Some of my
favorite childhood memories stem from many of the imaginative toys
created by the toy wizards at Mattel. The most interesting of
these toys by far was the "Thing-Maker" series of toys. These
toys, usually sold in sets, came out between 1964 and about 1974
when the supply of goop dried up after congressional hearing about
the safety of children's toys. Now that all old toys seem to be
coming back I've pulled out some of my molds and have once again
become enthralled with childhood memories of rainy afternoons in
the garage. With these toys would come a nifty box, usually with
some outlandish art on the top and the sides and inside that box
would be several metal molds, a machine with a heating element
(usually labeled as a Thingmaker) several bottle of plastigoop and
some various other trinkets as well as an instruction book.
There were 3 forms of accessory kits for Thingmakers; one was
called "Maker Pak" and was basically a complete kit but with NO
Thingmaker heater unit. There was also a "Play Pak" which has no
heater and was usually shorted a few of the molds.
They came in a
box about the same size as a full Thingmaker set, but shorter in
height, maybe only 2" tall (height not needed as a Thingmaker unit
was not in the box). The other kind of accessory kit (new in 1968)
was called Thingmaker Mold Paks. These were 2 molds from a larger
set put on a peg card with shrink plastic covering the front.
First you poured goop of various colors into the molds. Then you
would plug in the 'Thingmaker' and place the mold on the heating
element. After a few minutes the plastigoop would be ready to
'sniff' as it would start to smoke slightly (especially if you
poured the goop over the side of the mold) and give off a very
distinctive odor. Removing the mold from the machine with a pair
of tongs you would place it in a cooling tray half filled with
water. This would result in an interesting sizzling sound as the
very hot metal and plastic came into contact with cold tap water.
There was usually a prying metal tool (or sometimes a plastic
knife) to help you remove the finished product from the mold. Several
of the sets allowed you to combine completed pieces together to
form bigger toys. These sets included; Eeeks!, Mini-Dragons,
Zoofie Goofies, Fun Flowers, and to a lesser extent Creeple
Special thanks going out to Richard Miller who supplied all
of the wonderful Creeple Peeple materials including the wonderful
scan of that uncut clothing sheet! Check it out on the
Creeple Peeple Page! Richard
Kaufman has been most helpful in figuring out years, names,
and product lines thanks to whole mess of information ! John
Kolesar has been helping me out quite a bit with lots of
information about thing maker toys! Most recently with a bunch of
instruction manuals! John has been taking pictures of his
collection and putting them onto a Photo CD so that they could be
displayed here. Thanks John! Also thanks going out to Michael
Klein and Rick Inzero for sending some more light on
the Picadoos set. and another thanks to Rick Inzero for
reminding the world about "Ikky-Yuk Plastigoop". If I let anyone's
name off by accident please e-mail me and I'll add it to the next
'creature' was created by using the new "EEKS!" set which came out
in 1995. Many of the elements in this set are very similar to the
original set, and in some cases even improved over the original,
however the long centipede like creature has been removed in favor
of adding more claws and wings. All in all this new 'EEKS!" set is
by far the best of the new Creepy Crawlers toys so far.
The new Thing-Maker machine is truly a wonder of making a
'dangerous' toy save and fun. However I would not like to be a
parent who had to assemble one. The original Thing-Maker machine
was a one piece machine with no moving parts or assembly required.
The New Machine uses a small light bulb as a heating element (sold
separately however the local Toys 'R' Us places the bulbs next to
these toys) and has about 100 parts which must be assembled. The
directions are confusing and convoluted. Some of the parts are
mislabeled wither on the part or in the directions. Despite all
this the toy, when finished, is still amazing. Unlike the original
Thing-Maker which had an open top and heating element, this new
toy is completely enclosed with a viewing window on the top. It
has a retaining door which raises whenever the unit is on so the
mold can not be removed. Once the machine has heated up a second
door (held by heat sensitive metal) which descends and only raises
when the unit has cooled off. Of course all of the machines I have
seen at local flea markets have had this safety door removed. More
recently newer version of the oven have appeared that require a
minimum of assembly.
Originally on this page I had a warning about using your old
machines with the new goop which I removed when version 2.0 of
this page came out. I still recommend using the newer machines
especially when cooking thicker molds, however they are a pain
when dealing with molds with inserts in them.
