Halloween Scarecrow Costume With Additional Props

Introduction: Halloween Scarecrow Costume With Additional Props

About: I just like to build stuff. I mostly do props made from eva foam, but I like to experiment as well.

I am really scared of the idea of moving scarecrows for some reason, so last and this halloween I decided to just act on this and combat it by creating my own scary scarecrow mask and then going forward by doing a whole costume.

The instructable will contain separate instructions for the mask, sickle, scythe, shirt and some general ideas. Since I have build four of those masks by now I decided to show at least one of what I consider simple way of creating any of those pieces in question, without any crazy equipment being necessary. I have a fascination for cosplay and create a lot of different props and as such usually have some good quality EVA foam, worbla and so forth lying around. However I wanted to make the props replicable at different levels, so I tried to avoid anything crazy and tried to offer a simple solution most people can follow and use for their own. Basically if you have access to a hot glue gun, some foamies and some burlap you can copy most of instructions.

I have divided the instructable into different parts, e.g. the mask, the clothes and so forth, to take a look at the headlines for a specific part of the costume.

I have cleaned and added the templates I used for the mask and sickle, however for the last one and the scythe I recommend going with some freehand drawing of your own to give it the personal touch.

Please note: This scarecrow build is not particularly connected to anything Batman or DC related. I got some ideas from their character design of course and mixed it together with a few others and finally came to some lose ideas and concepts to work with. If you are looking for that specific scarecrow costume of the movie, or a specific comic or show, you might be able to use the things I will show here to build it, but I am not going in that direction.

Supplies

I have added the supplies necessary for each of the steps described in the instructable.

However please always take care of your health first. As such I generally recommend:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Thicker (rubber) gloves
  • A respirator if sanding or working with contact cement
  • Eye protection of sanding

I will not reference these in the list of materials moving forward, however I will keep noting them in the text. There is no need to burn your hands with hot glue if you could just wear some gloves instead.

Step 1: Mask: Making the Mask Shell With 5mm Eva Foam

Note: You can also do this in the next step with 2mm foam or cardboard, so skip this step if you want to do that.


List of materials:

  • 5mm eva foam - black or brown preferable
  • A hobby/cutting knife with replacable blades or sharpener
  • Paper Template attached
  • Glue: I used contact cement to glue the mask together but used hot glue to add the burlap


Making the shell:

First we start by creating a sort of helmet shell to put the burlap on later using eva foam. We do this for several reasons:

  • Burlap is scratchy and uncomfortable on the skin, especially sensitive parts, like the nose, mouth or eyes
  • Burlap often lets lose smaller strings and dust, which are also not really nice for your hair, eyes, nose and mouth
  • It allows us to more easily create a complex mask base and roughly shape the “face” of the scarecrow

I have attached templates to create what is basically a helmet. Now, this shape was based off of my own head, so it might not fit you perfectly, however the great part of this is, that it is very easy to change things, even after it was glued together. The eva foam layer will not be visible afterwards, so it is no problem to cut open parts of the foam shell, wedge in another strip of foam to create the extra bit of spacenecessary and glue it back together again. If it is too large instead, just glue on a piece inside, to make it a tighter fit. I often have difficulties getting helmets on and off my thick head, so I kind of prefer the extra space. It also gives some breathing room.

Printing and taping the template papers together should leave you with 2 pieces to cut out. Each of them needs to be transferred to eva foam, flipped over and transferred again. Be sure to really flip the templates over when tracing it a second time, to get two different sides for the helmet. I tend to label my stuff after tracing it on eva foam with a L or R to indicate which sites it is as it can get confusing quickly, causing you to possibly glue the wrong pieces together.

It is easiest to pin the templates to the eva foam or use something small and heavy to keep the template in place while tracing it with a pen. Otherwise it can move and throw off the template itself.

Afterwards you just cut out the traced template. A sharp knife works in every foam, but you can also use scissors on 5mm foam, hoever they might not make nice edged to glue the pieces together afterwards. Also be aware, that the foam will dull the edge of any blade you use very quickly, so you might have to replace your knife or sharpen it inbetween.

Now you glue the different parts together. The best glue for this is contact cement from my perspective: Just put a thin layer of contact cement on each side and then wait around 10 minutes until it is no longer sticky. Then you press the sides together and they stick strongly to each other. You can spread the contact cement with a leftover piece of foam, to ensure a thin layer of it is placed on the parts you want to glue together. The thinner the layer, the better the connection.

Please only work with contact cement in a ventilated area and wear a respirator while doing so. The smell of contact cement is dangerous, especially when working with your head directly over it. Hot glueworks perfectly fine for this step as well, so you do not need to use contact cement. Please wear some gloves in any case. When working with hot glue I prefer some rubber gloves, as the tried up glue can be removed from the gloves afterwards. Always keep in mind that hot glue can get really hot. I have hurt my hands multiple times by touching the glue to soon with my bare skin.

Keep in mind that we will cover this helmet with burlap. So if you have some uneven seams or not everything fits perfectly together, you do not need to worry too much about it, as nobody will notice in the end. As long as the helmet doesn't fall apart, everything is fine.

Step 2: Mask: Making the Shell With 2mm Foamies or Cardboard

Note: if you did this in the previous step with 5mm already, skip this step.


