Introduction: How to Make a Beaker Costume
We're going to look at how to construct a Beaker costume in 13 pretty simple steps. I did this for about $50 for all of the materials- but it probably could be a done a little cheaper with some scavenging (mine was drawn up for about a week prior to Halloween, but constructed the day before).
3. Mouth Opening
4. Padding/Wrapping the Structure
5. Wrapping the Mouth
6. Radial Support at the Top of the Head
7. Fabric Wrapping on Top/Clean-Up
10. Eyes/Nose Insertion to to the Main Piece
11. Mouth Mesh
13. Finishing Touches
Step 1: Supplies
You'll need the following supplies for the construction of Beaker.
Cardboard- (depending on the size of your head/the height of Beaker, this will vary) -FREE
Ivory Colored Batting- ($10- Joann Fabrics) (72x92in)
2 Orange Boas (not feathered) ($10) (Joann Fabrics)
2 Styrofoam Balls ($5)
Black Lace Mesh ($2)
Black Acrylic Paint + Brush (I already had this)
18"x18" Orange Fleece ($3)
Labcoat ($3- American Science + Surplus)
Beaker (Technically I used an Erlenmeyer Flask because I like them better) ($7)
Button Up Shirt
Toothpicks or small dowels
Step 2: Structure of the Headpiece
The cardboard needs to get cut down to a bit large than the circumference of the size of your head. For me, this was about 22", so I began by cutting a piece of cardboard at 30"(width)x24"(height).
The cardboard needs to be scored lightly on one side about every inch or so going vertically. This will allow the structure to create a circle without ripping. Be sure to not score too deep- going through will cause the structure to fall apart easier.
After scoring- roll the cardboard and find the size you need to go around your head so that you can breathe easily and it will be comfortable. Mark this length- and glue.
Step 3: Mouth Opening
We'll need to cut an opening for Beaker's mouth to see out of. The mouth placement should be figured out depending on where your eyes fall. I made a sketch in marker on the cardboard to help me figure this out.
After sketching- cut it out- trying to stay fairly symmetrical.
I actually scored a bit too deep on the front causing the mouth to fray open. If this happens, just grab a small piece of cardstock paper or cardboard and reinforce it from within the mouth with some glue.
Step 4: Padding/Wrapping the Structure
We're now going to wrap the structure in the batting to make Beaker's head soft and much nicer aesthetically.
Cut the batting down to size and wrap the tube. The wrapping should a bit higher and longer than the tube itself.
Step 5: Wrapping the Mouth
We'll now need to cut a hole for the mouth and tuck in the excess fabric.
Make sure to not trim to the edge of the mouth opening, but to rather trim in the middle on the fabric. This will give us plenty of fabric to be able to pull it into the mouth hiding any cardboard.
You may need to trim away some of the mouth fabric so that it can glue into the inside without having too much where it hangs loosely. Glue the fabric onto the inside and pull tight to smooth the fabric down.
Using plenty of spray glue, glue the rest of the batting on. Trim off the excess batting with an xacto or scissors to form a neat seam on the backside of the head.
The head should now be fully wrapped, glued, and have a nice, clean, mouth opening.
Step 6: Radial Support at the Top of the Head
To keep the nice cylindrical shape of the head, we need to simply add a small, circular piece of cardboard. I measured this out by dropping the head on a sheet of cardboard, tracing the circle that it forms, cutting it out, and then trimming slightly to make it fit very tightly.
Step 7: Fabric Wrapping on Top/Clean-Up
After the circle support is cut, pull in the fabric from the top of the head and glue inside.
Then drop the cardboard circle on top and push it about 1/4"in. My circle was cut to a size where it created enough pressure of the sides to not need any glue, but if your top circle piece is loose at all, hot glue it down.
Now that the top is formed, we can also glue and tuck in the fabric on the underside.
The basic head should be complete- Next, we need to add on the details that make Beaker- Beaker.
Step 8: Eyes
The eyes are constructed of two styrofoam balls and two small dowels. The dowels are very important in making sure the eyes stay glued together. This kind of foam doesn't stay solid (even with styroglue) so make sure you use some kind of dowel with glue.
I didn't have any wood dowels so I actually just snapped a plastic knife in half and used that!
The pupils look best when painted on. Use black acrylic paint and go very heavy (don't water it down) to create two nice pupils.
Remember, beaker is kind of crossed eyed and is usually looking down. If his eyes aren't crossed eyed and pointing down, he might not look as awesome.
Step 9: Nose
The nose is pretty straightforward. Using a styrofoam cone, trim the end (the narrower end) so that it is a good length (use your best judgement) and miter the corner with a utility knife (or hot wire if you have one) so that his nose points a bit down.
Pull the orange fleece tightly over the nose and use a rubberband to keep it in place. You can spend some time trying to pull the fleece just right, but the seems didn't bother me.
Step 10: Eyes/Nose Insertion to To the Main Piece
Now we need to carefully cut a small opening on the headpiece for nose and the eyes.
The eyes simply need a small "X" shape cut, because we will again use dowels to create a strong connection.
Whoops- I didn't have any dowels, so I snapped a pencil in half and used that!
Mark the spot where the eyes should go, cut a small x shape, and press the eyes in. Load up the inside with a lot of hot glue to keep these reinforced.
Because the head curves, you can see the dowels (or pencils in my case) sticking out. Again, hot-glue is your friend and by carefully putting it behind the eyes and applying pressure, you should be able to eliminate that problem.
The nose is a bit tricky. Again, cut a small opening where the nose will go and slowly pull the excess nose fabric into the underside. You can do this via the underside where your head will go. Load on some more hot glue to the inside to secure the nose.
Step 11: Mouth Mesh
You have a bit of a choice here.
To Mesh? To Mesh Once? Or to Mesh twice?
Not using any mesh is okay- you can see easily, you can breathe easier, and you can drink and eat somewhat easily.
One layer of mesh will allow you to be able to see easily, but drinking will have to be done through a small cut in the mesh and a straw. One layer will let other people see your face a bit
Two layers of mesh will make your vision a bit darker, but still fine in my opinion. The advtange of two layers is that people can't see your face, really enhancing the whole beaker costume. I went with this since I liked it more- but the choice is yours.
The mesh is easy though. Simply spray glue or white glue it onto the inside behind the whole mouth. Make sure to really glue the edges down as your head sliding out will pull on the mesh.
Step 12: Hair
Here's another easy step. Using either spray glue or hot glue, glue the boa down to the cardboard on top. The more hair- the better!
I used a red boa because I couldn't find orange- but orange would be more accurate.
Step 13: Finishing Touches
Beaker's head is finally done! Make sure you let it air out a bit before trying it on if you've been using spray-glue.
For the final touches, we'll need a dress shirt, a tie, and a lab coat.
Also, as inspired by Tev's Beaker Costume, an Erlenmeyer Flask and a bendy straw are both awesome and practical. Credit for the Erlenmeyer Flask and inspiration go to him.