Here is the inspiration photo:
This picture was chosen so we could grab the image of the writing, but it also shows color and general feel of the weapon. The plastic kunai didn't exactly look like the still.
Here's what she purchased:
Looks a little sad, doesn't it? Plastic with a thin ribbon wrap, it looked exactly like what it was - a toy. So we got to work.
First thing to go was the red ribbon. As it wasn't needed, we didn't want to risk it interfering with the rest of the additions. Since the handle in the still was thicker and round (the plastic one was flat in front/back), we built up the bulk using a series of cloth tape, sculpey clay, and hemp cord. Once we got it to a good size for her hand, I printed the Japanese lettering onto beige parchment colored paper and used Mod Podge to glue it to the final layer of cloth tape. This left both ends looking a bit pathetic. Since I wasn't sure how to make the staggered rings in so short a time, I opted for more hemp cord to finish the ends. I dyed the cord black to match the photo and used leather dye instead of paint in hopes that it will maintain color and not flake.
Then it was on to the blade. The red letters were painted over and then the whole thing covered with painters' tape. Using a hobby knife, I trimmed the tape so that only the edges showed, gave it a light sanding, then painted it with chrome spray paint. Finally, touch ups were done with acrylic paint and the whole thing got a coat or two of clear varnish. It may not be perfect, but I think it looks a heck of a lot better than it did right out of the package!
Here's the kunai, after two days of fiddling:
Yep, that's the same little plastic dagger. She approves so that makes me a happy mom :)