Picture of Create a (low budget) snail costume

I wanted to be a snail for Halloween (I love invertebrates!) but all the designs I saw online looked, uh, less than stellar. So, my crafty bf and I came up with our own, low budget but fancy-looking snail shell design.

This instructable is good for getting ideas, but doesn't need to be followed letter by letter!

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Step 1: Gather your materials!

Picture of Gather your materials!

We kind of amassed materials as we went along, and you can substitute a lot of these things, because the shell will be created through a paper mache sculpture. But here's the materials we used:

One pool noodle for floating (often called "fun noodles")
T-pins from a craft store
plenty of paper towel and toilet paper rolls (the cardboard ones once the paper is done)
foam glue, hot glue, gorilla glue
paper mache materials (newspaper, flour, and water)
poster board paper
one lid from a rotisserie chicken! (other tupperware type lids should work fine)
paint in your preferred snail-y colors (we used various craft paints)
an old belt
a sharp knife or good scissors

For the eye stalks:
two toilet paper rolls (empty)
four twist ties
two Styrofoam balls (a size that will fit on top of the tp rolls without falling in)
black paint and other snail-y color paints

Step 2: Shape your spiral shell-- the base

Picture of Shape your spiral shell-- the base

The shell will be a paper mache sculpture, so remember that this part doesn't have to look perfect. You will be covering the entire thing up!

1. First you want to create the base of the spiral by looping the pool noodle into a mini spiral and using a lot of t-pins to keep the pool noodle in the appropriate shape. It really helps to have a friend for this step, so you can pin while she or he holds the noodle together. Use foam glue or other strong glue to make the noodle extra secure.

Step 3: Your shell--the upper layers

Picture of Your shell--the upper layers

To continue the spiral while allowing it to get smaller and smaller, we cut out little rings from the tp rolls, and hot glued them to the shell in a spiral pattern.
I'm (slowly) running a marathon in April and looking for a lightweight snail costume to wear for it. Do you think the shell would hold up with shoulder straps on it instead of a belt? I think the foam would make a good base to attach straps into...do you think that would work? How fragile is it? Do you think it could stand up to some bouncing around? I love snails, this is a really adorable costume. :) Thanks for the instructable!
mpino (author)  SincerelyPariah6 months ago

Hi! Those adjustments sound like they should work. If you wear the shell high enough it probably won't bounce apart. Ours was pretty sturdy; it only fell apart after months of being messed with by multitudes of children (we had it at a Nature Center). I would suspect that it wouldn't do well on a rainy day however. I would probably make better eye stalks for a marathon, mine were pretty shoddy. Happy (snail) trails!

Pulling it up higher is a good point - I'm going to try that out. Hopefully the weather will be nice! :) Thanks for the extra info!

really cute :)

dawn_ee3 years ago
Love it! This is at the top of my list for next year!! (besides....who can pass up an opportunity to papier mache??)
nomasheroes3 years ago
No mames guera está cagadísimo tu disfráz...
do u think u could make a turtle costume? i wanna be a turtle for Halloween but all of the pics or how to's are ninja turtles im in need
Could i maybe use 2 noodles and shave one down to get thinner toward the end?
hummer_head4 years ago
i want to see you getting in your "house" :)
mpino (author) 4 years ago
Thanks! This was also my first Instructable!
ac1D4 years ago
This is cute, but you need to crawl on the ground to collect candy.. gonna take age!
aramanthe4 years ago
This is a really cute costume and isn't something you'd see every Halloween! I love it and you did a great job!