DIY Guide: How to make a Pokeball

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Youtube group mikeNgary recently had me create this Pokeball prop for an upcoming Pokemon Halloween video they’re creating.

Want to make your own? Follow the detailed DIY Guide after the break!

PIKACHU!!!

 For this project, I wanted a basic design that anyone could easily build with readily available, and affordable, supplies. As with any DIY project, remember that you can improvise wherever you want. This method worked for me, but maybe something else works a little better for you.

Be creative and have fun!

Required Parts List:

  • Mattel Games “Magic 8 Ball” (found in the board game isle of most big box stores like Target, Walmart, or on Amazon.com, etc)
  • 3 volt coin cell battery (can be dead or damaged)
  • Empty cereal box (or other paperboard product)
  • Tea candle (can be used)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • A coping  or hand saw
  • A flat-blade screwdriver
  • Masking tape
  • Fine tipped permanent marker
  • Drill with drill bits
  • Dremel, or other high speed rotary tool, with cutting bit
  • Sand paper
  • Red, white, and black paint
  • Scissors

Optional Gear:

  • Soldering iron with solder
  • 2 Resistor leads, or some other tiny metal scrap pieces
  • Rubber mallet
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Respirator
  • Plastic Primer (Use before you apply the paint for a better looking finished result.)
  • Tack cloth

Got your gear? Let’s roll.

I started out by browsing a few local stores for the right shape and sized ball to act as the base of the Pokeball. I kept seeing this Magic 8 Ball in the board game isles and, after examining it for awhile, I decided to give it a try. I liked the size, it has a flat bottom so it sits perfectly still (unlike a totally round ball), and there’s already a hole cut in the bottom to use for easy access during the construction (see more details on that below).

I’m happy to say it worked very well :D

Here’s the packaging below.

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The Magic 8 Ball. I asked it a few questions, but it seemed rather indecisive. It kept giving me random answers to the same questions…imagine that.

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The surgery begins! Using a coping saw (or any decent hand saw) begin cutting along the pre-existing seam that divides the two halves. This is going to take awhile so be patient. Also be careful - depending on the saw you use, and the sharpness of said saw, if you slip you can easily cut yourself or scratch up the Pokeball. Wear gloves, or chainmail gauntlets. Your choice.

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After you have a good cut made along the seam, insert a flat-blade screw driver and carefully pry back and forth to help pop the ball open. You might want to carefully use a rubber mallet to tap your screwdriver into the ball as well. It’s glued together on the inside, so this will take some effort.  Opening the ball is honestly the most difficult part of this whole build!

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Once you finally crack it open you should see something like what I have below. You’ll have the two halves, plus a barrel that holds the answer die along with a plastic ring that keeps the barrel centered in the 8 Ball. Remove all the internal parts and clean up any plastic fragments, etc.

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Once the inside has been cleaned out, tightly tape the two halves of the ball back together and prepare to drill a hole in the center (on the front side) of the Pokeball. I started using a unibit (multiple sized drill bit) but quickly realized I’d need something much larger…

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I searched around the house for a readily available/common object that was about the right size. A tea candle was the perfect answer. Hold the tea candle (I emptied out the wax and wick, then cut out a little hole to better align it) up to the Pokeball and trace around the outside with a fine tipped marker.

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Cut out the hole you just drew with a Dremel or similar high speed rotary tool. Sand the edges with whatever sandpaper you have handy.

Then, you’re ready to make the seam that runs around the center of the Pokeball. I wanted to cut off the same height from both halves, so I found a scrap of wood that was 1/2 the total seam height I wanted.

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I then placed this board right next to one half of the Pokeball and carefully drew a line all the way around with a fine tipped Sharpie marker. Just slowly rotate the Pokeball while keeping it pressed tightly against the board.

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You should end up with a nice even line all the way around the ball. Repeat for the other half of the Pokeball.

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Next up, we’re prepping to paint! I used whatever sandpaper I had lying around – in this case 220 grit.

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At this point you should have something that looks like the photo below.

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I like to clean off any project I’m about to paint with Tack Cloth. If you’re not familiar, it’s a sticky fiber cloth that easily picks up dirt and sanding dust. So, since you just did a lot of sanding it’s a good idea to prep both halves with this before any painting begins.

I had some plastic primer sitting around, so I used it. You can use regular primer, or totally skip priming all together, but your results will be best with plastic primer.

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I use old bottles as stands when I’m painting little things such as these Pokeball halves. It helps to have the pieces up off your table/surface because you can actually paint the bottom edges at the same time you’re painting the top surface. If they’re sitting on the table/surface you’ll have to let them dry, flip them upside down, and then paint them. This helps save time and allows you to paint everything at the same time.

