In the movie Despicable Me, the Minions make Agnes a unicorn toy that they call "Papoy". Agnes is happy to have her unicorn, even if it isn't fluffy. What minion costume would be complete without a home made Papoy?
Step 1: Gather the Materials
After studying screen shots and video of the movie scene I had a good idea of the parts I would need. The unicorn appears to be made from a toilet brush and ping pong ball with an ice cream cone for a horn. The hardest part to find by far was a generic looking white toilet brush with BLUE bristles. I'm fairly certain no one actually makes one. I finally found a plain looking white one at Target that was a good size and shape.
Everything else I found at my local craft store. Here is the list.
- Burlap paper (thin sheet of actual burlap glued to paper)
- Styrofoam Cone from the floral section
- Ping Pong Balls!
- Googly Eyes (large)
- Transparent floral card holder
- Optionally, you will need Blue/Purple dye or paint to color the toilet brush
I spent maybe $7 on the toilet brush and another $20 buying the remaining supplies.
You will also need the following tools.
- Hot Glue Gun
- Black marker (sharpie)
Step 2: Optional: Dye/Paint the Toilet Brush
I found a toilet brush that was the right size and shape but was all white. In the movie the Papoy is clearly blue or purple in color. I happened to have some dye handy from a previous project where I needed to dye PVC. I would not recommend using the dye I did as it is very nasty stuff. Instead clothing dye like RIT dye or spray paint would have worked just as well I'm sure. Since the bristles are made of most likely a Nylon material they should absorb the dye well.
Step 3: Make the Unicorn Horn (test)
I knew the most important part of the Papoy was the Unicorn horn, made from an ice cream cone. I didn't want to use a real ice cream cone because they are brittle and will eventually break down. I wanted something stronger that could withstand being shaken around.
This was the hardest part to get right. It not only had to be the right size and shape, but also look like an icecream cone. I found some cool Burlap paper at my local craft store that looked close to the texture of a waffle ice cream cone.
The first step was to take some scrap paper and try turning it into a cone shape. A quick google search showed that I should start with a circular piece of paper and a cone shaped roller. My first one didn't come out so well but the size and shape were close. I used my foam cone to help me roll the paper cone. The second one came out much better.
I decided that my second cone would be a perfect fit so I used it as a base to wrap my burlap paper on top of to make the final cone.
Step 4: Make the Unicorn Horn (final)
I cut out a circle of burlap paper. It was not as flexible as I hoped so I slowly rolled it several time until it was small enough to fit around the existing paper cone. Once it was ready, I heated up my hot glue gun and glued the burlap paper to the paper cone as I rolled the burlap around the paper cone. I waited for the hot glue to dry before letting go of the cone so it would stay tightly rolled.
You will notice that ice cream cones tend to have a lower and higher side because of the circular shape. I used scissors to cut the base of the cone flat so it would stand flat.
I wanted to give the cone some support so it wouldn't collapse and I needed to make it easy to attach to the toilet brush. I covered the tip of the styrofoam cone with hot glue inserted it as far into the paper cone as it would go and waited for the glue to harden.
I took a knife and cut off the remaining foam so the base was flush again. I used the tip of my knife/scissors to scrape out some of the foam from the cone leaving it slightly concave and insuring that none of the foam would show.
Step 5: Attach the Unicorn Horn
Now for the hard part, I had a great looking unicorn horn but how do you attach a paper/foam cone to the bristles of a toilet brush? I tried using ONLY hot glue and it did not have enough surface to bond the two together. I knew I needed some kind of support structure. This is where the Floral card holders come in!
The floral card holder has a 3-point fork on one end. I broke off the center leaving the two outside pieces. I then inserted this in roughly the center of the toilet brush and proceeded to build up a layer of hot glue around it. If you use too much hot glue too quickly it will take a very long time to cool and harden.
*Make sure to glue the card holder at a slight forward angle. The cone is not a hat but rather a horn and should be angled forward slightly.*
I used my scissors to cut the length of the plastic card holder just shorter than the length of the cone. It was easy to push the hard plastic through the foam and slide the cone onto the toilet brush. Once I had everything aligned I removed the cone, added hot glue, and put it back in place as I waited for the glue to harden. I added additional glue in layers to reinforce the cone.
At this point it was starting to look like a Papoy! The cone was securely attached and could take some shaking without feeling lose.
Step 6: Make the Nose and Mouth
The nose and mouth appear to be made from a Ping Pong Ball and a piece of elastic that is holding the ping pong ball in place. We can't actually do that as the elastic would disappear below the brush if it were actually holding the ping pong ball in place.
The first step was to glue the elastic in place around the circumference of the brush. I found a row of bristles that lined up and slowly and carefully hot glued the elastic to each one, waited for it to cool, then move on to the next one. This wasn't very difficult but it did take a few minutes.
I chose to start and end the elastic in the front center as it would be covered by the ping pong ball next! I added a dab of hot glue to the elastic and stuck the ping pong ball onto the center of the elastic. I tried to find a ping pong ball that had as little writing as possible on it and glued it with the writing facing down. Once the glue hardened I added some additional hot glue around the ping pong ball to strengthen the bond between it and the elastic.
Step 7: Add the Eyes and Mouth
The eyes were pretty easy. Again, I found some bristles that lined up well on the brush and added hot glue to the bristles and stuck the eyes on. Remember, this isn't supposed to be perfect and it should look DIY so its good if the eyes aren't perfectly even.
I used a black marker to add the nostrils and mouth to the ping pong ball. I practiced first on another ping pong ball before attempting it on my real one.
And now, the finished Papoy!
I gave it a good shake to see the googly eyes move around. The hot glue does a pretty good job of keeping everything together and it should be able to withstand some abuse.
I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out and I think it's as close as I can get to the real prop.
Here is the picture of my wife and I along with our bichon Bender in our costumes and holding our props including the Papoy!