Introduction: The Death Rattle - a Halloween Prop / Accessory

About: Alan Tigwell: Author, paranormal investigator and UK collector of Ouija Boards. See my collection at

This is a simple, quick and easy to make prop, and one that only needs a couple of items. I made this as an accessory to go with a haunted ventriloquist dummy, which you can find by searching for: Tapey Haunted Dummy


Rattlesnake Tail Rattle - at the time of publishing they were available on both eBay and Etsy, alternatively you can see if any local taxidermists have any.

Wooden Cigarette Handle - I bought mine from Amazon, but you can also find them on eBay, Etsy etc.

Strong glue - I used Gorilla Glue purely as that was the first type I came to. Available from all hardware / DIY stores or via Amazon or eBay.

Saw - for small cuts that I want a clean edge to, I always use a Zona S35 saw as this leaves a precise cut


Step 1: Choose Your Handle

If you bought a pack of cigarette holders like I did, you will have a choice of sizes and finishes. When choosing which holder to use, there are 2 things to consider:

  • Is the end larger than the bottom of the rattlesnake rattle
  • Is it the right proportion for its intended use

As I was using mine as a prop / accessory for my haunted ventriloquist dummy, I took time to see which one was the right fit for the hands.

As each of the holders had a slightly different woodgrain, I also made my decision based on the colouring / wood grain that looked the best.

I also held the end (where the larger hole is) up against the rattle to make sure the handle end was bigger.

Step 2: Preparing the Handle

This was the first time I'd used any part of an animal in a build, so I wasn't entirely sure what the glue would do to it. Rattlesnake rattles are made from keratin, and thankfully the glue I used didn't have any negative effects on it.

We are now going to cut a groove into the wooden handle, big enough to fit the rattle into.

Using the saw, cut into the top of the handle, where the large hole is. The depth of this cut depends on the size of the rattle, but I cut down about 5mm, either side of the hole.

Be careful as the remaining wood on either side will be brittle and break if you don't keep the saw vertical.

I also cut a horizontal groove between the cuts, to help with removing the unwanted wood without damaging the handle.

Using the pliers, take hold of the wood that needs removing and pull towards the middle of the hole in the handle. The combination of pulling in the direction together with the horizontal cut should hopefully mean the wood can be removed without any damage to the outside of the handle.

Repeat for the other side.

Step 3: Putting It Together

We are now going to fix the rattle into the groove we just made.

Using the glue, either put a SMALL amount onto the bottom of the rattle (the widest part) or into the groove of the handle.

Because this glue is activated by water, for mine i put the glue onto the rattle, and dipped the handle into water.

I then slip the rattle into the groove, which automatically activated the glue due to the water within it.

The glue slightly expands when setting, so i found it was best to deal with any glue before it set. The rattle itself is fragile and i didn't want to be trying to remove set glue from it. Its best to do it while its still wet.

I used just a piece of tissue to carefully remove any glue that was being pushed out at the sides.

Step 4: In Conclusion

There you go, a simple way to create a creepy prop, either for Halloween or for a haunted doll you have.

If you make one, or use this Instructable to create something similar, please put a picture of your creation in the comments!

This Instructable was written for the 2020 Halloween Contest. Please like, comment or share!

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