How to Make Fake Arms & Legs

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Whether you’re pulling a prank on a friend or getting ready for Halloween, there are times you’ll want to have a fake arm or leg around. Think about how funny it would be to put a fake arm under your roommate’s bed for them to discover as they’re going to sleep. False limbs are also a necessity for many magicians. Making a convincing false limb isn’t a difficult task, and you probably have everything you need right on hand.

Things You'll Need

  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Pair of pants
  • Shoe
  • Glove
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Needle and thread or duct tape
  • Newspaper or foam
  • Remove the sleeves from the long-sleeved shirt. For maximum realism, use the scissors to cut the thread and then unravel the seam without slicing the sleeve itself. If you’re in a hurry, or if that side of the fake arm will be hidden anyway, go ahead and make a rough cut. Separate one of the pant legs in the same way.

  • Add the foot. Use safety pins to attach the shoe to the pant leg about an inch from the hem. Make sure you use enough safety pins to keep the shoe attached and the stuffing inside.

  • Put a hand at the bottom of the sleeve. To do this, pin a glove about an inch from the cuff of the sleeve. Think about what kind of glove you will use. A leather work glove makes a different impression than a knitted woolen glove.

  • Stuff the arms and legs with newspaper, foam or old rags; choose whatever will look suitably lifelike. If people will only see the fake limbs from far away, newspaper may do, but the rustling will ruin the illusion when seen from a closer perspective. You can get real stuffing from a craft store that won’t make sounds when it moves around.

  • Seal off the open ends. You have options, depending on how much time you have and how much of this end will be visible. If the end will be completely concealed, use duct tape to seal the end shut. To make the fake arm or leg last longer, use a needle and thread to sew the end shut.

  • Distress the fake arms and legs to fit the situation in which you’re using them. If you’re trying to convince someone a fake limb has been buried in the woods for weeks, you should get the false arm or leg dirty, so it looks more natural. If the fake limb was supposed to be in a fire, singe the fake arm or leg enough for it to be convincing.

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