualize the 3-D space.

Once I established the proper spacing, I cut the base and support pillars out of foam core board. (Truly a wonder of a substrate.) I used a glue gun to fasten all the structures in place.

The platform for the manor house got a 'pavement' treatment using Texture Paste and the Mini Stencil Set #28.

 I used crumpled newspaper as filler around the rises and taped it into place.

Time for the plaster cloth! This is plaster impregnated cheesecloth that you dip in water and then form around your landscape feature. It's commonly used in model railroad landscaping. It was really easy to use but a bit messy. I had my work surface well covered with plastic.

Before the plaster had completely set up, I checked to make sure that nothing was sticking out beyond the edges of my hexagonal base. That would have been a major bummer to have it hitting the glass walls of the lantern!

Bright white wasn't exactly the look I was going for so I first sprayed it with a DecoArt Media Carbon Black Mister (it's permanent when dry). Then I painted over that with various Deco Art Media Liquid Acrylics in greens, greys and browns. I also kept in mind that I'd be covering parts in landscaping foam later on.

The mister made it really easy to quickly lay down a base
coat and get in the nooks & crannies.

Once I finished the base, I made all the houses. (Insert long pause for all the time it took to make the houses.) Then it was time to figure out the lighting. I made loops of the light strand to fit under each building and played around with the spacing until I had it all evenly distributed. I temporarily taped it into place while I was figuring it out.

When it was all set, I hot glued each loop in its spot. With the loops glued, I could fiddle around with the extra wire in between the loops and tuck it away and glue it into place too.

Any shiny copper wire that was going to show I painted over with black or grey paint.

I rigged my strobe light like Tim suggested in his Manor House Tutorial video. I also wanted the manor to be lit like the others so I wrapped a portion of the light strand around the strobe battery box. I did not glue it down because I want to be able to change the batteries for the strobe. The manor house can lift off the base so I can turn on the strobes. The other houses are glued down.

The battery box for the lights is tucked up under the lantern lid. It is fastened in place with heavy duty Velcro Extreme Outdoor strips. Probably overkill, but I didn't want to risk the battery box coming loose and squishing my scene!

For the top decoration, I tore strips of muslin and stenciled on them with archival inks. I also had some black sari silk ribbon which looked good with the frayed muslin.

Whew! This is an epic post! I think it even beats my Atlantis Steampunk Journal post. I really appreciate you taking time to view my post. I hope you have a fab weekend and a happy Halloween!


  1. Absolutely gorgeous Lisa, wonderful details and so worth all the time you have spent creating this. Fantastic. Tracy x

  2. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wowzers!!!!! Your creativity and the details are superb, I so enjoyed this as I am sure you will for years! Thank you for sharing :)

  3. Amazing blog. Thank you for all the details!

  4. Well, it was certainly worth waiting for Lisa, your creation is absolutely stunning!!! This has to be the best Halloween creation I have seen this year - I LOVE it!!! Anne xx

  5. This is an absolute, true masterpiece. I love this so much. The base and the lighting are wonderful. You have so many details I would never have thought of (and my main craft is making little houses). Very inspirational. Thank you for sharing the details of making the base.
    P.S. I keep going over it and finding more incredible details.

  6. Wowzers!! I tip my hat to you! No way could I do all that! And it's INCREDIBLE!

  7. amazing! I am too late for Halloween but this idea is a keeper for christmas

  8. Wow!! This is totally epic and totally brilliant and totally freakin' awesome!!!! So much amazing detail and absa-bloomin-lutely fantabulous!! Oh how I would love to make something similar but would never be able to come up to your standard. Thank you for sharing this incredible piece of art!! x

  9. This is simply fantastic. I will have to see if I can find a large lantern to create my own! Thank you for sharing your lighting and base creation. This is a truly spectacular creation.

  10. This is REALLY incredible!!! What an undertaking!!! You did a fabulous job!!!!!!

  11. wow Lisa, this is just jaw dropping, the amount of work you put in to making your fabulous spooky lantern scene deserves an Oscar...this is definitely an item of home décor to treasure xxx

  12. Such an incredible masterpiece, Lisa! I love your mad inventor who lives on top of your masterly built cliff (of course he is a steampunk guy...what else!), I love how you have arranged all the buildings, the graveyard and all the other lovely details to form this enchanting and magical scene! I am sure this piece will be treasured for ages and always have a special spot to sit on around Halloween!

    Thank you so much for sharing your fantastic project with us at SASPC!

    Claudia xx

  13. Bravo! BRAVO!!! I wish you could have seen the expression on my face when I opened your blog! This is one fabulous Dr. Suess style scene--INCREDIBLE! I am loving that cliff, and I'm so pleased you shared your step by step on the construction! Makes me what to get out my supplies and make something 3D. Every little detail just thrills me! I'm so happy you shared this brilliant piece of Halloween decor with us at Frilly and Funkie! What a TREAT! Hugs! Sara Emily

  14. oh my goodness, what a beautiful spooky town. i love it so much . Thanks fpr showing us on SASPC. Hugs
    Alexa DT

  15. Une pure merveille ce chef d' oeuvre ,merci de participer à notre challenge Sandee & Amélie's , à bientôt NATE

  16. Wow this is a masterpiece! Love the tiny lights as your trick in this overall gorgeous townscape! Fabulous design! Thanks for playing along in the Frilly and Funkie Trick or Treat challenge!

  17. This is stunning and so detailed with all the little houses, the Halloween embellishments and the lights. Thanks for sharing your process and thanks for joining us at Frilly and Funkie.

  18. WOW Lisa!!! I mean, WOW!!!! The hours you've put into constructing this incredible village is SO worth it. I love that you've gone to town on the landscaping to match each of those fabulous dwellings. I've spent so much time looking at each picture and see something new every time. Thank you for sharing with us at Frilly and Funkie xx

  19. Wow - stunning - that must have taken hours and hours - what a fabulous piece of art!

  20. Congratulations on your win at Frilly and Funkie! This is so freaking amazing! Hugs!

  21. This is one of the most amazing villages I have ever seen. Absolutely amazing. Your tutorial is fabulous. Such detail! Congratulations on winning at F and F. Even though I haven't seen the other entries, I know that your win is well earned and well deserved. I'll be coming back to look at this gem of a village again and again, because not only is it fun to look at, it also a marvel to behold. It reminds me of Dinat, Belgium, along the Meuse River.

  22. WOW, is an understatement!!! exceptionally well planned. Love how you created the rocky base. This is a piece you want to keep looking at to discover all the details. Great Work!


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