We're just a couple of months away from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and my wife let me know that she wanted me to make her a Rey costume for Halloween. Now that I'm nearly finished, I wanted to post instructions on how I built the staff. The total cost was about $40, and is almost entirely made from parts you can pick up from Home Depot.
Some people have asked about purchasing this prop. I have made some massive updates, and I now have this for sale on my Etsy store.
But for the rest, who are ready to build their own, let's take a look at our shopping list...
Step 1: Materials
Here's a fairly comprehensive list of everything you'll need to build this staff, most of which you can pick up at Home Depot:
- 1-Spray 2" Showerhead in White (2 of these at $1.97 each)
- 1/2" conduit in a 10' length (1 of these for $2.30) I used plastic conduit, but I wish I had used metal.
- Southwire 1/2" Liquidtite Connector (2 of these at $2.06 each)
- Danco Vice Grip Acrylic Handles (3 handles - 2 sets of 2 at $10.90 each)
- Some fairly thick coated wire for the details on the handles.
- A .25" or so thick cord for the ends of the handles. (I used an old computer cord.)
- Small scraps of about 2/16" wood or PVC board for some small details.
- A can of black plasti-dip.
- Spray paint.
- Respirator mask. (seriously)
- Some scraps of leather or vinyl for the places where the strap attached to the staff.
- A piece of canvas that's 4" x 45" or a 45" strap.
- A snap set.
- Some fabric scraps for the middle section.
I've also had someone comment that they used a dowel rod inside of the plastic conduit to make the staff more rigid. I think that's a great idea, and I will probably add that to the staff I built for my wife.
(This build uses some materials recommended in a post I came across on the RPF.)
Now, that you've got your stuff, let's build this thing!
Step 2: Working on the End Pieces
I started things off by removing the cap from the Danco handles and unscrewing the metal piece from the inside. Then, I unscrewed the small side of the shower heads to remove and discard the ball socket pieces. After that, reinstall the back of the shower head with a little bit of superglue on the threads so it doesn't accidentally fall off.
After that, I cut small circles out of thin PVC board (thin wood or something similar should be fine too) the size of the hole in the small side of the shower head and glued those on to cover the holes. Then, I glued the shower head to the sink handle as pictured.
Do this twice, and you'll have the top and bottom pieces ready.
Step 3: Cutting the Connector Piece
The Southwire connectors are useful in a couple of places. Take each of these and remove the screw fitting, the metal nut, and the rubber washer by hand.
Using a saw, cut through the connectors where I've indicated in my photo. Once this is done, keep the outer plastic screw fitting and the outer tip piece that you cut off.
Step 4: Putting Stuff Together
Now, you can glue the outer piece of the connector to the bottom of the sink handle for both the top and bottom of the staff.
Next, I cut a 4" piece of conduit and attached it to the connector piece with hot glue. (Alternatively, you could drill through the next section with a 1/2" bit to keep the conduit in one piece to increase stability.)
I completed this top section by adding round plastic wheels of different sizes to the top and bottom of the third Danco handle. You can also use circles cut out of wood or wooden pieces from a hobby store to do the same thing.
The large wheel turned out to be the most difficult piece to keep attached, and despite ample amount of superglue and hot glue, I had a difficult time keeping things together. I added electrical tape to hold things together (which I left on the staff - I don't recommend you do this), but it still didn't want to hold together. In the end, I drilled four holes through the wheel area back into the sink handle and installed four long screws to keep things secure. As mentioned above, drilling through this section might be preferable.
Now you're ready to attach the main shaft.
Step 5: Attaching the Shaft
Next, I attached a 58.5" length of conduit to the large plastic wheel. (If you've decided to drill through this area, remember that you'll need a piece that's about 5" longer.)
Next, cut four 5" long fins from thin wood or PVC board. These are tapered on one end and should be approximately .5" wide. Glue these to the shaft at 90 degree angles to one another.
Once you've got those attached, you're ready to add handles.
Step 6: Handles!
The handles were probably my favorite part. I began each with a piece of thick cord long enough to wrap around the conduit (cut four of these). Then, I glued two of these to the conduit at 6" apart from one another. Next, take your thinner wire and wrap the handle area, gluing it down in a few places as you go. Once you get to the stopping place, cut it very close to the thick cord and then glue down the loose end.