List of materials:

  • 2mm eva foam, also called foamies - black or brown or anther darker colour preferable
  • some scissors
  • Paper Template attached
  • Hot Glue
  • some sticky tape


Making the shell:

First we start by creating a sort of helmet shell to put the burlap on later using eva foam. We do this for several reasons:

  • Burlap is scratchy and uncomfortable on the skin, especially sensitive parts, like the nose, mouth or eyes
  • Burlap often lets lose smaller strings and dust, which are also not really nice for your hair, eyes, nose and mouth
  • It allows us to more easily create a complex mask base and roughly shape the “face” of the scarecrow

I have attached templates to create what is basically a helmet. Now, this shape was based off of my own head, so it might not fit you perfectly, however the great part of this is, that it is very easy to change things, even after it was glued together. The foam layer will not be visible afterwards, so it is no problem to cut open parts of the foam shell, wedge in another strip of foam to create the extra bit of spacenecessary and glue it back together again. If it is too large instead, just glue on a piece inside, to make it a tighter fit. I often have difficulties getting helmets on and off my thick head, so I kind of prefer the extra space. It also gives some breathing room.

Printing and taping the template papers together should leave you with 2 pieces to cut out. Each of them needs to be transferred to the foam, flipped over and transferred again. Be sure to really flip the templates over when tracing it a second time, to get two different sides for the helmet. I tend to label my pieces after tracing it on foam with a L or R to indicate which sites it is as it can get confusing quickly, causing you to possibly glue the wrong pieces together. It is easiest to pin the templates to the foam foam or use something small and heavy to keep the template in place while tracing it with a pen. Otherwise it can move and throw off the template itself. Afterwards you just cut out the traced template with your scissors. Please don't use your good scissors, as cutting foam dulls the blade.

Now you glue the different parts together. This is a bit more complicated than with 5mm eva foam, as 2mm does not give you a lot of space to work with, however after burning myself quite a few times with hot glue trying to get it on those thin edges, I figured out a much better way:

First you take together the two edges you want to glue together with some sticky tape. You want to try and not leave holes between the edges. It helps that the foamies are quite flexible. This is more difficult but doable with cardboard.

After you taped the pieces together initially, you want to add some more tape on that side just to make sure the seam between the pieces is covered. Then you flip the piece over to the inside and spread some hot glue along the seam. Now press in a spare piece of 2mm foam. I usually cut myself a few strips in preparation and use those. After the glue has dried the glue as well as the foam strip will keep the two pieces of foam together and connect them. If you want an especially strong seam, you can repeat this step on the outside of the seam, however I found that the inside was enough for me.

Now repeat this step for all the pieces. First connect them with sticky tape and then glue them together from the other side. Sometimes you have to be a bit tricky with the sticky tape, first taping the pieces together from the inside, then the outside, then removing the tape inside and adding the glue.

Please also always work with protective gloves when using hot glue in this step. I burned myself quite a few times until I learned my lesson. Learn from my mistakes.

Also keep in mind that we will cover this helmet with burlap. So if you have some uneven seams or not everything fits perfectly together, you do not need to worry too much about it, as nobody will notice in the end. As long as the helmet doesn't fall apart, everything is fine.

Step 3: Mask: Shaping Facial Features & Adding the Burlap

Note: The pictures are taken from different masks to give you a better idea of what you can do.


List of materials:

  • Burlap - I used some cheap burlap from the 1 euro store. It was good enough to cover everything, while allowing me to see well through the eyeholes
  • Hot glue
  • Some scrap foam, aluminum or other shaping material

Moving on with the mask:

Now that you have a mask prepared, try it on and se how it fits your face. Make sure you can see out of the eyeholes and if not widen them. Check if you can breathe properly, if your nose fits without issues and if you can actually get the mask off again. If you have problems in any of these places but open the middle seam and just add a small foam strip to widen the parts as needed. If the helmet is too large, we can add a few pieces at the end of the final step to make it a more tight fit.

Once you have a helmet that fits your head, we can add further details to the face. This can be done by various methods. One of them is to use your leftover foam pieces and cut them in the rough shape you want. Maybe you want deeper eyesockets? Add some foam around the eye. A large open mouth? Foam stripes make it possible. Try to smooth out the edges of these pieces of foam a little bit, but cutting an angle into it as to not get rectangular shapes. You are free to shape the face how you want to.

You can also use aluminum foil and tape to shape the face. Aluminum foil is super flexible and can be pushed and wadded up into the exact shape you want. Just fixate it with some hot glue or tape and voila, it works. However, be aware, that it is way more difficult and usually not a god idea, to push a needle through aluminum foil when it is compacted. This might prevent you from adding stitches to certain parts later.

Just experiment a little bit. You can even use 2mm foam and hot glue to create bulges on the mask as seen in the picture, by just folding it slightly in half, with space left over beneath it.

I also added some slits around the mouth area of the mask to see if breathing would be a bit easier. I cannot say that I noticed a difference, however I am sure it didn't hurt.

I also made sure quickly and roughly paint over the bright colors I used with some black acrylics. I just did a quick coat and left it to dry for a bit to mute the colors and make them no longer noticeable through the burlap.

Once you are happy with your overall design, we will add the burlap. You can use a very large piece to cover the whole helmet in one go, or cut that piece into a few smaller ones, to give the look of different pieces being stuck together to create the mask. With one large piece you often have some bulges in places. this depends on your tastes. I suggest trying to get some of the flimsy dust out of the burlap, by going outside and swinging the burlap around abit. A lot of dust and little pieces of string will then be outside instead of inside. It can still be a bit of a mess though, so be prepared to vacuum.

For glueing the burlap to the mask hot glue works very well. You dont have to glue on every single milimeter, but can instead work in parts, by adding a bit of hot glue on the mask and pressing the burlap into it. If you use too much hot glue, it can seep through the burlap. So just small drops work really well. Just work it over in parts. Slow and steady wins the race here.

