Introduction: Dark Crystal Skeksis Costume

Picture of Dark Crystal Skeksis Costume

this is my 2009 halloween costume:
A Skeksis from the 1982 Jim Henson film The Dark Crystal. 

It was a full body costume, complete with hand-puppet head and blinking eyes.

Est. cost: $120
Est. weight: 9.5 lbs
Est. time: 7 weeks & 350 hours

Step 1: Things You Will Need

Picture of Things You Will Need

liquid latex,
matress foam (I used memory foam),
plastic canvas,
glue gun w/ glue sticks,
coat hanger,
rubber ball w/eye design,
plastic teeth (i used a caveman necklace),
monster gloves,
foam swimming pool noodle,
Jedi costume robe,
brown fabric,
freaky fabric,
latex paint,
matte spray,
gloss spray,
duct tape,

Step 2: Puppet Head

Picture of Puppet Head

I constructed the head using plastic canvas & thread.  then I sealed the seams with hot glue.  A safety pin on each side acts as a hinge for the jaw.

Step 3: Making the Harness

Picture of Making the Harness

the harness is constructed to fit like a backpack. put together similar to the head:  sewn together with thread, then hot glued. duct tape is then put over the hot luge for added stability.  See the big black part? Thats where I will see out of!

Step 4: Carving the Foam

Picture of Carving the Foam

I glued memory foam to the skeleton, then carved into shape, then coated with 3 layers of liquid Latex.

There is an instructable already made that does a much better job of how to make this part:

Credit where Credit is due, baby!

Step 5: Inside of Mouth

Picture of Inside of Mouth

Carved the inside of mouth seprately, applied 3 layers of latex, then glued into mouth. 

Then I added teeth from a caveman necklace.  To do this, I dug out little holes down to the plastic canvas, addad a dab of hot glue, then coated teeth with one layer of liquid latex, to close the seam from the teeth holes. After painting, latex is removed from teeth. latex is also applied to the seam where the inside mouth piece meets the rest of the puppet head.

Step 6: Arms

Picture of Arms

I cut a swimming pool noodle in half, and used the for the arms.  one arm will actually be MY arm, while the other will be a fake, held up with the noodle.  i put two noodles so i can switch back & forth.

Step 7: Painting Head

Picture of Painting Head
Acrylic paints used : midnight blue, red, coffee, tan, light blue, yellow. Mixed with a little bit of liquid latex to give a more solid structure.
start with a blue base and work from there.  I tried to think of this as more of  a painting, as upposed to a real creature. in other works i used black to paint in subtle shading in crevises, and i thnk it worked out well.  From the eyes to the beak i blended the colore from blue to a dark brown/orange with purple accents.

Duct tape over the eyes to prevent accidental painting

... oh THE EYES!  I forgot! 
heres how i made the eyes. I wont take credit, as I followed this guys tutorial:

Step 8: Protecting in the Head

Picture of Protecting in the Head
After it was all done, head was coated with matte spray protective coating, and Gloss coating for the inside of the mouth, to make it look wet & gross. i put about 2 coats each, with about a a day to dry each layer.

Step 9: The Body

Picture of The Body

I used an Old Jedi robe. This is the front of the costume. I used more brown fabric for the top and back of the costume. 

Glued freaky fabric (thats what its called, its sold during halloween.  Its a spooky decoration for walls) to back and arms, to look desheveled.

The monster gloves I bought were Red, so I painted them to match the head, Spray Matted them, then glued them to the sleeves.

Velcro is places on the inside of gloves and on the Noodle Arms, so i can place then there securely.

Step 10: Attatching Head to Body

Picture of Attatching Head to Body

I attatched the head to the body with 3 big safety pins.  The black mesh is covered with some more freaky fabric. No one can see in , but I can see out perfectly!

Step 11: Finished Costume

Picture of Finished Costume

Keep in mind that is is a bit taxing, since most of the weight is on your neck and shoulders. Also, drink plenty of water, because it gets hot!

I wore this for 6 hours. During that, I took 4 breaks by going to the bathroom, taking it off and wiping the sweat off my face.

Trust me, this is not  the type of costume you want to wear if you want to party hard.  In this costume, 5 beers will feel like a 12 pack. the upside is youll just have a couple and save money!

I should have a video up showing the costume in motion by the end of March. 

Good luck and have fun!


