If you have clicked on this Instructable, than you are clearly aware of who Lady Rainicorn is. If not, well she is a flying, Korean speaking, rainbow unicorn character from the cartoon, Adventure Time. I was hired to decorate an Adventure Time themed event so I came up with the ridiculous idea to make her into a life size hanging prop. She is 26 ft in length and is made from chicken wire, tension wire, fur and other tidbits. She also has a motorized, mirrored disco horn because I just couldn't help myself.
Step 1: Materials
Hot Glue Gun
8 yards of Rainbow long pile fur
2 yards of Pink long pile fur
Golden polyester fabric
Disco Ball Motor
Light gauge craft wire
1" Mirror Squares
white soft foam sheet
black soft foam sheet
Step 2: Build the body
The challenge was that this not only needed to be big, but also transportable and lightweight. I knew I could make this entire thing out of chicken wire and tension wire and it made sense to do it in sections.
The body is 20 feet long so you will need to make (5) 4-foot sections.
Because the fabric is 60" wide and needs to run lengthwise down the body, than the chicken wire should be the same size.
Don't let the picture fool you into thinking you can just lay the fabric and the chicken wire together and cut one big length. The chicken wire width is only 48" so I had to cut the chicken wire down the length into roughly 62" sections. The extra 2 inches gives you a little extra to work with for seaming it.
Once measured, cut the chicken wire, using steel snips. Cut strategically so there are ends that can easily fold into the opposite end.
The chicken wire wants to naturally curve together, so it's fairly easy to match the ends up. Once you have the tubes generally formed, attach the chicken wire to itself, using the cut ends or even zip ties where needed.
Then with a fresh roll of tension wire, start stringing the wire through the holes of the chicken wire at a bit of an angle, almost like a slinky. This can be somewhat tricky and eventually hurts the fingers. It gets tighter and tighter the further it gets through.
Use zip ties to attach ends of tension wire together.
Once tube sections are created, lay one on top of the face down fur and then wrap that fur around the form. Cut the end of the fabric. Glue the fur to the tension wire part of the tube with hot glue. Glue seam together at the top. Once you have your first tube section made, line the edge up with the next section of fabric, making sure the stripes match up. Repeat the process until all 5 sections are complete.
Attach sections together using zip ties.
Step 3: Build the head
This is an interesting process of shaping tension wire.You start with the two main head shape wires, sliding them into the chicken wire at the top, bending the wire down where needed to get the right shape. It takes a little getting used to but it's not really that difficult.
Once you get that shape down, wrap chicken wire around, attaching with zip ties until you get full coverage. But before completely covering the center top of the head, get something level and flat that the disco horn can be mounted on.
Now not everyone needs a motorized mirrored disco horn, but this Rainicorn was going in a rave and it was only fitting for it to be illuminated and shiny. You could make the horn out your own special material, but if you want the disco horn, you need a turntable motor found at the Stage Lighting Store.
Now I'm sure there is a better way to go about this, but I was in a deadline and grabbed the closest piece of scrap wood I could find. Maybe a metal plate would be better? Who knows. Either way the motor needs to sit on something. I used a piece of wood, roughly 2 feet long and 8" wide. I used screws to attach the wood to wire that would then attach to the chicken wire and tension wire. Like I said, probably a better way, but it works for now.
Once wood is secure you can either screw motor to the wood (if it has holes for mounting) or you can Velcro it to the wood. Now you can make the horn.
I wish this Rainicorn's horn was bigger, as it really should be if it were to scale, but I had to work with what I had. You can buy turntable motors as wide as 17".
Taking a styrofoam craft cone from the craft store and a bunch of 3/4" self adhesive mirror tile squares, simply attach mirrors one by one until you reach the top.
Attach foam cone to mirror ball motor using Velcro.
Now you can simply cover the head with pink fur, cut eye shapes out of the soft foam, glittering the eyes if so desired.The fur attaches to chicken wire using hot glue. Just lay the fabric over, gluing and tucking and cutting until it comes together. Tricky but not that tricky.
Step 4: Building arms and legs
These are super easy!
Using threaded rod from the hardware store, stick it in the areas where there would be arms and legs, weaving it in and out of the chicken wire. Stick roughly 3 feet in there so there is enough inside to give it support and enough outside to give her length for arms and legs.
Now if you want to make her legs true to color, you will need to do this differently. Her real stripes are opposite in direction from her body and only use specific colors - red, pink and green. Either way you go, it's as simple as wrapping the pool noodle in the fur and using hot glue to seal it all together.
Once the pool noodles are covered, slip them on to the threaded rod that is now sticking out of the body.
Step 5: Making the hair & tail
I went to the fabric store and found some polyester type flowy fabrics that i could cut and glue to the top of the body. I laid them over the body and cut strips , layering and staggering the cuts so it looked more like hair.
To make the tail, use the same method as the legs and arms, inserting a threaded rod at the top, rear center, inserting a pool noodle on the rod, but this time, covering with the gold fabrics used for hair.
Eventually I want to redo this design and make it more realistic. Maybe you can come up with a better design for the hair.
Step 6: Transport, Install and Illuminate
I decided to transport my Lady in 3 sections.
The head and an 8ft section as one.
The middle 4ft section as another.
The rear 8ft section and tail.
I also detach arms and legs for transportation.
To illuminate, shine par 38s from the sides and a pinspot on the mirrored horn. Requires electrical for motor.
Thanks for reading!
The Making of video: