I was inspired by an episode of the TV show Making Monsters where the group created an enormous "Franken-Alice" costume for Rocker Alice Cooper.  Doing more research I discovered the concept is commonly referred to as a 'backpack puppet' and they are often used for larger-than-life characters in parades. I had a lot of fun using mine to slow down car traffic Halloween Night!

This Instructable describes how I did things - often I made it up as I went and you should do the same!

Exacto Knife
Soldering iron (optional)
Wire strippers
Drill Press , 3/4" bit , small 1/32" bit
Carving knife / tools
Scroll Saw
Wood clamps
Pins, Sewing machine, tape measure

1 x Roll of black duct tape (of course)

1 x sheet of Poster Board
Cardboard (old boxes)
Newspaper Strips
Flour, water mixed to pancake batter consistency
Translucent plastic to cover the eyes

Light Up Eyes:
Wire, 2 LED lights, 9 volt battery, 9v connector, resistor ,

Articulated Mouth:
7’ of Rope / strong string,
5 inches of your pvc pipe for jaw hinge
2x Home Depot paint stirrers

3 x 10’ ¾ diameter pvc pipe
4 x 90 degree couplings, 4 x 45 degree couplings, 2 x T coupling
Back Pack:
Salvaged closet organizer supports or similar
A mess-o-Home Depot 5 Gallon paint stir-sticks

Wood Glue
Hunk of wood (I glued 2 ¾” thick pieces of scrap together, I think it’s tight grained pine)
Copper wire (From Romex house wiring)
10' of Rope

Bunch of bargain fabric  (I had close to 8 yards of a 60” fabric, could have used more)
Alternative, black plastic table cloth
Window screen for a view port

Step 1: The Head - Getting the Shape

Knowing I was targeting 10 feet tall, I decided to make a non-sinister skull for my reaper.  We have a lot of young children in the neighborhood and I wanted this to be fun, not leave lasting emotional scars.  I did some sketches and was ultimately inspired by a cool reaper from a stock photography site.

We are creating a face that will be mounted on a frame, not an entire head. Instead of starting with a beach ball or some other solid support I started with the form and then built the support structure into it.

1. Fold the poster board in half across the long dimension.  I taped a couple edges to make sure both halves stayed aligned.
2. Draw half of your face design. 
3. Draw in perpendicular lines at the corners and at points along curves to define tabs that would be folded back and connected.
4. Cut!
5. Carefully fold back tabs and lightly tape to create the start of your 3D face.

I stopped at this point.  I wanted to understand my frame and how the face would attach before building the internal structure.
This is very cool, very nicely done!!

About This Instructable


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Bio: I like to learn new things and make fun stuff.
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