Today we will be making a prop claw hammer for about $10, overall this works great for films or just for playing around with. It is still a tad hard when its finished but definitely works as a prop hammer, you can get stunt people (or your friends) hit with it without any damage aside from a red mark for a few minutes.
Step 1: Shopping List
You will need:
EVA Foam (Puzzle Piece Foam)
Hot Glue + Hot Glue Gun
Heat Gun (or hair dryer)
Knife for cutting the foam
Dremel with sanding attachment (or just sand paper at multiple grits)
Latex house paint and primer in one (White), you can also use PVA glue but the paint and primer works alot better
Grey spray paint and Krylon Silver Argent spray paint.
Clear, matte or glossy finish (depending on the look you are going for)
Wire clothes hanger.
Step 2: Tracing the Shape of the Hammer Head & Cutting Foam
Tracing & Cutting
First off trace the shape of the hammer head, it may help to use a real hammer for reference. You want to do one half of the hammer first then cut that out. Flip the foam sheet over (Important)
Next use the piece you just cut as a template for cutting out the next side.
Heat Gun (OPTIONAL)
As you may notice the foam has a pattern on it, you probably wont want this. To remove it (from the grey side of the foam) take a heat gun and blast the grey side moving the gun in fast small circles you will soon see the surface becoming smooth. Because it is hard to remove the pattern from one side this is why we have you flip it so when we put the two pieces together you will have the smooth sides facing out.
Step 3: Gluing the Foam
Take both halves and apply a generous amount to the inner (rough side) of the foam, if you followed the other steps you should have it so the green and green are touching, where as the greys are facing outward.
Step 4: Dremeling and Shaping
Dremel Foam Safety
With EVA foam it produces alot of foam dust when sanding, you wont want to get in your eyes or breath it in, use a respirator or mask and always use goggles. This stuff will get everywhere.
Dremeling The Foam
Begin to Dremel your hammer, you will want to use the sanding attachment with a rougher grit to sand and then go to a finer grit. Do this until it looks good to you. As each hammer style is different its hard to give specific instructions on this part, just eyeball it. One thing to note is the natural inset portions of hammers. On the picture above you can see instead of going straight to the end of the hammer there are three portions, two inset forming almost a triangle, adding these will make it look alot more realistic and more three dimensional in the end.
Once we apply the paint and primer it will smooth out most imperfections but you will want to try to take off any bits of the hammer head that are hanging off.
Step 5: Paint & Primer Sealing. Handle Creation
Paint & Primer
Begin by applying paint and primer to the hammer head, if you have any areas of the hammer that are coming apart after sanding you will want to fill them now (with more hot glue or sometime like a hardening putty) before you apply the primer. To apply the primer you can paint it on with a large brush, for me I used just a scrap piece of EVA foam as a brush, you will notice this paint dries in about 15 mins, keep applying coats until you are satisfied with the result. After 9-10 coats you will want to then submerge the hammer head into the paint and shake off any excess. The reason for doing this is it will fill in the last few gaps and give a smooth finish. Let this all dry overnight while sitting upright.
Making the handle
To make the handle I just used two pieces of EVA foam with a wire clothes hanger piece inside for added support. I left a tiny bit sticking out the top of the handle and then wrapped the whole thing in electrical tape. For added security you can hot glue the wire hanger in place. While wrapping the handle in electrical tape I followed a downward diagonal pattern which produced something similar to the actual grip of a hammer. You could however use the actual grip of a hammer if you cut off the rubber and attached it to the foam.
Step 6: Silver Painting & Putting It Together.
To give this a realistic look you will want to first apply a coat of grey paint to the hammer head until the white is all covered up. After this is allowed to dry you will then want to quickly apply a coat of grey again immediately after you do this use the Silver Argent paint and spray it from one angle (such as below where the hammer handle would be upwards). This will give it a look where only certain parts shine in the light from the right angle. Then spray the paint in the air (for a half a second burst) a foot directly above it so it can fall on the hammer creating a even more realistic look. Finally allow it all to dry when satisfied with it hit it with the finish. As a side note you can go in with orange copper model paint to add some rust to places if you want to give it a warn look before you finish it.
Putting It Together
To put it all together you will want to push the tiny bit of hanger exposed from the handle into the head of the hammer, Once it leaves an indent grab some hot glue apply it to the rod and the top of the handle and glue it all together. To make it look a bit better add one small strip of electrical tape to the handle and head section to give it the appearance that the handle and head are one piece.
Step 7: Props Disclaimer + Idea
As this is a prop treat it as such, be careful waving a hammer around or hitting your friends with it. Although it is foam it still does sting the skin when hit hard enough. Overall enjoy and have fun with it.
One added thing to for films, if you want to do a hammer hit for a film you may be able to imbed a small tube going to the end of the hammer from the base and connected to a syringe. This later could be filled with fake blood creating a great squib effect when hit.