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makezine.com | makerfaire.com | makershed.com Special Halloween Issue 2016

HSIP_CV1-CV4_F1.indd 1 6/28/16 7:34 AM

Turn fantasy into reality


300 pages of costume-making awesomeness.
What will you create?

Coming August 2016 to fine booksellers and


HSIP_CV2_housead_F2.indd 2 6/27/16 5:30 PM

HALLOWEEN A person should always choose a costume which is
in direct contrast to her own personality.
Lucy Van Pelt, Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown


Dale Dougherty Todd Sotkiewicz Sherry Huss Sonia Wong
dale@makermedia.com todd@makermedia.com sherry@makermedia.com sonia@makermedia.com


& VIDEO makermedia.com/
Mike Senese contact-sales or OFFICER
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PROGR AM DIRECTOR Copyright 2016
Juliann Brown amy@makermedia.com
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Keith Hammond SENIOR DESIGNER All rights reserved.
Katie D. Kunde ENGAGEMENT MARKETING & PR Reproduction without
khammond@makermedia.com Jason Babler Will Chase
Bridgette permission is prohibited.
Printed in the USA by
Cecily Benzon
Vanderlaan Schumann Printers, Inc.
Caleb Kraft James Burke MARKETING
caleb@makermedia.com Brigitte Kunde COMMUNICATIONS
MANAGER Comments may be
PARTNERSHIPS Brita Muller Miranda Mota sent to:
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San F
PLEASE NOTE: Technology, the laws, and limitations imposed by manufacturers and content owners are constantly changing. Thus, some of the projects described may not work, may be inconsistent with cur- Id us
rent laws or user agreements, or may damage or adversely affect some equipment. Your safety is your own responsibility, including proper use of equipment and safety gear, and determining whether you have put m
adequate skill and experience. Power tools, electricity, and other resources used for these projects are dangerous, unless used properly and with adequate precautions, including safety gear. Some illustrative in an
photos do not depict safety precautions or equipment, in order to show the project steps more clearly. These projects are not intended for use by children. Use of the instructions and suggestions in Make: is at
your own risk. Maker Media, Inc., disclaims all responsibility for any resulting damage, injury, or expense. It is your responsibility to make sure that your activities comply with applicable laws, including copyright.
1 makershed.com the h

HSIP_001_MastCon_F1.indd 1 6/26/16 6:54 PM

Make: Halloween 2016

High-Tech Halloween

Brandon Steen

2 makershed.com

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10 26 75

FEATURES Howtoons: Jetpack 39 Plug and Play Arduino Relays 78

Build a costume from 2L soda bottles Control 8 high-power AC lights
Fantastic Creations 04 that holds your Halloween loot. andappliances with a single
Scary and sweet builds from microcontroller.
makers like you. SKILL BUILDER Arduino-Controlled
Playing the Part 06 Hard-Shell Molds 40 Halloween Props 80
Die-hard fans bring their favorite With this method you can cast just about Use Arduino to control hacked
characters to life with cosplay. any costume prop, no matter how big. store-bought decorations.


Motion-Sensor Prop Controller 82
Automatically activate your effects as
people pass by.
Max and Courtneys Guide Infrared Remote Controls 83
to Monster Makeup 10 Flying Crank Ghost 48
This eerie, animatronic specter is Use hidden sensors to covertly trigger
Theres a good chance you have all the de rigueur for any serious haunter. your props.
monster-making ingredients you need
lying around your kitchen. Trash Can Trauma 52 Automatic Scare Camera 84
Scare the wits out of visitors with an Capture the perfect terror-filled moment
Cyberpunk Spikes 16 air-powered surprise. on camera.
3D print these soft, flexible spikes
and light them up with full-color Boom Stick 56 Pressure Plate Switch 85
programmable LEDs. This pneumatic noisemaker goes pow! Make a simple pressure plate to
control special effects.
Headless Marie Antoinette 20 Caged Creature 62
Create the illusion of holding your own
decapitated head.
Build a mad monkey that jumps at
your guests.
Chainmail 22 Sweet Bleeding Heart 88
Inflate the Kraken! 65 Bake a bloody thorax cake that
Make yourself a shirt fit for a knight. Weld plastic to make giant air-filled oozes with every bite.
Calling All Salty Sea Dogs 26 Cylon Jack-o-Lantern 90
Your four-legged first mate will look The Peppers Ghost Illusion 66 Use a Larson Scanner to give your
shipshape in this piratical costume. Use this classic special effects technique pumpkin a techno twist.
for creating transparent ghostly images.
Demon Horns 29 Party Piata 92
Learn how to make flexible horns for Hot Glue Web Gun 70 Create a creepy, personalized piata
Halloween costumes or cosplay. Make a spider web shooter thatll quickly thats easy to make and fun to break.
transform your home into a haunted house.
They Live! 30 Meat Head 94
Modify store-bought masks to create Easy Halloween Bristlebots 73 Craving some cranium?
unique costumes. Make creepy-crawly props using old Youve come to the right place.
electric toothbrushes.
Transformers Soundwave Gourd Lanterns 95
Grave Situation 74
Costume 32 Make these realistic tombstones
Drill patterns into hard-shell gourds
Make a classic 1980s Decepticon from and let the light in.
from styrofoam.
cardboard boxes and duct tape. Mad Monster
Ultimate Fog Chiller 75 Candy Snatch Game 96
Burlesque Bouquet 34 Mod a fog machine to add extra atmosphere
Put the fun in collecting fun-sized candy!
Jason Forman, Robyn Twomey, Timmy Kucynda

Pile on the fruit for a Carmen to your haunted house.

Miranda-style headdress.
Dark-Detecting LED Throwies 76
DIY Stilts 36
Make: Halloween 2016. Make: (ISSN 1556-2336) is published
Easy, glowing lights that turn on after bimonthly by Maker Media, Inc. in the months of January, March,
Rise above the crowds with your dark automatically! May, July, September, and November. Maker Media is located
at 1160 Battery Street, Suite 125, San Francisco, CA 94111,
own custom pair of stilts. 877-306-6253. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Send all subscription requests
to Make:, P.O. Box 17046, North Hollywood, CA 91615-9588 or
subscribe online at makezine.com/offer or via phone at (866)
289-8847 (U.S. and Canada); all other countries call (818) 487-
2037. Subscriptions are available for $34.99 for 1 year (6 issues)
in the United States; in Canada: $39.99 USD; all other countries:
$50.09 USD. Periodicals Postage Paid at San Francisco, CA,
Brandon Steen

ON THE COVER: and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address

changes to Make:, P.O. Box 17046, North Hollywood, CA
Help your jack-o-lantern get expressive with Arduino-powered animated LED eyes. Follow Michal 91615-9588. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement Number
Janysts build at mjanyst.weebly.com/arduino-pumpkin-eyes.html. Photographed by Hep Svadja. 41129568. CANADA POSTMASTER: Send address changes to:
Maker Media, PO Box 456, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6V2

makezine.com 3

HSIP_002-3_TOC_F1.indd 3 6/26/16 6:48 PM


Sweet and scary builds from makers like you Spike the Demon,
by Adafruit
engineer Phillip
With Halloween fast approaching, Burgess, combines
theres a lot to prepare for. There an animated LED
are treats to take, tricks to make, matrix for the
mask, glowing EL
parties to throw, and monsters to wire for the wings,
grow! It's time to devise your vision, a Wave Shield
voice changer,
but if youve dropped dead with
and more for a
indecision, check out these expert chillingly spooky
makers for some creepy or effect. A single
Arduino powers it
cute creation inspiration. all. Photo: Andy
of Dragonscales

4 makershed.com

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Mike Warren
blasts off with
this rocket
costume to
complete the
illusion, he
hid his legs in
the rockets
exhaust. See
how he did it at
Photo: Lenny

This life-size, Rachel Koukal

foam-sculpted (makecation
nesting doll on Twitter and Mikaela Tandy
by Kristina Instagram) threads fiber
and Jason bought an ice optic wires
Tollefson for cream hat through fairy
their daughter online and was wings to add
Mollie Moe inspired to some light-
stays true to complete this up magic to
form, with the sweet look with her fantasy
wearer acting polyurethane fairy costume.
as the nested foam and Photo: Audrey
doll. Photo DIY wooden Love
courtesy of platform shoes.
Target Portrait Photo: Joshua
Studios Kirsch

Ghosts and
ghouls are cool,
but nothing
strikes fear into
the heart quite
like the evil
Empire. Colby
Powell built
this 23-foot-tall
Death Star and
hoisted it onto
his California
home with a
70-foot crane.
Photo: Mike
Brains in jars
are creepy
and when the
brain belongs
to none other
than the
Time Lord
Morbius, its
quite terrifying
indeed. See
more of Mike
Murrays work
at thegeekpub.
com Photo and
build: Mike
makezine.com 5

HSIP_004-5_HHroundup_F1.indd 5 6/26/16 3:50 PM


Die-hard fans bring their favorite

characters to life with the power
Engineering elaborate
replica costumes and
props can be a year-
round obsession for
Father and
fans of superheroes, daughter form the
sci-fi, anime, and more. perfect Predator
Combining a passionate duo, complete
with the iconic
community and clicking sound
incredible ingenuity, effects. She even
had a trophy in
cosplay is coming
tow in the form
out of the convention of a decapitated
halls and hitting the Barney head.
mainstream. Here are
some of the amazing
cosplayers weve seen
this year.
Hep Svadja

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These Halo
used Pepakura
resources on
405th.com to
create their
complete with
subtle details
like embedded
LEDs. Find
them on
Instagram as
and willalt-

Dressed as
Nui from Kill
La Kill, Zerggie
Cosplay shows
off her amazing
skills using
little more than
expanding foam
and chicken

Who you
gonna call?
The Bay Area
of course!
You can spot
them on Bay
Area freeways
in their white
1989 Buick
hearse. If
youre looking
to join their
ranks, you
can start out
on gbfans.
com, and
follow them on
Instagram as

Sailor Jedi Cybernetic

uses the force ninja Raiden
to fight evil by from the Metal
moonlight. Gear Solid
series is ready
to defend the
Javits Center
at New York
Comic Con.

Loki strikes
such a powerful
This life-size pose, youd
BB-8 was never know
strutting its this armor was
cardboard, constructed
papier-mch from foam, clay,
Pinguino Kolb

stuff across the and Christmas

Silicon Valley decorations.
Comic Con
expo floor.

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HSIP_008-9_MUopen_F1.indd 8 6/26/16 11:37 AM
Jason Forman

HSIP_008-9_MUopen_F1.indd 9 6/26/16 11:37 AM


max and courtneys guide to

monster makeup
Go to your kitchen and take a look around. Theres a good possibility you have
the ingredients you need to make a monster. { BY COURTNEY MAULT AND MAX SPARBER }

DICK SMITHS EDIBLE HORROR items such as crepe hair, and a surprising (makemonsters.blogspot.com). Weve
Makeup pioneer Dick Smith, who created amount of food. Smith had used common found Smiths book to be a surprisingly
Linda Blairs ghastly transformation in The kitchen items in his makeup for years, sophisticated guide to special effects

Photography by Jason Forman; makeup by Aurora Bergere

Exorcist, did something quite remarkable doubling Karo corn syrup for blood and makeup, given its target audience.
back in 1965. At the invitation of Famous grinding bread crumbs into liquid latex When we did the projects, we modified
Monsters of Filmland magazine, he put for added texture. He later experimented them slightly Courtney had worked on
out a small magazine for children called with unflavored gelatin, using it to create films and had access to more sophisticated
Dick Smiths Do-It-Yourself Monster Make- some ghastly stabbings in the 1977 film makeup techniques and supplies than
Up Handbook. It included step-by-step The Sentinel. Smith recommended. We also simplified
instructions on how to create a variety of A few years ago, we purchased the the steps. We highly recommend getting a
creatures such as vampires, ghouls, and 1985 edition of Smiths book and decided copy of Smiths original book, if possible,
even an Ed Big Daddy Roth-inspired to undertake an experiment: we would as it offers alternative techniques, and
beast that would look right at home re-create every makeup project offered a depth of explanation thats beyond the
straddling a souped-up muscle car. in the book. Further, once these projects scope of this article.
Keeping his target audience in mind, were complete, we would make a short
Smith designed his projects to be as easy movie based around the makeup. We MAKEUP ESSENTIALS
as possible. Ingredients were simple used these projects as the basis for our Its easy to get overwhelmed in a theatrical
cotton balls, creme makeup, a few special blog, Max and Courtney Make Monsters makeup shop. There are myriad makeup

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HSIP_010-5_Makeup_F1.indd 10 6/26/16 11:58 AM

Monster Makeup

NOTE: When applying makeup to

someone else, always make sure
to communicate each step of the
process to them and make sure
theyre comfortable. Tell them to
let you know if they need to move,
stretch, sneeze, or cough that way
you can get out of their way with any
makeup utensils you may be using
near their face.

tools to choose from spatulas, brushes, unconventional ways. Normal sponge makeup such as a bruise or cut may
sponges, sprays, adhesives and lets makeup wedges, cotton makeup puffs, a have occurred. When we worked on the
not forget the makeup itself, a spectrum large blush brush, a small pair of scissors, independent film Risen, Courtney helped
of powders, cremes, pencils, waxes, a pencil sharpener, Q-tips, and cotton create the makeup for a zombie uprising
and putties. All of this is so much fun, balls are useful and cheap additions to any and Max appeared as one of the horde of
but its important to start with only a few makeup kit. (Drugstore.com often offers undead. Max suggested that his makeup
essentials and become comfortable with terrific deals on these supplies.) should look as though his chin had
them before moving on to more makeup Companies such as Ben Nye, Cinema been torn off. This was a realistic injury,
and tools. Secrets, Kryolan, Mehron, and Steins all inasmuch as injuries caused by shambling
Start with only a couple of basic creme have extensive stage makeup lines. Some corpses can be realistic. Theres not a
makeup colors specific to your first project people prefer one brand to another, or compelling reason a zombie would, say,
(traditional lanolin-based cremes are specific products from different brands. just carve an X in its victims forehead and
called greasepaint). We purchased small Its easy to mix and match. Many online stumble away, but one can well imagine
compacts of individual colors we thought retailers sell these brands; we suggest the monster raking its teeth down a
would work well for a vampire, such as fun-shop.com. Cinema Secrets has a victims face.
white and black. We also wanted to do a terrific injury stack; when used with a This way of strategizing makes the
zombie, so we purchased green and gray/ stipple sponge, these are perfect colors makeup process even more fun. The
blue colors. (Costume stores often carry for trauma makeup. more specific the situation, the more
wheels of preselected makeup colors, Other businesses make their own enjoyable it will be for the makeup artist
with amusing names such as monster makeup products. We found liquid latex to be intricate and unique. If youre going
stack or injury stack.) for making molds of bites and wounds for realistic effects, try to find reference
Photography by Jason Forman; makeup by Aurora Bergere

Additionally, a colorless powder is a at fxwarehouse.info; they have a large pictures so you know what your injuries
necessity for setting creme makeup. Ben selection and helpful descriptions of their should look like. Maybe your uncle has
Nye makes a nice Neutral Set Colorless products online. a nasty cut on his hand from working
Face Powder, but baby powder works just Spirit gum (and spirit gum remover) are on the car ask if you can look at it, or
as well. There are sprays that will set necessary for makeups involving adhering even photograph it for reference in
makeup, too; we prefer powder because additions to the skin, such as crepe hair your makeup!
its easier to control. or latex pieces. Small and medium-sized
Regular beauty makeup works well sable paintbrushes aid in more detailed BRING ON THE MONSTERS
for monster makeup, too. For example, creme makeup application, and can also The following makeup projects show
a $1 blue eyeliner pencil can be used to be found at craft or art supply stores. how to create basic, classic monsters,
draw veins on someones face for zombie and are full of ideas to customize your
makeup. Again, many of the supplies PLANNING YOUR MAKEUP own monster. Specific character
may already be in your home. Part of the Always plan your makeup strategy makeup kits are available from major
fun in these projects comes from using before you begin the application. A good brands, such as Ben Nye, Mehron, and
common household items in decidedly place to start is to think about how your Cinema Secrets.

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The Vampire
White, black, and gray greasepaint
Vampire teeth available at most costume

he vampire is the first creature in Dick 2. GIVE YOUR FACE A BASE COAT OF Black eyebrow pencil
Smiths Do-It-Yourself Monster Make- GREASEPAINT. Start with white, but add Stage blood

Photography by Jason Forman; makeup by Aurora Bergere

Up Handbook, and well start with this a little bit of another color to make the
monster for the same reason Smith did: results unearthly. Gray will do for this, but cheekbones the intention here is to
because its a relatively simple makeup job, you might decide to go with green, which, give a hollow, cadaverous look. Blend
requiring very little in the way of supplies. believe it or not, was the actual color the shadows in with a brush or with your
That being said, the techniques of applying of Bla Lugosis makeup in the original fingertips.
makeup to create a vampire are among Dracula. Dab your face with the white
the most essential in character makeup, greasepaint, and then add dabs of the 4. SHADOW YOUR EYES to give them a
requiring a careful sense of shading. second color, blending them together with sunken, skull-like look. Begin with black
your fingers until your face, neck, and ears greasepaint on your upper and lower lids,
1. GREASE YOUR HAIR BACK if you have are completely covered. keeping it very dark around the hollows of
hair. If you dont, you can wear a rubber wig your eyes. Blend more the farther away
bought for a few dollars at a makeup store. 3. USE YOUR SECOND COLOR, GRAY OR you get from the eyes, and stop where the
Add some thin blue lines for the effect of GREEN, TO ADD SHADOWS. You want to hollows of your eye sockets end.
pronounced veins. darken your temples and under your Then set the greasepaint. Pat a pale or

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Monster Makeup

NOTES: You can buy prosthetic latex

pieces to build up the forehead, like
the sort seen in Buffy the Vampire
Slayer. Feel free to use these, but
put them on beforehand with rubber
cement, and use makeup to blend
the edges so the prosthetic seems
a natural part of your forehead.
Additionally, you can make your own
vampire teeth out of dental wax
Dick Smith offers a complete guide
to making your own special effects
teeth in his book.

neutral powder onto your face and neck.

Clean off the excess with a cotton ball or
powder puff. This will set the greasepaint,
so that you dont need to worry about it
smearing, coming off on your clothes
(although always use caution with makeup
and clothes), or sweating off.


eyebrow pencil to add very small lines,
which should look like additional hairs,
along the top of your natural eyebrow.
Make it as thick as you think looks
terrifying, and as shaggy as you like.
Additionally, traditional vampire makeup
tends toward wickedly arched brows.


eyebrow pencil to enlarge your nostrils
by blackening in and around your nostril
Photography by Jason Forman; makeup by Aurora Bergere

openings, and blacken your inner lips

with a hard, sharp line. If you have black
lipstick, you might also consider giving
your vampire black lips.


trickle of stage blood (or, if youre feeling
especially gruesome, slather your face
with stage blood), and dress appropriately.
Vampires used to dress in Victorian
evening clothes. Nowadays they tend to
wear a lot of black leather and latex, so a
local fetish shop might be able to help you
with your costuming needs.

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The zombie MATERIALS

Gray, yellow, or green greasepaint
Purple and black greasepaint

raditionally just a pale, ambling 2. ADD CUTS, GASHES, AND BITES. If you Cotton
creature dressed in rags, the modern want your zombie to display any evidence Liquid latex

Photography by Jason Forman; makeup by Aurora Bergere

zombie tends to display ghastly of violence, now is the time. To add cuts Copious amounts of stage blood
injuries. You can create reusable injuries and gashes with cotton and liquid latex, all Blue, red, or black makeup pencil
large and small using liquid latex (see you do is tear the cotton into strips or small
makezine.com/projects/halloween- clumps and place it on your subject. Cover the center of the ring has been pulled (or
wounds), but it's easy to create simple yet it with liquid latex (in a pinch, you can use chewed) out. Use the same technique to
horrific gashes out of cotton and liquid Karo syrup, although youll have to blow- make gashes simply make the ring long
latex, which well describe here. dry it before you can add makeup), and and narrow, rather than round.
mold it like clay. If you want to make a bite
1. PICK A ZOMBIE COLOR. In Night of the Living mark, apply the gashes in small amounts 3. ADD YOUR BASE COAT OF GREASEPAINT.
Dead, the beasties were gray-colored. to create a ring. Now build up the ring on Go ahead and cover the wound. Well
In Dawn of the Dead, however, they were the outside, smoothing it down toward make it look more horrifying in a moment.
green, and one notorious zombie from the outside skin. You should wind up with As with the vampire, dab dots of the
Return of the Living Dead was bright yellow the uncomfortable illusion that the skin greasepaint onto the face, neck, ears, etc.,
all actual colors of decomposition. hasnt had makeup added to it, but, instead, until youve covered all exposed skin.

14 makershed.com

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Monster Makeup

TIPS: You can buy liquid that will turn

your teeth yellow. If you add this, or
add crooked false teeth, your zombie
will have a particularly decayed look.
Cut a ping-pong ball in half, punch
eyeholes, glue it onto the zombies eyes
with liquid latex, and paint on
tiny pupils, and youll have a weirdly
bug-eyed zombie, like the ones in the
1964 movie I Eat Your Skin.

4. SHADE THE ZOMBIE. Use black

greasepaint to highlight the hollows of
the face and the eyes, to give your zombie
a skull-like appearance but be subtle
with it. Blend the shadows very well.
Cover the lips with your base color
the face should seem drained of color
as a result (in fact, if you can find it, a
white or blue lipstick will be especially
effective here).

5. ADD DETAILS. You can use a blue or

black makeup pencil to draw veins on
the side of the forehead blue will look
sickly, while black will look like the blood
has been poisoned. Use the black pencil
to draw small lines radiating out from
around the lips, like the lines you would
find on a very old person; if you like, you
can also deepen the laugh lines around
the mouth. If you have a red makeup
pencil, circling the eyes with it will give
the zombie a rheumy, sickly look, but be
very careful red makeup can irritate
Photography by Jason Forman; makeup by Aurora Bergere

the eye and lead to infection.


MAKEUP. Darken the interior of the injury
with purple or black greasepaint to make
it look especially hollow. If you have an
injury stack, take care to make the
injury look bruised and mangled. If not,
just slather it with copious quantities of
fake blood. Before you add blood, though,
apply powder to set the makeup.
Now dress in ragged clothes, mess
up your hair, and practice staggering
and moaning!

