This post brought to you by The Orkin Ecologist. All opinions are 100% mine.
Have you ever encountered a black widow? In Southern California we have TONS of them, and I see have seen them in our yard many times. I have even found brown widow egg sacs in our yard. EEK! The last straw was when I found a black widow in the bottom of my laundry basket a few weeks ago. Talk about scary! I knew that they were dangerous and how to identify them, but not much beyond that.
I decided that we needed to learn more about these creatures living in our yard (and laundry basket!), and that a craft project highlighting them was definitely in order! You know I’m always up for a good craft, especially since I could use this science project as a Halloween decoration as well.
I turned to The Orkin Ecologist website to find out more about black widow spiders, and decided to involve my son too! The Orkin Ecologist site is a great resource for both new and experienced science lovers, and has a great readable layout with lots of large photos.
We learned that of the over 3,000 spider species found in the U.S., only two types pose a significant medical threat to humans- the widows (brown and black) and recluse spiders. My uncle was actually bit by a brown recluse years ago, and his leg turned black because of it for a long time, so I know that spiders can be dangerous!
We did even more research and learned that a black widow’s venom is reportedly 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake! Black widow bites usually cause muscle aches, nausea, and a paralysis of the diaphragm that makes it hard for humans to breath. Luckily most people that are bitten don’t have serious damage, but a black widow bite can kill small children, the elderly, or those who are already weak or very sick. Black widows are also not aggressive, biting only in self defense.
Armed with some good facts about black widows, it was time to get crafty! We went shopping at the hardware store and picked up some supplies to make our giant black widow:
- 5- 3/4″ PVC pipes (10 feet long), cut into 2′ sections (you should have 25 2′ sections)
- 1- 3/4″ PVC (10′) pipe (will be cut into a few pieces to make the planter holder on the body)
- 12- 3/4″ PVC 90 degree elbows
- 8- 3/4″ PVC 45 degree elbows
- 4- 3/4″ PVC cross pieces
- 2 cans flat black spray paint
- Large and small black planters (for the head and body)
First, I attached all of the 2′ long leg sections together by attaching 3 pieces of 2′ long PVC pipe with a 90 degree elbow and a 45 degree elbow. Repeat for all 8 legs, and spray paint each side of the legs
with the flat black paint.
Once the paint was dry, I put together the spider so that I could paint the middle structure of the body. For the middle structure you are basically making a large rectangle that will hold the head and body planters in place. Use the four PVC cross pieces to hold the legs together, and attach onto the spider with small cuts of PVC pipe. Cut some more PVC pieces to make a rectangle as in the above photo. Make sure that the head and body planters will fit with the PVC rectangle. Measure where the PVC pipe will go through the planters. You will be drilling a hole into them for the PVC pipe to stabilize the head and body planters. I left this section white just for the photo so it was easier to see the different pieces, but you will want to spray paint it black.
Using a drill and a 1 1/8th” drill spade bit, drill two holes in each bucket for the 3/4″ PVC pipe to fit through to hold the buckets for stability.
Attach the buckets, and you’re done! Isn’t it cool? Who needs a boring Halloween candy bowl anyway when you can make this cool unique one for cheap!
You can leave the buckets empty, but I think they’re the perfect spooky candy holder for trick or treaters to reach into to get their candy! Especially if you hang a giant web behind the spider, and add some scary spider eyes! I kept mine plain because my two year old was already freaked out by the spider, and I figured the eyes and more details wouldn’t help the situation 😉
I hope you enjoyed this fun Halloween craft, and maybe even learned a few things about black widows in the process! Be sure to checkout The Orkin Ecologist website, and leave a comment telling me what you think! Do you have black or brown widows or brown recluses where you live? Have you had any encounters with any scary insects? You can let me know in the comments!