Introduction: How to Make Dante From the Movie Coco

About: Not-so-mild-mannered Quality Systems Analyst by day. Halloween Evil Overlord by night.

If you're anything like me, you immediately fell in love with Dante, the adorable street dog from the movie Coco. Then when he turned into an alebrije (spirit guide), you knew you had to have one of your very own. Here's how to make Dante from the movie Coco.


  1. Foam board
  2. Spray adhesive
  3. 14-gauge wire
  4. Wing-frame (stucco corner wire, flattened, 60")
  5. Plastic strap (58"). I used the strap that holds boxes on pallets for shipping. It was on the floor at the local hardware store where they were loading product onto the shelves. I asked if I could have it. They gave it to me for free.
  6. UV fluorescent foam paper (for wings & tongue)
  7. Ping-pong balls (2)
  8. Spring (1 large)
  9. Carabiner (2)
  10. Tether line and stake
  11. Blacklight tape or paint, if desired
  12. Blacklight Blue (BLB) lighting, if desired
  13. And the basics: paper, markers, tape, and zip ties.


  1. Serrated knife (or your foam-cutting tool of choice)
  2. Wire cutters
  3. Pliers
  4. Scissors

Step 1: Copy the Pattern

      Here are all of the foam pieces shown on a grid, so you can create your own pattern on paper.

      1. Use foam paper for the tongue and wings. I used a type that is UV fluorescent (reacts under black light).
      2. Adjust the instructions as needed, depending upon the thickness of the foam. The goal is to get a rounded, 3-dimensional figure.
        • I had two thicknesses of foam – ¾“ to 1.25”. Having a limited supply of 1.25” foam, I used it for the legs (parts C and D), and the head (parts H and I).
        • Also, I had the benefit of having dense, high-quality foam that reacts under black light. Otherwise, consider painting your foam with luminescent paint.
          • If you paint the foam, remember to prime it first -- paint eats foam.

        Step 2: Head

          Let's start with the head, just because it's the most gratifying.

          1. Cut the head pieces (F-K).
            • TIP: wait to cut the 'scrap' portion out of parts H and I, until after you have shaped the muzzle (part G).
          2. Shape the muzzle.
            • NOTE: if you are using EVA foam that can be heated and molded to hold the shape, you’re on your own. Advance to Step 4. Otherwise, continue with the next step.
          3. Push 14-gauge wire through the muzzle (G) near the start, middle, and nose-end of the muzzle.
            • SAFETY: trim the wire into the foam. We don’t want sharp ends sticking out.
          4. Bend the muzzle lengthwise into a curve.
          5. Use the final curve of the muzzle (G) as the pattern for cutting the scrap out of pieces H and I. See picture.
            • IMPORTANT: the sides of parts H and I must be wider than the muzzle (G), so you can wire all the pieces together.
          6. Carve out the inner ears of part H. Don't cut all the way through the foam.
          7. Carve out the eye holes of part I, so that the ping-pong ball eyes will sit halfway into the foam.
            • If you don't have to cut all the way through part I, don't. Having some foam behind the eye will help anchor the head to the neck.
          8. Trim all the edges of the foam to round them, except where parts H and I will be glued together. The nose (K) will need extra trimming to fit into the muzzle (G).
          9. Assemble the pieces as shown in the pictures. I suggest using spray adhesive and wire.
            • Push wire through part H, through the lower jaw (F) and out through the other end of H.
            • Repeat for part I, making sure the mouth is partially open.
            • Pin the nose (K) into the muzzle (G).
            • Pin the tongue (J) at the back of the jaw (F).

          Step 3: Body

            How many bodies you'll need depends upon the thickness of the foam. This instruction assumes the foam is 3/4".

            1. Cut two bodies without the tail (part A) – these are the ‘outer body’ pieces.
            2. Cut two bodies with the tail (parts A and B) – these are the ‘inner body’ pieces.

              TIP: If the foam board isn’t large enough, seam it together with spray adhesive. Vary the location of the seam, so all the parts of the body are not weak in the same location.

            Step 4: Inner Body

            1. Glue together the two inner body pieces, including the tail (parts A and B).
            2. Trim the edges of the tail (part B) to round it.
              • Do not trim the edges of the body part A). You'll glue the inner body and the outer body pieces together, and you don't want rounded edges creating a ripple between the body layers.
            3. Wrap the strap around the inner body following the strap line on the pattern. I suggest overlapping it twice. That’s about 56” of strap.
            4. Secure the ends of the strap with strong tape. This is how you'll suspend Dante (and tether him to the ground).

