Make Your Own Tentacle For Under $20

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of pool noodles will be in want of a tentacle.
Land Tentacles
For those unaware, I’m a bit of a Halloween nut. And by bit, I mean when the basement recently flooded I had to move piles of skeletons, coffins, and ghosts to mop up the carpet. I’m also big into making my own stuff rather than buying whatever cheap plastic crap the stores spit out every October.
On top of the graveyard, dragon cave, spider pit, and scarecrow salon, I wanted to add something a bit aquatic.

I swiped the idea from a tutorial here. The biggest thing I changed was putting the suckers in the proper formation instead of haphazardly chucking them everywhere. I’ll also show how to make the twists and turns of my tentacles.

It takes:

  • Three pool noodles of varying sizes
  • 1/2″ & 3/4″ pipe insulation foam to chop up into the suckers
  • a wire hanger
  • a crap ton of duct tape (over 60 yards to make two tentacles)
  • grocery bags/filling
  • spray paint

The garden hose really wanted to be in the picture.

Start with your three noodles arranged with one higher and than the others. There will be a gap at the bottom, but it’s okay. We have a solution!

I find where the three pool noodles intersect and tape them together. Then, using my saw blade, I whittle down where each pool noodle meets so it’s a much smoother flow. If it doesn’t quite come out perfectly, you can use the bags to help the transition:

Stuff the bags where there are gaps at the bottom to make up for the missing pool noodle section (or you could get an extra noodle to make up the difference. It’s up to you). Tape all that up with the duct tape. Bags are not the easiest to work with, and I’ve found bubblewrap goes much smoother, but it’s not strictly necessary. Use whatever you have around.

For the tip, saw off the edges to make a point and add the wire hanger. This will, in theory, be all you need to make a bit of articulation. I say in theory because whenever I try, I pierce the foam with the hanger and have to jam it all back in.

Now for  the curves. Make sure you leave a good bit at the bottom, at least a few feet. If you cut your tentacle too high up, the weight won’t be supported and it’ll all fall down. With the saw blade, slice into the pool noodles almost all the way through. Stuff that section with plastic bags and then tape it back up.

Do that for every curve and twist you want in your tentacles. More bags means a stronger curve. Make sure to cover everything in duct tape. It’s okay if it’s not perfectly smooth. No one will notice.

Shh…the tentacle is sleeping.

The next step is suckers. Take the insulation and chop it into adorable calamari rings. Do that for about two hours while you lose all feeling in your back and stomach muscles.

I glued the suckers on with hot glue, but here’s a funny thing about hot glue: it eats foam. Like “Cookie Monster at a bakery” eats foam. There’s a good chance some of your suckers will dissolve if you cut them too thin. You can try liquid nails, but I hate that shit. We don’t get on.

Yes, I have bats on my windows in May. Why do you ask?

I glued the 3/4″ at the bottom and midway switched to the 1/2″ of the pipe insulation foam. It helps the illusion of the winnowing of the tentacle as it tapers out.

Now to spray paint.

Big shock, you can’t use regular ol’ boring spray paint on duct tape. Duct tape’s not a big fan of it, and will crack. I used our good friend Krylon plastic, which will stick to anything. Use a gloss so it’ll have that yanked out of the water wet look:

I went red, but you could go green or grey or blue. It’s full up to you!

After this, it’s time to go through your stash and beautify up the tentacle. I used antique white, orange, brown, and rusting red to give this tentacle all its pretty colors.

Now I just need some blue wave lights and the sound of a raging ocean storm to complete the scene. Don’t mess with the dreaded land squid!
Land Squid 2
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6 thoughts on “Make Your Own Tentacle For Under $20

  1. Also just thinking to stop the wire from going through the foam, you could put hose pipe or thin but strong wide wiring inside of the pool noodles to protect the inside of the foam ^_^

  2. Awesome, thank you for this awesome tutorial, i will be using this method on a costume i am doing of ursula from mlm but obviously on a smaller scale ^_^

  3. This is a really cool article and a very fun craft project! I’d have never thought of doing something like this, so thank you very much for sharing this with us =)

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