Introduction: Cardboard .357 Magnum Prop

Picture of Cardboard .357 Magnum Prop

For your next showdown, short film, play or other production wow your friends and colleagues with a fancy-pants prop on the cheap!

Use unorthodox methods and found materials to create a surprisingly realistic replica of a powerful weapon: The Colt Python!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

For the prop we will need:

McDonalds Straw (type important)
Pen Light
Spray Paint
Baking/ Grilling Skewers
Balsa 1/16"

PVC Pipe Cutters
X-acto Knife
Cutting mat
White or wood glue

Step 2: Grip- Step 1

Picture of Grip- Step 1

First, we must make the grip, minus the cylinder.
Download the included jpg of the grip. Click on the i in the upper left of the image, select 'original size' and right click 'save image as' and save it to your computer. Then open the file and print onto cardstock for the best results to cut out the small parts.
Then make 3 cardboard copies of the whole grip.
Then cut down your template to just the grip grip. Make 2 of those.
Laminate them together in the order:
Grip grip---Whole grip---Whole grip---Whole grip---Grip grip.
Compress under a book or weight and let sit for several hours.
Sorry, no pictures, started documenting a little late ;(

Step 3: Grip- Step 2

Picture of Grip- Step 2

Once the grip is dry, cut out the hole on the template.
This will be the hole for the cylinder.
Then squeeze the fore and aft edges of the grip grip to round them.

Step 4: Barrel- Step 1

Picture of Barrel- Step 1

Take apart the pen light by cutting off the non-light bulb end of the light.
Remove the innards and save them for a future project.
A pair of pliers my be necessary to coax the innards out.

Step 5: Barrel- Step 2

Picture of Barrel- Step 2

Now, cut the pen light to 4.5".
Cut the straw to the same length, pick an end and plug it with cardboard and glue.
Cut a 1/4" gouge in the unplugged end.
Glue them together.

Step 6: Cylinder- Step 1

Picture of Cylinder- Step 1

Roll six tubes the inside diameter of the pen light, and just a hair shorter than the hole we made for the cylinder(1 3/4"). Glue these in pairs along the seams.
You should have 3 pairs of 2 tubes.
Glue these in a hexagonal formation.
Glue a bit of straw through the middle.
Glue a small circle of cardboard over the middle hole.
Poke a hole through it . shove the end of a bamboo skewer through. Cut another cardboard circle, poke a hole through that, and shove it on to the end of the cylinder. Glue and let sit.

Step 7: Cylinder- Step 2

Picture of Cylinder- Step 2

Take a strip of cardstock 1 3/4" wide by 3" long and wrap it around the cylinder. Mark where it overlaps, and where the cylinders meet.
Make a tab to attach the outer strip together, and cut a 1" slit from the front of the strip where you marked.
Now, glue the whole sucker to the hexagon of tubes and glue each of the cylinder pieces over the slits, which you did glue to the inside of the tubes, didn't you?

Step 8: Grip- Step 3

Picture of Grip- Step 3

Now gouge through 2 of the 3 layers of the whole grip where marked on the template.
Then place the cylinder in the gouge. It should rotate freely. If not, begin what I call "The sanding of the lambs"
1- "It puts the wood glue on its skin..."
Impregnate the grip with wood glue to make it more rigid.
Point the nozzle of the glue bottle into the corrugation and squeeze.

2- "...or it gets the file again."
I had a file i used to file everything till it spun freely. Sand paper works good too.

Wash, rinse, and repeat this process until everything works good together.
Once it spins freely, cover the entire upper grip in three layers of cardstock.

Then glue a half circle of cardboard to half of the cardboard tube from the pen light.
Make the cardstock circle even with the end of the cylinder hole.

Step 9: Embellishments- Step 1

Picture of Embellishments- Step 1

Now we must add the sights and trigger guard.

First, glue a 1/4" strip around the end of the bamboo skewer.

Then glue the barrel assembly to the grip.

Then, glue a 1/2" by 3/4" curved strip between the barrel and cylinder. Fill with hot glue

Let's start the trigger guard. Cut three cardstock strips 2" by 1/4" and glue them together.
Form a roughly oval shape and glue it to the front and back of the trigger area.
Shape it to what you think is "right".