Another new and interesting development in the new line of toys
are the 2 sided insect molds (3-D Creepy Crawlers) which came out
last winter. So far the first series has included a beetle, a
tarantula, and a scorpion. There is also an easier to assemble
machine which came with a mold that made 2 (although smaller than
the ones sold separately) 3-D bugs on the same mold.
The newest sets ( at least what I have found anyhow) of molds came
out last October and features Universal movie monsters. Each kit
came with a diorama of a spooky setting and a matching plastic
base. Some of the characters were interesting. The Frankenstein
had a separate molded head for added realism when switching
The mystery has been solved! Several ThingMaker fans wrote in
to tell me what this part was. It is actually the inset for the
Slithers mold (now featured on the Mold Paks
and Accessory Page. Evidently when placed in the slithers mold
it allowed you to make slither parts which fit together in a
jigsaw fashion! Thanx for all the help with this mystery part!
A catalog of the 'classic' Thing Maker Sets.
With all of the new information and art it has become
impractical to continue this Thingmaker as a single page. Now
there are 15 different pages filled with information! Thanks to
all of the visitors to the page who have contributed. Most of the
sets now have their own page as listed below. The only exception
are the DollyMaker (I can't find anyone with information on this
set) and the combinations of sets (Super/Triple Thingmakers) For
now check out the rest of the pages with the hot links below.
I am currently looking for pics of box ends such as the Creeple
Peeple box shown below. If you have a box end you can frame grab,
or better yet scan, please send it to
- The Vacu-Maker was the
original Thingmaker set. It grew out of the Mattel Vacuform toy
and included molds for creating the bodies of bugs, and the
parts necessary to vacuform hard shells for them. This is one
of the hardest of all the Thingmaker toys to find.
- The Picadoos "Decorator dots
combine for endless designs."
- Creepy Crawlers (the original
toy) Check out the new templates to cut wings for your original
- Giant Creepy Crawlers Deeper,
larger, more 'mod' molds!
- Fright Factory Create creepy
things like shrunken heads and such!
- EEEKS! (creepy bugs you
assemble also came with Icky Yuk goop)
- Fun Flowers (make your own
- Zoofie Goofies (make animals
with pipe cleaners)
- Dollymaker (which lets you make flat dolls, with a
bunch of accessories. This set was also remade by Toymax, and
is available in many different make-n-play sets. They even made
a custom Dolly-maker oven!) Although I no nothing about the old
DollyMaker the new one is a great set of molds from Toymax and
may not be on clearance. Many of the molds are two sides, and
while the people are not, many of their clothing items wrap
- Super Cartoon Maker (Snoopy
and Charles Brown)
- Creeple Peeple Make people
out of your pencils! Check out the new 4-97 clothing
template Which you can D/L and print out!
- Mini-Dragons (create
whimsical creatures and put them together)
- Updated 5-97 The Fighting Men
Create a 2 sided army man with bendable arms and legs.
- Another set was called Jillions of Jewels. This set
made jewelry, like rings, pendants etc. The goop was a
powder-like substance, which when cooked, turned clear and
- Combination Sets
There were many combination sets created from the basic sets.
Some of these were very large and heavy.
Most of the main sets were also sold as separate Maker-Paks, and
Play Paks. Maker Paks were usually the same as the full Thingmaker
sets, except minus the heating unit. The heating unit was also
Play Paks were minus a mold or two, and also minus the heating
unit. Many of the molds from the sets were also available in
pairs, sold on cards.
There were vinyl cases to store your creations in. They opened up
like a book. One was called Thingmaker Thingholder. Another was
Creepy Crawlers case, (the inside is a spider web), and Fighting
Men Battle case.
Of these the Fighting Men Battle case is the most collectible due
to its limited production and its detailed artwork.
There were many one mold sets produced for the Thingmakers.
Some were just gathered from existing sets, while others were
unique. Many new pics have been added to this page!
There were many types of goop, both today any yesterday. This
page covers the different sizes and colors goop came in.