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I used whatever spray paint I had sitting around. Red and white obviously. Remember, multiple light/thin coats are the way to go. Read the directions on your paint and follow them for best results. Quick safety tip – do your lungs a favor and wear a respirator any time you paint.

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Once both halves are painted, it’s time to create the black center ring. I wanted something cheap, readily available, and flexible. Paperboard, aka cereal box, did the trick.

I cut a strip around two inches wide and the length of the box. Curl it up and do a test fit inside the top half of your Pokeball. You’re going to have to play with this and cut off excess. Continue doing test fits with the paperboard until you like the fit, and then paint it black.

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To help the paperboard style in place, tape it to the inside of the top half of the Pokeball. Once it’s secure, you’re ready for hot glue.

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Using your hot glue gun, apply glue to the seam where the paperboard meets the plastic of the Pokeball. Hot glue is very versatile and, once dried, is quite strong. It’s the perfect tool for this job.

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Once your glue drys, carefully test fit the bottom half of the Pokeball. If it slips on and looks good you’re ready to glue! If it’s a little crooked or won’t fit, you’ll need to do more trimming of the paperboard.

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Flip the Pokeball over and carefully drip hot glue down inside the ball, onto the unglued seam. No one will see the inside of the Pokeball, so feel free to go crazy – more glue makes the ball stronger. Make sure to apply glue to all the way around the seam for added strength.

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Let the glue dry and flip it over. You should have something similar to mine shown below.

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I wanted to use something for the center “button” that is readily available and cheap, so I decided to use a 3volt coin cell battery. I had this dead one lying around in my parts bin. Score. With the machined seam around the edge it looks pretty nice for a quick and easy “button”.

If you don’t think your Pokeball will get moved around much, you can probably just paint the battery and glue it on. My particular Pokeball was definitely going to be used a lot, so I decided to attach the battery more securely.

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I had some scrap resistor leads in my junk bin, so I decided to solder them to the battery, poke the leads into the inside of the Pokeball, and then hot glue the leads in place.

Take some rough grit sand paper and sand the top of the battery to prep it for solder.

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Bend the resistor leads at 90 degree angles to look like the letter “L”.

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I used a 40 watt iron and very briefly heated the battery before applying the solder.  BE CAREFUL not to apply too much heat to the battery…because they can explode. Do this at your own risk, and wear your safety goggles if you like having eyes.

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Solder the bent ends of the resistor legs to the battery.

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Using whatever white (spray) paint you have, paint the battery white.

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Poke a hole in the front of the Pokeball dead center.

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Slide the resistor leads through the hole, hot glue them in place, and you’re FINISHED!! Congrats, you’ve just made a Pokeball :D

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I hope you enjoyed the tutorial! Now get out there and CATCH THOSE POKEMON!!! PIKACHU!!!

Questions? Comments? Let me know.
Platinumfungi

11 Comments

Filed under Cosplay

11 Responses to DIY Guide: How to make a Pokeball

  1. Brian Henderson

    I’m a bit late in discovering this guide, but it’s great! Thanks for posting it!

  2. jessica

    How are you supposed to glue the inside if its all glued shut? This is a great tutorial but this bit has me confused. Please help

    • The Pokeball has a hole in the bottom and this allows you the access you need to glue the two halves together.

      Here’s what you’ll need to do:
      - Physically press both halves of the Pokeball together firmly.
      - Flip the Pokeball upside down.
      - Using your hot glue gun, carefully drip glue down (through that hole) along the seam where the two halves meet. It’s a little tricky, but with a little practice you’ll get the hang of it.

      Let me know if that makes sense, or if you have any more questions. Thanks!

  3. Jesse

    I discovered your tutorial the other day from checking out your NES mods.
    I took your concept and beefed it up a bit by using metal instead of cardboard and a arcade push button instead of the battery. I’ll post a link when it’s finished.
    Thanks and your work is phenomenal!

  4. joy

    can i just buy one from you?

  5. Brittani

    Made this and i love it. Thanks for the amazing tutorial. :)

  6. Evan Holifield

    Can you tell us how we can close the hole in the bottom so it is perfectly round?

    • Hmm, closing the Pokeball to make it perfectly round (and look good) would require a fair amount of work. My first thought would be to use a perfectly round hard plastic ball to begin with instead of the ‘Magic 8 Ball’ that my project uses.

      If you are set on using the Magic 8 Ball, then my next thought is to use bondo to fill the hole. You can apply it as a thick paste, but when it dries it will be very durable and firm. You can then sand and paint it.

      Easiest option – use a round hard plastic ball as your starter for this project and eliminate the need to have to fill in the hole.

      Good luck!

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