If you have added some details to the mask make sure that you actually press the burlap in there. You really want to make sure the contour of the "face" you build is visible with the burlap over it.

I woud not cover the eyeholes with more than one layer of burlap, otherwise it can be quite hard to see through it afterwards and a mask with poor vision is less fun.

Once you have the burlap on the mask, you can take another look at it. Do you want to add another piece anywhere to make it look like it is fit together from different pieces? Want to add some more for texture? It is your choice. I would also advice you to have a bit of overlapping burlap on the bottom of the mask. This way it can cover your neck effectively. You can rough up the burlap there with a bit of sandpaper or something similar to get some frayed edges.

Step 4: Mask: Painting and Final Additions

List of materials:

  • cheap paintbrushes you can be a bit more rough with
  • (cheap) acrylic colors: reds, browns, black are the most important
  • a sowing needle
  • string, woolen or burlap
  • superglue


Finalizing the mask:

The burlap itself is quite bright and a boring color. But we want a scary scarecrow and not this friendly ghostly face. Take your old or cheap paintbrushes, acrylic paint and some water. Start out with some black or brownish color. Put it on the paintbrush and make sure there is not too much paint on there. Just push the paintbrush a few times into a paper towel. Then you just go to town. Go crazy anywhere, there should be more dirt, such as eyeholes, recesses and everywhere else. Dry brush over parts, go with more paint in others, there are no rules. Just let out a bit of a chaos. Switch over to a dark brown and do the same there. Maybe add a bit of red to the brown? Mix the colors, use different shades of brown, maybe even use red itself or integrate green or a dirty yellow. You are free to as you wish.

We want the mask to look all grimy and horrible. No clean and nice here, no sir. Just brush over pieces and then press the brush down at others. You cannot ruin any nice paintjob here. You want to add actual dirt to it? Sure, why not? If you think you are done, wait a little bit and take a look at the way the mask is looking. If you are happy with the dirt and grime and the color scheme you created: great. If not: just put more paint on.

Once you are done with the painting, we are going to the last step: Stitching.

Take a needle and some of your string. Doesn’t matter what kind, but dark colors usually works the best. E.g. hemp cord for the dirty look or black wool. Guess how much string you will need and cut a length of it. Then pull it through the needle and tie a few knots to make sure it cant come out that way anymore. Then push the needle from the inside of the mask through to the outside. Stab it back in a bit to the side of the first whole and pull it through again. We want to create the illusion of stitches. This works especially well where two pieces of burlap meet each other. This way it looks like the mask was just stitched together from random pieces of fabric with no rhyme or reason. These stitches really make a mask pop.

If you are done, you can use a bit of superglue or hotglue, to glue the end of the string to the inside of the mask. I am really bad at tying knots, so I decided to cheat a little bit by fixing the string in place with glue. Just make sure not to put the helmet on, while the glue is drying. Just be aware, that it might sometimes be difficult to push the needle through the foam and burlap, if you hit a spot of hot glue. Just be a bit patient and try not to exort massive force in doing so.

Also be aware, that if you used tightly compacted tinfoil to shape the mask, it will be almost impossible to penetrate this area with a need if you really pressed the tinfoil together. You can also use longer stitches to cover inlaid areas, e.g. eyes or a mouth with a web of strings. It all depends on the way you want your mask to look like. There are multiple designs on the internet, where you can get some inspiration and ideas to come up with your own personalized mask easily. Remember: No need to be perfect, it is supposed to be a scary scarecrow for god’s sake, not a beauty pagent project.

I have added some pictures of masks I have completed to give you a few pointers.

NOTE: Please do keep in mind that if you know you are going to sweat a lot that it might be a good idea to glue in some fabric inside the foam mask to protect the foam from your sweat. Otherwise it can damage the structure of the helmet as well as start stinking. It is easier to remove and replace some glued in fabric than rebuilding the whole mask due to sweat smell.
Also if you are going into hot areas, please be careful with the hot glue. If you leave the mask in a hot car or something like that during the summer, the glue can become liquidy again. Be careful not to put your head in there should that ever happen.

Step 5: Building the Large Scythe (a Few More Tools&material Used)

List of materials:

  • smooth 10mm eva foam
  • A hobby/cutting knife with replacable blades or sharpener
  • aluminum rod
  • wooden core
  • dremel with sanding bit
  • contact cement
  • respirator
  • strips of fabric - simply ripped from a larger piece
  • black tea/coffee
  • paint brushes & acrylics (black, brown, silver, white, red)
  • heat gun (optional)

Building the scythe prop

So, let’s start on the weapon for the scarecrow. I thought about a bunch of different things, ranging from claws up to pitchforks, however I really like large scythes from a design standpoint. But I also made a smaller sickle, out of principle and to show that patterned eva floor mats and hot glue + a knife work quite well without advanced tools, but the bigger one is the one I like more. You can find the smaller sickle a bit further below.

First I decided on a scythe design. I wanted the staff part to be curved, just because I like it much more than a straight one. I am no expert in the usage of a scythe so I actually have no idea if that makes sense from a practical standpoint. I decided to take a bit of inspiration from one of my most beloved video games: Diablo 2. Even if that particular unique item isn’t really useful ingame, I like the teeth like design of the blade.

I just doodled a few smaller designs and then went on to draw one I liked on a large piece of paper freehand. I have not attached this particular template, as I am not sure if it is practical to print this. If you want it, just tell me and I will clean it up and send it to you/attach it.

I personally decided on a staff length of roughly 1 meter and a width of around 3,5 to 4 cm on average. If I had to remake it, I would probably make the staff a bit longer, but then I would have needed a longer stabilizing core as well. To be honest all this was a bit of a guesswork and freehand drawing. It doesn’t need to be perfect or symmetrical or something like that. It’s supposed to be this scary weapon and not a scientific instrument.

