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Spooky DIY Candy Dispenser for Halloween


Thriftdiving
Thriftdiving
Thriftdiving
Thriftdiving

Halloween is about fun, spookiness, and lots of candy! I love to upcycle things on my blog, Thrift Diving. So I decided to turn an old fish bowl from the thrift store into a spooky DIY candy dispenser made with a wooden base! This candy dispenser can be used with almost any small candies, such a gumballs, jelly beans, etc.

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Print Options

  1. Project Steps

    1. Step: 1

      Large 220dc965 6f1e 43c3 a710 4a46236467c2

      I love upcycling things from the thrift store! When I saw this thrifted fish bowl I knew it was perfect for a DIY candy dispenser for Halloween since the shape reminded me of a pumpkin!

    2. Step: 2

      Large 0466e16d 8403 4f5d b309 e129830074d8

      I created a square starting at one corner of a large piece of birch plywood, and with 1.5" from each side, I traced the shape of the fish bowl.

    3. Step: 3

      Large 2ce7a947 7727 4daf 88ef c45b2b1ec437

      Using my power drill, I drilled a pilot hole, then used my jigsaw to cut out the circle.

    4. Step: 4

      Large e259af1f edff 4e11 b1b6 5f776377bf88

      Once the circle is cut out, keep the circle nearby! You'll need it! This piece will be glued onto the fish bowl.

    5. Step: 5

      Large b94194a3 ed63 45ef 88de 0df78e6b8322

      Using a hole saw, drill a hole in the circle you just cut out.

    6. Step: 6

      Large 7fbc2ee0 012d 4a8e 9e7a b34c1bfd1241

      Once the hole is cut, use Gorilla Glue epoxy to secure the circle onto the bottom of the fish bowl.

    7. Step: 7

      Large 9e6ce59f a4f8 41c9 a961 633647e1b96e

      Using my router, I created 1/4" routed pieces which will be attached to the wooden circle on the bottom of the fish bowl.

    8. Step: 8

      Large e217cb63 cc85 492d 9f68 583743e4a108

      When the routed pieces are trimmed and added to the bottom of the fish bowl with glue and nails, it creates a place for the pull to slide in and out to allow for candy to fall out.

    9. Step: 9

      Large a942feb0 5a45 4124 9509 5dbad60eb790

      Cut wood to create the rest of the base. You'll need 4 sides upon which to sit the top that you'd already cut. There won't be a bottom piece. Leaving the bottom open will allow you to add candy.

    10. Step: 10

      Large 551292b3 5528 4c97 ae68 7119c270478a

      Use a cup or something else with a rounded edge to create the opening in the front of the candy dispenser, then cut with a jigsaw.

    11. Step: 11

      Large 7dc260a2 502f 488d 83f6 c7d52066b1db

      Cut a long piece of 1/4" birch plywood, about 7 inches (or whatever length you want) which will be the lever that will slide in and out to release the candy. Then, about 2" from the top of the front, trace the edge and cut with a jigsaw (TIP: use the power drill for a pilot hole first).

    12. Step: 12

      Large 6a1f00c4 a8f8 46a6 ad7b 84cac23289de

      The lever will have a hole (using the hole saw) that, when pulled, will align the holes and allow candy to come out of the upcycled fish bowl. In order to create stopping points (so the lever doesn't come all the way out or be pushed all the way in by accident), however, you have to drill holes with a bit and insert a wooden dowel into the holes.

    13. Step: 13

      Large 5908f6c6 7cd9 40a2 9821 82d5b89f7bd5

      Once you've created the holes and lever, add candy and test it out to be sure it works! Make any adjustments necessary.

    14. Step: 14

      Large 2be8f82d e3c2 4bc5 9c05 41ece34581a7

      The inside of the candy dispenser will be constructed with wood that, when the candy is released, will slide down towards the opening. Add wooden sides so that the candy can't go anywhere but out the opening. Super glue and wood glue worked well holding it together.

    15. Step: 15

      Large e7b1ea27 d204 4fc6 b3da 0b684665c77d

      Choose whatever paint and decorations for your candy dispenser! I chose a chalky black paint with white detailing, with red. Ths is also what the inside looks like when looking at it from above. Notice how the wood slants towards the opening so that the candy only have one place to go when released.

    16. Step: 16

      Large 429c15b1 8d8d 4ac6 9983 d584278ae8d8

      I added some vinyl that was cut with my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. I added a spooky face to the fish bowl with vinyl, as well.

    17. Step: 17

      Large 900a1a09 f69e 4062 b132 aeb80c233486

      Now you've got an amazing DIY candy dispenser! The vinyl can be easily peeled off, so after Halloween, you can remove the vinyl and add other candy.

