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Make a Tiny Haunted Village with Graveyard - Upcycle Crafting Demo Using Boxes and Scraps

Updated on October 15, 2014

The DIY grave of Prince Vlad

DIY grave in Tiny Town project
DIY grave in Tiny Town project | Source

Tiny towns tell terrible tales.

I was thinking it would be fun for Halloween to do a tiny haunted town project. Is there any town in America that doesn't come complete with a history of at least one haunting?

Being blessed, I was born in the south and grew up on tales of hauntings both past and present.

From the woods behind our house, said to be the property of a young plantation mistress who hung herself during the war, to the Vicksburg National Military Park's own prestigious offerings of haunted battlegrounds and cemetery, I was wonderfully surrounded in local legend.

I grew to believe every location with any history attached comes with a certain lingering of presence from that which came before.

Come along with me to discover how easy it is to make your own haunted tiny town. It's great for parties, English Language Arts class activities and projects or just plain old scary type crafty goodness.

The whole tiny town with Prince Vlad watching over

Tiny buildings from crafting for writing prompts.
Tiny buildings from crafting for writing prompts.

Here, you will find two ways to build tiny houses for your tiny town.

Terrifying tales optional, of course.

Two of the houses, namely the two smallest structures, were assembled from pre-made cutouts, while the four others, including the single service graveyard were all made from upcycled boxes and paper. The picture galleries give instructions for assembling both types.

One of my favorite things about having a haunted town is that each architectural component can have its very own haunted tale, a history of how it came to be as it is.

Such projects are great fun around the scary season for English classes, parties or group activities. Each person can contribute to the town not only his or her very own scary structure, but also a short story to go with it explaining the past and current state of the building in question.

Follow along to see how the basic parts of Tiny Town were made. After the construction documentary galleries, a short background for each will be given as an example of how to use the concept to help tiny imaginations grow huge with tales of daring do and scary boo.

Disclaimer - Examples are in no way express, written or implied represented as good examples of anything related to proper literature.

Prince Vlad chilling out in his coffin

Prince Vlad of Tiny Town in his coffin
Prince Vlad of Tiny Town in his coffin

The Prince Vlad of Tiny Town; A Taste of Terror.

His spirit is said to still watch over the town at night.

He was born here.

Dates upon Vlad's grave were thought to have been obtained from one of the many books confiscated from his home and subsequently burned on the night of his death.

Rumor had it the church had evidence of vampire activity which, of course, sealed our dear vamp's fate considering the time in question.

A young nun reportedly showed signs of corruption and upon torture admitted that young Prince Vlad was indeed nothing as he appeared, but rather an ancient, sinister figure feeding off the blood of the innocent. Vlad was abed when thirteen monks descended from the tiny church. One drove a stake through his heart while at the same instant another took his head.

The remaining church contains the only documented notation of the occasion, written over fifty years after the incident, by a young apprentice. It states that the only remains of Vlad to actually go into the solid silver coffin consisted of a single organ, his heart. The monk's apprentice noted no matter how much fuel was added to the fire, the tiny, shriveled, black organ simply would not burn.

Scope out the photographs below for detailed instructions.

This is so easy and affordable any class, group or hostess can provide the materials needed in a snap.

Click through the pictures to see in depth construction information in the captions.

How the graveyard was assembled

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The grave is two boxes glued together and covered in paper.I used three sheets of the black paper on all the roofs. The scalloped affect mimics shingles in a way. The walls of this were done in a brown.A single sheet of black construction paper comprises the soil of the graveyard.Fold, trim and glue down the papers.A crafting stick becomes a cross with the aid of a little hot glue, some paint and a gem stud.The upper cross is glued to the back of the mausoleum wall.The cross for Vlad's grave (that's who is buried here) is another crafting stick painted in black Sharpie.A Sharpie engraved tombstone marks the grave of Prince Vlad, though local legend holds his larger than life spirit can be seen roaming at night.
The grave is two boxes glued together and covered in paper.
The grave is two boxes glued together and covered in paper.
I used three sheets of the black paper on all the roofs. The scalloped affect mimics shingles in a way. The walls of this were done in a brown.
I used three sheets of the black paper on all the roofs. The scalloped affect mimics shingles in a way. The walls of this were done in a brown.
A single sheet of black construction paper comprises the soil of the graveyard.
A single sheet of black construction paper comprises the soil of the graveyard.
Fold, trim and glue down the papers.
Fold, trim and glue down the papers.
A crafting stick becomes a cross with the aid of a little hot glue, some paint and a gem stud.
A crafting stick becomes a cross with the aid of a little hot glue, some paint and a gem stud.
The upper cross is glued to the back of the mausoleum wall.
The upper cross is glued to the back of the mausoleum wall.
The cross for Vlad's grave (that's who is buried here) is another crafting stick painted in black Sharpie.
The cross for Vlad's grave (that's who is buried here) is another crafting stick painted in black Sharpie.
A Sharpie engraved tombstone marks the grave of Prince Vlad, though local legend holds his larger than life spirit can be seen roaming at night.
A Sharpie engraved tombstone marks the grave of Prince Vlad, though local legend holds his larger than life spirit can be seen roaming at night.

