Step 5 – Once you get some bodies ready to attach to the hooks the fun begins. I like to use a Mustad CK 52S hook. You will notice the hump. That keeps the hook from turning inside the body. Wrap the hook with Unithread 3/0 or Danville 210 thread back a point where the back of the body will be attached. Then wrap forward with wide spaced wraps then back again with wide wraps. The idea here is to make a rough thread covered surface with gaps where glue will fill and bond the body to the thread. Whip finish and cut the thread.
Step 6 – Slide a toothpick into the slit on the bottom of the popper. Remove both from the vice then do the same as you did in the above step until all of your bodies have a toothpick inserted into them. There is a reason for this. The toothpick, if left in the slit will widen it temporarily so you can pour some Zap A Gap into the crevice and fill the gaps.
Step 7 – Now comes the tricky part. You need to close the gap and hold it until the glue sets without gluing your fingers to the foam body. Pour in a line of Zap A Gap. Grasp the body with both hands and pinch it until some Zap A Gap comes out of the crevice. Using a paper towel wipe the excess off the body. Then pinch some more pushing out more glue and wipe it off. You should now be able to hold the body tight until the glue sets. This procedure keeps the glue from running down the body and gluing your fingers to it. It just takes a few seconds to set. Repeat until all of your bodies are glued to the hook. Let the bodies dry for a few minutes before going to the next step.
Step 8 – I like to use plastic eyes with stems. You will need a hole on each side of the body to slide the stems in. A toothpick works perfect for this. Push the toothpick through each body and set aside. After a minute or so the hole will remain open.
Step 9 – Cut most of the stem off the eyes. Remove the toothpick and push the eye stem into the hole on each side of the body. You might need to twist the eye to get it in. Set the popper aside and repeat on each body. After a minute or so the hole will conform to the size of the stem.
Step 10 – Open your tube of Sportsman’s Goop or shoe glue. Pull an eye out of the socket and using a toothpick stick some goop in the hole then push the eye back in. After the Goop dries you can remove any excess that came in contact with the body or eyes. I have yet to have an eye come out of the body.
Step 11 – Use a sewing needle with an eye large enough to insert a round rubber leg into. The needle I am using here is too large. I could not find my perfect needle for this photo shoot. I looked everywhere. This one left a large hole in the body. Use a smaller needle. Push the needle at an angle from the eye to the back of the body. Place one end of your piece of round rubber through the eye of the needle and pull it through the body and out the other side. You will be crossing the legs through the body in an X configuration. Sometimes your needle will push the first length of round rubber out of the new hole. You can pull on the ends of that piece of rubber and straighten the mess out. Now, you have two lengths of rubber legs crossing each other. Trim the legs to the desired length.
Step 12 – You can use many different materials for the tail. You could use maribou, hackle, Flashabou, craft fur and many other choices. I like round rubber because it is durable. I got the idea from some poppers we sell at the shop called Walts Poppers. I usually attach two legs with thread trying to spread them apart, then tie in some Krystal flash in the center and add a third leg on top and between the two.
Last Step – I like to finish the wraps on the tail with 5 minute epoxy. You don’t need much and it sets up fast. Prepare and mix your epoxy on a pad of Post It Notes or a piece of paper. Place a few drops of each part on the paper and mix it with a popsicle stick. Then apply some glue on the wraps and push a little into each hole where a rubber leg comes out of the body.
You may also want to put bars on the rubber legs. I do this when the popper is finished and dry. Lay your popper down on a your Post It Note stack of paper. I use a Sharpie waterproof marker with an angled chisel point. Place the point on your rubber leg where you want to add a bar. Move the marker back and forth rolling the rubber leg so the ink marks it on all sides.
If you want a clear shiny finish on your popper I would use Flex Coat Rod Wrap Finish. Using a small brush paint on the mixed 2-part finish before adding the legs, eyes and tail. The popper must be placed in a rotating jig turner to get an even finish. I usually apply two coats. The end result is a beautiful popper but it is heavier and does not float as high in the water. This step also takes more time. It is essential to use the coat if you color the body with acrylic paint which is not waterproof. With acrylic paint you can mix custom colors. You can also add color using marking pens and clear blenders. Making foam poppers offers endless options. Use your imagination. What we did here is just the beginning. You may also make poppers for saltwater species and stripers.
That’s it. Enjoy your new hobby. Back to Page 1 CLICK HERE.
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