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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
How I made my Grim Reaper.(with photos)

This will probably be a really long one. ^.^ I did a lot of steps and took pictures just encase someone wanted to know how I made it. Guess it was fruitful in my thinking after all.

This is the end result so you can see what your working towards. ^.~ Please look past the background. I have pretty much turned my bedroom into a storage area from my props as I finish them. (My daughter said-- it is looking pretty creepy in there) hehehe

Items your going to need will be:
Hot glue gun with about 3 to 4 sticks.
News papers(this will be your body building to keep your Grim's legs and arms and spin etc from looking like boards.)
Boards 2x4 (I just used scraps I had and cut them down to sizes I needed as I made him.)
Nails and screws and washers (if your good with this type of stuff you might end up using just screws)
Packing tape clear for the body and the tan for the hand.
3 twin dark in color sheets (I used dark gray,which someone threw away and as I drove by I seen them and well grabbed them. :p)
wire cutters
Paints ( I just used my crafting paints which are acrylics, white,greenish gray mostly for hand)
Pens The kinds you write with. I used the kinds they ask you to buy for school supplies)
Milk jug (I used one for the visor over the Skull to keep the sheet from falling onto his face. But was the head at first until I decided to use my HUGE skull I have had for years now. It is a Syro foam skull and is about 4 times the size of a real human head. He is too tall for a small head.)
Skull or a head for the Grim
Lantern of some type
Coat Hanger (for fingers of the hand)
Paint stir stick for hand (so you can tape the hand to the arm. or if you can figure it out maybe screw it to the arm. lol)
Cotton Balls for the joints of the hand and also Knuckles
Camera for pictures because I would love to see your results after you made them. ^.^

some Liquid Nail (optional) I used it to make sure arm would hold to pressure of things like him holding his Lantern.)
small boards One for neck so about a foot long,arms (if you want a bend in it then 2 arms if no bend then one will do. and I also made sure to have 1 extra board just encase which was good because I ended up making a second arm more as support.
a big board for the Grim to be on. I used a Ply-board that is 3 feet long by 2 feet wide.

I think that is all. ^.^ I'll add it if I find that I missed something.


First thing is cut your boards the length you want. I made mine tall because I like him to be towering everyone coming up. Muhahaha ^.^ So I cut my legs longer than my own. So about 3 feet long . I hammered those boards down into the bottom board which should be longer and wider than your Grim. You don't want your Grim to lean and fall from a breeze. I will also use my Husbands weights for more support.
So now you have your legs cut and also hammered into the bottom board?
Now to add the waist .((Don't hammer nails in just yet on the hips.)) I measured my hips and laughed. So I added maybe a few inches. Then a spine that should be placed onto the hips and make sure that they are the height you want . Keeping in mind the shoulders and neck and then head. So you don't make him too tall. Then You take the waist line board and the spin board back off and also make sure to do your shoulders a little wider than the hips. Hammer the spine and the shoulders then the hips. This way you wont have any problems like I did.
Now add them onto the legs.
It should look like this now.

Now you add arms. I used some thin boards I had outside in my garage just collecting dust bunnies. I cut them down and I wanted an arm that was bent upwards.So I cut them about a foot long each. Then made some drill holes where elbow would be. and screwed in two to make sure it wouldn't move.

Then drill 3 holes at one end and get your 3 screws and 3 washers and put some Liquid Nail on the end. Then screw the end into the shoulder.

This is what it should look like now.

Now your almost done with the body. Now you need to support it with another arms on the other side. I just used another board like I used for the bent arm. and placed it onto the shoulder and screwed it in there and also to the hip. I also used the liquid nail on that and washers, The boards were soft so I was worried about the screws pulling threw if someone was to lean on it or pull on it. So here is that picture.

Also if you want to do like I did and add some Liquid nail to the joints of the other boards as you make it then do so. I did a little. Now on to the neck. I just grabbed a small foot long board and used it for the neck. I just nailed it in but if you want to be safe then add the washers still.
I didn't take a picture of the neck. Guess I forgot to. :( anywho onward

You can add the head if you want to. I had a milk jug i used at first but then changed out for a HUGE Skull I had. But in the photos as I built him I had the Milk jug on. :/
So now time to start adding the news paper. This is to make him have the effect that he still has some flesh. So when the wind blows against his robes they don't see the Boards. No one wants to see boards on a Grim Reaper right? :p

So here we go packing on the paper ....be sure to use tape if you didn't know that. But I am sure you knew that... :p

Be sure to bulk up his shoulders. He has to have a big look to him.

This is what I ended up with at first. Plain and slim.

Now on to the hand. If you want to make two hands them just fallow this tut. I only made 1.

You will start by finding some Styro foam. (sp) I found some in my son's closet from when he bought parts of computers brand new of course to build his own computer. So I then placed my hand against it and then traced the outline of my own hand but an inch out from it. I have small hands. (my ring size is a 5 1/2 so that should give you a picture of how small mine are. So again I added an inch outwards. Then I made indention where each bony finger would go on both top piece and bottom piece. I then cut the coat hanger into about 7 to 8 inch long strips of wires. The thumb of course and pinky being smaller. Just shape them up. Place the wire hanger where you think the length would be right and then cut.
Now you can do like I did and use the Hot glue gun tip while it is hot and just press it down on the foam melting a grove where the wires will go. Then add the hot glue into those trenches you've made and place the wires in. When you have those on now place a bunch of hot glue all around . Very fast cause it will cool and the foam wont stick together becoming 1 piece.
By now once that glue is dry I added some in the cracks around the sides. ( I don't have pictures of that. I forgot to take pictures of it. :( )
Now you will cut the gutted pens (the kind you write with in school.) now cut them in half with wire cutters or whatever you can cut them with. after you cut them in half, make sure one is shorter than the other because the top part of the finger is shorter than the lower part. Now place them onto the wires. Making sure that you cut the pens even smaller for the pinky and thumb.

Now pull up on the pens and add a small dab of the hot glue and slide them back down onto the hot glue. That will hold them in place while you tape them. So after you have done that now you add the cotton balls on. Place them on where there is Joints and knuckles. Cut away at the foam as well and shape it all the way you want those fingers to be. Once done then you start taping it all. I started on the fingers and then moved to the base of the hand. I added a little bit of the cotton balls also to the palms to give them some shape. I put some skinny rolled up like you would do play dough. like a snake shape. But very skinny. That would be the bones in the back of the hands. After that I would take strips of tape and make a V shape with it and place it between each one. Then tape it up on there too. tape those fingers as well. Be sure to make those knuckles big enough. Remember he is a Grim Reaper and he has gnarly hands. ^.^

When your done they should be ready to paint. I used white first and let dry. Then when dried I took my greenish gray out and just rubbed it around until it was covered enough to get the effect of a dead bony hand. I made a slit at the wrist bottom and used a butter knife to widen it enough I could shove a paint stick in. Hot glued it in. Then I taped it on the arm and wahhlahhh.
Be sure to cut his robes edges in two different directions that way it will look more ragged. You can add some dirt to the ends of the robe and also I plan on added some flour over him to give it a dusty look.


and with a good Lantern and a good head aka Skull he will look great I am sure. ^.~

152 Posts
Great job- I wish I could find dark gray sheets in the trash- or even at the recycle store or salvation army. I like that you filled out the arms and legs a bit. I've watched tots grope my props to see if they feel "real". When they touch a leg and think it is a real leg they get away fast!
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