Introduction: DIY Dinosaur Costume

Picture of DIY Dinosaur Costume

Halloween has always held a special place in my heart. I love the decorations and the candy, but my favorite thing was always the costumes. I have enjoyed dressing up, but at some point I wanted to do something amazing. There was a dinosaur costume I wanted, but it was over fifty dollars! Holy Pterodactyls Batman! Then, an opportunity came along. I am currently in a Makerspace class, and we were given the assignment of making a project. I wanted to do something way out of my comfort zone, and with those ideas combined, my dinosaur was born.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of DIY dinosaur costumes that are:
a) For adults
and/or
b) affordable yet cool looking

After perusing the internet, and drawing constant schematics, I finally designed one that I could afford but also looked (somewhat) anatomically correct.

In this Instructable, I will show you how to make a dinosaur feet and hands out of cardboard and duct tape. Just to be clear, this costume was designed around my particular measurements. For reference, I am 5'8" with about 41" legs and [insert measurement for hands here]. However, fear not! I will show you how I took my measurements, so you can design it to your liking!

Step 1: Materials and Tools (aka Get Your Act Together)

Picture of Materials and Tools (aka Get Your Act Together)

Materials:

  • At least 1 large roll of Duct Tape
  • Cardboard

Tools:

  • Scissors or Box Cutters
  • Paper and Pencil
  • Measuring Tape

For the measuring tape, I'd recommend something that is flexible and can lay flat. The problem with some tape measures (e.g. the retractable kind) is that they don't move or bend easily. I find that the tape measures that seamstresses use are affordable and fit those needs. Something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Singer-00218-60-Inch-Tape-M..

You can find this at Walmart or your local craft store.

Everything else you can find around your house and/or your local hardware store. For instance, Duct Tape came from Lowe's. I would recommend the strongest duct tape you can find, and a lot of it. I said 3 rolls, however when in doubt: more is more.

The cardboard I collected from work, but you can also go to your local grocery stores and take it off their hands, and they will let you have it for free.

Step 2: Taking Your Measurements

Picture of Taking Your Measurements

What you'll need for this step:

-Tape Measure
-Pencil and Paper

Optional: A partner

Before you get started on the costume, you'll want to take some measurements. Be sure to write these down so you won't have to keep remeasuring yourself:

1) Length of your foot
Stretch the measuring tape from your heel to the tip of your toes (or shoes you'll be wearing).

2) Length from the crook of your elbow to your wrist
Stretch the measuring tape from where your bicep and elbow meet, all the way down to your wrist.

3) Circumference of your head
Stretch the measuring tape around your head, this will be for the opening of the dinosaur head

4) Length from just below the jaw bone to the top of your head
Stretch the measuring tape from a little below your jaw bone to the top of you head. This will tell how tall (total) the dinosaur head has to be

Step 3: Making the Legs and Feet

Picture of  Making the Legs and Feet

What You Need

-Cardboard
-Duct Tape
-Pencil and Paper
-Scissors

The Toes

1) Cut out six long pieces of cardboard, this will be the start of your fingers. For instance, mine were about 1 1/2"-2 inches horizontally, and 9 1/2" vertically.

See how the two have a pointed end? That'll be the next step. For mine, I started the slant at 8" and ended the point at 9 1/2". However, you only have to measure one precisely. Once you do that, you can use it as a template for the other 5.

2)Cut a sharp point at the end of each cardboard piece. These are going to be the top and bottom of your three fingers/claws.

3) Repeat the same thing for the two sides of each finger (these will be about 3-4 inches in height and the same length as the other six).

4) Tape them puppies up!

The Foot

1)Cut four panels that are 6" long and 6" tall

2) Tape them up!

The Combining

1) Put the three toes inside the foot. You could just fold the pieces of tape (like you do with putting bows on a Christmas present) and stick it there, but I tape it with a long piece along the top of the cardboard). Obviously your bottom cardboard piece will be the same size as the top, however this was a test run I did, and it showed how to do tape along the seams).

There you go! Now you have a foot to step on!

Go stomp some tiny humans because they're in your way or what have you!

From there, you'll be making the joints. See how the leg looks in this drawing:

This is essentially what you'll be doing. I split this up into approximately four sections.

1)One will go right on top of the foot like so:

For this, you'll be cutting out two panels that are 6-7" across and 6" in height, and be put at a diagonal angle. Then another two sections will be 6 inches in height and approximately 4" across. It won't fit all the way up. There will be a space since it's done at an angle. For that, you'll just duct tape that area.

2) The next 3 sections will be done with two panels that are 6" across and 12" in height, and then two panels that are approximately 4" across and 12" in height. So the next section will build on the first like so:

3) Then the next section will be at an angle, again the same dimensions as the previous, and should be placed like this:

It may not look like it is at a different angle, but it's leaning to the right.

