28 October 2015

DIY Halloween Decor | Glowing Madame Leota Crystal Ball


Today's spooky DIY was inspired by one of my all time favourite Disney attractions - The Haunted Mansion.

I've always wanted to own a Madame Leota crystal ball. Last year Disney released a special edition cartoon version of dear Madame Leota, which sold out so fast I barely had time to load the page! I loved the crystal ball collectible so much it actually inspired me to create this makeup tutorial:


Normally I would decorate my house with skeletons, pumpkins and whatever other cliché Halloween decorations I could get my hands on. This year however, I actually considered trying to theme my decor instead and of course The Haunted Mansion was the first thing that came to mind. 

Of course, no Haunted Mansion themed decor would be complete without Madame Leota, so I took to Google and Pinterest to see what I could find. One of the most effective DIY's I came across was using Tulle and a photo cut out inside a fish bowl, so I began to gather my supplies. 

This project is quite easy, the trickiest part you will find is getting your lights in the right position so they are invisible enough to give the correct up lit effect. It took me forever to figure out a way that worked for me, but once I did I was pretty happy with the result. 

You will need:


  • A printout of Madame Leota's face. We found one easily enough using Google search.
  • A glass fishbowl. I'm using a fishbowl vase I picked up from Tesco for €5.
  • Some black tulle. I ended up using around 4 yards in total.
  • Battery operated fairy lights.
  • A pillar candle pedestal holder. This is optional, I just happened to have one in my house. 


Step 1 - Cut your Template

Cut out your picture template in accordance with the size of your bowl. I cut mine to the shape of the image I printed and rounded the corners to ensure a proper fit inside the vase.


You may need to spend some time shaping your image, just make sure you cut a little at a time and place the image inside the bowl to help you judge the size correctly.

Also remember - you will need to place the image UPSIDE DOWN in the bowl so you get the crystal ball effect when you turn it over.

Step 2 - Add Tulle

Remove your image from the bowl and begin to layer your tulle inside.


At this point, I really just had to play around with the positioning of the tulle. My first attempt was by layering the tulle at the back of the image by folding the length in half and pushing the folded section in first. With the two tail ends of the tulle I then positioned it around Leota's face to create the wispy hair effect.


As you can see in the image above, I originally had Leota's face flush with the curve of the bowl. When it came to adding my lights however, this proved to be an issue - and I decided to move the image into the centre of the bowl, securing the overlap of paper with some tape either side to keep it in place. This gave the much more realistic effect of a head inside a crystal ball that I was looking for. 

Step 3 - Add Lights

I had originally picked up some green battery operated fairy lights from the discount store, but they ended up being too weak to provide the glow I wanted to achieve. I actually had some white LED string lights with 50 LED's in my decoration container - also battery operated. So I grabbed them and began to play around with placement. 

I initially tried to find a way to place the lights so they would light up the face just as they do in the attraction (this was before I moved the image to the centre of the bowl) - and no matter what I tried nothing would work out. 


I tried placing them behind the image, taping them TO the image, until finally I found a way to manipulate the lights that came in pretty close to what I wanted to achieve. 

My solution was to cut a 2 inch strip of thick paper, measuring it around the top of the vase (remember this is now our base since we want the opening to be hidden) and closed it with some tape into a circle shape large enough to sit the upturned vase into, while still lifting it off the table. Think circular soccer ball holder.  I taped the circle to a square piece of card and then placed the lights into the newly formed bowl section. I layered three squares of the tulle over the top of the lights. This served to act as a filter for the up lit effect I was trying to achieve. 

Make sure you leave enough length of wire for your battery pack to still be accessible. I left mine loose since I would be placing the crystal ball on a pedestal and creating a "table skirt" to cover that. 


Finally I placed the upturned bowl on top of lights in the circle hoop. Because the circle I had made to house the lights was made of thick paper - it moulded quite easy into a shape that supported the weight of the vase. I secured the paper circle to the vase with some tape to make sure it didn't shift or move when I needed to transport it. (Make sure you avoid putting tape on the front of the vase where the face is most visible because the lights will pick it up).

Step 4 - Creating the "Floating Table" effect

With my crystal ball now ready, I placed the entire piece on top of an old pillar candle stand I had lying around. I secured the base of the piece (the square card) to the stand with some tape. 

With everything taped into place, I decided to add a little bit of a "skirt" to my crystal ball in order to hide the glow of the lights on the lower layer of card as you can see in the picture above, and to create the floating table effect. If you are really stuck trying to find a pedestal style item to hold your crystal ball on - you could always tape a toilet roll holder to some card using duct tape and repeat the instructions in step 3 above. Just make sure that your handmade pedestal is sturdy and strong enough to support the weight of the glass bowl.

I started by tying a length of ribbon around the circular base I had created, and then cutting 8 inch long strips of tulle. I then folded each tulle strip in half and tied each piece in a knot around the ribbon. I continued this the entire way around the length of ribbon to complete my "table skirt" effect. This method is commonly used when making tutus. 

My Madame Leota inspired Crystal Ball is now sitting pride of place on my mantle alongside my other Halloween decor.



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