Military Style Radio Prop

Introduction: Military Style Radio Prop

About: A student of Biological and Chemical sciences in UCC, Ireland. I'm an obsessive geek with a lot of interest in prop making and indie film making, not that I'm experienced or good at it..... yet! :D

For Halloween last year I wanted to join a zombie walk as a soldier, i came up with this idea because i thought it would really add to the costume. a feature i really enjoy is that you can plug it into an mp3 player and play music and sound effects through it! Enjoy :)

Step 1: Materials/Tools


cardboard box
(I chose one with relevant dimensions 19x8 cm approximately. The third dimension isn't very important as we can cut it down to size.)

old pen
(preferably one coloured black. See pictures)

portable speakers
(I got these at a two euro shop.... for two euro! You can see an example of what I'm talking about here )

paint and paintbrushes
(I just used a few layers of black paint but a nice army green could work well and if you're skilled enough why not try adding camoflague effects to it!)


(I used Pritt Stick)

knobs from appliances
(I didn't use these but things like knobs from cookers might work as controls for adjusting frequency etc.)

electrical tape
(I used this to give a battered effect as iff cracks had formed that needed to be repaired. It was also handy for securing certain aspects together so if you're not using this then just use selotape or maybe paint over it if it's visible.)

Step 2: Cutting the Box Down to Size

Using a ruler and pen trace a line around the box and cut it with a scissors so that you end up with a box of dimensions 19 x 8 x 4 cm. Use the glue to secure any loose tabs. also cut out a flat section of card 19 x 8 cm in size, this will be the back of the radio.

Step 3: Fitting the Speakers

At this point it is important to decide exactly where you are placing the speakers. Once you have decided, trace around them in pen. Using a pen or a skewer try to carfully punch a hole for the scissors without damaging the box too much. Try to center the hole in the middle. Cut a hole just large enough so that each speaker can sit relatively flat in position. The smaller the hole, the stronger the structure of the box, so make small cuts and keep checking the size against the speakers. Remember, you can always cut more off but you won't be able to add it back on!

Step 4: Painting

There's quite a bit of freedom with this. If you can manage a camo design then that might end up very nice but I just went for plain black. whatever colour you choose I advise you to paint at least one undercoat. To get the effect I wanted took about three coats followed by touch-ups. Patience is important as painting a second coat before the first is completely dry can actually rub the first coat off meaning you have to start from scratch. Remember to paint the rectangle of card that will be the back of the radio and the old pen for the antenna if you need to as well.

Step 5: Putting It Together and Finishing Off

The antenna is an old black coloured pen, there are a lot of things which could be suitable but this worked best for me. I removed the tip, spring and the insides and touched it up with paint. I then skewered a hole where I felt the antenna would look best and moved it into position. I advise leaving the hole as a tight fit as this will help keep it secure.

For my purposes I wanted  a "beaten up" looking radio so I used yellow insulation tape across most of it and I also used it to help secure the speakers, antenna and wires that I left visible. Use as much or as little as you want!

For the back cover I made some basic "hinges" out of tape so that I could place the wires and MP3 player inside.

That's pretty much it! if there are any questions/suggestions or if I was unclear about anything then please comment :) thanks!

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    8 years ago on Introduction

    i bet the kids toy walkie talkies could be wired into this for a working one to play messages thourght