Thursday, May 21, 2009

Whip it Good! Playtime Indiana Jones Whip Tutorial

My son is absolutely obsessed with Indiana Jones! OBSESSED! I'm not quite sure when it happened or what triggered it, but there's no going back now. We've been eating, sleeping and breathing archeological machismo for weeks! I could recite the screenplay of Raiders of the Lost Arc in my sleep!

Of course the most appealing thing about Indiana Jones to a 5 year old boy is his whip. I'm more into the smoldering good looks and excessive masculinity but that's just me.

Anyway - everything in the house that could possibly be used as a whip has been - a wayward piece of ribbon, a hand towel, an unplugged extension cord (yikes) and I finally determined that I just needed to make the kid a whip.

It had to be realistic yet safe* and soft and so after some brainstorming and experimentation I came up with this: The Indiana Jones playtime whip.

I realize there probably isn't a high demand for such an item, but I thought if there were other people out there with Indiana Jones obsessed kids they might enjoy this tutorial. Of course this isn't just an Indiana Jones whip - it could be a lion tamer's whip, or you could use this same technique with a few modifications to make a safe playtime cowboy lasso.

Here's what you need:

Flannel fabric in your choice of color. (I used 1.5 yards but only because I didn't want to have to piece it together to get the length I needed. You could easily get away using only 1/2 yard) I chose flannel for its minimal fraying and its softness but you could experiment with other fabrics as well.

Sewing machine or hand sewing supplies

Piece of tape or a helper.

Step 1: Cut your fabric

Cut 6 one inch strips.

As I mentioned above I used 1.5 yards of fabric so my strips were the length I wanted (this resulted in a finished whip of approximately 45 inches). You can use less yardage and simply cut more strips and piece them together to reach your desired length.

I'd recommend the diagonal method to sew your strips together to avoid bulky seams that would be visible in your finished product. To piece your strips to avoid bulk overlap two strips perpendicular to each other and sew diagonally.

Clip the excess fabric close to the seam and ta da - a bulk free seam. It's also a good idea to stagger the location of your seams along your strips so they don't all end up in the same spot on your whip.

Step 2:

Stack all 6 strips on top of each other and sew.

Nothing fancy, you just want to hold all your strips together.

Step 3: Braiding

Here's where the fun part comes in. If you've got yourself a partner have them hold the end of the whip while you braid the strips.

Since I ended up making mine in the wee hours of the morning I had to rely on a piece of packing tape to be my helper.

To get the proper bulk you'll double up your strips - so essentially you're braiding 3 strips of doubled fabric (that's why we started with 6 strips instead of 3).

Step 4: Finishing

Once you get about 3 inches from the end you'll want to stop. Sew through all layers of fabric to hold your braid in place and to create the business end of your whip.

To make the handle end simply fold over the top to make a loop and tack it down to the rest of the whip.

Cut a 4" by 5" rectangle of flannel for the "handle". I seamed the 4" top and bottom of this piece for more of a finished look but that is completely optional.

Wrap the handle fabric over the whip being sure to cover up where then end of the loop meets the body of the whip.

Then simply sew the handle as close as you can along the body of the whip and clip the excess fabric with pinking shears or regular scissors. I also tacked the top and bottom of the handle to the whip as well so there was no chance of it migrating down the length of the whip later.

And there you have it - a soft playtime weapon - which as any parent of young boys knows - is a very good thing.

I've been whipped quite a few times wit this thing since it's creation and I can personally vouch for its softness. It doesn't sting at all - at least not when whipped around by a 5 year old and I think that's the greatest test right there.

*As always with any toy - especially rope-like toys - please be sure to supervise your children at all times to avoid any risk of strangulation.


Mattandme said...

My Husband is obsessed with Indiana Jones- I might make him one as a joke! Thanks for the tutorial! said...

This is really cute! Thanks so much for sharing the how-to, I'll be linking.

Anonymous said...

This is darling. My son had an Indiana Jones birthday party last August and I wish I had thought of that. My husband bought whips from the party store and they were dangerous! This are so much cuter and probably a lot safer.

casserole said...

Great idea!! I know a couple of my daughter's friends who need one of these. I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:

Anonymous said...

This idea really made me smile, as I bet your son did, too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks I was just wondering if someone had tried to make one. My boys love Indiana Jones. I see a project in their future soon. Thanks Again.

Sabra said...

just posting to let you know that I made five of these today for two of my sons and three of my nephews. They are a huge hit, but thankfully, not a painful one :) Thank you so much for the tut--it's fantastic!

Barefootsintheburbs said...

I made two of these tonight for my two boys. I can't wait to see their faces in the morning.

Heather - said...

Just a note to let you know I linked to your post today!

malia said...

THANK YOU for the tutorial!! you saved our Halloween. :)

Zb_c24 said...

Planning Indiana Jones 5th bday party. The sewing part scared me. May try to just (brown) duct tape flannel fabric on the end as the handle and braid the rest. Maybe secure with a bit more tape or rubber band. Thanks for the idea

Kendra Eklund said...

I too am planning an Indiana Jones party for my treasure hunting soon-to-be 5 year old and love the idea of making whips as favors! I have a couple of questions to help me understand your steps, if you don't mind. 1) so each of the 6 pieces of flannel are 1" by a yard and a half, is that correct? 2) why are we sewing the pieces together on the diagonal in step 1, and then across all 6 together in step 2? I guess I'm confused about why and where we do the diagonal seams. Could you please clarify that for me? I would really appreciate it! Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic tutorial!