DIY Portal Gun Toy

I have a four-year-old son who is in love with the game Portal. He has loved this game for several years and his last birthday party was a Portal party complete with a Portal cake. He has been begging me to get him an expensive replica Portal gun. I can't afford them because they're very expensive so I decided to try to make a toy Portal gun using recycled materials.

This of course does not look exactly like the gun in the game but it is meant to be a toy for a child who has for the last year made portal guns as often as he could out of anything he can find like Legos or any other toys that might possibly resemble a portal gun.

This one is designed so that you can stick glow sticks into the water bottle thru the nozzle and have the gun glow the color of portal it would be shooting.

Later down the road we may try to modify it with some aperture logos and some decorative lines possibly using either sharpie or black paint pen depending on what will stick to the plastic.

I used black duct tape for this project because it was cheap and not messy, but you could use black made-for-plastic spray paint. I first tried various glues for assembly, but none would stick to the plastics, so the duct tape solved that too.

This is my first ever instructable. It is also my first ever time to try to make a toy or costume prop out of re-purposed household supplies.

Step 1: Supplies Needed

Laundry detergent bottle
Pure acetone
Paper towels
Serrated knife
Water bottle
Black duct tape
Black pipe cleaners

Step 2: Prepare the Bottles

Wash out the laundry bottle so there is no soap remaining. Keep and wash the pour nozzle. Use the acetone and paper towels to remove the printed label from the bottle. This takes a little time and elbow grease. Be sure to protect your work surface from the acetone.

Remove any label from the water bottle and discard the cap.

Step 3: Shaping the Gun

Using the serrated knife, cut the bottle into two sections. I cut gently with a sawing motion. I followed a design line inherent in the plastic but you could also mark your own guidelines. I did not cut both sides at the same time but rather went around the bottle. The goal was to have a thinner handle section with the bottle opening attached and a bigger rounded section to be the back of the gun.

The water bottle will fit between the two sections with the mouth of the water bottle inside the laundry bottle mouth. It helps to do a dry fit at this point so you can see if you need to shape any of the pieces differently. As you can see I removed a small edge of the bottom part of my laundry bottle so that it didn't have such a triangle shape.

Step 4: Nozzle and Handle

Using the duct tape and scissors, line the inside handle part of the gun with duct tape. This will help the gun have a sleek science look. Then take the pour spout of the bottle and cover the accessible parts with tape. This becomes the gun nozzle. The tape makes it fit more snugly in the bottle mouth. It should go in, but only part way and not fall out. There does not seem to be any need to secure it further (it has not come out even when my son threw the gun).

With the tip of the knife I made small cuts in the rim where I wanted the three arms of the gun to go. I then slid a pipe cleaner through each slit to half way along the pipe cleaner. Fold the wire in half and twist it up, fold down the tip so it's not pokey and shape as desired.

My first go, the kiddo did not like the shape I gave them or how thin and easily misshapen they could become so I ended up twisting in a second pipe cleaner into each one, to make them thicker, reshaping them per his instructions and using small pieces of duct tape to stabilize the wires in the holes.

Additional pipe cleaners could be used to make external power cords going back past the water bottle to be taped into the base section if desired.

Step 5: Final Assembly

To assemble I put the nozzle into the handle section snugly. Then I taped the base of the water bottle into the base of the gun. After that I fit the mouth of the water bottle inside the nozzle and taped the handle to the base with a little more tape that I had cut to shape just a little so it looked nice. This seems to hold together well with no additional reinforcement.

Your gun is now ready for play!



    • Trash to Treasure

      Trash to Treasure
    • Weaving Challenge

      Weaving Challenge
    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest

    8 Discussions


    2 years ago

    lol this is so cute!! :D now you need to make a carboard companion cube to match with it!!

    3 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    My niece made him some for his birthday party by printing out a picture of one side of a companion cube a few times and gluing them to square cardboard boxes. She also made him portals by cutting ovals out of cardboard and covering them in aluminum foil and painting the edges orange or blue. I think she saw the ideas on Pinterest, but we never found a tutorial for a DIY easy Portal gun.


    Reply 2 years ago

    at least not one that did not involve specialty types of foam and and stuff like that. I wanted something easy and made out of commonly found items.


    Reply 2 years ago

    yours is good enough, even for people who like "poor man's cosplays", some of them can be hilarious to see :)
    i could totally make this cheap and easy portal gun as a gift for my partner, it sure would be a source of giggles and laughters :)

    RobinC60cheap survivor2

    Reply 2 years ago

    It would be a great addition. I don't know much about LEDs and my kiddo often breaks toys that have them with his rough play, but for someone using this as a costume prop that might be a nice improvement!


    Cool! This would be a great project for kids. It is simple enough that they can make it themselves. And then they Will have even more fun playing with it.

    1 reply

    I agree! My 4 yr old was not ready for a serrated knife, but many of the other parts he could have helped with.