Kbatz Kraft: DIY Halloween Candle Clusters

Why spend heaps on battery operated candle sets when you can save your paper towel and toilet paper rolls to make your own DIY Halloween candle clusters? Recycle, craft, and help the planet!

Of course, the reason it took me so long to do this project was because I thought there was a technical aspect to the candles – running wires from each light to a bottom base or arduino breadboard with a smartphone remote or toggle switch. To the at home computer hobbyist such advanced lighting schemes are no problem, but regular ole me had no idea how you could glue drips around a tea light yet be able to use its on off switch. Fortunately, our own illustrious horror hostess Emerian Rich made the simplest observation that there must be a shelf inside the roll to hold the candle. Huzzah!

Armed with such wisdom, I traced circles onto a piece of cardboard, cutting them out and trimming each to fit a roll before taping and gluing them inside at the tea light depth. Next I bunched my two clusters together with ten tiered rolls cum candles each, varying the designs so they are symmetrically asymmetrical rather than matched or mirror images. By stacking or cutting rolls, I could make the tiers taller or smaller, taping and gluing the rolls as needed. Rather than spray painting everything Halloween black, I chose red paint for year round décor. I debated painting all my rolls and going around their rims with the glue drops a la wax motif before gathering them together. However, I suspect that would mean I was painting in unnecessary hidden spots or stuck with glue in places that didn’t fit.

On to my trusty glue gun, I added globs of glue drips around my rolls – long drips, short lumps, globby pieces in all the nooks and crannies. Obviously, this is part of the candle look, but once hardened, the glue also added stability to the bunch and the rolls became quite sturdy. This is a time consuming detail that took a day to dry before touch ups, and in addition to clear, I used red and silver glitter glue sticks, hoping they might add a sparkly touch. For more realistic attention to detail, I also did a glue ripple around the bottom of the bunch. After Round One, I could see spots that needed more waxy drip effects, so I did another layer of glue globs to conceal any problem spots. At first, these looked really bad, obviously cheap, and barely held together. It’s not as simple as it looks – oh Etsy, glue drips and toilet paper rolls make tea lights look like big candles, yeah Pinterest!

Indeed, with different textures, thin cardboard, glue, and tape, these clusters needed several coats of paint. The more I painted and glued, fortunately, the more they really started to look like candles. The tea lights themselves also needed several paint coats. Rather than buying red that had a red light, I chose the white tea lights for their realistic glow. Originally, I wanted to do these bunches in an aged off white or creamy color. After seeing how many coats it took of red, however, I’m super glad I didn’t choose a light paint where all the tea lights could illumine every T.P. imperfection. For my final coat, I added a drop of darker paint called ‘Berry’ – last used in my Spooky Spellbook DIY – to the red base. I painted both clusters in this slightly darker hue, not worrying about every little crevice, resulting in an antique, realistic look. Now instead of obvious recycled materials, that a la wax dimension is what you see first.

For something more substantial than a plastic tray or no base at all, I picked up two silver plated trays at Goodwill for $2 each. Both clusters actually fit on one larger tray – a classy centerpiece that fits in right through all the holidays. Overall, this project took about four days with the drying time between coats as the biggest hurdle. One should also make sure the tea lights still fit as you add your gobblely glue trim. Some became snug and need to be wedge in gently. After the ins and out to turn them off and on, a few have chipped, so expect touch ups if you are going to repeatedly poke and prod at the candle lights. The 8 ounce red acrylic paint was $4 and a pack of 24 tea lights was $8, both from Amazon. So for around $16, I have two stylish, unique candle clusters compared to at least $20 for one from Spirit or gasp $80 at Pier 1 – neither of which appear to be available online this season. Of course, with store bought battery candles, once one burns out or there is a remote timer problem, they often don’t work anymore. When one of these goes bad, I can just change the tea light!

Though not necessary a family friendly project, one can customize these faux candle clusters – creepy face designs, blood drips on white candles, go huge by using tubes or piping instead of towel rolls, or dozens of individual rolls can become an entire room of Harry Potter floating ceiling candles. We all certainly use enough T.P.!