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NeoPixel RGB

LED strip, 60 per
meter, individually
addressable Adafruit
Industries part #1138,
NinjaFlex flexible 3D
printing filament, Snow

White Adafruit #1691
Adafruit Gemma
Adafruit #1222
Slide switch, SPDT, 0.1"
pin spacing Adafruit

3D print these soft, flexible spikes and light Battery, LiPo, 500mAh
Adafruit #1578
Battery extension
them up with full-color programmable LEDs cable, JST male-female
Adafruit #1131
{ BY BECKY STERN AND PHILLIP BURGESS } Rare earth magnets (6)
Adafruit #9
Safety pins or needle
and thread
Silicone adhesive
Permatex 66B
Heat-shrink tubing
Tape, nonconductive

3D printer, fused-
filament type
Computer running
Arduino IDE software
free download from
Soldering iron
Solder, rosin core,

Andrew Tingle
Wire cutters / strippers

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Cyberpunk Spikes

Becky Stern


lights diffused by NinjaFlex flexible 3D printing
filament! Magnets let you attach the spikes
to anything in your wardrobe. The soft flexible
enclosure holds Gemma, the tiny microcontroller
that animates the LEDs, and a rechargeable
lithium polymer battery.
We designed 2 styles of spike strip one with
regular round spikes and one crystal-inspired
statement piece (Figure A ). Whichever you short circuits (Figure E ), and slide them into the
choose, itll get you noticed! NeoPixel strip sheathing on the underside of the
PCB (Figure F ). Our spike strip is 16 pixels long,
1. 3D PRINT THE SPIKES AND ENCLOSURE and we used 3 magnets evenly spaced (one at
Download whichever spikes you like from each end and one in the center). E

thingiverse.com/thing:262494 and print them Prepare a protected work surface in an area

in NinjaFlex filament at 225F with a nonheated with good ventilation.
build plate (Figure B ). For more tips on working Use Permatex 66B silicone adhesive to affix
with NinjaFlex, check out the guide by the Ruiz the 3D-printed spikes to the NeoPixel strip
Brothers at learn.adafruit.com/3d-printing- (Figure G ). Apply adhesive to both the strips
with-ninjaflex. silicone sheathing and the NinjaFlex strip of
Also download and print the 2 pieces of spikes, using a toothpick to spread it around if F
Andrew Tingle

the flexible enclosure for the Gemma micro- necessary (Figure H ).

controller and battery, from thingiverse.com/ Squish a bit of silicone adhesive into the ends
thing:262522. Since its printed in NinjaFlex, the of the NeoPixel strip sheathing to provide water
enclosure is soft and flexible, yet firm enough resistance and strain relief (Figure I ). Allow
to protect your components (Figure C ). The adhesive to dry overnight.
enclosure shape includes tabs for pinning or
sewing to your garment. 3. ASSEMBLE THE CIRCUIT G

Route your NeoPixel strips wires through the

2. PREPARE THE NEOPIXEL STRIP hole at the top of the enclosure (Figure J , on the
Prepare the input end of your NeoPixel strip by following page), and solder them up to Gemma
tinning the pads with solder. The strip wont work as follows: NeoPixel GND to Gemma GND;
if you solder wires to the wrong end, so be sure NeoPixel + to Gemma Vout; and NeoPixel signal
the arrows on the PCB point away from the end to Gemma D1 (Figure K ).
youre wiring. Seat Gemma into the round outline inside the H

Solder 3 stranded wires, about 8" long, to the enclosure, with the USB port facing its opening
tinned pads of the NeoPixel strip. To prevent the at the bottom end of the enclosure (Figure L ).
solder joints from being too cramped, solder the Use a JST extension and slide switch to
center pads wire on the reverse side of the PCB make this tiny adapter (Figure M ). Solder the
as shown: 2 on top, one on bottom (Figure D ). connections as shown, and insulate with heat-
Wrap 3 rare-earth magnets in tape to prevent shrink tubing. I

makezine.com 17

HSIP_016-9_Spikes_F1.indd 17 6/26/16 12:21 PM


The slide switch fits into the opening in the connected. Normally this would be a pin
enclosure (Figure N ). Now you can easily power number, but we previously declared the
up your circuit while still making it easy to symbol PIN to refer to it by name here.
disconnect the battery for recharging. A value indicating the type of NeoPixels that
Connect the battery, fit everything neatly in the are connected. (You can leave this off; its
enclosure (Figure O ), and press on the lid. mainly needed for older NeoPixels.)


Download the NeoPixel library from github.com/ The next block of code lets you define favorite
adafruit/Adafruit_NeoPixel. Rename the folder colors, which the NeoPixel will call upon later:
(containing the Adafruit_NeoPixel.h and .cpp files)
to Adafruit_NeoPixel (with the underscore and // Here is where you can put in your
everything), and place it alongside your other favorite colors that will appear!
Arduino libraries, typically in your [home folder]/ // Just add new {nnn, nnn, nnn}, lines.
Documents/Arduino/Libraries folder. They will be picked out randomly
Now open the strandtest.ino sketch from the // R G B
Examples sub-folder, and upload it to the uint8_t myColors[][3] = {{232, 100, 255},
Gemma using the Arduino IDE. // purple
Did that sound like gibberish to you? {200, 200, 20},
L Its easy if its your first time, just // yellow
read the Introducing Gemma and {30, 200, 200},
NeoPixel guides at learn.adafruit. // blue
com before you start. };
The code is well commented to
guide you through each part of the There are 2 ways to set the color of any pixel. The
sketch and what it does. Lets have first is:
a look:
strip.setPixelColor(n, red, green, blue);
All NeoPixel sketches begin by including the The first argument n in this example is
header file: the pixel number along the strip, starting from
0 closest to the Arduino. If you have a strip of
#include <Adafruit_NeoPixel.h> 30 pixels, theyre numbered 0 through 29. Its a
computer thing. (Youll see various places in the
The next line of code assigns a number to code using a for loop, passing the loop counter
the symbol PIN for later reference. (This isnt variable as the pixel number to this function, to
necessary, it just makes it easier if you want set the values of multiple pixels.)
to change the microcontroller pin where the The next 3 arguments are the pixel color,
M NeoPixels are connected without digging expressed as numerical brightness levels for
deeper into the code.) Your strip is connected to red, green, and blue, where 0 is dimmest (off)
Gemmas pin 1: and 255 is maximum brightness.
An alternate syntax has just 2 arguments:
#define PIN 1
strip.setPixelColor(n, color);
The next line declares a NeoPixel object:
N Here, color is a 32-bit type that merges the red,
Adafruit_NeoPixel strip = Adafruit_ green, and blue values into a single number. This
NeoPixel(16, PIN, NEO_GRB + NEO_KHZ800); is sometimes easier or faster for programs to
work with; youll see the strandtest code uses
Well refer to this by name later to control both syntaxes in different places.
the strip of pixels. There are 3 parameters or You can also convert separate red, green, and
arguments in parentheses: blue values into a single 32-bit type for later use:
The number of sequential NeoPixels in the
strip, in our case 16. (Yours might be longer.) uint32_t magenta = strip.Color(255, 0, 255);
O The pin to which the NeoPixel strip is

18 makershed.com

HSIP_016-9_Spikes_F1.indd 18 6/26/16 12:21 PM

Cyberpunk Spikes

IMPORTANT: setPixelColor() does not

have an immediate effect on the LEDs. To
push the color data to the strip, call show():


This updates the whole strip at once, and

despite the extra step is actually a good thing.
If every call to setPixelColor() had an
immediate effect, animation would appear
jumpy rather than buttery smooth.

Then later you can just pass magenta as an

argument to setPixelColor rather than the
separate red, green, and blue numbers each time.
The overall brightness of all the LEDs can be P

adjusted using setBrightness(). This takes a

single argument, a number in the range 0 (off) to
255 (max brightness). For example, to set a strip
to brightness, use: NOTE: Since you sealed up
the LED strip with adhesive,
this accessory is fairly
ANIMATED EFFECTS water-resistant. But turn it
In the strandtest example, loop() doesnt set off and remove the battery if
any pixel colors on its own it calls other you get stuck in a torrential
functions that create animated effects. So ignore downpour!
it for now and look ahead, inside the individual
functions, to see how the strip is controlled. Q
Youll see code blocks with parameters you
can tweak to:
change the rate of twinkling
change the number of pixels to light at
one time
transition colors gradually through the
whole spectrum
display rainbow colors, static or animated
flash or fade random pixels.

You can stitch or pin the 3D-printed enclosure
to your garment wherever youd like, using the
mounting tabs (Figure P ). For permanent use,
stitch a pocket for this enclosure inside your
garment and route the wires inside.
Use a fluffy bun-maker hair accessory and tuck
the enclosure under it to wear these spikes R
around your head (Figure Q )!
Epaulets, two styles (Figures R and S ).
Around the collar (see page 16). See more photos, and share your spike
builds and costume ideas at makezine.
Cyber dragon, anyone? Try the crystal-inspired
com/projects/cyberpunk-spikes. This
spikes (Figure A , page 17). tutorial originally appeared on the
How will you wear it? Wed love to see Adafruit Learning System at learn.
your variations! adafruit.com/cyberpunk-spikes.

makezine.com 19

HSIP_016-9_Spikes_F1.indd 19 6/26/16 12:21 PM


Headless Marie Antoinette

Create the illusion of holding your own decapitated head { BY NICOLE MAGNE }

veryone knows Halloween is a great the bust. (Instead of sculpting and casting,
MATERIALS opportunity to scare the crap out of you can also carve the bust directly into
Sculpting clay
your friends and look good doing it. plain blue sheet insulation foam.) Use
Plaster of Paris
My costume idea was inspired by Sofia acrylic paints to add a dead skin effect,
Sealer and mold release agent for plaster
mold. Coppolas Marie Antoinette movie that because aerosols wont set.
Urethane liquid flexible foam or blue sheet
came out in 2006. I found a bunch of great
foam insulation I cast the costume bust with headless costumes online that used the 3. RAISE THE BUST
FlexFoam-iT X liquid foam (purchased from basic technique I wanted. Being a fan of With my boyfriend Andys help, I welded
smooth-on.com). You can use also use blue
foam insulation from the hardware store and zombie flicks, I took this inspiration to the a rig to hold the bust above my head. But
carve it with a hot wire. next level, aiming for gory realism. I really I suggest using wooden dowels, as they
Acrylic paints enjoyed making this costume; it took about are lighter and cheaper. We used copper
Wooden dowels or other piping 3 weekends and cost about $70. pipes because we already had them, and
Backpack because welding is fun.
Fabric 1. SCULPT THE BUST WITH CLAY Measure the dowels to start at the
Oversized dress
I decided to make the bust first, and to lower back and extend to just above the
create the rest of the costume around it. head. If its too high, it will ruin the illusion
Long gloves
A hunk of clay and several hours were because the arms will look too long the
Cotton stuffing
spent sculpting a creepy, skinny torso with key to this costume is proportion. We then
super-fake-looking boobs. put a stabilizer at the top notice mine is
Sewing machine
slightly too low. I drilled a couple of holes in
2. TURN THE BUST INTO FOAM the foam, inserted the pipes, and poured in
Next, I poured a 2-part plaster mold over leftover foam for sturdiness.
the clay bust. Once the mold was removed, I I used backpack straps to hold my rig
coated the interior with a sealer and release in place. I cut everything off the backpack
Nicole Magne
Andrew Bart

agent, and poured in liquid urethane foam. except for the straps and the back panel.
Once the foam cured, I removed the plaster Then I attached long, narrow pockets down
and was rewarded with a Nerf-like copy of the length of the backpack for the pipes

20 makershed.com

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Headless Marie Antoinette

1 2 2

to fit into. We salvaged straps with clips

from the backpack and used them across
the chest to pull the rig tight and vertical.
Without that strapping, the whole rig
would be completely unstable. I suggest
adding a strap across the stomach as well.


My friend Temperance McDonald helped

me with the sewing. I lucked out and got
the main dress at the thrift store for $3. I
put on the backpack and bust, and then we
put the dress over it. We now knew where
to cut out holes for my head and arms.
Next, we made the top skirt out of
a large scrap of fabric for $15 this
created the illusion of the waist (really
my neck). Its basically a cape, with a hole
through the right side for my arm, which
connects through to the lower half of the
right sleeve. With my left arm hidden
underneath the top skirt, and my right 3 4

hand in plain view in a bloodied glove,

I was free to use both hands whenever I
needed to.
The left arm was a fake a wire
skeleton wrapped in cotton batting, stuffed
into a long glove sewn closed to the end of
the sleeve. It was completely posable and
was tacked into place once the costume
was on. The shoulders and arm were
stuffed with cotton to fill them out. Makeup,
hair, and blood-red paint helped to finish
the effect.
Although this costume may appear
uncomfortable, I had excellent mobility. I
could move my head, dance around, get
into cars (headfirst), and have a great time.
Variations on this costume could include
The Corpse Bride in a wedding outfit or
Lumberjack Who Cut Off His Head with a
Chainsaw. Keep in mind that the shorter
Nicole Magne
Andrew Bart

you are, the better this illusion will work

Im 5'8", so the entire costume was over 6'
high for me.

makezine.com 21

HSIP_020-1_Marie_F1.indd 21 6/26/16 12:41 PM


DIY Chainmail
Wire, 14-18 gauge steel, about 900 yds

Bolt cutters and needlenose pliers (2 pair)

Make yourself a shirt fit for a knight Wood dowel, " or ", and leather gloves
Drill (optional)

hainmail (or mail or maille)is a type wearer from sharp objects, mail is also WHAT YOU'LL NEED
of armor made from metal rings that useful for protecting against high voltage The only material you need to make basic
are joined together in a pattern to electricity. Many people who work with chainmail is metal wire. The kind of wire
form a protective mesh.Historically this high-voltage devices (such as Tesla coils) that you need depends on the specific
kind of armor was used to protect soldiers also use chainmail as a wearable Faraday application. Chainmail armor is typically
on the battlefield from slashing and cage. The metal is very conductive, so it is made from steel wire with a thickness
stabbing injuries caused by swords, axes, able to safelyredirect electricity around between 18 gauge and 14 gauge. A shirt
spears, and such. This kind of protective their bodies. of chainmail will require about mile
gear is still usedby some butchers and In this project, Ill give you a basic (0.8km) of wire! You can buy large spools
shark divers. introduction to the art of making chainmail of wire at any store that sells fencing
In addition to being able to protect the in its various forms. supplies. If youre making jewelry,

22 makershed.com

HSIP_022-5_Chainmail_F1.indd 22 6/26/16 12:33 PM


1a 1b 1c

2a 2b 2c

youll want to get thinner wire that has winding. You can wind rings a lot faster Chain-Maille-Rings. It takes far less effort
a non-reactive coating. You can find if you only have to hold onto one end of to turn the rod if you have it supported and
appropriate wire in a variety of colors at the wire. stabilized on a stand.
most craft stores. To hold the rod steady, you can make Lastly, you can use a motor to turn the
Youll also need some basic tools. You a winding stand. You can see a simple rod for you. If youre using a rod that is
need a dowel to wrap the wire around. You example in this Instructable by Matthew " in diameter or smaller, you can insert
need wire cutters or bolt cutters to cut Beckler: instructables.com/id/Ye-Olde- the end directly into a drill. This makes
out the individual rings. Then to bend the the process much faster and easier. Then
wires into their final shape, youll need 2 all you have to do is guide the wire as it is
pairs of needlenose pliers. wound up into a coil.


The rings are made by wrapping the wire Now that you have a long coil of wire,
around a cylinder to create long springs. you need to cut it into individual
The springs are then cut into individual springs. If youre using steel wire, youll
rings. So the first thing you need to do is probably need to use bolt cutters. I dont
select a rod to wrap the wire around. A recommend using a high-speed cutting
wooden dowel usually works fine. The tool unless you have a strong vacuum set
diameter of the rod depends on the size up with it. Most steel wire is galvanized
of the rings you want to use. Chainmail to prevent rust, and high speed cutters
armor is typically made with 16 gauge can throw zinc dust into the air that is
wire with rings that are about " in bad to breathe.
diameter. Keep in mind that the finished For softer wires such as copper, gold,
rings will be a little bigger than the rod or silver, you can use simple handheld
because they will spring back after being wire cutters.
bent into shape.
Once you have the rod, you just need to 3. JOINING THE RINGS
wrap the wire around it. There are several There are 3 main ways that the rings can
things you can do to make this easier. be joined together. They can be butted,
First, I highly recommend that you wear riveted, or welded.
gloves. Most chainmail projects require When making butted rings, the coils
a lot of rings and your hands will get sore are cut in a straight line. This produces
and blistered after a while. simple rings with ends that are slightly
Second, drill a hole through the rod offset from each other. These rings can
thats the same diameter as your wire. easily be bent open with pliers to connect
Then insert one end of the wire through them to other rings and then bent back
the hole to hold it in place as you are to close them. This is called butted mail

makezine.com 23

HSIP_022-5_Chainmail_F1.indd 23 6/26/16 12:34 PM



3b 4a

because the ends of the rings are just 4. THE EUROPEAN WEAVE Figure 4b . You can continue this pattern
butted up against each other. This is by far Now that you have your rings, you need to in both directions until you have a sheet
the fastest and easiest method, so its the link them together in a pattern. The most of chainmail. You can then shape it into
method thats most commonly used. common pattern for chainmail armor is whatever you want.
To make riveted rings, the rings are called the European weave. (However There are several other variations
cut so that the 2 ends overlap. They are it was also commonly used outside of of this pattern. European 6 in 1 is the
then hammered flat. A hole is punched Europe.) In this style, the rings are laid same as 4 in 1 except that each ring
in the overlapping section. Then a out in 2 sets of parallel rows that intersect is linked to 6 other rings instead of just
small piece of wire is inserted into the each other at a slight angle. Each ring is 4. Kings mail is the same as 4 in 1
hole and hammered so that the ends angled relative to the other rings that it is except that each ring in the pattern is
flatten and lock it in place. This method attached to. This creates a rippled surface. replaced with 2 rings.
produces very strong rings but is The most basic version of this pattern is
extremely time-intensive. the European 4 in 1, so called because 5. THE JAPANESE WEAVE
Welded rings are cut the same as a each ring is linked to 4 other rings in the In the Japanese weave one set of rings
butted ring. But after closing the ring, the opposite orientation. To assemble the lays flat and they are connected by a
ends are welded together. This is usually rings, take 4 closed rings and connect second set of rings that are perpendicular
done with a high-current electric welder them all with a fifth ring. Then lay them to the first set. In Japanese 4 in 1 the
such as a pulse arc welder. This makes on the table so that the 4 rings are all connecting rings are set at 90 angles
rings with superior strength and it is much in the same orientation (opposite of the to each other. In Japanese 6 in 1 the
faster than making riveted rings, but it center ring). Then lay another 2 closed connecting rings are set at 60 angles. In
requires you to purchase special welding rings beside them in the same orientation some cases these connecting rings are
equipment. You can find a few examples at as the first 4. Then use another ring to made smaller in order to make the armor
theringlord.com. link these to the 2 end rings as shown in more dense.

24 makershed.com

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4b 4c 4d

5a 5b 5c

This style of chainmail is generally less

dense and protective than European
chainmail, because it was rarely used
as the primary armor. More often, it was
used to hold together heavier armor such
as metal plates.


To make a shirt of chainmail, start
by making a strip of chainmail that is
several inches wide and long enough to
comfortably go around your chest at the
widest point. The lines that are created
by the ripple pattern should be oriented
vertically. This makes the shirt more
flexible and helps keep the rings from
deforming under the weight of the shirt.
Connect the ends of the strap into a loop.
Then make 2 other strips that will
connect to the first as shoulder straps.
Again, the ridges of the chainmail should
be oriented vertically. Connect these
straps in the locations that correspond to 6

the middle of the shoulder.

Add rings to the bottom of the first strap rings to connect the bottom edges into procedure. Make a strip that fits around
and continue the pattern down until the a tube. Keep in mind that you want the the widest part of your hips. Continue the
bottom hangs several inches below your sleeves to be fairly baggy in order to get pattern up to your waist where you can
belt when worn. Add rings to the top to the shirt on and off. Lastly connect the tie it with a rope belt. Then continue the
give the desired neck and arm holes. inner edge of the sleeve to the side to pattern down to a few inches past where
To make sleeves, start by extending close off the armpits. Its a good idea to your pants normally split into separate
the pattern of the arm straps out to each try on the shirt periodically to see if it legs. Then make 2 separate tubes for your
side. Once the sleeves extend several needs any adjustments. legs and join them together at the top.
inches past the side of the shirt, add To make pants, use the same basic Youre ready for the battlefield.

makezine.com 25

HSIP_022-5_Chainmail_F1.indd 25 6/26/16 12:34 PM


Calling all salty

sea dogs
Your matey will look shipshape in this piratical costume

Robyn Twomey

26 makershed.com

HSIP_026-8_DogCoz_F1.indd 26 6/26/16 12:53 PM

Salty Sea Dog Costume

ve never owned a store-bought
costume. I was one of those kids lucky
enough to have a super crafty mom
who would jump on her sewing machine
and whip up anything from a place mat to

Andrea DeHart
a prom dress without hesitation. When
Halloween came around each year,
she would fulfill our wildest fantasies
no matter what the request. I loved my 1b

homemade costumes, and no other kid in

school had a custom costume like mine.
Following in my moms footsteps, I too ADD EXTRA YARDAGE FOR A LARGER DOG:
enjoy the thrill of the challenge. So when yd 60"-wide, red and white striped, stretch
I was asked to design a canine costume, I knit fabric for shirt
said, Aye, Capn! yd 45"-wide, red, rib knit fabric for
neckband and shirt sleeve cuffs
If youre looking to turn your dog pal
yd 45"-wide, medium-weight, black satin
into a swashbuckling seafarer with style, fabric for pants
set your sights on this project. Moderate 6" length of " red hook-and-loop fastener
sewing skills are required, but the tape aka velcro tape 1b
supplies will only set you back a couple of 10" length of " black hook-and-loop
doubloons. Although the outfit was created fastener tape
for a pug, you can easily alter the pattern 3" gold buttons (2)
pieces to fit most small dogs. 9"12" piece of 2mm white foam sheet or
Pirate accoutrements complete the pre-cut, white, adhesive foam skull and
crossbones, patch or sticker, 2" or smaller 1d 1d
costume; included in the pattern are a
12"18" piece of 3mm black foam sheet
functional pirate hat and belt. Dont forget
/3 yd 6" flat gold braid trim
to pick up a miniature fake parrot for the
1yd " clear elastic
shoulder (or train yours if you have a real
one). Other pirate pizzazz to plunder: a Small fake parrot
small toy sword, a pouch filled with gold Craft glue, hole punch, common sewing
supplies 1e 1e
coins, an eye patch, a treasure chest, a
Patterns Download the free PDF from
large bone, and some gold hoop earrings. makezine.com/go/pirate-dog
Mass-market costumes can walk
the plank!


