Paint It White

The artist Niki de Saint Phalle, was a french painter, sculptor, and film maker. Today would have been her 81st birthday. Much of her work is naive in style, and has a playful, whimsical quality. The Tarot Garden in Italy is a perfect example of this, with its large scale sculptures covered in brightly coloured mosaics. So is the Stravinsky Fountain in Paris, filled with water-spraying sculptures made by Niki and her husband Jean Tinguely.

Of course it’s all much too happy looking for Halloween, but as luck would have it, she happened to create a unique looking assemblage called Portail de La Mort providing the perfect inspiration for this unusual, quirky little Halloween project. Trust me to sniff out one of the few colourless pieces she created! Joyeuse Anniversaire Niki.


  • cardboard box lid
  • small Halloween decorations e.g. skulls, spiders, bones, webbing
  • found objects: eg. items you have lying around the house like beads, screws, pompoms, stones, shells…pretty much anything to provide texture and help fill up the space
  • scissors
  • Plaster of Paris cut into small strips
  • bowl with water
  • glue gun
  • white cobwebs
  • white acrylic paint
  • soft paintbrush



1. In this craft, you’ll be gathering Halloween items and found objects to create a spooky Halloween assemblage, like in Niki de Saint Phalle’s Portail de La Mort (see below). A shallow lid from a cardboard box will provide a perfect container for this craft. Remember, the colours of the items you use don’t matter since everything will be painted white in the end, to create an eerie feel for Halloween.

2. Arrange these items in the lid, making sure to cover the bottom well, and glue them down once you’re happy with the layout. Glue guns are great for immediately holding things in place. Try adding a bit of texture by dipping small strips of Plaster of Paris in water, and draping them around the objects. If you are using cobwebs, add them after everything has been painted.

3. Use white acrylic paint and a soft paintbrush to cover everything in white. Make sure you look at every angle so you don’t miss any areas. I recently tried an inexpensive liquid acrylic paint from Dollerama, and it worked perfectly for this purpose. So save the good stuff for when you really need it. Allow to dry, add cobwebs, and enjoy your strange little assemblage decoration for Halloween.

Portail de La Mort by Niki de Saint Phalle. 1963. Image:



Filed under Artists, assemblage, Halloween, Niki de Saint Phalle

20 responses to “Paint It White

  1. How cool! And I love your blog! Have subscribed!

    • Thanks so much! The feeling is mutual. I look forward to discovering some great music on your blog. Loved the Charlotte Gainsbourg. From certain angles, she reminds me of a young Patti Smith.

  2. marijkemill

    Oh my! That is so scary! I think the white enhances the creepiness!!!!
    Great idea!

  3. Katie Drane

    That is a really cool idea. It really makes you focus on the textures and the entire piece. I LOVE it!!


  4. Christina at I Gotta Create!

    Great inspiration and execution!

  5. Hi I’m Italian and I have been to the Tarot Garden, it’s really amazing! I love your Halloween project, maybe I’ll try to make it this year.

  6. I love it! I would love to invite you to link up to the Fall Into the Holidays hop-

    Katie @ Horrific Knits

  7. That’s the kind of decorating that I could live with for Halloween! Super!

  8. Great artistic eye you have – love the tribute piece. I do have a personal love of taking ordinary things and making them extraordinary with white paint. I keep bags of small plastic toys to stick in unexpected places.

  9. Featuring you tonight ~ you’re a STAR at I Gotta Create!

    Thanks so much for linking up!
    ❤ Christina

  10. Oh, how interesting!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  11. These are so cute. Thanks for sharing with Adorned from Above

  12. Pingback: Halloween Crafts | ArtClubBlog

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