Introduction: Halloween Floating Head With 3D Printed Moving Eyes

This is my first Instructable, so please be kind...

I wanted to add a new prop to our Haunted Garage this year. And this was easy to build and came out surprisingly well.

Here is a parts list and links:

1- Arduino Nano (available at Amazon or many sites).

1- Nano expansion shield

1- Styrofoam Mannequin Head

2- Micro Servos

2- Half Round Eyes from the Spirit Store (a seasonal Halloween store)

(if you cannot find them, these will work). See step 2.


Your choice from Amazon or any Halloween store.

1- 4 AA cell battery pack with 9 volt connector.

1- 9 volt to Arduino connector cable.

Step 1: It's All in the EYES

The eyes are 3D Printed from I found a simple set that is compact and easy to print. It uses 2 micro-servos that are well integrated into the design. A big shout-out to for his design.

Here is a link to his Thingiverse page for this portion of the project:

Dasaki Compact Animatronic Eyes + MakerEd Project

I recommend printing the eyes in Black ABS or PLA. as it will hide the workings better.

I made one major change to his design in that I used a very realistic set of eyes. I found them at a Halloween store last year and have been unable to find the exact ones again. I think that you can find them online or in a Halloween Store (Spirit Store) with a little persistence. I did however find some that are very similar but that do not have the fleshy eyelids around them and provided the link above. You may be able to improvise with some latex or colored fabric. As you can see in the video it really gives a sense that they are real. It you know where to get better eyes then please post a link to the comments.

Once you have printed and assembled the Animatronic Eyes, check that they move without binding. You may need to adjust the servo arms etc. to get it all right. I have provided my Arduino code in the following steps.

Step 2: The Electronics

I chose to use an Arduino Nano with an expansion shield. You could bypass the shield and wire it direct to the Nano, but this was way simpler as the servos simply plug in directly. And I can use the Nano for other projects the other 11 months of the year with a simple disconnect.. :-)

The power source is a small 4 AA battery pack embedded in the back of the head.

You can also carve out an area on the back the head to hide the Nano and Shield.

The code is super simple. It is included above. It just randomly moves the eyes in all directions.

***Note: if you are suddenly not getting a full range of eye movement (i.e. twitching) try putting in new batteries.***

Step 3: Start Digging...

The Styrofoam head was cheap ($4), so buy two if you like. If you don't need it you can use it in another prop.

I slowly started cutting away at the area of the eyes, making sure that I kept them even and centered. It took going deeper than expected. Just take your time and recheck often.

The power source is a small 4 AA battery pack embedded in the back of the head. So you can carve out a space and fit test that now as well.
You can also carve out an area on the back the head to hide the Nano and Shield.

Once you are sure that the eyes fit. Spray paint the entire head flat black (WITH THE EYES REMOVED) and let thoroughly dry.

You will want to fit check it again later once all of your electronics are operating to ensure that it does impede the servo and mechanism not bind as the eyes rotate. Once you are certain that the fit is good, a couple of glue gun hold points should hold it in place.

***But again, wait until you are sure that the eyes do not bind in their mounting position or that the MASK won't interfere with the free movement either.***

I also glued in a small mounting point at the top of the head to hang it up. I recommend doing this after you have everything together as it may change the balance point and having your prop looking where his feet SHOULD be...

Step 4: The Mask

I chose a mask that covers most of the back of the head with an integrated wig. That way it covers the lights, etc. from the Nano. It was also the perfect match for the green eyes. The jaw line was a bit wider than the mannequin head, so I had to glue it and pin parts of it to the Styrofoam head to give it a cleaner, more realistic look.

Finally, I hung from the ceiling with some fishing line, but recommend some black threat/string. I then used a small book light mounted to the ceiling to illuminate it from a couple of feet away.

That's it. You are all ready to scare your kids, spouse, or neighbors. Just a word of caution: Don't store it on the shelf next to your wife's desk...... it did not go well for me.....

Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween!! And if you like it, give me a vote.


Halloween Contest 2017

Participated in the
Halloween Contest 2017