Anyways, I figured I'd create an instructable for how I did my costume.
I am going as Teen Wolf for Halloween this year, however, My sister-in-law has a party every year with a costume contest and my wife wanted to go as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. At first I suggested that we go as Little Red Riding Hood and Teen Wolf and people at the party would get the connection, but she protested and I decided I could have some fun building a wolf costume. I did a bunch of research on fur costume building and this is what I came up with.
Step 1: Paws
Most people who make paws usually opt for basically covering gloves with fur or sewing the fur into a glove shape. I wanted my paws to really look more like dog paws with 4 digits. Rather than cramming my extra finger into a paw digit. I opted to extend my hand and use my thumb as a true dog fifth digit which is slightly back and usually just looks like a nail protruding from the leg.
I took a few blocks of black foam I got from some packing boxes at work.
I took a sharpie and drew the basic shape of the paw on the foam and then took a very sharp retractable knife (the type that you snap the tips of the blade off as they get dull) to carve out the shape. You might want to get a few of these knives or at least some extra blades as the foam tends to dull them quickly and it's much easier to carve the foam with a sharp knife.
After carving out the basic shape I went back and shaved off the corners until the foam became more rounded. I did this over several intervals until I got the shape I wanted.
I also clut some slits into the digits so I could slide some medium sized Grizzly Bear (Resin Replicas) claws I got from eBay.
I then fliped the paws over and carved out grooves for my fingers.
I didn't show it in a picture of the paws without fur, but I noticed that the paws seemed too flat so I glued some extra bits of foam to the top of the paw to give is a more realistic musculoskeletal look.
I glued the claws in the previuosly made slits and glued the foam to some light weight cotton gloves I had lying around.
I used 3M Super 77 adhesive through out the creation of this costume as it is designed for glueing foam.
Next, I traced and cut out pieces of short pile white fur that matched the general shape of the paws and cut out slits for the claws. I spayed the foam with adhesive and stretched the fur over it. I over lapped the fur trying to hide the seams as best I could. After the glueing on the fur I combed it a bit to further hide the seems. I used a cat brush to comb the fur (my wife has a long haired Himalayan cat, so I used her brush).
You might notice from the picrures that these paws fit more like mittens and there is not much manueverability of my individual fingers. I was fine with this as I really only need enough flexibility to hold a beer with the paw and my thumb.
I ordered some rubber paw pads from here. and glued them onto the paw palm.
I cut two strips each of longer pile grey fur and longer pile white fur a little over the length of my arm. The grey strip was about 7-8 inches wide and the white strip was 5 inches wide. I sewed them together using my wife's sewing machine. I took one strip of each color and lined up the long edges together with the fabric backing facing out and the fur of each strip facing inwards. I then ran it through the sewing machine. I used some clear nylon thread so it wouldn't show. I then lined up the other long edge of each piece of fur and sewed that side. Then I flipped the arm inside out so that the fur correctly was on the outside of the arm and used the cat brush to pull out any fur caught in the seam and also to hide the seam.
Next I put the fur sleeve on my arm and then put the paw glove on and glued the white fur strip and gray fur strip to the paw. I cut a little piece out of the side for my thumb. I later plan to sew a little fur pocket for my thumb and the fifth claw so it looks more like a dog paw.
I'll post a picture of the finished product once I get it.
Step 2: Wolf Head
At first I was going to leave it as is and just paint it gray to match the fur, but my wife thought it looked too scary to be the big bad wolf and wouldn't look right with the rest of the costume. I agreed and decided to fur the mask as well.
On eBay, I bought some light gray, white, and natural crepe wool hair commonly used to make doll hair or in stage plays as fake beards and what not.
I started with the white crepe and after unraveling it it's quite wavy. I put it under an iron with the steam setting on to flatten out the hair. I then cut it into varoius length all around 1.5 - 2 inches long and fluffed it out.
You have to be careful how you attach stuff to latex and it is somewhat fragile when it comes into contact with other chemicals.
I used a bottle of liquid latex that can be found in any costume shop or online.
