My daughter decided to exercise her creative genius this year and wanted to be a gumball machine for Halloween. I toyed around with a lot of different design ideas, but this is the one that ultimately worked for her. It is lightweight and easy to walk in and take on and off. And even better, we made it so it could dispense real gumballs. Lots of treats and a few tricks make this a great costume.
red spray paint
variety of brightly colored spray paints
4 narrow dowels
20 ping pong balls
2 Disposable bread pans
Red Electrical Tape
1 yard of 1" wide sturdy elastic
Stapler and staples
2" PVC cap
1 1/2 inch PVC sleeve
3/8"x4" Lag bolt
5 each 3/8" nuts
5 each 3/8" washers
Shape Lock design plastic
Several Large gumballs
Step 1: Body of Costume
Find box that is as close fitting to the body as possible, fitting under the armpits. I used a diaper box. There needs to be space in the front of the box to fit the dispenser in between the body and the box--about three inches.
Cut the top flaps off (saving one to use later), cut the bottom three inches of the box off trying to keep the edges as straight as possible, using a straight edge and craft knife (this will later be the cap/top of the gumball machine). Use spray paint to paint the box, the cut off bottom and saved flap red. I used Krylon red enamel gloss spray paint.
Step 2: Fitting the Box
After the paint on the box has dried have the child hold the box under the armpits and measure for elastic. I crossed them behind the head for more support. Measure elastic so it can attach about two to three inches below top of box. Staple them into place with several common office staples.
Paint all four dowels with the same red paint as the box. I used smaller dowels to cut down on the overall weight of the costume.
Once they have dried place a dowel in a corner of the box and measure to the top of your child’s head and leave three additional inches on each end of the dowel (three below the top of the box and three above the child’s head). Once measured cut dowels to appropriate size. Affix one dowel in each corner of the box using hot glue. Fit cap or top on top of dowels and use hot glue to affix.
Use extra length from dowels to add support to back of box. Measure the length of box and cut dowels to that length. Affix with hot glue.
Step 3: Display Gumballs
For the fake gumballs I used ping pong balls painted assorted colors. I used a variety of different spray paints, but Krylon is really the best brand for the price. It bonds well to the plastic and has a nice glossy, gumball-like sheen. I used pink, purple, yellow, blue, red and green.
Fit box onto child again. Have the child’s body all the way against the back of the box. There should be a few inches in the front between the edge of the box and the child’s body. Measure this space and cut the width of the extra saved flap to this space. This is what the gumballs (ping pong balls) will be resting on. Measure, cut to fit and affix using red electrical tape. Arrange painted ping pong balls on this flap using hot glue
Step 4: The Internal Dispenser
The internal dispenser is made from a 2 inch PVC cap with half of a 1 1/2 inch PVC coupler in it. The outside is made from a couple of breadpans and some Shaplock formed to look like a handle then painted silver.
Step 5: Shapelock
Shapelock is awesome. It's plastic with a low melting temperature. This allows you to put it in a cup of water, put it in the microwave, then you can form it into whatever you want. Once it's cooled it's hard and can be drilled, painted, cut, etc. We used this for several parts on the inside of this gumball machine. For example I made a plastic rim around the PVC cap for the dispenser so I could attach it to the cardboard. I also used it for the handle.
Step 6: Dispenser
To make it, first cut the coupler in half (so when it's inside the cap it's level with the outside edge of the cap). You need to cut a slot on two opposite sides of the cap. This allows a gumball to go in the top of the cap and come out the bottom as the coupler spins. Cut a slot in one side of the coupler big enough for a gumball to fit into.
Step 7: Handle
Drill a hole in the end of the cap and attach the 3/8 in bolt to it by feeding it through, putting a washer on the other side and loosely attaching the nut. Put the coupler inside and make a hole in the cardboard for the bolt to come through.
To make the handle you can use Shapelock, or a piece of wood. Simply connect it to the end of the bolt. For ours we used Shapelock, formed it into the shape of a handle around two nuts. I put a little super glue on the nuts so they wouldn't move easily (but you can still get them off with tools). We painted the Shapelock silver so it looks like a handle.
Step 8: Funnel
On the inside of the gumball machine we built a funnel so the gumballs would go down to the dispenser. To do this we simply made a wide V with cardbaord with the narrow part at the top hold of the PVC cap.
Step 9: The External Dispenser
For the front dispenser I used 2 disposable bread pans. I measure the space between the box and the handles and cut bread pans to that depth. Cut bread pan 1 to fit from the bottom of the box to just below the handle. Cut bread pan 2 to fit 2-3 inches above handle and an inch below handle. Cut a narrow slot in the cut off portion of bread pan 2. This slot will fit around the handle. Affix with red electrical tape. Place bread pan 1 on top of bread pan 2 and affix with red electrical tape. Cut a hole in the bottom of bread pan 2 for the gumballs to come out of. Use black sharpie to write 25 at top of bread pan 1
And Voila! You have a beautiful gumball machine that will be the talk of the town.
Third Prize in the
Halloween Easy Costumes Challenge