Pirate Plunder! Design and Plan a Costumed Raid




About: Bilal Ghalib is interested in doing things that surprise him and inspire others. Let's create a future we want to live in together.
Working at Instructables is sweet, but sometimes other companies attempt to challenge our position as most awesome place to work. It's during those dangerous times that we have to put on some makeup, roll up our sleeves, and assert our positions as most dangerously awesome company in San Francisco.

Most recently we had a challenge from Three Rings, a virtual environment gaming company from just down the block. We recently took care of that threat and created this instructable as we went along.

Here's a warning video for all those who think of talking smack. Yeah, that's right, you better shush.


Step 1: Scope Out Your Target

The design company Because We Can outfitted the Three Rings office to look like the interior of the Nautilus submarine from Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I mean, come on.... it's the Nautilus!

This is part of why we had to attack.

Getting in was the tough part, but we had a connection on the inside. Annie is a soft hearted and trusting lady, so when we asked her if we could visit she had no idea what was about to go down.

Step 2: Devise a Gameplan

War is war, be it pirate or otherwise. Planning is always the key to victory; Sun Tzu claims in the Art Of War:

The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.

So, after much serious deliberation, we split tasks as follows:

  • Weapons Creation
  • Banner Fabrication
  • Pirate Hat Fold-ation
  • Make-up and Body Decoration

While it is in a pirate's nature to want to go right to the attack, the planning stages are key for a successful raid. If you are currently looking for a pirate captain to join your crew, I recommend placing an ad in the classifieds for someone with organizational skills. Photoshop skills a plus.

Step 3: Hoist Your Own Jolly Rogers

A good banner is the centerpiece of a successful raid. Raise your colors proudly and your troops will rally with great strength, and if it shall fall your pirate army will scatter like ash. Rachel created a fantastic Jolly Robot in short order with some felt and some string. Pirates like pirates with skillz.

Step 4: Create Implements of Destruction

You will need to be ferocious and vicious. You need weapons of great might that will raise fear in those who see them. We created ours out of cardboard boxes.

First select the weapon you wish to emulate:
  • Cutlass
  • X-acto of Doom
  • Power Strip of Doom
  • What else about the office scares you (and then add 'of Doom' for intimidation)?

To make a cutlass (pirate sword), trace out an image of the blade plus the straight part of the handle in cardboard. Then draw a rectangle with one side curved, and cut out two thin vertical slits at the ends. Cut out both of these pieces, and then fit the blade into the slits. You now have a 3D sword with a blade guard!

Cover the whole thing in aluminum foil for shininess.

You will also need to have people "walk the plank."

In the event of victory, you must find a suitable plank for your enemies to walk upon. Grab a piece of plywood wide enough for walking and long enough so that dramatic music can play for a bit while the enemy walks.

There might be confusion as to what this is. To clear up any lingering doubt, write "THE PLANK" on the plank. Unfortunately our plank was lost overboard during the attack but it's visible briefly in the video.

Step 5: One Eye Maximum


To make an eye patch cut out a thin piece of cardboard roughly 1 1/2" in diameterrrr (we used the cardboard from a pizza box).

Next, cut out a 3" square piece of black fabric (for this we used the inside lining of a suitcase).

Wrap the fabric around the cardboard and with a hot glue gun, attach all the excess to the back of the eye patch such that the front is covered evenly with black fabric.

Take a 2' length of black string and wrap it around your head (we used black leather).

Estimate where the eye patch should attach to this piece of string and remove the string from your head. Hot glue the eye patch to the string in the position you took note of.

Wait for it to dry and then wear.

Warning: Do not poke out either eye for authenticity.

Step 6: Protective Headgear

Look at the file below for a template on how to make newspaper hats. Without a thin sheet of paper for protection, pirates are very vulnerable to enemy fire.

Step 7: Decorate to Intimidate

This is a very important step. You must be ferocious. Just like in Batman, a little theatricality can go a long way to shaking your enemies. Here are some ideas:

  • Smear charcoal on your face to give yourself that dirty pirate look
  • Wear eyeliner, the sharp contrast between your eyeball and your dark skin will create a striking gaze
  • Tattoos are scary if they're of scary things. Try skulls and daggers.

A single stick of eyeliner is very helpful, with it you can draw many tattoos and give yourselves crazy pirate mustaches. If you want some help coming up with mustache ideas, check the images below:

Step 8: Attack!


This should come instinctively. You're ready, go forth and do what your heart tells you is right...




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    63 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Probably.  Depends on who's super-weapon goes off first, the Creamer Cannon, or my Soda Can Catastrophe.  You don't want to know what it takes to launch full soda cans out 300 feet...

    Nor how satisfying when they explode all over the target and anything 10 feet around the impact site.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Not if I had anything to do with it.  I don't post many creations here cause I make stuff that just doesn't belong in hands that would misuse it.  Let's face it, miniature catapults are good, but handheld long range weapons aren't something I want as my legacy here.

    Anyway, all I'd have to do is combat their chicken gun with my high-power air cannon and we'd have a little war on our hands.  Yes, my cannonballs are paper, but when you soak and compress and dry paper many times over, you get something useful.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Agreed, that and I want to mount a nerf gun with air-restrictor mod to the handlebars. Solve problems with friends... The easy way.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Or you do the pirate thing and get part-time jobs there and slowly drive the company bankrupt.

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Why does all the fun happen when I'm away? We need to raid more web2.0 companies! Maybe every build day?

    2 replies

    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is epic! I especially love the flag! You should do one every year but with a different theme each time.

    5 replies

    I vote for ninjas, or barbarians. My friends did a barbarian 'raid' all over Tucson, and video taped the whole thing. It was pretty awesome. Completely inspired by a bra left at another friends house after our theater troop had gotten together.