Targeting embellishments:
Cut a strip 7" long by 1/4" and two strips 4 1/2 " by 1/4".
Laminate them together with glue.

Then laminate:
A: 2 bricks, 2/3" long by 1/4" wide by 15 layers of cardstock high.

B: 1 Brick, 1/4" long by 1/4" wide by 15 layers of cardstock high.

C: 1 Brick, 1/3" long by 1/4" wide by 15 layers of cardstock high.

Glue brick C to the front of the barrel. Glue brick B to the end of the barrel. Glue bricks A 2/3" From bricks C and B, and 2/3" apart.

Glue the 7" strip along the top of the gun and bricks, the 4.5" part only on the bricks.

Now for the front sight.
Cut out the design twice, glue the rounded part together, and glue the tabs to the 7" strip in the very front, with the taller end facing front.

Laminate the aft sight on to two sheets of cardstock, twice. Bend the sight on the line and glue it with the bent ends facing inward and the flat end even with the end.

Step 10: Embellishments- Step 2

Picture of Embellishments- Step 2

Now we make the hammer.

Cut out the design from the template. Glue that to 2 sheets o 1/16" balsa. Cut out.
Glue to the center of the rear of the grip, as shown on the template.

Paint the top of the gun silver, and the grip grip black.

Proceed to enjoy the replica however you wish!

Warning: You and I know it's a replica; the cops don't. Don't run down the street, waggling it around and yelling "GET ON THE GROUND" unless you are prepared to suffer the consequences.

Note: If you think the edges of the cardboard are too rough, feel free to sand it down, or seal with more glue and printer paper.



Zappzipper made it! (author)2014-12-01

this was it so far ill post it on my profile when im done

2PacLegendsNevaDie (author)2012-04-10

I already made the frame and the cylinder but I don't know how to make the cylinder to roll over. Can you explain it ?

Oh yeah and if you want to make a working hammer and trigger check this out

sure look at the last part use a pen or a dowel

Can you explain better how you did this? I looked on the page, but couldn't figure it out...


Zappzipper (author)2014-11-30

omg thanks dude ima post pics later but hey message me if you ever wanna team up i kinda had a few diffrent ideas on mine if its ok with you?

Master Wasi 47 (author)2014-11-15

Awesome. instructables. it's shining like steel.

deadpooltacos (author)2014-06-10

that is a .44, but still that is a pretty good prop

chloelynn (author)2014-01-24

Great instrucable, I didn't follow the instructions perfectly, but it came out awesome looking.

TheZer (author)2014-01-22

I followed the link that 2pac posted and these instructions and it turned out great! And I plated it with tin-foil and nickel instead of spray-paint and to add some weight, it looks just like a Colt king cobra. Thanks for posting this! It really helped!

monkeybones1999 (author)2013-12-02

I know a guy with a real one

LvNo1000 (author)2013-07-27

Awesome looking prop; I'd love to build it sometime. I was very impressed with the compact and descriptive intro opposed to the normal intro which doesn't say what you will use it for and/or what the building of the project will be like.

carlsands (author)2012-05-23

gentlemen... this reminds me of the revover for the spy in tf2

thatdumbinventor (author)2011-11-27

good job on the scematics and the build it was clear and understand able 100 out of 10

builder67 (author)2011-11-15

This is just awesome....

Spycrab (author)2009-09-12

wow! This would go great with a spy costume from tf2, just reverse the paint job :-D

shadow123456 (author)Spycrab2011-08-27

dear santa

junkfactory886 (author)Spycrab2009-09-15

Oslo; I suggest that you add an extra inch to the barrel and take the finger notches out of the grip. Your project excites me.

Spycrab (author)junkfactory8862009-09-15

thanks, i'm getting to work right now probably going to make a few modifications like you say, but essentially the same thing.

Spycrab (author)Spycrab2009-09-15

also, i hope you win one of the prizes :D

junkfactory886 (author)Spycrab2009-09-16

Thanks for subscribing, thanks for the support, your project still excites me. Mentlegen.

junkfactory886 (author)Spycrab2009-09-13

You got blood on my suit. Excellent thinking.

