We want to make a paper circus tent frame that will be attached to the front of the box. This consists of three sections—a pair of side walls and a top.
To make the paper walls, cut out a pair of very tall trapezoids from white construction paper. The height of these trapezoids should be at least an inch taller than your box diorama.
Remove the paper walls from the box. Draw circus stripes on the paper walls as well as on the circus top. You can use colored markers, crayons, tempera or poster paint. Red and yellow, red and white, as well as purple and yellow are popular circus color themes but you can always make yours as unique as you like.
Arrange the circus characters inside your box to get an idea on how your busy circus will look like and where each character will be positioned. Temporarily stick them onto the walls of your box with masking tape. You can also use small boxes or paper cups (trimmed to their desired height) for some of your characters to stand on.
Glue the characters that you intend to put on the background. You can glue additional details like paper cut-outs to make platforms for your characters to stand on.
You can also glue some characters behind or in front of the paper walls. Check out the ringmaster from the previous step's photo.
Fixing the paper characters in place is a great way to make a diorama, especially if it is going to be a school project. But if you're doing this craft just for fun, you don't need to glue the characters onto the box. With movable characters, this fabulous shoebox circus can be a fertile playground for a child's imagination.
Another option for movable characters is to make them into Circus Paper Dolls or circus stick puppets. Make a stick puppet by gluing or taping a craft stick or drinking straw at the back of each paper character.
Make a drinking straw handle on each character to turn them into puppets. Tape the straw at the back, close to the character's head. If you need a longer handle, connect 2 drinking straws end-to-end.
Move the puppets through the slot on top of your puppet theater. Make your own circus story or do a puppet show based on your favorite circus-themed book.