Spooky Summer DIY: Make an Easy “Thing” Prop


It is less than 100 days until Halloween, comic conventions are in full swing, and a new Haunted Mansion movie is now out!

I think it’s safe to bust out the practical effects and spooky cosplay ideas…. like an old-school, simple, basic Thing prop!

Long before the CGI world of a completely disembodied Thing running wild and free (which is pretty cool), Thing T. Thing (his full name) was confined to a box. It was the most elementary, simple idea and for those watching the Addams Family 1960s television show, and it was so cool.

Well, it is about to be cool again, because we will make a portable Thing prop for your eerie cosplay fun.

All you need is a cheap shallow wooden box small enough to fit in your hand but big enough to fit your hand in (you’ll know why), an old cloth glove, and some synthetic or cotton stuffing.

The hardest part comes first because younger special effects builders will need some adult help. Cut a hole in the bottom of the box big enough for your hand to fit through. This is why I recommended a cheap, wooden craft box. I was able to use a box cutter for the hole in my box, but go slow and be careful.

Use an old thin box and cut a hole in the bottom before attaching the glove and filling in the edges with some puffy cloth scraps.

If you still feel uncomfortable cutting up a wood box, use a cardboard box instead. Line the hole with some cloth or duct tape, so your hand doesn’t pass through splinters or rough edges.

Before the next step, you can paint or decorate the box however you want. I prefer plain black, but you might like a fancier Thing. Some people do like fancy Things.

Once the box is done, cut the palm out of the glove. Fill all the fingers with enough stuffing to make it look like your hand is in it. Don’t overstuff, though, because that will ruin the effect.

Make sure your hand is able to go through the cut palm of the glove. Use a glue gun to glue the edges of the cut glove around the hole in the box. Be careful not to burn yourself. I added more tape around the edges to secure the glove as well. Once the edges are dry, glue the fingers around the box, so it looks like your hand is holding it up. Let it dry.

Fill the box with some scrap cloth or tissue paper, leaving the center free for the hand to go through. 

Now for the fun part!

glove glue
Glue the hole in the glove to the bottom of the box after filling the fingers with stuffing, then glue the fingers to make it look like it is holding the box. Try it out and see how Thing looks in its new home.

Place your hand gently into the glove and up through the hole in the glove and box. If all went well, your hand should stick up out of the box. This is why you don’t want to use a box with very high sides; you want to be able to see the hand.

Practice holding your hand still, so it looks like a fake hand sticking out of the box you are holding. If you want to use costume makeup to give it a ghostly or zombie appearance or add fake nails to make it look a little less like your own hand, that helps.

When someone approaches, bring Thing to life with a thumbs-up, a wave, or an attempted handshake.

This is so much fun at parties or when trick-or-treaters stop by. Not too scary, but unexpected and fun. I tried it out on my family, and it works! 

It goes especially well with a Wednesday or Morticia Addams costume, but even just carrying one around on your own works.

Hands in motion
Creepy Thing and Hippie Thing. Yes, that’s supposed to be a peace sign. There’s a lot of personality you can get from a hand. All images: Lisa Tate

Be creative and creepy! Even when contained in his home, Thing knows how to think outside to box!

Fall is on its way soon, and we Foolish Mortals need to keep creative.

Liked it? Take a second to support GeekMom and GeekDad on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!