That time of year again. I must follow tradition and make a costume. But what costume could I make this year that would be more complex, more unique, and more impressive? In brainstorming, I was looking at classic designs, like the Alien, and I was reminded of influence that Giger cited, the literature of H.P. Lovecraft. Once the name "Lovecraft" came up, my mind went immediately to Cthulhu, of course.

I've made many costumes as replications of cinematic characters. But this was something different. Cthulhu is a strong part of the popular culture of recent generations, but is seldom seen in three dimensions. There have been a number of visual interpretations of the Great Old One, from video games to South Park. The public does have an image in their mind when they hear "Cthulhu". This character allowed for a costume that could be unique in several ways: it's a costume that no one else would have, or imagine me having, and people may not be able to tell I made myself, because of the complexity of the design and construction method. It would also allow me to be creative and make my own design. All of these unique prospects appealed to me. And I love the challenge of creating extravagant items on a low budget. Producing a full-body latex suit often costs into the thousands. My aim was for under $300.

Prior to my own costume, I had only seen one half-decently made serious costume of Cthulhu. Indeed, there have been many furry costumes and adorable plushies, as Cthulhu has been turned "cutsey". But it's time to get him back to his more monstrous form.

Here is a video you can watch that shows the overall process. It's easier to see some of the steps in motion, but the Instructable has much more information and is more detailed.

Step 1: Background and Research

I find it more engaging to make costumes of what I understand, so I sought knowledge of Cthulhu and Lovecraft; the history, the mythos, and his storytelling. Lovecraft often wrote about forces beyond our Earth, beyond our galaxy, even beyond our physical realm. As such, the entities within his stories are often impossible to describe, and do not look like any life form we know from our own planet. Cthulhu, at most, was described as vaguely anthropoid, with wings and scales, and writhing tentacles on his face. Creating a complete design out of such vague descriptions is a bit of a fool's errand. Lovecraft's work doesn't really lend itself to full visual depiction; it truly works best as a horror of the imagination. It's the impossibility of the entities and the vast cosmic horror of the mythos that causes terror within the reader.

So I had to admit right from the start that whatever design I came up with would probably not please any Lovecraft enthusiasts. And I don't mean to. This is just a costume for fun. An advantage of having such a vague description to work off of means I can do something uniquely my own. At the same time, though, I did want the average person to be able to immediately identify the design as "Cthulhu". So I stuck with the regular humanoid body and octopus-like head. Which was fine by me; designing is not my best strength, so it was good to have a base to work off of.

Once I decided that Cthulhu would be a good costume to make, I had to do some planning. How would I make this costume? I wanted it to be lightweight, easy to get in and out of, and highly detailed. Sculpting the body in clay, and making plaster molds for casting a latex suit would be a great challenge, but seemed like the best way to go. My first instinct was to make a body form with foam boards, covered with plaster strips for a body base to sculpt on top of. And then make plaster molds on top of that. But how to mold the body parts? Considering size and weight, I knew I would have to mold separate pieces (like the torso, arms, legs, and head) individually. But plaster can be very heavy, and expensive if you use a lot of it. Could I somehow make molds with a resin and fiberglass instead? I explored many potential methods. This researching, in addition to learning more about Cthulhu and Lovecraft, delayed my production of the costume. I started planning as early as late August, but didn't begin any actual construction until October.
Quick question how much clay was used for the torso section?
<p>Hi, Hun! Sorry for asking such a fundamental question. Did the WHOLE latex you used in the costume cost you only $85? Where did you buy it and how did you ask for it? Is it a special latex or how can I order it? My problem is, I live in Mexico, and market for latex is not too broad, so whenever I ask I only get &quot;latex paint for walls&quot;.<br><br>If you can help me it'll rock.</p>
This is amazing! I would like to see a &quot;Call of Cthulhu&quot; short film
Do u have to wear something specific under this? Or will everyday clothes work fine as well?
<p>I'm a huge Cthulhu fan and this is so awesome. You are so talented and creative, good work!</p>
that was awesome. i just finished the video. i can't believe you do most, if not all the work on your own, especially the own casting of your body.. that is hard core, but totally awesome. gives me some hope of one day working with latex <br>
Amazing work of art. Congratulations for having such dedication and ability.
can i buy liquid latex for costumes like this on amazon? I'm planning on making a man of steel costume so im wondering where i can buy liquid latex for a full-body suit like this.
Congratulations on being a finalist in the Halloween contest!!! Can&rsquo;t wait to see if you win! Good luck!
This is beautiful! We should battle our monsters. <br>
But how does a Cthulhu kiss? <br>
You REALLY dont wanna know... ;)
That, Sir, ist a lot of work, but the outcomings are all worth the effort and price! superb costume for sure! :)
This is awesome! I've never worked with latex before - I think I might have to after reading this. Fantastic costume, and thanks! <br> <br>I'm learning some mold making and casting right now, and have a small general tip: To remove water-based clay from plaster, get out what big chunks you can by hand, then soak the (fully cured and dried) plaster in a large container of water. Agitate as needed. Since the clay hasn't been fired, it dissolves right out (and dissolves faster with warmer water). <br> <br>This may not work as well if you're using the store-bought plaster of paris strips instead of cloth/burlap drenched in plaster, or if your mold is patched with joint compound (I don't know enough about joint compound to say). Perhaps that's why you didn't do it and I'm just going off on an unnecessary tangent :P <br> <br>But anyway, that could be solved by patching the plaster mold with plaster instead of joint compound. <br>Time lost in the soaking of molds for both steps, but time gained in the swifter and hands-free removal of clay. <br> <br>Once again, awesome job, and thanks!
Awesome costume! <br> <br>One question though ... why not dissolve the styrofoam head fill with acetone instead of chipping it away bit by bit?
Because I'm an idiot. Ha. <br> <br>I was aware that acetone can dissolve Styrofoam, but for some reason I never made that connection during that process.
The best ideas always come after they would have been most useful, huh?<br><br>Oh well, there's always next time, right?
Did I see you in this at Dragon*Con in Atlanta? It looks familiar.
That would not have been me, no.
Very cool work! Great to see from you again. For your future projects, you should try putting so called &quot;keys&quot; into your 2-part mold halves, basically made by making an indentation in your dividing wall to create a bulge on one half that fits into the indentation on the other. That will ensure your mold halves fit together properly.
I did have those on the finger pieces, yeah, slipped my mind for earlier pieces. But for the most part, the molds I made were so irregular around the dividing line (not perfectly smooth) that they only really fit one way anyway. But yes, even still, keys would have helped with some other molds.
DUDE. You are one serious costume creator! Have you ever tried getting in touch with a large filmmaker who does this kind of work? Your talents and tenacity are rare. SUPER JOB!
This scares me... and I am impressed as hell! Great work!
The costume is impressive, but I think I'm most impressed by your focus and tenacity. Reminds me of my days building furniture on the living room floor of my apartment.... Great job - love the overview video. :)
Awesome, Winner, Spectacular!!!!! <br> <br>Many props! <br> <br>Jonathan
No words! <br>Congratulations!
HP himself would approve! Wow. Great work on the instructable, too.
Oh, Alexthemoviegeek, how I look forward to your Halloween entries every year. You never disappoint. Or make me envious of your life. <3
Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fhtagn! Awesome work!
Absolutely freaking fantastic. Guillermo del Toro is smiling somewhere...
The way you made it is genius! Amazing job. :D
Oh man how cool is this! Very nice work!

About This Instructable


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Bio: I've been making movies as a hobby for nearly 8 years now, and I've always enjoyed the fantastical and imaginative. I occasionally take ... More »
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