    18. Step: 18

      Large 751f49ad af98 42cf a7bd 02d72fd8aae0

      Just have fun with it! Test it out and make sure it works, and then let your family enjoy pulling the lever for treats this Halloween season!

Comments (50)


  • Great little project! Thanks for sharing. :)
    By fEzZ, on October 3, 2016
    • Aww, thanks, fEzZ! Glad you like it!!
      By Thriftdiving, on October 13, 2016

  • Love this! I would love to see projects DIY Christmas wreaths!
    By aperson826, on October 13, 2016
    • Thanks! That's a great project idea! :)
      By Thriftdiving, on October 17, 2016

  • Love the project - I know what I will be looking for on my next trip to the thrift store! I would love to see some outdoor holiday decorating ideas. My Mom really decorates up her front lawn & the front of the house every year, but the store bought decorations are getting old and are starting not to work anymore. At 93 tears old, she can’t do the yard decorating herself anymore, so my brother & I visit her in early December to put up her decorations. I would love to see outdoor decorations that we could add lights to, that we could make & put in her yard.
    By Dragonhome, on October 13, 2016
    • Great idea! I haven't done a bunch of holiday decorating, but I'm addicted now! I can't wait to do some things for Christmas! :) I'll come up with some fun ideas for you!
      By Thriftdiving, on October 17, 2016


  • I love your dispenser. I would love to see some Christmas outdoor ideas.
    By Cris P, on October 13, 2016

  • This is a great tutorial. It could be decorated for any holiday. I love wooden Christmas trees and would really like to see some wooden. Christmas decor.
    By NickiJo, on October 13, 2016

  • Very cute, very ambitious for a gal who doesn't "do holiday decorating". Good job!
    By Mary Lyn, on October 13, 2016
    • LOL, Thanks, Mary!! :) I'm glad I was challenged to do some holiday stuff!
      By Thriftdiving, on October 17, 2016

  • Although I don't decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, I am looking ahead. After seeing this candy dispenser I know you would have an idea. I would love a Christmas tree that is tall and thin and sparse (but not as sparse as a Charlie Brown tree) to hang my different collections from. Lots of room for ornaments, yet small in circumference than a standard Christmas tree. I know with those cool RYOBI tools you could think of and then make a fun project like this for us :) LauraLori
    By LauraLori, on October 14, 2016

  • I would love to see an advent calendar or a creative way to display Christmas Cards.
    By MissMichele, on October 14, 2016
    • That would be a great project! Thanks for the idea!
      By Thriftdiving, on October 17, 2016

  • Great idea. For Christmas I would like to see ideas that are easier to store and possibly a bit lighter in weight. I often love so many ideas but the storage and ability to move them make it prohibitive to consider the project.
    By lab1281, on October 17, 2016

  • Great project! My grandma used to have something like this that someone made that would dispense M and M's. I always thought it was good I didn't have it- all I would have gotten done would have been reloading the candy dispenser. :)
    By sledgehammerqueen, on October 18, 2016

  • I guess taking your idea to the next level, it would be really fun to do something for Christmas that was interactive. Maybe something like a santa that comes down the chimney??
    By sledgehammerqueen, on October 18, 2016

  • So very creative! I have never used power tools. Can you think of a beginners power tool project for a front porch? My hubby has lots of ply-wood around. :) Thanks again!
    By MrsCotta, on October 23, 2016

  • Thank you! This is neat idea. I would love to see how to transfer to wood - art or words. Easiest way possible. For example, making signs for outdoors etc. Or what to do with leftover pavers?? I have a bunch left from our patio and I'd like to use them to make decor etc for our outdoors. However, I have no clue what to do with those pavers?
    By pintobean, on October 29, 2016

  • Great tutorial! I would love to see some outdoor decorations for Christmas that you can add lights to! Also would love to see some Christmas stocking holders. Thanks.
    By Tysteben, on October 29, 2016

  • So cute for Halloween. I'd love to see more Christmas ornaments & pallet projects. I love making new things out of repurposed objects.
    By pamml, on October 29, 2016

  • I have pinned this idea and would enjoy seeing the two ideas Michele mentions above. Hate to be a copy cat but they are good ideas! would especially love to make an advent calendar.
    By LauraLori, on October 29, 2016

  • Looking for a how to on Christmas Moose. Big ones. For the yard. Digging that candy dispenser
    By debbiedowner67_114357, on October 29, 2016

  • Love this. Would love to see lawn ornaments made from pallets.
    By BBecki, on October 29, 2016