Was Vlad the Impaler the original vampire? Was he a human murderer or perhaps a misunderstood vampire merely seeking to defend his home?

Some posit the historical figure known as Vlad the Impaler was the actual basis for the Dracula character first made famous by Bram Stoker. History has painted him a most brutal figure, bathed in blood as it were. But then, to the victor goes the spoils including the right to write history.

Is it possible Vlad has been misrepresented historically?

Missunderstood or just plain bad?

Many say Prince Vlad of history was the basis of the Dracula character. Do you think he was possibly a missunderstood guy defending his home?

See results

The house used in Tiny Town.

This is the exact house you see in the pictures. These tiny little kit houses are actually designed to be Christmas ornaments, but really, you can paint them any way you wish as I did. The hangers are included and they are the perfect size for hanging on the tree, but I like them for Tiny Town.

Watch the church being built. Every town no matter how tiny needs a church.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ornament house by Melissa Frances - unassembled craft kit.The parts contained in the package.Glue the red film behind the windows and doors. Glue them behind the walls. Glue the end of the walls together.:( Don't glue the wrong side. It's a curse I tell you, a tiny torment!Keep gluing for the roof and to the base.Don't forget the tiny chimney.Pick a paper to glue on the for the roof. You could just as easily paint this, or glue down colored sand or whatever your imagination desires.Add in some paint.A little more paint here and there to convey that aged appearance and voila, one very old, very tiny, very powerful church.
Ornament house by Melissa Frances - unassembled craft kit.
Ornament house by Melissa Frances - unassembled craft kit.
The parts contained in the package.
The parts contained in the package.
Glue the red film behind the windows and doors. Glue them behind the walls. Glue the end of the walls together.
Glue the red film behind the windows and doors. Glue them behind the walls. Glue the end of the walls together.
:( Don't glue the wrong side. It's a curse I tell you, a tiny torment!
:( Don't glue the wrong side. It's a curse I tell you, a tiny torment!
Keep gluing for the roof and to the base.
Keep gluing for the roof and to the base.
Don't forget the tiny chimney.
Don't forget the tiny chimney.
Pick a paper to glue on the for the roof. You could just as easily paint this, or glue down colored sand or whatever your imagination desires.
Pick a paper to glue on the for the roof. You could just as easily paint this, or glue down colored sand or whatever your imagination desires.
Add in some paint.
Add in some paint.
A little more paint here and there to convey that aged appearance and voila, one very old, very tiny, very powerful church.
A little more paint here and there to convey that aged appearance and voila, one very old, very tiny, very powerful church.

The tiny town old church

Tiny Town Church from a craft kit
Tiny Town Church from a craft kit

History of the old church

No one knows for sure how old the church is, though it is said to date to before the birth of Christ having been built, burnt, ravaged and rebuilt many times over the centuries.

Throughout its tenure in Tiny Town, it has been whispered to house many a clandestine organization from the Knights Templar to the Order the Black Rose to members of the Illuminate themselves.

Since that fateful night, so long ago, when young Prince Vlad was dispatched by the holy guard of the church, at least three monks have stood guard over the graveyard at all times. Through war, famine, plague and civil upheaval the monks have always remained. They are a silent order, seldom seen and never heard, yet always there watching, waiting.

