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New Craft & Handmade Toy: Circus In My Pocket


I am delighted to finally be able to lift the lid on this little craft project I created for the current issue of Anorak Magazine. I just received my copy today – and had such giddy little butterflies in the pit of my belly when I saw it lying there in the hallway waiting for me.

When first invited to be the featured ‘Make Stuff’ crafter by Anorak’s editor I had total crafters-block, just couldn’t decide what to do and flip-flopped for a fortnight, anxious that it be the best project yet!.

Wanting to do a microcraft for a while I decided to marry that desire with the magazine’s ‘Circus’ theme….. and this is what I came up with – a Circus In My Pocket Toy Craft, featuring a giant cardboard matchbox and troop of colourful characters made from winecorks, polystyrene craft balls and toothpicks.

Jump on for the step by step instructions on how to make the matchbox and talented circus crew…… let the show begin!! and have fun

Step By Step:
Making the Giant Matchbox

Materials Needed: Mounting board, masking tape, wrapping paper

Cut mounting board into the shape of matchbox drawer and sleeve, tape together with masking tape.

Cover the outside and line the inside of the box with different coloured and patterned wrapping paper. I used understated craft paper on the outside so that you pull out the drawer its a colour explosion :)
The drawer when fully extended and turned upside down acts as the stage.

The pattern for the giant matchbox will be available to download here at the weekend – measurements based on mounting board (drawer needs to fit snugly in the sleeve)



Step By Step:
Making the Circus Characters

Materials Needed: wine corks, polystyrene balls, toothpicks, white tissue and PVA glue

Step One:
Break toothpicks in half and use to attach the craft balls to the wine corks

Step Two
Roll little balls of tissue soaked in Copydex and attach to the heads to create noses of different shapes and sizes (Copydex dries faster than PVA)

Step Three
Paint on a layer of PVA glue over the entire head and use the brush to pick up and apply a layer of white tissue. This layer seals in the nose to create a smooth layer and adds texture to the ‘skin’


Step By Step:
Creating the Circus Performers

Materials Needed: acrylic paint, crepe paper, pva and lots of imagination!!


When the tissue layer on the heads is dry it’s time for painting – to let the characters emerge. I recommend using acrylic paints instead of poster paints for rich and solid colour.

– paint the heads with flesh coloured paint.
– add white paint to take the flesh colour tone down a few tones and smudge on full strength colour on the cheeks with the tip of your finger
– when dry use light pencil lines to draw the eyes, mouth, mustache features and clothes outlines

paint and decorate away to your hearts content
(I used a cotton bud dipped in paint for the circles on the girls dress, and glued a cute button on the clowns top for added cuteness. The black paint for eyes, eyebrows etc should be the last layer once all other colours are dry

Add hair by simply soaking strips of coloured crepe paper in PVA and sticking it to the heads
– Nena: long strip of crepe twisted, rolled around to create a high bun and draped to the side
– Blip: balls of red crepe side by side around the head


the balloons are simple twisted bits of wire sandwiched between pieces of PVA coated tissue paper cut into balloon shapes

the weightlifting barbells are craft balls joined with a matchstick and painted black


there’s no limit to the number of props that can be added to the main ‘pocket circus’ for extended play at home
– barbecue skewers with wire stretched between them and little triangles of fabric glue on
– barbecue skewer uprights and horizontal bar, craft stick swing seat and wire to create an acrobat swing
– skewers can be held upright with empty spools of thread or by making tiny holes in the drawer of the matchbox to create a stage


22 Responses to “New Craft & Handmade Toy: Circus In My Pocket”

  1. Pascale says:

    I have to said this is the most adorable handmade creation of all!!! I just love everything and can not wait to open my imagination with the kids to do a variation of your beautiful circus!! Do you sell that??? You should!!

  2. Oh my goodness, this the coolest craft ever. You have such AMAZING ideas and your execution is just perfect. Love it! Adorable. Go you re Anorak Magazine… :-)

    Thanks for linking up to Kids Get Crafty!!!


  3. mollymoo says:

    Maggy you’re the cool one – thanks buddy :))

  4. m.e (cathie) says:

    i love it! thanks for sharing

  5. […] Love this blog […]

  6. This is lovely, so cute. Children would just love playing with it

  7. Lynell says:


  8. […] Mollymoo nos presenta a los protagonistas de una función de circo un tanto particular. Sus protagonistas son tan pequeños que descansan dentro de una caja. […]

  9. Kim says:

    I love this! Great job!

  10. […] another one to add to the mix. Their craft section. I was just reading over at Molly Moo how the Circus In My Pocket tutorial was a feature and it’s just fabulous. It features a giant cardboard matchbox and […]

  11. trixi says:

    what a fun craft…i love making microcrafts!

  12. These are lovely. :) Thanks for sharing!

  13. Zoë says:

    Very cool, I do circus classes and very proud :)

  14. […] a few special little animals friends. Our newest wine cork craft characters join an ever talented circus troop, created for Anorak Magazine this time last year – has it really been that […]

  15. Patty Palmer says:

    Ok…these are totally adorable. I’m hoping to do a circus theme in my classroom and this will be a super fun project to try. Thanks Molly Moo!!!!

  16. Michelle says:

    oh wow!!! I’m an honoured that you will try one of my projects in your deepspacesparkle classroom. I am a HUGE fan of all that you do. eeeeeek so excited to see what you and your class do xx please come back and share

  17. Anna says:

    Holy moly cannoli!!! I can’t wait to make this myself!

    Just one thing. Instead of “flesh-colored,” because whose flesh, right? Maybe peach? I’m making this for my nieces, who are Latina and black, and well, their skin isn’t that color. :+)

  18. mama frog says:

    This is such a cute idea. I recently bought some shaker peg dolls and have been searching ideas to decorate them that are different from the standard fairy

  19. […] – be inspired by these sets of cute and playful animals, superheros, easter bunnies, circus troop, halloween trick ‘r treat kids and DIY […]

  20. Tala says:

    Simply AMAZING! Beautiful work.

  21. Stephanie Beaurain says:

    This is the cutest circus ever! Unfortunately, I cannot seem to locate the template for the giant matchbox. Can you direct me to the right place, please, please, please?

    I can’t wait to make my own little circus…


  22. Michelle says:

    HI Stephanie – you’ll find the template for the matchbox at this link

    Have fun xx

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