First I decided to create the wooden staff part of the scythe. To do so I cut out a template of the drawing I did without the attached blade and transferred it two times on 10mm eva foam to cut out. Then I took an aluminum pipe with a thickness of 8mm and bent it in the rough shape of the template with my hands.

I marked the position of the aluminum pipe on the template with a pen and cut it out of the original template. I then cut another piece of 10mm foam with the new template, resulting in a slot being there for the metal rod to go into. This way that piece can go in the middle of the other two 10mm foam pieces and the metal rod will be sandwiched inbetween. You can also just cut three foam pieces with the original template and mark the space for the aluminum rod on one of them to cut it out. It is also important to note, that I divided my original template into three smaller parts, because I didn’t have the necessary length of foam available at the time anymore and needed smaller parts to fit on my foam. I then just glued the three pieces back together, to recreate the whole length of the full staff.

Glue the first full foam piece to the one with the middle cut out. You can then glue in the rod using hot glue, superglue or contact cement. Hot glue works well to fill in the air around the metal rod. After all, the foam is 10mm thick, while my aluminum pipe is only 8mm in diameter. I should have spent more time doing this, because I realized afterwards, that the staff gives off some weird squeaky sounds when I hold it in specific areas. I assume this is due to the metal rod moving slightly against the foam. Then you glue the last piece of foam above it to close the gap again.

Keep in mind that my eva foam is smooth on both sides. So I dont have to worry about any pattern here. I did use patterned eva foam to build the smaller sickle in the part below. Those techniques can be used for the larger scythe as well. Just take care not to have the patterned side outside if possible and try to get a good connection between the three eva foam pieces.

But why do all that? Well, the foam alone will not be stable enough. It will be a bit flimsy and wobbly and might break and feel floppy. With a metal rod inside, it will have lot more strength and the chance of it breaking are much lower. The core you use should ideally go through the whole staff, with only a bit of foam edge on the top and bottom. 2-3 cm is more than enough. In my example you can clearly see, that my template is quite a bit longer than my stabilizing core. You can see the difference in stability in the pictures attached. Due to this fact I am unable to touch and carry the scythe below the place where the aluminum rod stops.

You can also use a pvc pipe and shape it, by heating it up a bit. Be aware, that heating plastic creates dangerous smells and gases, so you should only do it outside or in a well ventilated area. A respirator is necessary either way.

If you are going for a straight scythe you can also just use a broom handle or something similar for the staff. Then you won’t have to bend anything and the thickness might alraedy be perfect for you, not requiring any additional foam. Or you could just wrap it with some 2mm foam to make it a bit wider if needed.

After glueing my parts together, I had this unshapely looking slab of foam. To get closer to the shape of a scythe shaft, I started using my knife to cut off the corners and try to round out the staff a bit more. It is better to start cutting of only small pieces. You can always cut off more, cut it is way more difficult to get more foam back on after having cut it off.

I then used my rotary tool (a cheap knockoff Dremel) and a sanding bit, to make the shape a bit smoother. No need for perfection here! You can use sandpaper to do this, however a sanding tool is of course quicker(though also quite messy). If your shaping with the knife is cleaner than I did mine then you will have less work with the sanding.

Be aware, that sanding always creates loads of dust and dirt, which are not only a large issue inside, but can also get in your lungs and eyes. Trust me, you do not want any of that stuff in your lungs. As such whenever you sand anything, do so outside if possible and over a vacuum to reduce the spread of the foam particles. Also always wear a respirator, some safety googles to protect your eyes from the foam particles in the air (or even a attached bit suddenly flying off the dremel tip) and gloves, so you don’t accidentally sand of your fingertips. I cannot stress the respirator enough. Breathing that stuff in can and will do serious damage to your lungs and body!

If you are a child, please ask an adult to help you out. This stuff can be quite dangerous!

If you have no access to a Dremel, you can either use the good old sandpaper and some muscle strength or go for a thicker core and just wrap that in foam. This way you already have a rounded shape and won’t need to Dremel as much. You will find some pictures regarding this process in the sickle part of this instructable, where I used the minimum amount of tools I could and worked with patternedeva floor mats to prove that you do not need expensive equipment, tools or high quality eva foam to create something.

I personally like my wooden staves to have some wooden texture on it. This process can be as detailed as you want it to be. You can use a knife to score some wood texture like lines in the foam, by just breaking the “skin” of the foam slightly and then using a heat gun on it to widen the grove. You can also use a wood burning tool or a soldering iron to burn in the texture. Only do so in well ventilated areas with a respirator though due to the fumes created. And be careful, “wood burning” translates to “really, really hot”. A rotary tool with a few different bits works fine as well. There are a lot of tutorials on this sort of concept, so I will not go in much more detail on how to do so. Just get some rough wood like shapes on the staff if you want to. It is not strictly necessary, but I feel like it adds character. I did mine with the dremel and a sanding bit, by just adding the groves all across the staff.

Once that is complete, I decided to create the blade. I used the template to trace and cut out three pieces of foam, with 2x10mm and 1x5mm thickness, for a total thickness of 25mm, with the 5mm thick foam piece in between the other two. I decided to glue the pieces together, however on the 5mm thick foam I cut in a slot, to add a length of wood. I hoped to make the blade more stable this way, with lesser chance of it breaking somewhere in the middle. Ideally I would have connected this core to the main staff to make the connection between staff and blade much stronger, however I did not think about this at the time. So the connection between blade and staff is mostly based on contact cement, which could cause it to break should I bump into something on accident. I am not planning on hitting anything with it to be honest and I am not going to make use of it too often, so I am fine with this. I will still have to pay attention not to get stuck on something by accident though and ripping the glue apart of course. After all it is still foam and not metal.