Dinoman217 (author)2015-01-16

The original Skeksis took 5 guys to puppeteer! Your version is cool, but I would have a friend in the costume as well to puppeteer the arms!

starwarsgeek1 (author)2014-10-11

This costume reminds me of the pterodactyl from Dark Wing Duck! Love it though.

zomfibame (author)2013-11-06

nicely done. very cool

disen5 (author)2011-11-06

Just for those people deciding on making a costume like this, you may want to look at multiple sources. It was at first hard to find costumes like this until I had found that they are called stalkarounds/stalkabouts.

bryandhispup (author)2011-09-28

cute kitten

Dea della Luna (author)2011-06-19

OMG! That is truly incredible! Love it to bits.. Thank you (=

juicymoose (author)2011-06-12

im gald it gets hot in there halloween in the UK is a bit chilly!

dbyrd (author)2010-11-02

This instructable helped me a great deal in building my skeksis costume for halloween this year. I have a short video of it in use on youtube. Just search skeksis halloween costume.

Dr. Pepper (author)2010-10-26

so cool, just don't scare anyone too much!

Bandaids (author)2010-09-22

I'm looking into making the Crypt keeper... costum xD of all things do you think i could apply this design to what im aiming for? its either this or i do it with bondo? Any Advice?

cowsclimbtrees (author)2010-08-04

Awesome I love it

valhallas_end (author)2010-02-26

Pretty cool - I've really got to watch that film again sometime.  Heh, most of my old costumes were built like this - amalgamations of older wear.
Always a classy party when 24 and Skeksis are there.

Fildain (author)valhallas_end2010-02-28

 looks more like 21.

valhallas_end (author)Fildain2010-02-28

Shh!  I didn't want to knowingly call the guy fat (in case they're friends)!
Ahh dissembling.  Plus 21 is fairly buff lately.

5Meats (author)valhallas_end2010-02-28

 HA!  dont worry all, there is no offense to anyone.  that guy is my buddy, and he is most definatly 21, not 24

valhallas_end (author)5Meats2010-02-28

Welp, as long as that's cleared up!
Out of curiosity, what were the reactions to your costume?  I haven't seen Crystal in a looong time now - it hasn't become obscure by any means, but I can't imagine everyone knowing who you were right off the bat.

5Meats (author)valhallas_end2010-03-01

we had about 30 people at our halloween party, 

10 - 15 people knew what the costume was.

Since then, I am glad to say more have seen the film, because they wanted to know the story behind the costume. 

It is my favorite film, and i feel is an important piece of work in light of todays CGI dependant industry.

Biggsy (author)2010-02-28

THIS is beyond awesome... well done :D

Doldrum (author)2010-02-27

 whoa!  this takes me back :)  spot on job!

depotdevoid (author)2010-02-26

That's totally awesome, well done!

kittenlover666 (author)2010-02-26

All i can say is that you look very skexy in that costume. but really good job though.

solipsism (author)2010-02-26

very nice, i think you got his attitude down very well.
would love to see yours standing beside my mystic.

"freaky fabric" is vitrually just "cheesecloth" which sells year round at any dollar/grocery store (you will have to rip it a bit and dip it in a bit of grey paint, but you can buy lots of it for a few bucks that way when you need it.,  not just at halloween)

I would love to see it dressed up a little more decadent shabby chic, but you did well for only a few hundred hours.

5Meats (author)solipsism2010-02-26

Thanks for the cheescloth tip!  if your ever in austin during Halloween, we can meet downtown and take some pics

xxev75 (author)2010-02-26

I watched that show last week or so. Good job!

hishealer (author)2010-02-26

That looks so good!  I love that movie, btw, and I always want to see Labyrinth after...  that describes about half my childhood ;p

RavingMadStudios (author)2010-02-26

The third pic in Step 5 kind of looks like an Audrey II. I bet the same technique would work for one of those, too. Hmmm.....

Very nice work, can't wait to see the video!

kelseymh (author)2010-02-25

I think you published this a little bit early.  Your step 8 is empty.  Very, very cool costume and instructions!  When you've got it complete, I am confident a Feature will follow shortly.

5Meats (author)kelseymh2010-02-26

sorry about that, i had to leave the computer before i was done.  I revised it now, hope its okay!

kelseymh (author)5Meats2010-02-26

Thanks!  An extremely nice project, and well written.

About This Instructable



Bio: animator/ puppeteer/ luchador/
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