For our Harry Potter themed Halloween, we needed to have all the Horcruxes. Most were simple enough but the giant snake took a bit of working out.
Step 1: Reusing the Garbage
We very rarely throw something that may have a future prop use away so when we needed a long tube to make the snake out of, the old dryer duct that we have been holding onto for a while was perfect. Since the duct tube is crushable we needed to fill it with something that would help it hold its shape but still allow it to be flexible, enter plastic shopping bags. Using a broom handle we managed to fill the whole 8 ft tube so that it would hold its shape.
Step 2: Carving the Head
We created a very basic template for the head focusing on size rather than details. I would probably lose a finger if I tried to carve a foam block with a knife, but fortunately for me my father was an artist in a former life. A foam insulation block was able to be shaped into the head which not only gave Nagini some character but also provided a mold for the snake heads on our Chamber of Secrets door.
Step 3: A Little Detailing
While R2-D2, whose costume was Harry Potter, got some hair, Nagini's head was receiving it's bronze base coat of paint.
Step 4: Putting It All Together
The head was attached with both gorilla glue on the inside of the duct and masking tape (the cheap kind from the dollar store). The tail was tapered using scrap strips of pool noodles left from making the snakes for the Chamber of Secrets door. The pool noodle strips were cut at different lengths and shoved into the end of the duct and surrounded with masking tape to create the tail. The rest of the duct making up the snake's body was also wrapped in masking tape to create a workable surface that would hold paint or glue.
Step 5: Skin!!
I ordered cheap spandex snakeskin fabric off eBay to sew into a tapered tube. The patterning and stretch of the fabric were very forgiving. The fabric was secured in place with dots of hot glue every few inches. It kind of blends into the rug, its camouflaged!
Step 6: Final Touches
The fabric covering the body was cut into a point and glued to the head so it would transition better from a solid color head to a patterned body. We also added glow-in-the-dark yellow eyes which are difficult to see in the picture. All that was left was positioning the snake in the tree that hangs over the exit path for trick-or-treaters.
Even though Nagini was not a super complex prop, it was cool to see how many people stopped to stare at it.