During Joel's reign of Mystery Science Theater 3000 there was a
long sketch about Plasti-Goop. This sketch showed Joel's
Plasti-Goop philosophy. What follows is a transcript of that
sketch. Even though they seemed to know a lot about the toy (they
had a Creeple People set with the box) there was no mold in the
machine during the sketch even as Joel poured goop into a non
existent mold. This makes it seem a bit odd when Crow T. Robot
bends over to 'smell the goop'. Strange but then Dr. Forester
never had lenses in his glasses either and it never seemed to
bother TV's Frank.
Joel is squeezing a goop bottle.
Joel: See the trick is is not to get any on the edges.
Tom: Hey Joel, what are Creeple People?
Joel: Oh, Creeple Peeple are these really wacky creepy people
that use pencils and stuff to make their bodies and then you bring
them to school, its pretty neat. Oh, hi everybody I was just
teaching the bots how to make Creepy Crawlers. I found my old set
and this batch is just about ready to smell. Crow, check it
Crow: 'sniff' 'sniff' 'sniff' Mmmmm that's good goop!
Tom: Here, I'll be the judge of that, move over. 'sniff' 'sniff'
'sniff' 'sniff' Oh it kind of smell like hot plastisol with traces
of calcium zinc the FDA approved stabilizer. No how's this
different than Incredible Edibles?
Joel: Uh, well incredible Edibles were the ones that you could eat
so I would probably say that they were both non-toxic.
Joel: Yeah, non-toxic was what they called things when they were
toys and you could eat them and it won't hurt you. There was
Crayola Crayons, and Plasti-Goop and Play-Dough, and uh, just
about all the breakfast cereals now that I think about it. But
anyway the real thing that was dangerous about this toy was the
aluminum plate that would heat up in excess of 300 degrees.
Crow: But didn't you little kinds back on Earth get burnt?
Joel: Yeah I'll say we got burnt. We got burnt all the time. It
was just part of what went with the territory when you got to make
your own cool plastic toys. We had a saying when I was growing up
"Lean with the Creepy Crawler Maker... Burn with the Creepy
Tom: Well what happened? I mean why can't kids today play with the
Thing-Maker or all the neat accessories here, like the Creepy
Crawlers, or the Fun Flowers, or the Fright Factory, or the
Picadoos (?), or the Fright Men, or the Mini-Dragons, or the
Joel: I'll tell you why. Because some little kids wrecked it for
everybody. They'd get burnt and go screaming up stairs to their
mommies. The Mom's would call the FDA. The FDA would call the
manufacturer, and before you could say "It's Mattel, It's swell"
the great goop factories of Taiwan were shut down forever.
Tom: You know I was just reading something about that the other
day. There were lots or really fun toys hauled off the market
during the 60's because kids were careless.
Joel: I'll say, the Susie Homemaker Oven, The Whamo Air
Tom: Lawn Darts
Joel: ...Lawn darts, and Creepy Crawlers, the Vertibird. The list
goes on and on...
Crow: Poor dumb kids. They never even knew.
Joel: Well, I don't know if we can really blame the kids, Crow.
You see, I really think this society is basically still crawling
out of the slime, or goop, as we should say. I think the real
responsibility lies with the toy designer of tomorrow.
Tom: How's that Joel?
Joel: Well, the toy designer of tomorrow responsibility is to
design "Action packed, intensely interesting and affordable toys
that are safe, soft and colorful". Good night.
Crow: (strange voice) and may God bless.
I still need more information (especially molds sets) and
especially good photographs of the following sets;
- Dollymaker (I have never even seen this set!)
- The Fighting Men (a visitor donated a couple of pictures
from the instruction manual but I still do not have enough to
do a separate page about it.
- EveryThingmaker (Had different pictures glued onto the
- Triple thing makers
I am an avid collector of this toy series myself. If you have
any spare molds you would be willing to part with or trade for
please drop me a note at email@example.com Currently I have a couple of extra Fight
Factory molds, several Mini-Dragons, and one Zoofie Goofie mold, a
fighting man (man) mold, and a complete (- the large head insert)
set of Creeple Peeple molds. which are extra.
firstname.lastname@example.org (note this is a new address
(6-96)) provided many useful facts and items to this page. He
also went out of his way and put pictures of his boxes on a photo
CD so that they could be displayed here! Thanx John! He is also an
avid collector of Thingmaker toys as well as Gumby and 3 Stooges
items. he occasionaly has molds for sale on his page.
Unfortunately I have the banner picture, but
not the URL!