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Picture of Poseable Skelly
This Instructable will show you how to take those small plastic skeletons from the dollar stores & convert them from limp noodles into fun & poseable characters. It's a fairly easy and cheap way to add a little character & life to your Halloween display.
 
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Step 1: Materials

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1. A 16" plastic blow mold skeleton (Found at most dollar stores during Halloween season)
2. 16 guage wire (Found at Hardware & Home Improvement stores. The wire I used is for use with rebar)
3. A yard stick or measuring tape
4. Wire cutters (anything that will cut through the 16 guage wire)
5. A pair of needle nose pliers
6. A knife

Optional item:
Tape or paint to mark the wire, so you know you have inserted it far enough into the skeleton when working on the legs.

Step 2: Prep

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1. Measure & cut two 11 inch pieces of wire for the arms.
2. Measure & cut two 15 inch pieces of wire for the legs.
3. Disassemble the skeleton.
4. Cut the hanging loop off the top of the skull.
5. Enlarge the holes (or make new ones if it doesn't have any) in the connecting "nubs" of the neck, arms & legs. You can use a piece of the wire or a nail to do this. Heating the end of the wire/nail makes it very easy, but be careful not to burn yourself!
6. Make a hole in the bottom of the foot, near the heal, so that the leg wires will protrude and allow the skelly to stuck into the ground.

Step 3: Wiring the arms

Take a piece of 11" long wire and lay it over the top of the skelly's neck with just a bit of the wire past the tip of the nub on the neck. Then bend the wire at a 90degree angle so that it lines up with hole for the arm in the upper torso.
Bend the tip of the wire that will come out through the neck slightly. This will make it easier to get the wire up through the neck.
Starting at the arm hole in the torso, feed the wire in and up towards the neck. If it seems to get stuck in the ridges in the neck, just flex the neck a bit. Once you have it sticking up enough to grab with a pair of pliers, pull it through to about a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch sticking out of the neck.
Slightly bend the end of wire that is now sticking out of the arm hole. This will make it easier to get around the bend at the top of the upper arm bone. Push the wire through the hole in the nub. As you are pushing the wire through, you will feel it binding against the side of the bone because of the slight bend & the angle you are pushing it through at. Slightly flexing the bone will re-bend the wire so that the end is not binding on the side. Keep pushing it through until it comes out the other side. Once it is through, slide the bone all the way up and push the nub into the arm hole of the torso.
Before attaching the lower section of arm bone, straighten the wire the best you can. Line up the lower arm bone to the upper arm bone to make sure the remaining section of wire does not extend past the middle finger of the hand. Remember to make sure the nub is past the end of the upper arm section or the wire will still extend past the middle finger of the hand. If the wire is too long, you can either try to pull it through from the neck or just nip the end off. Now push the wire through the lower arm section and up into the hand.
Repeat this process for the other arm. It may be a bit more difficult to feed the wire up through the neck because of the other wire but with a little wiggling & patience it will go through.

Step 4: Wiring the legs

Take a piece of 15" long wire and lay it over the top of the skelly's lower spine, starting from where the rib section connects to the spine. Bend the wire slightly so that it lines up with the leg hole of the torso.
Bend the tip of the wire that will go up through the spine slightly. This will make it easier to get the wire up through the spine.
An optional measure is to mark the wire at the leg hole (with tape or paint) to make sure when you push it through that it has gone far enough up into the spine.
Starting at the leg hole in the torso, feed the wire in and up into the spine. You shouldn't have much trouble getting it to slide right in.
Slightly bend the end of wire that is now sticking out of the leg hole. This will make it easier to get around the bend at the top of the thigh bone. Push the wire through the hole in the nub. As you are pushing the wire through, you will feel it binding against the side of the bone because of the slight bend & the angle you are pushing it through at. Slightly flexing the bone will re-bend the wire so that the end is not binding on the side. Keep pushing it through until it comes out the other side. Once it is through, slide the bone all the way up and push the nub into the leg hole of the torso.
Before attaching the lower section of leg bone, straighten the wire the best you can. Now push the wire through the lower leg bone section and push the nub into the thigh bone.
Slide the wire through the foot and push onto the nub of the lower bone section.
Repeat this process for the other leg.
Now make that skelly strike a pose!

Step 5: Skellies in Action

Here are some pics of different ways I have used my little army of poseable skellies! They have become my signature mark when working on projects & displays.
l8nite3 years ago
FANTASTIC ! I especially like the wagon, Im saving this one for next years Haunt !
PaHalloweenFreak (author)  l8nite3 years ago
Thank You! The wagon was a fill in item for the horse. I usually have a wooden hearse carriage behind the horse but it is in need of some repairs. I ended up liking the wagon idea though.
Maybe once I get the carriage fixed, I will just have to have a bigger skelly pulling the wagon with the little ones in it. LOL!
I have dozens of Haunters on my Correa Ct Haunted House facebook, I meant to share this before and your reply reminded me to do so. Personally Im thinking about a mini haunted area leading to the Haunted House, those people standing in line for an HOUR need something to entertain them !
PaHalloweenFreak (author)  l8nite3 years ago
I think that is a great idea! Keeping people entertained in line is very important.
Thanks for sharing the Ible too! Maybe some day, there will be armies of little skellies all over the place. LOL!
wlaquet3 years ago
Now I voted once for you Pa and once for wally!!!Hope I don't start a fight!!!lol
Great idea, but I love how you documented the possibilities. I really think Halloween should be twice a year, at least =)
PaHalloweenFreak (author)  cdawisconsin3 years ago
Thanks! I totally agree! Halloween should be at least twice a year for sure!
Hmm this gives me a great idea. What if you took one of these poseable guys and added sculpting putty or something like it to give it a skin? Basically use this to make a poseable person doll. Then you can dress it and such and set it out all year long.
I like your thinking! Although, I am such a Halloween freak that I have things like this out all year anyway. LOL!
I did use Monster Mud (drywall mud mixed with paint) once on one of them which made it look like a stone statue. However by the next year, it was starting to fall off so I am not sure how the clay would do.
I do think the best potential might be to corpse it (liquid latex & cotton batting). I would do each piece individually to make sure that you can still move it around freely.
If you do try the sculpting putty, I would be very interested in seeing how they turn out!
That looks great! And like a lot of fun to play with!
Thanks! These guys are so fun to play with! They can do just about anything you can imagine!