"Why doesn't your compass work?" ~ Elizabeth Swann

"My compass works fine." ~ Jack Sparrow


Perhaps the most fantastic object Jack Sparrow carries amongst his 'effects' is his Compass. Obtained in a barter from Tia Dalma, Jack's compass does not point north, but rather points to the thing that the person holding the compass wants the most.


Jack's compass survived for the sequels, although director Gore Verbinski had the spinner redesigned and a red arrow added to the dial when it became a more prominent prop. As it does not act like a normal compass, a magnet, filament line or sometimes a hidden rod was used to make it spin for the camera.

Reference Pictures DMC/AWE compass:

Various Reproductions

There are not many reproductions left to purchase, only a few key manufactures made this item and most are out of stock. At this point, the best thing would be to keep checking ebay, pirate web forums and or the Disney store for stock.

Fabrication [or use the compass tutorials found lower on this page]


Dressing Tips

  • The compass is worn hanging from the Anamaria belt on the right side by the sash.


It seems this is a very hard item to find right now,To purchase a compass, we suggest the following vendors and retailers:

Compass Tutorial

"If you intend to claim these, then you must have something to trade. Do you have the Compass?" ~ Lord Cutler Beckett

Tutorial by Mojo from


These are my instructions for modifying a Disney store compass. First, I ordered 3 compasses from the Disney Store.

When I got my compasses, I "popped" them all apart with a thin screwdriver. If you have not done it, it's gonna scare you. You're going to think that you're breaking it - and you are. You just got to wedge it in there and lift until you here the "pop" and feel the tension release. You do it four times, but usually two of them snap at once, so I only did it three times total for each compass.


I took a picture of the bottom of the spinner so you could see the little metal weight underneath it. I'm going to try to salvage the entire thing. Inside the bottom of the compass is a tiny metal chisel nail that the entire spinner balances on, and it's super sharp. I also put a sharpie marker in the picture so you'd see to scale how small these things are. I thought I got a mini one at first until I busted out my tape measure.

The gold stripe has me stumped for now. I was going to spray the entire thing matte black and start from scratch, but the gold liner is not raised. So once I paint over it - it's gone. So it makes me want to mask it off and then spray the whole thing black or...mask over it and paint it black first...hmmm.

The good news is Home Depot has spray paint cheaper than Joanne's or Micheal's.


1. Popped off the tops

2-3. Masked off dial in the center

4-5. Sprayed the top matte black

6. Painted the dial metallic gold and began adding the white stripes with a white paint pen.


7. Sprayed the inside matte black, hand painted the star field with dark blue acrylic and then dabbed the stars on with yellow using a broken toothpick.

8. Used a metallic gold paint pen to color the hinge and compass dial.

9. This is what it looks like clean and new and freshly painted. Now the real fun begins.


10. Super glued a faux leather piece of decorative paper to the inside lid. Then I sprayed it with the matte finish to make it appear dull.

11. Now I know why I thought the compass was so small when it came in the mail. It's because of all the pictures I saw of the supposed dial on the internet from people who said they "scaled it down" to the actual size.


The "actual size" is 1 7/8 as seen in the palm of my hand. We scaled in down in adobe and then printed it on... [get ready for genius] sticker backed printer paper! [I hate glue] We had also originally planned to cut it out on a cricket machine, but the cricket we have doesn't cut to 1 7/8 so it will have to be by hand. I also practiced on a dummy sticker and I will be cutting out the center hole with a standard hole punch. You can't see a hole that size underneath the gold sun dial anyway.

12. This is how they look so far with just the center pieces balanced in and the old compass spinners.


13. For a better more accurate metal front latch - head on down to Micheal's craft store - over in the wood section are these little wooden boxes with a pretty close SA latch.


The numbers on the box read: ATCM 93120, Don Mechanic Enterprises 1653, 0909, Phase 1, WHPW and the SKU is 350300 (22094). They were literally $1 with tax, so I figure one more buck is money well spent if it makes it worth that much more. I took a pair of pliers and carefully removed them. Then I super-glued the tiny nails in the nail holes - waited until they dried and then snipped the back ends off. This is so from the front they will still appear to be "nailed in" even though I am going to glue them to the plastic box.

14. To get the plastic latch off the toy, just take some pliers and grab and pull - they should pop right off without an issue.


15. Now I have super-glued the latches on [I left the plastic posts on and just painted the tips gold.] I then weathered the entire box using screen shots from the movie, black paint and a black sharpie and some rough sandpaper. I then went over the entire thing with dullcoate.


