I had an old Mr. Jaber Jaw (talking skeleton), who stopped talking from being left out overnight & got wet. They sell these that don’t talk for cheaper. So to make him more interesting, I put him in a torture cage made from scrap Masonite I picked up at work. It holds up better than cardboard, so your hard work can be seen year after year. This is what had to work from, feel free to improve. When I built mine, I just used glue (no screws) & it has come apart a few times. So I added the steps for the screws. They add a look of rivets which adds to the detail. You can use putty to fill-in the slot, if you want. You probably don’t even need to glue where the screws are used & eliminate some drying time, speeding things up to just a weekend build. I didn’t put a top on mine but you can build one just like the bottom.
Masonite, cut into 1” wide strips.
6 ea. Sides 38”
1 ea. Band #1 - 31”
1 ea. Band #2 - 47”
1 ea. Band #3 - 41”
1 ea. Band #4 – 35.5”
1 ea. 11” dia. Floor
24 ea. #8-32 x 3/8” round head machine screw w/ nut (or use pop rivets)
1 ea. Skeleton, Pirate, etc.
Paint – Black (spray or brush-on), Silver (brush-on only)
JigSaw to cut strips & Bottom
Paint brush (old)
Drill & bit for screw holes
“C” clamp, spring clamp or tape.
Step 1: Building It
Cut Masonite into 1” wide strips & round floor. See Fig. 1
Soak the 4 ea. “Band” strips with water. This softens them so they can be bent without breaking. Bend each into a circle overlapping the ends 1” & glue. Use a clamp or tape to hold in place while drying.
Glue Band #4 to the circle cut for the floor & let dry. You may need to repeat gluing to get a good bead around the bottom.
Drill 6 holes for screws evenly around the bottom band. Dry fit the sides & drill holes in the 6 sides. See Fig 2
Glue & assemble the screws to hold in place while drying.
Slide from the bottom Band #3, approximately 13” from bottom. Dry fit, drill holes & glue as in Step 3.
Slide from the bottom Band #2, approximately 26” from bottom. Dry fit, drill holes & glue as in Step 3.
Slide Band #1, on the top. It should look like Fig. 3. You may need to soak the ends to bend them in place & clamp them for drying. Once its dry, fit & drill holes DO NOT GLUE YET!
At this point you may want to paint everything so your skeleton doesn’t get paint on it. Start with the black paint & let dry. Then “dry brush” the silver. Dry brushing is when you use little paint only on the tip of the brush & smash the brush onto the surface to leave streaks & give a weathered look. Practice until you get the look you want. Let the pain dry & you could use a flat clear coat if you want to seal it for the weather.
Put your skeleton in it & place Band #1 back on it. Now you can glue or just use the screws to allow removing your skeleton if needed. Decorate with cobwebs, chains or what ever.