You all know the story, boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy collects all the Infinity Gems to make the Infinity Gauntlet and becomes near omnipotent to impress girl... Well that's the story if the boy is Thanos and the girl is Death and you're gearing up for the largest grossing theatrical event of all time.
Like a megalomaniacal game of Pokemon, Thanos collects all of the Infinity Gems to destroy half the life of Universe and Earth-616 (a parallel universe like our own, but with super heroes) to impress Mistress Death. Oh l'amour! But don't worry, the gems and the gauntlet only work in Universe-616, so we're safe.
I decided to base my design off the canonical gauntlet from George Perez's iconic cover of Infinity Gauntlet #1. I wanted to update it a little so that it would be more functional but retain the design elements of the original. I also wanted to light the gems up, but keep the method simple enough to fit inside the gauntlet.
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Step 1: Tools and Materials
So, how does mighty Thanos assemble his Infinity Gauntlet?
- Leather work glove ($6.99 on sale, Harbor Freight)
- EVA foam mats ($9.99 on sale, Harbor Freight) or EVA roll foam mat ($7.99 on sale, Harbor Freight)
- Craft Foam (A.C. Moore)
- Gem Stones (A.C. Moore)
- Plasti Dip spray ($8.99, Lowes)
- Gold spray paint
- Hot glue sticks ($6.99 50 pc, Harbor Freight)
- 6 White LEDs ($5 for 50, Amazon)
- 22AWG wire ($8 a spool, local electronics shop)
- SPDT switch
- 6 1Ω resistors
- Painter's or masking tape
- Clear Casting Epoxy ($14.99, AC Moore) or Acrylic Jewels (Approx $9, Allstarco)
- Manila folders (or other template stock)
- Foam-safe super glue
- 2 ballpoint pens
- Ball bearings or metallic beads
- Heat shrink tubing
- 22 gauge steel wire (optional)
- Latex caulk (optional)
- Razor or hobby knife
- Hot glue gun
- Soldering iron
- Wire strippers
- Heat gun (optional)
- Rotary tool (optional)
- Wood burner or heat knife (optional)
- Molding clay or other mold material (optional, see Step 10)
- Black & silver Sharpie
Step 2: The Infinity Gems
In order to make the Gauntlet you have to collect all six Infinity Gems (a.k.a. Infinity Stones or Soul Gems) but luckily you don't have to travel all around the universe like Thanos to collect them; in this universe you can either make them or buy them in a craft store.
Like in all comic universes, continuity and style is sometimes suspect (which is why in various pics you'll see the Infinity Gauntlet as either right-handed or left-handed), but here is how the Marvel wiki describes the gems:
- Green Infinity Gem - Soul Gem
- Red Infinity Gem - Power Gem
- Orange Infinity Gem - Time Gem
- Yellow Infinity Gem - Reality Gem
- Purple Infinity Gem - Space Gem
- Blue Infinity Gem - Mind Gem
Every portrayal of the Gauntlet seems to be a bit different but in the reference image the gems are placed (in common terms):
- Green Infinity Gem - Back of Hand
- Red Infinity Gem - Thumb Knuckle
- Orange Infinity Gem - Pinky Finger Knuckle
- Yellow Infinity Gem - Index Finger Knuckle
- Purple Infinity Gem - Ring Finger Knuckle
- Blue Infinity Gem - Middle Finger Knuckle
The final gauntlet came pretty close to my concept drawing (see image above, original design from the comics in top left corner).
Step 3: The Enchanted Glow
Evidently you can't strike fear into the hearts of every living being in the universe if your gauntlet doesn't glow, which is why threatening an entire universe with a pair of bedazzled snow gloves will just get you laughed at (believe me). Which is why we can officially crown Thanos the King of Bling, because lets face it, who else can stick a bunch of gems to a gold glove and eradicate half of all life?