4) Finally, the last section, again the same dimensions, and that will be it!

The final product should look like this

And there you go! You got yourself some legs and feet!

Step 4: Making the Hands

Picture of Making the Hands

What you'll need:

-Cardboard
-Duct Tape
-Scissors/cutters
-Pencil/pen

The Arms

1) Cut out 2 pieces of cardboard at 6"x12". This will be the top and bottom of the arm.

2) Cut out two pieces of cardboard, 4-6"x12". This will be the sides.

3) Tape these bad boys up! I would suggest placing small pieces of tape along the edges, and then another long piece over the seam. Like so:

And tada!

The Fingers

1) Cut out six long pieces of cardboard, this will be the start of your fingers. For instance, mine were about 1 1/2"-2 inches horizontally, and 9 1/2" vertically.

See how the two have a pointed end? That'll be the next step. For mine, I started the slant at 8" and ended the point at 9 1/2". However, you only have to measure one precisely. Once you do that, you can use it as a template for the other 5.

2)Cut a sharp point at the end of each cardboard piece. These are going to be the top and bottom of your three fingers/claws.

3) Repeat the same thing for the two sides of each finger (these will be about 3-4 inches in height and the same length as the other six).

4) Tape them puppies up!

Combining

Tape the fingers inside the hands. You could just fold the pieces of tape (like you do with putting bows on a Christmas present) and stick it there, but I tape it with a long piece along the top of the cardboard)

There you go! Give yourself a hand (or two) because you made one!

Step 5: Making the Head

Picture of Making the Head

What you'll need:

- Cardboard (for the lower part, if you have any intact cardboard lids, use those. The flaps that hold the lid together are great for making the end of the lower jaw).
-Duct tape
-Pencil and paper
-Eyes of some sort (I used googly eyes, but you can make your own eyes or buy some). I got mine at Hobby Lobby, and they glow in the dark! They were 3-4 dollars I believe.

The Cutting

1) Cut out two panels that are approximately 14" tall and 17 1/2" in length. These will be the two sides of the upper jaw (aka where you'll stick your eyes on).

2) Cut out two pieces that are about 10"x10". These won't be the same length as the others, as this will be the front (snout) and back (what'll hold the two sides together before putting in some other pieces to stabilize it).

3) Cut out a panel that'll fit on top of the two sides (so 17 1/2" in length give or take, and then about 5-6 inches wide).

4) Cut out two pieces that are about 6 inches in length and maybe 4 inches tall. This is going to go in between the two sides of the upper jaw. This will help stabilize it so it doesn't collapse. If you don't have something like this in between it won't stay up and will be near impossible to get the lower jaw on.

5) Cut out two pieces that will be for the lower jaw. Like I said, for this I used the lids of the cardboard boxes, because of the flaps at both ends. This will make it easier to tape and connect. With the flaps included, mind were 24 1/2" long, and about 3 1/2" in height.

The Upper Jaw

1) Tape up the two 14"x 17 1/2" sides (step 1) to the two pieces that are 10" x 10" (step 2)

2) Insert the two pieces from step 4 inside the head. Make sure to space them out, otherwise only part of the structure will hold up. Then tape those bad boys in as well as possible.

3) Take the panel you cut from step 3, and place it along the top. Be sure it is as even as possible, but you will also be taping the entirety of the head, so no need to make it look super neat.

The Lower Jaw

1) Tape the lower jaw together. What you'll do is connect the flaps together like so:

You'll do this for both sides. What you'll have it a type of oval structure.

2) Tape the lower jaw to the upper jaw. At this point, this was the most difficult step for me, but that was because I was by myself. If you have someone who can help you, great! Have them hold the head in place (it's not going to balance well until you tape the lower jaw in place. That's the part that's gonna rest on your shoulders and balance it). If not, it's still possible, it just might take a few tries to get it. Once you do, tape the ever loving daylights out of it. It's pretty fragile until you get it taped just about everywhere in creation.

The Teeth and Final Touches

1) Now the fun part (for me), the teeth! The teeth are just comprised of little triangles. Any leftover scraps you've got are perfect for this! I'd make extra just in case as well. Also, make some big ones and small ones, as the turns are going to make fitting teeth a little wonky. Tape the front of them and the back (don't worry about the look, like I said you're going to tape up the entire head so it'll look a little neater).

2) Cover the entire head with duct tape. I did it in long strips, but just eyeballed it. If you want to measure your strips then go for it!

3) Stick on your eyes (or draw them on). For mine, I made little pieces of tape like you do when you put bows on Christmas presents. Just make sure you put multiple pieces on if you do (or hot glue them), the last thing you want is to scare people when your eyes fall off).

Tada! You are now the proud owner of a dinosaur head. Be sure to feed it and take it on walks daily!

Comments

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2017-10-29

Nice. I love how there is no end to the number of things that you can do with duct tape.

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