A few weeks back, when I was illustrating the poster for the play GEEKS VS ZOMBIES. The show needed faux baseball bat props for some characters to bash zombies with. Time was short and like most independent small theatre productions, so was the budget. I offered to make them from some kind of inexpensive kid's toy bat.
They had to be realistic looking, standard sized and safe enough to use in stage combat. The show needed at least 6 (4 for the lead actors, and 2 more standing by as back ups). But more if affordable just in case.
Searching for off the shelf T-ball foam bats was a given, but I felt like Goldilocks shopping. Some were too soft, some were too hard, some were too fat, some were too thin, etc., etc. All were also odd colors and would of required faux finishing (not impossible to do, but it would of added extra time to do right).
But then I found one at Cost Plus, which was just right... good foam thickness from end to end and already wood grained. Plus very budget friendly being under $10.00 each, and would only need a few more bucks in materials to make perfect.
Although the bats were really short (24"), I was easily able to customize and make longer since they only had a hollow plastic tube inside.
Here's how I did it. Quick disclaimer: These were made for the play's particular need and used by actors in rehearsed, choreographed, and controlled fight scenes. If you create a bat like this, I don't claim it to be completely safe enough to freely go around knocking your friends in the head with. Use common sense.
From there, they just needed to be splattered with reddish-brown paint to look well used and blood soaked. Here's a before and after photo.
For more info about GEEKS VS ZOMBIES (which opens tonight!) visit Seat Of Your Pants Productions or facebook.com/soypproductions