If you are going to make a very long blade however, you definitely will have to connect it from the inside with the staff. You can use a much longer pvc pipe and have it be the base for both staff and blade or try to use some thicker wire to act as a connection.

In theory you can use hardboard paper instead of eva foam as well, however I am not experienced in this. Or you could create the shape of the blade out of hardboard paper and use aluminum foil and tape to shape the scythe around it and harden it with papermache at the end. But I am not that experienced in any of those things, so if you wish to do so, you might have to look at another tutorial in addition. I mostly deal with eva foam.

I then decide to “sharpen” the blade. This step is a bit more complicated for my design, because I chose to do these “teeths" on the blade. I marked the middle of the 5mm foam in between the 10mm foam, to make sure I can see where the edge of the blade should be. I then marked out where the sharpened blade should begin on the flat of the blade. Then I started slowly and carefully cutting away the foam, to get closer to the marked shape. I then used a Dremel again to sand the parts more accurate. Without a Dremel I believe this shape to be too much work to get a decently clean looking blade. Instead I would go for a more simplistic and straight blade shape, where you could easily create the edge with just a knife, similar to how I did it for the sickle below. If you are super amazing with a knife you might still be able to do the more abstract shape, but I do not possess that skillset even after a lot of practice.

I furthermore sand the top of the blade even. If you are better at cutting than I am, you won’t have that issue, however my cutouts tend to be slightly different shape all the time. This can also be done with a knife. Once you are happy with the blade and the edge of it, put it aside for now.

If you have any holes or open seams in the blade, you can use a little bit of clay or other sealant, such as kwik seal and water, to close up these gaps, to make them much less noticeable. Andrewdft on youtube has a really good tutorial on how to do so with a bit of clay, which is were I learned this method. You simply use some air dry clay and spread it into the open seams you want to fill up. You then use your finger and some water to smoothen the clay down until it is even with its surroundings with neither a bump nor a seam left to be seen. This is cheap and will improve the overall look of the weapon for sure.

As I stated, I have built the shorter sickle with common tools and materials, mostly consisting of eva floor mats, a hot glue gun and a knife. So no smooth foam, contact cement, dremel and so on. You can take the ideas there and adapt them for a larger scythe as well to mix and match with this part of the instructable.

Now we want to connect the blade to the staff. To do so I decided to first wrap the relevant part of the scythe staff with a 5mm piece of foam, of which I beveled the edges during cutting. This piece is supposed to be a bit of metal, wrapped around the wood as a connection to the blade. I kind of did something really stupid here. I measured the length I would need to wrap around the staff by using a piece of 5mm foam. I then managed to confuse this number with the height of the scythe blade and just confused myself massively. This lead to me glueing a piece of foam on there, which was too small for the actual butt of the blade. I wanted it to be a bit higher than the blade, however after using contact cement it was impossible to fix this. I managed to save it with some foam clay, but this was not the look I was going for and I advise each and every one of you to not only measure twice before cutting, but also thinking twice before glueing.

The staff is round and the butt of the blade is not. I used a dremel tool to slightly hollow out the butt of the blade, but you can also easily wrap the staff of the scythe in sandpaper and use that to get the perfect shape into the butt of the blade. I didn’t really manage it well with the dremel anyways and used a knife to make the butt of the blade shape fit better. We want as much foam to be connected between the blade and the staff as possible.

Then glue these parts together. In a perfect world you would have a connection piece of metal, wire or something similar between the blade and the staff of the scythe, but I did not think about it at the time. Also really look at where you are glueing the blade on. I kind of glued it on a little bit sideways, which is fine, because it fits with the general shape of my staff, however I would have preferred doing so on purpose instead of getting a bit of a lucky break,

The base shape is now complete. Some scythes also have a sort of dowel like grip on the staff, for additional handling. I decided not to add that, but of course that and any other extra design pieces are your choice. The same goes for any battle damage you want on there. Especially the blade can and maybe should have some scratches you can easily cause with your knife. This way it will look more used and real. I was on a time crunch while making the scythe and didn’t add as much damage as I would have liked looking back now. Maybe next time 😉

Tip: You can harden the ends and spikes in the scythe, by dropping a little bit of superglue on the foam. It will sink right in and ensure, that a tip of the blade or something similar doesn’t break off as easily. You can also use this tip on the bottom of the scythe, to help protect it from damage when you set it down. This can help with the cracking of glue and paint later on. But remember to wear gloves!

Before painting the scythe, it is usually a good idea to run it over with a heat gun, by just heating everything a little bit. It will open up cuts you made with your knife, and seal the surface of the foam, while burning away small fuzzies. Never stay in one place too long, otherwise you risk burning that piece of foam. This step is kind of optional, but helps with a bit of a smoother finish. You can skip it if you do not have a heat gun. If you do it won’t hurt to use it. But be careful with the heat gun as the "heat" in its name really means it. A hair dryer does not run hot enough from my experience. If you already used some clay to seal holes in the connection between foam pieces, then do not do this step otherwise you will crack the air dry clay.

In any case, the step afterwards is sealing the prop. Now there are different ideas on how to do so. Some people use a spray on substance like plastidip, others use mod podge and I myself like to use wood glue, as it is cheap and readily available.

