- Sophie &Friends
Lifesize creatures are important for Halloween. Here Sophie shows you how to create you own armature so you can create whatever creepy character you want.
2 8' long pieces of 1" PVC
1 4-sides (+), 1 3-sided (T), and 8 elbow connectors
Saw for PVC and a serrated knife for pool noodles
Pool noodle with a hole in the middle
Wig head or bowl
Full headed mask
Fake eyes - or soda caps with black circles drawn on them
Old clothes, including a turtleneck and gloves
Safety pins and T-pins
Drill and paddle bit
Here's a look at how the PVC pipe and connectors fit together to make the armature, or "skeleton." Once you understand generally how all the pieces fit together, you can get started.
Cut your pieces to the following lengths:
1 - 3 inches
2 - 7 inches
2 - 9 inches
4 - 11 inches
2 - 16 inches
2 - 17 inches
1 - 18 inches
Cut your pool noodles to these lengths:
2 - 7 ¾ inches
4 - 9 ¾ inches
2 - 14 ¾ inches
2 - 15 ¾ inches
Lay the PVC out in the armature pattern
If you wish to use the bucket technique - drill a 1 inch hole right in the middle of the top of the bucket. (You can make your dummy without the bucket, but you will need a pillow or some padding to fill out the chest area)
Take the 18 inch PVC pipe. Measure down about 2 inches and wrap a few layers of duct tape around the pole to form a stopper.
Slip the bucket over the 2 inch end of the pipe so that the bucket rests on the stopper and about 1.5 inches of PVC sticks out the top of the bucket.
Insert a 9 inch piece of PVC into each remaining side of the four-way connector. Slide your upper arm pieces, then add elbow connectors at the end of each.
Insert one 11 inch piece of PVC into each elbow for the forearms. Attach the single side of the three-way connector to the bottom piece of the 18 inch PVC (below the bucket). Insert one 7 inch piece of PVC into the remaining sides of the three way connector. Add elbows to the ends of each of the 7 inch pieces. Connect the 16 inch pieces to each elbow. Finally, insert two 17 inch pieces of PVC into the elbow and add pool noodles to lower legs.
Slip a 9 ¾ inch long pool noodle over each arm. Add 14 ¾ inch pool noodles to the upper and lower legs. Once you position the armature the way you want it, you will want to come back and make sure to secure your joints (just push them together really hard).
Add bubble wrap to any limb or joint that you wish to “flesh” out. If you feel your dummy is looking a little thin, just wrap those areas with bubble wrap and secure with duct tape.
Slip the wig head over the "neck" piece of PVC. If you don’t have a wig head, you can stuff a plastic shopping bag with newspaper to create the right size, leave the bottom open, slip it over the neck and tie the bag shut. Secure and shape your head with duct tape. Dress your dummy
Stuff other areas of the dummy to create proportion. You will also want to be certain that the joints remains secure after moving the dummy around to dress it.
Take a pair of gloves and stuff them. Make sure to get the stuffing into the fingers, but don’t overstuff the palm and wrist area of the gloves. Slip the stuffed glove over the end of the PVC arm, all the way to the base of the fingers, and duct tape the glove to the PVC. Repeat with other hand and arm.
Place a rubber mask over your wig head. You will see that your dummy looks a little blind with empty holes for eyes!. If you’ve got any fake eyes (we found ours at Walgreens) insert those into the eye holes. If not use soda bottle tops, or just draw directly onto the wig head. You can even give your dummy dark glasses. You can use glue dots, pins, or tape loops to hold the eyes in place.
I like to use boots for my dummies because they come up so high on the leg they are easy to secure, but if you want to use low shoes, then take some socks, stuff them with stuffing, and add them to the ends of the leg PVC, leaving about 8 inches of stuffed sock hanging down. Add your shoe by simply stuffing the stuffed sock into the shoe, the sock will hold it in place.
You can position them any way you want. One pointer, though: if you want your dummy to stand up straight with no bends in the leg at all, I would suggest not adding the knee joint, and just using a 36 inch piece of PVC for each leg instead. Standing dummies may need a little help to maintain their balance, so you will want to secure in place with either wire or string or fishing line.