16. Compass Dial used with permission - right click image and select "save as"


17. So the last thing that came in were the brass ring pulls.


I ordered mine from Horton Brass [RP-3 in Antique finish]. Whatever ring you order - you want to make sure the base of it does not have a wider circumference than your compass box. Now, I have heard of people who cut the screws down to fit with a dremel [careful it gets real hot] but I pretty much figured that the epoxy I bought would be strong enough. So I lined up the ring pulls in the right place and balanced them upright in a box and allowed the glue to dry for 20 minutes and this is the result.


18. I then took screen shots of the leather lanyard and measured out roughly close to five feet and cut it off. [mine is a little long, but I wanted to be on the safe side]. I then tied the lanyard the way it looks in the movie.

19. Then I glued the compass face plate back in place with super glue, waited for it to dry and then went back over the edges with the white paint pen to remove any black that could still be seen.


20. Finished. - My completed compass with my costume.


And here is the compass from every angle.

Compass Tutorial (Wood) 

Wooden Homemade Jack Sparrow Compass Tutorial by Stephan *

Step 1 - the block of wood First, I got a nice big ebony block of wood


After some work with saw and mill it looked a bit more familiar : my new ASHTRAY


The colour of the wood is more black as you see on the images - under normal light condition.

Next I marked all the inlay lanes with a white pencil before milling



With all of the lanes milled out - the upper lines around the body were a bit tricky because these are stepped transmissions as on the real deal (you can see this where the inlays are missing on Jack's compass).


After cutting the Elforyn plates into little stripes the puzzle begins - I recommend superglue for the Elforyn.


I milled a tiny step into the upper stripes which is matching the stepped transition of the compass body


I am wasting a lot of material but the result is speaking for itself :

With the new ring I was able to do the little inlays on top of the body.

Step 2 - My low-budget homemade ring attachment: the ring was made out of a brass rod - (heating, bending and soldering it).
For the ring I used a bit of this old brass hook



Of course not SA but quiet nice looking - if I ever get my hands on a clear reference of the real deal I will make another one.

Step 3 - making the brass scale and dial. First I made the scale with windows "paint" - saved as bmp with very high resolution. Inverted black to white and mirrored it. Printing on a sheet of matt 130g/m paper from Tetenal with high contrast in the size I need for my compass. Note that you can only use laser or Xerox printer - no inkjet possible.


Get a brass plate and cleaned the surface with acetone (or girls nail enamel remover) - don`t touch it after cleaning! Put the printed scale onto the brass plate and press and iron on (at the highest temperature) for a couple of minutes. The toner will stick to the plate. Let it cool down and drop the plate into a bowl of cold water to remove the paper gently of the plate with your fingers until you can see shiny brass.

Then use the kitchen sink and fill it with boiling water - put a glass into the sink with Natriumperlsulfat until the chemestry has ca. 45-50°C. Tape the areas which you don`t wanna etch with Tesafilm or anything else.
Hold the plate in the glass and blow in some air with a drinking straw - do NOT suck! Check the result each minute until you are happy with it.

Then, rinse the plate with cold water and remove the remaining toner with Acetone - a nice detailed homemade compass scale :

Next part is to mill out the center hole:

Then the little recess in the middle reaching to the inner circle line of the scale.
Then around to cut the whole scale out of the plate

I worked at the compass disc - it`s made of Elforyn also - I trimmed the plate down to ca. 1mm


Now time to beg the Mrs. to draw the rose compass for me with acrylic paint (I can do a lot but drawing isn`t really one of my best skills). I really tried to paint it myself - but the brush is so thin that one little movement is destroying the whole work.


Now making the fin out of a brass plate. Drilled tiny holes with my smallest tool (1mm) through the scale and the feets of the fin.


Used some little brass pins (actually electronic contacts for proto-boards) to connect both pieces clean together without looking at the silver-coloured solder.


To make the brass struts I rimmed a round brass rod to into a triangle shape


Then trimmed into three pieces


Next, I have to mill out the holes for the struts next to set the complete scale a bit deeper

Step 4 - Working on the lid - same procedure as on the body ...

Now we have a nice hole into the lid :

For the dome I will use the biggest half of this here :

The size of these seem to more closely match my build - these are like the Russian "Babuschka" or "Matroschka" dolls - just that they're balls instead of dolls.


Step 5 - fixed hinge and latch

Using the top part of the latch from this wooden box. You can find

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at your local craft store.



Step 6 - Completed painting and assembling


Here is a VIDEO he made of the entire process



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