The deceptively innocent home, said to be the birthplace of Prince Vlad. The ancestral home still survives all of these years later.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Melissa Frances house ornament kit.All the parts taken out of the package.The windows are scored and pop out easily using a pencil tip.Cut the red film and glue or tape to the interior walls behind the windows and door.Attach the white side of windows and door to the inside of the house walls.Glue house walls together and hold for a moment.Affix the house tot he base.Glue on the roof, then the front entrance cover.Add some paper shingles.A little paint.Voila.  All done.  You could glue or paint on shrubbery, flowers, ghosts, whatever your imagination wants.
The Melissa Frances house ornament kit.
The Melissa Frances house ornament kit.
All the parts taken out of the package.
All the parts taken out of the package.
The windows are scored and pop out easily using a pencil tip.
The windows are scored and pop out easily using a pencil tip.
Cut the red film and glue or tape to the interior walls behind the windows and door.
Cut the red film and glue or tape to the interior walls behind the windows and door.
Attach the white side of windows and door to the inside of the house walls.
Attach the white side of windows and door to the inside of the house walls.
Glue house walls together and hold for a moment.
Glue house walls together and hold for a moment.
Affix the house tot he base.
Affix the house tot he base.
Glue on the roof, then the front entrance cover.
Glue on the roof, then the front entrance cover.
Add some paper shingles.
Add some paper shingles.
A little paint.
A little paint.
Voila.  All done.  You could glue or paint on shrubbery, flowers, ghosts, whatever your imagination wants.
Voila. All done. You could glue or paint on shrubbery, flowers, ghosts, whatever your imagination wants.
Prince Vlad watches over Tiny Town
Prince Vlad watches over Tiny Town

What little is known of Vlad's home.

There is no written record of the home of Prince Vlad before the note mentioned in the old church. The little history we have came down in the form of rumor and story told to children late at night by old people years ago.

Such stories are known to change with the slightest, most tiny omission or addition repeated over generations morphing history into legend and legend into tale as details wax and wain with the changing of the ages.

The home is said to be the oldest standing structure within Tiny Town. Originally built by Peter the Great, Vlad's father, it was lauded to have been the launching spot for the civilization of the entire European continent.Prior to Peter carving out his spot in the wilderness, warring tribes took turns ruling over the lands at the whim of blood and ash, but Peter's rule would not relinquish to tradition past.

When Vlad was but fifteen, the last horde attacked, after five years of quiet, killing both of his parents. Some versions say Vlad was taken captive, others that he went mad, but all have him killing the small band of remaining attackers. In the former version, he slit their throats in their sleep, in the latter, drunk with blood lust over seeing his mother's body, he and the remaining few servants slew the combatants.

The tiny little town was said to have prospered under his rule for seven years, until that last fateful night when the monks came. Though blood curdling tales of terror sprang from disappearances plaguing the forest in all directions, the common folk who lived in the town had thrived. None had ever again dared to attack.

Immediately following Vlad's dispatch by the church, the home was seized. Ironically, the nun who brought charges against Prince Vlad, Lilleth, was sent to live in isolation within said home until her death.

The Tiny Town Pub; The pub is said to have been built in the 1700's by illegitimate descendants of Prince Vlad and Lilleth.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Grab a small box and tape it shut.Use cardboard to create a roof. Glue it to the box.Use more cardboard to make a base and glue the box to it.Use paper to create walls and roofing. A glue stick or glue gun will work well.Add more paper for the roof.Small rectangles cut out and colored with a marker make quick windows and doors.
Grab a small box and tape it shut.
Grab a small box and tape it shut.
Use cardboard to create a roof. Glue it to the box.
Use cardboard to create a roof. Glue it to the box.
Use more cardboard to make a base and glue the box to it.
Use more cardboard to make a base and glue the box to it.
Use paper to create walls and roofing. A glue stick or glue gun will work well.
Use paper to create walls and roofing. A glue stick or glue gun will work well.
Add more paper for the roof.
Add more paper for the roof.
Small rectangles cut out and colored with a marker make quick windows and doors.
Small rectangles cut out and colored with a marker make quick windows and doors.

Tiny Town Pub

The Tiny Town Pub
The Tiny Town Pub

History of the pub is widely disputed.

The pub can be proven to be as old as the early 1700's by a stamp found upon the foundation blocks. Various owners over the years have disputed this claim. All have steadfastly declared the building to be much older having been rebuilt upon its own foundations many times.

Behind the bar, hangs an old painting. No one knows exactly how old but everyone alive and everyone they can remember has said it has always been there. Supposedly, it is of the Prince himself. Ironically, the current owner could be a direct descendant when you consider how much he and the figure in the painting look alike.

Local gossip holds the pub has been handed down through generations of traveling gypsies all springing from Vlad's illegitimate lines.

What terrors lay about in your town?

Ghost stories and terrifying tales are what the scary season is all about. Bring some life to a few of your own with a tiny town of terror.

Delve into the deeply scary and terribly twisted for the Halloween season by creating something with your hands and your mind. What tales will come from your town?

Wanted!

