How to make a non-amputee gun leg for a
Cherry Darling Halloween costume or photo shoot.
Illustrated instructions with contest winning examples
You will need to cut to length at the barrel and/or
stock for you own height. A metal or wood dowel can be inserted through the
length of the gun to reinforce it for strength.
The comfort level will vary depending upon how flexible and how
slender the individual is.
The more flexible and slender the more comfort.
One should not wear the prop for any extended period of time.
Below are some additional fabricating tips from others who have successfully made one.
The costume went unfilled and no contest entries.
When Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's "Grindhouse" hit movie theaters in 2007, I walked out of that theater knowing one day I would figure out how to dress like Cherry Darling for Halloween, machine gun leg and all. Clearly the issue with this costume is not so much in the fabrication of a machine gun as it is in the the faked disappearance of a limb from the knee down. How the hell do you vanish a leg from knee to toe?
Easy! Just follow these simple steps:
For five years, think about how much you want to dress up as Cherry Darling with the machine gun leg, each year deciding it's absolutely impossible.
On the fifth year, tell a bunch of friends who really believe in your craftiness about your machine gun leg idea. Make sure to assert the level of awesomocity and impossibility so they will get super pumped up about it, refusing to let you off the hook. These folks must be able to regularly remind you that no costume will ever be as cool as a half naked, machine-gun-legged zombie killer; especially when you call two weeks before Halloween, begging them to just let you drop the leg thing and dress like Katy Perry.
Sit and stare into space for hours, trying to figure out how you're going to make your massive right calf disappear, before you do what you clearly should have done in the first place. Consult the internet.
Google "Cherry Darling Machine Gun Leg," and see that - WHOA. Someone has done this before. And ohmigod it looks amazing! But how did she do it?
Oh, right. SHE'S AN ACTUAL AMPUTEE. You are going straight to hell.
Notice that said amputee, Lacey Henderson, a gorgeous, totally inspiring woman who posed as Cherry Darling at the '07 San Diego Comic Con, has actually created a site specifically devoted to faking the amputee machine gun leg. Scour the site, stealing the tricks of all those who have come before you.
For the first time we have two first place winners!!
I stumbled upon your site while googling "Cherry Darling costume"
and I wanted to thank you for the help. I didn't follow your
directions due to the fact I could not find some of the supplies but
with that I am very proud to say I lasted the entire night one legged. I
was pretty comfortable as well. I used duct tape to secure my bent
leg and used a belt wrapped around my bum to keep my foot as close
to my body as possible. I then duct taped the gun to my knee and
wrapped the bandage around that. It was not sturdy enough to
actually walk on so I had crutches for the night but it worked
I had Dr. Dakota Block as a sidekick and we ended up winning the costume contest we entered!
My friend was a little concerned about showing me “Planet Terror” on DVD
since I’m not a big fan of zombie movies, but I fell head-over-boot in love
with Cherry Darling. This was just a few weeks before Halloween 2009 and I
didn’t have enough time to put together the costume, so I saved the idea for
2010. I wanted to get the outfit as accurate as possible. For months I
scoured eBay and found a tiny dove pendant, a leather miniskirt with a side
seam that could be easily opened, and a leather bustier bra which arrived
from the UK in a dank state and had to be cleaned over and over again. The
top originally had a hook-and-eye closure in front which was removed and the
edges sewn together, and an elastic band across the back which was cut in
two and modified with a zipper. Luckily the red piping and other details
were available at a local fabric store, and I even found the Icon motorcycle
jacket on Craigslist, but the skull buttons proved to be a real challenge. I
hunted everywhere until I finally found the exact skull buttons at a
warehouse in downtown L.A. and persuaded them to sell me the last of their
stock. Then I added the red crystal eyes and went to work on the skirt.
Sadly I cannot sew to save my life, even if I were confronted by a horde of zombies, so it is a minor miracle that the skirt came together. I was having an anxiety attack over the red stripes so I enlisted the help of a seamstress, and—three or four attempts notwithstanding—she did a beautiful job. I ordered a pair of brown contact lenses online, and added a personal touch with a “Two Against the World” temporary tattoo. It seems fitting that Cherry Darling would have gotten this after losing El Wray.
