Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Paper maché machete, hatchet, meat cleaver, sickle, etc props


Published by Manning on October 29th, 2019

I made all these paper maché weapon props for Halloween 2019 — a machete, a meat cleaver, a sickle, a scythe, two hatchets, a hand saw, a pitchfork, and a few knives. They were easy!

Paper mache meat cleaver, knives, etc - spray painting

I used a lot of the same process for these that I did for my paper maché kitchen knife prop last year and this paper maché axe that I made a few weeks ago, so check out that article if you want some more details and pics. For all these new assorted weapons, I simplified and cut corners wherever possible, since these are just decorations that will be hanging on walls, and probably won’t get handled too much or looked at too closely.

(Related: check out my paper maché chainsaw and paper maché bear trap projects.)

Paper mache machete, hatchet, etc - cutting out shapes

For the simplest of all these weapons shapes, I started by drawing them onto foam board and cutting them out with an X-acto knife. The above pic is just a few of ’em!

For the weapons with relatively straight, flat blades and handles (i.e. the machete, meat cleaver, the hand saw, and the knives), I taped some wooden coffee stirrers along the back edge, all the way along the length of both the blade and handle. This is to help protect them from getting bent if people handle these things.

My next step was to make all the handles thicker, and I did this a bit differently for all of them. For the hatchets, I traced the handle onto foam board four more times for each, and making these new copies a little thinner; very similar for how I did my paper maché axe. (But I skipped the step where I wrapped everything in long strips of craft foam.) I hot-glued these copies onto the main hatchet shapes.

For the machete, the meat cleaver, and the kitchen knives, I made the handle thicker with two layers of craft foam on each side. I used craft foam as a kind of shortcut because it’s so easy/quick to cut with scissors; much less than hassle than cutting out foam board with an X-acto knife. I got-glued these craft foam copies onto the main handle shapes.

I also used craft foam for the sickle handle, but six copies rather than four, so I could put three on each side; I wanted this handle to be a little thicker and more rounded.

I taped all these handles in a layer of masking tape. For the hatchets, I actually did a layer of masking tape, then a layer of shipping tape, and then another layer of masking tape.

Paper mache meat cleaver, knives, etc - foam board and masking tape

Two of the blades have serrated edges — the saw, and one of the knives. I made these edges out of craft foam, which I cut with pinking shears to get that zig-zag edge.

Paper mache hand saw prop

Building out the blades for the hatchets was a little more work; see my article about my paper maché axe to see how I did those.

Not shown: I made the pitchfork handle out of two rolls of brown wrapping paper; the same stuff I use for paper maché.

Paper maché

Weapon props - machete, sickle, etc - paper mache

I then covered all the weapons with just a layer or two of paper maché. Here’s some info about my paper maché process and materials. The short version is: I use Roman PRO-543 universal wallpaper adhesive and alternating layers of newspaper and brown wrapping paper.

Paper mache pitchfork

Basically I just did one layer on all of them, and I added a partial extra layer or two on the places where I thought these props were the weakest or mostly likely to bend/break. For example, the sickle blade is a little thin, so I did two layers on that.

Note: I put so few layers of paper maché on these props overall because they’re mostly meant to just be decorations. If they were going to be part of a costume and carried/handled a lot, I’d put six to eight layers on them, to make them really strong. Remember, a layer of two of tape before paper maché basically works as a quicker way to get extra layers onto your base. The only downside is that tape is more expensive.

I let the paper maché dry, and then as a finishing touch I used a hole punch to make some little circles of pasteboard, and I glued these along the handles of some of the props with Tacky Glue. I invested in a few different sizes of fancy hole punches a while and they really come in handy for a lot of things. These little pasteboard circles will be the silver dots you see where the metal is exposed on the handles of some knives and other cutlery. They don’t really need to be 3-D like this, but the fact that they’re slightly raised will make them much easier to paint.

Paper mache meat cleaver, knives, etc - spray painting

I spray painted all the weapons black for starters. I then repainted some of the handles brown, either with spray paint or acrylic paint. I painted all the blades by hand with a mixture of black and silver acrylic paint. I painted the little dots by hand with silver acrylic paint.

I did a very light dusting of black spray paint over some of the blades to dirty them up a bit. For the blood splatters, I used dark red acrylic paint and flicked it onto the blades with a big paintbrush.

(Note: I did the big scythe at the very end and was in such a rush I opted not to paint the handle at all, so that’s just the brown wrapping paper you see in these pics.)

Paper mache meat cleaver, knives, etc

Paper mache meat cleaver, knives, etc

Here are the weapons displayed along with our paper maché fireplace prop:

Paper mache fireplace prop

Paper mache fireplace prop

These were very easy and quick to make! On to the next project!

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