Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'd Say You've All Gone A Little Batty...

For the bats, that is!

Several of you have asked questions about the bat project through comments and emails, so I figured a "How To" post was in order.

It all started with this photo from

As soon as I saw it, I was hooked...

I was heading to the store anyway, so I bought a fresh pack of construction paper and we got started on the project as soon as we walked back in the door. We cut out lots and lots and lots of bats. I have no idea how many. But I knew that I was only going to be able to pull off the look I wanted with a very large quantity of them. So we kept tracing and cutting and tracing and cutting...

On you can find the template to use for cutting out the bats. Doing this made the whole process super simple...

Now, I have to tell you...this was one of those projects that I was really anxious to get finished (I get like that sometimes). I couldn't wait to see what it was all going to look like, and because of that, I didn't read any of the instructions before I started cutting out my construction paper.

I know. Shame on me.

Had I read the directions before I began, I would have known that the project was meant to be done with stiffened felt, not construction paper...

This would have solved the issues that rapidly revealed themselves after affixing the bats to the house.
(I'll get back to that in a second)

After we cut out the bats, we started to put them up in a sort of wave pattern. I used duct tape to affix them to the exterior of the house, thanks to a tip I received in a comment.

Thank You for that, Danielle!

(Something I also would have known had I read the instructions prior to diving into the project!)

So here is where you get to benefit from my mistakes...

I am going to make a case for using felt instead of construction paper:

(just in case any of you are thinking about using construction paper on your exterior, as well)

While the construction paper was super easy to use, extremely inexpensive and available even at the local grocery store, I realized the morning after putting them up outside that they might not even make it until Halloween.


The tips of their wings had curled up because of the low temperature over night. So, out came the duct tape once again and I taped all of their little curled wings down.

By day two, I could see that the afternoon sun was already fading the black color of the construction paper. They're not too terribly faded, but they are certainly not as black as they were when they first went up.

Between the paper curling from the cold temperatures and the fading from the sun, I'd say that felt is a much better choice.

However, using the construction paper, I was able to cut out five bats at a time. With the stiffened felt (based off of the directions - yes, I've read them now!) it would seem that you can only cut out one bat at a time.


That could end up being a pretty big time commitment depending on how many bats you needed. I would have had to spend an entire evening cutting out bats had I used the felt, not to mention that my hand would have been ready to fall off. But the advantage would be that you could save them and reuse them every year!

I'm thinking there must be a happy medium.

Maybe heavy black card stock?

I'll let you know if I end up having to redo my bats. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they hold out for another 17 days! If not, I'll try the card stock. But next year, I'm going with the felt!

I'll do whatever I need to this year to make sure that we have a house covered in bats for the kids on Halloween. Not only for my own kids, but for the other kids in the neighborhood. I wish you could have heard them as they were walking home from school the day after I put them up. They were just as excited as my kids were over them!

Since so many of you have said that you are going to jump on the bandwagon and decorate your homes with a colony of bats, I would love to hear how you are making them and what you think of the project. Better yet...I would love to see your pictures!

I showed you mine, now you have to show me yours!

Ready for a Real Life photo?

Don't look too closely.
There is a reason that I kept the photo so dark.
It is a playroom after all...

Check out how the bats look from the inside, with the shade pulled down!

The kids flipped out when they saw that after we put them up!

Made them even more excited for Halloween!'s the little things that make them the happiest...

P.S. I hope that helps and that your questions were answered.
If not, let me know and I'll do my best to answer them!


Kristine said...

Very fun! I love it.

becky said...

I love it with the shades pulled down,how cute.Thanks for sharing!

Heidi said...

Hi Karla,
I love the bats, you're right - using so many really makes a statement! Your entry looks terrific ! I think I will make a few myself, we've already had a live one fly through the living area - what's a few more?
I hope you can stop by for a visit sometime.
Heidi - Heart and Home

Astrid said...

Hey thanks for the answers! I think I'll go find some felt this weekend and spend some time (or a lot of time as it would seem) cutting out bats! I seriously love all those bats! Last year I had them fluttering down my hall. I haven't gotten them out this year. Shame on me.

Lori E said...

Instructions are for sissies.
I always get these grandiose ideas and then I regret them half way through the project. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
I hope your bats last.

LuLu said...

I just got the felt... but i think i'll only get 4 made... cause you are so right how long it's going to take! wish me luck!
Your bats rock!

Danielle @ Transforming Home said...

It's me again! I used heavy cardstock and they are fine. I only have a few on the exterior, most are on the porch, and so far they have lasted through a frost, heavy winds, and a couple of heavy downpours (once I switched over to the duct tape!). As far as the fading, our house faces north - we don't have any direct sunlight on the front - so no fading issues. You'll have to let me know on that one.
Your bats look GREAT and prompted me to cut out about 20 more!! Happy Halloween!

Tracy is ... Loving Pretty Things said...

SO NEAT - thank you for going through it first and giving us your wisdom. I'd SO do what you did - and not read the directions. :)

FABULOUS effect - love it on your house!!

Isabella & Max Rooms said...

I'm in the middle of a similar project with my kids, after seeing your post yesterday! Thanks!

Maya@Completely Coastal said...

Real fun..., and it does remind me of "The Birds".

Caroline said...

The bats look great, I love how you created a swooping shape with them to give the illusion that they are flying.

Lianna said...

It would take a lot of work, especially if using heavy card stock or felt, but I have to tell you that the end result is stunning! I think this might be a project to do over the entirety of a year until next Halloween! ;)

Jenna ("Foo") said...

Wow...I'm so glad I found this! And soo tempted to take this on. Which could be good or bad...not sure yet. Thanks for sharing!

Christine said...

Absolutely love this, what a fabulous idea. I'm tempted to steal it, but my husband might shoot me if I initiate another project. Will file this away for next year.

Carmen said...

I've been wanting to do this since I saw that same photo on Country Living. Your bats look awesome! I love how how they look from the inside too! So spooooky! Thanks for the felt tip!

Alexa@HomeIdeaResource said...

Great idea for Halloween! Love it!

Sabrina said...

I loved your idea so much, that I used it for myself. My craft stores were running low on felt, so I found a huge roll of black foam (you know, the type you craft out of). My problem is, they keep falling down, eben with duct tape! I wonder if the temperature changes every night have anything to do with it. Anyone have any issues or solutions?

Daniel Morris said...

I saw your bats on front-porch-ideas-and-more and thought they were really cool.

Tina said...

Amazing how we come across blogs. I really like yours. I did these bats last year too. I did the stiffened felt, but, I didn't make as many. Maybe I will have to do more this year. I have an enclosed porch, but, I could still put them outside.