I am going to show you how to build an armature for any sort of monster you would like out of palm tree branches. Palm tree branches are long, they are strong, and when they dry out and turn brown, they get very hard. If you have a palm tree in your yard, why not utilize the branches of those big palm fronds. Be carful though. Some types of palm trees have thorns on the branches. One of my palm trees does, and the other does not. I avoid making anything out of the branches with the thorns.
All you need to make this is a tree cutting apparatus to get your branches (saw, lopper, whateverâ¦), about six palm tree branches, a drill, some screws, and a bit of chicken wire. For the end product you will need something to dress your armature to make it a monster, but that part is up to you. The armature being made here became a witch.
Step 1: Get the Branches
Get the branches. I sawed them off as close to the trunk of the tree as possible. This way, I got the maximum amount of wood. Then cut off the leaves. Use them for something else. I used them on my pumpkin scarecrow and to block out some of the light from windows.
Step 2: Build One Side of the Frame
Build one side of the frame. Take two palm tree branches and place them on the ground as wide as you want your monster to be. Take another branch and cut two pieces that will span the distance between the two large branches. You are then going to screw these cross sections into the large branches, connecting them.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2
Repeat the process of step 2 to make the other side of the frame. Try to make the pieces about the same height with the cross sections in about the same place as your first frame. Itâs no big deal if itâs not exact since everything can be trimmed down later.
Step 4: Add Connectors
Add connectors. These will be short pieces of palm tree branches that will go between the two sides of the frame. I unscrewed the screws that I used to screw together the cross pieces of the frame a bit, and then rescrewed them directly into my connector pieces. This will only work if you have long screws, and I would definitely recommend drilling pilot holes first.
Step 5: Add Other Half of Frame to Connectors
Add the other half of the frame to the connectors. This was simple enough. I took the other side of the frame and basically repeated step 4, screwing this side into the connector pieces. The two halves of the frame should now be connected and your armature should be able to stand on itâs on, although it will be very wobbly at this point.
Step 6: Trim
Trim. In this step I trimmed any unevenness to the same height on the armature. This was especially true on the shoulders and the legs.
Step 7: Add Some Triangles...
Make some triangles. Triangles are much stronger shapes than rectangles. Because of this, I added some angled pieces between two pieces of the armature in the corners. These werenât very long, and I only added two of them. These two angled pieces stopped almost all of the wobbling in the armature. If you added more, it wouldnât hurt in the least, but I got away with only two and they worked just fine.
Step 8: Chicken Wire Shoulders
Add chicken wire shoulders. I used a staple gun to attach some chicken wire over the top of the armature. This is totally optional, but I like doing this because it curves out the shoulders when you dress your monster up and makes it more life-like. This way, you wonât see corners and the tops of palm tree branches sticking out from the shoulders.
Step 9: Add a Neck & Head
Add a Neck & Head. I was making a witch, so I used a paper machie witch head that I had already finished. I took a piece of PVC pipe and screwed it into one of the cross sections on the armature where a neck would go, and stuck the head on there.
In the picture, my palm tree armature is on the left. The other witch armature is made out of scrap wood.
Step 10: Arms
Add arms. Take another palm tree branch and cut it to the size you want the arms to be. Cut it halfway and screw the two pieces back together at an angle. This will make an elbow. Then screw the arm onto the armature. Repeat this to make a second arm.
Step 11: Dress It Up...
Dress up your armature. I dressed up my witch in some blue fabric, a black cape, and a witch hat. It worked, and you couldnât tell what the witch was made out of underneath.