Introduction: Krang Hat -Simple DIY Costume
I first made this Krang hat for a TMNT art gallery years ago (2nd pic) and recently decided he's a wearable meant to be shared with the world! If you don't have six months to kill building something like a giant alien queen, but also don't want to totally phone it in with the "sexy corn on the cob" store bought costume, here's a simple to make, unique costume piece sure to delight at all nerdy get togethers.
Step 1: You Will Need
You can either buy a pink fleece beanie or make one. Making them is pretty simple if you have a sewing machine and there are many free patterns and tutorials available online.
Reasonably matching pink fleece.
Felt in lavender, white, black, red, and dark pink.
Black yarn or black Tulip fabric paint
Fabric friendly adhesive
A handful of poly fill
Tools: needle, thread, scissors, pen, paper, pins, a computer with a printer.
Step 2: Inspiration Image
Find the image you'll be using for your pattern. This is as simple as googling "Krang" and selecting something that speaks to you expression-wise. A head on angle like the image above will serve you best for a pattern. Don't worry about finding one that's perfect because you can make some small adjustments in the next step.
Step 3: Photoshop Pattern Making
Pull your image into Photoshop. Crop the image so the height is from the top of Krang's head to the bottom of his mouth shape - no excess background elements needed.
Now measure the height of your hat. Mine was about 7.5 inches. In Photoshop, go to "Image Size" and change your height to the same measurement as your hat. Make sure "constrain proportions is checked so the width of your Krang image increases/ decreases in proportion.
Make a new layer. Paint bucket the whole thing white. Now decrease the opacity so you can see Krang underneath. Using a black paintbrush, trace his main features. No need to do every little wrinkle, just go for the face and the brain ridges going up the middle. Here's where you can make some simple adjustments. Krang was a little twisted in my screen grab, so I leveled out his ridges. I also made the mouth a bit smaller than in the original, to be sure it fits comfortably on the hat.
Print this image, making sure your printer is outputting true to image size, not "scaled to fit page".
Step 4: Cut Your Pattern
Use an X-acto to cut out your black line work. Always work on a cutting mat! These photos were taken against a colored surface for clarity.
For now, leave some bridges of paper that keep your eyes connected. Cut around the mouth shape entirely and set it aside.
Step 5: Pattern Transfer
Pin your pattern to the hat. You want a nice flat surface to work on. Depending on the construction of your beanie, you may need to do something like an origami squash fold, like I did here. Make sure the bottom edge of your mouth is not too near the hem of your hat.
Once your pattern is in place, use a marking pen to trace the lifework onto the hat. No need to go all the way around your shapes, just do a single line. When working on colored fabrics, I like to use a sharpie a few shades darker than my fabric color. Any mis-steps will be less glaring than if you had done the markings in black.
For the mouth, just make a dot in each of the upper corners as a placement guide.
When you remove the pattern, you should have guides for your line work, as in photo 3.
Step 6: Felt Pieces
Now you'll trace his eyes and mouth onto your different colors of felt.
Trace one large red mouth, based on the pattern piece you saved. Once you have that shape, cut into it to get your patterns for his tongue and teeth.
Remove the eyeballs from your main pattern sheet. When you trace them onto the lavender felt, give yourself a little extra all the way around the edge. This will ensure there are no gaps between your colored pieces and yarn "lines".
Once you've cut all your felt pieces and laid them out, you should end up with something like the 3rd photo here. The lines you traced on the hat will make placing everything correctly a no-brainer!
Step 7: Face Application
If you're really pressed for time, you can apply all your facial features with a fabric friendly adhesive.
I really like to celebrate the medium I'm working in, so I hand stitched the big pieces on for a crafty DIY vibe. Colored threads and a simple running stitch do the trick.
BUT...don't drive yourself nuts sewing every little thing. I used fabric glue for the little bits, like the teeth and pupils.
Step 8: Making Line Work on Fabric
This is a technique I use often when re-creating an animated character with fabric.
To get "lines" as if he's a cartoon drawing, you're going to apply pieces of black yarn that correspond to the lines you transferred from your pattern.
If you're really pressed for time, you could also use something like Black Tulip fabric paint. Personally, I think squeezable fabric paint can look really bad, really fast, but it is an option if you feel comfortable controlling your application.
First, lay the yarn on top of a line. Snip off approximately the length you'll need to cover your pen marking. Use fabric glue to attach the yarn to the line. I used Crafter's Pick "The Ultimate", which dried clear and held the yarn in place very well. If you're worried about too much glopping out of the bottle at once, you can apply the glue to the line using a toothpick. You may not be able to get super sharp angles with the yarn, but generally you will cover your line work and describe the form. Repeat until all your lines are covered.
Step 9: Arms
Once your glue is dry, you should have something like this. You COULD be done here, if you like, but I think Krang really gets a lot funnier if he has his little meaty arms.
Using a pen and paper, sketch some arms. Remember that Krang is pretty lumpy and asymmetrical, so these don't have to be amazing looking. Keep your hat nearby to make sure the scale is appropriate.
Cut out your pattern pieces and trace onto your matching pink fleece. remember to make 2 fronts and 2 backs (flip the pattern piece). Pin together and hand stitch.
Step 10: Arm Attachment
Take care when turning your arms right side out. Use the non-ink end of your pen to help get the narrow part, being mindful not to push on the stitching too hard.
Stuff lightly with your poly fill and pin to the sides of your hat.
Now is a good time to try Krang on and look in the mirror. Are the arms roughly the same distance from the face? Are they at the height you want? I suggest not placing them too high, or people might mistake them for horns. Make any pinning adjustments needed.
Using pink thread, attach your arm to the main hat. Roll the edge of the arm fleece under for a smooth, organic jointing point.
Step 11: SHREEEDDERRR!!
BAM! Krang hat. Easily worn with street clothes to keep it casual, or get creative with how your body adornments Krang. You could make a silver torso piece that resembles his little robo-walker thing, or just hang with a group of fully dressed turtles to round out their Cos Play group. In any case, mastering the voice is a must.