Revisit more Kbatz Krafts including:

How to Make Stuffed Pumpkins

Spooky Spellbooks

Tea Stained Labels and Spooky Bottles

Creepy Cloches

It’s a Pumpkin Cat House

Pumpkin Ottomans, Oh Yes

Live Action Reviews! By Crystal Connor: The Boy


By Crystal Connor


On Jan 20th 2016 at 3 O’clock in the afternoon, with two VIP red carpet prescreening passes Crystal and her kid sis stood in line mixing and mingling with other guests, took pix, tweeted, Instagramed and Facebooked the excitement and festivities that was the preshow event.

This is the unedited journal chronicling the harrowing experience that she and fellow movie goers went through as they sat, untied as one, screaming, crying, cringing and shouting expletive outburst to the actors on screen as they willfully endured William Bell and Stacey Menear’s: The Boy

Boy 1Boy 2

Reader discretion is advised

Entry 1: See, you were told not to go up there, that’s why you died in TWD

Entry 2: He’s actually kind of cute

Entry 3: That awkward moment when you’re the only one laughing

Entry 4: I would be more afraid of the parents than the doll

Entry 5: Ok, that’s a warning

Entry 6: Even if everything wasn’t so creepy that house is too big.

Entry 7: Ok, I told you!

Entry 8: Wow

Entry 9: What is it with white folks and attics?!

Entry 10: Nope. Now…OMFG NO!


Entry 12: What the…

Entry 13: How much more of a hint do you need?

Entry 14: So where’s the necklace?

Entry 15: Are we still not gonna talk about the necklace?

Entry 16: What are you crying for? I told you not to! We all did.

Entry 17: Ummm


Entry 19: I mean what else do you do at this point?

Entry 20: NO! Never ask for a sign

Entry 21: Oh my God

Entry 22: And hell no!

Entry 23: Ghost or not that brat needs to be brought to heel, there would be some rule changes.

Entry 24: He has a passport?

Entry 25: Ok shit just got real.

Entry 26: No … FINISH HIM!

Entry 27: No they didn’t!

Entry 28: Oh my GOD they did!

Entry 29: That twist tho…

Entry 30: They just rewrote the horror doll genre.

Plot: An American nanny is shocked that her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll. After violating a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.

Who would like it: Everyone who loves creepy dolls, suspense junkies, slasher fans, and those who love seeing strong female leads.

High Points: As soon as the parents leave the rules are thrown out the window

We never see the doll move. Greta didn’t steal her own necklace when she was in the shower, Greta didn’t cut a lock of her own hair when she was sleeping, and Greta didn’t trap herself up in the attic. The Boy did it. And we know he did because there isn’t anyone else in that house. Rightly so about a 3rd of the way into the movie we’re all terrified of the doll.

The turning point is when she locks herself in her bedroom after laying the doll on the bed and returning to the room to see it sitting up next to a clipboard of the rules, all of which had been broken. In order to calm her down and get her to come out of the bedroom he apologizes for scaring her, promises to that he’ll be good, and leaves a peace offering at the door saying it’s her favorite. Despite wild protest from the audience she opens the door to find he made her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (Cut diagonally, not in half) and she burst into hysterical laughter. The reason this is the turning point is because of what she does next.

Does she leave? Of course not, but what she does do is comes to terms with her situation and tries to reconcile with the boy by following the rules and treating the doll like a child. Malcom notices the change in Greta toward the doll and is uncomfortable by it.

Earlier in the movie we find out from Malcom that the Heelshire’s lost the child in a fire 20 years ago and we all came to the conclusion that the doll has become a coping mechanism. Greta explains that she feels as if she was brought there for a reason because she is in the unique position to understand how they feel. She too has lost a child, a miscarriage caused by an abusive ex. Malcom isn’t sure the presence in the house is benevolent and tries to convince her to leave. She refuses. He doesn’t force the issue, so for a while we all exists in this uncomfortable state of acceptance as we watch Greta act as creepy as the Heelshires.

And through it all we never see the doll move.

Cue the ex-boyfriend … who shows up out of the blue. That creepy little dolls makes us all uneasy, but the minute the ex shows up on the screen all the murmuring shifts to concerns for its safety. When Malcom stops by with a delivery and sees the ex there, his tune changes from ‘you need to get out of the house’ to ‘grab the boy and come with me now’ but she can’t because one of the rules is that The Boy cannot leave the house.

