Introduction: Cubone Costume
Cubone is an tiny dinosaur from the TV series Pokemon. I managed to modify the 1'04" creature into a universal size costume so that almost anyone of any shape, weight, and height can wear it! I spent about 70 hours total building the costume, and it only took about $80 out of my pockets. This is a quick and easy project, and it is perfect for first time costume makers!
I tried to be as descriptive as possible throughout the tutorial. If you are stumped and have any questions, then please ask away! I will do my best to answer them as soon as possible!
Step 1: Head Construction
The head is the most complicated part of this costume to make, but, still, it is not a difficult task if you take your time and remain thoughtful and patient. :)
To start, you will want to draw out a life size pattern of the head for two reasons.
- You want to make sure that you have an idea of what you want the head to look like. Do you want to follow the original look of the creature? Or, do you want to make changes? Drastic changes or minor changes? This is a big deal. I took drastic measures when I drew out the final pattern. I wanted a much more kid-friendly look. Here is the main picture reference I used for this project- CLICK HERE
- Making a life size pattern ensures that all of the pieces will line up exactly how you want them to. I traced a mannequin head and used that as the base to draw pattern of the head. It certainly took some time because I wanted to make sure that every detail pleased me. You need to be aware of making the nostrils too small or the horns too large.
I purchased 2 yards of brown and 2 yards of white anti-pill fleece for this project. Fleece runs between $5-$10 a yard; it just depends on if your local fabric store(s) is having a sale or not. I drew out a 2 piece pattern on the brown fleece and sewed the seams together to create a balaclava mask-like piece. This is what supports the entire construction of the head.
Once I made the base, I cut the head pattern into two pieces and carefully traced the front pattern twice onto 1/2" green upholstery foam/ support cushion foam. Local fabric stores such as Hancock Fabrics and Joann's sell this product. I cut out the eye holes in the foam cut outs and on the pattern, and traced the eye patterns onto foam and hot glued them onto the back of the sides of the head. I also cut the edges of the eye cut outs after they were glued to make the edges flat. This helped avoid any awkward bulkiness that might have been eminent.
Gluing the two sides onto the base took about an hour and thirty minutes. Honestly, it should not have taken near that long, but I wanted to make sure that the pieces lined up symmetrically. I used pins to hold the pieces in place before they were finally glued.
Once the sides of the head were glued I sketched out shapes to fill in the center of the head. To be honest, when I started the head I had no idea how I was going to achieve this or even how I wanted it to look, but luckily, the process naturally came and the look remains appealing. (I highly suggest you do no do what I did 0.0) It takes patience to make sure that the center pieces are symmetrical. You do not want to end up with a lopsided product.
The nostrils are a key part to the head because they are the only source of vision. I cut out the nostril piece on the pattern and traced it on the side and front of both sides of the head. The photos above don't allow you to see it, but I used a ruler to draw two straight lines from nostril to nostril to ensure that they lined up perfectly. The holes were filled in with plastic mesh that was colored with a thick black sharpie and glued to the inside of the head. The alternative to plastic mesh is Aida Cloth or Buckram. I don't have any personal experience with buckram, so I can't tell you if sharpie will work or not. But I can tell you that the material you use for the vision needs to be colored on both sides to prevent a glare. Plastic mesh can be found at Michaels for 60 cents a slab, Aida Cloth can be found at Wal-Mart for $2.50 a roll, and Buckram can be found at a local fabric store.
I finished the shape of the head with the back part of the pattern by tracing it twice onto the 1/2" foam and hot gluing it to the ends of the side of the head. I HIGHLY suggest that you do not glue this part to the mask base. It will prevent the head from being able to fit on more than one person.
Once the shape of the head was finished I simply cut out shapes of the horns and made tiny box shapes. Including a bottom piece was unnecessary, and I applied a rather large amount of hot glue to the ends to make sure that they wouldn't pop off in case they were to experience large amounts of pressure (although, we have never had any intentions of playing rough in this costume 0.o).
Step 2: Finishing the Head
When I was ready to add the fabric to the head, I wrapped the head with clear plastic wrap and then covered it with duct tape. This is the easiest way to create fabric patterns for creature costume heads and masks. When the head was completely duct taped, I drew out the pattern lines and labeled them, and then I cut the tape off along the lines. You want to be very careful when cutting the patterns off and avoid damaging the head.
Make sure you are cautious when cutting out the fabric pieces. Lay the patterns upside down on the underside of the fabric and allow at least 1/2" of seam allowance.
Once all the pieces were cut out, I was finally able to finish up the job. I created this costume before I ever had a sewing machine, so it is completely hand sewn and took me about five times longer to complete the sewing jobs.
I used the original paper and foam eye cut outs to capture the shapes for the eyes. Each eye piece was got glued on top of one another as needed and then glued onto the final head product.
Step 3: Tail Construction
Just like the head, I made a life size paper pattern for the tail. Only this time I created one for the side and one for the top. It took me quite a while to do this considering I wanted to feel smarticles and develop my own method of creating a chibi dinosaur tail (gosh life). In most cases the tail is made with just fabric and pillow stuffing, but I wanted to ensure that the shape would stay, so I built the base with 1/2" foam.
The side pattern was traced twice and the top pattern was traced once. The bottom pattern was slightly smaller than the top pattern, so I waited to draw out a pattern for the bottom until the other three pieces were glued together. The tail was stuffed with poly-fill to ensure that the shape would stay. It also made the tail super squishy! :)
The tail was closed off with a flat cut out of 1/2" foam, and then I glued elastic to the back to make the belt loops.
I used the same method to make the fabric patterns for the tail that I used for the head. The tail was wrapped with clear plastic wrap and duct tape. Then the I drew out the pattern segments to capture the appropriate shapes needed to complete the look of the tail.
Step 4: Hands and Arm Sleeves
I used embossed poly- light weight gloves as the pattern for the hands and purchased oven-bake sculpey from Wal-Mart (I have failed to remember how much it cost -_-) for the claws.
My grandmother had happened to have a pattern for a jacket, so I am permanently borrowing the arm sleeve pattern for my own personal costume use. (grandmothers freaking rock!)
I connected the arm sleeves with a thick piece of elastic to ensure that they would not slip. I built them so that they can worn underneath any preferred shirt. I also made two elastic bands to keep the hands from slipping off of people who have smaller hands (*cough* me *cough*), and the arm sleeves are luckily long enough to hide the elastic bands.