1a. To begin, cut all the fabric pieces out, All seam allowances are " unless
using the patterns at makezine.com/go/
otherwise noted. See pattern pieces for
notes on making size adjustments.
1b. Fold the cuffs lengthwise with the 1f

wrong sides together, and pin to the right

side of the sleeves. Slightly stretch the cuff, along the underarm, and continuing the side of the shirt that faces outward.
cuffs to match the notches on the sleeves, across the front chest.
and sew. Finish the bottom edge of the shirt by 1g. Attach the parrot to the shoulder by
Repeat for neckband. pressing under " and topstitching. using a whipstitch around the birds legs.
(Some fake parrots come with a wire
1c. Press the seam allowances toward 1f. On the right center chest seam, extending from the legs that can also be
the body. turn under 1" and baste closed. Pin the used to secure the bird to the shirt.)
appropriate length of loop tape fastener on
1d. Attach the sleeves to the bodice, the side of the shirt that faces inward. Sew 2. SEW THE PANTS
Robyn Twomey

matching notches around the armholes. around all 4 sides of fastener. 2a. Run a basting stitch 1" and another
On the left side of the center chest seam, " from the bottom of the leg opening
1e. Sew the sleeves closed beginning at the sew the matching length of hook tape on between the notches.

makezine.com 27

HSIP_026-8_DogCoz_F1.indd 27 6/26/16 12:58 PM


Andrea DeHart
2a 2b 2e 3c

2c 2f 4a


Feel free to add extra props
2b. Pull the basting stitches to gather the to the belt, such as a dangling
pants, matching notches on the band.
pouch of gold coins or a small
With the right sides together, pin and
sew the 2 pieces together. Remove the toy sword. Also consider a
basting stitches. feather, pirate flag, treasure

Robyn Twomey
chest, eye patch, bandana,
2c. Turn under " on the raw edge of
hook, or wooden leg.
the band pieces, and press. Fold band
lengthwise and baste in place.
On the outside of the pants, topstitch 3. MAKE THE HAT buckle. Center the skull detail and secure
the top of the band. 3a. From the pattern, cut the hat shape with glue.
from the 3mm black foam sheet, then
2d. Finish the bottom edge of the pants center the skull detail and secure with 4b. Measure the dogs waist, around the
and back opening by pressing under " craft glue. seam where the shirt and pants meet, and
and topstitching. add 4". You may need to cut 2 strips of the
3b. Close the hat by overlapping the side 3mm foam sheet to get the desired length
2e. Turn under 1" on the rear side of the flaps in the back, and glue. (they can meet underneath the middle of
pant leg inner seam and baste closed. Glue the gold trim close to the edge at the buckle).
Pin the appropriate length of loop tape the top of the hat. Once cut, center the buckle in the
fastener to the inside of this fold. Sew middle of the belt, and glue.
around all 4 sides of the fastener. 3c. Punch 4 holes at the bottom of the hat,
On the opposite side of the pant leg matching the dots on the pattern. 4c. Cut two 2" strips of loop tape and
inner seam, sew the matching length of Thread clear elastic through the holes position them horizontally on the top side
hook tape to the front. as shown, to create the Y-shaped strap. of one end of the belt.
Secure the open ends of the elastic to the Cut two 2" strips of hook tape and
2f. Sew a gold button on the outer side of strap, 3" from the bottom of the hat, by position them vertically on the bottom side
each pant leg band, centered. folding under " and hand-stitching with of the opposite end of the belt.
With right sides together, sew the thread in an X formation. Glue all pieces in place. Your piratical
shirt to the pants at the waist with a " pooch costume is ready to wear!
seam allowance. 4. MAKE THE BELT
Press the seams open. 4a. Glue gold trim around the edge of the

28 makershed.com

HSIP_026-8_DogCoz_F1.indd 28 6/26/16 12:58 PM

Salty Sea Dog Costume and Demon Horns

Demon Horns { BY BREANNA COOKE }

hese horns are easy to modify to fit flush against your head. If youd like your
the shape and size of your costume horns to tilt backward, trim the base of the
character. You can also modify their horn at an angle.
texture to make them as realistic or as
fantastical as you need. Heres how to 7. COVER THE FOAM HORNS
carve them from flexible foam, then Tear strips of paper towel long enough to
texture them with a liquid-latex technique wrap around the horns. Starting at the tip
that looks great. of the horn, brush a layer of liquid latex
onto the foam, apply the paper towel, then
1. MAKE A PAPER PATTERN brush on another layer of latex to coat the
Draw a horn shape on paper and cut it out. paper towel. Repeat, working your way
down to the base of the horn.
2. TRACE ONTO FOAM AND CUT OUT To create ridges on the horns, roll the
Trace your horn pattern onto the foam with edge of the paper towel before applying it.
a marker and cut it out with scissors or
a box cutter knife. If your foam is too thin 8. ADD PAINT
to use as a single layer, cut out duplicate When the latex is dry it might still be tacky;
horn shapes and glue them together. just dust it with baby powder.
The horns can be painted with regular
3. GLUE FOAM LAYERS TOGETHER acrylic paints. Start with a light-colored
Glue the 2 layers with hot glue, liquid latex, base coat, then build up darker colors. To
or contact cement, and let dry. achieve the rough gradient effect shown
here, use a dry-brushing technique: put a
4. DRAW GUIDELINES bit of paint on your brush and let it become
Now draw the shape of the base of the slightly dry as you apply it to the horn.
horn onto the bottom of the foam.
Make flexible horns from 5. REFINE SHAPE WITH SCISSORS Fill the trench with hot glue or contact
foam and paper towels Using scissors or a box cutter, slowly trim
off small pieces of foam to shape the horn.
cement, then push the headband into place.

any size for Halloween Dont worry about making it perfectly GOING FURTHER
costumes or cosplay smooth. Match your second horn to the
first to be sure theyre the same shape.
Modify these horns for any costume!
Attach them to a helmet or headpiece. To
make the headband more comfortable,
MATERIALS: 6. FINAL TRIMMING wrap it with fabric or ribbon. And for added
Paper, 8.5"11" Cut out a shallow trench on the base of security, especially for a performance,
Polyurethane foam, flexible, 1'1' aka each horn. It should be deep enough to fit glue small hair combs to the base of the
upholstery foam.
the headband into, so that the horn will sit horns and/or sides of the headband.
Hot glue
Liquid latex or mask latex Available at
costume, theatre, or mold-making
supply stores.
Paper towels (10) or tissue paper
Breanna Cooke

Plastic headband
Acrylic paints from a craft store. I used
black, tan, and white. 1 2 4

Scissors, small
Box cutter knife
Hot glue gun
Paint brushes: medium (2), small (1)
5 7 8

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They Live!
Modify store-bought masks to create unique costumes

f youre like me and my friends, Simply add a little water to your papier- Be careful, some plastic doesnt cut easily!
Halloween is all about trying to outdo mch, and spread an even layer on your Once the papier-mch on the white
the previous years costume. A few years white mask. Cover the whole forehead and mask is dry, you can begin to cut its jawline
back we decided to re-create the aliens cheek area, then add texture by using a as well. Dont worry about it being perfect,
from John Carpenters 80s cult classic, toothpick or popsicle stick to simply draw you can smooth it out later.
They Live.And we did it all for under $15! loose vertical lines down the material Next, take the skull mask, place it in
Although this project is fairly simple, it while its still wet. front of and in line with the white mask,
does help to have (or know someone with) Allow to dry a few hours. It will turn and hot-glue it together.
an artistic background or skills in painting. colors, from dark gray to light gray. Now take your Paperclay and fill in any
Next, its time to elongate the jaw. Take holes that may be showing. This material
1. Sculpt and graft 2 maSKS your skull mask and cut the jawline out. is easy to smooth, so be sure to cover the
The first step is to create the bottom layer Make sure to include the gum area, teeth entire gap between the adjoined masks.
the pulpy, muscle texture that will later and entire chin area. We used a Dremel, Now comes the fun part! Take more
be painted reddish-pink. but you can use scissors or a sharp blade. of your Paperclay and begin to sculpt the
structure of the mask. You may want to
start along the jawline and work your way
up to the cheeks and eye sockets.
Be sure to create some depth on the
cheekbones and brows. You want it to
resemble a skull.
Also try to create a few angled and
vertical strips starting from the top of the
brow and going to the top of the mask. This
will make it appear that the pulpy muscle
texture is breaking through the skin.

2. Paint
Once the Paperclay is dry (a few hours or
overnight), spray the whole mask with a
white primer. This will give you a blank
canvas thats easier to paint.
Once thats all dry, take out your acrylics
and brushes. Begin with the red muscle
areas. Alternate between pinks, browns,
and reds to create a more realistic look.
You can add highlights to the raised

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Mask Modification

Plastic Halloween eyeglasses
Basic plain white mask
Basic skull mask
Block of Paperclay
Papier-mch We used CelluClay but you
can also make your own.
Silver spray paint
Gloss varnish or spray
Acrylic paints
Spray primer

Dremel tool or sharp knife
Hot glue gun
Paint brushes

areas simply by using a thin brush and

white paint. The same goes for the valley
areas, but use a dark brown or black paint.
Once thats dry, mix up a blueish-teal
color and paint the skin.
The teeth should already be white, but I
liked to age mine by creating a yellowish-
brown wash (just add a bit of water to your
paint) and cover the entire jaw area. Also
be sure to add some dark spots between
the teeth to make them extra gross!

3. Make the alien eyes

Now for the eyes. We found some cheap,
bug-eyed glasses at a Halloween party
store and popped out the lenses. Next we
took a Dremel (but you can use a knife)
and cut a star-like pattern in each lens.
This would allow more visibility, and its
consistent with most of the actual movie
aliens. Paint the lenses silver and let dry.
Take your hot glue gun and apply the
lenses to the eye sockets. If there are any
holes or glue showing, just apply a thin
layer of black acrylic and let dry.

4. finishing touches
Now for the easiest step yet! Apply a very
thin layer of gloss medium. This will make
the mask really come to life.
Allow to dry for a few hours and youre
all set! Add any type of wig and clothing
(keeping in mind that most of the aliens
from the movie are wealthy people,
Kiersten Essenpreis

politicians, or law enforcement) and youre

good to go.

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HSIP_030-1_TheyLive_F1.indd 31 6/26/16 1:06 PM


Soundwave Costume { BY CHARLES MANGIN }
Make a classic 1980s Decepticon from cardboard boxes and duct tape

or Halloween 2014, my son, Ben (then in Soundwaves chest, where the pop-out
MATERIALS 5), and I built his costume together. In microcassette tape deck would be on the
previous years, he had worn the usual toy. But when we got home he started
Duct tape Useful for adding colored trim.
toddler fare store-bought monkey, asking if he could dress up like that blue
Self-adhesive shelf liner Available in a
surprising number of solid colors and dragon, and Buzz Lightyear costumes robot for Halloween. Yes!
textures online. but this time he had found inspiration
TOOLS atMaker Faire North Carolina, in the 1. PLANNING AND GATHERING
Scissors or craft knife
form ofa costumed exhibitor dressed as MATERIALS
Charles Mangin

Soundwave, the Decepticon from the first After giving Ben a crash course on
generation of Transformers toys. Transformers: Generation 1, we looked
While we were there, Ben mostly fixated online and found plenty of reference
on the working MAME video game setup material for the original toy, other peoples

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Transformers Costume

costumes, and even 3D models. So I simply flipping the template piece over. We
started to gather materials. Being a boxy proceeded this way for the arms and legs,
robot from the 80s, and not one of the building chunky Soundwave feet around
ambling heaps of scrap metal of the more Bens rain boots, so we knew they would fit
recent Michael Bay incarnations (not that and be easy to get on and off.
Im bitter), Soundwave could be composed
mainly of cardboard. 3. ALL THE PIECES COME TOGETHER
For his hands, Ben would wear a pair When it came to Soundwaves head, I used
ofpadded bike gloves he already had. A the inside of Bens bike helmet as a guide.
few other details, like the Decepticon logo, It wasnt a perfect fit, but the helmet didnt
would be purchased online. For the bulk of squirm when I tried to take measurements.
the costumes blue, white, and red colors, After several fittings, adjustments and
rather than paint, we used self-adhesive redesigns, the head fit comfortably and
shelf liner. Shelf liner even comes in a allowed an unobstructed view.
metallic faux stainless steel, which served
perfectly for some of the more robotic 4. COVER IT ALL IN SHELF PAPER
details. Of course, no project would be Through all these phases, the cardboard
complete without duct tape, which also pieces were held together with blue
comes in a variety of colors. painters tape, which has just enough
We started with a basic shape for adhesive to keep things from falling apart,
the chest and shoulders that I cut out but can still be repositioned (unlike duct
freehand, quickly realizing it was much tape or glue). And in the end, I wasnt
too big. To get a better sense of the scale, worried about a rough appearance, with
I took some photos of Ben with his arms bits of cardboard and blue tape, scribbled
out and used a photo editor to overlay with my measurements and crossed-out
measurements. This made sketching the cut lines. They were all covered up and
costumes pieces much easier, and kept smoothed over by the shelf liner.
everything to the proper scale. Between the shelf liners adhesive
and the strategic application of duct
2. ROUGH DRAFT tape, the costume was sturdy enough to
The next pieces to come together were the survive several showings, including Bens
lower arms. My process for these, which I preschool Halloween costume parade. Im
applied to all of the arm and leg parts, was not sure how popular I am with the other
to fold a rough version of the part around dads after that day, since a good number
Ben, marking on the cardboard where I of Bens classmates suddenly wanted to
thought it needed to cut and fold. make cardboard robots, too.
After modifying my rough part, cutting For the actual trick-or-treating, I added
and taping until it fit, I took it apart and a few details that would show up best once
used it as a template for the final pieces. the sun went down. Some chunky 8mm
Charles Mangin

Ben helped me trace the outline onto 2 LEDs, connected very simply to coin cell
new pieces of cardboard, and even made batteries and pushed through holes in the
some of the cuts (with help). The left side costume, were the finishing touches that
was a mirror of the right, which meant brought Soundwave to life.

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HSIP_032-3_Transform_F1.indd 33 6/26/16 1:15 PM


Pile on the fruit for a
Carmen Miranda-style headdress

Beth Perkins

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Carmen Miranda-Style Headdress

ve always had an affinity for over-the- Invert your material (turn it inside out,
top embellishments gold fleck paint which is actually right side in), and turn
on a mirror, glitter-encrusted twigs in in the one remaining open side, as if you
an oversized floral arrangement. I think were doing a hem. Secure with straight
my Italian-American, East Coast heritage pins, and stitch closed. Warm iron flat.
has something to do with this affliction.
For years, I didnt know where to direct 2. MAKE TIE SLITS AND THREAD HEAD TIE
my desire to bedazzle everything in sight, Using your X-Acto knife, make two 3"
until one Halloween when my creative slices in your basket, one on either side
parents dressed me as the grape cluster of where it will sit on your head, at least
from a Fruit of the Loom commercial. 2" in from the outer edges, and at least 3"

Angie Pontani
Completing the spectacle of foam balls away from each other. Thread your fabric
spray-painted green and sewn to a through your new slits. Start underneath
unitard was a headdress made from a your basket, pull up through the top, lay
glittering twisted twig, adorned with a it flat across the center, then pull down
rhinestone-embellished grape leaf. My through the other side.
parents strapped it to my head, and my life
officially began. 3. HOT-GLUE THE FABRIC
I became a headdress maniac, and as With your hot glue gun, seal the openings
all headdress maniacs must do, I became to the fabric, and seal the fabric to the
obsessed with the mother of us all, Carmen basket. Dont worry if the glue drips
Miranda. Best known for her fruit-basket through the openings just make sure it
head arrangements, she literally rocked doesnt burn your fingers!
hundreds of towering cornucopias filled Remember like hair mousse and
with everything from fruit to butterflies to rouge, less is more when it comes to hot
silk ribbons and glittering stars. If it could glue guns. A small amount will give you a
be dreamed, it could be worn, and this fabulous bond and look much neater.
concept moved me to no end.
When I started my burlesque troupe, 4. LINE THE BASKET WITH FELT
the World Famous Pontani Sisters, in Lining the basket helps secure the
1999, it was a no-brainer that one of our head tie and also makes the fruit
first acts would be a mambo a tribute bond better. Cut your felt to the size of
to Carmen and to my Italian heritage. the interior diameter of your basket,
Hence, Mambo Italiano was born. For this I then apply hot glue to the felt before
created three towering fruit headdresses, laying it in the basket. Mount your
covered in rhinestones, silk flowers, and headdress on a styrofoam head until
glittering baskets, measuring 1 feet it cools. You can use T-pins or extra
Straw basket For this beginner model, I
high. The act has toured a dozen times, long straight pins to secure it. prefer a plate-like basket with low sides, with
performing everywhere from New York to an approximately 9" diameter.
Los Angeles. 5. ADD THE FRUIT AND GARNISH Spandex blend fabric (1 yard) This is used
I find headdresses the ultimate Experiment with layering your fruit in to tie the basket to your head, and its stretch
enables you to feel secure. After you become
expression in costuming. Whether its the basket. I prefer bananas down low more comfortable, you can use almost any
feathers, baskets, or simple hair combs, and in front, but its a personal choice. type of fabric. I prefer silk crepe.
they allow you to turn a fabulous costume When you have the first layer in an order Styrofoam head found at wig and well-
into a truly sensational creation. you like, note where the fruit touches stocked beauty supply shops
the basket. Hot glue clean lines onto the T-pins or extra-long straight pins
1. SEW THE HEADDRESS TIE fruit before placing them on the basket. Assorted plastic fruit (12 pieces) often found
at craft stores and floral shops
Cut your fabric 12" wide and 50" long. Hold them firmly in place until the glue
Assorted fake flowers with leaves (612)
Fold in half lengthwise, then sew the open dries. Then build upon the bottom layer
edges together with a strong, tight stitch of fruit by gluing more fruit on top of Felt (1 yard) Any color, since it wont show

(by hand or machine). Now youve got a 6"- it. Use the flowers and leaves to fill in Hot glue gun
wide belt with openings at both ends (like any open spots. Allow the headdress to X-Acto knife and scissors
a flat fabric tube). Stitch one of the open cool, feel for any loose fruits or flowers, Iron
ends with a tight stitch. and secure with more hot glue. Needle and thread to match fabric

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Rise above with your own custom pair of stilts { BY MOLLY GRABER AND CHRIS MERRICK }

ave you ever dreamed of being really for the pegs, labeled as piece A in the round off the footplate where it will rest
tall? Walking on stilts is a fun and assembly diagram (Diagram 1 ). against your shin support; this section
adventurous sport, and they can 1b. Measure from the bottom of your shoe (the outer edge of each foot) needs to
really spice up a Halloween costume. to just below your knee and add 6". This follow a flat, straight line (Figure A ).
But where are you going to get a decently is the length measurement for the shin
priced pair of stilts to get started with? supports (piece B). 2. FOOTPLATE POSITION
With these instructions, you can 1c. Using a measuring square, cut 2 pieces Find your balance by balancing on a
affordably add as much height as you of 1"1" wood to the length of A and dowel. Stand up straight with your feet
want. You just need some simple tools 2 pieces to the length of B. Each stilt shoulder-width apart, line up your toes,
or a friend who can help! needs an extra 7" piece of the 1"1" and find your most comfortable balancing
Building your own stilts ensures that wood for the foot platform (piece D). point by rolling the dowel back and forth
theyre made just for your body, and when 1d. Cut the 2 support trapezoids (piece C) underneath your feet while looking
youre done youve learned another crafty to size and shape from the " plywood. ahead. When you find the balancing point,
skill. Then all you need is someone to help Sand all the edges. have someone mark the outside of your
Freda Rowley/burningman.com

you learn to walk tall and also how to 1e. For the footplate (piece E), trace the shoes where the shoes intersect the
fall. Its a blast and we highly recommend outline of your shoes on " plywood dowel (Figure B ). Set the shoes on the
it. Stilt walking can be as easy as it looks. and leave at least "" extra space footplates and mark each plate to match
outside of the shoe on all sides. The each shoe (Figure A ).
1. MEASURE AND CUT WOOD PIECES width should be at least 5" across at
1a. Determine how tall the stilts will be. the middle of the footplate. Cut out both 3. DRILL THE WOOD PIECES
This will be the length measurement footplates and sand all the edges. Dont 3a. For each stilt, you need to drill pieces

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DIY Stilts

A, B, C, and D. Piece A will overlap DIAGRAM 1

piece B by 6". Piece C is the next layer,
followed by piece D. Two bolts go
through each of these sets, as shown
in Diagram 1. Use caution when drilling
the holes: all pieces should be square
on top where the footplate will attach. E

TIP: Label your pieces so that you can always A B

line them up exactly as you drilled them. D
The footplate follows a straight Find your balancing point,
line against your shin support. then mark where the
C shoes intersect the dowel.
3b. Drill holes in B, as shown in Diagram 1,
with a " bit (Figure C ). A

3c. Line up A to overlap B by 6", including

the drilled holes (Figure D ). On a flat
surface, clamp the 2 pieces together.
Drill through A using the holes already
Pair of shoes
drilled in B as a guide (Figure E ).
Lumber 1"1" See Step 1 for lengths.
3d. Using a T square, line up A with C Find a straight piece of Douglas fir, ash, or
(Figure F ). Clamp together and use the poplar, without bows or knots.
holes already drilled in A to guide you as " plywood cabinet grade, enough for both C D

you drill the holes in C. footplates and C pieces Drill holes in piece B with a Line up A to overlap B by 6".
" bit.
3e. Line up D with C and use a T square for " carriage bolts: 2" (4), 4" (2), and 5"
the top edge. Clamp and use C to guide
Flat washers (8) for carriage bolts
you as you drill the hole in D (Figure G ).
" nylon insert nuts (8)
4. ASSEMBLE THE WOOD PIECES Wood screws: 1" (18), " (4)
4a. Practice assembling the stilt, with the Wood glue
heads of the 5" and 4" carriage bolts Recycled mountain bike tire
on the outside of the assembly (Figure 12" zip ties (4)
H ). If the pieces fit and form a flat rest Foam padding E F

for your footplate, take them apart and Drill through A using the holes Using a T square, line up
Strapping material 1"2" wide, about 6' in B as a guide. A with C.
reassemble them, gluing each joint total length Seat belt strapping and nylon
webbing work well.
as you go. (If not, carefully cut or sand
Velcro as wide as your strapping.
them flat and square.) Holding the head
D-rings (4) as wide as your strapping
of the bolt with pliers, tighten the nuts
with an 8" wrench so the bolts sink into Thread
the wood. Pre-drill and screw 2 wood 4" ABS pipe, 14" long
screws through C, attaching it to D. TOOLS
4b. Pay attention to how the footplate will Cordless screwdriver
attach (Figure I ), lining up your marks Drill and bits: " and 1" G H
with the centerline of A and B. Arrange 8" socket wrench Use C to guide you as you drill Practice with the carriage
the pieces for each stilt so that B is on the hole in D. bolts on the outside.
Channel-lock pliers or Vise-Grips
the outside of the shin. Pre-drill and
Reciprocating saw or handsaw
attach the footplate to D and A with
wood screws (Figure J , following page).
Measuring square aka T square
When working
5a. Cut two 6" lengths of your ABS pipe Safety glasses and heat glove
Propane torch
tools, always
using a reciprocating saw or handsaw. take safety
Then cut out a 3"-wide vertical section Vise
from each, using a jigsaw (Figure K , Clamp
Safety glasses
following page). Sewing machine are recommended.
5b. Clamp the ABS pipe in a vise, heat the Dowel such as 1" PVC pipe or a broomstick I
middle section with a propane torch, Table saw (optional) Each footplate sits on the peg so
and using a glove, gently bend the ABS Router (optional) that the shin support is on the
outside of the shin.

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to flare out to the shape of your shin.

Once you think the ABS is bent out
enough to fit around your shin with foam
padding set inside, let it cool, then hold
the ABS and the foam to your shin to
make sure they fit (Figure L ). You may
have to heat and bend it again so that it
fits well. J K
5c. Drill a " hole 1" from the top of B. Use Pre-drill and attach the footplate with wood screws. Cut out a 3"-wide vertical section of each ABS piece.
that hole to guide you in drilling your
first hole in the ABS shin plate. Then
thread the top hole of B and the ABS
with a 2" carriage bolt (this time with
the head facing inward toward your
shin), but dont tighten it.
Swing the front of the shin plate
toward A so that it shows 1" past B
(Figure M ). Now drill the bottom hole
through A and the shin plate. Thread
these holes with a 2" carriage bolt.
Tighten both bolts. Trim excess ABS and
bolt material with a reciprocating saw.


