Introduction: DIY Hellboy Costume

My shtick is/was normally historical(ish) food, but since my brother's birthday is 3 days before Halloween, he asked me to help make him a costume as his birthday present. He wanted to be Hellboy for a costume party that he and his friends were going to, so I did my best to make the costume, and documented the process as an instructable. I'm note entirely sure it qualifies as "Epic" in the modern sense... but this instructable will certainly be Epic in the sense that it's a complicated costume with lots of props, and therefore the instructable is really REALLY long...

I should say that I'm in no way 'qualified' to do any of this stuff, and there probably are better ways to do these things, but this instructable records how I did it. As for the end result, aside from some problems with matching different colours of red, the horns being a little close together and the back-of-the-head hair having some issues saying on, I'm pretty happy with it. I'll start out with a materials list:
  • 1 little brother (or other person who is willing to shave his head for the sake of a costume ;)
  • 1 black t shirt
  • 1 tan trench coat (yes, the one in the movie was leather, but that's way too expensive for a Halloween costume)
  • 1 pair of black pants
  • 1 belt
  • 1 Hellboy belt buckle (my brother got his from buying a limited edition of the dvd)
  • 1 (left hand) fingerless glove, or glove you don't mind cutting the fingers off
  • 1 small rosary, or the beads and cross to make one
  • 1 large rosary, or a large wooden cross and some beads
  • Nerf gun
  • matte black spray paint
  • silver metallic acrylic paint
  • 1/2 m leatherette/pleather/vinyl fabric (or leather, if you happen to have some lying around)
  • needle & thread
  • small belt (that will be cut and glued)
  • hot glue
  • modelling clay
  • plaster
  • liquid latex
  • 1 (right hand) hockey glove
  • 2 rolls of red duct tape
  • black acrylic paint
  • 1 16x24 piece of 2" foam
  • 1 piece of 1 1/4" pipe insulation
  • 1 coathanger
  • 1 package red theatrical cream foundation makeup
  • 1 small package black theatrical cream foundation makeup
  • translucent face powder
  • red nail polish
  • 2 dollar store hair extensions
  • 1 package crepe hair and spirit gum
  • 1 cigar
I think that's everything. I'll try to come back and add things I forgot as I go...

Step 1: The Gun

Ok, so I know this one isn't small enough to be "Samaritan", or big enough to be "Big Baby". It's really somewhere in the middle of the two. But I was racking my brains to find a prop gun that would fit with this costume, and this is what I came up with. For this step I used:
  • Nerf gun
  • matte black spray paint
  • silver metallic acrylic paint
First, I spray-painted it with matte black spray-paint. I of course took the foam "bullets" out for this, and I also put a bit of folded cardboard into the hole under the pull-back-part (gun terminology fail, sorry) both to hold that part open for painting and to protect the spring inside from getting paint on it. Check the image notes to see where I mean since I know I don't make sense here but I can't think of a better way to describe it.

Standard spray-painting practices apply here, make sure you do it outside or in a well ventilated area, put some newspaper (or a pizza box) down to protect the ground from getting spray-painted too, paint in short, light bursts far enough away to prevent pooling and dripping of the paint. Blah blah.

After that was dry, I took some silver acryllic paint and a makeup sponge and wiped silver over the high points of the gun. I think I maybe went a little overboard with the silver, but the end result is satisfactory. I let that dry, pulled out the cardboard bit, and the gun was finished.

Step 2: The Gun Holster

For this step I used:
  • 1/2 m leatherette/pleather/vinyl fabric (or leather, if you happen to have some lying around)
  • needle & thread
  • small belt (that will be cut and glued)
  • hot glue
In order to make a holster that fit the gun, I used the highly scientific method of laying the gun on the fabric and folding the fabric over, then cutting around it. What I ended up with is the shape shown in the second picture.

I then took a needle and some embroidery thread and sewed around the outside of the holster, first doing a simple up-and-down stitch along a side and then going back through the same holes going the other way to make it look like a continuous stitch kind of thing.

The "strap" of the holster is a dollar store children's belt cut in half and hot glued to the top flap of the holster. I also let it continue part of the way down the back, and left a "gap" in the glue holding it on so that a belt could be passed through the hole. I was intending to sew the belt on and to put the bottom half of the belt on the front so that it could be buckled... but I ran out of time, and so I did it this way.

