by Julie

October 23, 2016

The Halloween "Wonderbox" is an interactive art project designed by Pataphysics Studio *. We've broken the project into four parts in order for you to bring Halloween characters to life with sound, lights and motion, using simple electronic parts and craft materials.


Fabrice Florin

 Fabrice Florin 

 Pataphysics Studio 

Overall, this ‘maker art’ program seems like a great way to teach art and technology to school children, in a playful way that makes their learning experience more fun.


1. Design and decorate the box

2. Light-up skull eyes

3. Spin artwork

4. Make a talking character

Concepts Explored

  • Electrical switches
  • Conductive materials
  • Simple circuits
  • Prototyping
  • Cause and effect
  • Creative thinking

Parts and Materials

The electronics for this project comes in many of the KitHub kits including the Classroom Motorized ArtBot kit and all of the STEAM program kits. You can also find them at a shop that sells electronic parts. 

    • 1 cardboard box (size is your choice)
    • 1 skull (or character with eyes)
    • 1 wooden spool
    • 2 Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) 
    • 2 CR2032 coin cell batteries 
    • 1 hobby motor with alligator clip
    • 1 AA battery
    • 1 AA battery holder 
    • Conductive material (e.g. aluminum foil, copper tape, safety pin)
    • Hot glue or Elmer's glue
    • Electrical tape or duct tape

Part 1: Decorate Your WonderBox

A ‘wonderbox’ is an interactive art experience that features playful characters in miniature dioramas. Characters include singing flowers, alien invaders,  X-ray skulls and  more. Each wonderbox twinkles with lights, plays sounds and/or makes characters move. 

What this means, is that the design of the wonderbox is entirely up to you! This is your art project. There are no rules!

For inspiration, checkout these photos from a workshop in San Francisco.

Interactive Halloween Art Project

Part 2: Light up Skull Eyes

Make your skull's eyes light up: add LEDs in its eye sockets, and tape them to a small battery. 

Parts and Materials

  • 1 skull (or character of your choice)
  • 1 spinning spiral artwork
  • 1 spool or something similar to mount your skull in the box
  • 2 Light-emitting Diodes (LEDs)
  • 2 CR2032 coin cell batteries
  • recordable module (or a Makey Makey or Makey Go)
  • Hot glue or Elmer's glue
  • Electrical or duct tape
  • Wonderbox Parts 1


    1. Test your LEDs. Use an LED and coin cell battery: Pinch the LED legs, or leads, to the coin cell battery terminals. The longer LED lead, called the anode, should be touching the positive terminal (+) of the battery and the shorter LED lead, called the cathode, should be touching the negative terminal (-) of the battery.
    2. Place 1 LED through one hole in the skull’s eye. Add 1 coin cell battery like in step 1. 
    3. Tape the LED leads to the battery by wrapping duct tape 2-3 times around both sides of the battery. Keep the tape very tight as you wrap.
    4. Repeat with the second LED and coin cell battery.
    5. Mount skull on spool. Use glue to secure in place.
    6. Place your skull into your box.
    LED Throwie

    Part 3: Spinning Spiral

    Make something spin in your box, like a spinning spiral. Add a motor in the back of your box, position a piece of art to the motor shaft, and connect it to a battery to make it spin.

    Parts and Materials

    • 1 spinning spiral or other similar piece of artwork
    • 1 hobby motor with alligator clips
    • 1 AA battery
    • 1 AA battery holder
    • Electrical or duct tape
    Wonderbox Part 2


    Step 1
    1. Place the AA Battery in the AA battery holder.
    Step 2
    1. Attach the red alligator clip to one AA battery holder lead (it doesn’t matter which).
    2. Attach the black alligator clip to the other AA battery holder lead.
    3. If the motor starts buzzing, your connection is good!

    Troubleshooting: If your motor doesn’t spin, make sure the connection between the AA battery holder leads and alligator clips are good. Also ensure your battery is good.

    Step 3
    1. Poke the motor shaft through the back of the box.
    2. Tape the battery pack to the back of the box.
    3. Place the spiral artwork on the inside of box with the motor shaft poked through the middle of the paper.

    Part 4: Talking Skull or Spider

    Make a sound for your character: record a sound for your skull or spider (or other character), and create a button with conductive material to make it play.

    Parts and Materials

    Wonderbox Parts 3

    * This Wonderbox Kit is based on The ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine' - a fun and educational combination of art and technology. This poetic oracle was created by a group of artists, engineers, teachers and students in Mill Valley, inspired by the maker movement and ‘Pataphysics, the “science of imaginary solutions." Learn more at

    About the author 


    Julie B. does a bit of everything at KitHub, but her top priority is to ensure customers have an excellent experience.

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