Introduction: Minotaur Costume-Narnia Style
Finalist in the
Halloween Epic Costumes Contest
Hi and welcome to my step by step guide on how to build this Narnia style minotaur, It is made very cheaply and using materials that I already had, all of the fur is made of string that I stripped down and hot glued on to make a fur effect, I felt this would be a lot cheaper than using fake fur and also would give a better effect of fur. The mask was made using plaster and was moulded on clay, the body was a t-shirt and the bottoms are made of old school trousers and tights, I made the armour out of coke cans. Im entered into the epic costumes contest, please vote!
Any way on with the build
the stuff you will need:
around 50 meters of sisal rope- eBay is the best and cheapest place to buy this-25meters is around £6
you need roughly 200 mini glue sticks
and a mini glue gun, you can use a large one but I don’t know how much glue you would need for them.
I bought my glue gun for £5 with 50 sticks
you also need modelling clay-enough to build a face, horns, hooves and hands
some modroc or plaster and scrim, around 4 rolls
around 20 coke cans- or other aluminium cans
2 old t-shirts one that fits and one that’s a couple of sizes to big
a pair of old trousers that are around 2 sizes too big
a pair of tights- (not my first choice but I think the best)
an empty 2 litre coke bottle
a pair of strong scissors
a craft knife
some spare wood
a few bits of cardboard
around 1/2 a meter squared of fake leather dependant on your size.
a long reel of paper-I got some from IKEA
Step 1: Reasearch
I started wanting to make an awesome Halloween costume this year that was also original but with a very low budget and only a few weeks I struggled for inspiration, I originally started with a sci-fi space man costume but after doing a quick search and some failed attempts I decided that it was neither original or feasible for me, I loved the work of Howard Berger on Narnia and the lord of the rings and was inspired to do something like him, however latex wasn’t possible with my low budget and after seeing a ball of sisal string I decided to make a minotaur. After re-watching the Narnia films a couple of times I took notes on the legs and faces and saw which one I would like to copy, the two below were the ones I chose, the first was the one I stuck closest to because of the colour and complexity of the armour on the other. Before deciding on the way I was going to build it I wanted to test of some materials so I started with the head as a rough draft however after a while I grew attached to it and so kept it, I took a very close look at some other instructables such as the werewolf one https://www.instructables.com/id/realistic-werewolf-costume/ however I still felt that the fur didn’t have the right, rustic look and the legs were wrong, so I redesigned it even though this mean a lot of trial and error, I liked the shingle look of the armour so I wanted to replicate this, I did it with coke cans as you will see later. I also say that they made a clay base for the Narnia ones, I did this also but I am not sure what the made the actual heads out of but I chose plaster.
Step 2: How to Strip String
I thought that I should explain how to strip the string to create the fur, just so you know what im talking about later on. first you'll want to take your sisial rope, I used 8mm thick (this worked well), The rope is made using 9-12 different strands, we want to get the rope so that we have those different strands, to do this twist the rope the opposite way to the twist of the rope and separate out the three parts, then take one of those three pieces and split in to a further 3/4 pieces, this should now be you single ply piece, with the single piece twist it opposite to the the twist of the string and pull apart into the individual strands. I like to do the first stage in very long lengths and then cut it into 3inch strips then separate it into the single ply pieces. I also did a massive box of it so that I didnt have to keep on stopping to strip more string. I used around 50 meters of string:/. You may ask why not just use single ply? well its is cheaper to use rope and the single ply doesnt have that nice curl to it, giving the fur a horrible finnish, when applieing the string pull a hand full of it out of the box that you have stripped, make sure it is all going in roughly the same direction and properly stripped then fan out the handfull untill it is thick enough to not quite see what is behind it but still get and idea of colours. Also when applieing the string make sure that yu only glue down the top of the clump of fur not the bottom unless it is connecting something and makesure that the previous clump's glue is covered.
Step 3: The Head-the Face
The head is probably the most complicated part of the build that’s why I’m splitting it into a couple of steps but it really isn’t too hard, it just requires a bit of patience. So lets start with some clay work start by making a ball of newspaper this will prop up the clay and mean that you don’t waste any, start by adding a bit less than an inch of clay over the newspaper, then build up a nose this is a wide nose that is not very long. Then add very rough details this means the nose, simply make indents for the nostrils and the roof of the mouth, there is no need to make the bottom, then make the eye sockets, be careful that they are in the same position as your eyes otherwise you wont be able to see! This is then the basic skeleton of your mask, make sure you do the next step while the clay is still wet this will mean easy recycling and it wont shrink so that the sizing is all wrong. So you need to take you mod roc or scrim and do a layer or two, I did ne but in the delicate areas, like the edges I did two, then take your plaster and pour it over the mod roc, the surface finish of the face doesn’t matter because you will simple cover it in fur (or string) the only area that matters is the nose and mouth as this is the only place that will be seen, make sure that the overall shape of the mask is still the same as the clay. Ignore the horns we'll do those later. When the plaster is dry but before the clay is remove the clay from the plaster this should be fairly easy because clay and plaster hate each other. Then paint the nose, I used burnt sienna and some black to give a nice dark brown.
