How to: Make a Marceline axe bass & costume!

Derping as Marceline at the Cartoon Network store

Thought I would do a quick write up explaining how I made my axe bass prop and where I got the clothing items for my costume… If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments! ❀

Marceline's axe bass!

What I used to make the Axe Bass:

  • A sheet of insulation foam cut into three pieces
  • Liquid nails "small projects" glue
  • Hot glue
  • Super glue
  • Sandpaper blocks
  • Box cutter
  • Exacto knife
  • Red, black and gray acrylic paint
  • Golden regular gel matte medium (you can also use Modge podge, but I already owned this)
  • 4 craft wood hanging posts
  • Silver elastic string
  • Left over paint tube caps (from the acrylic paint I used)
  • Paper, cardboard and foam mounting board scraps
  • Tape

I know it sounds like a lot, but assembling it wasn't as crazy as the list! The main important parts are the foam, glues, primers and paints. Everything else is in the details and can be created with stuff around your house. I think I might have spent around $35 making this to give you an idea on actual materials purchased. 

I got the idea on how to assemble it thanks to this amazing deviant art post and the over all design from the offical axe bass artwork

Hmmm, what could this be...

Above is what the guitar looked like in its early stages after cutting and gluing together the 3 layers of foam, and then carving/sanding the foam. I ended up texturizing it a bit more, adding the gashes on the front, carving little holes for the wood pegs, and then I sealed it all with a layer of gel matte medium.

A few days later I began adding layers of base paint color to the guitar, and then another day I painted on all the black layers and added the little wood pegs. The next time I picked it up to work on it, I added the rest of the 3d details with super glue and hot glue. The flat details were either painted directly on or painted paper that was glued on. I left off the strap and bottom part it connects to because I decided I didn't want to spend anymore money… but you could probably create those peices with craft foam coated in modge podge and then just paint it!

Plans for my Marceline (Adventure Time) costume

When I started planning how to make this costume I drafted out all my ideas on paper and priced different products involved. It was really helpful and allowed me to figure out if I could use some resources I already owned, what I could save money on or even just how to construct something properly. I didn't stick to all my original plans in the draft above, but this will give you an idea of how I went about planning things. I recommend this sort of planning for all labor intensive or pricey crafts because it helps save time, energy and money! 

quick sneak peek

What I wore for the costume:

  • Gray tank top from Target
  • "Jeggings" from Marshalls – this is a nice alternative to real jeans because they fit easily in boots and aren't too warm!
  • Red cowboy boots from Ariat

Alternative boot options that are more affordable if you don't plan to rewear your pair often after costuming: here and here.

I skipped body make up and fang marks because I knew I would be walking a long distance in hot and humid weather to get to the CNN center… and I also opted not to buy little fangs because I wouldn't be wearing the outfit for very long. I might try those another day if I rewear this for Halloween though!

Some final notes on my guitar – If you want your axe bass to be more accurate to a real bass, be sure to make the flat side the top and use only 4 strings! πŸ™‚ I accidentally added 5 strings and put the details on the wrong side… My boyfriend who plays bass guitar noticed those errors right off the bat, but since I have no experience handling guitars I was oblivious! πŸ˜‰ Its not a huge thing since its a cartoon prop, but definitely worth mentioning so you can avoid the same mistakes.

Hopefully this post was helpful! You can see more pics of my costume here and here - and if you make your own Marceline axe bass send me a pic! πŸ™‚

71 thoughts on “How to: Make a Marceline axe bass & costume!

  1. Surfingmijumaru says:

    Can I use something other than lip liner for the bite holes? I have fairly darker skin, about a Carmel like color and lip liner doesn’t show up as well on my skin.


  2. Lindsey says:

    I have brown hair too, and it’s short. What you want to do (or what I did) is go to a halloween or costume shop (like Spirit), and buy a long, black, cheap wig. Then once you get home you can either take it to a hair salon and ask them to style it for you (because some salons will) or you could just style it yourself at home. It may not be perfect, but if you have bangs on the wig, they will help to cover up your natural hair line.
    And thank you Sanasaurus!! I’ve been looking around for a ‘tutorial’ on the axe bass. Thank you! =^.^=


  3. Sanasaurus says:

    I dont think foam board would work because it is too thin – I got my insulation foam at the hardware store near the lumber section. You will have to ask them to cut it for you.
    β™‘ San


  4. Audrey says:

    Was the Gel Matte the only thing you used to seal it? Because I’ve been reading blogs that say you need gesso, sealant and resin. I don’t really want to buy all three because it would get really expensive.. But I don’t want to use just the Gel Matte and find out later that I needed other things as well.


  5. Sanasaurus says:

    Thats all I used! Im not a hardcore costume maker though so its possible the other places youre reading those tips from just took it to a more professional level. Hope that helps!
    β™‘ San


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