Halloween Decor – Ghastly Pen

I saw this project in a magazine a few years ago. I wish I could remember which one so I could give them credit. I modified it a bit to conform to IA’s mission, but here it is.


  • white clay
  • toothpick
  • plastic fingernail (a true IA devotee would use a fake fingernail that had fallen off and was too damaged to be re-glued on)
  • glue
  • dark fingernail polish

I do not like those pens that businesses give away. They’re unattractive and they don’t write that well. This project is a good way to make use of those pens. Ghastly Pens make great party favors or a fun take-along for school during the month of October.

For each Ghastly Pen, cover a ballpoint pen with approximately a ¼-inch thick layer of white clay or similar material, leaving the tip of the pen exposed. Use your hands to mold the clay into the shape of a finger, using your own finger or a willing hand as a model. Use a toothpick to make wrinkles and creases for the knuckles.

Glue a plastic fingernail near the pen tip making sure to leave enough room to be able to write with the pen. Trim the nail so that it’s a bit ragged. Use the toothpick to form lines for the cuticle area. Paint the nail with a ghastly shade such as green or black. Let clay dry completely before using.

Glamour Pen – use flesh colored clay instead of white clay. Don’t trim the fingernail to make it look ragged. Paint the fingernail a bright red, or do a French manicure on it.

Teen Scene – use flesh colored clay. Paint the nail a cool color such as light blue or bright orange. While polish is still wet carefully place a decal, sticker or charm on the nail. When polish is dry cover entire nail with a couple coats of clear polish.

Recycled Pen Bud Vase

Here’s an interesting way to use a recycled pen. Start by removing the guts from a dried-up pen. Firmly place the cap back on the pen. Fill the pen with water and slip a flower into your new pen vase. Since the cap prevents the vase from standing upright you can place the vase in your pencil cup, your toothbrush cup, or any other object that will hold it upright. Or you could use a blob of clay to hold the pen upright.

If you don’t have a fresh bloom, skip the water and pop in a silk flower.