Step 3: The Horns

If I had my brother present for this part, and if I had the proper materials, I would have made a cast of his face in order to make sure the latex appliance fit perfectly and was the proper scale etc. Unfortunately I didn't have my brother there, so I made the whole thing up by sculpting it all out of modelling clay. I used measurements of my own forehead, which as it turns out is smaller than his, I thought I compensated for it, but the horns were still a little close together... In any case, for this step, I used:
  • modelling clay
  • plywood board or other portable surface
  • 1 4 litre ice cream bucket with the bottom cut off
  • 2lb package of plaster
  • liquid latex
  • powder (talc or face powder)
I built the shape for the mould using modelling clay on a piece of leftover plywood. First I sculpted a basic forehead shape (using, as I said, measurements from my own which turned out to be a bit too small). Then, I added bits of clay for eyebrows and horns. The horns shown in the picture below were a bit too big, so I cut them off slightly before adding the details. Up to this point I had just been using my fingers, but to add the wrinkles on the face and the cracks in the horns, I used a wood carving tool. You could just as easily use the end of a paintbrush, a butter knife, the back of a pair of tweezers... etc...

Once the sculpting part was done, I surrounded the clay forehead with an ice cream bucket that had the bottom cut off and more modelling clay squished around the bottom of it to form a seal with the plywood. I then mixed up the plaster according to the package directions and poured it into the ice cream bucket. I left it to dry for 2 days (because it just didn't feel dry after one). I then took the mould off of of the plywood base. It came off with very little effort, and I didn't even have to pick clay out of the mould.

Once I was fairly sure the mould was dry, I poured in the liquid latex and swished it around to cover the sides. I didn't fill the whole thing up because the point of this is to make a skin, not a casted sculpture of a forehead. The latex was very thin, and so didn't coat the walls very much the first time; it kind of pooled at the bottom of the mould. So as the latex was drying and thickening, I periodically went back and swirled it around the mould to coat the sides more. It took all day to set to a solid, and I left it overnight to dry.

Once it was dry, I powdered it (I used translucent face powder, but you could just as easily use talcum powder or something similar) and peeled it out of the mould. I was worried about tearing it, but the latex was stronger than I expected once dry. The powder is to make sure that the latex doesn't stick to itself, which is it is prone to doing.

Step 4: The Tail

I'm kind of annoyed with myself for not getting a good final picture of the tail. I thought I had, but when I looked on the camera, there didn't appear to be one. Ahh well, here's how I made it:
  • (part of) 2 rolls of red duct tape
  • black acrylic paint
  • (part of) 1 16x24 piece of 2" foam
  • 1 piece of 1 1/4" pipe insulation
  • 1 coat-hanger
  • 1 pair of black pants
  • needle and thread
I straightened out the coat-hanger and put some cardboard and duct tape on the ends of it to keep it accidentally poking through the tail and stabbing my brother in the butt. I then taped the cardboarded end of the coat-hanger into the end of the pipe insulation, and folded the end over to provide further protection and stiffness to the end. I went down the inside of the insulation and taped the coat-hanger along the "spine" of the tail, starting in the middle and then moving to one side for the "point" of the tail, where I cut the end in kind of a spiral to get it to a point (Sorry if that's not clear, it's really hard to explain! The pictures should help...).

I then bent the wire to make the thing into the basic shape of a tail. I inserted a piece of foam into the "fat" end of the tail to fill in the hole and give it more bulk, and then used the built in adhesive in the pipe insulation (The yellow stripes are actually plastic bits covering the adhesive, just pull those off and it sticks to itself on the edge) to stick most of the tail into its round shape. I wrapped some extra tape around each end to hold it together where the adhesive couldn't. I made little "tabs" of tape at the fat end to make it a bit easier to attach the tail to the rest of the costume. Then, I covered the whole thing in 2 layers of red duct tape, and later I rubbed some black acrylic paint over it to tone down the tape's shine and add some shading.

For attaching the tail, I carefully undid the back seam of the pants. If you were using regular pants, it'd be quite simple to just sew the seam back up after you remove the tail. Since I was using jeans, the seam will be a bit harder to fix if my brother decides to wear them without a tail later... Anyhow, I just sewed the tail tabs into the seat of the pants.

Step 5: The Right Hand

This is the first thing I knew I was making for this costume. We met at a restaurant for a family dinner and my brother blurted out "hey dad, can I borrow one of your hockey gloves..." (which got him some really odd looks) and then the whole plan unfolded. Basically, the idea was to add a little bulk with foam, and cover the whole thing in duct tape. The materials:
  • 1 (right hand) hockey glove
  • (part of) 2 rolls of red duct tape
  • black acrylic paint
  • 1 16x24 piece of 2" foam
  • (part of) 1 piece of 1 1/4" pipe insulation
Once again, I unfortunately don't have good pictures of the finished thing somehow, except for the final pictures at the end of the instructable. Anyhow, the first thing I did was cut a piece of foam to cover the bottom part of the glove and extend a bit beyond it. I attached it by wrapping the whole thing with tape, as it's really not good at sticking to foam. Then, I made strips of foam from the ends of the piece (so that they would have nice edges) and taped those around the top and bottom of the original piece of foam. I also cut four round disks out of the scraps of the pipe insulation used to make the tail, and taped those to the glove, three on the knuckles of the back of the hand and one on the thumb. I covered the whole thing in duct tape and rubbed it with black acrylic paint like I did to the tail.