Step 4: The Head-part 2-start With the String and the Eyes
Then start with the string: take your glue gun and put a strip of glue along the bottom, this first lay should be quite long (around 3inches) then lay down another strip directly above it however this layer should be very short, the face is the only area that really needs to be very short, this is how it is on the minotaur’s that I have seen on the internet, you need to have the glue strips very close together and I advise that you glue on a long strip and then cut it down with your scissors, cover the whole face like this, however leaving the top clear so that you can easily connect it to the rest of the head however leave the areas you painted and the eye sockets. Once you have finished with the string cut out the eyes. Then take your coke bottle and take of the bobbled bottom, these are going to be the eyes, cut two out and trim it down to fit in the socket however make sure it is the right scale, for me this meant it looked ridiculous before I covered it in fur, next paint the eye, I did it in brown, I made a black centre and brown around it then white around that, so that visibility is better I cut slits in them, however they aren’t noticeable. I then covered the eyes in fur, making them look a bit more realistic, I added some paint to the under eyes for effect, hopefully now the eyes are done and looking scary.
The next stage is to attach it to the balaclava. First however you will want to make a quick bust peg so that you can work on the face without having to hold it up all the time. To do this, simply grab some board that is about an inch thick and the length and breadth of your head. Then stuff the balaclava with newspaper and place it on the peg. At this point I would like to say that the colour of you clothes does not matter as it will all be covered but i used darker clothing because it was available and because it gave a bit of tone differentiation on your minotaur. On with the build, next cut inch wide strips of cardboard and glue them to the inside of the plaster mask, then glue the cardboard to the back of the mask and then put loads of glue around it, the next stage is to connect the mask to the balaclava this means putting a strip of glue along the top, where you left the gap and putting a strip on the balaclava then glue both ends down, holding the mask in place, after this cover the whole head in the string, this string should be around 3inches long, maybe a bit shorter, leave space for the horns. On the neck hot glue cardboard onto the bottom lip of the plaster face and the balaclava and cover this in fur, then add some spare material from either one of the t-shirts or the trousers (you’ll understand where we got this from later) and glue it to the bottom of the balaclava, cover this in fur, it will act as a neck piece to join the head to the body, do the same with the back of the head, but a bit shorter.
The horns now, make them out of clay first then mod roc and plaster over them, when it is dry, pull out the clay and fill with polyfiller the dented areas (on mine there were lots) paint these with dark paint at the bottom like dark brown and black and gradually get brighter until you reach an ivory colour. Place cardboard strips on the inside of the balaclava for support and glue the horns to the balaclava and the cardboard. Then do the teeth, put clay lips on both the cardboard bottom and top, then sculpt the teeth, these should be fairly small but still scary. Then paint them in the same way as the horns and the lips the same as the nose but a bit darker. You should now have a Minotaur head :)
N.B. I did the horns, teeth and neck piece later on in the build this is why in some of the pictures I do not have them, also i broke one of the horns, this is why one is cut off but I liked the look so I kept it.
Step 7: The Body-armour
The next thing to do is the armour for this you will need those 24 coke cans good strong scissors, hot glue and some stripped string. Lets start with the design, I made the armour this way because we had a ton of spare cans that I wanted t do something with but didn’t know what, after starting this project I thought that I could make the armour out of it, so I did, I turned out to be a quick and easy method for making armour, so take your can and cut off the top of it like you would open a tin of beans with a tin opener, then cut down to the bottom of the can, cut inch wide strips of can, there should be about five I think, then cut around the bottom, releasing them, this will leave you with strips of can with an angled bottom, I left the angle because I liked the look of it but you could cut it off. Grab the t-shirt that fits you and put it over a box that is around your chest size so that it is easy to work on. Now start to glue them on, only do a small blob at the top of the strip so that they can move a bit and make sure the angle is at the bottom, once you have done the first row, the next should have at least an inch overlap so that none of your t-shirt is showing through, once you get to the top stop, and take your fake leather, I had some red laying around so I used that, and made pieces to go over your shoulder. Once you have done the front and back, take some more of the leather and cover the sides in it, this will allow more movement and leave a nice affect. Then take some stripped string and apply it to all the areas that you still see t-shirt, however leave the sleeves and neck. Now your armour should be ready.
