How To Make a Prop Gun out of Cardboard…and a VERY simple silencer out of PVC Pipe



  • Thick cardboard (like from a moving box, not a cereal box)
  • adhesive (I used hot glue, but tape, or anything will do fine)
  • Scissors / Exacto knife (one of those artsy ones people use that are like pencils and are really precise with their cutting.)
  • Thermoplastic of your choice: Warbla, Wonderflex…(here’s a really well done guide to thermoplastics:
  • IF you do not have thermoplastics available to you, beause this blog is about doing cosplay on a budget, and let’s face it, WARBLA AINT CHEAP…you have some options to you. It wont turn out the same as the picture above exactly, but it’ll be close. (I’ll go over options when we come to that step below).

STEP ONE Find an image of the gun you want to make. This tutorial is better for smaller guns, like the one pictured above.

My prop is for my Carl Grimes cosplay, so I simply chose which gun of his I wanted to make, and googled for the best picture of it.

^^^^is the picture I used as reference to the gun’s size and shape.

Once you’ve found your reference photo, move on to step two.

STEP TWO:  Draw the outline of the gun onto a piece of cardboard.  Make sure you have enough cardboard, because for a gun that’s as thick as mine, I needed to draw out six gun outlines.

STEP THREE:  Cut out what you’ve drawn. try to make them as even as possible, but don’t worry too much, you’ll be covering it up later anyways.

STEP FOUR:  Glue/tape/staple whatever them together. Just find a way to keep the cardboard pieces together. I used hot glue to put the pieces together and that worked very well, but if you don’t have hot glue available to you, I’m sure a strong-ish tape will do just fine. This part is very important to do, but the execution of how you actually do it is up to you and the materials you have available to you.

STEP FIVE:  Here comes the expensive-ish part. Thermoplastics. I’ve only ever used thermoplastics once. And it was to make this gun, so it didn’t come out as well as I would have liked, but it is much better than what I thought I was capable of. Anywho, use the thermoplastic to cover cardboard. This is what’s going to make it hard, heavy, and feel like you’re holding something solid, rather than just cardboard.

Here is a link to explain how to use and work with warbla.

STEP FIVE . 2: If you do not have thermoplastics available to you, here are some of your options.

  • Option #1:Paper mache that sucker. Cover the whole thing in paper mache, smooth it out, and it should look really close to what the original prop shown looks like. Here are some links to how to do paper mache:
  • Option #2: Cover that prop in masking tape. Find 1/2 inch tan/brown/whiteish colored masking tape and wrap it all around the prop. Make sure not a single piece of cardboard is showing. If you want it to be even more solid, do another layer or even two or three more layers of tape over your prop.  The more layers, the heavier it’ll be. Make sure though, that you make the tape tight over the gun, flatten it out, and make sure it is more solid than squishy as layered masking tape can be.

STEP SIX:  Time to paint! My prop is black, so choose your painting method! I think spray paint is the best bet personally,  but from my experience, buying it can be expensive. I do not recommend using the one dollar wallmart brd black spray paint. It doesn”t dry, and stays sticky, as well as melts. so yeah…DONT’ USE IT PLEASE! Use KRYLON spray paint. It’s my favorite brand, and has never let me down.

If you don’t have spraypaint as an option for whatever reason, I’m sure acrylic paint will work find, it just might not have the same metalic look  to it.

STEP SEVEN: Add your details. This varies from gun to gun, and for me, I decided to keep it simple and not put too many details on (though I might go back later and change that).  Add your markings, paint designs, do what you need to do. For my gun, I added some screws to make it look a bit more realistic, but that about sums up my decorating.


STEP ONE:  Find a piece of tubing, or what I used: PVC pipe. I had some lying around, so take it and cut it to size.

STEP TWO:  Paint the color you want it to be. Mine is a dull metallic silver, so I took metallic silver and mixed it with a little black, and it made it the perfect color. It was also acrylic paint, and that turned out more than fine, though it does peel off when scratched at. 

EXTRA : take a piece of tape and cover the. cover it with tape once more, and poke a hole in the middle, and make as big as you need it to be. Paint over the tape.

STEP THREE: Let it dry and then glue it on  to the gun with gorilla glue. Find whichever way is best to hold the pieces together. I used painters tape to attact over night or until dry.

STEP FOUR: Take off tape (and possibly repaint areas that the tape might take paint off of) and paint over the dried puffy glue to match your gun.


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