March 16, 2013

Marceline's Axe Bass (Adventure Time)

Some of you may remember that our Dalek was wearing a 16 foot long Tom Baker scarf during the masquerade at Dragon*Con 2012. This was specially made by a friend of mine. A few weeks ago she mentioned she was planning to cosplay as Marceline from Adventure Time at an upcoming con and was asking for advice on how to make the axe bass. I figured it would be a fun little project, plus it would let me try a new method of paper mache, so I volunteered to make it for her.


The build started off with a ¼” piece of MDF cut to the profile of the body. Using spray adhesive, ½” insulation foam was glued on to both sides, and then sanded to match the wood. The edges were sanded into a taper using the mouse sander.

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The damage on the bass varies between scenes in the show, but there appear to be two distinct notches on the top left corner. These were cut out with the scroll saw and hand sanded.


In the past I have used newspaper with a half-and-half mixture of water and white glue to coat foam. For this project I tried something new and used tissue paper and Mog Pog. The Mog Pog is much less runny then white glue and dries smooth and clearly. The tissue also takes corners much better than the paper. After two coats of tissue (one white, one black so I could see where I overlapped, which is another advantage to this method) I had a nice strong shell on the foam. I will definitely be using this method again and will put up a How2 video for it in the near future.

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After the foam was sealed the body was smoothed with several layers of bondo.


The neck and head of the bass were made of three layers of MDF glued together. The neck was sanded down with a curve on the back to mimic a real guitar.

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In order to attach the neck to the body, I cut away some of the foam to expose the wood core of the body, then the neck was epoxied to the wood. Similarly, a wood base was epoxied to the bottom of the body where the bottom spike/ strap peg would attach.

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The head was then attached to the neck using two wooden dowels and wood glue.


The body was then painted Banner Red, then the edges Maroon with mist of black and silver. The handle in the show appears to be the same color as the edges, but it didn’t look right to me on the prop so I went with a chocolate brown instead.

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For the strings I used elastic cord as real strings would look too thin and not match the cartoon aesthetic of the prop. A base was made from MDF for the bottom that each string is knotted and glued to. The other end is then wound in real tuner hardware on the head of the bass. The pickups where cut from thin hardwood, and the circles were made using a hole punch and black vinyl.

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Finally, 1” knobs from radio shack were attached using ¼” rods imbedded in the MDF core, and pin stripe was used for the fret markers. The spike on the bottom was made by a co-worker out of 6061 aluminum and serves as a strap mounting point.


Start to finish, this project took 12 nights to complete. I say nights because I was out of town every weekend during this project so the only time I could work on it was after work. I am very pleased with how it came out, especially with the deadline I had, and I am very tempted to make Marshal Lee’s guitar in the near future. I will also note we have several other Adventure Time projects in the works right now, so keep an eye out for those in the near future.

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More Build Pictures here!


  1. wow, awesome. would whoever made this consider making more or selling some? and if so, for how much? ^_^

  2. I Agree With The First Comment Would You Please Consider Making More And Selling Them?

  3. thanks for the photos ^^
    mine is almost done ;3

  4. How would I be able to figure out measurements? Length and width?

  5. Could I have a list of all the materials used for the build? (I'm in a deadline of 2 weeks from now and forgot to get started sooner)

  6. I need more sex, ok? Before I die I wanna taste everyone in the world. Hey, i am looking for an online sexual partner ;) Click on my boobs if you are interested (. )( .)