Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Haunted Circus

 Hello Friends,

The idea-ology Halloween Saturday Live was so exciting! I loved seeing all the projects by the Makers.  So many great ideas and loads of inspiration!

Today I am sharing a tutorial for the Haunted Circus!  This was a fun one to make (and pretty darn easy), so follow along and I'll show you how I did it!

I used the largest of the Square Vignette Boxes for this project (5.5 x 5.5"). I covered the inside of the box with a print from the Worn Wallpaper Halloween pack.  The inside edges will never be seen so I just put the paper on the back of the box.  I did cover the outside of the box with a different print from the Worn Wallpaper pack (you will see that print at the end of this post).  

Tiny Lights - You are looking at the top of the box, but this was the best way to show it.  I used green from the pack (it comes with one green and one purple). 
  1. Drill a hole in the top left corner.
  2. Thread the lights from the back, into the box.
  3. Cut the ends off a large craft stick to fit the box (no need to paint the craft stick black like I did).
  4. Wrap the lights in a LONG diagonal pattern around the stick.  Wrap, going up the craft stick, then turn and wrap back down, crossing over the wires (sounds harder than it is). If you wrap this way, you are able to get all the lights on one side of the craft stick.   
  5. Add two 3D foam squares to the back of the stick and adhere to the top of the box.
Another view...
And with the lights lit up!
I used this long piece from the Worn Wallpaper pack to start the layering process.  In the end, this piece will not show, but will give strength to the other pieces.  In theory, you could just cut a strip of cardstock instead of using up this piece.  Up to you.
Color the curtains with Distress Crayon.  Peeled Paint was used for the curtains.
Use Design Tape or paper to cover the floor.  You will not see too much in the end.  This black crackle tape from the Design Tape pack is a favorite.  I have used it so much this season, I think I might need another pack to get me through!
I also added another tape at the bottom (from the same pack) that says, "Orders attended to day or night".
I used 1/4" Scor-Tape on three sides of the box to secure the two curtain pieces.  The curtains are from the Layers pack which is thicker ephemera.  Perfect for the front of the box.
The stage is now set, sorta speak, so now we can add some embellishments!
To build up the stage front, I used scalloped Etcetera Trims.  The trims come 4, 5, and 6" long.  I both widths of two 6" long trims and cut them with my tonic scissors to fit (about 5.5").  
You can see here that once they were cut to length, I glued the two pieces together and painted them black.  Doubling them up helped to stabilize the trim once glued to the vignette box because it is wider at the base.
I could have used them just like this, but I decided it need more interest.  I had the idea to use the hinges that are part of the 2022 Sticker Book Curiosities. I added a hinge to each side of the trim.  Notice that the hinge just covers the shorter layer of the scallop trim?  It also hangs over the trim at the bottom - don't cut that off!  That will help with stability once it is glued to the box.
Here is the top piece with both hinges added.
I added the, "For Skill and Amusement Only" sign from the Baseboard pack to the center, between the hinges.  Let it dry in place before adding the trim to the top of the box.
So here is what it looks like when you add the trim to the top.  The bottom of each hinge and the baseboard sign all cover the FRONT top edge of the box.  Make sure you not only add Collage Medium under the trim but also behind the bottom edge of the hinge and sign.  We'll let that dry in place while we work on the rest of the embellishments.
To make the game wheel you can use either of the game wheel ephemera pieces from the layers pack.  Both will work.  There is a black and white target circle in the Baseboards pack that I used as the base. I punched a hole in the game wheel, added a Game Spinner (old product) with a Long Fastener (brad).  Then added that piece to the target backer.  I know it covered the target but sometimes that happens - it was the perfect size and weight to use!
I cut a strip of the new Distress Woodgrain Halloween which is black woodgrain cardstock with a black core.  I used another craft stick, mounted the cardstock on top, and there you have a faux stand for the game wheel.
I love this Baseboard piece which reminded me an old circus poster.  I added the Halloween Shape with the skull and crossbones to the center.  I also wiped black paint over the Shape to fit it with the theme.
The candy apples were simple to make.  I put Bubbles in a small plastic bag and dripped a few drops of Red Pepper Alcohol Ink over the top.  Close the bag and squish it around till the Bubbles are coated.  Pour out onto a paper plate (disposable/has sides to control rolling away).
Use glue to add tiny stick cuttings and leaves to the top of some of the Bubbles. Pile them in the barrel while adding glue, leave to dry completely.
Once the apples are set.  Adhere Barrel to box with Collage Medium.
I dug out some spiderwebs I bought at Joann last year.  I started by wrapping the spiderwebs around the game wheel and pulling in every direction from there.
Color the sweaters of the Paper Dolls with Distress Crayons.
I added a skull and mask stickers from the Sticker Book, to the Paper Dolls.  Then glued them into the box.  You know me...there are wood blocks behind each of the boys so they are secured to the back wall but can stand out in front of the wheel.
Now back to the top.  I added Hardware Heads over the image that was on the hinge (scroll back up to see what it looked like before).
I wanted to embellish the curtains, so I decided to add black Tinsel to the edge.  This Tinsel is wired so you can bend it to keep its shape.  That is exactly what I did.  I cut a piece and shaped it to fit one or two of the curtain swags and then glued it on so the tinsel hung down just below the swags.

You can see it here along the swags...

I captured some image of the finished top and back.  Hopefully this will help to see how that top piece was added to the box.

Hope you give this one a go.  Such a fun, whimsical piece...not scary at all!  I had a great time making it and sharing it with you!
If you missed the Live last Saturday that shows all the idea-ology sample made for this release, you can view it HERE.  Product is the first hour, so if you only want to see samples, start about 1 hour in.

Now carry on,


  1. A quick project would be good...love all the details....I think I have some old spider webs around here, somewhere....if I can find them...LOL.

  2. This is absolutely stunning. Your attention to detail is magnificent!! You are so gifted....thanks for sharing your process with us. It's wonderful!!!

  3. Paula, you had me at the mere mention of a haunted circus, then I swooned over the apples and my mind got tied up in the cobwebs! Brilliant make, I could gush for hours, bravo oh talented one! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘❤️❤️❤️