6a. The strap wraps around the back
of your calf to the front, through the
D-ring, and attaches back to itself with L M

velcro (Figure N ). Sew the strap to the Fit the ABS and the foam to your shin. Swing the front of the shin plate toward piece A so
that it shows 1" past piece B.
D-ring, and sew the velcro to the strap.
6b. Pre-drill holes, then use " wood
screws to attach the straps to B, on the
upper end adjacent to the shin plate with
the D-ring facing forward.
6c. Cut two 7"15" pieces of foam padding.
Glue the foam onto your shin plates so
that it wraps around the outside and
back of your calf. Sew fabric around the
foam for comfort, if you like.


7a. Arrange each shoe on each footplate
so the mark on the outside of the shoe
lines up with the line on your footplate N O
and with the centerline of A and B. Attach straps. Test the balance before attaching the shoes.
Stand on your stilts with your shoes on
to find the right shoe placement before
attaching them (Figure O ).
7b. Loosen laces and remove shoe liners.
Pre-drill and screw each shoe onto a
footplate with at least 2 wood screws
per shoe.
7c. Use zip ties to attach the bike tire
footings to the bottom of the stilts
(Figure P ).
Youre done. Now go walk tall!
Peg footing from a bike tire.

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DIY Stilts and Soda Bottle Jet Pack

It was late october It wasn't a surprise, though. We have This is cel

when the shortwave There were whispers in schoOl an urgent --er--this is

JET PACK! Radio lit up like a

Jack o' lantern.

I was working on a Top-

that something big was
hapPening on October 31st...

Orange star...
misSion for
orange Star...
orange star.

I hear you
loud and
Am I getTing
Secret Project, And --KrRshH--Do you clear.
almost didn't hear the
gravelLy voice echoing
throughout the lab...
Orange star...
Do you read

Something that would

afFect alL of us...

Orange Star! whew! HalLoweEn is only a few We neEd a speEdster--someone who can realLy fly--
It's a relief to hear days away, and we think to colLect as much candy as posSible!
your voice! one of Dr. Maniacle's
super-mean robots is DO IT,
I reAlize that
going to try and steal
it's short notice,
writTen by WarRen Simons

alL of the candy from

but the super secret
science council the city!
neEds your help!
got the right
girl for the job,

on it!

Use A PAIR OF 2-liter botTles to create a JET PACK!

A Paper towel rolL makes a great spacer.
make concave
cuts to match
botTle surface. Cut two slits at the
top and botTom of
botTles. Weave a belt
through for straps.

botTles. No way
robots are Tonight, I'm
threatening going to colLect
my city! the most candy in
mAKE EXHAUST PIPES! the entire
cut out botToms neighborhoOd!
of paper cups,
and glue to the
botTle botToms.
Cut the tops of the botTles FIlL BOtTLES
almost ofF, except for 1" in WITH
the back to act as a hinge. CANDY!

Celine's ready
for HalLoweEn...
use tape as are you?!
a latch.

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HSIP_039_Howtoons_F1.indd 39 6/26/16 1:43 PM


The science behind the art of prop making

ilicone block molds are fine for GETTING STARTED part of the model.
making casts of small objects. But Youll need liquid silicone rubber, water- I knew that if I poured that void in 2
for larger items, like this 3-foot-long based clay, stone plaster, and a few other parts and from the side, Id end up with
multi-piece prop gun (Figure A ), youd materials and tools. Before doing anything air bubbles galore. So I pre-filled it with a
need hundreds of dollars worth of silicone else, take a permanent marker and draw plug made of blue silicone. The plug should
to make a block mold. a parting line down the exact middle of stick to the blanket of silicone that I pour
An excellent and inexpensive solution is the original part, marking 2 symmetrical later, and become a nice part of the mold.
to use a thin layer (or blanket) of silicone halves. This is the line youll sculpt Prior to pouring the silicone, youll need to
thats keyed to a hard-shell or mother everything to even with simple objects clean the plugs thoroughly with mineral
mold. Its a multi-step process, but it like this, every mold maker I know does it, spirits to make sure that theyll stick.
yields great results for the cost-conscious and you should too.
moldmaker. It also makes much lighter 2. MAKE A FOAMCORE TABLE
molds, which are easier to move around. 1. PRE-FILL ANY VOIDS Next, well make a table out of foamcore
With this type of moldmaking, youre Before you make the mold itself, you need board on which to sculpt the first half of
basically sculpting the 2 sides of your mold, to make your original model mold-worthy. the mold. Use a piece of foamcore thats
taking into account the forces involved in To prep it, youll need to pre-fill up any large enough to extend at least 8"10"
the pouring and casting of the part. It takes small or difficult-to-access voids in the beyond the borders of the part. (A common
a while, but if you get good at hard-shell model, such as the hole in the bottom mistake people make with these molds is
moldmaking, you can cast just about of our prop gun body, which you can see not giving themselves enough surface area
anything, no matter how big. circled in Figure B . This is a void on the to work on.)
model that has threads to join to another Place the model on its side with the

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Hard-Shell Molds

parting line parallel with the foamcore

and trace around it with a pencil, as close
to the model as possible. Cut the model
shape out of the foamcore and discard.
Secure the model on a sturdy work A
table (oil-based clay is great for this step),
making sure the parting line is as level
as possible.
Now, we need to position the foamcore
so that it sits about " below the centerline
of the model (Figure B). (Why? Because
well be creating a clay dam on top to use
as a reservoir for the silicone, and that
" allows for the thickness of the clay
to come right to the middle parting line.) C B
Heres how to position the foamcore:

Measure from the parting line to the

table. Lets say its 2".
Subtract " for your clay dam, which
gives us 1".
Subtract the thickness of the foamcore
(3/16"), which takes us to 19/16".
Cut a few dozen little strips of foamcore
3"4" long to this exact height, in our
case 1 9/16". D
Place the model on the table, and spread
the upright strips around it evenly, Materials
covering an area the size of the cut-out Water-based pottery clay E
foamcore piece. Casting resin
Use hot glue to adhere the upright Foamcore board
chunks to your work table and to the Plastic hemispheres, " from plastics supply stores
large foamcore piece, which should be Mineral spirits
placed on top of them to create a nice Vaseline or mold release
solid foamcore table. Stone plaster
Spun hemp
3. MAKE A FUNNEL FOR POURING THE Silicone rubber for moldmaking
CASTING RESIN Aluminized tape
Now you need to decide where the top of Silicone rubber thickener optional
your mold will be, into which youll pour Silicone rubber accelerator optional
the casting resin. It should be located Silicone sealant, blue
at the perimeter of the model where it Model piece the original that you want to cast
comes to a steep point, so bubbles will
surface and pop in a small area. Because Clay sculpting tools wire loop, carver, etc.
youll be pouring into this part, its a good Hot glue gun
idea to add a piece to your foamcore table Marker
that gives you a nice clean surface for Paintbrushes
pouring the resin into the mold. Pencil
And youll need a vent nearby to give the Putty knife or screwdrivers
air youre displacing with the casting resin Rags
somewhere to go (other than back through Rolling pin
the hole youre pouring from). This helps Squirt bottle
eliminate bubbles, and makes pouring X-Acto knife
the mold a cleaner, less splash-prone Air compressor and blow gun optional H

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process. In Figure C (previous page), you will be to get good castings. to add some plastic hemispherical keys
can see the funnel-shaped pouring gate After finessing the clay dam, clean all to help the mold halves align (register)
and next to it a smaller vent. clay residue off the model with a damp properly; well discuss this in Step 9.
brush (otherwise it will be cast in when The clay bump you see in the middle is
4. MAKE THE CLAY DAM you pour your silicone!). built around the pre-filled silicone plug
Since you want the clay to be a uniform I pointed out before. This clay plug will
thickness, a rolling pin is ideal for the 5. MAKE THE BARRIER KEY leave a void when I pour the first silicone
job. I use water-based clay, the kind used AND BORDER blanket. That way, when I remove the clay
for pottery, because oil-based clay and Use a wire-loop clay tool to make the plug and pour the second silicone blanket,
silicone dont always get along. Flatten the first of the barrier keys (or more the void will lead my silicone right to that
clay with your hands, and when its a little accurately, registration topography) pre-filled plug.
more than " thick, place the clay pieces that will hold the 2 halves of this mold Also note the clay plug in the gun barrel.
between 2 rails (wood will do) that are perfectly aligned (Figure D, inset). Keys Unlike the other plug, I didnt pre-fill this
exactly " high, positioned perpendicular for molds come in many shapes and sizes, shallow barrel with silicone. I didnt need
to the rolling pin and close enough but for large molds, a key that runs all to because its large, easy to get bubbles
together that theyre underneath its rolling the way around the part helps prevent the out of, and has no threading. But the
surface. Roll the clay to a " thickness resin from leaking out. I usually carve a completed first blanket will have a trough
use a squirt bottle of water to keep it from bit deeper than a half-circles depth with that leads the silicone right into the barrel.
getting sticky. the wire loop, then clean the edges with a
Figure D shows the clay dam, mostly wet soft paintbrush. 6. POUR THE FIRST BLANKET
laid out onto the foam board. It goes on in Figure E shows the completed barrier The first layer of silicone is the most
pieces, which you can join together with key the trench around the part and important one, because its what grabs
your fingers. Use a clay tool to bring the also a raised clay border (made using the all the detail from your model. To avoid
clay dam right up to the model. The line rolling pin method described in Step 4) bubbles, pour slowly from one location
where the clay meets the model should be built up all the way around the part, with and from high up, letting the silicone drift
very smooth, perpendicular, and have no spacing of about 3". This provides enough slowly into the detail on the model
gaps. The cleaner this area is, the easier it space between the border and the model (Figure F ). You can use accelerator in

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Hard-Shell Molds

the silicone (or use more kicker) to make of the blanket to get a smooth line, and
it kick faster, but that will make for a discard the trimmed pieces. Use a sharp
weaker mold. If you need only 1 or 2 X-Acto knife to cut dovetail-shaped keys
castings, its OK to use an accelerator (they around the perimeter, gingerly lifting
can speed up the setting time from 10 up the edge of the blanket and slicing
hours to 3), but if you want to make dozens upward so you dont cut into the clay below
of castings, be patient. (Figure J ). This serrated edge will help
With the first thin layer covering the the silicone blanket register to the mother
model, blow compressed air over the mold. My blanket here is a wee bit thin
part (dont get too close) to eliminate any at the outer edge. I could probably have
bubbles (Figure G , page 41). trimmed it closer, like about an inch away
When the first layer is just past the tacky from the model.
stage, brush on another layer of silicone, Figure K shows the finished blanket.
making sure its of uniform thickness Ive probably used the minimum number
all over the model (Figure H ). For this of dovetail keys necessary to keep the
application, you can add thixotropic agents blanket stable in the mother mold, but you
to increase the silicones viscosity (but not should err on the side of caution and add
on the first layer, as these agents make more than you think the mold might need.
it difficult to get the silicone into all the Too many keys just makes the mold more
nooks and crannies for high detail). stable, but too few and youve wasted a lot
of work.
Once the second layer is applied for the 9. ADD HEMISPHERICAL KEYS
first blanket of silicone, and while that Ive left space around the edges of the
layer is still wet and tacky, start applying silicone so I can place hemispherical
the silicone keys (Figure I ). These will keys (Figure L ). These will register the
help the silicone stay adhered to the 2 halves of the mother mold together.
inside of the hard plaster mold. While the Im using injection-molded " plastic
advantage of this method is that it uses hemispheres, available at any plastics
less silicone, the disadvantage is that the supply store, placed lightly on the clay
thin silicone layer lacks structure and every 5" or so, just inside the border.
must be married to the plaster mold so it Brush a small amount of vaseline or
doesnt collapse. other mold release onto the hemispherical
I made these keys from an old silicone keys to help remove them from the first
mold by cutting small wedges about 1" half of the plaster mother mold.
long by about a pinky width (make sure the
silicone for the keys and the mold are the 10. PLASTER OVER THE SILICONE
same brand it helps them stick better). After the first blanket of silicone comes
For this mold, I set keys in the wet the stone-plaster mother mold. The
silicone about every 3". As every mold is plaster will go on in a couple of layers.
different, you have to imagine your mold The first layer is a thin coat for detail
upright and think through the weak spots, apply it slowly to avoid creating bubbles. P
where it will buckle, and place the keys The second is supported by a hemp
accordingly. strengthener.
Figure I shows the mold with the keys in Figure M shows the first layer of
place the silicone is poured for the first plaster applied over the blanket, the clay,
half, and its setting up nicely. The silicone and the keys. Its fairly thick and will take
doesnt go all the way to the border on somewhere around an hour to set.
the left, but thats OK well be cutting Stone plaster is much stronger than
dovetail keys around the perimeter. regular plaster. You can get away with
using less, which keeps your mold
8. CUT THE DOVETAIL KEYS lightweight, but its still brittle like regular
After the silicone has cured, trim the edge plaster. So the next step is to reinforce Q

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it with some spun hemp, available from remove any clay residue. Apply mold hardware store, build a simple mold dam
moldmaking supply stores. The hemp release (or a thin layer of vaseline) to the to contain the wet plaster and give it a nice
works much like fiberglass, supplying silicone so that the next layer wont stick crisp edge that matches the clay dam from
a matrix that increases the plasters to it. Make sure you cover it all, or else the first blanket (Figure Q ).
flexibility and makes it shatter-resistant. youll ruin your mold. Silicone loves to Slowly drip the plaster onto the second
Add a layer of hemp, then apply the stick to itself. blanket of silicone (Figure R ). Again,
second and final layer of plaster. Dont Apply 2 layers of silicone exactly as you this first layer is for detail, and the fewer
wait more than a day between plaster did in Step 6. As before, use very little bubbles it has, the better it will hold.
coats, or else the second layer might not accelerator in the first layer, but you can Use your hand to spread the plaster
stick well to the first. Also note that the use more, or a higher mix of the kicker, in over the blanket, making sure it covers
first layer of set-up plaster will suck water the second. Remember, the goal is to get a everything, especially the silicone wedge
from the new layer, making it set faster " blanket all around the part. keys along the center.
than the first. As with the first blanket, place the But be careful around the edge of the
Once the second layer is set, turn the silicone key wedges along the center of blanket, where the dovetail keys are! This
whole thing over and gently pull off the clay the model before the second layer of edge may want to lift up, and you dont
dam, keeping the model inside the mold silicone hardens. Cut the dovetail keys want to get any plaster under it between
(Figure N , page 42). from the second layer, gingerly lifting up the 2 layers of silicone. Better to drip the
Take a moment to study what youve the edge to avoid cutting into the layer plaster gingerly around the edge. This
done. Isnt it pretty? The various mold keys below (Figure O , previous page). is an important point to remember, and
are all visible now (well, all but the silicone Now its time to lay on the plaster for the more familiar you are with this whole
keys): the hemispherical keys in the outer the other half of the mother mold. Youre process, the less likely you are to forget a
ring of plaster, the dovetail keys where the almost there! key step and end up wasting your hard-
silicone meets the plaster, and the barrier earned time.
key around the model itself. 12. MAKE THE SECOND HALF OF THE Figure S shows the first layer of
HARD-SHELL MOLD plaster. Note how well the aluminized tape
11. MAKE THE SECOND SILICONE To prep for the second plaster, apply mold dam holds it in. Also note how clean the
BLANKET release to the first plaster half. Again, a workspace around the mold is. This type
Before applying a layer of silicone to the thin layer of petroleum jelly works great of moldmaking is very detail intensive,
other side of the model, youll have to (Figure P ). Cover the inside of all the and attention to cleanliness during the
clean it and prepare it well but hemispherical key indentations because, molding process will quite simply yield a
be careful not to mess with it too much, again, if they dont release, all your work is better product.
as you want as tight a registration down the toilet. Allow the second layer of stone plaster
as possible. Using aluminized tape, available in (with hemp below it) to dry in all its glory.
Use a brush and soft damp cloth to the plumbing or heating section of any Once its dry, all you have to do is pull off



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Hard-Shell Molds

the tape and gently pry the halves apart.

Since plaster is brittle, care must be taken
not to over-torque the mold, lest it crack.
Use 2 screwdrivers or sturdy putty
knives, one leapfrogged in front of the
underpoured block Molds
other, to proceed down the seam. As you
go, listen for the telltale sound of the
halves letting go of each other.
Go slowly! You dont want a cracked
mother mold before youve even started
casting. Making your way down a full side
of the mold halves should be sufficient for
a proper separation. After a time, youll
hear a sucking sound and see that the 2
halves have popped apart.
The 2 silicone blankets should be
somewhat stuck together now, but simply
grabbing one of them and pulling it off the
other should do the trick (if youve properly
applied the mold release). Then pull out
the model to reveal your finished mold. TWO-PART, UNDERPOURED BLOCK Underpouring means that you pour
Figure T shows our completed mold. MOLDS ARE VERSATILE and beginner- the resin into a main intake vent (or
friendly. Theyre great for small, detailed sprue) that curves around to fill the
Everything worked perfectly. Note
objects such as jewelry, game pieces, mold up from below, rather than simply
the lack of air bubbles in the positive masks, picture frames, and figurines. I pouring into the top. Meanwhile, smaller
hemispherical keys on the bottom half. learned this technique by apprenticing vents on top allow the displaced air to
These should register the 2 halves of the under some of the great moldmaking escape. As you pour, resin splashing
mother mold beautifully. And they did. masters in the special effects down forms bubbles which can stay in
Figure U shows a completed assembly industry, and this article reveals their the main cavity and ruin the surface of
of a resin casting from this mold. To unpublished tricks. I hope they dont the casting. These bubbles also tend to
get mad. collect in fine-detail areas, where they
reduce air bubbles on a large part like
this, you can first pour some resin in each are the most difficult to deal with.
The advantage of underpouring is
half and let it cure, then assemble the 2 WHY A TWO-PART, that it generates fewer bubbles, and lets
halves and pour a final resin middle to get UNDERPOURED MOLD? them rise up into the vents where they
the completed casting. Two-part molds can handle more wont cause trouble. Top-pour molds
With proper cycling (letting the silicone shapes than one-piece molds, which are often acceptable, but pouring from
cool down between castings resin work only for simple, completely convex underneath is generally worth the extra
objects. And underpoured molds silicone required.
casting releases heat, and heat kills
minimize problems with bubbles in
molds), this mold should easily yield 20 the resin.
or more castings before deteriorating.
Because the blanket is thin and the plaster
sucks heat out during the resins curing For the full how-to visit makezine.com/projects/primer-moldmaking.
process, it could even yield 50 castings.
more prop making:

Simple top-pour Make this easy Use this ultra-
silicone block hot-wire cutter, cheap, homebrew
molds are a quick and reuse rig to make durable
and easy way to leftover expanded 3D plastic parts
make a whole polystyrene (EPS) from plastic. Works
bunch of the foam to create with your home
same thing. Get treasures from vacuum cleaner!
started here! trash. makezine.com/
makezine.com/ makezine.com/ projects/kitchen-
go/silicone- projects/5-minute- floor-vacuum-
casting-molds foam-factory former

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HSIP_046-7_HauntOpen_F1.indd 47 6/27/16 9:01 AM


Flying Crank Ghost

This classic animatronic prop is de rigueur for any serious haunter

his ghost prop was pioneered by Doug aluminum. The long (48") crosspiece at crosspiece provides the mounting point for
Ferguson of Phantasmechanics, the right of the diagram spans the arms the head of the ghost.
who made it public domain in 1997. It of the ghost. The two 36" lengths of angle The crank is a separate 9" piece of
uses a slow motor and a simple system of extending back from the crosspiece are the aluminum angle that drives the ghost.
pulleys to create an eerie, ghostly motion main supports of the frame. Their spacing Its length determines how far the ghost
that literally stops cars in front of homes. depends on the width of your motor. The moves. I drill several holes in my crank
Open source and cheap to make, its other two 9" crosspieces are used to so I can adjust the ghosts motion to suit
become a haunting classic. mount the frame in its final environment; whatever location Im hanging it in.
I tend to hang my ghost from the ceiling The torque rating of your motor divided
1. PLAN YOUR CRANK MECHANISM using the holes in the ends of these by the length of the crank, less friction,
The frame consists of 5 lengths of angle pieces. A hole in the center of the middle gives the weight allowance for your ghost.

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Flying Crank Ghost

A typical inexpensive motor will allow CRANK AND FRAME DESIGN

you a 2- or 3-pound ghost. If you want Hand pulley

a fancier, heavier prop, youll need to CAUTION!

counterweight it at the head connection. This project uses enough electricity to
A system of pulleys lets you dangle a 36" kill you. Please be careful. Electricity
weight off to one side of the prop to reduce 9" 9" can be fun and safe if kept inside its
the effective weight of your ghost. Motor insulating containers.
Measure the spacing of the mounting 48"

holes on your motor. Also measure its Head pulley

shaft diameter. You may also want to 9"
brainstorm where youll place your ghost
and how big it can be. Use these values to
Aluminum angle, ", 15' total length I used
determine the size and hole placement on "-thick angle for the central struts and 1"-
Hand pulley
your metal parts. Draw up a detailed plan, thick angle for the crosspieces.
based on the diagrams shown here. AC gearmotor, 115V, 47rpm aka Dayton
motor, such as the 3M096 from Grainger
OPTIONAL COUNTERWEIGHT FOR HEAVIER GHOSTS (grainger.com), or perhaps a rotisserie motor.
2. FASTEN THE CRANK ARM TO Find 4 bolts that will thread into your motor
THE MOTOR Motor or pass through its mounting holes.
Cut and drill the crank arm. Using an Extension cord
appropriately sized U-bolt, fasten the Junction box for your power switch
crank to the motors shaft. Put the flat Wall switch (110V) and switch plate
of the crank against the flat of the shaft. Weight Head Wire nuts
Tighten firmly. 1
U-bolt with 3" center hole to match the
The crank should sit on the end of the shaft on your motor
shaft, and stick out at a right angle from Eye bolts (3)
it. Be sure the crank is level so it doesnt S-hooks (3)
strike the framework. I drill my U-bolt Pulleys (3)
holes large, to provide some slop during Quick-links (3)
assembly. Once the bolts are tight, the Strong cord
slop shouldnt matter much (in this low- Miscellaneous bolts and nuts to fasten the
strain environment). frame together
An alternate mounting scheme uses a
shaft arbor or shaft extender. This part Pivot assembly consisting of:
slips over the motors shaft and locks in Bolt, ", about 3" long, with nuts (2) and
place with a setscrew. The crank then washers (2)
bolts onto the end of the arbor. Metal spacers (1 or more) depending on bolt
3. ASSEMBLE THE MOTOR INTO Fender washer, really large
Measure, cut, and drill the 5 framework 2
pieces. Fit the motor into the main support Light, gauzy fabric Cheesecloth is good. You
pieces and place the 9" end crosspiece can also find nylon mesh at the fabric store.
Chiffon, organza, or other fabrics might be
into place. Loosely screw the motors 4 too heavy.
bolts into place. Strong cord, dark or clear fishing line
Loosely fit the 9" center and 48" end 8" styrofoam ball
crosspieces into place. Fasten them
White plastic mask
gently with 4 short bolts. With the entire
Stiff wire You can use 5" steel welding wire
framework fitted loosely together, tighten or, if youre desperate, wire coat hangers.
all the screws and bolts. Make sure the Expanding insulation foam
crank doesnt hit anything! Vinyl gloves (optional) for hands
The usual collection of pliers, wire cutters,
4. ASSEMBLE THE CRANK PIVOT screwdrivers, crescent wrenches, and
Drill 3 equally spaced holes around zip ties
the giant washer. Smooth the edges 3

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of the holes so they wont fray your

cord. Assemble the pivot on the end
of the crank. Either the washer at the
tip of the bolt, or the entire bolt itself,
must turn freely on the crank, or the
cords will tangle. Add washers, use
lock nuts, and/or grease liberally
until friction is at a minimum.
The crank assembly is the heart of
the ghost mechanism. Be sure it works
smoothly, and has been tightened
thoroughly, before moving on.


