How to Make a Wacky Inflatable Tube Man

Written by anthony diaz de la vega
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How to Make a Wacky Inflatable Tube Man
Creating your own wacky inflatable can be a great way to decorate your lawn. (un mannequin, un bonhomme de neige image by MONIQUE POUZET from

Wacky inflatable tube men are infinitely customisable decorations, allowing you to create holiday-themed tube men such as Frosty the Snowman or even sports-themed tube men to celebrate your favourite team. Props for your wacky inflatable tube man are easy to make out of a plastic sheet, providing a simple way to add flair to your home or business. To create your own you will need a nearby electrical source to power the air pump, as well strong packing tape to ensure the seams of the tube man will not leak too much air while it is on.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Permanent marker
  • Scissors
  • Large plastic garbage bags
  • Packing tape
  • Electric air pump

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  1. 1

    Sketch out the design directly onto the garbage bag using a permanent marker. Trace a 4-foot-by-4-foot square section for the body, three long rectangular sections that are 18 inches by 3 inches (two will be used for the arms), a wide rectangle that is 2 feet by 18 inches and a circle 2 feet in diameter (for the top of the head). Cut these pieces out of the plastic garbage bags. Cut off the corner from a bag, creating a triangle pouch (shaped like an ice cream cone) with 16-inch walls.

  2. 2

    Make cylinders out of all the square and rectangular pieces. The body should be a 4-foot tall cylinder, there should be two 3-foot long arms (and one more identical tube), and one 18-inch tall head (leave the circle untouched for now). Cut 4-inch holes near the "shoulders" of the tube man to attach the arms.

  3. 3

    Tape the seams using packing tape. Tape the circle to the top of the head. Cut a 3-inch slit in the very top of the head and the leave end of the arms open. This will make them wave around when the air pump is started. Connect the bottom of the head to the body tube and seal with packing tape. Tape the corner of the bag to the bottom of the body. Cut a hole in the very corner of the bag-cone and tape one end of the third "arm" tube to this. Tape the other end of the "arm" tube to the opening of the air pump. Check to make sure all the seams are securely taped shut.

  4. 4

    Connect the air pump to a power outlet and turn it on. Watch the inflatable tube man fill up and keep an eye out for any serious leaks. Patch these with tape. Because slits at the top of the head and the end of the arm were left open, you will need to leave your air pump turned on to keep air flowing through it (this is what creates the "wacky waving arm" effect). Unplug the air pump whenever it is not in use and store your tube man in a cool dry place.

  5. 5

    Decorate your tube man with permanent markers or acrylic paint, and let dry completely before blowing it up. Get creative by painting your tube man in your local basketball team's home colours or make a wacky tube Santa Claus.

Tips and warnings

  • Immediately unplug the air pump and move your tube man inside during high winds or precipitation. Keep the tube man stored in a dry location, especially if it has been painted.

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