Step 8: The Body-the Arms
Next we need to make the arms, If you used a long sleve t-shirt to glue the armour to then all you need to do is make the sleeves tighter at the fore-arm and wider at the top arm. I, however used a short sleeve t-shirt so I had to make new sleeves, to do this I made a paper template by lying on a long bit of paper and drawing around my arm, then add around two inches to the outline, one the top bit of the arm add around two more, this will make you look like a more muscally minotaur, also add a few inches to the arm s that there is a nice link to the hands. Then cut out the arm you have just made and pin it down to your larger t shirt, then cut it out, because the tshirt is doubbled up this should give you both sides of the arm, then do the same again for the second arm, I didnt bother making annother template though. Then sew the arms together, and, with the sleeves that you left without fur hot glue the new sleaves on, make sure you hot glue the whole way around or else it will fall off, then start with the string again but before you do, stuff the arms with new paper to make the arms easier to work on. You need to make a thick and long at the shoulder and short but a good coverage at the bottom, leaving a more proportioned minotaur. I found it easier to start at the bottom and move up, at the fore arm I would advise 1.5 inch strand however there is no need to be that accurate, just what looks the best to you. i would like to say that I ended up redoing the arms after not stripping the string properly so it looks better now to in the pictures on this step.
Step 9: The Legs
This, for me, was the most time consuming and tricky part but now I think that I have found the best option for making them as realistic as possible, the trouble with them was that minotaur’s have very thick thighs and very thin calves, in Narnia the used CGI so there was no real guide on how to do them, it was therefore a case of trial ad error, I had to redo the fur 3 times to get the desired affect but hopefully you wont have to do that. After studying the legs of Narnian minotaurs and horses I found what I thought would be the best option, here it is: first take your trousers and cut them off at the knee (use the spare material for the head), then stuff the pockets with news paper and hot glue them in a place so that the are on top of the front thigh so that it looks more like a minotaur leg, then take your tights and stuff them with newspaper, this stage is VITAL to your minotaur, if the newspaper is not done at a thick and consistent level so that the leg is the same thickness as your leg, you will not be able to get on your trousers because the glue will stop the tights stretching, also it will stretch the fur and make it look thinner than it did previously. Now onto the fur, start at the bottom, leave the flat at the bottom of the foot as this will be used to glue on the hooves, then build up the fur the fur up to the knees or top of you tights must be very short not quite as short as the face but very tight this will make sure the lower leg is thin and minotaur like, once you have got to the top of the tights, which will take you a while start to make it a lot longer, like 2/3inches longer as you did with the arms. At the fly (or zipper for you Americans) be very careful to not glue it down but still cover the buttons. Also to work on the legs I used to belt rings to tie string to and then use my easel as a crane to hoist up the legs and work on.
Step 10: The Hands and Hooves
The next thing to do is make some hooves and hand hooves, the hands are very easy to make, grab some clay and cover you hand in it, then start to sculpt it making your four fingers into two big fingers, it should go up to just over your knuckles but before you thumb, when wearing the costume simple paint your thumb brown, do the same for the other hand, then using the same technique as the mask, mod roc and plaster it, then paint and wear it like a glove. Now the hooves, (sorry for the lack of photos) take some old slippers or the ones you get in some hotels and cut them down to the bit which covers your toes, then cut a slit in the top of the slippers, glue down and paint dark brown, then glue them onto the bit of the tights that you left free of fur, to get the full affect you will have to stand on your tip toes but I could not sustain this for the photos (I’m no the most athletic, sorry) now you should have a full minotaur.
Step 11: The Axe
this was a really quick addition to the minotaur, it took me around five minuites to make.
Heres what you need:
A cheap flexible piece of plastice, I used and Ikea chopping bought that I bought for a pound
a 1-2inch stick, make sure it isnt rotton and made of a decent wood
some single ply string
and a pen
First cut your stick to the right size, I did mine about 2foot long, cut the other end aswell so that you have a nice finish. Then cut down vertically around 5/6 inches down, my plastic was around 3mm thick so it fit perfectly, but check the fit, then take your chopping board, use a marker or somthing that writes on the plastic, then draw out a fat 'H' shape, each side should be around 4 inches thick, then draw curves in to make it pointed. Then spray it silver, and black if you wish or what ever culour you want, then slot it into the stick, a grab your string and wrap the top in your string, then hot glur it down, trim off the edges and you have an axe! As a finnishing touch I decided to wrap some more string as a handle.
Step 12: The Finished Product......
so here it is, thanks for reading! I just wanted to say that one of my hand fell off the desk and smashed just before photos so there is only one hand but i will update soon. Having just had Halloween I decided that the costume was a success, however there were a few alterations that I would make: the hands were very impratical being from clay they had very little manouverability, so I think a felt of some sort would be a better option so that you didnt have to keep on taking them off, also I put some fur on the neck of the tshirt, this was a big mistake, it was really itchy and annoying, I would therefore advise that you do not put any fur there. If I did it again I would use a bigger tshirt for the body as mine, I felt was too small and looked a little out of proportion to the rest of the body. I managed to scare quite a few people, and they seemed impressed :)
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