The ghost is suspended from 3 pulleys,
by cords that pass through the pulleys
and tie to the crank pivot washer. Fasten
your eyebolts and pulleys together using
S-hooks, crimping the hooks with pliers.
Then, using 2 nuts per eye bolt, fasten one
pulley assembly at each tip of the long
crosspiece, and a third pulley assembly in
4 the center of the middle crosspiece.


Cut off the socket end of the extension
cord and discard. Split and strip the ends
that are still attached to the plug.
Set the junction box next to the motor
on the framework. Run the motors leads
into the box, as well as the stripped ends of
your power cord.
Connect the return wire of the power
cord (the wire attached to the wide blade
of the polarized plug, for American plugs)
to one of the motor wires, by twisting them
together and securing them with a wire
nut. Screw the power cords hot wire to
one side of the light switch, and the second
motor wire to the other side of the switch.
5 Screw the switch to the junction box,
mount the switch plate to the switch,
and zip-tie the entire assembly to the
framework. Loosely zip-tie the power
cord to the framework if needed, taking
care that the cord wont rub against a
sharp edge or tangle in the mechanism
during operation.


For each of the 3 pulleys, tie one end of the
cord to the center pivot and run the other
end through the pulley. Tie a loop into the

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Flying Crank Ghost

end of the cord on the far side of the pulley.

Make sure each cord is long enough that
the loop doesnt enter the pulley when
the crank is pointing away from the pulley
(when the cord is at its shortest).
Finally, fasten a quick-link to the loop in
each cord.


Cut a length of wire to fit through your
foam ball, and bend a small loop in one
end. Poke the head wire through the foam
ball. Create a shoulder wire with a deep
loop in the center and little loops at the 8

ends. Then bend a crimp in the head wire

at the bottom of the ball, so the ball is
trapped between the loop and the crimp.
For optional hands, bend 2 lengths of
wire to make fingers that fit inside the
vinyl gloves. Other hand options include
cardboard cutouts, or using masking or
duct tape to build up wire fingers. Your 7

goal is to make the hands as light as

possible, keeping in mind your weight
limits. You really dont want to add
counterweights to the hands. NOTE:
Cut out 2 upper arm wires and 2 Polyurethane foam uses moisture
forearm wires, making loops in the ends to help it harden. If you moisten the
and fastening all the wires together. You insides of the gloves slightly, it may
are making a marionette of a ghost with a help the foam set faster.
wire skeleton. Fasten the hands onto the
ends of the arms, and fasten the arms to
the shoulders. approach that I tend to use, or take more
Using expanding foam, glue the mask care in your draping, outlining the face in
to the ball. a hood of fabric, and making the sleeves
Poke the foams nozzle/tube into each dangle artfully around the hands. You can
finger and give them a little squirt. (The even create a complete gown for the ghost
hands shown in Figure 9 have way too (again, taking care with your weight limit).
much foam in them!) You may want to Connect the head and hands to the
make several sets of hands (perhaps a few quick-links, then light up the ghost with a
without wires) to get a feel for how much UV black light. If your fabric doesnt shine
to use. The foam expands a lot as it sets. enough, soak it in laundry brightener or
bluing agent. These are UV-reactive and
9. MOUNT THE GHOST do wonders for your glow.
Figure 9 shows the completed ghost Another optional addition would be LED
marionette. Note the shading on the lights in the eye sockets of the mask (see
mask, crudely applied with a rattle-can Dark-Detecting LED Throwies, page 76).
of black paint; the cheesecloth will soften Set them deep into the foam ball and glue
these lines in the final ghost. I decided I some additional fabric to the inside of the
didnt like these hands and cut them off eyeholes to diffuse the light.
after this picture. The photo on page 48 shows my ghost in
Drape your cheesecloth over, around, a minimalist shroud, illuminated by black
and through your marionette, making a light, as it steps through its motion cycle.
ghostly visage. You can take the minimalist Spooky!

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Trash Can Trauma

Scare the wits out of visitors with this pneumatic fright prop

heres no better way to scare up well, TCT always surprises. it wont conceal the pneumatic cylinder
some excitement than to incorporate Trash Can Trauma is an electro- and fright prop when the cover is on. I
animated props into your haunted pneumatic prop. This may sound used a 32gal galvanized can because it
house. Adding movement to props isnt technically daunting. It merely means was inexpensive and big enough to work
difficult or expensive, but it does require that energy is used to manipulate and in easily. It also makes a terrific clanging
learning a few new skills. position objects, and the signals that tell sound when it activates.
One popular animated prop is called the prop when to operate are transmitted
Trash Can Trauma, attributed to Long electrically. In this case, the energy Pneumatic Cylinder
Island, N.Y., appliance dealer Carl Chetta. transfer medium is compressed air. You have some latitude in choosing your
TCT uses compressed air to extend a cylinder. The bore (diameter) determines
cylinder-mounted fright prop out of a CHOOSE YOUR MATERIALS the force with which the cylinder extends
nondescript-looking trash can when Trash Can and retracts for a given air pressure.
unsuspecting victims draw near. Done Choose carefully; if the can is too short, The stroke is simply the length of the

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Trash Can Trauma

MATERIALS mounting design.

Trash can I used a 32gal galvanized one. Vendors such as Grainger (grainger.
Pneumatic cylinder, nose-mounting, with com) and McMaster-Carr (mcmaster.
nose mounting bracket I used a 11" bore com) carry an extensive inventory of
(diameter), 12" stroke, double-acting,nose-
mounting cylinder, but there are many cylinders and other pneumatic parts.
choices. See below. A new 1"-diameter cylinder with a
Solenoid control valve body-ported 12" extension costs around $40. Also,
" polyurethane air tubing about 5'. You can inexpensive air cylinders may be available
use nylon or polyethylene tubing, but dont use from industrial surplus vendors or online
vinyl tubing; its not made for high pressure. A
at places such as eBay.
Push-to-connect fittings (4)
Alternatively, Evilusions (evilusions.
Speed control muffler fittings (2)
com) and other vendors sell prepackaged
Trigger switch pneumatic kits that provide good advice
Scary-looking fright prop and everything you need, short of the
" plywood and miscellaneous scraps of trash can.
lumber to support the cylinder at the desired
angle inside the trash can
Wire nuts
Solenoid control valve,
Machine screws, #81" (4) with washers
and nuts The solenoid valve controls air entering
Male industrial-style quick connect for and leaving the cylinder. When voltage
air hose is applied to the electrical contacts on B
Hinge the solenoid (Figure B ), air is directed
through the body of the valve into one end
TOOLS of the cylinder. The air pushes on one side
Double-acting cylinder
Scissors Extend
of the piston inside, extending it. The air Retract
Wrench set or adjustable wrench
trapped in the opposite end of the cylinder
Air compressor with hose
exhausts through the muffled exhaust
Power drill with 2" hole saw
port on the valve body. When the voltage is
File Power
removed, the solenoid valve moves to its supply
cylinder rod extension. Depending on your rest position, directing the air to the other Exhaust Exhaust
concept, a shorter or longer extension end of the cylinder and retracting the
may be appropriate. piston (Figure C ). To air
Air cylinders may be single-acting or There are many types of solenoid C

double-acting. Single-acting cylinders use valves. The type I used is called a

air pressure to extend the piston, and a 2-position, 5-way, 4-port valve. Thats a
spring to retract the cylinder when the mouthful, but its the type most commonly
air pressure is removed. A double-acting used to make pneumatic cylinders extend
cylinder uses air pressure in one direction and retract.
to extend, and air pressure in the opposite Solenoid valves are designed to operate
direction to retract. While this may seem on either 12V DC or 120V AC power. A 120V
more complicated than a single-acting AC valve can plug directly into the wall, but
cylinder, in practice its probably easier 12V DC systems are safer and therefore
to use. Double-acting cylinders are a bit preferred. A small wall transformer may
less expensive and allow you more control be used to provide the 12V DC power
options to make your prop more lifelike. (Figure D ). D E
Youll need to mount your cylinder to a Solenoid valve ports come in different
framework hidden inside the trash can. sizes to accommodate different volumes collet, and twist. Voil! You have a high-
Nose-mounted cylinders use a nut to of air. For most haunting applications, " integrity, airtight fitting.
secure the cylinder onto a bracket that NPT ports provide adequate capacity. Youll need 2 PTC fittings sized to
can be simply mounted on a wooden connect the " tubing to the solenoid valve
framework (Figure A ). Push-to-connect fittings body, and 2 PTC fittings to attach the "
Bottom-mounting and pivot-mounting Push-to-connect (PTC) tube fittings tubing to the air cylinder. Those fittings
cylinders are also available. All types work are easy to use. Simply insert the may be ", or a different size, depending
equally well, but each requires a different polyurethane or nylon tubing into the on the materials youve purchased.

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Determine the size of the threaded holes

in your components prior to purchasing
the push-to-connect fittings (Figure E ,
previous page).

Speed control muffler fittings

A speed control fitting limits the amount
of air exiting the cylinder. This allows you
to control how fast the piston extends or
retracts. The muffler section quiets the
1 escape of the air, making the prop more
realistic. Use fittings sized to fit in the
exit ports of your solenoid valve, typically
", but check your solenoid before
purchasing the speed control valves.

I used a commercially made mat
switch to trigger the movement of
the cylinder. When a person steps
on the mat, it closes the circuit and
energizes the solenoid. This in turn
sends compressed air into the cylinder
and activates the props motion.
Alternative triggers could be a handheld
2 pushbutton or an infrared sensor.

Scary-looking fright prop

This can range from a simple painted
styrofoam head with a fright wig, up to a
professionally rendered latex sculpture.
Styrofoam heads are available at beauty
supply stores and are quite inexpensive.
Online suppliers of fright props carry
extensive inventories of detailed latex
heads and torsos.


1. Drill a 2"-diameter hole in the side
3 of your trash can near the bottom,
and file to remove burrs. This hole
accommodates the electrical wiring and
the main air line from the compressor, so
make the edges nice and smooth.

2. Mount the air cylinder to a simple

support made of dimensional lumber.
Note that when the cylinder actuates, it
does so with quite a bit of energy, so use
a wide, heavy base (" plywood works
well), and bolt the base to the bottom of
4 the trash can using the machine screws.

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Trash Can Trauma

5 6

3. Mount the solenoid valve to the wooden

support as shown. Most solenoid bodies
have mounting holes. Simply screw or bolt
12V DC/120V AC
the solenoid to the support, but be sure
to leave yourself enough working room to
easily attach the air hoses as described in
subsequent steps. Solenoid
4. Cut two 12" lengths of air tubing and
affix the push-to-connect pneumatic
fittings at each end. Before attaching
these fittings, be certain theyre Switch or pushbutton
appropriately sized for the holes on the air Exhaust
cylinder and the solenoid. Attach the air 7

tubes between the solenoid valve outlets

and the air cylinder. trash can with a hinge, to keep it from
flying off.
5. Insert 2 speed control pneumatic
mufflers into the exhaust ports of the CONNECT THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
solenoid valve. The mufflers control the 7. This is easy. Use wire nuts to connect
rate at which air exits the cylinder, thereby the trigger switch, 12V DC transformer
providing control over the speed of the output, and solenoid valve electrical
cylinders extension and retraction. contacts, as shown in the electrical
Next, insert a male industrial-style wiring diagram. This is a simple series
quick connect into the common port on the connection of the components. When
solenoid. This is where youll connect the the triggering event occurs, the solenoid
main air line from the air compressor. energizes and actuates the pneumatics
(see Figure C ).
6. Attach your fright prop to the end of the
piston. The best method depends on the FIRE IT UP!
prop you use. Typically, the piston will have 8. Attach an air source to the common port
pipe threads cut into the end. This allows on the solenoid valve. The air pressure
you to insert a female threaded pipe into setting that you need will depend on 8
the interior of the prop, and screw that the speed and volume requirements of
onto the piston. Irrespective of how you your prop. In general, use the lowest Set your compressor to 40psi for a start.
attach the prop to the piston, be certain its air pressure that provides satisfactory Then plug in the 12V transformer.
securely attached. performance. The lower the pressure, the Now just conceal the trigger and wait for
Finally, attach the trash can lid to the safer and the longer your cylinder will last. an unsuspecting victim. Happy haunting!

makezine.com 55

HSIP_052-5_TrashCan_F1.indd 55 6/26/16 4:33 PM

Pipe, 18"24" long
Tee fitting with female pipe thread (FPT) stem
Repair coupling
FPT to slip adapter

Male pipe thread (MPT) to slip adapter
End cap
15" long pipe
FPT to slip adapter
MPT to slip adapter
Insert coupling ProPlumber model #153807, available
at Lowes as item #PPFC200.

3" to 2" slip (2)
2" to 1" slip
1" slip to 1" FPT
1" slip to " FPT
1" PVC pipe, 2" long
PVC reducing tee fitting, 1"1"1"
1" repair coupling, Schedule 80 PVC must fit inside 2
insert coupling
PVC primer and medium-thickness glue
Irrigation valve, 24V solenoid with 1" MPT ends A cheap
This pneumatic noisemaker one ($10) is fine.
24V power supply Look in the irrigation aisle next to the
goes pow! {{ BY EDWIN WISE } valves.
2" O-rings, 3/16" thick (4)
1" O-rings, " thick (4)
On-off switch, SPS
Fender washers, 1" with 5/16" hole (2)
Neoprene washer, 1" with 5/16" hole
5/16" washers (2)
5/16" bolt, 2" long
5/16" lock nut with nylon insert
Brass pipe adapter, " MPT to " FPT
Quick-release pneumatic coupling, " MPT
Silicone caulk
Lithium grease
Teflon pipe tape

Plumbers epoxy putty (optional)
Air compressor that can produce 4060psi An air tool
compressor is best.
Tape measure
Hacksaw or pipe cutter
Adjustable wrenches at least 2
Vise capable of clamping the flange of 3" bushing
Gloves and goggles
Sandpaper: coarse and medium grits
Electric drill with grinding stone bit
Drill press or lathe
Garry McLeod

Popsicle stick
File (optional)

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HSIP_056-61_Cannon_F2.indd 56 6/26/16 6:25 PM

Boom Stick

The super-loud Boom Stick is a PVC air BUILDING BOOM The Boom Stick creates a pressurized volume
cannon that delivers maximum bang for of air and releases it very quickly, generating a loud shockwave.
the buck. It assaults the startle reflex of
any nearby victim, adding an instant rush Piston Air intake To trigger switch HOW IT WORKS
of physical terror to haunted houses, art 1
1. The piston rests in
pieces, pranks, and performances. the piston carrier, and
the entire system is at
I work in haunted houses during the ambient air pressure.
Halloween season, as an actor, guide, Small holes in the piston
allow limited airflow
technician, makeup artist, and effects Boom-
Piston check valve
with air-limiting Piston Exhaust through from behind; a
Reservoir assembly holes carrier Manifold valve
creator. Some of my effects instill fear rubber washer inside
the piston acts as a
through foreshadowing or complex 2 check valve, passing air
storylines, but the most effective way to in only one direction and
increasing efficiency.
scare people is often just a simple,
2. When air flows in
brute-force startle. behind the piston faster
The air cannon is a great and safe than it leaks out of the
holes, pressure builds
device for such scares. In its simplest up in the manifold.
form, it consists of an air reservoir, 3. Pressure behind the
a quick-exhaust valve (QEV), and 3 piston pushes it into the
boom valve tube, sealing
sometimes a resonating chamber. the pathway between the
Haunted house suppliers and special- air supply and reservoir.
effects houses sell commercial models 4. Pressurized air
slowly fills the reservoir
with large-gauge QEVs, but these cost through the holes in
hundreds of dollars. Home projects the piston. The cannon
is loaded once the
that rely on a standard air compressor pressures between
4 manifold and reservoir
typically use smaller, cheaper water
valves from washing machines or
5. To fire the cannon,
sprinklers, but for me, these designs have a small exhaust valve
yielded only a disappointing poof-hiss. opens and releases air
pressure behind the
Inspired by the PVC-based designs of piston, drawing the
spud gun enthusiasts (but leaving out piston back into the
manifold. As soon as
the potato), Ive found a better approach: the piston clears the
a two-stage, chamber-sealing, quick- 5 boom valve tube, the
pressurized contents
exhaust, piston-valve air cannon that of the reservoir
you can build out of common plumbing release into the

Damien Scogin
atmosphere with
components for about $100. I call it the an impressive
Boom Stick. bang.

NOTE: All PVC pipe

and fittings should be
NSF-rated Schedule
40, unless otherwise
specified. Try your local
home improvement or
plumbing supply store. If
you cant find the exact
parts indicated, you can
improvise endlessly in the
plumbing aisle, or else try
Grainger (grainger.com) or
Garry McLeod

Sam Murphy

MSC (mscdirect.com).

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HSIP_056-61_Cannon_F1.indd 57 6/26/16 2:02 PM


! CAUTION: DANGEROUS PROJECT does, it will break into fragments that will be rated, so it is not recommended. Foam-core
thrown with great force by the compressed PVC or ABS is even more lightweight and
At normal temperatures, standard Schedule air. Always operate your Boom Stick inside must be avoided at all costs.
40 PVC has a working pressure of around a solidly built plywood box or wall, so that Pressure-rated ABS such as Duraplus from
150psi, but heat, sunlight, solvents, shrapnel cannot reach anyones tender flesh. Ipex is the perfect material for this project,
scratches, and time make the material lose ABS plastic does not shrapnel like PVC, but it costs 10 times as much as Schedule
strength, and even at the 4060psi used for but the common type used for DWV (drain/ 40 PVC. Copper and other metal pipes are
this project, it will eventually fail. When it waste/vent) applications is not pressure- similarly expensive.


1a. Take two 3" to 2" bushings and grind mounted over them. Drill four " holes in
out the ridge inside them with a drill using the other fender washer, also outside the
a grinding stone bit, so that the 2" pipes radius of the smaller washers.
can slide firmly through.
2b. Run the bolt through, in order: a small
1b. Sand down both sleeves of the 2" washer, the neoprene washer, the small-
insert coupling so they slide easily into drilled fender washer, the 1" Schedule
2" pipes. This will be your moving piston 80 PVC segment, the large-holed fender
body. washer, another small washer, and the
You can bolt the part between 2 fender lock nut. Tighten the lock nut just enough
washers, chuck it into a drill press, and to hold the assembly firm, but not so much
sand it carefully on both sides to keep it so that the neoprene distorts.
from flying off.
2c. Fit two 2" O-rings onto each end of the
1c. Cut the pipe pieces down to size: main piece of the sanded insert coupling.
For the reservoir, cut an 18"24" length Then test-assemble the entire piston.
1a of 3" pipe. Using the other 2 pieces of the insert
For the boom valve and piston carrier coupling and two 1" O-rings, enclose
tubes, cut 2 lengths of 2" pipe, one 6 and the 1 Schedule 80 PVC segment and the
the other 8. piston valve assembly as shown.
For the air fittings, cut a 2" stub of 1"
pipe. 2d. Use PVC glue or epoxy to glue
the piston together. First, glue the "
1d. Cut the 1" Schedule 80 repair coupling Schedule 80 segment into the " ring, on
into a 1" section and a 1" section. There the side opposite the bevel. Place a small
may be " or so of scrap left over. O-ring as a spacer on the segment, and
glue this subassembly into the body of the
1e. Cut the sanded insert coupling into 3 insert coupler.
pieces by trimming a " ring off one end
and chopping enough of a sleeve off the 2e. Glue the piston valve halfway into
other end to leave a 11/16" stub. the assembly, with the neoprene washer
1b facing in. Then glue the remaining insert
1f. File or sand the ends of the pipes coupler piece around the outside half, with
smooth. File or sand a bevel on one side another small O-ring spacer in between.
of the " coupling ring and the boom valve Reinforce the connections with epoxy.
NOTE: Dont let the PVC get hot or it (2"6") pipe. These bevels will correct
minor alignment errors during operation. 3. FIT THE O-RINGS
will melt and deform. Use light pressure
and moisten it occasionally to keep it The large O-rings are bumpers that
cool. Start with coarse-grit sandpaper 2. ASSEMBLE THE PISTON protect the PVC during operation. The
and finish with medium-grit. 2a. Drill four " or smaller holes in one small O-rings form the pistons seal
fender washer, just outside the radius inside the piston carrier and boom valve
of the regular 5/16" washers that will be cylinders. The long end of the piston must

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Boom Stick


1e "

NOTE: The measurements in Step 1e

need not be exact, but look at the photos
for Steps 2c2e to see how this piece is

2b 2c

NOTE: The neoprene washer limits airflow, which lets pressure NOTE: Pipe fittings are tapered, which makes it harder to get the
push the piston forward into position. When the pressure balance parts to fit together nicely when theyre cut. Use epoxy putty or gel
reverses, it seals the piston as it travels back in order to put all the to reinforce the construction as needed.
air into the boom.

mate with the 2"8" pipe, and the short and discard. Replace with the remaining 2
end with the 2"6" pipe. small O-rings.
The goal is for the piston to be able to
fit into the pipe and form a seal via the 3b. Glue the large O-ring bumper pairs
O-rings. These can be tricky to get right. together with silicone caulk. This keeps
2e With the PVC parts I bought, the perfect- them from jumping off. (You can also try
sized small O-ring would be 5/32" thick. one thicker O-ring on each side.)
But I only found them available in "
and 3/16" sizes, so I used the " size and 3c. Out of a popsicle stick, make a small
pushed them out with a layer of silicone tool that fits a groove " deep and "
caulk underneath. wide. Fill the piston grooves with silicone
caulk, then use your popsicle-stick tool to
3a. You flowed glue onto the small O-rings remove all but the thin layer that it cant
3c in previous steps. This isnt good for them, reach. This will help the small O-rings
so once the glue dries, cut or pry them off make a seal.

NOTE: You may need to seat and adjust the small O-rings several times before the O-ring
seals and the piston slides. Even with everything fitting and well greased, the difference
between success and jamming or leaking is subtle.

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HSIP_056-61_Cannon_F1.indd 59 6/26/16 2:04 PM


4b. For the piston carrier, PVC-weld the

other modified bushing into the 3" male
adapter. Let the glue dry, and then test-fit
the 8" piston carrier pipe into the bushing.

4c. Slide the long end of the piston into

the carrier pipe and screw the piston
carrier male adapter into the boom valve
assembly female adapter.

4d. Adjust the 2 pipes in their bushings

until the piston (without its O-rings) travels
4a freely between carrier pipe and boom
valve assembly. The small O-rings should
tuck inside both tubes when the piston is
extended, and you can see a gap between
the piston and the valve pipe when the
piston is retracted. Proper alignment
4b is key. Mark the position of the 2 tubes,
remove them (and the piston) from the
bushings, and then weld the tubes back
into place at the marks.

4e. Mark the positions of everything.

