this is how i made some cheap-o reacher arms for an actor in my haunted trail. they were quite effective, in fact a woman had to be rushed to the hospital straight from the clown area-she went into labor!
Step 1: A Little Back-story First (you Can Skip This If You Like)
we do a haunted trail, and one of our actors is a friend of my son. Dillon, the friend, is a BIG boy. last year his clown costume literally shredded off him. so we had to come up with something different. looking online, the Reacher costumes appealed, but we can't afford them... so i improvised with recycled items and ingenuity.
the pic is Dillon, holding my son Josh like a baby. like i said, he's a BIG boy!
Step 2: What You'll Need
you will need 2 3-foot-long pieces of corrugated black tubing
dremel or drill
screws and screwdriver
2 bicycle horn squeakers
large washers that will fit on the squeakers posts.
hotglue and glue gun
whatever kind of materials you'll want to cover your arms in
10 bicycle spokes
2 rubber gloves
a cape of some sort
Step 3: Getting Started
take your corrugated tubing and slice it with the razor knife half way up the length. you'll want to squeeze it together to form a taper to the arms. use the zip ties to maintain the taper. an extra pair of hands is invaluable at this point!
although one of these pics show a hand already attached, it also shows the fold and the zip tie holding it. you'll want to use several zip ties up the length of the fold for strength.
Step 4: Fingers
take the shredded newspaper and stuff the fingers of the gloves. really pack it in there firmly. you want them to be firm. i used newspaper in the fingers, if you have time to do this part in stages (i didn't) you could simply great foam the fingers and hands separately allowing each several hours to set up.
whichever method you used, once you've got the fingers stuffed, take a bike spoke (curved end first) and insert it into the finger. this will allow you to position the fingers somewhat when we're finished.
Step 5: Hands
now that you have the fingers stuffed and the spokes places, great foam the hands. not too much! remember it expands like crazy! if you need them a little more plump after it's set up, simply add a little more great foam.
Step 6: Attaching Hands to Arms
no pic of this, but bend the ends of the spokes out somewhat. this will help to 'lock' them into place inside the corrugated tubing. then go ahead and slide the spokes in, turning and finagling as you insert them until the hand is positioned firmly inside the wrist are.
using several of the screws and the screwdriver, attach them to the wrists.
if your hands are a little too skinny to fill the arm holes, use some great foam or a packing material and a little hotglue to attach. you won't see that area in the finished project, so go ahead.
Step 7: Hand Holds
since my husband and i work at a bicycle shop, i came by these squeakers easily. you may have to look around until you find some you like...but be sure you get ones that will fit inside your arms!
i had to fix one of their ears with hotglue... my chihuahua thought it was a chewtoy *eyeroll*
dremel a couple of holes where you want the hand holds to be. (test fit your actors arms for the exact placement of hand holds)
insert the mounting bolts through the holes, add washers and then nuts that came with the squeakers. a good dollop of hotglue will lock them into place and prevent sharp edges on your arms.
Step 8: Finishing Up
make a trip to the fabric store and select the material to finish your arms with. since i was making a clown, i went with loud, horribly clashing colors.
i chose yellow and black stripes and orange pom poms. yikes, huh? =D
the cape our clown, Dillon will wear is terribly loud (and incredibly AWESOME!)
while at the fabric store, buy 2 packages of velcro patches if you want to attach the cape to the arms. i did this and it is IMPRESSIVE when Dillon throws his arms out. (that is my son wearing it in the pic, he's much smaller then the actor this was made for)
simply place the material on and around the arms, hot glueing and folding it into place. there is no right or wrong in doing this, especially for a clown... i bought like 2 yards of material and had very little left over.
if you're going to attach the cape to the arms, have a model put them on, and line up the velcro. then simply hot glue into place.
Step 9: There You Have It
easy as 1-2-3, a set of cool reacher arms that will compliment a clown costume. these are especially effective in a strobe situation. be sure the actor has room to maneuver without striking patrons, and have fun!
the rest of his costume is a black sweatshirt and pants with painted-on black light reactive circles, and a regular clown mask, also treated with blacklight reactive paints in strategic places (around eyes and teeth)
i didn't get any pics of the reachers in action as i act in the trail as well... but this is the scare that sent a pregnant woman into labor at our trail!