  • The Halloween Candy dispenser is really awesome. I'd like more small craft projects like this, wreaths, frames, and seasonal decorations.
    By Moxey2000, on October 29, 2016

  • This is so cute! I think a moving Santa in a sleigh made from wood would be so fantastic!
    By Carol Taylor Starr, on October 29, 2016

  • I think a wood cut out Christmas tree would be cool!!
    By monarch64, on October 29, 2016

  • This is so creative! I'd love to see a project with the scroll saw. I "think" I want one.
    By Anak10149, on October 29, 2016

  • Super cute idea especially for the office during Halloween. I love Christmas & Halloween. Maybe more outdoors decoration crafts. thank you for all your hard work & great ideas!!
    By Lnguerrero, on October 30, 2016

  • I would love to see some plans for snowmen made out of pallets. They are great for the Holiday season but can still be cute decor into Jan and February.
    By Melia, on October 30, 2016

  • I would love to see some plans for snowmen made out of pallets. They are great for the Holiday season but can still be cute decor into Jan and February.
    By Melia, on October 30, 2016

  • I would love to see a christmas wreath project or perhaps some other front porch decoration
    By Jacksmom1, on October 30, 2016

  • Let's make a custom Christmas tree toppers!!!
    By Henny00, on October 30, 2016

  • Not sure if the holiday project idea is to be here or at Your Thrift Diving blog so will post at both. Would love to see you use your miter saw to make a Christmas Tree wallhanging for your front porch!
    By Quiltsharon, on October 30, 2016

  • So cute!!! I would love to see some cute fall decorations for Thanksgiving that will last from year to year. Thanks for a great post AND a great giveaway!
    By Jess V, on October 30, 2016

  • Your creativity is really inspiring! I would love a sleigh made from repurposed items.
    By JenniferCloud, on October 30, 2016

  • Your creativity is really inspiring! I would love a sleigh made from repurposed items.
    By JenniferCloud, on October 30, 2016

  • Great tutorial. I am pinning this post. I would love to see some gift giving wood working projects like cutting boards for the chefs in my life or sturdy lined boxes to store the holiday silver settings. I love wood working and just promoted out of job that gave me access to all the shop tools like table saws, planers, radial arm saws. I am so going to miss the smell of fresh cut wood until I can build up a private collection of tools.
    By Desertrose920, on October 30, 2016

  • What a great use for our old fish bowl, love it. I would love to see 3-d Christmas ornaments made, like the big balls for your yard. Looking forward to seeing what craft ideas you come up with!
    By ahoefle, on October 30, 2016

  • Awesome! I would love to see some large yard art Christmas projects!!
    By DragonLady, on October 30, 2016

  • Awesome! I would love to see some large yard art Christmas projects!!
    By DragonLady, on October 30, 2016

  • Thus is so cute. Going to show this to my daughter she might be able to use this in her classroom.
    By Celticlass, on October 30, 2016

  • Great tutorial! I would have to make mine a gum-ball machine though. You make it look so easy too.
    By Kellyjo2708, on October 30, 2016

  • Nice job. I just hope if it was an upcycled fish bowl it was cleaned thoroughly with Clorox sufficiently before using to dispense candy!
    By Smbritt, on October 30, 2016

  • I absolutely love this! I would like to see some giant candy canes to frame the doorway!
    By whterose20, on October 30, 2016

  • That;s a great dispenser! How about a project for Christmas that is a large outdoor tree made with wood and lights?
    By Mhj, on October 30, 2016

  • I have so much scrap wood, maybe an advent/countdown type of project for the holidays?
    By wbushway, on October 30, 2016

  • Shared on Pinterest
    By Jacksmom1, on October 31, 2016

  • Very cute idea! As someone else mentioned, a nice display for Christmas cards that I personally would use in my office to add a little decoration in a small space. Just started tackling a house that was from the 1920's covered up by 70's paneling, carpet etc...lots of work to bring back it's character, but will eventually have a beautiful house to decorate!
    By tgail, on October 31, 2016

  • Love this candy dispenser project. I would love to see more ideas for Christmas using recycled wood & lights. Like the wooden pallet Christmas trees. And wooden tree decorations. Thank you! ~ Carol W. workmanscraps(at)gmail(dot)com
    By clworkman4, on October 31, 2016

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Spooky DIY Candy Dispenser for Halloween

by Thriftdiving
Sep 22, 2016
Medium f39a8d84 96d9 45e0 8030 a8312855c062

Halloween is about fun, spookiness, and lots of candy! I love to upcycle things on my blog, Thrift Diving. So I decided to turn an old fish bowl from the thrift store into a spooky DIY candy dispenser made with a wooden base! This candy dispenser can be used with almost any small candies, such a gumballs, jelly beans, etc.

