Introduction: Making Rupees From Legend of Zelda

I recently made some props for a local theatre group that was producing a musical version of "The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time." One of the key props from all the Zelda series are the "rupees", a gemstone used primarily to purchase items within the game. The theatre group wanted a red, green and blue one for their performance. I needed to come up with a way to make them cheaply and precisely, because the group wanted their props to be as accurate to the game as possible.

I thought about casting them, but casting translucent items is costly, messy, difficult and hazardous. I thought about cutting out individual pieces of plastic and gluing them together, but that would be time-consuming and would be difficult to make the seams look good.

I had a flash of inspiration when I thought about vacuum forming. I could easily cut a piece of wood to look like half of the gem, vacuum form two halves, then glue them together. This would also make it dead simple to repeat for all three rupees, making each of them match.

Step 1: Making the Form

In vacuum forming, you heat a sheet of plastic until it is completely flexible, then stretch it over some kind of form, and vacuum all the air out so the plastic sucks in tight against that form. When the plastic cools, it retains the shape of the form. I wrote an Instructable about the homemade vacuum former I was using. 

To make the rupee form, I used a piece of oak I had in stock. I wanted something hard that I could get clean lines on. I cut the shape out using my table saw, then set the blade at an angle to cut the bevels into the edges. It only required very minor sanding to clean it up.

Step 2: Vacuum Forming the Halves

I bought some fairly thin acrylic (Plexiglas) at Hobby Lobby. After vacuum forming it over the wooden form, I carefully cut it out with my Olfa knife, leaving the piece you see below.

Because I was making three rupees, I needed six of these pieces.

Step 3: Painting

Before gluing the halves together, I painted the insides. Painting the insides made it impossible for the paint to wear away while being handled by the actors. It also allowed the outside to remain smooth.

For the green one below, I tried watering down acrylic paint and applying it to the inside. It worked, but it was difficult to spread it evenly and it kept wanting to bead up. For the blue and red rupees, I switched to spray paint and just lightly dusted the insides to give them the right color while retaining their translucency. 

Step 4: Gluing

To glue them together, I used a solvent-based clear adhesive that works on plastic. The particular brand was "Amazing Goop", which has a bit of thickness and body to it; this was helpful because the edges didn't match up completely, so there were some intermittent gaps around the circumference. Acrylic can also be glued with model airplane glue and super glue.

Comments

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singerboy41 made it!(author)2015-07-01

Woah! Cool! Also, am I the only one who wonders how they made Ocarina of Time into a musical?

"?Cutting the graaaass! I'm cutting the grass, so i can buy a Deku sheild! I need rupees because Mido is pretty mean!?" Totally a song from the musical.

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Wired_Mist made it!(author)2014-11-28

I thought that was cast acrylic ! lol Great demo on Vacu-forming. Thanks for the Flash-Back :D

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Rhetorical_Save made it!(author)2014-10-31

Whoa that is Plexiglass?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

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mcdonaldr made it!(author)2013-12-19

woah

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neocoolstar made it!(author)2013-06-13

You vacuum formed the plexiglass??? How thin was it and did you heat it up with a heat gun and was it mailable when you heated it up with the heat gun?

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Eric+Hart made it!(author)2013-06-13

It was 0.10" thick. It heated up fairly easily with a heat gun, and was malleable enough to vacuum form these rupees. The sheets were only about 9" by 9"; any larger, and I don't think the heat gun would keep the whole sheet heated without some parts cooling down.

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neocoolstar made it!(author)2013-06-13

Sorry another question: Is it easy to cut when heated? I've managed to find 0.15" thickness at Home Depot and I've used plexiglass before but with 0.25" and I know they're not easy to cut. Online, I've found 0.118" and I wasn't sure if it'd work the same as your 0.10"

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Eric+Hart made it!(author)2013-06-13

It was tricky to cut; it wants to shatter and crack easily. I had the most success using an X-Acto blade and cutting with a couple of passes. It was also important for the acrylic to be well supported underneath where you are cutting.

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neocoolstar made it!(author)2013-06-13

Thanks I'll keep that in mind while I make (or attempt to make) something like this :)

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neocoolstar made it!(author)2013-06-13

Oh wow thank you for the insight!

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hats9994 made it!(author)2013-06-03

did anyone else notice that the game 3 life contest had 151 entries, the same as the number of pokemon in the first gen?

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Phiske made it!(author)2013-04-19

Finished product looks great. Post a pic with it in your hand to give it some reference.
Cool project.

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gregoirehall made it!(author)2013-04-18

these look amazing! Time to start some more projects! At least this is one my wife and our roommate won't give me slack about, I can bribe them with finished rupees!

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skuishingbugs made it!(author)2013-04-18

Post an instructable on the spiritual stone soon! it looks like the gem from the Forrest stone

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Eric+Hart made it!(author)2013-04-18

Will do. I should be finishing them up in the next day or so.

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doodlecraft made it!(author)2013-04-17

Totally GEEKING out about this! Love it! I want an entire treasure chest filled with rupees! It of course led me to your vacuum forming tutorial and I soooo want to do this! :) Thanks for the inspiration!

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kenkaniff made it!(author)2013-04-17

Those look awesome. Great work.

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Dominic+Bender made it!(author)2013-04-17

Another reminder why I should finally try to get my vacuum jig to work... Thanks for sharing, I never thought of using transparent materials, especially not this way.

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Eric+Hart made it!(author)2013-04-17

Yes, using acrylic with the vacuum former opened up a lot of possibilities. It can be tricky to work with because it is stiff and easy to shatter, but if you are careful, the results are worth it.

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husamwadi made it!(author)2013-04-17

Gunna make some rupees and buy me an arrow set! wish you could do this in the game instead of hacking away at weeds :P

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mikeasaurus made it!(author)2013-04-17

These look great! Here, have a few rupees for your hard work

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GorillazMiko made it!(author)2013-04-17

Awesome!

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Eric+Hart made it!(author)2013-04-17

Thanks!

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Penolopy+Bulnick made it!(author)2013-04-17

These are so sweet!

About This Instructable

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Bio: I build props. I've built props for theatre, including Broadway, off-Broadway, off-off-Broadway, regional and educational theatre. I've also built props for opera, retail ... More »
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