Like I said before, I want to keep the mechanism fairly simple because the Gauntlet will be seeing a lot of action and the less parts the better. However I also wanted to add some effects outside of an On/Off switch. Therefore I borrowed an idea my friend had for a pair of light-up burner boots and refined it a bit, the result was a super simple positional switch that doesn't require a microcontroller. By adding in a three function switch (SPDT switch) the gauntlet could either be of, always on or on only when held upright.
The wiring is all in parallel with the SPDT switch controlling the lights to ON/POSITIONAL/OFF. To help with the visualization, I overlayed the wiring diagram on the image of a hand (open sourced from Burkhard Jaeckel at OpenClipArt.org).
Step 4: Creating Templates
Some brief tips; I found it easiest to stuff the glove prior to doing any work with it, that way I could keep both hands free. Also, to help with placement of the pieces I marked the location of my knuckles directly on the glove before stuffing it.
For the templates I used old manila folders and cut out the general shapes and sizes based on my concept drawing and some old-fashioned guesstimation. While work progressed I labeled each piece and refined the shape and size to fit. Using masking tape, I attached each template piece to the glove so that I could test fit it and visualize the final product.
This process probably took the longest, because I wasn't working off of a preexisting set of templates and I had to continually trim and adjust the templates. One thing I noticed is that template pieces oftentimes needed to be larger than I expected, so if you're making your own templates allow yourself enough excess on all sides.
I've attached scans of my templates to this step for those who would like to use them, you can scale them to fit your glove. I labeled the templates with a code on where they go with the first letter being either the finger (Pinky, Ring, Middle, Index, and Thumb) or location (Hand and Cuff), the second letter being either the location on the finger (phalanx bone; proximal, intermediate, and distal) or the location trim, and the third being the finger trim. Hence Rmt means ring finger, intermediate trim.
Step 5: Transferring Templates to Foam and Cutting
Once I was satisfied with the templates' size and placement I removed them all from the glove and traced them onto the EVA foam roll (for the hand and cuff) or craft foam sheets (for the trim and fingers) with a Sharpie. I cut the shapes out with a razor and hobby knife, but you can use a heat knife or scissors. Just be sure to label your pieces front and back so you can piece them together and place them on the glove after you paint them.
There's a good succinct how-to for working with EVA foam here.
I also marked on the template the positions of each finger and the center of my hand then transferred those marks to the foam. This will come in handy once the gems and bezels are placed to ensure the gems are in the right location.
Step 6: Shaping the Foam
I found several ways to shape the foam, each of them with their own merits. Personally I like using a rotary tool the best, it leaves the foam cells open for easy adhering with glue and provides the nicest shapes. You can remove larger sections of foam with a rough bit and smaller, more detailed and smooth sections with a smooth bit (see image). This method is pretty messy though, so wear a mask. You can also use a heat knife or soldering iron which is cleaner but produces some nasty fumes and mistakes are much harder to correct. Lastly you can use your razor knife, but this method is messy, time consuming and may need additional sanding.
I mostly just shaped the foam to add a bevel to the exterior edges or straighten the lines that would abut other pieces of foam that I would be gluing into. I would then go on to use this same technique to clean up any lines and seams later on, prior to finishing it.
Step 7: Molding the Foam
There are also several ways out there to mold your foam, I found using a heat gun the easiest. Alternately you could put it in the oven for 15 mins at 400°F (200°C) or heat it with a torch or candle, which just sounds dangerous, but then again I guess the heat gun is equally as dangerous if you get too close for too long.
While wearing protective gloves, heat the foam pieces that need molding on both sides in a slow, sweeping motion. Practice with distances and speed until you get the hang of it. You'll have an idea if it's ready once it's more pliable and forms a sheen on the surface.
Once it's ready, put on the leather gauntlet glove and mold the foam to where it will be glued with your free hand. You may need to hold it there for a minute or two until it is cool. You may also want to embed some 22 gauge steel wire into the cuff to make the shape more rigid, I found that I didn't need to.
