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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here’s my dilemma. I have an old inflatable that’s probably about 4.5 feet tall maybe? It’s not inflating enough to even fully stand up well. The fabric looks to be in good shape, it is still bright and colorful even. It’s a smaller version of an 8 foot one that got me into haunting, RIP “Fascinating Frank”. This one doesn’t even have lights in it, that’s how old it is. I tried using a heavy duty fan to blow through the fan to see if it’s the seams leaking but that didn’t work.

So here’s the question, has anyone tried stuffing one? I considered pulling the fan, putting a PVC armature in to stand it up and then filling with styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap or polyester fill. Would this just be one big ole fiasco? This one doesn’t appear to have the fan secured with a zip tie, it’s like the fan is screwed to it or something. Obviously that would kill the whole “store in a little box” advantage but it’s almost useless now. Was just toying with the idea and wondered what y’all’s thoughts were on it. Not interested in great stuff, that would deform and never dry without proper air exposure and be a huge mess. There is a little sentimental value here even though it’s a small version of the original that is dead and gone or I would throw him away. Thanks!

Here is a pic of Little Frank.
Toy Gesture Art Happy Stuffed toy
 

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On the stuffing side - I don't know why you couldn't. There are obviously some downsides such as storage - but you are already aware of those. My main thought would be that given the fabric is so thin, what ever you stuff with might sort of 'transmit' to the surface. ie - bubble wrap, you might see the sheets, folds, wrinkles and blisters of the packing. With peanuts, you might see all the individual little curls and bends. Though possibly that would be desirable if you want a 'warty' Frank. lol. I guess the ultimate would be some sort of styrofoam 'bean' or pellet...like a bean bag chair which has tiny 1/8 - 3/16" pellets and would make a smooth surface. Though if those ever get loose, be ready for a mess!

On the air side - I'd be curious why he won't fill up. You say there are no large leaks / seam rips, etc, but even adding a bigger fan didn't help? Is it possible the fabric itself is just 'leaky'? Guess if you have a fog machine, you could put a burst or two into the inlet and see if it comes out in any specific locations, or just generally diffuse over the whole body. Obviously, any major seam leaks could be sealed. But if it turns out to be the general fabric... then what? I wonder if anything like Scotchguard or similar fabric sealer / water repellent would help? Possibly fabric spray starch would help fill some of the micro holes? Guess the 'nuclear option' might be a coating with clear acrylic spray sealer. But that might lead to other issues down the road such as flaking or peeling if it is too thick.

I don't suppose he has been out in the rain or through a wash cycle which may have washed away some factory applied coating?

What ever you choose, good luck! and let us know how it turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Corey! With the thinness of the fabric, you’re right, it would be bumpy/textured and would look awful. I tried blowing a strong fan through the current fan which worked way better in my head. I then tried isolating areas near the fan by holding the fabric tightly (so it was only blowing in his giant shoes) to see if that would tighten the fabric and it didn’t so I think it’s likely the fan but this was before inside lights/zippers so the only hole is through the fan location.

I bought it used so no clue what it’s previous life was like but I used it outside on Halloween maybe twice and it was only outside on Halloween and came in that night so it’s never seen a drop of water while on my watch. Considering how vibrant the colors are, it appears that it was well taken care of. After leaving the original out for a solid month for many years, the fabric faded, then shredded and disintegrated. This one worked fine, then sat in a box for a couple years and now it doesn’t work. Maybe I’m just making this way to hard (there’s something new…) and need to buy a new fan and hope replacing it is easier than I think.

Appreciate the thoughts and suggestions.
 

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Looking back at the OP, you mentioned fiber fill. That might be the best compromise of all fillings - it should make a relatively smooth surface, and wouldn't really be messy. It might also withstand some compression for storage, then fluff back up for the season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I kind of came to the same place. It would definitely take several bags even if I used wadded up bubble wrap or peanuts in the center body area surrounded by the fiber fill. I also expect it would still need PVC or some kind of frame to keep it upright but I wonder if stuffing it would stress/weaken the material considering how thin it is and it would stay under stress from the stuffing vs deflating.
 

