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Extreme Creativity: Tentacles Part 4 Getting Better!

Making tentacles for little boys is … constraining. I couldn’t insert wires into the center of the pool noodle, to make them bendable, because a wire would greatly increase the chance of damaging your little brother when you whack him with it. Suction cups also became problematic. The suckers, drawn on with a Sharpie, eh. They are cute, but not exciting.

The solution is an encore performance, of course. I can make them better, Stronger. More weird! I immediately set about remodeling three more pool noodles to taper properly, and mummifying them in duct tape. This time I didn’t bother cutting wedges out of the foam to force a bend. With an internal wire, they should be able to bend at will any way I want.

The wire is made from coat hangers, straightened, spliced to be long enough, and then inserted through the center. Fussy work but nothing difficult about it, especially with a couple pairs of pliers.

Suction cups now, we’re venturing into creative territory. YouTube videos suggest buying a length of plastic air conditioner insulation hose. This seems … tame. Surely there’s something else? And here I called upon a local source.

I live in Portland OR, and one of the many features of the city is a Scraps store. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to recycling items that might have a creative reuse. There are only four locations nationwide, and mine is almost the ideal place to shop for me! I never step into the Portland Scraps store but that I find skeins of yarn, or bits of trim or cloth that I need, or … well, what would I buy, to make suckers for tentacles?

In December I combed carefully through the store, eying everything that was round and of the right size. Ideally I wanted something 3-D, not a flat round disc of cardboard or anything. A range of sizes, from half an inch to perhaps 1 1/2 inches, would be good. And, able to tolerate spray paint is an important feature. And look at what I found!

This is a grocery bag half full of plastic caps. Bottle caps, caps from medicine bottles, caps twisted off of juice jugs or jars of mayonnaise. Some person or persons of crazy dedication saved plastic caps for years and years, and finally donated them to the Scraps store. Aren’t they perfect? I bought this entire bagful for a mere dollar, pawing through a gigantic bin to select all the smallest possible caps.

When I got them home I sorted them by size. Here we see them laid out from small to big. I have roughly four times as many caps as I can ever use, unless I manufacture many many more tentacles. I plan to donate the leftovers straight back to the store.

Next up, gluing and painting!

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