How to Make Foam Tentacles

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Many invertebrates have tentacles.
Many invertebrates have tentacles. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Invertebrates such as squid and octopuses have tentacles. These animals use these long appendages to sense their world, to move and to capture prey. The tentacles of the giant squid have long been famous in sailing folklore. In a play about mariners or in a Halloween costume, tentacles add a fun moveable element to a set or a costume.

Things You'll Need

  • Upholstery foam
  • Foam cutter
  • Crazy glue
  • Metal wire
  • Permanent marker
  • Foam cutter
  • Safety glasses

Determine how high you would like your tentacles to be, and add 2 inches to that measurement so that you can create bumps on the bottom of the tentacles. Cut a long, thin triangle out of paper to these measurements as a model for the foam tentacles.

The foam should be 2 inches higher than the end product.
The foam should be 2 inches higher than the end product. (Image: Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Use a permanent marker to trace the tentacles onto the foam by tracing around the paper stencil that you have created.

Add rounded edges to the tentacles.
Add rounded edges to the tentacles. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Put on safety classes. Use a foam cutter or a utility or electric knife to cut through the foam. Carve out the sides and mold them into a more naturalistic shape.

Protective goggles will prevent your eyes from being damaged.
Protective goggles will prevent your eyes from being damaged. (Image: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Trace circles onto the top of the triangle. This will be the bottom of the tentacle where the animal has its suction cups. Use a marker to black out the areas around the circles.

The squid and octopus both have circular protrusions on their tentacles.
The squid and octopus both have circular protrusions on their tentacles. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Use the cutter to cut out the areas that are black to a depth of approximately 2 inches. The remaining cylinders are the beginnings of suction cups. Use a knife to hollow out the suction cups if you wish.

Attach the tentacles to a central object if they are part of a larger prop. Use crazy glue to glue the tentacles to a squid or octopus body. Use the foam tentacles as stage props and drape them over a backdrop so that a puppeteer can hide behind them and move the tentacles as if they were connected to a large octopus or squid.

Attach the tentacles to a squid, octopus or other animal.
Attach the tentacles to a squid, octopus or other animal. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Tips & Warnings

  • Make the tentacles out of good quality upholstery foam. This will help them last longer. If they are for a Halloween costume or a play, using high-quality foam will ensure that the tentacles do not get damaged in the weather or during storage. If the tentacles need to be thin so that they can lift easily, use a lower-density upholstery foam. Experiment with different foam densities until you find a density of foam that you can lift comfortably over a long period of time.
  • You can get artistic with the shape of the tentacle and add swirls and rounded areas at the ends to look like a tentacle in motion.

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