Mod podge and wood glue work in similar fashion. You use a brush to paint on a coat, wait until it dried and repeat a few more times. I personally prefer a minimum of 3 coats of wood glue on everything I build, but I have gone up to 6 and 7 on some pieces and have also gone with 1 or 2 if I was in a time crunch. I believe mod podge needs more coats than wood glue, because it is naturally thinner than wood glue as it is thinner by nature. You can thin the wood glue with a bit of water, but I personally just use it the way it comes. Try to not fill in all the wood details on the handle though. Remember to wash out your brush as soon as possible after usage, to hopefully salvage it from all the glue. Otherwise you will have a brick instead of a brush.

With these coats in place, the scythe should be much harder than it was before. You should still be aware, that it can and will crack on impact. It is foam covered in glue after all, but it should be stronger and more stable than before. Do not bent it though, as that will damage the glue layers for sure.

You can now paint the scythe. First a matte black should be used to cover the whole scythe. Then you can add some silver to the blade and metal parts of it. The black layer beneath it will make the silver look more metallic, while also covering mistakes quite well. The blade part of the scythe should probably be a bit brighter and might need more than one coat of silver. You can also use a little bit of white color and drybrush it on for some additional highlights. To drybrush, just get some paint on the brush, wipe most of it away with a paper towel and then go over the areas you want to put it lightly. It usually makes sense to add it for some implied sheen. Maybe even some red for blood splatters? Just splatter it on with a brush from a small distance.

In general I recommend dirtying stuff like metal on props by going over it with a blackwash. You can find a lot of tutorials for it on the internet, but in general it is the idea to dilute some dark acrylics with water, paint it on and then wipe most of it away with a towel. Some areas will stay darker and more grimy. I did not do it for this prop, as I liked the contract of this well taken care of scythe blade in opposite to the ratty costume. I wanted to give the impression that the blade was taken care of to have it ready for reaping. I don't know if it really worked, so perhaps a blackwash would be better to fit the overall astethics.

For the staff I would also start to drybrush a bit of dark brown color over the wooden parts and slowly go lighter in brown color. This way the recessed areas and grove will stay dark and black from the original coat, creating the visual feel of a wooden staff.

A thin layer of clearcoat will protect your paintjob and is definitely advisable.

You can now take some cloth (e.g. white cloth) and cut it in strips. Then dirty it up. Boil some black tea and put the cloth in there to weather it and make it look more old. The longer you leave it in there, the more color will transfer. There are a lot of good and helpful videos on this process on the internet on how to make stuff look a bit older and tea or coffee is an integral part of it.

I personally like to mix black or brown or red acrylic color with some water and just throw it on the cloth afterwards as well or use an old brush to really press it into the cloth to make it more dirty. Throw it in actual dirt if you want to, though that can lead to some weird smells. It should look old and grungy, but it doesn’t actually need to be so....

As long as it looks unclean and slightly disgusting its fine. You can wrap these strips of cloth around parts of the handle to act as sort of a grip. Just glue them in place every few centimeters with a drop of hot glue or superglue. I used the strips to mark where I shouldn’t touch on the bottom of my scythe handle due to the metal rod inside being too short.

Step 6: Building the Smaller Sickle With the Bare Minimum of Tools

List of materials:

  • patterned 10mm eva foam floor mats
  • A hobby/cutting knife with replacable blades or sharpener
  • wooden core
  • hot glue
  • rough sandpaper
  • strips of fabric -simply ripped from a larger piece
  • black tea/coffee
  • paint brushes & acrylics (black, brown, silver, white, red)

Sickle(steps can be copied for a larger prop as well)

I did this build because I wanted a smaller more easily carryable prop for the costume as well as to prove that you can easily use the basic tools als some cheap eva floor protection mats with pattern on a side to create something nice.

So in this build I used a combination of hot glue, eva floor mats with patterns on one side, a random wooden stick I had lying around and a knife, as well as some wood glue acrylics and strips of fabric for the final step.

I started out by freehanding a template on some paper. I have cleaned this template and attached it, however I feel like you can easily create your own by taping a few pieces of paper together and getting a design together. I then cut out the different parts out of eva floor mats. I made sure to flip the templates over at least once due to only one side of the floor mats being smooth and not patterned.

I cut the blade part twice, to have two 10mm pieces to glue together and the grip/staff part three times to have it be a little bit thicker at 30mm total after glueing them together.

The trick with the blade part is to make the edge of the blade with the knife. This can be done by cutting at an angle. 45 degree work well for this, but of course this is not an exact science and if the sides are slighty differen it is no big deal.

In the blade I added a flat thin piece of wood to give it some additional stability. I did the same for the staff part. Due to the wood being thin enough I did not cut a channel in the inside of the blade to make space for this stabilizing core, but instead simply glued it in when I glued the pieces together with hot glue. I did however cut a channel in the staff, by marking where I wanted the stabilizing core to be and then cutting that area free. When glueing the pieces together I made sure that the outside pieces always had the smooth eva foam side outside, with the patterned one being inside and glued to the other pieces.

I then used my knife to round out the grip of the sickle a little bit and used a bit of sandpaper to make this look a bit more smooth afterwards. If you are better at cutting, you might not even need to use any sandpaper for this step.

To create some sort of wood like texture on the staff, I cut out these thin stripes in a wood like manner out of the staff. These sort of groves help with the impression, that the staff is actually wooden and not foam.

Afterwards I glued the two blade parts to the staff with hot glue.

