arsenic 39

This is a pretty subtle design. There are a lot of skulls, it’s true, but they’re small and incorporated into the background pattern of the design. It’s hard to get a sense of scale on computers, but scroll down for some mockups of how it looks as wallpaper and as pillows, and you’ll see what I mean by delicate.

Wallpapers made with pigments from arsenic—it was a thing in the 19th century! And now you can pay tribute to your colorful goth side in these patterns but without the risk of dying from them.

The base pattern for this design comes from the 1874 volume compiled by R.C. Kedzie, Shadows from the walls of death: facts and inferences prefacing a book of specimens of arsenical wall papers. The book was digitized in full by the amazing staff at the U.S. National Library of Medicine and can be viewed at You can also read more about the book and its preservation and digitization in the blog series at (links to parts 1 and 2 are at the end of this post). The skulls interposed in this pattern are my addition and are taken from J.G. Heck’s 1852 Iconographic encyclopaedia of science, literature, and art, digitized in full by the Smithsonian Libraries and available at

Wallpaper, fabric, and various household goods from this pattern are available for purchase at Spoonflower; shirts and hoodies for adults and onesies and shirts for wee ones, as well as some notebooks and bags, are available at Threadless; scarves and a robe are for sale at Contrado.

It’s a delicate wallpaper if that’s your thing:

I think it might work better as fabric? Here’s a set of pillows in Spoonflower’s mockup:

A friend requested this pattern in a onesie, and I ended up making a skull inception that I love:

Doesn’t the cute goth in your life deserve a shirt like this?

Or maybe you want to be wrapped up in a soft skull robe? I do like Contrado’s scarves (and you can get this pattern in a scarf, too), but I haven’t tried this expensive robe, so I can’t swear by it. But I like the idea!