And, tada, here is my version...
There are a few things about mine that I am not crazy about - mostly the size of the arm bones and the shape of the hand bones. But, I had to work with what I could find and the cheapo bag o' bones came with just long bones - not really sure that they aren't leg bones - and the hands could not be shaped to look any better. Believe me, I tried. I rearranged those bones many, many times and this was the best I could come up with.
I didn't take pictures throughout the process because, frankly, I was doing it on the sun room floor and I had a mess from start to finish. But I can walk you through the process. After the paint dried on the bones, I used my trusty Dremel to drill holes at the ends of the bones and then just threaded through some black wire and wired them in place. I made the bows and attached them the same way. I wasn't sure if I would be happy with the holes in the bones, but honestly, the feathers are so fluffy that they pretty much cover any of the places where you might see the wire - and, keeping the wire black helped it blend into the black of the grape vine easily.
The chalkboard came black, so I just painted on a few coats of purple paint leaving a bit of the border and then used a Sharpie to write my message. I had originally thought I would then go over the words with black paint but liked the way the marker looked so I left it be.
I simply pulled the top hat off of the headband it came on and added a bit of the same ribbon I used for bows to it as well as a few feathers. It is probably a bit smaller than the original, but when I held it up to my skull and tipped it in a jaunty fashion, I was O.K. with it. Until I looked a little more closely at the original top hat and realized that it was "blinged up" a bit with what looks like a spider and a web. And then the BRAINSTORM hit! I remembered that I had some rhinestone spider candle pins that I bought of so many years ago at Bombay Co. They are made to jazz up a plain candle and I use them occasionally but knew I would be happier using one of them on my skelly.
I really just kind of thought that that would be on the back burner until I got around to unpacking my 17 - yes, I said 17 and that doesn't count things that aren't actually boxed up - Rubbermaid containers of Halloween. But the I remembered that they were probably in one - yes, I said one - of the Halloween candle drawers....and I was right. It was a simple matter of popping off the little gem stone that came on the hat - and, quite frankly, would have been fine unless you are as obsessed as I seem to be - and hot gluing on the spider. I like it. I think it gives my skelly "a touch of class"! You could probably get the same effect by glittering up a plastic spider ring or beading a spider of your own...but this was way easier.
I also found a use for one of the glittery Halloween picks I grabbed at HL a few weeks ago. I knew I would be able to use them somewhere just never thought about the wreath until I realized that the original has some "floral" detail so mine should too. And don't you just think it was all meant to be since the colors on the pick match the dots on the ribbon EXACTLY!
I didn't really keep track but I think my version ended up costing about $50. I used coupons every time something wasn't on sale if I could and I used a few things that I already had on hand but if you weren't as fussy as I am about the coverage of the feathers - or even if you just wanted to go with the painted grape vine wreath, you could certainly do this for that amount or even less. My wreath is also 24" so it is pretty big. You could probably get a similar effect with a smaller version for a lot less also. Don't really know why I went so large - it just happened to be the size that moved me when I was at Michaels...and aren't I glad that it did since I had to work with those long bones in the end - haha.
In any case, that completes my knock-offs for this holiday. I will be on the look out for more. Having trouble deciding on my Halloween gifts for this year. That should be up next. Stay tuned.