Eerie glow stick halloween eyes

Glow sticks plus construction paper plus a dark setting:

Recently I saw a couple of crafty articles flow across my RSS newsreader that involved making creepy glowing halloween eyes by using glow sticks and empty toilet paper tubes. I thought it was a cool idea, but saw three fundamental flaws in those designs.

1. “It ain’t gonna fit.”

2. I am not a Martha Stewart worshipping hoarder.  I do not hang on to old toilet paper tubes, yogurt cups, styrafoam meat packing trays, or anything else generally regarded as recyclable or disposable packaging.  I try to buy local things, with the least amount of packaging, carry it home in my own reusable cloth bags, and put what’s left in the appropriate curbside container.

3. Light will come out the eye holes, yes, but wouldn’t it also come out the sides?

Given this, I decided to draft up a quick alternative design that can be made from construction paper.  (For some reason I have a lot of black construction paper on hand.)  I made mine a square tube rather than cylindrical.  I figured that gives it a better chance of not rolling off of a shelf.

First, I sketched out a papercraft box.  This one was designed for minimal light seepage — the two ends have nice long flaps and there is an extra overlapping body segment to stop light from leaking out the back.

Next, I measured a glow stick and attached measurements to the box.

I then plotted that design in the computer, printed a template, used that template to cut construction paper, and built a prototype.  I actually went through two prototypes because I decided that I did not like the design of the side flaps.  I changed them from square to tapered because they were a little difficult to insert.

If you would like to build one, just follow the simple instructions (pictures are below):

  1. Print the pattern on regular paper or, if available, cardstock.
  2. Cut out the pattern. You can vary the eye design as much as you’d like.
  3. Use the pattern to cut out black construction paper (either directly or by first tracing).
  4. Fold as directed, forming a square tube.
  5. Activate a glow stick and put it in the tube (you may have to cut off part of the glow stick’s hanger to get it to fit).
  6. Fold the end flaps closed. You may want to tape up the seams for sturdiness.
  7. Hide it in a dark but visible place, such as dense bushes or a dimly lit bookshelf.
Click this image to download “Glowing Eyes.pdf”

cut out template

use the template to cut construction paper

use template to cut construction paper

trim the glow stick’s hanger so that it fits better and more centered

For more papercraft projects, check out the papercraft tag.

Posted in: Projects

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

2 thoughts on “Eerie glow stick halloween eyes”

  1. I tried the ones with the toilet paper tube and I was really disappointed. You could hardly even see the light glowing through the eyes. Too much space. I just saw your idea here and this is exactly similar to what I’m going to try next. I am just going to cut out smaller eyes and then just wrap the poster paper around the glow stick and fold over the ends. Hope it works this time. It’s such a great idea, but I couldn’t believe how worthless they turned out the first time. Thanks

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