This is the first in a series of cosplay prop tutorials I will be giving as I progress with my props for costumes. As a note, I try to keep costs down, but if I need to, I will spend the money necessary.
For those of you unsure what I am talking about, please note the below picture.
This is the Oracle Bell from the anime Shaman King. I will be teaching you step by step how to make one from “common” household items.
First, you should set up the space you will need to complete the prop, which amounts to opening up a newspaper and laying it on the ground and finding somewhere for you to sit while you go about this.
Now, you will need your supplies to actually creating the bell. The items I used are as follows:
- The box a 12-pack of soda comes in
- A can of soda
- The hard plastic that handheld electronics come in
- Acrylic paints
- Acrylic primer
- Sewing materials
- Box cutter
- Duct tape
- Black Sharpie
- Gorilla Glue
This may seem like a lot of items for this prop, but in reality, it is not much. Now for the construction of the actual device.
- Scale the device to your body. What I did was measure out the dimensions on my reference pictures, and then scaled them up based on my arm length. Do this for the basic pager frame, as well as the ornamental attachments on the ends of the bell. Now, scale and measure your screen and note where it will be on the bell.
- Mark your measurements on the box and cut it out using the box cutter. In addition to this, draw out the dimensions for the screen and give it a couple of centimetres on each side. Then cut this out as well.
- After cutting out the pieces, psuedo-assemble them by simply putting one piece where it should be and seeing if it fits. If not, just cut out another piece and repeat until they match your specifications.
- When your basic pieces have been cut out, it’s time to drink up! Drink one of the can’s of soda (didn’t think they would go to waste, right?) and then slice into it using the box cutter. This will be the backing of the screen and will provide a rather clean appearance, so make this even larger than the oversized plastic. Again, check to see if it fits your specifications.
- With the cutting out of the way, it’s time to get to get ready to start the “long” parts of the project. First, you must lay primer down on the cardboard, so no one knows that your bell was sponsored by Vault (or in my case Diet Pepsi Max). After the first coat has dried, put down a second, and repeat until you can no longer see any distinguishable markings. I used three coats, but you might have to use less.
- With the primer down and the pieces completely white, it’s time to get down to painting the device. Using your acrylic paints, put down the first layer and wait for it to dry. After about an hour, lay down the second coat to the pieces, making sure the paint does not adhere to the paper you are using to keep the area paint-free.
- In between your coats of painting, you can do nearly anything. If you wish to be efficient, then you will start making your straps you will be using as armbands. First pin them together, sew them inside-out so you cannot see the stitching. Once sewn, roll them inside out (the hardest part) and sew the ends together. Congrats, you have made a set of bands.
- After doing this, you have two options to make the clasps to get the bands to stick together. The first is to use a set of actual fasteners. The second, and method I used, was to buy a set of plain gold buttons and use them. Either way will work fine, just make sure they have the same appearance as the character’s.
- After the paint has dried, it’s time to assemble the pieces together into the bell. First, attach the plastic pane to the inside of the frame using the duct tape on the edges (and out of sight), and then back the pane with the can of soda.
- With this done, attach the ends of the frame together, one side at a time, using duct tape on both sides of the inner part of the connection. Do this on both sides, and the basic frame is done. Now, attach the caps to the end of the frame (I only made one so I could use it as an extra storage pocket), also with duct tape. If your ornamental attachments can fit, put them in first and attach them, also with duct tape, and then do the caps. If the attachments are too big, just tape them to the bottom and paint over the tape twice to hide it.
- When the basic frame has been completed, and the straps done, it’s time to put them together. Put down a layer of Gorilla Glue, or another strong adhesive, lay your strap down in the position you want it, and then pin it down onto the framing. Do this with the other one. Wait for this to secure the connection and viola!, one genuine Shaman King Oracle Bell is ready to be used as a prop.