All of Tiny town stands aghast at the crime recently perpetrated upon the good people of this quaint village.The historical grave of Vlad has been desecrated. Local authorities are asking for the help of anyone who has knowledge of the crime or saw anyone around the graveyard on the night of 8/29/13. The only clue police have at the moment is one tiny kitty paw print.

Image credits; Rhonda Lytle a.k.a. Poetvix

© 2013 Rhonda Lytle

Please, leave your thoughts here at the Tiny Town register.

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    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @DANCING COWGIRL: This one was a lot of fun to do. I love it when kids do this because they always come up with the coolest stories. God bless and have a most happy Halloween this year!

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 

      4 years ago from Texas

      I love working with miniature stuff when I have the chance. This is a cool idea for making a little haunted town scene for Halloween. Thanks for showing this.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @boneworld: Thank you :). This is actually one of my faves. I want to do it again but with a castle :) God bless and happy spooky fun.

    • boneworld profile image

      Jackson Thom 

      4 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      NICE! This town is awesome.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @thebookhill: The residents thank you very much :) It's never dull.

    • profile image

      thebookhill 

      4 years ago

      You have definitely crafted an interestingly haunted town!

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @flycatcherrr: Thank you @flycatcher, very much. It was a lot of fun. I appreciate the share and hope some little kids have a ton of fun, maybe some big kids, too. Happiest scary crafting and blessings :).

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 

      4 years ago

      This is just awesome, @poetvix - I love miniatures of any sort, but when they're imaginatively made from leftover bits and bobs, all the better. Gotta share this around!

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      5 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @smine27: I'm glad. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. Have fun! God bless.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 

      5 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Wow it's amazing what you can build with simple everyday stuff. You have just inspired me!

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      5 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @mel-kav: Thank you :). He was a lot of fun to dream up. God bless and most happiest of squidding.

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 

      5 years ago

      What a great idea! Also, very interesting story. I had never heard of the story of Vlad.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      5 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @ghoststorylover: :) Sweet. I hope you post some pictures on a lens. Halloween is so much fun, to me anyway. I love anything that sparks imagination. God bless and happy squidding!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      What a marvelous activity for the whole family. I'd have as much fun as the kids creating the tiny haunted town. Great picture series.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      5 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @Virginia Allain: Thank you! I hope you all have a blast. Kids love ghost stories. It seemed like a fun way to get some going. God bless and most happy squidding!

    • ghoststorylover profile image

      ghoststorylover 

      5 years ago

      Cute idea, I plan on making a Halloween village too! :)

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      5 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @HealthfulMD: I don't know what's up. I'll try to work on it. This is the first time I have included a Plexo so I'm kind of flying blind here. A few others have been added so I know it works sometimes. Wish me luck and oh, yea, Louis was hot. For that matter, Stuart Townsend playing Lestat in Queen of the Damned was pretty hot too.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      5 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @HealthfulMD: :) I like the old ones too. I don't know what came over me, I should have added some of the Necroscope vampires, but I don't think as many are familiar with them.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      5 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @Coffee-Break: Thank you. I hope you both have a good time. God bless and most happy crafting. :)

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      5 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @athomemomblog: I hope he has a ton of fun :). Thanks and God bless.

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      5 years ago from Northern California

      P.S. I added Brad Pitt's Louis from Interview with a Vampire (twice), but it isn't showing.

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      5 years ago from Northern California

      Fun tiny idea. Still have to pick the older vampires.

    • Coffee-Break profile image

      Dorian Bodnariuc 

      5 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      I love this project of yours. This makes me want to make a tiny village with my son.

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 

      5 years ago from Guatemala

      My son would love these!!!

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      5 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @Lorelei Cohen: Oh, my. That's the nicest thing. Thank you so much. Your comment made my day. I can only say any good idea that might flee through the old noodle here typically sprang from surfing around reading on Squidoo. In fact, I just read one of yours that taught me a heap about key words. Truthfully, I'm seriously challenged at getting traffic from Google and appreciate all the lesson I can get. God bless you.

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      5 years ago from Canada

      I am beginning to think that you are the queen of cardboard box craft projects. Your ideas are so cute.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda Lytle 

      5 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      @Judith Nazarewicz: Thank you :). Sammie, my kitty, and I had great fun. She with destroying the houses as fast as I could make them and me getting to spend a few minutes dreaming up the haunted background. I so wish I could have got a shot of her attacking Vlad and dragging him to her litter box. That was funny! God bless and most happiest of squidding.

    • Judith Nazarewicz profile image

      Judith Nazarewicz 

      5 years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

      Oh, this is really cute! I have to do this with my grandkids. I'm always looking for fun things to do. This is perfect! :-)

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