Commission: Reaper Scythe Prop

This unique scythe prop was part of a commission I did for the Sad Grim Reaper costume based on a digital illustration of artist Annie Dunn called "Teddy Bear and the Reaper".

The blade is made from two layers of EVA foam and has a nice, rigid look to it while still being safe to carry around on a convention floor. The handle is pipe wrapped in a piece of insulating foam (basically, the same foam as used in pool noodles). I chose this foam since it was already in the correct shape, and since it reacts to a lower heat than EVA and allowed me to add the wooden texture details simply by running the heated tip of a hot glue gun down the foam.

EVA foam blade cut, hot glued together, and sanded down to form the blade's edge:

Scythe foam blade Scythe foam blade Scythe foam blade

The "wooden" handle with initial detailing, and pieces initially assembled. The top portion of the scythe is detachable just below the blade for ease of transportation; there's a hidden screw thread inside connecting the pieces together securely.

Scythe foam handle Assembled scythe and rope

If you try to apply paint directly to foam, it will be absorbed - or worse, certain paints may eat away at certain types of foam. To prevent this, the foam must first be sealed. For this project, I used several layers of a thick decoupage glue called Mod Podge. Because it's brushed on, it gives the blade the illusion of brushed metal. It is also thick enough to fill in the gaps in the open-cell foam of the handle and make it look and feel more solid.

Blade with Mod Podge sealant Handle with Mod Podge sealant

Here, the base coat of shiny red spray paint has been applied to the blade, with a light coating of bronze metallic paint to add a shimmer.

Painted scythe blade Painted scythe blade

Finally, craft acrylics are used to add weathering and detail to the blade and the wooden handle. The manila rope was soaked in water for a few minutes to make it pliable enough to tie into a secure knot that will not come loose easily. This is a good trick for crafters working with plant-based material like rope, pine needles, etc.; when wet, they become malleable, and stay put once they've dried.

Reaper scythe, close-up Reaper scythe, full shot Reaper scythe, close-up

Here's the scythe as shown in original artwork and with the final Sad Grim Reaper costume:

Comparison between costume and original artwork

Categories: Commissions (Not currently open), Costuming, Masks and Props
Tags: Annie Dunn, Chaos in Color, commission, cosplay, costume, grim reaper, sad, sculpting, scythe, skeleton, skull, teddy bear, wip, work in progress
Live Date: 4/19/2014 | Last Modified: 4/19/2014