I was inspired by the Mr. Hyde character in Nightmare Before Christmas to make an animated top hat. I also loved the cable control creature that Dug North detailed in last year's Make Halloween edition. I wanted a creature that could pop up partially or fully and also move its head and open its mouth.

I have been learning the Arduino board and so thought it would be a great controller.

The Scary Terry web site <http://www.scary-terry.com/> details using digital sound recorders. I also wanted to have sound with my animated hat.

Step 1: Create the head sculpture

My first step was to create a sculpture of the head. I already had a costume hat, so I measured the approximate size that seemed likely to hide completely inside the had.

I used Roma non-drying clay and made a quick sculpture. I had some costume jewelry around, so I selected a large and medium fake pearl for eyes.

Once the clay looked good, I brushed on a layer of liquid latex. To give it some body and yet keep it from getting too heavy, I added layers of toilet paper onto the wet latex and then brushed on another layer to seal it in.

Next I added Liquitex paint into the latex and brushed on a thin color layer.

After it dried, I powdered it thoroughly (baby powder or makeup powder) to keep it from sticking to itself and destroying the little mask.
i want to do this but it looks extremely complicated, this isn't something a novice with electrical components could do?
how much did this cost all together?
As with all projects, that's hard to say. I used a Bare Bones Arduino, which only costs about $10 if you buy a 5 pack. The hat - I've had around for a long time, but it's a cheap felt Halloween costume hat, maybe $12. The Servo I got on eBay sent from Hong Kong - seems like maybe $15 to $20. Clay and liquid latex were left over from various projects. Around Halloween you can find small containers of latex for only a couple of dollars. Plastics, brass, luan base were all just scrap pieces. The voice module seems like it was $30 or so. The best thing is that all of the elements can be taken apart and reused for other fun projects.<br><br>I hope that helped.
Which board did you go with? Is that the one that predates the Duemilanove? Awesome job by the way, I hope my minion turns out with even half the personality of this little fella.
I used a &quot;Bare Bones&quot; Arduino clone. It was of the ATMEL 168 variety and ran the program with no problems.<br><br>Good luck on your creation. I'm sure it will have its own personality and be full of charm!
I'm so glad you liked my mechanical top hat in MAKE's Halloween special edition and were inspired to take it to the next level! Well done! The scissor lift was a great idea. I wish I thought of that!<br><br>All the best,<br><br>-Dug North
That's insane, love it :)
Thank you - I live in a rather isolated place, and hearing positive feedback is really great!
No problem, I want to live in an isolated place :P<br>Your project is just another inspiration for me to get into an arduino
Sweet project!<br><br>Also your expression in the first picture is priceless :)
THANKS - I really never thought anyone would be looking at it or I would have tried to be more distinguished. Thanks for your comment - I really appreciate it.
how much does the hat weigh and that's pretty cool
With the batteries it weighs 1 lb 6 oz. I tried using foam core (one of my favorite materials) for the interior base, but the servo bent it in half. I really worked hard to make it lightweight thinking that my head and neck would be grateful.
this is amazing!!! I would love to see this in person if possible.
I live in a little mountain town in Colorado - so seeing it in person is probably not going to happen.<br><br>I hope that the video helped give and idea of how it works.
Delightfully sick. <br>Bravo!
excellent well done
Epic! This is so cool lol
too cool man, too cool XD
Hey, that is absolutely awesome!<br />
sir you deserve a presidential commedation this is great and i am going to start immediately
That is excellent - shame about the battery life (maybe a belt-full next time?)
Well, it lasted for the entire school day (8 hours) with intermittent use. I wired the batteries in parallel to provide 9 volts with more power (milliamps). Perhaps I should try wiring them in series? I'll have to check on the maximum volts the Arduino can take. If I mess around some I might get four batteries to fit. Thanks for your comment!

About This Instructable


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Bio: I am a theatre designer and technical director. I work at Merely Players, a small non-profit theatre group in Southwest Colorado. Check us out on ... More »
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