I was walking around my local Hobby Lobby looking for ideas on a new project and saw a bin full of mini-bats. I'm a huge Walking Dead fan and immediately knew I had to make myself a mini-Lucille!
Things I used for this project:
20 foot of .22 gauge crafting wire
A pair of pliers
Cedar and Ebony wood stain
A few drops of black paint
A roofing nail
Step 1: Make Some Miniature Barbed Wire
You can buy miniature barbed wire online for dollhouses and such, but it at looked really fake to me. So I decided to make my own. I just made a little hook for my drill and threaded about 14 feet of wire through it, with the half way point at my hook (sort of like threading a needle) and the other side tied to anchor point (in this case a door handle). I stood at the length of the wire and ran my drill in short bursts until the wire had that twisted rope look the barbed wire has. Don't do this too fast or it will wind too tight and break. Then I just tied the end of a third piece of wire to my twisted length and, holding the end with my pliers, wound it really tight 4-5 times. Then just make a loop over your pliers and wind it tight on the side, leaving the big loop in it. After a couple of feet I figured out to not be afraid to make the loop over the bigger upper part of my pliers and not the small part at the end, this makes bigger loops and leaves more space between, it looks better and takes much less time. So just keep making your loops and winding it down the length of your twisted wire, you want to alternate one loop at the top of your wire and one loop at the bottom. Once you've reached the end of your wire, just snip the loops and trim the "barbs" down to what looks right.
Step 2: Sand and Stain Your Bat
The ends of my mini-bat were had a clean straight slice. I sanded those down to give them a more rounded and worn in look. Looking at prop photo's of Negan's bat, I probably should have rounded off the big end even more, but I wanted to move on. I also roughed up the bat at this point by hitting it on a few things and taking a couple of chunks out of it with a pocket knife, less is more here it's easy to go too far. Lucille is a nice dark red so I stained my bat with a natural cedar color. After two coats that wasn't quite dark enough so I used a third coat, but added a little bit of ebony stain to the cedar and it came out great!
Step 3: Add a Few Details
Looking at prop photos Negan's favorite gal has a "Louisville Slugger" oval in the middle of where the bat tapers from the top to the handle. I found that the oval handle on my scissors was just about right, so traced it in with a pen and went around a few times to make an indention and then went over with a sharpie. I had to sand that down a bit to take the shiny off and make it look worn in. (I apologize for not taking photos of this, but I was kind of on a roll) I also took just a bit of black paint and smeared it onto a rag and rubbed it on the bat down the handle and a little on the end, to give it that old pine tar look that Lucille has.
Step 4: Wrap It Up!
So I took my barbed wire and realized it was too shiny and new. I just misted it a bit with some black and brown spray paint (again sorry I forgot to take photos) to make it look older and a bit rusted. Then tied off a loose end of the wire to my bat and wrapped it tightly, trying to make it look as close to the photos as possible. Make sure to wrap the one strand that goes over the top of the bat. When I had it wrapped enough, I just overlapped a couple of strands and twisted the wire together with my pliers nice and tight. It holds together and looks great!
Step 5: One Last Thing
Lucille was shot recently, and she still has a bullet in her. So I drilled a hole where it looked about right, roughed up the edges with my knife so it didn't look like a drill hole, and used a toothpick to stain where there was now fresh wood. I found a roofing nail that looked just about right (that's how I gauged the drill hole) and snipped off the tip you hit with the hammer to make it look pretty close to a fired bullet. All in all, I'm happy with how this turned out. I may bloody her up a bit (she is a vampire bat after all) and I need to figure some sort of display, but I'm done for now. Cheers!