I started at the bottom of the face and worked my way up "glueing" tuffs of crepe hair onto the mask with the liquid latex. I ran out of white and so I mixed in the natural (off white) color. I followed the existing lines of the mask to determine where to put the hair and when to change over to the gray crepe.
I created to side strips of gray hair (you can see them in one of the photos) to cover the areas around the side of my eyes. I made these by glueing the fur to some netting I got from JoAnns fabric with the liquid latex. I will later glue these on with some spirit gum or Pros-Aide. Pros-Aide is an adhesive used to glue latex to the skin and can also be found in costume shops and online.
After glueing the hair onto the mask I painted the nose, mouth and teeth.
Again you have to be careful how you paint latex. You cannot use any oil based products because, like a condom, oil based products will deteriorate the latex.
I used acrylic based paints. Specifically Liquitex brand. In order to keep the paint flexible and not crack when the mask flexes. I mixed the paint 50/50 with Pros-Aide . The Pros-Aide/Liquitex combination is commonly referred to as PAX (Pros Aide liquiteX) paint.
Overall I think this makes the mask a little less werewolf like and a lot more big bad wolfish.
I made the rest of the head from a costume pleather old style football helmet from a local costume shop. I cut strips of foam and glued them with the Super 77 adhesive. Once I had the proper shape, I then cut out some ear shaped foam pieces and glued them to the top of the head. I then cut holes into a night cap (eBay) to accomodate the ears and put it onto the head.
Next, I cut strips of fur and furred the head around the ears and then cut pieces for the ears. I left the face of the "fur helmet" open so that I can glue the latex appliance to my face and the fur on the mask blends into the fur on the helmet.
Step 3: Legs
First, I started by tracing a pattern of my foot onto paper. Then I drew the shaped of the toes of the hind paws. I then transfered these shapes to the foam and carved them out in a similar method as I did the fore paws. I also carved a piece of foam for my shin to give my lower leg the slope I needed to simulate the digigrade look.
I glued theses foam pieces to a large sock.
I then cut out a triangular shaped foam block for my calf and glued that to a light weight pair of black thermal underwear I got from a sporting good store.
I also carved out a large semi circle shape to glue to my knee and thigh but before I glued in to my body, I cut the piece where it sits over my knee so that I would be able to bend my leg easier.
After gluing all the foam pieces to my legs. I once again cut strips of short pile white fur and covered the hind paws in the same manner as before, as well as gluing the larger bear claws in place. After the short pile fur was on, I cut out a string of the longer pile white fur and wrapped my shin and calf in it. I then took a larger piece of long pile gray fur and wrapped it around the remaining front portion of my leg. And glued a strip of long pile white fur onto the back of my leg. I finally glued one last strip of gray at the top of my legs to hold it all together.
I chose not to go all the way up to my waste, because the costume is hot enough and most of the upper leg will be covered by the night gown portion of the outfit.
Overall I was very pleased with the outcome of the legs. I need to go back and touch up a few seams and places I missed with fur.
Step 4: Animatronic Tail
The site explains the details of the construction, so I'll just cover the basics here.
I ordered 2 Klix Balls from eBay and I took them apart and used the individual Klixs to create the tails spine.
You have to use your knife to shave the little nubbin off of each Klix so that when they move there is no clicking sound.
You then have to drill two holes in each Klix. After drilling the holes, put the Klix back together. You will need a jumbo sized paper clip for each hole. You basically straighten out each paper clip, cut them to the correct size, and thread them into the holes and then bend a loop on each end of the paper clip. Then you thread a bicycle brake cable through each loop until you get something that looks like the tail skeleton in the picture.
The next step involves creating a cage for the servos that will control the tail. This involves cutting wire and soldering them together to form a protective cage and mounting points for the servos that create the back and forth and side by side motion of the tail.
Like I said, the site goes into way more detail.
After putting everything together, I was a little dissapointed in how well it worked. I needed about two or three more days to work out all the bugs, but I was out of time. My servos didn't have enough torque, so I replaced one with a higher torque model and decided I could live with the limited side to side wag it provided.
Step 5: Finished
I would say most people were impressed with the costume and some didn't believe I made it, but I did win a prize.
Overall I'm happy with the results. Now I have to get started putting the Teen Wolf costume together.