Then remove the piston, unscrew the 2
assemblies, and glue in the tubes. Apply
4c primer and glue only to the 2" pipes inside
the marks and not the bushings, or else
youll foul the ends of the pipes.
PISTON CARRIER 4f. Weld the unmodified bushing and
4a. For the boom valve assembly, use PVC repair coupling assembly to the other
glue to weld one of the slide-through- end of the valve pipe, and the 2" male
modified 3" to 2" bushings into one end adapter to the free end of the carrier pipe.
of the 3" tee fitting, and the 3" female Alignment isnt so important with these.
adapter into the opposite end. Weld the
unmodified 3" to 2" bushing into the 3" 5. ASSEMBLE THE RESERVOIR AND
repair coupling. Wait for the glue to dry, MANIFOLD
and then dry-fit each end of the 2"6" pipe Unlike the valve/piston system, the
into the 2 bushings, with the beveled end reservoir and manifold are low-precision
in the tee assembly. designs that will tolerate variation.
5a. For the reservoir, weld the 3" end cap
onto one end of the 3"18"24" pipe, and
weld the other end into the repair coupling
on the boom valve assembly.

5b. For the manifold, weld the short piece

of 1" pipe into one side of the 1" tee
4f fitting and weld its other end into the 2 to
1" reducing bushing. Weld the 2" female
adapter to the bushing.

5c. Screw the inlet port of the 1" irrigation


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Boom Stick

valve into the 1" slip to 1" female and the reservoir should fill with a hiss. If
threaded bushing, using Teflon tape to seal the piston doesnt fit into the valve tube,
the threads. The flow arrows should point the small O-rings may be too tight (pushed
away from the bushing. Tighten firmly. too far out). If the air leaks around the
This is the exhaust valve. O-rings, theyre not pushed out far enough
(see Step 3). If the tubes are misaligned,
5d. Weld the exhaust valve subassembly you may have to rebuild the piston carrier.
into the other side of the manifold tee 6. Activate the trigger switch for about
fitting, orienting the wiring connections as half a second. The pipe behind the piston 5e

desired. For the trigger, connect the on-off will lose pressure and the piston will slam
switch to either of the 2 wires. back into the carrier pipe, exhausting the
5e. Weld the 1" slip to " female threaded 7. Jump for joy at the loud bang!
bushing to the center port of the tee fitting. 8. Repeat.
Wrap teflon tape around the brass adapter
and thread it into the bushing, and then FIXES
teflon-tape the quick-release coupling into The hard part in this design is getting the
the adapter. This is the air intake. O-rings to seal firmly without jamming the
pistons motion. If you just cant get them
6. FINAL ASSEMBLY to seal, never fear; add a second irrigation
6a. Allow 24 hours for all the PVC solvents valve to the air inlet, and only let air in just
and glues to cure. Remember, patience is before you want to set off the device. The
a virtue. effect wont be as clean, but youll lose
less air during operation.
6b. Lather up the piston and all the The piston carrier is modular for a
O-rings with lithium grease. Insert the reason: you can remove it easily and
piston into the piston carrier with its valve experiment with different piston designs
aiming toward the reservoir. (of which there are many), and you can
replace the piston if it breaks. Also, if you
6c. Screw the piston carrier back into the glue the piston carrier into place with bad
boom valve assembly. This connection alignment to the valve tube, you only have
does not need to be airtight, but the carrier to throw away a few inexpensive pieces to
pipe and valve pipe must be aligned. try again.
To keep stuff from falling into the Boom
6d. Wrap several layers of teflon tape Stick, cover all openings in its box with
around the 2" male adapter on the piston hardware cloth.
carrier, and screw it into the air manifold.
BOOM STICK OPERATION Once you get your Boom Stick working,
1. Attach an unpressurized air hose to the create a resonating chamber by gluing a
quick-release fitting on the air intake. 3" male adapter onto some 3" pipe, and
2. Attach the 24V power supply to the screwing it into the cleanout port on the
exhaust valve and trigger switch. boom valves tee fitting. Try constricting
3. Test the exhaust valve to make sure the exhaust, putting a 3"2" or even
it works. smaller bushing into the base of this
4. Put the entire system in a sturdy box or chamber. Try long ones and short ones.
solid wall, or at least behind a blast shield. Stuff confetti into the chamber and make
5. Pressurize the manifold to about 40psi. a mess of your workshop. But never, ever
The piston should snap into the valve tube launch anything directly at anyone!

ACTION VIDEO! See Wises Boom Stick in action at makezine.com/go/boomstick. But

note that the giant boom sound is mostly lost. Microphones can only do so much.

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HSIP_056-61_Cannon_F1.indd 61 6/26/16 2:03 PM


his pneumatically actuated, caged
yeti was part of the 2005 Occidental
Haunted House, the brainchild of
Dale Dougherty, founder of Make:. A big
pneumatic cylinder makes the monkey
puppet (or enraged creature of your

choice) appear as though its trying to
break out of the cage. Hidden air lines also
give onlookers a burst of compressed air
in the face as they try to peer into the cage.


Assemble a cage. Mine is 24" wide, 27"
tall, and 35" deep. I used wood held
Build a pneumatically activated mad beast thatll
Joe Szuecs

together with biscuits and glue. I could

have used screws, but I sure do love using
rattle your visitors with blasts of breath my biscuit joiner.

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Haunted Creature in a Cage

Wood to make a cage about 24"27"35"
Wood screws or biscuits
Wood glue if using biscuits
Scrap dowels and/or rebar for cage bars
Plywood pieces, about 24"35" (2)
Black spray paint
Pneumatic cylinder and switch See Step 3
for details.
Lumber, 24 a few feet
Hinge for wood
Bicycle inner tubes
Air line tubing 1

Thick, malleable wire

Stuffed yeti A monkey or chimp will work. Or
substitute your own scary creature.
Black cloth
Screwdriver or biscuit joiner
Electric staple gun


After drilling holes through the wood,
drop in scrap dowels and rebar to make
the bars. Cut pieces of plywood to make a 2
ceiling and floor for the cage.


I installed the pneumatics first to test the
whole thing out, and then removed them
to paint.
The 6" throw, 3" diameter, double-
acting pneumatic cylinder was a backup
from another project that actually
needed such a thing. The valve is a
4-way, 2-position, lever-operated control
valve (McMaster-Carr part #4493K34,
mcmaster.com). Both items are kind 3

of pricey, but mine were originally

purchased for a consulting project and
have been reused in a number of other
projects. The 4-way, 2-position valve is
pretty neat. When you switch the position,
it vents one side of the cylinder and
pressurizes the other.
For compressed air, I used a portable
Eric J. Wilhelm


Joe Szuecs

Spray the cage with black paint and

reinstall the pneumatics.

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HSIP_062-4_Yeti_F1.indd 63 6/26/16 4:06 PM



Screw the hinge to the cage floor where
your yeti will stand (I used a 24 footing
for strength). Cut a 24 upright, screw it
to the hinge, and tie it with inner tubes to
the piston. I put this 24 into the puppet
like a hand.


Just under the puppet, drill 2 holes and
feed 2 airlines through the 24 upright. I
connected these air lines to the vent port
on the valve. In this configuration, there
should be a burst of air as the cylinder
extends or retracts. As the upright moves
the puppet forward and back, the attached
air lines will sweep out in an arc and blow
on people of all heights looking into the
cage. Yeti breath!


I used some thick but malleable wire to
hold the puppets arms out.


Cover the cylinder, the 24, and the hinge 5
with black cloth. I used one of my favorite
tools, an electric staple gun, to help out on
this step.


Red LED eyes would be a good addition
(see Dark-Detecting LED Throwies, page
76), but I ran out of time.
I know this is terrible, but I feel
that my Halloween creations are only
successful if a few of the neighborhood
kids come out crying. Two Jacobs
ladders, creepy low lighting, this caged
yeti, and everything else in the haunted
house seemed to do just the trick. 6

7 8

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Haunted Creature in a Cage and Giant Air-Filled Tentacles
Hep Svadja

Inflate the Kraken!

Plastic sheeting (1 mil or 2 mil)
Wax paper
Soldering iron

Weld plastic to make giant air-filled tentacles { BY CALEB KRAFT } Box fan
Marker, duct tape, and scissors

hy go with those cute store-bought too slowly and you melt right through plastic sheeting and drag a hot soldering
inflatable yard ornaments when you everything. Youll need to try a few times iron over it (Figure A ).
can make your own, much more on some scrap to get the hang of it. Much
interesting ones? of this will depend on the thickness of 4. CUT OFF THE EXCESS
You can design your inflatablesto be your plastic, which is measured in mils Snip off everything outside the boundaries
anything that is fat and mostly cylindrical. (thousandths of an inch). The thickest Ive of your weld line. I welded about " inside
I found that tentacles were an absolutely used is 6 mil. The tentacles shown here my drawn shape so that I could remove the
perfect fit for this project. are a fairly thin 1 mil. Sharpie outline when I trimmed.
These fun, giant inflatable tentacles
can be used indoors or outside. They 1. LAY OUT PLASTIC 5. ADD DECORATION
arent as durable or colorful as their Lay 2 sheets of plastic sheeting on top My tentacles needed suckers! I simply
store-bought counterparts but they make of each other. Alternatively, if you have a drew them right on with a marker (Figure
up for it in style! large sheet you can simply double it over B ), but you could take this even further by

The main skill youll need to make this like I have here. Some tape in the corners creating suckers individually and attaching
project is plastic welding. In this case, can help keep things aligned. them to the plastic.
well do this by dragging a hot soldering
iron over a sheet of wax paper placed 2. DRAW PATTERN 6. TAPE TO A FAN
on top of 2 sheets of plastic. The heat I used a giant Sharpie to draw out the Simple duct tape around a box fan will
from the soldering iron welds the 2 shape I wanted to create. Having a pattern hold the tentacle in place, allowing for it
pieces together, allowing you to create an to look at isnt absolutely necessary but it to be inflated (Figure C ). Dont worry if
airtight cavity. helped me considerably. your tentacle cant stand up under its own
It takes practice to get the timing weight, you can always lay it on its side.
just right. If you move too quickly, the 3. WELD THE LAYERS Now make more!
sheets dont get a proper weld. Move Place a sheet of wax paper on top of your
Jenny Ching, Anthony Lam


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The Peppers Ghost Illusion

Conjure ghostly visitors from thin air with this classic trick of reflection

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The Peppers Ghost Illusion





eppers ghost is a special effects of the audience. The ghost is located
technique for creating transparent in a room off to the side, where it is not
ghostly images. It works by reflecting in direct view. The ghost room can be
the image of a ghost off a sheet of glass or painted black, or it can be built as a mirror The Peppers ghost technique
transparent plastic. This effect has been image of the main background. A sheet
a staple of theaters and haunted houses of plexiglass is positioned in front of the
is an easy way to insert a
since John Pepper popularized it in the audience and set at a 45 angle to both the ghost into your pictures and
1800s.In this project, Ill show you how you audience and the ghost (Figure A ). At this videos without using any
can incorporate this technique into your angle the background remains clearly software. All you need is a
Halloween setup. visible but the glass also partially reflects
an image of the ghost. To the audience, it
small piece of clear plastic
1. HOW THE ILLUSION WORKS appears as though there is a transparent such as plexiglass.
The main background and any live ghost in the scene directly in front of
characters are positioned directly in front them (Figure B ).

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Creating a ghost in a window is a good

way to restrict the field of view and give
you a little more control. First you need
a large sheet of plexiglass (preferably at
least half the size of your window). Next
you need to set up a table underneath the
window. Then use books or cardboard
boxes to make a surface that is level to
the window sill. Prop up your sheet of
plexiglass in the corner of the window at a
45 angle (Figure F ). You may wish to also
use a clamp of some kind to help secure
it in place. Then position your ghost figure
to the side of the window just out of view
(Figure G ).
You need the room to be dark so
D that the edges of the plexiglass wont
be visible. As a result, you will need
2. CREATE A GHOST IN YOUR PICTURES reflection of the ghost (Figure E ). to illuminate the ghost with a lamp or
AND VIDEOS You may also get reflections of other flashlight. Because the room is dark, you
The Peppers ghost technique is an easy objects around your ghost. To avoid this, probably wont need a black backdrop for
way to insert a ghost into your pictures and you can either set up your ghost in front the ghost as long as you are careful to
videos without using any software. All you of a black backdrop (Figure D ) or put the illuminate only the ghost.
need is a small piece of clear plastic such ghost in a dark room and use a flashlight The result is a transparent ghostly
as plexiglass. or lamp to light up just the ghost . figure in the window that stares at people
Set up your camera in front of the as they walk by your house (Figure H ).
desired background. Position your ghost 3. CREATE A GHOST IN A WINDOW
to one side of the camera (Figure C ). The Creating a Peppers ghost illusion for a 4. CREATE A GHOST IN A DOORWAY
ghost can be a person in a costume, an live audience is a little more difficult. All Creating a ghost in a doorway is basically
image on a computer monitor, or just a the components need to be scaled up the same as the previous examples.
picture. Hold up the plexiglass in front of and more carefully controlled. You also However, the opening is much larger, so
the lens at a 45 angle to both the camera have to hide the ghost from all possible youll need a larger sheet of plexiglass.
and the ghost. The camera will see a faint viewing angles. I recommend getting the largest sheet

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The Peppers Ghost Illusion


available at your hardware store. This is

usually a 4'8' (48"96") sheet.
Position the ghost next to the door. Then
prop up the plexiglass in the doorframe
at a 45 angle to both the doorway and
the ghost. Make the room dark and
illuminate the ghost with a flashlight or
lamp. This setup is the most impressive
because you can display a full-sized
ghost. Unfortunately, it is also the most
expensive. A 4'8' sheet of plexiglass can
cost several hundred dollars.

VIDEO ONLINE: makezine.com/projects/diy-


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Hot Glue
Web Gun
Make a spider web shooter
thatll surely spread the creeps

Permanent marker
Teflon tape
Zip cable ties
Pipe fitting, " MIP (compression, with
insert) to " OD male (tube)
Valve, " OD female to " OD male
Quick-release pneumatic fitting, industrial
(not automotive) with " OD female end

alloween is a time to cast off the we can do better.
" soft copper tube sold in the plumbing
department for refrigerator ice-makers. They gleam of the new and put on the The traditional cobweb spinner uses
sell it for water, but were using it for air. musty mantle of the old, the creepy, a small fan blade, a little tin of goop, and
the decrepit. Nothing says unused and a powerful hand drill to blow filaments
TOOLS uncared-for like cobwebs, that dusty of glue onto your scenery. This creates a
Hot glue gun the bigger and hotter, the detritus of spiders gone by. detailed web, but the device is prone to
better. Avoid low-temp guns; should be 80 But how do you create cobwebs for your clogging, and the resulting web is delicate,
watts minimum we used 100 watts.
party, to turn your sparkling living room unlikely to withstand the rigors of weather
Air compressor with a decent-sized tank
into a gloomy crypt? Short of training or the attention of your guests.
Tube-cutting tool makes trimming the copper
air line fast, easy, and clean spiders to do your bidding, you must turn For a bright, durable, and visible web,
Adjustable wrenches (2) aka crescent
to artificial means. You can find clumps we turn instead to the venerable hot glue
wrenches of polyester cobweb in bags around every gun, a staple in every home craft drawer.
Spring tube-bending device to help contort corner when the Halloween season Using compressed air, you can blow
the copper air line without getting it too kinky strikes, and if you spread it thin enough, thin filaments of hot glue into delicate
Leather gloves you can create an acceptable effect. But tapestries of webbing.

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Hot Glue Web Gun


The first step is to bend your copper air
! CAUTION: Be aware that hot glue is hot enough to hurt you. Unless you dont love
line into a convoluted shape. The output
of the line must be next to the glue nozzle,
the skin on your fingers, wear leather gloves while operating the web gun. Dont fire this
and slightly (1" or so) behind the nozzle tip,
stuff toward anything alive or delicate. A well-placed web will come off most surfaces,
otherwise hot glue will clog it.
but if you get careless and too close, the glue can damage plastic items, meld into cloth,
There are 3 ways to run the air line on
and generally wreak havoc. Test in a discreet corner before going wild with it. Dont web
the glue gun: 1) take apart the gun and
across open flames.
run the copper line inside, from a hole
If you use this webbing in a public haunt, research which hot glue stick is not
in the bottom of the handle to a hole just
flammable. Remember, safety first.
under the nozzle; 2) run the line straight
up to a 90 angle connector at the top of
the handle, then straight forward to the
nozzle, bending it so it comes out beside or
below the nozzle; 3) run the line through
a roller coaster of curves, up along the
handle, across the body, then under the
body of the gun (where it will be attached)
and around to the nozzle. This is the
approach shown here.
However you route the air, you will
operate the web gun with the air coming
out below the glue, not to the side or
above it. The glue drips down into the
airstream and is blasted into fine threads,
cooling as it goes, until it strikes (and
sticks to) your target.
Since the copper line cant bend very
sharply without kinking, use the spring
tool to bend it, as shown here. The corners
end up being large, giving a retro look to
the system. But some sharper bends can
be created with the assistance of the hole
in the handle of your crescent wrench.
Mark the air line where youll trim it:
just beyond the bottom of the handle, and
where it stops behind the glue nozzle.
Then trim the air line.

NOTE: Removing the spring bending

tool from a sharp corner in the tube is
difficult. I ended up unscrewing the 1

spring twisting it to make it expand which I can cut when Im done. receiving end of the copper air line (top
and then inching it off the tight bends. Wrap teflon tape around the (male) right). Slide the compression cap onto
threads on both fittings and screw the copper line, and press the insert into
them into the valve. Tighten with 2 the line. Its shown partly inserted here
2. ROUTE THE AIR LINE wrenches: snug, not stressed. Pull out (middle left); stuff it all the way in.
For a permanent web gun, you can route the compression fitting insert and cap as Now screw the compression cap onto
the air inside the body of the gun, or attach shown on the following page (top left). the previous assembly, completing the
it to the outside with hose clamps. I use Use the triangular deburring air pathway. Make sure the valve is easy
the gun as a web shooter just briefly each attachment on your pipe cutter, or a rasp to control with your off hand while youre
year, so I attach the air tube with zip ties, or other smoothing tool, to clean up the holding the gun in your dominant hand.

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Tighten the compression fitting very well;
this is a point of weakness in the assembly.
A wimpily tightened fitting will slide right
off the copper air line.


The positioning of the pieces is shown at
middle right, with the air coming out below
the glue nozzle and the air line running
down the handle. There are no zip ties
holding the copper line to the handle in this
particular web gun, because the squeeze
trigger cleverly slips into the handle during
operation. Instead, the air line is stabilized
by the hand holding the glue gun. My right
hand holds the gun and squeezes the 2 2
trigger, while my left controls the air flow
with the valve.

First, let the glue gun heat up and turn on
your compressor to let it charge its tank.
Attach the compressors air line to the
gun. Turn on the air to about 30psi.
Load a glue stick and point it at your
target, standing 10 feet or more away.
With one hand, turn on the air at the web
gun, and with the other, slowly squeeze
a thin trickle of glue. Wave the gun
around gently, wafting webs into complex
tangles. If the web plasters itself flat
against your target, stand farther away or
use less air. If the web falls to the ground,
reverse this correction.
2 3

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Hot Glue Web Gun and Bristlebots



Easy Halloween

Make creepy-crawly props using old electric toothbrushes

alloween is a good time to invest in away. Other electric toothbrushes should E

a new toothbrush, but before you work just as well and are a much cheaper
throw out that old electric toothbrush, alternative to store-bought animatronic
why not use it to give your Halloween decorations for your DIY Halloween decor
decorations a little life by turning them into this year!
super lo-fi bristlebots?
All you really have to do is fit an electric 1. FIND A HALLOWEEN DECORATION
toothbrush into a Halloween decoration Make sure your toothbrush will fit inside
so that the bristles of the toothbrush the decoration, and that the decoration is
make contact with the floor, which will light enough for the toothbrush motor to
cause it to move around in strange and move it around (Figures A and B ).
mysterious ways!
The size and weight of the decoration 2. CUT HOLES FOR THE BRISTLES MATERIALS:
will determine how well the electric The bristles of the brush(es) have to make Halloween decoration Big enough for the
toothbrush to fit in, but light enough for the
toothbrush motor is able to move it, and contact with the floor or the ground in toothbrushs DC motor to move it. Plenty
the angle at which the bristles make order for the decoration to move. Cut holes of plastic and foam Halloween decorations
will work.
contact with the ground will determine in the decoration for the brush bristles to
the direction it moves. You may want to fit through (Figures C and D ). Electric toothbrush I used old Oral B Pulsar
toothbrushes. Other types should work just
use additional brushes so that it moves as well.
more smoothly, like I did with this severed 3. PLACE THE TOOTHBRUSH INSIDE Nail brush (optional) Use additional brushes
hand decoration. Fit the electric toothbrush into the for smoother movement. Nail brushes are
I used some old Oral-B Pulsar decoration. You may have to finesse it a little cheap, light, and easy to add.
Andrew Salomone

toothbrushes for this project. The bit to get the bristles to make good contact Duct tape, glue, etc. to hold the electric
toothbrush in place.
batteries can be replaced but the brushes with the surface once the toothbrush is
cant, so I decided that making them into turned on (Figures E and F ). Experiment TOOLS:
bristlebots was better than throwing them with bristle angles, and have fun! Utility knife

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Dow blue insulation styrofoam, 1"2" thick
Wood putty
Latex exterior paint heavy, cheap, and thick
Acrylic paints
Dry sand
PVC pipe, 1" diameter, 2' total length
Liquid Nails construction adhesive

Dremel tool with router attachment, multi-
purpose cutting bit, and sanding drum bit
Uni-ball Gel Impact pen for drawing on foam
Caulking gun for Liquid Nails glue
Paper mask and safety goggles
Wood file and fine sandpaper
Putty knife

grave situation
Dont resort to grave-robbing make realistic tombstones

easily from styrofoam 4

eres how to make your own letters (easy) or outside your lines for
lightweight, sculptured, professional- raised letters (harder).
looking masterpieces guaranteed to After you cut the outlines, slowly
add a creepy touch to your haunted house. carve out the rest of the area using the
large cylindrical drum sander bit. (Your
1. DESIGN YOUR TOMBSTONE router attachment may need to undergo
Visit a cemetery (or Google Images), then modification; learn how at makezine.com/
transfer your favorite design to paper. projects/styrofoam-tombstones.) 5


Tape your pattern to the foam and trace it For a backing, cut an identical tombstone
by punching small holes along the lines. shape from the foam. Cut two 1' lengths
Remove pattern and connect dots with the of PVC pipe. Use the sander bit to cut 2
pen. Cut out with the hacksaw, then clean channels 1' long, 1" wide, and " deep, in Cory Derenburger

up edges with the file and sandpaper. both tombstone and backing, as shown.
Glue the pipes in, then glue the backing on.
3. DRAW PATTERNS ONTO FOAM Now you can easily stand your tombstone
Print out stencils for any text or flourishes on wood dowels driven into the ground. 6

you wish to add to your tombstone. Punch

to trace as before. Before you carve, make 6. PAINT AND SPRINKLE SAND
notes on how deep you want each area. Sand the tombstone lightly and patch any
NOTE: Do not use spray paint it will eat
holes, seams, or uneven areas with wood
the styrofoam!
4. CARVE THE DESIGN putty. Then use a spray gun, airbrush, or
With your goggles and mask on, use your paintbrush to apply a couple of thick coats
Dremels multipurpose bit and router of latex exterior paint as a base. While this For more tips and step-by-step photos, visit
attachment to slowly cut the outlines. dries, sprinkle sand all over to give it a the project page at makezine.com/projects/
Start with the deepest parts (" is plenty stone texture. Then use acrylic paints for styrofoam-tombstones.
deep). Cut inside your lines for depressed detailing. Admire your work and enjoy!