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So here’s my dilemma. I have an old inflatable that’s probably about 4.5 feet tall maybe? It’s not inflating enough to even fully stand up well. The fabric looks to be in good shape, it is still bright and colorful even. It’s a smaller version of an 8 foot one that got me into haunting, RIP “Fascinating Frank”. This one doesn’t even have lights in it, that’s how old it is. I tried using a heavy duty fan to blow through the fan to see if it’s the seams leaking but that didn’t work.

So here’s the question, has anyone tried stuffing one? I considered pulling the fan, putting a PVC armature in to stand it up and then filling with styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap or polyester fill. Would this just be one big ole fiasco? This one doesn’t appear to have the fan secured with a zip tie, it’s like the fan is screwed to it or something. Obviously that would kill the whole “store in a little box” advantage but it’s almost useless now. Was just toying with the idea and wondered what y’all’s thoughts were on it. Not interested in great stuff, that would deform and never dry without proper air exposure and be a huge mess. There is a little sentimental value here even though it’s a small version of the original that is dead and gone or I would throw him away. Thanks!

Here is a pic of Little Frank.
View attachment 22321
What about pool noodles? You can cut them to fit, bend them and they are easy to adhere together with judicious use of a heat gun.
 

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So here’s my dilemma. I have an old inflatable that’s probably about 4.5 feet tall maybe? It’s not inflating enough to even fully stand up well. The fabric looks to be in good shape, it is still bright and colorful even. It’s a smaller version of an 8 foot one that got me into haunting, RIP “Fascinating Frank”. This one doesn’t even have lights in it, that’s how old it is. I tried using a heavy duty fan to blow through the fan to see if it’s the seams leaking but that didn’t work.

So here’s the question, has anyone tried stuffing one? I considered pulling the fan, putting a PVC armature in to stand it up and then filling with styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap or polyester fill. Would this just be one big ole fiasco? This one doesn’t appear to have the fan secured with a zip tie, it’s like the fan is screwed to it or something. Obviously that would kill the whole “store in a little box” advantage but it’s almost useless now. Was just toying with the idea and wondered what y’all’s thoughts were on it. Not interested in great stuff, that would deform and never dry without proper air exposure and be a huge mess. There is a little sentimental value here even though it’s a small version of the original that is dead and gone or I would throw him away. Thanks!

Here is a pic of Little Frank.
View attachment 22321
First , I'd try using a leaf blower through the fan hole to see if the fabric simply won't hold air anymore. I can't see that being the case. If the fan is working there has to be a hole somewhere or large gap that is letting air leak out.

Regarding stuffing it, I actually have seen someone (the guy down the street) try this with an older Oogie. He put it on a wood pole, and then stuffed it. It looked ridiculous. Maybe his effort was just bad, but it looked terrible in general.

If you're open to a replacement that is a little pricey to help keep nostalgia alive, I found this one on eBay. It's the 8-ft version though...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/225172859009
 

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So here’s my dilemma. I have an old inflatable that’s probably about 4.5 feet tall maybe? It’s not inflating enough to even fully stand up well. The fabric looks to be in good shape, it is still bright and colorful even. It’s a smaller version of an 8 foot one that got me into haunting, RIP “Fascinating Frank”. This one doesn’t even have lights in it, that’s how old it is. I tried using a heavy duty fan to blow through the fan to see if it’s the seams leaking but that didn’t work.

So here’s the question, has anyone tried stuffing one? I considered pulling the fan, putting a PVC armature in to stand it up and then filling with styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap or polyester fill. Would this just be one big ole fiasco? This one doesn’t appear to have the fan secured with a zip tie, it’s like the fan is screwed to it or something. Obviously that would kill the whole “store in a little box” advantage but it’s almost useless now. Was just toying with the idea and wondered what y’all’s thoughts were on it. Not interested in great stuff, that would deform and never dry without proper air exposure and be a huge mess. There is a little sentimental value here even though it’s a small version of the original that is dead and gone or I would throw him away. Thanks!

Here is a pic of Little Frank.
View attachment 22321
Ha! I happened across your exact version on eBay. Again, it's expensive, but if there is no price to nostalgia, it might interest you... eBay item.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Appreciate everyone’s suggestions. The 8 foot one is the one I had originally. Having thought about it, I’ve decided it is going to be more trouble than it’s worth with too much risk of it looking bad. Thank you to everyone for your help.
 
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