DIY Skull Crystal Balls

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know I’ve been cooking up some spooky fun with my Sprout by HP and its 3D scanning technology. A couple things before we get started: 1. This post is sponsored by HP.* They sent me the new 3D scanning platform so I could use it for this project. 2. I’m a complete newbie to 3D design. 3D scanning and printing seem so futuristic and overwhelming. But if I can do this, anybody can. And, 3. I’m late for everything, so I’m giving myself 10 bonus points for doing a Halloween project before the month of October. 😉Crystal BallsIf you need a refresher on the Sprout all in one desktop, you can check out my previous posts here and here. Or check out the Sprout Creator Gallery to see all the other fancy things people are doing with the Sprout. Sprout has also unleashed a host of new updates, including a Stop Motion app; and dual-screen Adobe Illustrator capabilities. I can’t wait to try them out! For this project, HP challenged me delve even further into Sprout’s capabilities. I think Bryce was initially more excited about 3D scanning than I was. And to show him how easily he could use the 3D platform for his work, I did a test-run with one of our creepy Halloween skulls. After the skull, I scanned in a bunch of fruit, but that skull was haunting me. So I ditched the fruit and turned this into a Halloween project.

Sprout 3D ScanningHere’s a look at the scanning process. Sprout guides you through the whole thing step-by-step. First you plug in the 3D platform, and let it calibrate; then it tells you where to put your object. Hint: glue dots work wonders to keep your object in place. And use a blob of play-doh as a wedge to scan tricky surfaces.

Sprout 3D ScanNext, Sprout scans your object in eight different segments. As each segment scans, you see it pop up on the screen. After the whole cycle is through, you simply reposition the object on the stage so Sprout can scan the missing surfaces. You can scan through as many cycles as you need to make sure the whole surface is scanned. When you’re done, Sprout magically merges all the scans into one complete 3D object. 

Sprout 3D EditorThen, you can open your object in the 3D editor. Here you can play with the size, orientation, and outside surface of the object. I’m not going to lie…I actually had a great time flinging the skull around just to watch it spin. Also, sorry about my creepy witch fingers. I’m double-jointed. But this is a Halloween post…so it’s perfectly festive.

3D ManipulationYou can resize things without losing quality or detail. 

Sprout 3DOr make it smaller. After you’re done pretending to hold a tiny skull in your fingers, get back to work. From here, you can choose to send your object to a 3D printer; or save it as a 2D image. I turned my skull into a series of 2D images showing different surfaces of the skull. 
SkullsThen I printed them on transparency; and made these creepy crystal balls. This project is inspired by these amazing crystal ball candlesticks by Flamingo Toes. She’s got a great in-depth tutorial, so hop over there for more details. 

Halloween SkullsI followed Bev’s instructions for the crystal ball part; and instead of using candlesticks, I spray painted a bunch of treat cups, turned them upside-down, poked a hole through the bottom, and hot glued the ornament into the hole. 
DIY Skull DecorationsI used the largest clear ornaments I could find this time of year (4″). How fun would it be to do a mini-size?! For the base, you could use small paper cups, or even toilet paper tubes cut in half. I discovered it’s best to leave the bottom of the cup white, otherwise, the skulls are hard to see. We’ve had these on the table for a few days, and I still get creeped out when I catch a glimpse of a floating skull as I walk into the kitchen. 
Skull Crystal BallsHere’s one final shot of Mr. Skull and his ghostly mini-me. In the 3D design software, I took the outer surface off…so what I printed is just the “structure” of the scan. Like a skeleton of a skeleton. I thought it looked creepier this way. But you can also edit your objects to look like wood or metal which is super cool.
DIY Halloween Crystal BallI’m always on the lookout for awesome, yet inexpensive Halloween decorations; and this fits the bill perfectly! Since they’re visible from both sides, these would make fantastic centerpieces for a spooky Halloween dinner. Or make a tiny version as a place card! You could also put a battery-operated tea light in the opening in the ornament to give it a glowing effect.

Oh, and I made a printable of the skulls for you. Download it, print them out on transparencies, and then follow Bev’s instructions for making the crystal balls. Happy Haunting!

*This post is sponsored by HP. Photos and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support my work! (If you want more information on how I work with brands and sponsors, read my fancy pants disclose here.)


  1. Betsy September 18, 2015

    How do I access the printable of the skulls. This is so great looking.

    • christina September 20, 2015

      Hi Betsy!
      The printable is linked to the words “printable of the skulls” in the last paragraph.
      But I’m also attaching it here for you: Skull Printable Have a great day!


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