Project Steps

  1. Step: 1
    Huge 220dc965 6f1e 43c3 a710 4a46236467c2

    I love upcycling things from the thrift store! When I saw this thrifted fish bowl I knew it was perfect for a DIY candy dispenser for Halloween since the shape reminded me of a pumpkin!

  2. Step: 2
    Huge 0466e16d 8403 4f5d b309 e129830074d8

    I created a square starting at one corner of a large piece of birch plywood, and with 1.5" from each side, I traced the shape of the fish bowl.

  3. Step: 3
    Huge 2ce7a947 7727 4daf 88ef c45b2b1ec437

    Using my power drill, I drilled a pilot hole, then used my jigsaw to cut out the circle.

  4. Step: 4
    Huge e259af1f edff 4e11 b1b6 5f776377bf88

    Once the circle is cut out, keep the circle nearby! You'll need it! This piece will be glued onto the fish bowl.

  5. Step: 5
    Huge b94194a3 ed63 45ef 88de 0df78e6b8322

    Using a hole saw, drill a hole in the circle you just cut out.

  6. Step: 6
    Huge 7fbc2ee0 012d 4a8e 9e7a b34c1bfd1241

    Once the hole is cut, use Gorilla Glue epoxy to secure the circle onto the bottom of the fish bowl.

  7. Step: 7
    Huge 9e6ce59f a4f8 41c9 a961 633647e1b96e

    Using my router, I created 1/4" routed pieces which will be attached to the wooden circle on the bottom of the fish bowl.

  8. Step: 8
    Huge e217cb63 cc85 492d 9f68 583743e4a108

    When the routed pieces are trimmed and added to the bottom of the fish bowl with glue and nails, it creates a place for the pull to slide in and out to allow for candy to fall out.

  9. Step: 9
    Huge a942feb0 5a45 4124 9509 5dbad60eb790

    Cut wood to create the rest of the base. You'll need 4 sides upon which to sit the top that you'd already cut. There won't be a bottom piece. Leaving the bottom open will allow you to add candy.

  10. Step: 10
    Huge 551292b3 5528 4c97 ae68 7119c270478a

    Use a cup or something else with a rounded edge to create the opening in the front of the candy dispenser, then cut with a jigsaw.

  11. Step: 11
    Huge 7dc260a2 502f 488d 83f6 c7d52066b1db

    Cut a long piece of 1/4" birch plywood, about 7 inches (or whatever length you want) which will be the lever that will slide in and out to release the candy. Then, about 2" from the top of the front, trace the edge and cut with a jigsaw (TIP: use the power drill for a pilot hole first).

  12. Step: 12
    Huge 6a1f00c4 a8f8 46a6 ad7b 84cac23289de

    The lever will have a hole (using the hole saw) that, when pulled, will align the holes and allow candy to come out of the upcycled fish bowl. In order to create stopping points (so the lever doesn't come all the way out or be pushed all the way in by accident), however, you have to drill holes with a bit and insert a wooden dowel into the holes.

  13. Step: 13
    Huge 5908f6c6 7cd9 40a2 9821 82d5b89f7bd5

    Once you've created the holes and lever, add candy and test it out to be sure it works! Make any adjustments necessary.

  14. Step: 14
    Huge 2be8f82d e3c2 4bc5 9c05 41ece34581a7

    The inside of the candy dispenser will be constructed with wood that, when the candy is released, will slide down towards the opening. Add wooden sides so that the candy can't go anywhere but out the opening. Super glue and wood glue worked well holding it together.

  15. Step: 15
    Huge e7b1ea27 d204 4fc6 b3da 0b684665c77d

    Choose whatever paint and decorations for your candy dispenser! I chose a chalky black paint with white detailing, with red. Ths is also what the inside looks like when looking at it from above. Notice how the wood slants towards the opening so that the candy only have one place to go when released.

  16. Step: 16
    Huge 429c15b1 8d8d 4ac6 9983 d584278ae8d8

    I added some vinyl that was cut with my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. I added a spooky face to the fish bowl with vinyl, as well.

  17. Step: 17
    Huge 900a1a09 f69e 4062 b132 aeb80c233486

    Now you've got an amazing DIY candy dispenser! The vinyl can be easily peeled off, so after Halloween, you can remove the vinyl and add other candy.

  18. Step: 18
    Huge 751f49ad af98 42cf a7bd 02d72fd8aae0

    Just have fun with it! Test it out and make sure it works, and then let your family enjoy pulling the lever for treats this Halloween season!