Introduction: Undying to Read - a Cardboard Chainsaw and Some Cool Staging!

Hello Everybody and welcome to my first Instructable!

I would like to start by giving credit where credit is due and thanking Odin from AWE ME on Youtube for making a step by step video on making a prop chainsaw from more hardcore materials... I'd also like to apologize for the quality of the photos my phone isn’t the most awesome but I hope that the pictures will help you gauge what each step of the process looks like… ish…. In cardboard and how I staged the display!

My name is Roxanne, aka The Dewey Decimator, and I am a Library Technician…. That’s a fancy term for Librarian Jr. Part of my job aside from regular library business and having Makerspace fun, is that I get to decorate the library.

Halloween is always one of my favorite decorating times. It’s rife with moving eye portraits, spooky lights, bats and rats. My secondary display is “Un-Dying to Read a New Book”. This is where my cardboard Chainsaw decoration shines! Check it out!

And Let’s get to it!!!


Here’s a list of supplies I used:

  • One large Cardboard box
  • Paper Towel/toilet Paper (or plain cardboard) tubes
  • Black paper
  • Masking Tape.
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Hot Glue Sticks
  • Black, Brown, Red, and Silver Acrylic Paint
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Box Cutter/Utility Knife
  • Lids to trace Circles
  • Empty plastic container to trace
  • Old, Discarded Books
  • A circular saw, or a friend with a saw.
  • Zombie Hand Coloring Sheets or clip art… or kid drawings.

Step 1: Gather Those Recyclables!!

To begin I just turned my workroom upside down looking for shapes to trace! I ended up using the bottom of a round tape dispenser and a plastic container that at some point held quinoa. We also get tons of shipments here in the Library so I had lots of Cardboard. I had the black and silver acrylic paint on hand but have also had to ask crafty friends to borrow some supplies.

Step 2: Body Work!

I used the plastic container to construct the basic body of the chainsaw. I wanted it to be a little more rounded so I sketched the desired shape onto the cardboard until I was satisfied and cut out the shape.

I then used this cut out to trace another shape and cut it for the other side of the body.

You should have two identical pieces for the sides of the chainsaw.

Step 3: Building the Body.

I wanted the prop to be pretty substantial so I cut a large strip of cardboard (5 in. wide and approx. 28 in. long), rounded it between my hands and then used masking tape to temporarily hold the strip around one rounded shape I had made before then used masking tape to hold the other side to create a 3-D body. **Masking Tape is your friend for temporarily holding things and cleaning up seams. I got real hot glue happy at first and was hot glue sad when I had to readjust pieces***

There was originally some overhang so I used my utility knife to cut off the excess.

If you’re happy, hot glue the pieces together!

Paint this piece red (or pink or purple or add glitter). Do you, boo!

While this part is drying you can move on to the next!

Step 4: A Place for the Blade...

While this piece is drying I constructed the part of the machine that the saw blade is in. For this, I free handed an “L” shape and used another strip of cardboard (about half an inch wide) to make it 3-D. I hot glued this piece together, making sure to leave an open to insert the “blade” and then hot glued it to the body. And painted it to match.

**Now in my brain, I was going to really Bruce-ify this guy and decided to add the “arm-hole” *flinch* and I stenciled a circle and another stip of cardboard glued them together and painted them black… this part was just extra but I know yours will look just fine without it. I also used a paper towel tube for the handle but it's at the back of the display so... your choice.**

Step 5: Blade Time!

Now it’s blade time!!

The above picture is on an old file folder, so that the shape could be seen a bit better.

I free handed this shape using a ruler for the straight-edge (sort of), it’s about 2 feet long and 4 to 5 inches wide) and rounded the end. I cut out two of these shapes and (again) used a small strip (about an inch wide) of cardboard to wrap around the two blades. I glued all these pieces together and painted them silver.

When the silver was dry, I watered down some black and brown paint to make everything look a bit grimy. Use enough water to get the look you prefer. More water equals a more transparent grime while less will give you an oily looking effect. You decide how you want to dirty up your saw!

Once the blade is dry, you will glue it into the “L-Shape” that’s attached to your saw body.

Step 6: Show Me Your Teeth!

Trace or draw the teeth for the blade. I put together simple shapes. It’s a triangle and a parallelogram that make up the shape of the teeth. I cut out a stencil but found that repeating the shapes using a ruler was easier. I always look for ways to minimize waste so I folded a piece of black card-stock into fourths lengthwise, drew the teeth and cut out the shapes making more than one set at a time.

Step 7: Chomp!

Once the blade was dry I used my utility knife to cut into the blade so I could stick my black paper teeth into the blade. I cut one piece into sections to make it easier to fit them into the curve of the blade. I used a little bit of hot glue to keep the teeth from wiggling in and out of the cardboard blade.

Step 8: Saw Some Old Books in Half!!!

My school was built in the 80's so, the average age of our collection was pretty old. We do a great deal of weeding before summer so luckily, we had a cart of old books that were going to be recycled in the back and a few that had been loved to spines breaking and pages falling out. I know that sometimes you can find a grab box of books at second hand stores. If you can't find actual books, cardboard and newspaper can probably make some good lookin' faux books... when you do that you can give them punny names like "Bite the Hand that Feeds You","Hungry for Brainz" or "Undead? What's Next?!"

I, myself, don't have any sawing accouterments so I asked my principal if he could help with this step and he didn't disappoint! I had about 9 books sawed in half but only ended up using about 7 of the sawed books.

There's no need for the cut to be clean... the messier the better!

You'll need to keep some of the books in tact for the base of your sculpture.

I ended up adding two more old books to the bottom after the main part was done, so that the structure could be taller.

Step 9: Build and Glue the Sculpture Together.

Stack your books as desired.

Start with your intact books on the bottom and then when you like how things are coming together, you can start to glue the books from the bottom up.

I chose to stagger them but you can neatly stack them if you want...

When you start to stack the sawed books, the first book you glue down should have the the sawed ends be a little closer together getting wider as you stack like they are being sawed in half.

It's a bit of a balancing act getting the saw to stay in between the books so maybe having some helping hands hold it while you glue would make things a little easier.

Alternatively, You could just rest the chainsaw inside the structure if you plan on using the chainsaw for something different down the line.

Step 10: Add Details and Flick Paint!!

This was my favorite part of the whole project!!!

Using the watered down paint from before (which is actually just the trash water from painting each part) I dripped paint on the books and flicked paint on the chainsaw and books! Just have fun with it. I used a bit of red but decided to back off of the bloody look for the sake of middle schoolers but deep inside, I desperately wanted to make it gore-geous! I also sprinkled it with some glitter because WHY NOT?!

Step 11: Prepare for Ohhhs and Ahhhs From the Boys and Ghouls...

Once everything is nice and dry you can show off your creation!!

I decided to have students come and color some zombie hands because they could brag to their friends that they "made that" and I stuck them like bookmarks into the new titles that we have available for check out.

I also used Canva to make the "Undying to Read Banner" and printed it sized 72x22 in.

Thanks for checking out my first Instructable!!!! See you soon!

You can follow my other library creations on Instagram @the.dewey.decimator!!!

Halloween Contest 2019

Participated in the
Halloween Contest 2019