After molding the cuff and hand, I lined them up, marked the two pieces and did any final molding so that the curvature matched. Then I hot glued the two pieces together.
Prior to molding the rest, I super glued all the trim pieces to their respective finger pieces. The glue sets pretty quickly, especially if you weigh down the objects with books to apply pressure, however touch ups may be needed after using the heat gun. Also, the craft foam takes just seconds with the heat gun to become pliable so be quick.
For the finger tips, the best way I found is to fold them into shape and tape them, heat, then allow to cool while taped. Hot glue works best to glue the edges of the finger tips together, this can then be smoothed with the rotary tool prior to painting. For added support and strength, I super glued strips of fabric into the insides.
Step 8: Assembling the Switch
So here's where a bit of the enchantment happens. This simple positional switch is engaged when the metal ball bearings (or beads) roll down in the tube to create a connection with two leads whenever the glove is upright.
In order to make the switch, cut about a third of a ballpoint pen off and drill two holes into the end cap just large enough for your wire. Strip both ends off of two wires and feed one end of each into each hole. The wires were pretty snug, but you can knot the ends together once they pass through if you're nervous they'll pull back out and/or hot glue them into the cap so that they are not touching.
Insert the wired end into one side of the pen tube, fill with a few ball bearings or metallic beads, then cap off the remaining end. There you go, instant positional switch!
Step 9: Wiring the LEDs
The wiring for the LEDs is pretty straightforward, all six are wired in parallel (which is why it looks a little confusing and messy in the diagram) with 1Ω resistors, the SPDT switch and the positional switch. The power source is two AAA batteries in a battery holder which provides 3V of power, which is equivalent to the power drop in each LED (hence the 1Ω resistors). You could definitely use AA or 9V batteries, just adjust the resistors if your supply has a different voltage. I've included images of the wiring diagram and a schematic on a hand.
Prior to soldering I trimmed all the leads, placed the shrink wrap tubing and linked all the connections to provide a strong hold. After soldering I tested the whole assembly then sealed all the connections with the heat shrink tubing. You can see the basic components of each LED from the images and how they are attached. Once they were all "daisy chained" together, the ends of the positive leads and negative leads were all joined to their respective counterparts in the wiring diagram then soldered and wrapped. I tested everything prior to each solder just to make sure it was all correctly wired.
Step 10: Casting & Coloring the Gems
Time to acquire your Infinity Gems, luckily for us we won't be fighting Iron Man, Adam Warlock or Mr. Fantastic to get them.
Though, less arduous, this step still takes a few days to allow the gems to cure unless you use pre-cast gemstones. Obtain eight containers (six to colorize your epoxy, two for mixing), a wood stick (to stir with), six toothpicks (to mix the colors) and a slab of non-hardening clay rolled flat and thick enough to press your gems into to make a mold. Make your mold as seen in the images by pressing the purchased gemstones into the clay then popping them out with a thin screwdriver. This may leave some disfiguration of the mold which is fine since the edges will be covered in the final design, though you could always mount a handle to the gemstone to help pull it out.
To prepare the epoxy, start by reading the directions to the clear casting epoxy materials completely. Follow them to mix up enough casting material to make your six gems. It'll take some time to harden so no rush, work carefully over a protected surface, stirring occasionally.
Prior to portioning out your epoxy, prepare the six containers you have for coloring with one drop of each food coloring. My food coloring came with four bottles, red, green, blue and yellow. To make orange and purple mix 3:1 yellow:red and 5:1 blue:red, respectively, then add one drop of each mix to the respective cups. Decant the clear epoxy into each cup by pouring it against the mixing stick, pour about twice as much as you think you'll need for each color.
