Picture of H.R. Giger-Inspired Alien Costume
This costume was inspired by H.R. Giger's Alien from the movie Alien.  It was designed for a child, but could be scaled up or down. 

My son was able to work on many of the steps, but I intervened for the cutting of the chicken wire and coat hangers which tended to produce dauntingly sharp edges.

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Step 1: Making The Head

Picture of Making The Head
The head is a coat-hanger wire frame.  It was coarsely modelled over a set of views of the Alien's head enlarged to the right width and height (about 4x).  Chicken wire is overlaid onto the top of the wireframe.  A jaw is fashioned from a coat hanger wire and hinged into the interior structure.  Duct tape to loft between open sections.

Warning! Chicken-wire and cut coat hangers can have sharp edges.

Inside the head a duct-taped foam 'hat'  insert is placed.

The head is paper-mache'd.  To get it extra smooth, lightweight spackle is put on top, then sanded down (use a mask!) when dry. 

Cardboard with the outer layer removed forms the corrugated sculptures on the side.  You need to peel the outer later of once side off to reveal the corrugation.  Dryer hose, cut down the middle, forms the 'hoses'. These structures are hot-glued onto the side of the mask.

The jaw is pulled shut with a rubber band that is tied in much the same place the muscle that closes your own jaw connect to the skull.  Experiment with the tension.  The jaw is opened by snaking a thin string downward the wearer can pull downward on.  (see animation on next page).

The inside of the head has a Lego motor animated tongue that extends in and out.  It is covered in black stretchy cloth that is attach to the end and base of the tongue.

The teeth are cut out plastic, spray painted white, then hot-glued into the head.

The entire structure is painted with black glossy paint.

GTAtomten3 years ago
This will help me alot if i make one myself. It's been bugging my brain the last week and i think the only way to get it out is to make it.
I think i will actually go an even cheaper route... I'll probably do an outline of cardboard and then pad it up with newspaper and then paper mache over that.
Also, Does it work well to spray paint the packing tape torso? Doesn't the paint crack and flake off if you move with it?
Thanks a bunch and great costume!
creatrope (author)  GTAtomten3 years ago
This packing tape is pretty flexible and there was no issue with the paint flaking off. The chest plate is quite stiff so it's not flexing so much.
Okay, thanks for the reply. That will be good to know.
Eh Lie Us!3 years ago
Shut the front door! That's very clever!
nana764 years ago
Superrrrrrrrrrr... Es muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuyyyyyyyyyyyyy Real.. felicitaciones.... me gusta mucho
Very nice. I especially love the corrugated cardboard for the tubing/ridges. I may have to "borrow" that method for some of my own work. Heh.
pyrawolf14 years ago
You've done a very good job with the alien costume. I bet he did give a good scare out there, lol! Great work! Love the Alien movies!
lesh_dude4 years ago
That is frickin rad!
SinAmos5 years ago
Great for a laugh.  Good work.  It's hilarious.
zascecs5 years ago
 Great idea for a costume. I like it how you made the mouth open and the tongue retractable. Most costumes don't really have moving parts; (especially not store-bought ones.)