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Styrofoam Tombstone and Fog Chiller

Timmy Kucynda
Ultimate Fog Chiller
Trash can, 20gal or bigger
Aluminum dryer duct, about 18' total length
Lots of dry ice or water ice
Mod a fog machine to add extra atmosphere to your Duct tape, water-resistant

haunted house { BY ADAM TOURKOW } Drill with 4" hole saw, or utility knife

hilled fog creates an appealingly and the hole for the fogger nozzle goes
eerie blanket on the ground. Most
homemade fog chillers use a drink
about 2" higher on the opposite side. TIP: A powerful fogger can cover more
area by using a cardboard box with a
cooler and PVC tubing, but that design 2. THE ALUMINUM DRYER HOSE comes in hole for the output tube and a slit at
doesnt keep the fog in the holding area 6' pieces, so attach the 3 sections together the bottom for the fog to come out in
long enough to chill it properly. Our fog using water-resistant duct tape. a wider pattern.
chiller is very easy to build and does a
great job of cooling the fog we won the 3. FROM THE INSIDE OF THE CAN, feed one
HauntCon Chill-Off in 2004! end of the tubing out of the lower (exit)
hole, and coil the rest of the hose around 4. THATS IT FOR CONSTRUCTION! Now,
1. CUT 2 HOLES IN THE TRASH CAN, the inside of the can. Once you get to the just fill the trash can with ice, attach the
sized so that the dryer hose fits snugly into top, feed the tube back down and out the fogger, and let er rip.
them. The exit hole goes at the bottom, upper (fogger nozzle) hole.

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Dark-Detecting LED Throwies

Easy-build, little glowing lights that automatically switch on after dark! { BY NICK NORMAL }
uch like automatic outdoor and all the components and fits a CR2032
MATERIALS: garden lights, the Dark-Detecting battery holder perfectly. It also allows you
Phototransistor, infrared
LED Throwie circuit switches on an to cleverly connect to the battery holder
Transistor, 2N3904 NPN
LED when ambient light levels dip below without any additional wiring.
Perf board, small
a certain threshold. The big difference is Use a pair of helping hands to hold the
LED, red jumbo, super-bright
the number of components: just five a PCB in place while you insert each of the
Resistor, 100k, W
battery, phototransistor, resistor, LED, components (Figure B ) and solder them
Moldable thermoplastic pellets such as
and transistor. together using the schematic (Figure A) as
ShapeLock, Friendly Plastic, or InstaMorph.
Theyre all the same stuff: polycaprolactone In this circuit (Figure A ), the transistor your guide.
plastic. and LED are effectively switched off After soldering, trim the excess leads,
Coin cell battery, CR2032 when photons (particles of light) hit the except the outermost lead from the
Battery holder, CR2032 phototransistor. When few or no photons resistor (connected to the transistors
Magnet hit the phototransistor, current freely collector) and the negative leads from
passes through the transistors collector- the phototransistor and LED. Bend these
emitter junction, lighting up the LED. remaining leads through the nearest
mounting hole (the larger holes) on the
Begin with a standard through-hole circuit
Hep Svadja

board design. We found that a small, 2. ADD THE BATTERY

round perf board comfortably contains Place the PCB on top of the battery

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Dark-Detecting LED Throwies




Most consumer brands of
thermoplastic pellets are safe to
handle, but under no circumstance
should you ingest them! I used a
metal cup for my experiment, and
just to be safe I now reserve that
cup for projects in my workshop.


holder. The leads from the PCB and All you do is pour boiling water over 5. ADD THE MAGNET
the battery holders connectors should the pellets (ideally in a glass or metal Finally, super-glue a magnet to the
match up just enough for you to patiently container with a handle) and let them battery holder. Now toss your new Dark-
solder them together (Figure D ), with turn transparent, which takes around Detecting LED Throwie at something
positive connected to the resistor lead 15 seconds. metallic. It will stick there, wait all day and
and negative to the leads from the LED then light up at night!
and phototransistor. 4. ENCASE THE CIRCUIT
With everything soldered together, trim When the pellets become clear, scoop GOING FURTHER
any excess leads and insert a CR2032 them out with a spoon. They will The Dark-Detecting LED is a fun, simple
battery in the holder and voila, you have a immediately bond together and form circuit that's great for jack-o'-lanterns or
Dark-Detecting LED circuit! a putty-like substance. Hot water will costumes, but can easily be upgraded to
sometimes find its way into an air pocket, the next level.
3. PREPARE THE THERMOPLASTIC but otherwise the material is safe to mold One obvious challenge: How to operate
Now for some fun! I wasnt satisfied with with your hands. this circuit using a white or blue LED?
the circuit simply living on a PCB, and For mine, I dolloped this onto the These typically have a higher forward
wanted to encase it in something. Ive PCB, and then began to shape it with voltage than red LEDs, and will require
been looking for an excuse to work with my fingers. Leave the phototransistor some different components to activate the
thermoplastic pellets, which turn soft exposed, so to see light during the day. circuit. Or try connecting the circuit to a
and pliable in hot water and harden when When the material completely dries it small solar panel and rechargeable power
cool. This was the perfect opportunity to will harden and become mostly opaque supply, so the batteries juice up during the
experiment with the material. white (Figure E ). day! Experiment and have fun.

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Plug & Play Arduino Relays

Hep Svadja
Control 8 high-power AC lights andappliances with a single microcontroller { BY CHRISTOPHER J. ALDEN }

hen we built The Great Houdini Now any time we need to add, change, junction box and mark the 4 holes. Drill
Escape Room in San Franciscos or remove any high-voltage device with a 5/32" holes and install the plastic standoffs.

Palace of the Fine Arts (makezine. plug on the end be it a light, a fan, or a
com/go/great-houdini), we tackled many blender theres no tricky high-voltage 4. INSTALL POWER AND GROUND
challenges. All the lighting and props wiring needed. Just plug and play. Install a ground wire to connect the 2
were built from scratch, using 5,000 feet boxes, leaving some extra length in the
of wire and 5,000 lines of code running on outlet box. Install the male plug on the
8 Arduino Mega microcontrollers. Those
! CAUTION: This project involves power cord: black wire to the darker-
Arduinos connect to hundreds of inputs high-voltage wiring. Follow instructions colored screw, white wire to the silver
and outputs, including nearly 50 devices closely and get expert help if you need it. screw, green wire to green screw. Then
that require high voltage greater than install the power cord in the outlet box,
the 5V an Arduino can pump out. using the included connector.
Low-voltage systems are safe (think 1. PREP THE ELECTRICAL BOXES
batteries) but high-voltage systems are Remove 4 knockouts from the outlet box, 5. PREP THE OUTLETS
dangerous (think wall sockets), so we then mark the holes onto the junction box. Break off the tab connecting the 2 darker-
manage the interaction between the two Drill holes in the junction box for the " colored terminal screws on all the outlets
using relays. A low-voltage signal from connectors (a step bit works great). (in our case, its a brass tone).
an Arduino triggers a relay, which in Cut 4 blue and 4 red wires 10" long, and
turn switches a high-voltage connection 2. JOIN THE BOXES crimp a fork terminal on one end. Attach a
on or off. Arduino is fun because wires Attach the boxes using the connectors blue wire to each top dark screw, and a red
can be swapped at will without risk of and nipples. (Keep the spacers toward the to each bottom dark screw as shown.
electrocution and we wanted the same outside.) Attach the 24 to the back of the Cut 3 white wires 3" long, strip both
flexibility with our high-voltage elements. outlet box with 2 wood screws. This makes ends, and connect to the silver screws.
So we created the Plug & Play Arduino the boxes more stable.
Relay Box. We put the relays in a junction 6. CONNECT THE OUTLETS
box and mounted an electrical box on top 3. PREP FOR RELAY BOARD In the outlet box, connect all the grounds
with regular wall outlets. Data wires exit Drill out the relay boards mounting holes (boxes, power cord, and outlets). Connect
the box for safe connection to an Arduino. to 9/64", then place it in the center of the the power cords neutral wire (white) to the

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Plug and Play Arduino Relays

outlets. Feed the red and blue wires from MATERIALS

Christopher J. Alden
each outlet into the junction box. Arduino microcontroller board
Cut 2 black wires 10" long and 6 wires 8-channel relay board, optically isolated We
2" long. Connect 2 long wires to the power use a silent, $24 solid state relay, Amazon
cords black wire using a wire nut, and
Electrical junction box, 6"8"4" 2
feed these into the junction box as well.
Electrical outlet box, 4-gang, 2" deep aka
masonry box
7. INSTALL OUTLETS AND COVER PLATE Electrical outlets (4)
Mark the top of the plate blue, and the
Outlet cover, 4-gang
bottom red. Now you can clearly see which
Box spacing connectors, 2" (2)
wire controls which receptacle.
Conduit nipples, 2" by 1" long (2)
Protective bushing, " for electrical box

Connect the 2 long black wires to the

Cable clamp for electrical boxes
high-voltage terminal blocks on the relay
Electrical cord, 1418 gauge with ground
board. Use the short black wires to make male end only, with cord connector
sure one terminal of each block has power. Wood block, 24, 6"7" long
Then connect the blue and red wires to the Plastic standoffs, female-female, #6-32
open terminal on each block. The relays thread, 1"2" long (4)
are numbered 18, so you can easily write Machine screws, #6-32 " (8)
the corresponding numbers on the outlets. Solid-core wire, 1618 gauge insulated, in 4
colors We used red, blue, white, and black.
9. MOUNT THE RELAY BOARD Crimp-on fork terminals, 1618 gauge (8)
Fasten the relay board to the standoffs Bare copper wire, 1618 gauge for ground
with 6-32 screws and push any extra wire connections
up into the outlet box. Remove a knockout Hookup wire, 2022 gauge, red and black or
substitute red/white bell wire
in the junction box and insert a protective
Cat-5 cable
bushing. Youll route your low-voltage
control wires (out to your Arduino) through Screw terminal block, 212
here. A cable clamp provides strain relief. TOOLS:
Screwdrivers: slotted, Phillips #2
Cut a Cat-5 cable to reach from your Drill and bits: 764", " step bit
Arduino to the Plug & Play Box. Cut equal 8
Thread tap, 6-32
lengths of hookup wire, red and black. Marker
Strip 3" of the Cat-5 shell on both ends,
Wire strippers
then strip " off the ends of the 8 wires
Utility knife
within. Also strip " off the hookup wires.
Screw the 8 Cat-5 wires into the 8 green 8
terminals at the bottom left of the relay blocks red wire, and Arduino ground to
board. Screw the hookup wires to the 2 the black wire. Now connect any Arduino
terminals at bottom right: black to (GND) pin of your choice to any slot on the
and red to (VCC). terminal block, depending on which outlet
you want to control with which pin.
Run the Cat-5 and hookup wires out PLUG AND PLAY!
through the bushing, and connect them Your Arduino can now control high-voltage
all to the 212 terminal block in the same power outlets. Download the sample
order you used on the relay board. We use code MAKER_8_Relay_Sketch.ino from
a terminal block because Cat-5 wires are makezine.com/go/plug-play-arduino-
too thin to fit well in Arduino pin headers relay. It will test the setup, turning all 8 See complete step-by-step photos at
plus it allows for useful modularization. relays on and off, one at a time. Now just
Use more hookup wire to connect the connect your haunt props, holiday lights,
Arduinos 5V power pin to the terminal or anything else with a plug!
and check out The Great Houdini Escape
Room at makezine.com/go/great-houdini.

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Arduino-Controlled Halloween
Its easy to hack battery-operated props to choreograph your haunt

nimated Halloween props are a lot of for this project, Im going to focus on
MATERIALS: fun. But the props that you buy at the battery-powered Halloween props that
Animated Halloween props Look for props
with a Try Me button. store have some major limitations. have a Try Me button. These props will
Arduino microcontroller board One problem is that each prop is have a button somewhere on the package
Transistors, NPN switching One for each activated by its own sensor, so it is difficult that lets you activate the programmed
prop; see Step 4. to get them to work together in unison. If animation, so you can see the prop in
Resistors, 1k One for each prop. the props are out of sync, the overall effect action before you buy it.
Hookup wire isnt as scary. Hacking this Try Me button will let you
Solderless breadboard and jumper wires Another problem is that the built-in activate the prop remotely. By connecting
motion sensors arent very effective. to the terminals of this switch, you can
TOOLS: Most props are activated by a light sensor control the prop with an external circuit
Multimeter and soldering iron
that detects the change in light when such as an Arduino.
Small screwdrivers
someone walks by. In order for them to
Markers work, they need light to be shining on 2. DISASSEMBLE THE BUTTON
them; they wont work at all in the dark. You can usually pry open the plastic
They can also be falsely triggered if the housing with a small screwdriver. If it is
lighting in the room changes. snapped together, just depress each of the
So I worked out a system that lets you tabs and it will pop open. If its glued, you
control all your animated Halloween props may need to crack open the glue seam.
with a single microcontroller (such as Inside youll find a small switch with 2 or
an Arduino). This lets you choreograph 4 exposed terminals.
exactly how and when each prop will turn
3 on and off. It also lets you use external 3. IDENTIFY THE TERMINALS OF
sensors that you can customize for your THE SWITCH
unique setup. Use a multimeter to measure the voltage
between the 2 sides of the switch.
Jason Poel Smith

1. FIND HALLOWEEN PROPS WITH The measured values will be different

A TRY ME BUTTON depending on the design of the prop. The
There are many different kinds of only thing you need to be concerned with
animated Halloween props and they can is the relative polarity. You need to know
all be hacked in one way or another. But which terminal is more positive and which

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Arduino-Controlled Halloween Props

5 6

This procedure is only intended for
battery-powered props. I do not
recommend disassembling switches
for AC-powered props. That can be very
dangerous if not handled properly.

terminal is more negative. appropriate NPN transistor. Using your

To keep track of which is which, I use breadboard and jumper wires, connect
colored markers to mark the positive the collector pin of the transistor to the
terminal red and the negative one black. positive terminal of the switch and connect
the emitter pin of the transistor to the
4. TEST THE TERMINALS WITH negative terminal of the switch. When
A RESISTOR you apply a positive voltage (relative to
There are two types of On switches you the emitter pin) to the base pin of the 8
might find on a Halloween prop. The first transistor, the 2 terminals of the switch
type is a low-current signal switch. These will be effectively connected and the prop MOTION SENSORS: see page 82
just send a small signal to the control will be triggered to play its animation. A PRESSURE PLATES: see page 85
chip on the prop. The second type is a 1k resistor added to the base pin of the PROXIMITY SENSORS: see my how-to
high-current power switch. This switch transistor helps to protect it from excessive at makezine.com/projects/use-a-diy-
connects the prop directly to the battery current that could potentially damage it. proximity-sensor-to-automate-your-
pack and has to handle all the power haunted-house
thats required by the prop. You need to 6. CONNECT YOUR TRANSISTOR
know which type of switch it is, so that SWITCH TO THE ARDUINO 9. RUN THE SAMPLE ARDUINO CODE
you can use an appropriate transistor to Now you need to connect your transistor To test your props, download the sample
activate the prop. switch to your microcontroller. Connect Arduino program from the project page
To test which type of switch you have, the emitter pin to a ground (GND) pin at makezine.com/projects/arduino-
take a 1 kilohm (1k) resistor and touch its on the Arduino. Then connect one of controlled-halloween-props. Open it in the
2 leads to the 2 terminals of the switch. (If the Arduinos digital pins to the 1k Arduino programming environment (IDE)
there isnt a large enough exposed surface, resistor thats connected to the base pin and have a look at what its doing. First the
you can disconnect the switch at the base of the transistor. setup() function assigns specific output
of the prop and touch the leads of the Whenever the Arduinos digital pin is pins to your props, and an input pin to
resistor to the terminals of the prop itself.) set to a HIGH output, the transistor will your sensor. Then the loop() reads your
If the animation activates, then its a activate the prop. sensor pin and switches all outputs to
low-current switch and youll be able to HIGH using the digitalWrite() function.
use a low-current transistor to activate 7. ADD ADDITIONAL PROPS After a 10-second delay(), it switches
the prop. If it doesnt activate, then its Repeat the previous steps to add them all LOW again. And so forth.
probably a high-current switch and you additional props. You can control as many Go ahead and customize all this to
should use a power transistor rated for props as there are digital output pins on choreograph your own routine. Then
at least 1 amp (1A) to activate it. your microcontroller. upload the code to your Arduino.
Jason Poel Smith


TRANSISTOR SWITCH ow you can add your own external
N ow all you have to do is set up the props
You can use a transistor to simulate the sensors to activate the system. Here are a in your haunted house and enjoy the fun of
button being pressed. First, select an few examples: scaring your guests.

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PIR motion sensor, 3V9V DC Look for one
that has 3 pins: GND, VCC, and OUT.
Arduino Uno microcontroller board
Jumper wires, male to female (optional)
Motion sensor designed to work with AC
devices such as motion-activated security
Extension cords, 3-prong (2)
Insulated twist-on connectors (4) wire nuts
Tape or pipe (optional)

Soldering iron

Motion-Sensor Prop Controller

Activate your props, AC or DC, by automatically detecting when
someone is nearby { BY JASON POEL SMITH }

nstead of having a moving Halloween to control motors. Activate sound effects.
prop or special effect that constantly Even make a motion-sensitive camera.
repeats, maximize the surprise by The only limit is your imagination.
adding a motion sensor that only activates
your effects when someone comes near. 2. MAKE A MOTION-ACTIVATED
1. INTERFACE A MOTION SENSOR If you want to control AC devices with a 1
WITH A MICROCONTROLLER motion sensor, it may be easiest to skip the
There are a number of PIR motion sensor Arduino and just modify a motion detector
modules that run on 3V9V DC that you that already works with AC devices, such
can easily interface with a microcontroller. as motion-activated security lights. You
Look for one that has 3 pins: GND, VCC, will need two 3-prong extension cords and
and OUT. The GND pin connects to the 4 insulated twist-on connectors.
GND pin on your microcontroller. The First, separate the motion sensor
VCC pin can connect to a +5V pin, +3.3V by cutting the wires at the connectors.
pin, or a digital output pin set to HIGH. Remove the motion sensor assembly.
The OUT pin connects to an input pin on On one extension cord, cut and remove
the microcontroller. the male plug; do the same with the female
For an Arduino, you can use jumper plug on the other. Open the housing to
wires or plug the sensor directly into the expose a few inches of wire. Separate 2

board: sensor OUT to pin 12 on the board, each of their internal wires and strip 1" of
VCC to pin 13, and GND to GND. Pin 13 is insulation off the ends. Connect the wires
set to output mode and outputs a HIGH to the motion sensor as shown in Figure 2
signal. Pin 12 is set to input mode. using insulated twist-on wire connectors.
You can read the signal from the motion For safety, enclose all connections in an
sensor with the digitalRead() function. insulated plastic housing.
Then you can use the digitalWrite() Now you have an AC outlet activated
function to output a signal to activate your by a motion sensor. The motion sensor
special effects. should be able to power appliances that
With your motion sensor module are rated as high as the original lights.
Jason Poel Smith

connected to the microcontroller, you can Anything that you plug into your motion For more tips on modifying and using
activate any number of electrical devices sensing outlet will turn on when someone motion sensors, go to makezine.com/go/
(see page 80). Use a relay shield to turn enters the room: sound systems, power motion-sensor-trigger
electronics on and off. Add a motor shield tools, solenoids, lamps anything!

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Motion-Sensor Prop Controller and Infrared Remote Controls

Arduino microcontroller board
Infrared receiver module, 38kHz
Infrared LED
555 timer chip
Resistors: 1k (1) and 22 (1)
Capacitor, 0.02F or two 0.01F capacitors
Batteries, AA (4)
Battery holder, 4xAA with leads or connector
Solderless breadboard and jumper wires
Perf board
Heat-shrink tubing

Soldering iron

Infrared Remote Controls

Dremel cutting tool (optional)

Send invisible commands to your props using Arduino { BY JASON POEL SMITH }

hen you want to control props and I trimmed off the excess board, and put
effects remotely with Arduino, a good heat-shrink tubing on the LED to narrow
option is to use an infrared remote the beam and make it more directional. 1

control. Heres how to put one together.

1. RECEIVER CIRCUIT Infrared signals can pass right through
This infrared receiver module is easily many thin materials, so you can easily hide
connected to an Arduino to detect the the transmitter and receiver behind paper
signal from an infrared remote. Connect or fabric and theyll still work. My favorite 22

the right lead to the Arduino 5V pin, the trick is to put the transmitter inside a
center lead to a GND pin, and the left glove, so the actor can just point at the
lead to a digital I/O pin. The output of receiver to activate the effects it looks
the IR receiver is monitored using the like magic or telekinesis. 2

digitalRead() function. When the Arduino

registers an appropriate signal, it activates 5. COMMAND YOUR EFFECTS
your special effects. Now you have infrared command of any
scare effect you can trigger with Arduino.
2. IR REMOTE TRANSMITTER CIRCUIT To command a servo like this one, visit
Almost any infrared remote can send makezine.com/go/halloween-ir-remote.
signals to the IR receiver, but I made my
own by hooking up an infrared LED to a
square wave signal generator based on
a 555 timer IC. Pins 4 and 8 on the chip
connect to the positive battery wire; pin 1
(ground) connects to the negative battery
wire. Be sure to use a 22 resistor thats
rated for at least watt, or it might 4

overheat. When the transmitter is turned 3

on, the infrared LED will begin to blink at a

frequency of about 36kHz.
Jason Poel Smith


Prototype the transmitter on a breadboard.
Once everything is working properly,
solder the components onto perf board. 5

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Digital camera
Connector plug for shutter switch terminal
(optional) if your camera has shutter switch
Momentary switch
Arduino microcontroller board
Jumper wires


Nightmare Fear Factory

Soldering iron

Jason Poel Smith

Automatic Scare Camera
Capture every terrified moment { BY JASON POEL SMITH } 1

great touch for a haunted house is wire to the ground terminal. Touch the two
a scare camera that snaps pictures together and the shutter should trigger.
of people being terrified by your
automated special effects. Youll need two 3. TRIGGER WITH EXTERNAL SWITCH
parts a camera shutter cable andan The simplest way to actuate the shutter is
external circuit. with a momentary switch. Remote triggers 2
are very common in normal photography,
1. CONNECTING TO CAMERAS WITH A but can also be cleverly repurposed for
REMOTE SHUTTER SWITCH TERMINAL automatic actuations using a pressure
For cameras with a built-in shutter switch plate (see following page) or a trip wire.
terminal, you just need a cable with a Try using the switch to trigger your scare
matching connector plug. On mine, the effect and your camera at the same time.
sleeve connects to ground, the center ring 3
activates the focus function, and the tip 4. TRIGGER WITH A MICROCONTROLLER
activates the shutter. To focus and trigger The advanced way to automatically control
the shutter, you simply connect the ring a camera is with a microcontroller such
and tip to ground (the sleeve). You can do as an Arduino. Youll need a small diode
this with either a mechanical button or an and a jumper wire for this.
electrical circuit. Insert the cathode of the diode (the side
with the stripe) into one of the digital pins
2. CAMERAS WITHOUT A REMOTE of the microcontroller. Then insert the
SHUTTER SWITCH TERMINAL jumper wire into one of the GND pins on
Without a built-in terminal, remote the microcontroller. Now connect these
triggering may still be possible with a to the shutter switch cable. The jumper
little surgery on your camera. Remove wire should connect to the ground of the 4
your cameras outer housing and locate camera. The diode should connect to the Hep Svadja, Jason Poel Smith
the shutter switch. This typically has shutter function on the camera. from being damaged.
one terminal that connects to ground to When the microcontroller sends a Now that youre triggering scare props
activate the focus, and one to activate LOW signal to the digital pin, the camera and your scare camera with Arduino, you
the shutter. However, most cameras will shutter should activate. But when a HIGH can experiment with fine-tuning the timing
auto-focus when you activate the shutter. signal is sent to the digital pin, the diode add a slight delay in your code between
If this is the case, you only need to make a becomes reverse biased and prevents the the scare and the shutter until youre
connection to the shutter terminal. Solder electricity from flowing into the camera. capturing the moment of maximum fear.
one wire to the shutter terminal and one This protects the circuitry of the camera Boo! Caught you.