Akask (author)2011-08-26

so should the "whole grip" that's in the middle only have the hammer, or do all three have it?

vjifcu (author)2011-06-12

I followed your instructions, and it turned out AWESOME!
I used cardboard for almost everything because I didn't have any balsa wood, I just used a regular pen and a dollar store pack of straws for the tube thingy the bullet comes out of =D. I used silver duct tape for the silver parts of the gun and I stretched a black balloon over the grip to make it be black, because I had no spray paint. I also used tape instead of glue just about everywhere. I just love how interchangeable the required parts were! Good job to you sir, and I look forward to using this gun as a prop in my next spy movie! =D

dommy (author)2011-05-21

Epic gun, but if your gonna carry it paint the end bit orange

Biggsy (author)2011-02-06

This is Brilliant welldone! Going to add this to my props group if you don't mind :D

Kirby1 (author)2011-01-18

Do you have to use a light pen or can you use a normal pen?:)

Kirby1 (author)2011-01-18

Why do you need to use a light pen? Does a normal pen work?

TruorFalse (author)2010-12-20

someone should download the pdf and email it too me. :)

NJL4JC (author)2010-12-14


Data643 (author)2010-12-14

I love the Mythbusters where they see if the muzzle blast from this gun can cut off your finger. Confirmed : )

darthpotato1 (author)2010-10-29

First thing i thought when i saw this was "ZOmg! that reminds me of the 357. for Half-Life 2!"

mcxznbv (author)2009-09-19

There are too many flaws in your design. the grip is much too small. the plan for the cylander is too flawe. the holke for the cylander must be cut before the layers are glued together, or it will rip, like mine. the parrern is too complex. and cardstock is not a good building material. please consider re-writing the instructions, they are confusing, and do not cover everything.

rorpen (author)mcxznbv2010-10-27

yeah but he made a good looking model and it doesn't have to look 100% like a .357

Kaiven (author)mcxznbv2009-11-08

I think the instructions were fine! In fact, I made my own version of this based mostly off of the Instructable...

aj01-01 (author)mcxznbv2009-11-06

cardstock is an excellent building material

Kaiven (author)aj01-012009-11-08

Yes, yes it is. I used some on my newest model and it is AMAZING when you use it with wood glue.

junkfactory886 (author)mcxznbv2009-09-21

Well. If you would please compile a list of your complaints, personal message them to me and I will try to address them in a future edit.

chamster (author)2010-10-09

Can u shoot it?

Sithen (author)chamster2010-10-24

It's made of cardboard.... :D

KottonKandy (author)2010-07-04

AWSOME! *excuse me* BEYOND AWSOME! This is like DA BOMB. 5*s and a subscription for you!

mcxznbv (author)2009-09-25

how t oyou make hte indentations in the cylander? i cant make one if this isnt explained.

junkfactory886 (author)mcxznbv2009-09-25

The hexagonal tube structure is covered with the 3 1/2" sheet of cardstock, which had been nicked an inch in from where the space between the cylinder was marked on the aforementioned sheet of cardstock. Then, the slits are covered with six of the "Cylinder pieces" I put in the schematics.

ahh thanks heaps, I didnt notice the cylinder pieces

korvix (author)2009-09-05

thx alot for the guide

rashad013 (author)korvix2009-12-06

dude like can you like restate how to make the handle and stuff cause i cant get it

junkfactory886 (author)rashad0132009-12-08

OK, so the three big cardboard pieces go in the middle, and the two small pieces go on the outside, like this:
Then squish them together. Remember to cut your cylinder hole before you glue. Happy Building!

junkfactory886 (author)korvix2009-09-06

No problem! Thanks for commenting and remember to vote!

Kaiven (author)2009-11-08

I promise this is my last post... because I finished my gun! (finally!) Here is a link to the video demonstration:

aj01-01 (author)2009-11-05

cool gun, I have made some guns basically the same way
mine are mostly made out of paper though with some cardboard reinforcements.

TechNerd1012 (author)2009-09-30

What I was thinking was, if cardboard is to flimsy for you, you can make it the exact same way, just out of some kind of thinner wood. That way, it wont be as "flimsy", it would be a little easier to shape, and it would give it some added weight. Great intructable btw

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