This year, I’ve been stepping WAY out of my comfort zone and trying my hand at some larger Halloween decorations. I’ve made a giant cauldron complete with medieval oven (coming soon!) and of course, those Gothic Arch windows. But this… THIS was a project and a half! And one that spawned a whole new theme for my 2018 Halloween Dining Room.
Short of making animated props (which I’ve yet to get my head around), this DIY Fortune Teller Booth was my first and biggest build to date and it’s entirely handmade! I got the idea from fellow blogger Katie Steuernagle at Matsutake blog, who’s amazing creation below was one of those Halloween projects that haunted me.
Every time I saw this baby on Pinterest, I would pause and question whether I could even attempt to make anything that came close.
Because for me, there’s just no point if I can’t do justice to another creative’s work.
So with plenty of time on my side and said Halloween theme growing horns, I decided to take the plunge. I’ll leave it to you to decide how it compares.
Katie’s booth is amazing but it comes with minimal instructions (which, seeing how long it takes to write it up, I can see why!!) so I had to find my own way around this build. But that’s ok. This getting creative business is all a learning curve. Nevertheless, I thought you might like a bit more of a tutorial, should you wish to make one of your own.
Buckle up; it’s gonna be a wordy one!
What tape should you use when building with cardboard?
First things first… when building with cardboard, you want to use PACKING tape. It took several attempts and much trial and error before I arrived at this conclusion. All the masking and duct tape you see in the photos was subsequently replaced with packing tape, as both started to peel off very quickly.
Why I didn’t use it before is a mystery. After all, it’s not like packing tape is used to… ahem… seal cardboard boxes!
Unless you plan to leave your booth cardboard colour you’ll be wanting to paint your packing tape. Again, this poses no challenge whatsoever with the right tools. If you’re a crafter, I highly recommend investing in some Gesso, the primer traditionally used on canvases. It makes light work of all sorts of surfaces, including tape.
Now… let’s get into the guts of this thing.
How to make a Fortune Teller Booth
You’ll need a couple of medium to large boxes. I wasn’t sure how tall I wanted mine, so my lovely friend donated three from her house move.
BOTTOM BOX – open the box and tape the flaps together to make it larger and keep the box square.
TOP BOX – tape the top of the box shut, cut off and set aside one of the flaps, then cut out your opening. I can’t draw (news, I know!) so I took the easy route and drew around one of the mirrors I used to make the arch windows.
Do not discard any of the cut pieces – the flap will form the shelf and the arch will form the Fortune Teller’s body.
Tape the top box to bottom box.
Top Tip: Take your time and try to keep the tape crease-free. I didn’t and it shows in the end result.
Making a fancy top piece
As an optional extra, I added a decorative top piece to my DIY Fortune Teller Booth. I highly recommend doing this at the same time as the rest of your booth and not after you’ve put away your paint!
Do as I say, not as I do.
The top piece was made from the flap of the 3rd (spare) moving box. I drew around a cloche to create three interlinking circles then cut out the resulting shape. Before decorating it, I sealed the edges with packing tape to hide the corrugated innards.
To fix the top piece to the booth, fold over the straight edge and create a ‘stand’ using pieces of scrap cardboard.
Decorating a Fortune Teller Booth
Once the build is done, you’ve done the hard part. Now the fun begins. Go ahead and decorate your DIY Fortune Teller Booth until your little heart is content!
But wait, Sue! What about the shelf?
Don’t panic, we’re getting to it… You just hold onto that there flap a little longer!
PAINT – I gave the whole thing a coat of Gesso (this isn’t strictly necessary, you can use any paint for the booth, just so long as you prime the packing tape) then a coat of Deep Space Echo left over from the bathroom makeover.
INSIDE – I lined the inner walls with gold banqueting roll, that I cut to size and attached with spray adhesive.
SHELF – Once the walls were decorated, THEN I added banqueting roll to the shelf and glued it into place.
And that’s why we didn’t put it in before 😉
TRIM – for the opening, I hot glued some gold tassel trim from Dunelm. At £6 a metre, it wasn’t cheap, but just look at the lusciousness of it! Two metres was more than enough to also trim the shelf but instead, I opted to use the navy trim left over from the Victorian Gothic Standard Lamp.
