Introduction: How to Make a Prop Axe
So for Halloween 2019, I wanted to make a couples costume for my wife and me. Despite making crazy intricate cosplay costumes as a side gig, I knew we were going to be in someone's house or building, rather than a convention center. Therefore, there are different variables that need to be thought out: Comfort, Heat, props, price, difficulty
Houses tend to be warm, especially when they are crowded with people. Also I wanted to be able to sit down and eat, so i wanted dexterity and an ability to get to my mouth. After raiding my closet, I found some flannel shirts and I thought going as a pair of lumberjacks would be super funny.
I actually had my mom crochet us some beards to match our winter hats, flannel shirts, and work boots and gloves. However, something was missing... a prop... Well, I felt the urge to build something, so might as well build two prop axes for us for our costumes. Let's get started!:
- 3/4 inch PVC pipe
- 3/4 inch PVC coupling
- EVA foam
- Craft foam
- contact cement
- belt sander
- exacto knife/ sheers
- Heat gun
- cutting mat
- clear coat
Step 1: Reference
Before i start any project, i do my research and learn what i can about whatever i'm building.
1. I compiled some reference pictures of axes (pic 1-4)
2. I also tried going to the local hardware store but couldn't find a full sized chopping axe. Instead i found a hatchet. It was helpful to see some of the curves up close (pic 5).
Step 2: Handle
1. I found out that the handle of an axe is about 30-32 inches long. I cut my pvc pipe to an even 30 inches. (pic 1)
2. I was originally going to heat the PVC pipe in the oven until i realized that my pvc pipe would not fit inside of it. Therefore, i had to heat the PVC section by section with a heat gun. I literally heated about 5 inches of pvc pipe all the way around and then would place it on the floor and step on it to squish it flat. If you had something heavy like a cinder block, that might be easier. (pic 2)
3. Continue the process of heating and squishing the entire PVC pipe until you've reached about 28 inches. Since the pipe is 30 inches, having 2 inches that are still rounded should allow the pipe to still fit in the PVC coupling. (pic 3)
4. Once you have 28 inches of squished PVC pipe, reheat the pipe in certain areas and bend the squished pipe in the shape you need it to. (pic 4)
Step 3: Filling the Handle
An ax handle has some thicker areas such as the top (Near the actual axe head) and at the tail of the ax. I needed something to give it more shape, because the squired PVC was not doing it.
1. I used EVA foam and cut two identical layers in the shape of a "fang". (pic 1)
2. I used contact cement to glue them together and then i glued them about an inch down from the rounded end of the PVC handle (pic 2)
3. Once securely attached, i took the section over to the sanding belt and sanded the foam end so that it was smooth and looked like part of the pipe (pic 3)
4. I did the same process with the butt of the handle and cut out two layers of EVA foam in the shape of a "half tear-drop" (pic 4)
5. I used contact cement to glue them together and then i glued them to the end of the flat side of PVC handle. Once securely attached, i took the end over to the sanding belt and sanded the foam end so that it was smooth and looked like part of the pipe (pic 5)
Step 4: Axe Head
1. I drew out a paper template so that the axe head would be the right size in comparison to my handle. I then cut out two shapes from EVA foam - 1 side and 1 inverse side. (pic 1)
2. I then cut out the a small EVA rectangle that would be the size of the back of the axe. (pic 2) It also needed to be slightly bigger than the PVC coupling (pic 3).
3. I used contact cement to glue the three pieces of foam together. i also glued the PVC coupling flush against the inner rectangular back piece (pic 4)
4. I glued the blade part of the axe together so it formed the shape of a "slice of cake" from the top view (pic 5).
5. I cut out little boat shapes from EVA foam that would be glued in to close off the top and bottom of the axe. Remember that the bottom will be somewhat shorter as you need to be able to get the pvc pipe handle through to the coupling. (pic 6)
6. Once you have a whole axe head, i used a dremel to bevel the blade of the axe. I also created a even smaller boat shape from the EVA foam and glued it to the top of the axe head to resemble the piece of wood sticking through (pic 7)
Step 5: Caulking Gaps
1. You should have a completely assembled axe now. (pic 1)
2. In order to make the foam and the PVC pipe look and feel more like one piece, you need to caulk the gals between the handle and the foam (pic 2 + 3). This may take a few hours for the silicone to harden.
3. Repeat adding more caulk as needed. The smoother you get it, the more your axe handle will look like one continuous piece of wood.
Step 6: Skinning Your Axe
1. Coat the inner side of your craft foam and your axe handle with contact cement (pic 1)
2. Start wrapping your craft foam around your handle. You can use your heat gun to stretch the craft foam to better cover the handle. (pic 2-4)
3. When you get to the end, you can squeeze both sides together. You can use a pair of scissors to cut off the extra foam. (pic 5)
4. Now your handle should look like one uniform piece (pic 6)
Step 7: Caulking, Sealing, and Painting
1. You may find out that you have a bit of a gap at the seam of the craft foam around your handle (pic 1)
2. Use your caulk to fill in the gap to make it more smooth. (pic2)
3. I suggest using plastidip to seal both the axe head and your handle. This is to create a surface that will be paintable. (pic 3 +4)
4. For painting the axe head, i used a dark metal spray paint over the entire thing. (pic 5)
5. I then used some bright silver for the blade. You can use your axe paper template as a cover while you spray the silver on the blade if easier.
6. For the handle and the top of the axe head, I used my fingers to massage in some auburn looking paint. I just kept adding more and moving it around to my liking. I then added some yellow highlight to it to give it more of a wood appearance.
7. Once you are done, use a clear coat to protect the paint job
Step 8: Finished!
You should have your axe now. We repeated the process as i wanted my wife and i to both have axes. By the way, it is super fun swinging the axes around. Just remember that it is a prop and WILL BREAK if you are being reckless with it. Happy and Safe Halloween Everyone!!
Participated in the
Halloween Contest 2019