Magically Appearing Box of Turkish Delight

Effect for The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

Originally created for the production at

Cavod Community Theater, a part of Cavod Academy of the Arts in New Holland PA

Article copyright Joe Dunfee 2013


For this effect, I pictured the box of Turkish Delight appearing on a snow bank.  The box itself was to be made so that it is collapsible, and the snow bank made so that, when hidden, it would be covered by a layer of batting, to simulate snow. When the box was to appear, the White Witch would point her magic wand at the snow bank, and a small "poof" of white confetti would come from the wand.  At that moment, a stagehand would pull a string that would both pull the snow covering that hid the box, and cause the box itself to pop-up. 


Here are a few pictures I found that I used for inspiration. In retrospect, I wished I had made something that looked more like them, but time constraints limited what was possible.




The illustrations in the PDF show the general construction of the device, and its use.

Magic Turkish Delight Box -Illustration.pdf


In the actual installation, we cut a piece of plywood, approximately 2' x 3', with rounded corners. In the middle of the plywood, I placed a screw-eye, which is where the box would be set, and held in the collapsed position.  Another screw eye was put at the edge of the plywood, so that when the snow covering was pulled off of the box, it would not be pulled too far. The plywood was covered with white batting, to simulate snow.  The weight of the plywood was sufficient to hold the prop in place while the trip line was pulled.


The box was made from matboard, and hinged with black duck tape. I deliberately used black as part of its décor, so that if the box didn't pop all the way up, it would be less obvious.  Rather than have a ribbon over the entire box, as I originally drew, I choose a curled ribbon that would not get messed-up as the snow covering were removed.


Inside the top portion of the box, was a tray that contained the Turkish delight candy itself.  This was made by taking some pink insulation foam, and cutting grooves into it, to simulate individual candies.  The, I held the foam over a gas flame, to create some irregularities.  To simulate the powdered sugar, I used "Spray Snow", which is normally used to simulate snow on windows for Christmas decorations.


I cut out one of the square "candies" and substituted a piece of foam rubber, into which I had cut a recess in the middle to hold some corn starch. The purpose of this, was so that the character, Edmund, could pinch some of the starch in his fingers, as he would mime taking some of the candy. Then, he would rub the flour onto his face, as he pretended to wipe away the sugar coating from his face.


The snow covering was framed with a wire coat hanger, and the underside covered with packaging tape, to create a smooth surface that would not snag on the box.




To set the effect, the box was collapsed, so that a wire loop fastened to the tray in the top of the box, would poke out a hole in the bottom.  The, this was placed over the screw eye on the plywood base. A wire pin approximately 12" long, was placed through both the screw eye and the wire loop. This would hold the box collapsed until the wire pin was pulled out.  Finally, the snow covering was placed over the box.


The video at this link shows a demonstration of the effect being triggered; Turkish Delight Demo


Post-mortem; I was not satisfied with the strength of the pop-up. The elastic was not sufficient to cause the box to come up from a fully collapsed position.  So, I added a spring to the middle of the box, which greatly helped the box to start up. Also, the box was made from mat board, but in retrospect, foam core would have been a better choice, even if it resulted in a thicker box when collapsed.  Also, covering the box with wrapping paper was both very time consuming, and didn't result is as nice a finish as I had hoped.  Directly painting and decorating the foam core would be better.  I had made the box larger than many people might expect, because of need for theatrical exaggeration for props that are used on stage. But, in retrospect, since this box appears on a bank of white snow, it would have shown up quite well if it was much smaller.


I am happy to reply to any questions you have about this effect.  You can contact me at joe (at) Dunfee (dot) com.