Further proof if ever you needed it to NOT throw anything away. Us crafters will always find a use for stuff like that!
TOP PIECE – I used gold peel-off stickers and the “all-seeing eye” from The Graphics Fairy printed onto acetate and layered onto a circle of gold metallic card cut on the Cricut. You may recognise the eye from the Crystal Ball Candlesticks and succulent teacups projects.
LIGHTS – I found battery-operated festoons like those in the original but as you can see from the photo above, they didn’t quite work with the trim, so I whipped off the globes before taping the lights around the inside of the arch.
To be honest, plain old fairy lights would’ve been cheaper and a lot less hassle, but I didn’t have any and couldn’t be bothered to buy more!
FRONT PANEL – I cut down pine strips from B&Q using a mitre block, then added decorative gold peel-offs that I glued in place because they wouldn’t stick on their own.
OTHER DECORATIONS – The coin slot and ticket dispenser were designed and cut on the Cricut. The other graphics were designed in Photoshop and printed on plain paper, before being aged with tea and coloured with Sharpies. The Victorian pointing hand is from The Graphics Fairy.
Making a Gypsy Fortune Teller
Cut your dowel to length, pop on the wig head, then make the body from the piece you cut for the opening of your booth.
The arch came in handy as it gave me readymade shoulders. I cut it in half, squared off the top, then taped it together in a ‘body’ shape…
…before taping the whole thing to the dowel (again, I urge you to use packing tape and not the duct tape as shown!)
When it came to making my Fortune Teller stand upright, rocks didn’t work for me; I just couldn’t get Madame Florentia to stand straight.
I reckon she must’ve been on the gin.
Thinking sand might be a better option for my OCD, I remembered we had a small bag of mortar left over from a DIY job. Leaving it in its packaging, I squeezed it into a plastic plant pot which in turn, went into a bucket
The sand (or in my case, mortar) also makes it infinitely easier to get Madame Florentia in and out of her booth than a bucket of rocks.
Fortune Teller Makeup
When you consider everything that’s come before, you’d think making up Madame Florentia’s face would be a doddle.
Not so! At least not for me.
You see I don’t really do makeup. Sure I can slap on a bit of lippy and mascara, maybe even eyeshadow at a push, but create a convincingly creepy face for a fortune teller? Seriously, I procrastinated for so long and was that concerned about ballsing the whole thing up, I asked my über talented makeup artist friend, Bellaboss Beauty if she would do it. But she was about as comfortable with paint as I am with eyeliner so, in the end, I just went for it.
Considering all my angst, I didn’t do a bad job! As another friend amusingly remarked, she looks a little surprised. She’s not the only one!
The hardest part was achieving realistic-looking flesh tone, which was made by mixing yellow, red, brown and white paint. Initially, I wanted her to look like she was caked in foundation but it came out too pink, so I ended up letting that dry and adding a coat of cream over the top.
I drew the face with a pencil using the lines of the wig head, then went over it with a black Sharpie. After that, I coloured it in using green and red Sharpies for her eyes, lips, and blusher; black paint for the eyeliner and eyebrows, and a black Sharpie for her beauty spot.
DIY Fortune Teller Costume
Madame Florentia’s clothes consist of a charity shop head scarf, a pink velvet pirate bandana from a costume shop, a bit of diamante held on with safety pins, a faux amber crystal from an old necklace and pink crafting tassels for earrings.
Oh! And a wig that I wore to a fancy dress party as Rizzo from Grease.
Well, of course!
You can accessorise your DIY Fortune Teller Booth with all sorts, so long as they’re fairly light (that shelf won’t hold much weight), think Tarot cards or coins as in the original project. But no fortune teller worth her salt would be without a crystal ball so of course, I also made one of my own. You can find that tutorial here.
And there you have it. Your very own Fortune Teller booth, entirely handmade and ready for Halloween or any carnival-themed event!
What do you think? I hope you and OneandSeventy’s Trick or Treaters love it as much as I do. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Drop a comment below to let me know, or come by Facebook or Instagram for a chat.
A hui hou,
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