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Jabba the Puppet - Star Wars Crafts
May the Glue Gun Be With You!
Jabba the Puppet
Here's a REALLY big craft project... make your own life sized Jabba the Hutt!

Behind the cut you'll see how a few of us made a full sized Jabba out of supplies from discount and hardware stores.

The supplies were pretty basic:

  • 3/4" inside diameter semi-rigid irrigation tubing. This is the stuff you would bury in your lawn for sprinklers. This was around $30 for 50', and we ended up using a LOT more than we thought... almost the whole role!

  • 1" thick foam padding used for mattresses. This came from a discount store (Building 19). We ended up using 5 or 6 queen sized mattress sheets. It was around $20 a sheet

  • A smaller amount of 2" and 1/2" foam. 2" for the lower body and 1/2" for the features

  • LOTS of hot glue. TONS of it... probably 6 big bags of the 12" sticks from a hardware store

  • The skin is "Jet Set" from Joann fabrics. Basically non shiny spandex. I think we used 20 yards of it. Yay for 1/2 off coupons!

  • 3M 77 spray adhesive. This is how the skin sticks to the foam. We used 4 cans.

  • Clear plastic bowls for the eyes. We painted the insides of the bowls, so the outside shiny. This is a little tricky, but I'll get into that later.

  • Paint. All sorts of stuff! The base coat was 1 gallon of ugly yellow house paint. We thinned it out a LOT (2 parts water to 1 part paint) and sprayed it onto him with a pump sprayer used for lawn chemicals. Not so good for the sprayer (or my driveway!), but it did the trick.

  • Assorted lengths of PVC pipe. These are used for the arms, the tail, and whatever else seems good at the time.

OK, enough words, let's get some pictures!

This is Jabba's skeleton. We took the irrigation tubing and bent it into a ship's hull type shape. It is cross braced and screwed together to hold that shape, since this type of tubing will eventually revert back to a straighter position.

The 2" foam was screwed to the pipe all around. This makes up Jabba's lower body. We left one side open, where the tail will join.

We made a tent like support for the head. 2 lengths of tube bent to arches and screwed together. We used a few 8" lenghts of PVC to act as couplers between the lower frame and the upper, so that the tent supports can drop in. You can see that here:

Next is his head. We took a sheet of foam and just threw it over the head supports, then drew lines on it with a sharpie where it looked like it should be cut. We then hot glued the edges of the foam together to form the basic shape. The tail was made the same way... just take the sheet, twist and turn it til it looked good, then cut and glue.

Then a piece of foam was added in to one side to fill out the rest of the armpit area:

A quick slash with a knife, and Jabba was ready for a snack!

Mark, the main creative force behind the construction techniques and detailing, spent the evening working on feature buildup. He took the thinner foam and cut it to shape, then hot glued it where it was needed.

At this point we wanted to make sure that the skinning process was going to work so we jumped ahead to that part of things and skinned the tail:

The skin was done by coating the foam in spray adhesive then placing the fabric down on it, folding the fabric the way that Jabba's skin is folded.

After the first round of skinning, we made the right arm. Same deal, cutting foam and hot gluing it together.

We then skinned the upper body, same way as the tail. The arms are held to the body via long strips of fabric glued to the body and the arm. The stretchy fabric lets the arms move freely.

Next came the painting. This part was fun. We went to Home Depot to get some paint. We picked up a gallon of house paint that looked like a good Jabba color. I used a chemical sprayer from my garage to layer it down. We thinned it out 2:1 water:paint, and it went on evenly and fast!

Now to the eyes. We used plastic bowls for the eyes, painting the insides. This is a confusing way to paint. Normally, if you want a red surface with a yellow line on it, you would paint the thing red, then put the yellow on top. When you are painting inside a clear surface, you put the yellow first, then the red. So it took a bit of mapping out colors to get it right.

And there they are. We made sure to get the lopsided eyes that Jabba often has.

The detail painting was done via airbrush, and really brought out his features:

The last detail was the mouth. It is really simple... a pink cloth bag sewn up and glued to the inside of his mouth, then airbrushed to tone down the colors a bit. A slit was cut in the bottom of the bag, and the tongue was glued in. The tongue is a piece of 1/2" foam with the fabric spray glued to it The fabric wraps around and is glued together underneath. This lets you reach into the tongue from the inside to move it.

Which brings us to his big debut:

2 people inside. One working the arms and mouth, and another in the tail, working the Salacious Crumb puppet (through a slit in the tail)

46 comments or Leave a comment
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corsetra From: corsetra Date: November 2nd, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Totally Fricken Awesome! now who gets to park their car in the street so Jabba can have the garage for his palace?
From: tk7602 Date: November 2nd, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
heh... his final home is the barn at one of our garrison member's house. for now, he's taking up the majority of my garage, which is a bit less than fun :)
hofmannison From: hofmannison Date: November 2nd, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's incredible, Brian. You think you can get DZ credit in your garrison for that? ;)
From: tk7602 Date: November 2nd, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
i was thinking of submitting it just for kicks ;)
girliebacchanal From: girliebacchanal Date: November 2nd, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is amazing! Great job!
lovebyelise From: lovebyelise Date: November 2nd, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Was this for a parade? This is so amazing!!
From: tk7602 Date: November 2nd, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
yup! check out more parade pics here:
theresonlytoday From: theresonlytoday Date: November 2nd, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
ahhhhh!!! I wanna make one now hahahhaa. So awesome.
bonniegrrl From: bonniegrrl Date: November 2nd, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am SOOOO building one of these for our Lucas Online offices! This is one of the best craft projects I've ever seen. Thanks for giving me a crafty thing to dream about!

Oh and I blogged about it on the official Starwars.com blog as well:
DIY Lifesize Jabba the Hutt Puppet
bonniegrrl From: bonniegrrl Date: November 2nd, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
From: tk7602 Date: November 3rd, 2007 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)
whee! jabba's famous!

i can't wait to get our video footage! we had 2 digital recorders at the parade. i'm just waiting for the DVDs with the raw footage to arrive so that i can edit down a nice clip of our group.

this was definitely the biggest production we've done. and we're already thinking of how to top it. tauntauns and wampas seem to be coming up a lot!
omghi2ubbq From: omghi2ubbq Date: November 2nd, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's amazing!
ring_tiffany From: ring_tiffany Date: June 26th, 2010 08:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent piece.
xdragonladyx From: xdragonladyx Date: November 2nd, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
That is absolutely amazing! Great work!!
antilles1382 From: antilles1382 Date: November 3rd, 2007 01:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Friggin' Awesome!
nwc_orca From: nwc_orca Date: November 3rd, 2007 01:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Coolest. Thing. Ever. Love that tongue! :D
skyjammer From: skyjammer Date: November 3rd, 2007 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)
That is absolutely fantastic. I may have to do that for a parade here next year. :) Good work!
kawaii_rin_kun From: kawaii_rin_kun Date: November 3rd, 2007 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Major props

that looks really awesome. Great job!
From: mysoldiergirl Date: November 3rd, 2007 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
UHH this is pretty much the most amazing thing ever made.
(no subject) - fastlearner - Expand
From: tk7602 Date: November 3rd, 2007 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
whatever's around. some places it's drywall screws, others little nuts and bolts. we just sort of took the Big Bucket Of Screws that many houses have and used them all.
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