            Step 5: Outer Body

            1. Sandwich the two outer-body pieces around the inner body. Secure them together with wire.
              • IMPORTANT: do not glue the outer body to the inner body yet. You’ll need to add the wing frame first, which makes the whole thing a bit unwieldy.
            2. If needed, trim the four layers of the body so that the layers are cohesive. The first picture shows how there can be ridges between the layers. Trim those so that the body is smooth.
            3. Trim the outer-most edges of the body to round the corners.

            Step 6: Wing Frame and Body Assembly

              The wings were a bit tricky. I tried various materials from plastics to metals. The best thing I found was stucco corner wire. You'll need about 60 inches. If it doesn't look long enough, remember that the feathers of the wings will extend beyond the frame.

              1. Flatten the wire (it's manufactured as a 90-degree corner).
                • SAFETY: fold over or cover the ends of the wing frame with tape. Sharp wire is dangerous.
              2. Bend the wire for the wings.
                • Make sure they are off-set a bit, so you can see both wings when you look at Dante from the side.
                • At the bottom, bend the wire so that it fits snugly around the inner body without squeezing it too much.
              3. Use zip ties to secure the frame of the wings to the inner body and the strap.
              4. If you don't want the bottom wire to show, cover it with a thin piece of foam. Make sure to thread a zip tie through the foam-covered strap.
              5. Glue the outer body to the inner body.
              6. Secure the wings and the strap within the body near the top and bottom, using zip ties.(See blue dashes.)
              7. Strategically place a couple zip ties at the location where the legs will be attached. (See blue dashes.)

              Step 7: Legs and Toes

              1. Cut two front legs (part C) and two back legs (part D).
                • I used the thick (1.25") foam for these.
              2. Trim the edges of the legs to round them.
              3. Cut eight toes (part E). This gives Dante's feet some added dimension.
                • NOTE: four are right toes and four are left toes. So when the flat side is down, half of them curve right and half of them curve left.
              4. Shave off a lateral part of each toe, leaving the bottom of the tear-drop thick, but the small end of the tear-drop thin. This is so the toe will taper into the foot.Thank goodness for pictures!
              5. Trim them so that the bottom is flat and the top is rounded. Remember - four right toes and four left toes.
              6. Glue the toes (E) to the outsides of each foot (parts C and D).

              Step 8: Wing Assembly

              1. Cut the wings (part L). Make sure to look again at the wing pattern.
                • Notice that there is a white section of the wing with a fold line. The rectangular section of the white (below the fold line) will wrap behind the wing. The frame will be sandwiched between the colored portion of the wing and that white flap.
              2. Glue the white portion of the wing (above the fold line) to the colored part of the wing.
              3. Attach the wings to the wing frame by sandwiching the frame down the fold line. Use adhesive and zip ties to secure it.
                • TIP: tuck the feathers into the body, so the wire doesn't show.
              4. Scallop the white portion on the back of the wings (second picture), making sure the wing frame is still covered.

              Step 9: Attach the Head and Legs

                This might seem like a weird order to do things, but the parts are coming together making Dante a bit awkward to move around.

                1. Lay Dante on his side, and slice off about 30-degrees of his neck. You'll probably also need to trim an inch or so from the length of the neck. Trim a little at a time to see how it looks to you. The head is not straight on the end of the neck, it is angled in.
                2. Attach the head to the neck with wire through the back of the eye and under the jaw.
                  • TIP: the longer the wire, the more securely the head will stay attached.
                3. Insert the ping-pong ball eyes. Gorilla tape seems to hold the best.
                  • Please give each of Dante's eyes a pupal. He's creepy without them.
                4. Attach the legs using wire or zip ties. I like to use wire first, so I can adjust how the legs hang before committing to their position.

                Step 10: Suspend Dante

                  There are many options for suspending your Dante. The important thing is to use the strap. I attached carabiners to the top and bottom of the strap, for ease of hanging and removing.

                  1. To create bounce, I used a spring between Dante and the hanger (which I made from two 10' rebar poles, taped together and curved).
                    • The spring is probably overkill, since the rebar provides plenty of bounce. But consider it, if you're suspending Dante from something more firm.
                  2. Make sure to tether the bottom of Dante to the ground. Otherwise, he'll flip around and get shredded in the wind.

                  Step 11: Add Your Personality!

                  Color your Dante as simply or as wildly as you like.

                  I tried fluorescent paint, but it peeled off. In the end, I liked the color pop that fluorescent tape gave my Dante.

                  Well, there you go! Dante was a blast to make and I'm very happy with the results.

                  This is my first Instructables. I'm anxious to hear from people who give this a try (or at least a read).

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