Halloween is a dangerous holiday for kids, that’s why every family should have their own toxic green safety spider. It’s like a nightlight with hairy legs, and fangs.
The Shadow Box
You should build the shadow box first because that will give you a frame of reference for the sizes of the other parts.
Measure your window for the width and height that work best for you. My project ended up being about 33 inches wide and 58 inches high.
Cut the plywood to the height and width of your project.
The shadow box should be about 2 inches deep, so rip 2x4s or 2x6s down to 2 inches by half an inch. Then cut those to whatever length they need to fit on top of the plywood.
I used a simple butt joint for the frame. The plywood backing will keep the project square and sturdy.
Paint the frame black.
Cut Out Silhouettes
There are four silhouettes in this project.
1) The big spider
2) The little spiders
3) The captured kid
4) The jagged border
You could do this project with foam core, but it would be more fragile, and I don’t think it would last many Halloween. If you have a scroll saw, I recommend cutting all the silhouettes out of thin plywood.
Transfer the images to the plywood. The small spiders can be printed and glued to the plywood. The larger spider will have to be transferred manually. If you don’t feel comfortable freehanding the drawings, you could draw grids over the printed images and the plywood, then draw the image one square at a time.
Freehand the jagged border. There are no templates for this one, just draw and have fun.
After the images have been drawn cut them out with an Exacto knife or a scroll saw.
Assemble the Border
Assembling the border is pretty simple. Grab a couple pieces of the border and trim the edges so they match. Then glue a piece of scrap wood on the back of the joints.
Attach the LEDs
Put 2/3 to 3/4 of the lights on the spider, and the rest of the lights on the girl.
The LED strips have tape on the back, so they’re easy to attach.
After you’ve placed the LEDs where you want them, cut wires to fit between the spaces and tape them down with masking tape. After you’ve soldered all the connections, use hot glue to cover the exposed metal.
Cut the paper to fit inside the frame. Use spray-on adhesive to hold it in place.
Use the fine-tipped marker to draw the spiderweb. Start with a dot as the focal point, then draw a few radial spokes from there to the edge of the frame. Draw a few droopy strands as well. Then add some connections between the main support strands. Some should be nice and tight, and some should be droopy. Finally, to give it character, use the two larger markers in random places. Varying the thicknesses of the lines gives the web a more cartoony look that I like.
Attach Silhouettes to Box
The little spiders are easy. Just glue them directly to the paper.
The big spider isn’t too much harder. Cut some small blocks to act as standoffs and glue them to the back of the spider. Where the spider’s legs get close to the frame, attach a block that is glued to the frame, to the back of the box, and to the spider legs.
To hang the cartoon girl upside down we have to build a small adapter. Grab some scrap lumber that’s at least a few inches longer than the width of her base and make a U-channel on the table saw. The character’s body will sit in the center of the U-channel. You’ll need a flat area to screw this U-channel to the project’s frame, so use a saw to cut the walls off the ends of the U-channel so you have a flat stock on the ends.
Attach the character to the U-channel with screws, then screw the flat part of the adapter to the top of the frame.
Finish the Wiring
Run wires from the girl and the spider along one edge of the frame. Hot glue the wires in place and paint them black. Drill a discreet hole in one corner and run the plug through that. Solder all the wires together and use heat shrink to protect everything.
Attach The Border
Find or cut scraps about 1/2 an inch square and about 3-6 inches long.
Measure the thickness of the border. Draw a line on the inside of the frame down from the top of the box that is the same depth as the thickness of the border.
Glue the scraps around the frame along that line and clamp them in place.
When the glue dries, remove the clamps and set the jagged-edged border on top of the blocks.
Trim the Shadow Box
Rip some strips of lumber about 1 inch wide and about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut those to match the height and width of the frame. Miter the ends, and paint the strips black.
When the paint dries nail the trim on top of the border.