Tag Archives: arts & crafts

Make a Japanese “Weather Ghost” Charm


When I used to teach in Japan, I would occasionally come to school to find the windows of some of my students’ classrooms covered in what looked like little paper ghosts. The students would make them before a school outing, or before their Sports Day. They could appear at any time of the year, so they weren’t Halloween decorations…so what were they? [Read more]


Leave a comment

Filed under Art & Expression, Shinto / Japanese Religion

The Finished Holly Kings

Last post, I posted pictures of some of the Holly King decorations I made out of salt dough to give to friends and relatives for Christmas. I’ve made a few more, as well as painted and glazed them, so I thought I’d share the finished items here!


This was the first one I made; I based the shape very much the one on the Green Man mask I made for Beltane. My husband thought it looked a bit scary from a non-Pagan perspective – a bit devilish, perhaps? So I tried to make the other Holly Kings without such pointy horns.


I really like how this one turned out; I thought the shape looked very “classic,” like the Green Man faces you see at churches.


This is another one of my favourites. I think it looks a little like a pixie! This one I didn’t put a hole in for the ribbon as I wasn’t sure if the final products would be strong enough to support their own weight when hung so I made some without holes – it turns out that after baking, they are pretty strong and I didn’t have anything to worry about. I plan to stick strong magnets on the backs of the ones without holes.


I experimented with making a Holly King with a proper face, rather than just a mask. It turned out alright, but I decided I preferred the mask design better.


Some other small masks, including an Ivy King (Queen) at the bottom.


This is the smallest one I made. Making eye holds within the holly leaves on such a small scale is really difficult, so I cheated and poked in the eyes with a straw after putting in the holly. I don’t think the result is as nice as shaping the holly around existing eye holes. I think this one turned out cute though.


These two were my least favourite – they were made in the second batch, and for some reason the salt dough didn’t turn out as well that time (I think it needed more flour), and the result was harder to shape and a bit flat. Also, with the Ivy King I experimented with a different painting process (painting dark on light as opposed to light on dark which is what I did for the others), and didn’t like the result as much. But as a pair, I think they go together really nicely so I’ll give them as a couple.


1 Comment

Filed under Art & Expression, Rituals & Festivals

Salt Dough Holly Kings


Today I was racking my brains trying to think of the perfect Christmas gifts for some of my relatives. Then I remembered that one of my aunts likes to paint us pictures as gifts, and I thought, why don’t I try making something as well?

I thought about the Green Man mask I made for Beltane, and wanted to try something similar. So I decided to make some salt dough Holly King ornaments that my relatives could put on their Christmas trees. I’ve had a go making things with salt dough before and found it pretty easy and fun.

Above is the result. It was a lot of fun, and because they’re flat, the Holly kings turned out a lot better than my first salt dough ornaments. Now all I have to do is paint them and puts some nice ribbons on them for hanging on the tree! And if they turn out well, I think I’ll make some more…


Filed under Art & Expression, Rituals & Festivals

Making a scrying mirror


After painting my sun placque yesterday I was on a bit of a painting roll, so I decided to make a scrying mirror too – around Samhain seems to be an appropriate time! This is pretty easy – I just got an old photo frame, took out the glass and painted it with black acrylic, then put it back in the frame with the painted side on the inside. The effect is simply a pure black yet reflective surface that’s said to be ideal for scrying.

The photo frame is one that was given to my husband and I several years ago and we never used. The markings on the frame are the Chinese character 囍 (shuangxi), meaning “double happiness” (it’s composed of the character for happiness, 喜, repeated).

I plan to use this mirror for scrying closer to Samhain, as it’s said to be a good time for divination-related activities!

1 Comment

Filed under Art & Expression

Painting another charity shop find


Today I had a day off work for taiku-no-hi: “Sports Day,” which is a Japanese public holiday. I spent part of the day shopping in my local town, where I picked up some new Stamford incense (Stamford is my new favourite brand – it burns really cleanly and doesn’t have that sharp pesticide scent that other cheap brands have).

I also bought a lovely, plain white sun plaque made from for £2.00 (there was a matching moon as well but I didn’t like it as much and left it). I thought it would look great painted gold on my altar during the summer months, so I also bought some gold acrylic from Wilko (only 85p!) and painted a thick layer on. I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Of course, we are now into the season where we commemorate the death of the Sun God, so I’ll keep my sun plaque stored away for now. But come summertime, I’m sure he’ll look fantastic brightening up my altar!

1 Comment

Filed under Art & Expression