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Automatic "Scare" Camera and Pressure Plate Switch

Insulated copper wire
Large sheets of cardboard (3) roughly the
same size, at least 12" on the shortest side
Aluminum foil
Extension cord (optional)

Wire stripper
Sharp knife

Pressure Plate Switch 1

When they step on it, they trigger the scare { BY JASON POEL SMITH }

hen youre running a haunted house, between the other 2 sheets. Make this by
you want most of the special effects cutting out the center of the third sheet of
to be automated. But for this to be cardboard, leaving a 1" cardboard border
effective, you need to get the timing right. on all sides.
The best way to do this is to use sensors to
detect where your guests are. 4. ASSEMBLE THE PRESSURE 2
Heres how to make a simple pressure- PLATE SWITCH
plate switch that you can use to activate Lay down the first piece of cardboard,
special effects in a haunted house. foil-side up. Put the cardboard spacer on
top of it. Place the other foil-laden sheet
1. ATTACH THE FOIL of cardboard on top of that, foil side facing
Center a piece of aluminum foil that is at down. Lastly, secure the three layers
least as big as the cardboard on one of together with tape.
the sheets. Wrap any overhangs around
the back. Tape one edge of the foil to the 5. USE IT
cardboard, then stretch the foil tightly and When you press on the center of the
tape the opposite edge. Do this for all 4 cardboard, the 2 foil sheets will make
sides of the foil, then repeat with a second contact and complete a circuit just like a
sheet of cardboard. regular switch. Youll have to disguise the
pressure plate so that it isnt noticeable
2. ATTACH THE WIRES the easiest way is to put it under a
Strip 1" of insulation off of the end of lightweight rug, but use your imagination.
a wire, then lay it on the corner of the This pressure plate design works well 4

first sheet of cardboard so the bare wire in most circumstances. You can make
touches the aluminum. Tape it to hold it sturdier by using thin sheets of wood
it in contact with the foil. Repeat with instead of cardboard and thin sheet metal
Hep Svadja, Jason Poel Smith

the second wire and second sheet of instead of aluminum foil.

cardboard. This isnt the most secure way Use this to activate an Arduino, small
of attaching the wires, but it should hold DC electronics, and AC appliances. Learn
together for Halloween. how to hook up your pressure plate trigger
to all these devices at makezine.com/go/
3. CUT THE SPACER pressure-trigger.
The third sheet of cardboard is a spacer

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HSIP_086-7_FoodOpen_F1.indd 9 6/27/16 9:04 AM


Sweet Bleeding Heart

Bake a bloody thorax cake that oozes with every bite { WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY BARBARA JO }

MATERIALS make a bleeding heart cake for 1. BAKE THE ORGANS (ER, CAKES)
8" round cakes (4) homemade or our annual pumpkin carving party. Bake a different type of cake for each
store-bought Sometimes the heart beats, sometimes organ. Here are the cake-sauce
Jelly roll cake its anatomically correct, but it always combinations I used:
Fruit sauces homemade or store-bought bleeds fresh, homemade raspberry sauce. HEART: Orange cake with raspberry
Butter cream frosting This year I decided to go the whole hog sauce
Fondant icing and bake an entire thoracic cavity. Each LUNGS: Apple spice cake with strawberry
White modeling chocolate organ was a different kind of cake, and sauce
Paste food colors
secreted a different color of fluid when KIDNEYS: Orange cake with blueberry
cut open, using raspberry, strawberry, sauce
Corn syrup
mango, and blueberry sauces. The heart STOMACH: Ginger cake with mango sauce
Acetate paper
bled pretty well, but the other fluids SMALL INTESTINE: Jellyroll with red
Soft paintbrush
werent so dramatic. On the bright side, currant jelly
Plastic piping bag
they were all delicious. Here's how to But dont add any of the sauces while
Silver tray or any tray elegant enough to
construct one for your next party. baking these will be added later.
serve a thorax on

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Bloody Thorax Cake


Once these cakes are baked and cooled,
carve them into the shapes of the
appropriate organs (Figure A ). Grays
Anatomy (bartleby.com/107) makes a
very handy reference.


Flip each organ over, hollow out a cavity in
the center, and frost the inside of the cavity
and the underside of the cake with butter
cream frosting. Then spoon in the fruit
sauces (Figure B ). Roll out some of the
fondant and seal the cavities with it. Flip
the organs back over (Figure C ). C D

Cover the organs with fondant icing.

(You could also use white modeling
chocolate, which tastes better and sticks
to itself better than fondant. But its more
difficult to work with on cakes like these,
which are relatively unstable due to the
hollows in the middle. Also, modeling
chocolate is difficult to paint with paste
food coloring, though it can be painted
easily with powdered food coloring
dissolved in cocoa butter.)


Put your cakes aside, and assemble the
white chocolate rib cage in which all the
organs will be placed. First I drew the E F
ribs on paper, which I placed underneath
the acetate to guide me. Then, temper
the white chocolate by zapping it very
briefly in the microwave, and pipe the ribs
and vertebrae onto acetate with a plastic
piping bag. Wait until firm (Figure D ).
Now dip each piece into a bowl of melted
white chocolate before assembling the rib
cage on a silver tray (Figure E ). Of course, G H

with all the organs on top of it, no one ever

actually sees that there is a complete 6. ATTACH THE INTESTINE on my vast experience watching people in
spinal column underneath all the cake, Before attaching the intestine (Figure F ), movies being disemboweled, I gave it my
but I say if youre going to make an edible, bend the jelly roll into appropriate curves best shot (Figure G ). Have fun with it.
anatomically correct chest cavity dessert and cover it with fondant.
tray, you might as well do it right! Move the cake to its final resting place, 8. ADD FINAL GORY TOUCHES
and then place the intestine. It should trail All thats left is to add the butter cream
5. PLACE ORGANS (EXCEPT INTESTINE) out of the rib cage, suggesting that the frosting blood, so it doesnt look so
INTO THE RIB CAGE person to whom the thorax had belonged pristine.
Once the rib cage is dry, place all the has been ripped apart, rather than I did little veins on the organs first with
organs into the cage in their appropriate carefully dissected. a piping bag, and then put big globs of
places, again using Grays Anatomy as a gore on the ribs with a knife. A little spritz
guide (See facing page). 7. PAINT THE ORGANS of corn syrup to give it that all-important
Im not really sure what colors kidneys and oozing, wet look, and voil! Youre done
stomachs are supposed to be, but drawing (Figure H )!

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Windell Oskay and Lenore Edman

The Cylon Jack-o-Lantern
Build the Larson Scanner and give your pumpkin an evil eye { BY WINDELL OSKAY AND LENORE EDMAN }

len A. Larson (19372014) could from scratch. Heres how it works.
LM555CN timer chip Jameco part #27423 be considered an American hero. Our circuit, diagrammed on the next
He was the television producer page, features 2 chips: a 555 timer and a
CD4017BE counter chip Jameco 893611
responsible for bringing such gems as 4017 decade counter. The 555 is a handy
Resistors: 330 (1), 47k (6), and 180k (1)
Jameco 690742, 691260, and 691403 Battlestar Galactica and Knight Rider to building block for all manner of circuits.
Trimmer potentiometer, 500k aka trimpot, the small screen. He also displayed a (See Make:, Volume 10, page 62, The
Jameco 254044 fondness for red lights that scan back Biggest Little Chip by Charles Platt.) Our
Diodes, 1N914 (10) Jameco 655269 and forth, which featured prominently in 555 is configured as an oscillator that
Transistors, 2N3904 (6) Jameco 38360 the aforementioned shows. The Larson outputs regularly spaced pulses at a rate
Capacitors: 0.22F (1) and 47F 16V (6) Scanner, named in his honor, is a circuit controlled by a trimpot. Its output signal is
Jameco 26972 and 1946244 that lights LEDs in a sequence like the connected to the input of the 4017 counter
LEDs, red (6) Jameco 333526 ones he used. Use it for your costume, chip. The counter chip has 10 outputs
9V battery bike, R/C car, case mod, or as we did (numbered 1 through 10), one of which
9V battery snap connector Jameco 11280 the Cylon jack-o-lantern. is on at any given time. If 10 LEDs were
Protoboard e.g., BGMicro part #ACS1053 You can buy and assemble our Larson driven by the chips outputs, you would see
or RadioShack #2760147 or 2760150 Scanner kits with 10mm or 5mm LEDs them light up in sequence from 1 to 10 and
Soldering iron, solder, and hookup wire from shop.evilmadscientist.com, or just repeat as it receives a train of incoming
Foam tape or velcro solder our original Larson Scanner circuit clock pulses.

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The Cylon Jack-o-Lantern


trimpot 0.22F
However, we want our LEDs to scan
back and forth, not move in one
direction repeatedly. We accomplish
this by folding the 10 outputs back 8 7 6 5 OUT 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9
9V +
onto themselves so that if we had 10 LM555
- CD4017BE
LEDs, numbers 2 and 10 would be in CN

the same location. Rather than using 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 The trimpot lets you change
the scanning frequency. Carefully
2 LEDs in each location, we use 1, clip off either of the 2 end leads
and so only 6 LEDs are needed. As before soldering.
1. Wire up the 555 chip and power pins of the 4017 chip.
the counter counts from 1 to 6, the 6
LEDs light up in sequence. Then, as
the counter finishes counting from
7 to 10, the middle 4 LEDs light up Signal #2
in the reverse sequence. This gives Signal #5
the illusion of an LED that moves Use 1N914 Signal #3
diodes (10)
continuously from one end to the other
and repeats. Since the middle 4 LEDs 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9
Black stripe
will be lit up when either of 2 counter CD4017BE
outputs is on, we use simple diode OR 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Windell Oskay and Lenore Edman

gates to allow this logical control.

Heres the 1N914 diode orientation.
Signal #4


Signal #6
The final detail, not to be neglected,
2. Turn 10 outputs into 6 signals, using 4 diode OR gates.
is that high-brightness LEDs were
not available as props for late 1970s +
and early 1980s television shows. 47F
330 -
Under logical control, LEDs blink
on and off with remarkable speed
and dont look a thing like the corny Signal #1 LED Copy outlined part
incandescent effects were going #1 5 times, with
Signal #2, LED #2
for. An incandescent bulb has a very Signal #3, LED #3
47K C
slow response when turned on or 9V + LM555
Signal #4, LED #4
B 2N3904 Signal #5, LED #5
off. To mimic this, we use a low-pass - CN The negative side of the 47F
E Signal #6, LED #6 capacitor is marked.
transistor driver to slow down the +
47F -
response of each LED.
The chips in this circuit are older
linear and CMOS devices that kick ass
because they are able to run directly 3. Make 6 low-pass transistor LED drivers.
from a wide range of input power
supplies, in contrast to many of todays
semiconductors. It is convenient to
run this circuit from a 9V battery, but The LED orientation.
you can build versions that run on
several AA cells or a 12V system. If
you do use another voltage to run this,
youll need to adjust the value of the
(330) LED load resistor. 2N3904

4. Attach the battery
with foam tape or
velcro, and fire up
your Larson Scanner. The 2N3904 transistor pinout.

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Garry McLeod
Party Piata
Create a festive, personalized piata thats easy to make and fun to break { BY BRIAN ANDERSON }
iatas add great excitement to any whack at making your own piata, and
materials party. But instead of settling for a it wont be long before everyone else is
store-bought design (often made of taking a whack at it, too!
child-proof cardboard), consider making
Masking tape
your own custom piata. Piata-making 1. SHAPE THE SPIDERS BODY
Flour and water
is part art and part engineering, so The spiders abdomen is made from a 12"
Mixing bowl and whisk its fun for the whole brain. Best of all, party balloon. The front section of its body
Cardboard tubes from paper towels etc. the decorating process hides all your (the prosoma) is flat and nearly round on
White glue mistakes. the sides. This shape is made by bending 2
Crepe paper This example shows the construction long balloons into spirals and taping them
Scissors and utility knife of a spider piata, but the same together (Figure A ).
Cardboard techniques can be used to create any
Wire hanger sort of piata you choose. The materials 2. WRAP THE BODY SECTIONS
Long-nose pliers are inexpensive, and the process is Wrap the balloons in a layer of newspaper,
challenging, fun, and easy. So take a and tape it all down using masking tape.

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Party Piata

Cut off any excess newspaper to help the piata open somewhere on its side and
smooth out the shapes. insert the cardboard and wire. Then punch
the wire through the top and center of the
3. MAKE THE PAPIER-MCH PASTE piata from the inside.
Using the mixing bowl and whisk, mix up Once the wire is sticking out the top,
equal amounts of flour and water (start bend it into a hook using pliers. Then close
with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water) to up the hole on the side of the piata using A

form a paste. papier-mch, or masking tape, since

youll cover it with decoration anyway.
Tear newspaper into 1"-wide strips, and
dip them one at a time into the paste.
Squeegee off excess paste by running
NOTE: When inserting the cardboard
the strips between 2 fingers, then lay
and wire, make sure its from the side
the strips onto the newspaper-wrapped
and not the top of the piata, as you
balloons. Once a balloon is covered in a
dont want to weaken the area from B

layer of strips, let it dry, then apply 2 or 3

which the piata will be hanging.
more layers of papier-mch, allowing
Garry McLeod

each one to dry in between.

5. ATTACH THE BODY SECTIONS I spray-painted this piata before
Attach the 2 body sections of the spider decorating it, to get an idea of how the
with masking tape (Figure B ), then lay a colors would look when fully decorated,
couple of layers of papier-mch strips but this step isnt necessary.
across the joint to cement the pieces
together. Let each layer dry before 10. WEAKEN A THICK WALL C

applying the next one. If your piata wall seems too thick, you can
weaken it by stabbing it repeatedly with a
6. CREATE THE LEGS small knife.
The legs are made from empty paper
towel and toilet paper tubes (Figure C ). 11. DECORATE!
Attach the leg segments using masking Use your imagination when decorating! I
tape, then wrap a few layers of papier- usually use crepe paper instead of paint
mch strips around them to give them because it hides any flaws, and looks
strength. In this photo, the front of the festive when its fluffed up. Cut "-wide
spiders body had to be propped up until fringe into a crepe paper streamer, then D

the legs had enough strength to support use white glue to attach the crepe paper to
its weight. the piata.
I wanted to create a variety of textures
7. POP THE BALLOONS on the spider piata, so I used snipped
Once the papier-mch sculpture is crepe paper on the legs with finer snips
finished, cut a small hole in each balloon at the joints (Figure E ), and unsnipped
section to pop the balloons and remove crepe paper on the shell-like prosoma. To
them. Cover the small holes with papier- create the hairy abdomen on the spider,
mch or even some masking tape. I applied spray-on adhesive and then
pressed on loose handfuls of shredded,
8. ADD THE HOOK black gift-bag tissue paper.
Adding the hook is one of the most E

important parts of making a piata, 12. FILL THE PIATA

because the hook has to bear the weight of Use scissors or a knife to cut a small door 13. TAKE A SWING AT IT
Brian Anderson

the filled piata. First cut a piece of hanger in the top of the piata not too close to Party time! Hang the piata and let the
wire or other stiff wire and, using long- your weight-bearing hook. Fill the piata whacking commence! For more piata-
nose pliers, bend it around a small piece of with candy and toys. Fold the door back making tips and examples, visit my
cardboard as shown in Figure D . Then cut down and it will usually be hard to spot. website pinataboy.com.

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Meat Head
Craving some cranium?

ve served a Meat Head at my
Halloween parties for at least the last
five years. It never fails to impress (and
distress!) my guests.

1. Start with a plastic skull. Wash it well, and

make sure its clean enough to eat off of.
Because thats what youre going to do.

2. Congeal some Jell-O in a big flat pan. Red

flavors are best (I used green one year when
Meat Head was a Vulcan). Use only half the
water the recipe calls for, to make the Jell-O
nice and rubbery. Cut the Jell-O into strips
and patches about " thick. Hold plastic
wrap against the skull and trace the more
irregular cranial shapes to create templates
for Jell-O patches. Layer the Jell-O across
the skull. This makes an interesting bottom
layer for your guests to discover.

3. Next, take strips of cold cuts and layer

them across the skull. I found a pound-and-
a-half was plenty. You dont want to use too
much, or else your guests wont eat their
way down to the Jell-O surprise! Ive made
a ham Meat Head, which gives a Freddy
Krueger complexion. Ive also used corned
beef, for the look of someone with their skin
peeled off, and turkey, for a nice zombie
appearance. Youll need to strategically
place toothpicks to prevent the cold cuts
from sliding off the head.

4. Add the eyes. My personal favorite

ingredient is pickled onions, for their
pleasing translucency. The yolks of boiled
eggs give a jaundiced look, with pupils
made from sliced olives. Cover the whole
assembly with plastic wrap, and store
in the fridge until party time. (Be sure to
warn housemates.)

5. Finally, its time for the magnificent

midnight buffet! Remember to garnish Meat
Sam Murphy

Head. He looks ever so much better served

on a bed of lettuce, dont you think?

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Deli Skull and Glowing Gourds

Drill patterns into hard-shell
gourds and let the light in

ard-shell gourds, sometimes called
calabash gourds, are some of the
worlds first cultivated plants. They
are harvested from their vines in the fall
and then air-dried for several months.
When a gourd is fully dry inside and out, it
forms a woody shell that can be cut with
simple tools.
Cultures all over the world fashion
hard-shell gourds into vessels or musical
instruments. Here, weve turned them into
festive outdoor lanterns, using a drill to
create patterns for light to shine through.

1. CLEAN THE GOURD others will have a thick layer of flaky dried least " apart to keep the surface of the
Hard-shell gourds develop a coating of pulp. If its thick, scrape it out with a large gourd from breaking. Vary your patterns
dirt and mold as they dry out. You can buy spoon. Discard the pulp and seeds. by switching to drill bits of different sizes.
them already cleaned, but youll save a lot
of money by cleaning them yourself. Begin 6. CLEAN UP YOUR DESIGN
by soaking the gourd in a bucket of water NOTE: Some people are allergic to gourd When youve finished drilling, clean your
for about 10 minutes. Turn it occasionally dust; work outdoors and wear a surgical pencil lines off the shell with an eraser.
to keep all sides wet. Then use a scrubbing mask if youre sensitive. Inspect the gourd from the inside. That
sponge to remove the grime. Allow the pulpy material on the walls sometimes
gourd to air-dry. 4. DRAW SOME GUIDELINES clogs up the drilled holes. Poke the holes
Draw or trace your design on the gourd in with a pencil or skewer to clear them.
2. CUT OFF THE BASE pencil. These lines will serve as cutting
Cover your work surface with paper. Use a guides and can be easily erased later. 7. FINISH YOUR GOURD
pencil to draw about a 6" circle around the If desired, rub a little mineral oil into the
bottom of the gourd. When you cut out this 5. DRILL OR CUT OUT YOUR DESIGN surface with a soft cloth. The oil will give
circle, it will give the gourd a flat, stable You can use the pumpkin saw, but Ive the gourd a subtle shine and help it resist
base to sit on. Begin by using a paring decided to use a drill here. With a drill, you moisture. Alternatively, you can use a
knife to poke a hole through the shell. Use can build all kinds of patterns from holes polyurethane spray varnish for maximum
medium pressure and gently rock the of various sizes. Position the drill bit so its protection, but to my mind, it looks
blade back and forth until it penetrates. perpendicular to the gourds surface, and rather unnatural.
Insert a pumpkin-carving saw into this drill straight into the gourd with medium
cut and carefully saw along your line. pressure. The drilled holes should be at 8. LIGHT IT UP
First and foremost, never place a lit candle
3. CLEAN OUT THE INSIDE inside a gourd lantern! The inside walls
Remove the base of the gourd and dump
CAUTION: The drill bit can slide on the are highly flammable. Instead, stuff a
out all the loose seeds and dried pulp.
curved surface and cause injury. Always string of tiny Christmas lights inside your
Gourds vary widely; some will have very
steady the gourd against your work surface, gourd lanterns they wont fall out or
little material on the inner walls and
and keep your hands far away from the bit. use small LED lanterns.

makezine.com 95

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Mad Monster
Put the fun in fun-sized
candy! { BY BOB KNETZGER }

eres a classic toy reimagined
for you to make just in time for

Jeffrey Braverman
Halloween candy-giving and
party fun. Its the Mad Monster Candy
Snatch game, which combines the
nerve-wracking dexterity of the old
classic Operation game (BZZZZZT!)
with a fun monster headshaped
candy dispenser. Make those little the monster (touching the sides). Cut and Candies
goblins earn their treats with this BZZZZT! Your turns over, pass the bend
tricky game! tweezers to the next player. If youve Clip to tweezers
The set is simple to make; you succeeded, eat your candy or add it to Clip to
can customize the play to be as easy your trick-or-treat bag! You can make foil

or difficult as you like. You can even the game easier to win by simply
personalize it with your own voice, cutting larger holes for the mouth,
choice sayings, and sound effects. ears, and neck bolts.
Super bright Face label
The see-through green monster red LEDs
head is filled with fun-sized candies. SIMPLE STRATEGY: Add a die or
Do you dare to snatch a snack? Use spinner labeled Mouth, Ear, Speaker
with cap
the forceps to carefully reach inside and Neck. On your turn, spin the
its mouth. If you can maneuver out spinner and try to snatch a candy Wood screw
a candy, youve won a treat! But from the opening indicated. If youre module
Bottle cap
be careful if you touch the side successful, you can try again, but if Foil tape on
you lose! The monster wakes up you miss you lose all your candies ears, bolts,
and mouth
with crackling, shocking sound put them back into the monsters
Doorstop LED
effects and announces YOU MAKE head and let the next player go! Will spring driver
MONSTER MAD! YOU LOSE! as his you risk it or play it safe?
angry eyes flash red. No treat for you!
NAME THAT CANDY: Player to your
HOW TO PLAY right names which specific candy you
EASY GAME: Reach into the must try to lift. You may have to do
Bob Knetzger

Knife switch
monsters mouth with the tweezers some extra careful digging with the
Wood base
try to get a candy without waking tweezers to win!

For full step-by-step instructions, templates, and graphics, visit makezine.com/projects/monster-candy-game.

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