Step 7: In Between the Handles
Now that your top handle is complete, move down about an inch and wrap the handle with some tape a few times. Then, take the cut off section of the connector piece from the earlier step and thread that onto the conduit with the little fins pointed up as pictured. Once you've tested that things fit well, put some glue on the tape, and then slide the piece into place over the tape.
For the next section, I cut a 9" piece of craft foam and wrapped it around the handle, cutting it so that it wraps around the shaft once. Once I glued this down, I decided to wrap this in electrical tape to hold it in place like I did a few other parts. Again, I kind of wish I hadn't done this, but things turned out in the end. It just takes more layers of PlastiDip to keep it from being sticky.
Now, let's leave a space where we'll add fabric wrapping once all our painting is done. I'd suggest 23".
Time to start working on the bottom half!
Step 8: Starting the Bottom Half
You're getting so close! Now, we just have to do the same sort of thing on the bottom half of the staff.
I again added a couple of pieces of craft foam around the handle, totaling about 5", and wrapped it in electrical tape.
Then, I added the cut-off section of the connector, like I did before, only this time the fins are pointing down.
Once that is done, add another wire handle like before, and then finish things off by connecting the bottom section.
Yay! It's still looking pretty junky, but you're getting there!
Step 9: Coating With PlastiDip and Paint
Now that you've finished the initial structure of the staff, it's time to put on that creepy respirator mask and do some painting!
But before you start, make sure that you have a way to hang the staff while it's drying. What worked great for me was to attach a bungee cord around the middle unpainted section. I attached the other side to the ceiling of my garage and let it hang from there, unbalanced with once side pointed up.
When you've figured out your drying situation, start out by applying several coats of PlastiDip. Before you proceed to the paint, you need to make sure that everything is dry, and nothing is left feeling sticky.
When it was time to paint, I used some dark brown spray paint and then covered most of it with black. You can also dry brush a bit of silver paint or Rub n' Buff, but make sure you do it sparingly.
Let's finish this! Time to make the strap!
Step 10: Making the Strap Connectors
This is probably the most challenging part of the build, but it's really not that difficult. You can do this!
Cut four small rounded strips of leather of vinyl that are long enough to wrap around the conduit and overlap about a half inch. Cut a few additional small pieces for attaching the pieces together and creating a small loop for the buckle.
Install the snaps into each side of the four strips, using the instructions on the box, making sure that you've installed them correctly so that they can snap when wrapped around the conduit.
Use the smaller pieces of leather to bridge the gap and form a loop as you sew or glue each pair of snaps together. Things should look like a capital H when you're done.
When the two strap attachments are complete, mask off the buttons with painter's tape and spray paint the leather/vinyl. Don't be like me—if you're using vinyl, make sure to prepare the vinyl with PlastiDip first, or the paint won't cure correctly. Once you're set, use an almond paint to finish out the strap connectors.
Let's finish this thing!
Step 11: Finishing Out the Strap
I quickly made the strap out of canvas by cutting a piece that was about 4" wide by 45" long. I hemmed each side of the length with about a 1" hem, and then I folded the piece in half to the desired thickness—a little over an inch wide—and sewed the sides together.
Your final steps are to add a buckle to each side of the strap, sew one to each side, and then attach each buckle to the strap connectors. Since I didn't have any buckles, I formed two buckles out of heavy fence wire and then looped each through the strap connectors before closing the overlap in the wire with electrical tape. Then, I put the strap through and sewed in into place.
Step 12: Finishing Touches
To finish things out, I added some weathering to the canvas strap with black spray paint and wrapped the handle with different types of material—using tape to start each wrap, but making sure that the tape was covered, and finishing each wrap with glue. If you add a few layers with different colors to match the movie images, this looks seriously good. I lucked out and had the perfect scraps laying around that I cut into strips.
And now, the final step...
Step 13: You're Done! Be Awesome!
Well, your hard work has paid off! You're now ready to look fierce and tough like Rey!
Time to finish up the rest of the costume and totally rock out your Halloween!
And time for me to finish up the rest of this costume for my wife! :)
If this has been helpful, or if you just want to show a little love, I would really appreciate your like or vote on this project. Thanks!
And like always, if you build one, I'd love to see a photo in the comments below. :)
Participated in the
Halloween Props Contest 2015
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