Introduction: The Cerebral Kraken - Halloween Headpiece

About: Find more of what I do on my homepage - but no matter where you go, remember to Be Inspired!

Halloween is upon us, and so is the newest brain parasite - you know those things that suck the brain out of your ears and leave you dumb? No, I am not talking about scripted reality shows or the newest Adam Sandler movie, no, I am talking about none other than the Cerebral Kraken!

If you have not hears about this menace before then, obviously, this is due to the fact that is leaves all its victims literally too dumbfounded to testify to its existance. But science has stepped up again and created a way for you to make your own brain squid - although Cerebral Kraken has a far better ring to it.

A few words of caution: this project is meant as a hat, not a helmet, and it will not give any projection when worn as one - that is of it does not fall off from too fast movements anyway. Also, even though most edges will be rounded over, it will have pointy parts, so no head-butting or swinging about with the Kraken. This is especially true if you make them for/with your kids.

A few more words of caution: power tools are inheritantly dangerous, not least because they have no idea about being dangerous. So it is up to you to keep yourself and others safe by applying common sense and listening to your gut. If you have a bad feeling about something, do not do it. If you know there is a risk attached, then go minimize that risk. Again, this is especially true with kids involved, because then not only do you have to make it safe for them as well, but also to teach them the basics of workshop safety as well by practicing them.


  • paper - for printing or tracing the templates on. They are avilable for free on my homepage. Refer to Step 1 regarding how many of which size you need, and whether you need to print them all or just one set.
  • thin plywood - for making the templates. This is not strictly necessary, see Step 1 for more information on that.
  • board stock - as you can see in this Instructable and the video, I have made Krakens from MDF, OSB, particle board and solid wood. So feel free to use scraps or cutoffs as long as they are large enough - whatever you have on hand!
  • rope or wire - for holding the Kraken together. For mine I used thin rope, but there are once again many options here, and maybe you have some short pieces laying around that will do the trick.
  • paint - if you desire to paint your squid. In my experience, OSB has a nice enough texture to leave it be,but the other materials can do with a coat of colorful.


  • spray adhesive - to attach the templates to the stock. A glue stick might work as well.
  • fretsaw or scrollsaw - to cut out the templates from the thin plywood or thinner stock for the finished pieces.
  • bandsaw or jigsaw - for more heavy duty cutting on thicker stock. If you do not want to use those, you can make a squid from thinner stock and go with the above saws.
  • drill - for drilling holes. A drill press will come in handy for this, but it works just as well with a portable drill.
  • drill bit - large enough to make a comfortable through hole for your rope or wire.
  • countersink bit - slightly optional, but a quick way to de-burr the holes and make for easier threading.

The whole project is also available as a video!

Step 1: Watch the Video!

In this video (English and German, respectively) you can see me make a Kraken, and a bit more that I hope to be entertaining. If you want to know more about the project then go ahead and read on!

Step 2: Con-Template-ions

You can download the templates for free from my homepage, and you will find three different sizes of tentacles in there. How many you need depends on how many Kraken you want to make and for who.

The standard size Kraken consists of two short, four medium and two long tentacles. For kids, you can substitute long for medium and medium for short depending on your kid's size, and you can use the templates, roughly cut out, to gauge which size to use.

The idea behind this is to have the short ones on the front so you can still see and talk unobstructed, then have medium on the sides, and the long ones toward the back of your head. You could also make a Kraken from long ones only for a really squiddish feel, or go with more small to make it look cuter.

No matter which you chose, there are two ways to go about it - either print as many templates as you need, or print a single set to use with thin plywood in order to make sturdier templates which you can then trace out on your actual stock in sufficient numbers. I have used this method since I wanted to make more than one Kraken, and I would also recommend it as a way to get kids involved with the fretsaw.

Once you have settles on a combination of sizes and on whether to use the plywood templates or not, go ahead and roughly cut out your templates. Find the best way to arrange it on your stock while keeping in mind that putting them as close as you possibly can may turn out as a hindrance when cutting them out later. There is no point in saving a little space if that means ruining a tentacle later.

Step 3: Bad Fretting

For the thin plywood templates as well as thinner stock for the actual tentacles, the fretsaw is a solid option and a good way to get your kids involved. Check out this Instructable on how to make a quick and easy fretsaw support from a piece of scrap.

Depending on the size of your stock, you should first cut it into more managable sections, and then come back to cut as close to the line as possibly. Do not worry about hitting it spot on. You can either sand it to the line later if you feel so inclined, or you can put it down to natural variations in shape which are quite common among brain parasites and creatures in general.

You can also substitute the scrollsaw for the fretsaw since it is nothing more (or less) than the powered version of the same tool.

Like I said in the video, this type of saw is rather safe because it has small teeth, thus doing less damage per cutting cycle (the saw moving down and up again), and because you can quickly remove your finger once you notice that it hits you. This is especially true for the fretsaw, since you just need to let it go, but it also applies to the scrollsaw which usually comes with a blade guide that keeps the fingers at a distance from the blade. Also, the fact that it moves up and down and not in one continuous direction makes it virtually harm-free to touch the blade above the workpiece since all it will do is to move your finger up and down.

I am not trying to play down the dangers of power tools. I am just saying that fretsaw and scrollsaw are safer than, say, bandsaw or table saw. It takes a lot more conviction and effort to take off a finger on the scrollsaw as opposed to the aforementioned types of saws. But please, use your common sense even when the tool is rather safe.

Step 4: Traces of Kraken

This step applies when you chose to make thin plywood templates. Use them on your actual stock to trace the number of tentacles of the respective sizes that you need.

If your stock looks the same on both sides you can flip the templates over if that allows for tighter placement (while still keeping in mind that your saw needs room, too). If you are using a board that looks different on both sides, say, due to a layer of veneer, and you want to use that to your advantage and not paint the Kraken, then you need to make sure that you trace half of your tentacles from one side and the other half from the other - with half here applying to the sizes, i.e. if you need four medium tentacles you should trace two this way and two the flipped way.

Step 5: Making the Cut

If you chose to use thinner stock, you can do this with the fretsaw or scrollsaw, as described in Step 3. If you glued your templates to thicker stock or traced them onto it using the thin plywood method, you now need to cut them out, and the bandsaw and the jigsaw are your friends now.

You might be able to cut thicker stock on the scoll saw, soo, if you do not have a larger saw, but even then using the jigsaw might help breaking up the board for easier cutting.

The bandsaw is probably the quickest way to go about this, at least if you have a thinner blade installed that allows for tighter curves to be cut. Most likely, the stock you traced on will be too large to get everywhere at once, so I recommend cutting the piece in smaller parts before actually hitting that line - or not, see two steps above.

If your saw (band or jig) cannot make a curve that you need to cut in order to get through between two tightly places pieces you can try to cut yourself a small opening by moving the saw back and going forth again at an angle, this nibbling away at the stock until you have created a pocket in which the saw can turn.

Keep at it until all the tentacles have been cut out.

Step 6: Cutting Corners

You can chose to make the Kraken without rounding over the corners. If is possibly, and might not even look too bad painted, but while I do not think that hitting the line accurately is necessary to make it look good, I believe that rounding the edges over in one way or another goes a long way to making it look more organic.

Step 7: Down the Hole

Step 8: Color Me Cerebral

Step 9: Threadding the Kraken

Step 10: Go A-Head

Step 11: Parade Your Parasite

Halloween Costume Contest 2015

Participated in the
Halloween Costume Contest 2015