Two years ago I was in Target shopping for who knows what (as we all do). I walked by the Halloween section and inspiration grabbed me. I saw the plastic snake skeletons and skulls of all sizes. My little heart went pitter patter, and I bet you know where I am going with this…I bought two of the medium snakes and a skull. Then it happened again the next year, and yes it is happening again this year. Dark Marks for everyone! YAY!!
Before we start:
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It took a little bit of engineering and BOOM…instant Dark Mark! It made me so happy and is now one of my favorite projects of all time. It really is fantastic!
The mighty Joe helped me make two snakes into one long snake. This required wire snips, small pliers, and a screwdriver. More details directions below.
I wanted it to be emerald green as in the books, but a test spray on a discarded piece didn’t turn out as I wanted. I guess that particular spray paint wasn’t compatible with the plastic. I decided to leave it natural with a glow in the dark coating which looks amazing. He now lives in the living room year round, and at the end of the night when we turn out the lights it looks AMAZING!
Last year we made a MASSIVE one, and I mean it’s huge. This was made with two large snakes and a giant skull. We use it for an outside display. It was assembled the same method and the little one. But, I painted this one a green (as they are green in the sky) for a base coat. I found one that worked better for this one, and then covered this beautiful thing with glow in the dark paint. I also used some mono-filament fishing line to hold up the snakes head a bit on this one.
The big boy will only be outside seasonally. This one currently reigns supreme over our dining room. Of course, they both wear Santa hats for Christmas.
This year I am making yet another one, and I wanted to give more detailed instructions. I was getting a ton of questions on the method used and what paint I used, so I made another one. Huzzah!
Away we go! You might be able to find the type of snakes or skulls that will work else where; but I’ve been looking around the last two years and Target is the only place I’ve found them so far.
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2 plastic skeleton snakes the same length
1 plastic skull (the mouth has to be able to open) compatible size with the snake head
mini pliers set you will need one with a wire cutter/snip
work gloves (optional) I attacked my hand with the screwdriver so be careful
mono-filament fishing line
Wall hook to hang it on
We created this by using two snake of the same size to make one giant one. One regular sized one is not long enough to make the figure 8 shape needed.
The first snake (we will call this the tail end)
We have to sever the head of one snake by removing the screws holding the fangs/jaw together leaving the body and the tail intact. You will also need to remove the first spine bone section (see photos). To take bone section off the snake body you will need to pop the little “button and use the pliers to pull that wire through. Clip the “U” tip off the wire to make a straight wire. You will later use the rest of this snake to connect to the front end (second snake).
The second snake (we will call this one the neck end)
On the second snake we removed the tail section. There are different sized spinal discs along the body of the snake. The last bones of the tail section are smallest and narrowest and will be removed. Remove the screw on the tail tip and pop off that little button holding the wire in place. Clip the “U” hook of the wire to make pulling it easier. You will need a flat head to lift the cable/wire and then the flat tipped pliers to pull the cable/wire through the last 5 sections of the tail. Remove the 5 sections from the tail leaving the longer cable. This far up from the “tail end” the bone sections become the same size as the “neck end”.
Connecting the snakes ends together
You will need to line up the “neck end” with the “tail end” by hooking the button of the bone section onto the opposite end. Feed the wire through the hole and connect the two ends together. You will need to twist the ends of the cables and be sure it is tight so it doesn’t slip.
This time the wire fought me so I snipped the section of the bone end and snapped it over the top of the button.
Shaping and connecting the body
Shape the figure 8 and stick the tail end of the snake in the skull mouth
Coiling in the proper directions to make the figure 8 took a bit to make sure the top section was showing the whole time. Once I had it in place I used small clear zip ties to hold it in place. The original two I made I used 10 gauge wire and E6000 and hot glue. I think the zip ties work so much better.
Adding the Zipties
Once assembled, trap it in place with the zip ties so it holds its shape. The massive one I made I used fishing line to hold the snake head up at the angle I wanted.
You have the options to paint it or not. If you choose to paint it, I would recommend that you use painters tape to cover the eyes and nose to keep them black. It makes them stand out in the dark!
Now you can summon all of your minions and have an amazing wall piece. I am going to see if work will allow me to hang this one up for Halloween.
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