Halloween How To- DIY Skeleton and Coffin Shaped Light Box

I spotted this skeleton lightbox/lantern from Michael's on some one's feed and decided to make a DIY version.  

I had all the materials I needed in my craft stash so I gave it a try and I am pretty happy with the results. Mine isn't translucent on all sides like the Michael's version, just the front, but that's OK with me.

To make it you need:

7.5 inch wood coffin tray 
(I bought these in bulk on Michaels.com before they added all the Halloween stuff, now they no longer have them. But you can find them on Amazon or ConsumerCrafts.com- FYI they are way cheaper on ConsumerCrafts.com)

Paint in your color choice (I used Glidden Premium Latex Paint and Primer from Home Depot)

Strand of wire fairy lights. The wire is important so they bend and stay in place.

Vellum paper for your printer

Small cordless drill

Small Finishing Nails

Hammer (I use the child size hammer from Lowe's Build and Grow kid's classes- perfect size for my small hands and it is small and lightweight so I can get into spots a big hammer can't. A large hammer would not have worked for this tiny coffin and tiny nails)

Tacky Glue

Sticky backed Velcro 


First paint the coffin tray in your color choice, let it dry and clear coat it, then let that dry.

Select a skeleton image with a translucent background and adjust the size as needed. The skeleton linked here is sized correctly for the 7.5 inch coffin.

I made one with the coffin shape but I was afraid the coffin would not match the tray so I took the outline away and just printed the skeleton, selected my tray and used a white colored pencil to trace the outline of the coffin around the skeleton. Click the links and you can download the skeleton and the coffin from google drive.

Once the tray was dry I cut the vellum to fit the front of the tray as exact as I could.

I turned the tray over and drilled a hole in the bottom corner large enough for the strand of fairy lights to fit through.

I then fed the fairy lights through the hole and lined the inside of the coffin tray with them, going round and round until the strand ended. 

They popped out some and touched the vellum when I tested it so I hammered tiny finishing nails inside to hold the fairy lights in place.

I placed a piece of Velcro on the back of the coffin and one on the battery pack for the fairy lights so it would stick to the back of the tray and not hang out loose. But if I need to change batteries I can just pull it apart.

Make sure your vellum is trimmed to fit the front of the coffin tray as exact as possible. Brush glue onto the edges of the tray. 

I used a small paint brush and tacky glue to get a good and even coat of glue on the edge.

Then I carefully lay the vellum on the tray and made sure the edges lined up. I put a board over the top for about an hour to let the glue and vellum dry flat. Vellum has a tendency to curl.

Once it is dry turn on your light and enjoy. 

I think I might add some kind of border to cover the vellum edges, I don't like seeing the glued area and the wrinkles in the vellum.  If I fix that, I'll post an update.

Update- I made a few more lightboxes and added glitter and sequins to the edge as a border.

I also used a smaller set of fairy lights.

These images are from my first event of the season, the Mid-Michigan Paranormal Convention. It was great. Met some awesome people and I have a stack of new reading material.

The one on the end is edged in giant Halloween glitter. 

The other two have strands of black sequins borders.

These are for sale $10 each plus shipping.

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