Attention Star Wars and DIYers:
Here’s your opportunity to make your very own Jabba the Hut out of irrigation tubing, foam, LOTS of hot glue and a few other supplies. Take some pics and send them to us!
Video after the jump.
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.