Have some fun this Halloween with the world's smallest side show. Inspired by traveling circus "freak shows," these little curiosity boxes were created because I sadly did not have room to make life-sized ones. These travel well and are a great little thing to pass around at a Halloween party. Drive your party guests crazy with trying to guess what could be inside with a little humor as an added bonus.
**The whole idea behind the box is that you read the outside what kind of freak animal is inside. You take a peek in the box and it's not at all what you thought- it's much funnier!** Scroll to the end for some good examples.
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Step 1: Supplies
The box we'll focus on during this instructable will be the "Fart Squirrel." I always try to also come up with a little fictional backstory for each one. Was this mutant animal? Was it a mad scientist's creation? Is it a newly discovered life form? This will help when it's time to determine what decorations you will be using.
For the Fart Squirrel I'm going with the fictional idea of a biology experiment gone wrong. I will try to warn any curious civilian of the dangers within this package with signage and stickers.
This is list of materials is a suggestion. What colors, patterns words you use are limitless. This will just be a guide.
Here we are using:
1 piece of black and white scrapbook paper (optical illusion or mysterious look)
1 piece of wood slat printed paper.
Black and Brown Markers
Rub on transfers
Red and white wide striped ribbon
Small cardboard box
Battery powered LED votive light.
Small objects/figurines to serve as the main subject.
Step 2: Getting the Box Ready
I would suggest getting the outside and inside of the box prepped first.
You will need a hole on top for the LED light and a hole on one side for seeing into.
You will need to figure out which side will be your "Top" and which will be the side with the keyhole to look inside. You will need look at the layout and see if you would be having to pierce through 1 or 2 layers of cardboard. If it is 2 layers, such as there is a flap or tab under the surface layer, cut off what you can from the second layer.
As for the votive LED light, pull off the plastic flame shape by gripping it between a pair of pliers or scissors. Grip near the base and carefully pull upwards. I chose a yellow glowing light to give it a spooky dimly lit feel. It will not show the vivid colors of the box's contents but it looks eerie. A blue LED light will be brighter and show more color and cast crisper shadows.
Before you start any decoration or applying paper to the outside of the box, test fit your LED light and your keyhole for looking in. You can always make a new hole if something isn't quite right and cover up the old one with paper.
Line the inside of the box next. Trace the box on the backside of the paper you're using. Cut slightly smaller than your lines (you may have to trim a couple times for a perfect fit) and secure the paper right side up using a glue stick. Make sure not to cover up any of the holes.
Step 3: Making the Showpiece
When making the showpiece for inside the box, make sure the total height is shorter than the thickness of the box. Try to come up with a tiny scene with a "stage."
Props come in all shapes and sizes. Try to find mini figurines that fit your theme or make a miniature out of polymer clay.
For my "fart squirrel," I used an oval piece of green construction paper for a little grass pad for him to stand on. Some slivers of paper serve as grass and gives it some more dimension. The mushrooms were just added for extra fun. Finally, I placed the little ceramic figure with hot glue.
Step 4: Sealing the Box
Place the showpiece figure directly under where the LED light will be. Secure with hot glue.
Seal the box with scotch tape.
Step 5: Outside Decorations
Trace the outside of the box on each side on the back side of the wood plank printed scrapbook paper. Trim as needed and apply with a glue stick. Try and get the edges to cover the box completely.
You will have to recut the hole for the LED light and the keyhole for looking through. An exacto knife works well for that part.
You can also add single "planks" diagonally across one or more sides to make it look even more like a wooden crate.
Step 6: Signs
I like to think of the signs as little warnings about the box contents or little protest signs from people in a village where this fictional story is taking place.
Here, I made a sign identifying the creature, a protest sign and a warning sign.
Use various colors of brown construction paper and write your wording with a thin black marker. Use a dark brown marker to line the edges of your sign before you cut it out. This will give a weathered or corroded look. Use scissors to cut out your little signs and secure with a gluestick on the exterior of the box.
Step 7: Embellish
Once your box is completely covered with the woodplank print paper, you can add embellishments.
I had some rub on decals and tried to pick out anything to do with smells or odors. I also had little roses and a few stickers.
3-dimensional pieces or hard pieces can be applied using hot glue.
Step 8: Embellish Part II
I stenciled some words you might find on a create containing an unpredictable creature such as "Live Animal,""Dangerous,""Does not play well with others."
For extra fun add a little bit of feathers or fake fur to make it look like it's sticking out of the crate. You can also add acrylic decorative eyes (or googly eyes) to make it look like the creature is peeking out back at you.
I added simple black dots along the edges of the box to look like nails.
It is optional to create a little circus curtain using the red and white stripped ribbon. Cut your ribbon and add scallops to one end, fold over and hot glue about a half inch. Hot glue the curtains to the keyhole-viewing end of the box. It invites the viewer to get closer and see what's inside.
I added some green tulle on the bottom edge of one side to look like an "odor" leaking out of the box.
Step 9: 360 Degree View
Here is the completed "Fart Squirrel" curiosity circus box. As you can see there's the little stinker inside ready to surprise you.
Have fun and ...think OUTSIDE the box for themes and ideas.
If you need some more inspiration check out this site for some funny animal names XD
Or look at the other curiosity boxes I made on the next page.
Step 10: Other Boxes
I did three other curiosity boxes. Hopefully these inspire you!
Have fun and thank you for reading. :)
Participated in the
Halloween Contest 2018