We all knew it was coming, the epic fight between the ex and Malcom, but it’s hardly a fight at all as the ex is almost twice the size as the delivery driver. The Boy is snatch away from Greta and the ex is swinging the doll around by a leg … and then he smashes the doll against the ledge of a pool table.


For this whole entire time we have been watching this doll being treated like a kid and we all have a visceral reaction to seeing his head being smashed into a billion pieces and watching Greta and Malcom, who didn’t even like the damn thing, screaming in disbelief and running toward The Boy’s broken body. That whole sequence is shot in slow motion and We. Lost. Our. Fucking. Minds. The last time I was in a theater that erupted emotionally like that was with the end scene Guillermo del Toro’s Mama.

I was expecting to see the cremated remains, as if the head of the doll was really an urn. For a minute or two the only thing you can hear is people in the audience crying, the next thing we realize is that the house begins to rumble and once again Malcom suggests that they get out of the house.

It is then that we all become to understand that the writer Stacey Menear and director William Brent Bell set us up. I was so unprepared for what happened next that it felt like I had been hit in the stomach and had lost my breath. I remember my eyes got all watery.

And the screaming.

This wasn’t the type of screaming you normally hear while waiting in lines at an amusement    park, drifting from bowels of a haunted house or the giggle infused shrieks that follow excellently executed jump scares. No. This was long, drawn out, prolonged screaming. And this is where I am going to leave you. You really need to experience this movie for yourselves. But I will say this. For those of us who have been complaining about the constant remakes, franchises that go on and on forever, and movies that drop the ball with the ending, this is the movie we have all been waiting for.

Its original, its unpredictable, its fun and above all else it’s downright scary. And in my opinion The Boy is the best doll movie to date. Go see it! But do yourself a HUGE favor, if you plan on seeing this movie, please avoid spoilers at ALL COST! You really need to experience this movie the way it was meant to be experienced. Trust me on this.

Stars: 5

Where I watched it: Seattle AMC

The only complaints I was is with the preshow event.

1st off, and admittedly this really isn’t a problem, I assumed that the ‘guest star’ was somehow connected to the movie. Zach Clayton was the Seattle star, because he is so young I thought he was the voice actor for the doll, but he’s not. He is a Youtube celebrity who isn’t connected to The Boy.

Most of the VIP guest came to see him, and because he is so young, so are his fans. For a while there the atmosphere felt a bit Twilightish. It was fun, but it was just a really young crowd. This along with the host who really didn’t know that much about the horror genre is what could have become somewhat of a problem if there weren’t a hand full of hardcore horror fans in attendance.

One of the trivia questions was: Name another horror movie that has a doll in it. The contestant on stage said: The Conjuring and the host said no. And we were like WTF and the five of us who knew better were standing up protesting loudly because it seemed like she wasn’t going to get her prize. My sister explained to the host that this was the 1st time Annabelle is introduced, and he actually asked who? But by this time the beautiful co-host had looked it up and awarded the girl her prize. The next contestant was yours truly, with the same question. My answer The Trilogy of Terror and the host said ‘Now your just making stuff up.’ But before I had a chance to lose my damn mind, from the corner of darkness the voice of the sound engineer rang out above the rest as he shouted ‘No she’s not. 1976, scared the hell out of me!’

Another thing that was problematic was that though this age group tweets about everything and it was an amazing advertising ploy, this movie was a bit too sophisticated for such a young audience and many of them may not have seen the movies in which the writer gives the nods.

Other than that it was a blast and the Swag was amazing! If you want to see the all of the uncropped pix of the pre show please click here
VIP Pix for The Boy

***Washington State native Crystal Connor has been terrorizing readers since before Jr. high School and loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys, rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high heel shoes & unreasonably priced hang bags. She is also considering changing her professional title to ‘dramatization specialist’ because it’s so much more theatrical than being just a mere drama queen. Crystal’s latest projects can be found both on her blog and Facebook fan page at:

pic 3 poster



Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! from Podiobooks.com and see why the name Crystal Connor has become “A Trusted Name in Terror!”