Friday, April 19, 2013

Traveling Circus in a Suitcase

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When I was growing up our neighbors had an amazing collection of antique toys. The father was actually collecting toys he had owned or had wanted as a kid.
They had everything from an actual carousel horse to old tin wind-up toys and I loved going over their house to see these things. My favorite of all was this model miniature circus tent, in a room dedicated to circus memorabilia  I was not allowed to touch it of course
but it was as big as a coffee table (at least in my memory) and I just loved
to look at it, and peer inside the tiny tent with trapeze artists flying through the air. 
Sarah and I were discussing new projects to make, and we had been meaning to make
 a circus, for some time.  The only thing holding me back, was figuring out what to make it in.
Then it came to me, a suitcase! And I was ready to go, already inspired by the memory of that 
toy circus!
 It is small and portable, and opens up to an amazing little world inside full of talented 
performers and animals just waiting to put on show.

I made the performers out of wooden clothespins.
We have our Trapeze Artist,  The Strongman, The Ringleader, The Tattooed Lady, 
and of course, The Clown, juggling.
You can see how I made the animals here.
 I have been working on this for weeks, and my kids have been dying to play with it. This one is
totally kid friendly!

 I painted some circus animals and items on the front, using acrylic paint, and adding 
detail with a fine point black ink pen.  You can seal it wit Mod podge or clear varnish. This cardboard suitcase set works great, because it's kid size, and
easy to alter, by painting, or adding  craft paper.

For the curtain, I actually poked the wire through
the sides, and twisted it in place.
The curtain really does pull back, for a more dramatic show.
The tightrope was made from 20 gauge wire, chopsticks and wooden bobbins.  
 I used vintage circus images I found online, for the posters. 
Some of these posters inspired the real characters. 

Step right up!

To see how I made the animals, and hoop, visit this post here

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  1. Oh my goodness. This is my favorite of all of them!

  2. This looks like so much fun!!

  3. Wow great idea! I would have loved having this as a kid. Very inspiring!

    1. Thank you Leslie. I think I have created a toy for my kids, I wish I had had too!

  4. I just found your post via google images. Your circus is fantastic :)

  5. This is so creative. I want to make one for myself!