Now there are different ideas on how to do seal a prop. Some people use a spray on substance like plastidip, others use mod podge and I myself like to use wood glue, as it is cheap and readily available.
Mod podge and wood glue work in similar fashion. You use a brush to paint on a coat, wait until it dried and repeat a few more times. I personally prefer a minimum of 3 coats of wood glue on everything I build, but I have gone up to 6 and 7 on some pieces and have also gone with 1 or 2 if I was in a time crunch. You can thin the wood glue with a bit of water, but I personally just use it the way it comes. Try to not fill in all the wood details on the handle though. Remember to wash out your brush as soon as possible after usage, to hopefully salvage it from all the glue. Otherwise you will have a brick instead of a brush.

With these coats in place, the sickle should be much harder than it was before. You should still be aware, that it can and will crack on impact. It is foam covered in glue after all, but it should be stronger and more stable than before. Do not bent it though, as that will damage the glue layers for sure.

You can now paint the sickle. First a matte black should be used to cover the whole sickle. Then you can add some silver to the blade and metal parts of it. The black layer beneath it will make the silver look more metallic, while also covering mistakes quite well. The blade part of the sickle should probably be a bit brighter and might need more than one coat of silver. You can also use a little bit of white color and drybrush it on for some additional highlights. To drybrush, just get some paint on the brush, wipe most of it away with a paper towel and then go over the areas you want to put it lightly. It usually makes sense to add it for some implied sheen and highlights. Maybe even some red for blood splatters? Just splatter it on with a brush from a small distance.

In general I recommend dirtying stuff like metal on props by going over it with a blackwash. You can find a lot of tutorials for it on the internet, but in general it is the idea to dilute some dark acrylics with water, paint it on and then wipe most of it away with a towel. Some areas will stay darker and more grimy. I did not do it for this prop, as I liked the contract of this well taken care of sickle blade in opposite to the ratty costume. I wanted to give the impression that the blade was taken care of to have it ready for reaping. I don't know if it really worked, so perhaps a blackwash would be better to fit the overall astethics.

For the staff I would also start to drybrush a bit of dark brown color over the wooden parts and slowly go lighter in brown color. This way the recessed areas and grove will stay dark and black from the original coat, creating the visual feel of a wooden staff. A thin layer of clearcoat will protect your paintjob and is definitely advisable. You can now take some cloth (e.g. white cloth) and cut it in strips. Then dirty it up. Boil some black tea and put the cloth in there to weather it and make it look more old. The longer you leave it in there, the more color will transfer. There are a lot of good and helpful videos on this process on the internet on how to make stuff look a bit older and tea or coffee is an integral part of it.

Step 7: Clothes: Shirt, Pants, Feets and Hands

Materials:

  • An old or very cheap long arm shirt
  • Bleach
  • a respirator if you are working with bleach
  • some disposable gloves
  • a spritz bottle
  • paper towels
  • protective background, e.g. a bunch of newspapers
  • acrylic colors: reds, browns, black
  • scissors
  • a grater (e.g. for cheese) or rough sandpaper
  • some pants (I went for black jogging pants)
  • something like straw or natural raffia

NOTE: You can always play around with the clothes and go for something completely different.

Plaid shirts work well for any scarecrow and it is not difficult to make them look grungy with some acrylic paints or other methods. You can sew on different colored patches of fabric to go more for the patched together look and so on. A lot of stuff works here and it all depends on what you like and what you can get your hands on.


Shirt

I got some very cheap longarm shirts for around 2 euro a piece, so I got two of those in case I messed one up and that was it. Do not(!) use your good or expensive clothes for this. You should be aware, that you will most likely be unable to wear the shirts again afterwards. Cotton works well, I am not sure about anything else. I thought about wearing a plaid shirt above it, but went in a different direction instead.

I always wanted to try and bleach a shirt, because I have seen some really cool results online. So no time like the present to get my hands dirty. Or rather not my hands, but my gloves. Because working with bleach can be dangerous. It is bad for your skin, eyes, nose…basically the stuff is bad for your everything. So make sure you have your disposable gloves as well as a respirator on when using it so be safe.

I started putting some plastic covering on the floor, where I planned to work on my shirt. The area should be well ventilated, because bleach often has a lingering smell, which you don’t want to breathe in for a long time. Instead of the plastic cover you could and probably should use newspaper and be very generous with the space around the shirt itsself. You want to prevent bleach getting on anything else but what you want it to. Better safe than sorry.

Wearing my gloves, I mixed around 50% water and 50% bleach in the spritz bottle. I first filled in the water and added the bleach after otherwise you might melt the plastic bottle by accident. I made sure there was no bleach on the bottle itself by cleaning it under running water. Pure bleach can and will destroy a lot of things it gets in contact with, e.g. clothes. The bleach-water-mixture has a lower chance of that happening, but it can still happen.

I then cut out a sort of design for my shirt out of some thicker paper. My idea was to get some spooky eyes and grin on the shirt, which would not be super obvious, but noticeable if you looked closely. I really messed up here, by protecting the grin with the paper, to make this area darker, but doing the opposite and protecting the outline of the eyes. I don’t know what I was thinking there to be honest. So kind of ignore that and please don’t copy this step. You will see the terrible result later. This is a case of "do as I say, not as I do", learn from my mistakes instead.

I also already cut in some holes and time worn damage in the bottom of the shirt with some scissors. I would recommend doing this after you are done with the bleach instead of before.

Then I went and used the bleach water concoction in the spray bottle and started to spray a bit of it on the shirt, especially around the mouth and in the eyes(which was not my smartest move) and then pressed the paper towels onto the parts I sprayed the bleach on to remove most of the liquid again. You can see the stuff working within minutes even when having removed most of it. In my case it created these orange spots, just as I wanted. The color can apparently differ from shirt to shirt, however black shirts have a high change of being orange, so perhaps test it on a small barely visible part of the shirt first.

