By Angela Sylvaine
Welcome again to “Creepy Craft Corner,” which features HWA members who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. We hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new!
If you’re like me, you experimented with today’s craft as a child in a genuine attempt to communicate with the dead. We all know those store bought articles are unlikely to work in the calling of demons and ghosts, but this homemade version might well finally open that long sought portal to hell. Today we welcome Lindy Ryan, who is going to talk with us about Spirit Boards!
Welcome to Creepy Craft Corner, Lindy.
Tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote:
Having grown up cutting my teeth on series like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? before discovering my mother’s Hitchcock collection, it’s fair to say horror has always been my first love. I am terribly obsessed with spooky history, monsters, and all-things hauntings, so most of my writing tends to incorporate these three elements. I’ve just finished collaborating as the lead author on a book-to-film horror franchise with a top veteran Hollywood director and an award-winning screenwriter as well as a couple of very cool monster projects currently being shopped by my agent, and am now getting to work on a new body horror novel. When I’m not writing, I’m editing—currently I’m working on Black Spot Book’s inaugural women-in-horror poetry collection, Under Her Skin, which will release in April 2022 and features poems over eighty poems from an incredible array of women—including several Stoker-winning poets, new voices (many in the HWA community), and even a poet laureate!
www.glitterandgravedust.com (Don’t be alarmed: I also write sweet books and films.)
What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today?
I’m not a terribly crafty, but I enjoy celebrating Halloween all year round, and that lends to a certain level of time spent wandering the aisle of hobby stores, trying to figure out what to do with random spooky craft supplies. The craft I’m sharing is a homemade spirit board I made for a divination-themed party a few years ago. I don’t make these to sell, but they do tend to be an item that gets a lot of “how to” inquiries. Luckily, they’re pretty simple to make—it just takes a little time, some patience, and a willingness to burn a finger (or four).
What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves?
Making the board is fairly simple, but it is a little labor intensive and requires some special tools. Here’s what you need:
- A solid piece of board, which you can find at any craft store. I chose 8.5×11.
- A spirit board stencil, to help with etching on the alphabet. (This is the one I bought, or you can also make your own with a sheet of stencil stock and a fixed razor but frankly that sounds a little too dangerous for my taste.)
- Painters tape, to hold your stencil in place.
- A pencil, or fine tip Sharpie, to trace out your stencil.
- A wood burning tool.
- A small pot of wood stain. (Stain only; you don’t want the tackiness of a poly/stain two-in-one.)
- Sand paper, finishing grain.
- Polyurethane (I prefer spray).
- A planchette of choice.
- Spirits of the dearly departed and/or a demonic entity, willing to communicate.
- Make sure your wood is clean and dry. No need to sand beforehand.
- Tape your stencil in place, then trace/hand draw on your lettering, etc.
- Starting at the top right, work your way across and down to burn out the letters, etc. This takes time. I do mine kind of rough and intentionally uneven just to give the thing a more authentic vibe, but you do you.
- Once you’ve burned everything, you can sand down as desired just to rough out any edges.
- Put on one to two coats of stain, wiping off excess and sanding lightly between.
- When you’re satisfied with your color, apply one to two coats of poly to achieve your desired level of shine (note: sliding planchettes across the board is easier the slicker it is). Sand as desired to finish.
- Place on candle lit table and commence communion with the dead.
Thank you so much for joining us, Lindy! I can’t wait to try this craft for myself. Until next month, keep it crafty!
Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. Her debut novella, Chopping Spree, is available now. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple publications and anthologies, including Places We Fear to Tread and Not All Monsters. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.
Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com
Note: Due to an overwhelming response from talented creators, I am not currently accepting new submissions for Creepy Craft Corner. I will post in the HWA newsletter and on Twitter when I reopen to submissions.