Step 6: The Makeup

The makeup for this costume took about 2 hours to completely finish, including drying times which were probably lengthened by a break for supper. The materials:
  • 1 package red theatrical cream foundation makeup
  • 1 small package black theatrical cream foundation makeup
  • translucent face powder
  • red nail polish
  • 2 dollar store hair extensions
  • 1 red twist tie
  • 1 package crepe hair and spirit gum
  • prosthetic adhesive
  • paintbrush(es)
  • makeup sponges
  • the latex horns made earlier
First, we shaved my brother's head. You could conceivably use a bald cap, but we didn't have a good one, so there you go. He then changed into the t shirt for the costume, so that he wouldn't have to pull a shirt over his made up face. Then, I painted his nails red, because I couldn't think of a better way to make them stay red with just makeup.

As for attatching the horns, I basically followed the instructions on the prosthetic adhesive that I had, which means I painted a coat on the edges of the appliance, waited for it to dry clear, added another coat, and then waited again. Once it dried clear a second time, I stuck it to his forehead and went around the edges with a paintbrush and liquid latex. While the latex was drying, I used the red foundation and a makeup sponge to paint his hand and forearm red.

Once everything was dry (and after we had supper) I started applying makeup to his face, first using the black cream foundation and a paintbrush to paint in facial lines and to go into the cracks and ridges of the horns. I then went over the whole thing with the red foundation, and gave it all a coat of translucent powder to set it.

For the sideburns, which barely show up in these pictures (I wish I'd had time to make them thicker, but by this time he was already running late for his party), I used spirit gum and crepe hair to add a bit of fuzz to the sides of his face.

Step 7: The Hair

Admittedly, this part didn't work out as intended, and eventually fell off. It might be that in the rush we were in to get him out the door, we didn't let the spirit gum set up enough before we tried to stick the hair to it. It may just be that the thing was just too heavy for spirit gum to hold it up. In any case, we used:
  • 2 dollar store hair extensions
  • 1 red twist tie
  • spirit gum
I painted the spirit gum across the back of my brother's head and let it dry for a few minutes until tacky. I then stuck the two hair extensions across the back of his head and got him to hold them in place while the spirit gum set up. I gathered the ends of the hair and wrapped the twist tie around to make it into a pony tail, and then trimmed it off into a little stub of a tail. At this point, it looked pretty good, but as I mentioned, it fell off later :(

Step 8: Odds & Ends

Once the makeup was done, it was almost time to put the whole thing together. First, a couple of odds and ends accessories: Hellboy's costume includes 2 rosaries (or 1 rosary and a collection of random beads and a wooden cross, depending on which costume you look at). One is a normal sized rosary he wears around his wrist. The other is looped over his belt. I actually made both of the "rosaries" for this costume, but I don't feel like making a huge jewelry tutorial, so I've just included the rosaries as materials themselves. For this step you need:
  • 1 (left hand) fingerless glove, or glove you don't mind cutting the fingers off
  • 1 small rosary, or the beads and cross to make one
  • 1 large rosary, or a large wooden cross and some beads
So for this costume, we bought a cheap pair of fake leather gloves and cut the fingers off of the left one. As mentioned, I also assembled the rosaries. It was mostly just threading beads onto string for the small one, although I used a stretchy elastic type string for the part to wrap around the wrist, as it just made it easier to put on. The one for the belt was just random bits of chain and wooden beads put together with bought findings and a wooden cross.

Step 9: Putting It All Together

Finally, it was time for him to actually get dressed. Here's what we had at the end of that diy spree:
  • 1 little brother or other person (now with his head shaved and covered in red makeup)
  • 1 black t shirt
  • 1 tan trench coat
  • 1 pair of black pants (with a tail attatched)
  • 1 pair black boots
  • 1 belt
  • 1 Hellboy belt buckle (my brother got his from buying a limited edition of the dvd)
  • 1 cigar
and
  • everything made in all the other steps!
He'd already put on the t shirt, and so it was just a case of adding the pants and coat, threading the rosary onto the left hand side of the belt and the holster onto the right hand side, attaching the belt buckle, wearing the belt, and putting on the boots. That left the cigar, which we unwrapped, and once we had established that neither one of us wanted to smoke it, proceeded to cut part of it off and burn the end with a lighter. This caused it to disintegrate a bit, but my brother decided he liked it like that as it reminded him of a scene in the movie...

I was hoping to get some photo-contest-worthy pictures, but the quick few I got outside were either horribly blurry or else he had his eyes closed >.< So the pictures I snapped in mom's kitchen before we went out there will have to do.

Comments

author
mr.incredible made it!(author)2011-11-02

Freakin' awsome! Hellboy Rocks!

author
AnachronistsCookbook made it!(author)2011-11-02

Thanks :)

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Bio: I make stuff. It's what I do.
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