I worked over the rest of the shirt the same way, spraying some bleach water mixture and wiping most of it away. I then removed the paper template for the eyes and mouth, noticed my mistake with the eyes being bright and the surrounding dark instead of the other way around, and tried to solve the issue by spraying some more bleach around everywhere to try and fix this. My original idea was to spray the rest of the shirt twice with bleach and the eyes and grin only once to have this area be darker and have this sort of dark eyes and dark grin effect that wasn’t immediately obvious but instead would work on a second look instead. But I scrapped most of that plan and just went to town with the mixture to try and remove these clean cut lines caused by the template to make it look more organic.

Be aware that creases in the shirt can lead to some weird straight lines, so try to move the shirt around a bit while working on it to prevent this. Do this for all sides of the shirt, but of course be careful not to overdo it, as it can destroy the structure of the shirt and ruin it completely.

If you are happy with your result put the shirt under some running water and wash the bleach out thoroughly. I basically cleaned it until the water itself was clear and no longer colored orange. I then let the shirt sit in some water for another minute or two, to make sure the bleach reaction stopped and the shirt was completely free of it. I have seen people use water and vinegar for this step, but water worked just fine for me. I then hung the shirt out to dry.

I also emptied out the bleach water solution from the plastic spray bottle. Even though the bleach is diluted heavily, it is still very strong and can slowly but surely make a hole in the plastic bottle and leak out. You don’t want that!

After the shirt dried off, you can still clearly see my bad decision with the eye and mouth template. It looked terrible. To try and salvage the project I went crazy with an old brush and some acrylic colors. I worked the shirt over with some black, dark brown, two lighter brown tones and two different tones of red as well as a mix inbetween. I went from pressing the brush in there like a madman to drybrushing, back to using force again. I tried to soften up those clearly visible black spots where the template paper had been, put some more color in different places and added some red splatters to simulate the effect of blood. In the end the original idea of there being this gaping maw, is barely existent. If you really look closely you can still see it, but the eyes are unrecognizable. In my opinion it worked out well and I feel like going over the shirt with some acrylics really helps with the look of things.

Now would be the time to make the shirt look more worn and used by adding some damage to it. I began this step before the bleaching process, which I would not exactly recommend. It seems to be easier doing it now instead. I cut slits into the bottom of the shirt to make it seem more rough and damaged, like the shirt was caught by brambles while going through the forest or something.

Then I took a cheesegrater and just went to town with it across the shirt, to create these tiny and sometimes not so tiny holes in the shirt. Rough sandpaper also works for this, however the cheese grater seemed easier. You really want to make sure it is cleaned thoroughly before you use it for food again. The holes look small mostly, but have a great effect in person. I widened some of the holes by force, to create a few larger holes. Doing so requires you to wear some sort of undershirt beneath this one though, otherwise your skin will show through, which isn’t the scarecrow look we are going for.

While the way I got to the end result wasn’t clean and straight, I still like the shirt in the end. So learn from my mistakes if you want to go the way I did. Or choose a completely different outfit. That is totally up to you.

Hands & feet

For the hands you cannot go wrong with some black or brown wool gloves. They do a decent job from an aesthetics standpoint and you will still be able to grab stuff without losing too much fine control.

To add to the scarecrow theme I decided to have some straw sticking out from beneath the shirt at the hands. I achieved this quite easily by using a strip of 2mm foam long enough to wrap around my wrist and glued on some strips of Velcro to be able to open and close it around my wrist. If you only want to use it once or twice you can also simply tape this foam band shut with sticky tape instead.

Then I glued pieces of what apparently is called natural raffia to the strip of foam. You can try to make the raffia look a bit darker, but I kind of liked the contrast. To put it on I recommend first putting on the glove and then setting the foam strip behind it, this way there is less of a chance of it suddenly falling to far forward while moving.

Note: I recommend you use a more natural color, such as brown if you have the chance for your strip of foam. This way even if it sometimes becomes visible during movement, it will not be easily noticed. The pink strip would instead draw attention even if it is only visible for a second by accident.

As for the shoes everything that isn’t some garish color works. I would not recommend bright yellow running shoes, but everything that is less noticeable is fine. You can use the same technique to have straw peeking out of the bottom of your pants. Just try not to make the natural raffia pieces too longer, otherwise you might step on them.

Pants

I just wore some black jogging pants I had lying around. I tied a rope around my belt and pretended to use it as some sort of belt. Other pants work totally fine, though I feel that for the shirt some dark pants are necessary. My options here were simply a bit limited. I might add some patches of fabric to the pants or something like that but to be honest I am happy with the result and I do not believe this will be an issue in the dark of halloween.

I wouldn’t want to bleach the pants, but I think some patches and maybe some dirty colors would help sell the whole thing more. But keep in mind that these might be irreversible changes.

The rope was a simple solution. I originally got it to create a non funfctional noose to wear in addition to the mask, but decided against it as the idea kind of scared me and seemed to dangerous and prone to error. So i simply used it as a makeshift belt.

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    5 Comments

    0
    IronMan1962
    IronMan1962

    9 months ago

    Great costume and you taught me something about writing instructables.

    0
    AnandM54
    AnandM54

    9 months ago

    Ohhhhhh wow nice costume... Nice instructables one!!!👏👏👏

    0
    Cr4ckling
    Cr4ckling

    Reply 9 months ago

    Thank you! I tried making it easy to follow along without crazy equipment

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    9 months ago

    Stitched faces are so creepy! Nice job on this costume :)

    0
    Cr4ckling
    Cr4ckling

    Reply 9 months ago

    Thank you! I store them in a way that they don't look in my direction at night to not feel uncomfortable :D