Introduction: District 9 Gun

About: I make comics and draw things. Also some other things.

My brother wanted to cosplay for comic con and decided he wanted to go as Wikus from District 9. As this is one of my favourite films I was more than happy to help him with this however, we had about a week to make this and very little funds (and I still needed to pay the rent).

We managed to make a gun prop for his cosplay within a week and it cost me absolutely nothing to make as I already had everything I needed lying around the house, or someone else did and was more than happy to give it to me.

This technique could be easily applied to other weapons, such as guns from Borderlands. It's quick, easy and fun.

What you'll need

  • Pen/pencil
  • Foam board/ polystyrene sheets (I used the packaging from a fridge)
  • Thick card
  • Masking tape
  • Stanley knife
  • Cutting mat
  • PVA Glue
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Electrical Tape
  • Nerf bullets (or something of similar size/shape)
  • Empty 2ltr bottles and lids x 2
  • Sand paper

Special thanks to my brother in law (and his kitten Stirling Archer) who helped with this. Check out his instructables page for handy wood working tips and projects.

Step 1: Make Your Template

Get some sturdy card and draw a rough template for your gun. Your gun is going to be made up of 4 pieces of foam (2 inside layers and 2 smaller outside layers).

Step 2: Cut Out Your Foam Pieces

The foam we used came from refrigerator packaging. Before you buy any ask around and see if anyone has any to give you, most people will just be throwing it away.

Using your cardboard templates as a guide cut out your foam pieces. Place the template on top of the foam and cut around using your stanley knife.

Remember, you will need 4 pieces of foam all together, 2 smaller and 2 larger.

Step 3: Glue Your Foam Together

Now to glue your gun together!

You'll have to be careful which glue you use, since it's polystyrene, certain adhesives will eat away at it. Use a scrap piece of foam to test. We used PVA which worked fine (it's also cheap, easy to obtain and safe to use) and I would suggest using that.

Glue together the 2 larger pieces and then glue the 2 smaller pieces to these, lining them up as best you can. Once glued, weigh down the pieces of foam to prevent them moving. Leave over night or until the glue is dried.

Step 4: Sand Down the Messy Bits

Smooth and round the edges (they'll be messy from being cut).

If you want to shape the polystyrene use a coarser grain of sand paper, if you are just wanting to smooth edges a finer grain will work well.

Step 5: Add Extra Bits

Use some of the spare polystyrene to make any extra parts to the gun. As with when you made the main gun body draw the shape you want onto the board and cut it out. Sand down the messy parts (you can shape it with the sandpaper if you want to add details) and glue it to the main body.

Step 6: Add a Base Coat

Once your glue is dry add a white base coat to your gun.

Remember, like with the glue you'll need to be careful what paint you use as certain types will eat through the foam. I would recommend acrylic as this worked fine for us. It is also a cheap, fairly safe paint that is easy to get a hold of (you can get large tubes from pound shops).

If you have more time I would recommend using a filler to make your gun nice and smooth and a more polished finish. A car filler should work fine.

Step 7: Little Details

Using the bottle lids push into the foam and make an indent where you want them to sit. Make it so that the lids go in about halfway. Remove the lid and then pour some pva over the indent and put the lid back into place. It should stay in place quite comfortably/securely but you can tape it up with masking tape while you wait for it to dry for extra piece of mind.

Then wait for this to dry.

Step 8: Prepare the Bullets

(I'm not sure what to call these parts so I'll just refer to them as bullets)

For these we used Nerf bullets but anything similar shape should work well (preferably something made of a soft material like foam). I needed the bullets to sit securely in the gun so decided to use wooden skewers to stab them into the main body. However, because the nerf bullets are hollow I first needed to make it so that the skewers would stay in place.

First cut down the wooden skewers so that they are about an inch longer than the nerf bullets. Cut a strip of kitchen roll, coat the the skewer in glue (be as generous as you like) and wrap the kitchen roll around it.

While the glue is still wet put the skewer into the nerf bullet (pointy end sticking out). Then wait for them to dry.

The amount of bullets you'll need will depend how big your gun is. We used 20 bullets.

Step 9: Decorate the Bullets

Paint the bullets grey or silver. Leave them to dry and then wrap around the black tape (if you don't have black tape you can paint these parts)

Step 10: Start Your Ammo Pods

Rinse clean 2 empty 2ltr bottles (the ones you removed the lids from for step 7).

Using the stanley knife cut roughly a third of the bottle, use the marking on the bottle where the label used to be as a starting point. Neaten the cut with scissors if needed.

Step 11: Build Up the Pods

Using the bottom of the bottle you just cut, draw around it onto some of the board twice. Use something that is smaller circle shape and do the same.

Cut out these circles (use scissors instead of a knife if this is easier). Sand the messy edges and glue the smaller circles to the larger circles. Once again leave these to dry.

Step 12: Finish the Pods

To attach the polystyrene circles to the bottles use masking tape so that the circle has something to sit on. Then tape them into place.

Add a coat of white paint. You might need more than one coat to cover up any gaps. When the paint is dry add any details you need to them.

Step 13: Start Painting Your Gun

Draw on some guides where you want to paint and start adding some colour. Add lighter colours first, wait for them to dry and then add the darker colours, since they're more difficult to cover up.

Step 14: Add Details and Neaten Paint Work

When the paint is dry use a finer paint brush and neaten edges of your paint.

I used a sharpie to add the smaller details and outline most of the orange areas. Be aware that sharpie or other alcohol based markers will eat through the polystyrene slightly, as long as you only use it on smaller areas it shouldn't be a problem.

Step 15: Add the Bullets

When the bullets are dry stick them into the gun. Try to space them evenly. As long as you left enough of the wooden skewers sticking out of the bullets they should stay in place.

Step 16: Attach the Ammunition Pods

Mark where you want the pods by drawing around the neck of the bottle. Cut these areas out about as deep as the bottle neck is, being careful not to make the cut too large (you want it snug).

Pour in some PVA glue into the holes and twist in the pods. Leave these to dry overnight or as long as it takes.

Step 17: Admire Your Gun and Get Ready for Comic Con!

Hope you enjoyed my first instructable and good luck making your own weapons :D

I will make another instructable soon how to make the prawn hand.

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