Since I live in West Hollywood, where Halloween involves a 4-mile trek among the costumed throngs on Santa Monica Blvd., it seemed like the impossible dream to secure my foot in back and try to support my weight on the tip of the gun. Instead I put on a black stocking and attached an Airsoft gun to my leg with a self-adhesive ace bandage. Tragically, in a Halloween party mishap, the gun snapped in two before we had a chance to take these photos with my neighbor’s bike. I thought, WWCDD (what would Cherry Darling do?) and made the best of it, but I wish the action poses had come out with the gun at a more solid angle.
All this effort thanks to the indomitable spirit of Cherry Darling! Not only is she funny, tough, feminine, and resourceful, but she embodies a quality of resilience that I deeply admire. I love how, through the loss of her leg, she actually becomes more rather than less. And I have truly enjoyed learning about Amputees in Hollywood, which has added a layer of significance to portraying this action figure that I never could have anticipated.
Thank you for keeping the contest going and for showcasing all the creative, daring, and inspiring Cherry Darlings out there!
Jeffery Scott - www.modelmayhem.com/1980
When I saw Grindhouse in the theater, I immediately KNEW I just HAD to be Cherry Darling for Halloween. Although, I realized that it just wouldn't work to paint a gun on my stockings, so I had given up that dream. This year I struggled and struggled with costume ideas, and was overjoyed to find your site! I immediately started shopping for costume supplies.
The local businesses that sell the Juzo AK Stump shrinker aren't really retailers and don't sell to the general public, so I used last years winners tip, using ace bandages. I wrapped them around my foot and waist, rather than around my leg. I then used a capri length body shaper and support hose over that. Luckily, my boots were tall enough to cover the capri. The "casting tape" I was able to find at the craft store, and the "crutch tip" was actually for a chair, from the hardware department.
I wasn't sure how to secure the knee bearing socket as, with the pantyhose on, it wanted to slide off. I had some tacky gauze, left over from the last time I had given blood, so I used that to wrap around my knee and give the cast something to cling to.
I went to a concert that night and wore the "prosthetic" for about three hours. I did more hopping than walking. This loosened the grip of the gun to cast after a while.
My machine gun was a plastic toy, therefore, not as sturdy as I would have liked, and unfortunately, I actually had to pull the trigger to fire, unlike the real Cherry.
I am excited to wear the costume again to Dragon*Con! I will reinforce the gun stock, possibly with a metal pipe (or get a sturdier gun) and attach it to the socket with fiberglass. And I will potentially use a toupee bonding adhesive to attach the socket to my knee!
When I took the costume off I had people coming up to me shocked that I had both limbs! IT WORKED!
I went completely off your instructions, except I used 3 ACE bandages to hold my leg up against my butt instead of one of the stump shrinkers that you recommended (just because I couldn't find one for sale around here). But it was definitely your website that made the entire project possible!!!
Then I put on a pair of pantyhose with the bottoms cut off. The panty hose smoothed out the bump from my foot against my butt. Also, it helped as a way of being somewhat modest as the pantyhose cut just right works as "hot pants" under the skirt (I went to work in the outfit....and won the costume contest too). One side of the pantyhose was cut right up to my hips so that side could be like a pair of shorts. The other side of the pantyhose was cut just below the knee, so it was acting as an extra "bandage" around my leg that I had held up.
I worked at an ISP all day and am at a desk all day, so I didn't really stand too long. Most of the time my leg was propped up on a chair next to me. During the periods I had to stand, though, I was actually very comfortable - my balance wasn't that great, but I was definitely comfortable.
I wrapped the ACE bandage around my foot up to my butt completely with the pantyhose on top of that. The skirt I made was slightly loose just in case. FYI, I'm about 5' 3" tall, and weigh about 100 pounds. The gun I used was actually a working Airsoft brand gun with the tip sawed off and held in place using 3 minute JB Weld glue :)
Thanks for including me on your website!! I'm going to blog about it so everyone can see :)
I used this website and these pics when designing my costume. Mine came out great!
I love that you have video demos too. That really helps. I'm really visual, especially with how too stuff. It's too hard for me to only read directions and see no pictures, or vid! Fantastic Job
Thanks so much for sending me all the instructions - my leg came out tops
It was great she took first place at the costume party...thanks for the info as I said you should box up that idea of yours and make some money on the 31st of every year...lol
I just wanted to say thank you for your website.
I couldn't have pulled off my Cherry Darling costume with out it.
The videos are really helpful too!