No, it is not an oversized cotton swab. It's a prop for our roleplaying sessions, a mace, actually, that came into being when a character needed to scoop up some especially sticky spiderweb and decides to use some poor creature's femor. And obviously, she started using it as her weapon of choice.
And given my quirky way of trying to make real most prop ideas, and the even more disturbing fact that I have had a camel femur in stock for over a year...
Well, here we go.
Step 1: Materials
Here is what you need, along with some changes that came up during making this thing:
- 1 bone; I used a camel femur, I do not know what you have access to to replace that - you could also make a substitute from any number of materials, see for example INSERT HERE. I should also note that one end already was cut off when I bought mine.
- plastic mesh tube; I got mine from a pack of garlic, it's white and flexible to an extend
- fake cobwebs or pillow stuffing (a yellowish, dirty white color works best
- sturdy thread in a matching color
- hot glue or drill (mutually optional)
Step 2: To the Bone...
First, you need to fix the mesh to the bone. My first idea was to drill holes through the bone near the cut-off end, so I did that. I used an ordinary metal drill bit and some care since this was my first time drilling bone. In the end, I had two holes through and through.
Step 3: Meshing Things Up
The mesh I had was just long enough as I wanted, maybe rather less so, and it fit rather easily over the bone. I pulled it over and held it in place in such a fashion that the holes were covered by the mesh by a good centimeter or so.
Step 4: Needle and Thread
To fasten the mesh to the bone, I used a sturdy thread and a needle to get it through the holes. I pulled it through save for about 4"/10cm length, which I held so it would not slip through later. That is to say I held it the second time around. Anyway, on the other side I threaded the thread back through the same hole, catching a bit of the mesh in the loop. From there I went a little crazy, moving from hole to hole, weaving up and down through the mesh every time I went along on the outside. I do not know how to describe it any better, I'm afraid...
Also, I apologize for the lack of new picture for this step, you can see the thread in the previous one.
Once you are satisfied with how the thread is running, carefully tighten it and give it a good knot. The mesh should hold now, however...
Step 5: Hot(glue)headed...
... I was having second thoughts about the strength of the thread, especially since I intend to use this mace every now and then on a friend's head. Don't look at me like that, he always has it coming... And yes, we only use properly cushioned weapons on him. And... why am I justifying myself? Well, no players were ever hurt during our roleplaying session, even those with pyrotechnics.
Where was I? Ah, yes. I happened to have my hot glue gun plugged in, and I decided to give the mesh a line of hot glue as additional safety.
I do not know whether it is strictly necessary, but at least I learned that the mesh will melt if it gets too close to the glue gun's metal tip. I tried to keep the hot glue away from the thread so I would not clog the holes just in case I needed to redo the whole thing,
Step 6: Stuff It Up
Next I pulled toe mesh inside out, so to speak, to flip it upwards, over the sawed-off end of the bone. For stuffing, I used fake cobwebs - you know, the stuff that looks like cobwebs if you pull it apart properly - which I had a bag full laying around, but after finishing the piece I think pillow stuffing would work just as well.
Anyway, I took a hand full of the stuff and pushed it into the mesh tube, taking care to fill it all the way, including the area around the bone. Be careful, though, as the mash appears to be prone to ripping if you stuff too hard. At least the tear in mine turned out to be small enough to continue.
Step 7: Closing the Net
Once the top has the desired shape, within the limits of the mesh's flexibility, I used needle and thread again to make a ring through the open end of the mesh and then pull it tight. Sorry for not making more pictures of the step, but I hope you understand what I mean. This is the time to check whether the stuffing is sufficient to cushion the bone to prevent injury in case you ever hit something.
The second picture is a little blurred, sorry.
Step 8: Adding Some Fluff - and Done!
At this point, I thought the Spiderweb-Mace to be finished, but I realized that the mesh did not really give the desired spiderwebby look. So I took another piece of fake cobweb, one cut to the length of the mace's top and pulled apart properly. Then I wrapped it around the mesh as an additional layer. By interweaving the fluffy stuff rather awkwardly I managed to get it to stay where I wanted to, and cover the hole in the mesh, too.
Now you can go around hitting things over the head with it, exercising common sense and caution. It is by no means intended as a weapon, and is meant only as a toy rather than anything else.