Part 2 of The Mind Flayer Prop Tutorial

mindflayer on roof

Part 1 of the Mind Flayer Prop build, covered how to build the torso. Now we’ll move on to the head, and if not too lengthy, the legs.

Supplies Needed for Building Head

  • A Large Cardboard Box (Like from a 45″ or larger, flat screen TV)
  • Extra Cardboard for pointed end of head, and protecting work table
  • Pool Noodles (at least 2)
  • Wire
  • Toothpicks
  • Red/Black Acrylic Paint
  • 2 Hot Glue Guns
  • Glue sticks: Clear, red, and black
  • Plastic Dip or Flex Seal Rubber Spray
  • Plastic bottles or waterproof packaging, and Styrofoam, to add shape to head, and act as filler
  • A Can of Expanding Spray Foam (preferably the type for gaps over 1″)
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Clear Packing or Clear Duct tape
  • Black 6 ml Sheeting (* FOLLOW LINK IN PART 1 FOR WARNING)
  • Heat Gun with Hi/Lo options
  • Scissors
  • 6 ft. or longer table to work on 
  • 2 Plastic coated garden stakes ( approx. 3 feet each, optional, but recommended)
  • Drill 

If you haven’t gone over Part 1 with the body frame, please do so, before moving on. A few tips there can save you some unnecessary steps later. 

Directions:

  1. Position your work table in a well-ventilated garage, or outside. Take your TV box or equivalent, and with the box closed, squeeze/squash it down along the narrow sides, towards the middle. This should change the rectangle shape, into a more tear drop shape.
  2. If your box is on the smaller side, and you’re not getting the effect, you may have to slice the side, and add extra cardboard to make it more tear drop shaped.
  3. Waterproof everything with Plastic Dip or rubber spray. Let dry.
  4. Pick the widest end to be the mouth, and cut open. Fill inside the head cavity, about 3/4 full, with Styrofoam, bottles, etc. Make sure they are snug, but don’t worry about open space. (You’ll add spray foam later)
  5. If you had to cut the side of box, and tape extra cardboard for a tear drop shape earlier, add a double wide strip (to cover taped area) with black sheeting, and shrink wrap along that line. Otherwise, skip this step.*Please make sure you are aware of how to use a heat gun, and shrinking plastic. The heat gun can get really hot, and burn skin easily. 
  6. Attach extra bottles with clear boxing tape, along the sides, or where ever you want to change the shape. Add hard inserts, plastic, and really anything that is waterproofed, to help give it the shape you want. Also add a cardboard tail, and waterproof, if needed. Let dry.
head build of Mind Flayer DIY

The head wasn’t big enough, after the first wrap. So, I added bottles, and cardboard pieces. Then added the tail, and the first noodle to start the mouth. Spray foam added bulk.  Copyright 2021, All Rights reserved, Debbie Morrow

6. Take a small paper cup, and add a few squirts of red paint, with a few drops of black paint. Only mix until streaks of black go through red. Add a tsp. or two of water, depending on how thick your paint is. Don’t mix, but place at least 30+ toothpicks in paint/water mix. Let them sit and soak up colors unevenly. 

7. In the meantime, take one noodle and put a piece of wire through center hole, and make a circle (like you’d do to make a wreath). Wire ends together, to keep circular shape. Tape or wire the first mouth layer to the open end.

8. Now it’s time to use the spray foam. Put on those gloves. You’ll want your fillers nearby, since the foam spray can clog, without almost continual use. After following directions on the can to prepare, spray some foam down the inside cavity of the head. Insert more fillers into the mouth of the beast, butting against the foam, without too much pressure. This will allow the foam to expand more, instead of deflate. Add filler/foam up to a few inches from the pool noodle ring.

9. Add foam anywhere else on the outside of head. It may need bulking or a bridge between pieces you’ve added, or maybe you want to add more texture effects. Let completely dry – for at least a half hour, or more.   

10. During the drying time, start cutting strips of black sheeting, approx. 1 ft. wide by 3 ft. long. You’ll be layering, and you’ll be surprised, how much you’ll need. Whatever you don’t use on the head, will be used on the legs, in the next tutorial.

11. Once the foam outside is completely dry, start at the tail, and add a strip of plastic sheeting, around the tale, and towards mouth. Don’t worry if you need to use a piece of tape to secure the start of your strip, it shrivels up and is easy to pull off, once cooled. Let the plastic sheeting bunch, ripple, and shrink tightly. Continue the process until you get near the pool noodle mouth, and make sure you do all sides of the head. Let cool a few minutes, and feel if there are any places that are loose. If so, reheat to shrink more. Repeat at least another layer, over head. 

12. Once you reach the mouth opening, add strips that start a few inches before noodle, and reach to the inside of the mouth. *Pool noodles burn quickly, so be mindful of the sheeting being melted over. You may want to use the lower setting on your heat gun. Spray foam also burns easy, but turns burnt orange or brown, before degrading. It’s not as delicate as a noodle, but still keep that in mind when going over those spots. Awkward angles, call for something to hold plastic in place, while melting. Make sure it is something like a pair of scissors, or long screw driver, so you don’t get your hands burned.

13. Repeat with strips from behind noodle to inside mouth, all around. Make sure when plastic is cool, the seal and shrink wrap is firm. Add another layer of circle noodle, over the already shrink wrapped one. Repeat with sheeting, over both.

The Teeth

  1. While the plastic is cooling, pull out the toothpicks from the paint and water bath, and pat dry. Start by pushing a small, circular row of toothpicks (poking them through, into the foam), into the deepest part of mouth. Then work outward, getting bigger in circular pattern, for each row. Add as many as you’d like, until you’re satisfied.

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While walking around with the finished head to compare it to body, I realized how awkward it was to carry, but not really heavy. Getting it on the roof, to attach to the body, from a ladder, wasn’t going to be easy. The teeth were going to be vulnerable to bumps, and I didn’t want any broken off. So, I drilled two spots on each side of head, as far as the bit would take me. I then pushed through 2 plastic coated wire stakes. This allowed for easy carrying up the ladder, passing it to the guy on roof, and then attaching the head to the wires, already in place on the body frame. This is optional, but highly recommended.  

The First Attempt at Monster Spittle 

I watched several videos, and read a bunch of threads suggesting how to make spittle like they used in the movie, Alien. I seriously wanted that, and it just didn’t seem feasible with a prop outdoors. The movie makers used KY Jelly. Who knew, right? But others suggested a clear glue/borax mix, because it turned into a supposed plastic like consistency, when dried. 

There I was, with the mix, standing on a ladder, attaching the glue/borax goo. But you had to work fast, or it got too thick, and unusable. After two attempts, it looked pretty good, but the weight of the spittle, pulled all the way to the ground. Sorta cool, right? But by morning, all had dripped into a pile on the driveway.

What Worked as Spittle

Add drips of red/clear/black hot glue drips to various toothpicks in mouth. This was done when it was already on roof, for gravity to help pull the drips down. I stood on top of the ladder, and used a clear stick in one glue gun, and switched out red/black sticks with another. Starting with a clear glue drip off a toothpick, I’d add one of the other colors, while clear was still warm. I found the color didn’t overwhelm or mix completely with the clear, and they dripped together nicely. 

The last tutorial, Part 3, will follow shortly. It will be how I accomplished making legs of over 200 feet in total length, and still be very light weight/waterproof. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

2 thoughts on “Part 2 of The Mind Flayer Prop Tutorial

  1. Pingback: Stranger Things Comes to Charlotte, NC | Frugal Frights and Delights

  2. Pingback: Part 3 of The Mind Flayer Build | Frugal Frights and Delights

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