Giant Squid Costume





Introduction: Giant Squid Costume

About: I am a foam fabricator and own a costume and prop design company called Partybot Designs. I take on commissions of any scale from cosplay costumes to festival stages. Follow me on all social media under "Par...

This year I wanted a costume that incorporated tentacles and lighting so I went with this squid/cuttlefish hybrid. Photo credit: Kelly O.

Step 1: Body

I fabricated the entire body from cross-linked polyethylene

foam rubber that was glued using contact cement. The suckers are formed by heating foam discs and pressing them into a cup shaped mold. Thin foam is sprayed with adhesive and applied like wrinkles over the brow line.

The entire body is then coated with Rosco Flexcoat product and allowed to cure for 24hrs. Then it’s painted with a high quality acrylic paint (Sherwin-Williams). Holes are cut in various locations on the mantel and covered with mesh fabric to allow ventilation and visibility. Highlights and shading were added via airbrush to camouflage the holes. A computer fan was mounted in front of a hole in the top

EL wire was pinned into the pattern shown using thin wire. The eyes are punch bowls from a party store with a round piece of black vinyl applied.

Step 2: Paint

The pants are made by stuffing spandex leggings to pre-stretch them into the shape of your legs. Make sure you stuff them enough because the latex won’t stretch as far as the original spandex. Glue on additional suckers with contact cement. Then prepare a mixture of ~7 parts liquid latex (special effects supply) to 1 part high quality acrylic paint from art store. Paint this over the pants in THIN coats. If you coat too thick it won’t dry properly leaving you with a liquid filled bubble. You’ll get a perfect color matched finish that has a lot of flex and durability. Go over it with a watered down wash of black acrylic paint or splatter with off shades to get more depth.

Step 3: Legs and Feet

Feet are fabricated from the same foam rubber while being heated with a heat gun. Then prime with Rosco Flexcoat and paint with the acrylic/liquid-latex mix. Again, do NOT confuse this with “latex paint” from the hardware store which will not flex, will crack, and give you MUCH worse results. The finished shells are then glued to scrap shoes using contact cement. This must be done or they will shift around and be very uncomfortable.



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    So I'm really interested in working with this material. Could you direct me to the right product? Your work is brilliant and i love it.

    1 reply

    Search for XLPE, L200, or cross linked polyethylene foam. foam by mail dot com has the best prices I've found

    This is awesome! I've got to start playing with foam.

    This costume is incredible.

    Amazing costume!

    Can you please provide a brand and a link to purchase a cross-linked polyethylene and to a liquid latex (special effects supply) and 1 part high quality acrylic paint from art store.

    2 replies

    the foam is on foam by mail dot com. search and get the 2.2lb density. I used 1/4" for the tentacles and 1/2" for the body. The acrylic brand here is called "basics" and about $6/tube. High end house paint works best on this scale. I used 2 quarts of Sherwin Williams and sprayed it in 15 minutes

    Amazing costume.

    Really excellent costume! And I know what you mean about black tights --I'd want to go the extra mile and make legs too.

    I'm most curious about how the inside is for you. Is there any kind of harness or helmet to lock your head into and keep the costume steady? That's been the most cumbersome part of all my large monster builds so far. How was visibility?

    2 replies

    You can also mount off ratchet tightened hard hats

    I'm a huge fan of using padded nylon straps to make a custom harness inside. You can tack it into any location by layering it between pieces of foam with contact cement. That way the force is distributed across a 4"x4" welded surface with nothing showing from the outside. I'll get a photo, but I did it in the classic baseball game vendor style of over the neck and tacked just below each eye. I was totally fine after 3-4 hours since the entire thing only weighs about 10-12lbs.

    For my minions I mounted 1/2" irrigation tubing to the interior using strips of the foam rubber. Then I passed the nylon strap under the tubing for a mounting point. You can achieve self leveling or adjustable setups this way to fit a range of heights.

    Regarding vision, the round holes I cut in the mantle were a life-saver. They were camouflaged pretty well by covering in sheer fabric and airbrushing. It also helped with hearing and cooling.

    Regarding cooling, I had a computer fan powered by a 9v battery in the top and the bottom was quite open so there was decent convection. Didn't sweat too much. You can cool it off fast doing a little lift/drop/lift/drop move to totally flush out the hot air.

    Hope it helps!

    Woah that's amazing, you looked so great! I love all the suckers, especially on the shoes it really adds a lot!

    1 reply

    Thanks! I was happy with how well the legs camouflaged. I didn't want the black tights look that's distracting. Happy Post-Halloween!

    awesome costume! love the photo bombing purple minion