Once the clear epoxy is decanted, mix each color verywell, the water and glycerin-based colorants aren't very miscible in epoxy so they take a lot of effort to mix thoroughly. Once mixed, decant the colored epoxy against the toothpick into each gem mold (remember the green one is the larger of the six gems), try to get it even with the top of the mold. If you get a little zealous with your pouring, like I did with the green gem, just build a barrier to collect the over-pour and protect it from the other gems. Any over-pour can be trimmed off once the gem hardens.
Pop the gems out after they are cured (anywhere from 24-72 hours usually) and clean up any over-pour with your rotary tool or knife and sand paper. I also had to clean the clay off of the gems because I forgot to spray a release agent on the clay. You should also lightly sand the backs of the gems with fine grit sandpaper to diffuse the light from the LED. Any marring or dullness in the gem surface can be rectified by painting on some clear nail polish or super glue.
Step 11: Testing the Fit of the LEDs
Once the wiring and testing of the LEDs is finished and you gems are made, test place your gems and their bezels on the foam and mark their locations with a marker. Remember when making the templates I marked the location of where the gems should be on the template? In this step I used those markings to place the bezels and gems in their respective places.
Remove the gems, mark where the LEDs will come through, then produce holes for the LEDs using a rotary bit, drill bit or soldier/heat tip. Test fit the LEDs in their new home once the foam has cooled.
If you are happy with the test fit, you can glue your LEDs into place using hot glue or foam-safe super glue after the painting step. I elected super glue for around the diodes since it is clear and will let more light penetrate. You may also want to color the foam that will be directly under the gem silver with a silver Sharpie (or other foam-safe permanent marker).
Step 12: Painting the Gauntlet Pieces
Prior to painting the gauntlet pieces, two things need to happen. First, the gems need to be attached to the foam with foam-safe super glue over top of their respective LED holes. Once the gems are set, glue the craft foam accent pieces (bezels) around the gems using hot glue or super glue. Mask each gem with masking tape prior to painting.
Second, the surfaces need to be primed with a few coats of Plasti-Dip or glue to protect the foam from dissolving from the spray paint and to ensure a flexible coating that won't crack. Light coats in a slow sweeping motion are best. You can either elect to coat all surfaces of the foam with Plasti-Dip or just the exposed sections. If you coat only the exposed sections I would recommend masking off the foam that isn't covered prior to painting just in case.
Once all foam pieces are covered in Plasti-Dip and dry, use the same slow sweeping motion to paint the gauntlet pieces gold with the spray paint. You only need to paint the parts that will be exposed on the final gauntlet but be sure to get the edges too.
Quick painting tip, insert cotton swabs into the LED holes to prevent overspray into the hole which can affect the light.
Step 13: Assembling the Gauntlet
After sizing the foam parts up on the glove and painting the pieces, you can install the LEDs. Then use hot glue to attach all the pieces to the leather glove. It's best to work from the finger tips down to the cuff, this way you can make sure the overlapping parts fit well together and move appropriately.
Using a high temperature glue gun I attempted a light, even webbing of glue on each piece before fitting it on the glove with my hand inside. Caution, the glue is very hot and could burn your hand while inside the glove, I didn't have this problem but it can be mitigated by removing your hand immediately after each piece is placed and allowing the glue to cool before moving on to the next piece. Just remember that the proximal and intermediate finger pieces are glued only to the glove leather, not to any underlying foam.
The cuff and hand piece were attached as a single unit after the glue on the LEDs had cured. I just simply sized the hand-cuff piece up on the glove, took the glove off, then hot glued the base of the hand piece to the glove. I then put my hand back in and finished gluing the top of the hand piece (the portion near the fingers). Finally I hot glued the cuff to the opening of the glove, along with the battery pack and switches.
Step 14: The Final Infinity Gauntlet
Behold, the most powerful implement in the galaxy! Enjoy and try to be a good overlord (unless you want Nebula to take it from you and put you in your place).
Special thanks to my wife, Sara, for the pics of my finished gauntlet. Title image also includes a stock image.