Pinnochio's nose


so this is a few months out, and I haven't done a lot of brainstorming yet, but I was wondering if any of you had ever come up with any interesting, creative solutions to making the nose grow.


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Interesting effect need certainly...

FWIW I haven't done this show or had to do this effect... But, and perhaps someone who has done this can fill in the gaps--the way I have heard of this being done is in two parts: FIRST the nose is custom cast/made to fit the actors nose using regular casting methods, and the actual prosthetic is secured around his head--but the key is that the prosthetic tip is built using a hollow or copper tube for the tip (similar to Wiz of Oz's tin man's nose I guess)--to which at the near end is crimped in place a decently strong magnet. This 'nose' and tube is then painted and make-up covered over to make it look like wood etc...but left also so it can be 'connected to' with other pieces later on to extend it. But what ends up happening is as the nose 'grows'--pinocchio simply cups his face to hide it while adding the extensions...or waits for a time where someone walks in front of him or he turns around quickly or whatever--and adds on a few additional 'nose tubes' that also have magnets and they simply join together to extend...and the tube addition is flanged or tapered out at the bottom to just slide on over like you were connecting straws I guess...

The SECOND part of this effect is completed simply thru how the actor/ress reveals it--which is a old trick of perception--the actor faces the audience squarely and simply turns his head to one side or the other upwards and as the angle changes its as if its growing right then and there. Gives the 'illusion' of growing...but its simply an illusion since you can't tell length when facing it square on until it turns to one side...same for if he was faced away and simply did various profile reveals....

But thats its... For other ideas--I am just guessing on this part--you should experiment if you decide to do this but IMO I would think hollow cylinder, or disc style magents I presume would work best.. I would guess hollow cylinder so you can perhaps insert and better connect and stabilize the piece as its added onto--I dunno...I haven't built or tried to build one of these yet to be able to troubleshoot or advise any better then give you the ideas to run with.. I would believe you have to use a strong magnet with a few lbs pull force to get a good lock together...but it can't be too strong or otherwise I would guess he would rip his nose off when trying to 'shrink' and he is tryin to separate the sections. But yet it needs to be a strong thing that can lock together well so it doesn't go flyiing off in scene too etc...

Anyway--thats how I heard to do it....hope it helps. Perhaps someone else has another idea or better yet DONE the effect to advise you better...but thats what I had understood for it. Oh yea--the actor keeps his nose pieces tucked in the costume--using the magnets in the nose the costumer simply sews washers in to seams to affix the nose parts to on a waist band or cuff or somewhere they can get to it covertly...

I would expect there should be a real way to build one...and use an airbladder or some kind of plunger that extends out and a hand squeeze air pump to do it (perhaps the handpump under the wig at the back so as its pressed on the back it extends forward--I dunno--haven't thought about this)...but my guess is that would be a possibility but also a bit of a task to build and do.....

Good luck and let us know what you do...



thanks! that all makes a ton of sense. Everything I was coming up with was going to require him to wear a much to large prosthetic to accommodate the effect. The turning toward the audience illusion probably won't work well becuase we're in the round, but I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes.


so...the idea of a magnetized prosthetic was vetoed at today's production meeting. We want something "more magical" than that.
I am thinking that the solution is in some sort or motorized telescoping tube (like a radio antenna or one of those cheap lightsaber toys). We are looking at incorporating a fuller mask, so that could help hide wiring that I could rundown to battery packs and switches. Does anyone know of a way to motorize something like this? or better yet something already motorized that I could adapt to work?


maybe try a tube inside a tube that is forced out by a threaded rod driven by a very small motor. not that it would take a large one. the nose would be able to extend a little less than 2 times the original length. so maybe having a few made to different lengths would be good so the nose does not have to be too long initially and just swap them out at intermission or a scene Pinocchio's not in. power it up with maybe a 9V battery with a discrete switch on Pinocchio's person. i don't know if it would be quiet enough to be in close proximity to a mic but you could always mute it for a few seconds while the effect takes place.

another idea... start with the same tube setup but replace the motor with a long narrow plastic bladder that could be filled with a blood pressure cuff bulb to drive out the inner tube.

good luck
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In being fairly new here, I was bored and reading through old forums and I believe that there are some previous examples in some old threads. They should be either f/x or costume. One explains fairly fully how to do the magnets, as well as some other examples although I can't seem to find it right now. Will try later.


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Resurrecting an old thread... does anyone else have any ideas for how to do this? It's for a low budget middle school production, so a custom cast nose piece probably isn't going to happen.


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When we did shriek, we used a plastic syringe as a piston. We built an inner and an outer nose piece. The body of the syringe was inside the outer nose with the open end toward the nostril. The inner piece was built on the plunger. When you forced air into the syringe ( plastic tube and a not her syringe in the actors pocket ) the nose grew.

This was pretty front heavy so we tied the entire nosen is hat.


Long time, first time. This thread was the spur as I have made 3 of these, all with the same method of operation but getting more refined. It is essentially a telescope, pretty cheap to build but takes some time and patience. Firstly, a molded piece to cover the actors nose. I use WonderFlex, heat it, mold it, nice and rigid when cold. Then I make the telescope sections. There is a short piece (2" max.) of 3/4" 200 class, thin wall PVC that makes an adapter to pop rivet onto the molded nose piece. Next a piece of 1/2" 200 class PVC (about 4.5" long) sleeves into the adapter, this piece will not move, but the next two will. The next piece is 1/2" drip irrigation tube (another 4.5" or so), and the last piece is 1/2" styrene tube from the hobby shop (once again, 4.5"). The I.D.s and O.D.s of all of this various tubing allows for a snug fit with little droop when extended. The drip tube I find needs to be stretched a little on a mandrel and then I use a flaring tool to prevent over-extension. I also flare the base of the styrene to prevent it from popping out. Operation is done via 1/8" aircraft cable sleeved inside 1/4" drip tube. One end is hot glued into the styrene section and then feeds back through the nose, up the bridge of the actor's nose, over the head, and down the back. Build a 12" long plunger out of brass tube that sleeves together and you have your actuator. Nose is retracted, plunger is extended down side of actor, as actor raises hands to hips plunger is compressed forcing GAC through sleeve and extending nose. You also need a bit of head gear to hold it all on, but it works pretty well. Dry spray lube in GAC sleeve helps a bunch too. Mine end up about 7" retracted and about 13" extended.

Evans Poulos

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We also did this last year with syringes and tubing but used water as the working fluid. We just painted the actual plunger wood grain and hot glued a couple leaves to it b

Crisp image

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Old Thread revival I know but I have been tasked to make one and I am in need of help. Photos, diagrams anything to help me make a nose that will extend AND retract. I do have about 6 months to build so not in a super hurry yet but as we know time flys when we are having fun.
Thanks in advance.

Robert F Jarvis

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We did a dirt cheap trick here. Just wrapped two paper cones, loped the end off one and inseted the second. Wardrobe attached some elastic. The inner cone was pushed into the one with the hole. The actor held his head level but when the time came looked down in shame - which caused the inner cone to protrude! It worked surpsisingly well and warranted a good laugh from the audience.

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