Introduction: Baby Yoda That Dances and Sings - Upgrading a Gizmo Doll
Like just about every single person on this planet, as soon as I saw Baby Yoda (yeah, yeah, I know..."the Child" and not actually Baby Yoda - please see image 3 in this series for further clarification) on Disney's "The Mandalorian," I fell in love. And with Disney holding back on merchandise until May or June, I knew I wasn't going to be able to last that long. Time to make a DIY version!
Step 1: Baby Yoda Looks Sorta Familiar...
One of the things I noticed as I started researching this project was just how similar Baby Yoda was to Gizmo in general shape and characteristics. I went online and found a newly re-released Gizmo toy that was not only the perfect size, but also danced and moved! Normally they're selling on Amazon for about $30 to $40 but I managed to find one on Ebay for $20 (with shipping!).
Because I'm using a Gizmo as the base for my project, we've started calling him "Giz-Yoda!"
While online, I ordered a 3-D printed Baby Yoda head as well as hands and feet from a user with a 3-D printer I found on Reddit.
I also picked up some basic supplies including:
- Krylon plastic primer in white
- Krylon Fusion in bright green
- Deco Art acrylic paint in sour apple
- Deco Art acrylic paint in pistachio mint
- Deco Art acrylic paint in baby blue
- Deco Art acrylic paint in baby pink
- Deco Art acrylic paint in glossy black
- Deco Art acrylic paint in off white
- Deco Art acrylic paint in canary yellow
- Crystal clear fingernail polish
- 1/4 yard lightweight canvas cloth in tan
- 1/4 yard white shearling fabric
- Tan thread and sewing needle
- Lightweight craft foam sheet in any color
- Glue gun and glue sticks
- Apoxie Sculpt two-part clay in white
- Exacto knife
- Wooden dowel
- Polyfill stuffing
Step 2: Time to Breakdown Gizmo
Once Gizmo arrived, it was time to start breaking him down in order to repurpose his internal parts as well as use his external body as a template for my Baby Yoda build. Using my Exacto knife, I very carefully loosened the glue holding the mechanics that made Gizmo sing and dance from his fabric body and pulled it out (it's the weird thing sitting next to Gizmo in photo 2 of this series).
While doing this, I noticed that the original Baby Yoda head I had purchased looked really really big next to Gizmo. When I had my friend from Reddit print it, I had kept the scaling at 100%. I used Photoshop to do another size comparison and scaled it down to 90% which looked better. I ended up ordering a second 3-d printed head, this time in the 90% scale size.
Step 3: Hand and Foot Disease
While I waited for the second head to come in, I started working on Gizmo's hands and feet. I carefully removed them from his body, again using my Exacto knife to loosen the glue holding them in place. My ultimate goal was to take Gizmo apart in such a way that I'll be able to reassemble him later, so I made sure every modification I did caused as little damage as possible (all I did was steal his voice..which I guess sort of makes me like Ursula in "The Little Mermaid." Hmm...)
The 3D printed hands and feet I ordered came in and as you can see from the photos, they're a pretty darn close match both in size and shape!
I wanted to bulk up the 3D printed versions a bit so I mixed up some Apoxie sculpt 2-part clay and smoothed it over both the hands and feet, building up the shape so they more closely matched Baby Yoda's own hands and feet.
Step 4: New Head! Time to Paint!
The new head came in and the size was perfect!
In order to help reduce the looks of the 3D printed lines and because I'm lazy and don't want to spend hours sanding, I decided to smooth it out using paint.
I drilled a small hole in the bottom of Baby Yoda's head and glued a wooden dowel into place to make holding it while I paint it easier (for this part, use as little glue as possible while still ensuring that the dowel stays in place. You'll need to remove the dowel later and you don't want to damage his head when you do.)
I then gave it two coats of white primer before moving onto the Krylon fusion in green as my base coat.
To lighten up the color and to give him some depth, I alternated layers of the acrylic in the pistachio mint, sour apple and baby blue until I was happy with how it looked.
I brought out his cheeks and lips using the baby pink and then painted his eyes using the off white and gloss black.
To create the highlights in his eyes, I dotted the black of his pupils with two tiny dots of off white, using the end of my paintbrush to make perfect circles.
Once all the paint was dry, I hit his whole head with two coats of the clear rubber spray to protect it as well as give it a slightly softer, rubbery texture and then went over his eyes and inside of his mouth using clear fingernail polish for a glossy wet look.
Step 5: The Clothes Make the Man
While everything was drying I moved onto mocking up my first run on Baby Yoda's body, using Gizmo as my template. I measured out Gizmo's body and transferred it into Photoshop where I printed out the pattern onto plain printer paper.
I cut out the pieces and first stitched them together using some spare blue fleece fabric to make sure my measurements were correct. Looks good to me!
I then moved onto recreating the whole outfit, this time using the tan cloth and shearling.
Step 6: Shhh...hush Little Baby
The one thing about the singing part of my singing and dancing Gizmo that I didn't like was just how loud it was! This thing could be heard all the way across the house and it was really, really annoying. To me, Baby Yoda is a quiet creature, and to help recreate that without totally silencing the song, I glued a piece of grey craft foam over the speaker found on Gizmo's internal mechanism. Between the foam and then the polyfill stuffing, the volume was reduced by over half and is now the perfect level!
Step 7: Painting His Little Green Fingers and Toe Beans
The Apoxie sculpt I had used to help cover his hands and feet were now dry and so I painted them using the same blend of paints (pistachio mint green, sour apple, and baby blue) that I used on his head. I then made little translucent toe and fingernails by dotting on a small dot of hot glue to the end of each digit and pulling it back to create a point. Once dry, I went over them with a light wash of yellow paint and set them aside to dry.
Step 8: Final Assembly!
One his hands and feet were done, it was time to fully assemble him!
In order to get his head to stay on the internal mechanism that was originally in Gizmo, I enlarged the hole in the base of Baby Yoda's head that I had drilled earlier to hold the wooden dowel until it fit over the post at the top of the singing Gizmo mechanism.
I dressed the mechanism in Baby Yoda's new outfit and stuffed it with polyfill, giving him a nice roly-poly figure (making sure to put some extra fluff over where the speaker was located to help deaden the song just a touch more.)
I then glued his head in place on the mechanism post, using a LOT of hot glue to ensure it stayed put but making sure I didn't get any onto any parts that would inhibit the ability for it to move back and forth.
Then, using more hot glue, I secured his hands and feet into place in his outfit and let everything dry/cool.
Finally, it was time to install his batteries and see if he worked!
Step 9: Baby Yoda Gets His Groove On!
As you can see, he's fully assembled and works perfectly! He's sound and touch activated so when you clap or pat him on the head, he starts to happily dance while singing his song!
Now I have a happy little Baby Yoda who sits on my desk at work and keeps me company while I wait patiently for season 2 of "The Mandalorian" and the release of official merchandise in the upcoming months!
For even more shenanigans, you can visit my website at www.eatthedead.com
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