Introduction: Construct O Mech Costume
I'm a British Mum in America and decided to take on Halloween for the sake of my baby, although it is not something we really do in England I've always loved costumes and crafting.
So I wanted to create a family friendly baby wearing costume, I began thinking about toys and my husband is a big kid at heart and loves to play with Lego when he gets a chance, we also both loved The Lego Movie which got me thinking of a similar Power Loader baby wearing costume I'd seen a while back. And so begun the creation of Emmet's Construct O Mech, well almost!
Step 1: Start Making Lego
I began by buying the actual Lego kit for Emmet's Construct O Mech to get into the swing of building and to figure out all the parts needed.
So I bought a heap (I think 15 to start with) foam core boards at the Dollar Tree and a couple of bags of mini hot glue sticks. Here's where I should have drawn up some sort of design, or plan or at least a list of items, but nope, I dove straight in with the Exacto knife (which later went straight into me!)
I began with the legs, making the pieces for my thigh first. As I would be wearing my baby and he's 8 months and I'm still nursing him, I knew I would need to be able to get out of the costume quickly for feeds etc, which made me decide to pretend my legs weren't part of the costume & just attach the 'Lego' to the outside of my leg. Once I began I realized my plan of making every brick identical to the real build would never happen (I even toyed with the fantasy of them connecting like real Lego - haha, madness) I figured I would make the most noticeable bricks and skip a lot of pieces - as I mentioned, I'm nursing an 8 month who just learn to crawl, wont nap except on me, is cutting his 7th tooth and I began building just 2 weeks before Halloween!
So many bricks I made in layers, cutting the foam board x8 pieces & hot gluing them stacked together, others were more like boxes. When I started out, I even used a palm sander to clean up the edges & make them flush (quickly realized no time for that either!)
After the thighs, I skipped the lower leg and moved onto the arms. These were more like boxes than stacked solid pieces, and I did lots of detail on them just like the real bricks.
Step 2: Spray Paint
I picked good old gloss to look like shiny Lego bricks.
With the thigh I made the "bricks" separate so they could be sprayed their individual colors, not so with the arms and you can see I masked them with that coral paper - needless to say I ended up with dripping spray paint.
Spray properly people - from the correct distance, leave enough drying time, don't try to spray all but the underside at once, I knew all this advice, but don't follow my own advice & always regret it!
Step 3: The Cage
Here's the important part due to wearing a baby - construct a cage to hold the costume on my shoulders and have space for a baby. I drew a very basic sketch and discovered I could order the PVC pipe connectors from Home Depot online to collect in store (great idea as searching all the pieces on the shelves takes forever!)
Initially I made it to just go over my head, but when I tried it with the baby attached that didn't work, but somehow the clever genius inside me had accounted for that and made a back section that could hinge open (completely on purpose not just a stroke of luck!)
Step 4: The Body
More foam boards. I suggest roughing up the PVC with sand paper so glue adheres more easily to it. Or use duct tape on the inside where no one can see - it's you're best friend!
Step 5: Here's Where It All Gets a Bit Shaky
Okay, so we're in the last few days, Wednesday to be precise and the Halloween party is 5pm Friday. My husband ends up having to be away in the evenings, the baby won't sleep for longer than 2 hours without needing soothing and then I have a fight with the Exacto knife...okay no fight, I was speedily cutting strips and my left index finger was not clear from the edge of the metal ruler (STOP READING NOW IF SQUEAMISH) I feel something and see something that's not paper on my cutting board, I've automatically pressed my thumb hard onto my fingertip applying a huge amount of pressure & I grab the foreign item of the cutting board and throw it in the trash so I don't have to see or think about it. The pulsating in my finger is sort of excruciating, I realize I need to remove the thumb pressure and inspect, now I'm not normally squeamish myself, but I wanted to scream from the pain & thought of it. In hindsight I should have kept the piece and hoped it would graft back on, instead I tightly stuck on about 5 band aids and lay down on the couch resting my hand up above my body on the back of the couch. Really needed to scream but the baby would wake up. So took a moment then tried do continue with the costume avoiding the Exacto for as long as I could, but there was still lots of cutting to do.
The incident took place whilst trying to figure out the "tires". I'd made boxes to go around my shoes and used two thirds of a toilet roll tube, a foam board circle and a strip of poster board for the wheel sections, then a strip to go over them with foam board rectangles for treads, no time to spray paint them so used my old friend Duct tape & quite liked the final result.
My living room was a state, I still had to piece together the lower leg section and then work out how to attach to my legs (duct tape straps and magnetic snaps around thigh & knee and attached to a belt around my waist to hold them up) and attach the arms to the body (duct tape on the PVC pipe).
Step 6: Try With the Baby
The moment of truth, I hadn't tried the body on since boxing in my head, let along tried to see if the baby still fit and would be happy in it! Hooray, we fit, it was comfortable and he seemed to enjoy it!
Somehow, I pulled it off, not with interlocking blocks, not with real joints, not even with many of the details from the Lego it was based on, but it looked fun, felt comfortable and I gave my baby some pretty great first Halloween photos - no store bought fluffy dinosaur for him.