Introduction: Mikey Costume

Picture of Mikey Costume

For the past three years I have been building my own Halloween costumes.  The first year, I came across the website and built a Master Chief costume.  The next year, I came across the website and built an Iron Man costume.   With two years of costuming experience, I wanted to do something different than the pepakura builds I had done.

So one day, I was talking to a friend trying to figure out what I should try to build next.  We bounced a couple ideas back and forth then he said, “what about a turtle from TMNT?”.  That idea stuck with me for a few days and I decided I would go for it.

First thing I did was to buy the TMNT dvd set.  I watched all the movies to refresh my childhood memories of the amazing films.  Then I decided which character best fit my personality, of which was Mikey.  So I had it figured out, I wanted to build a Mikey costume but had no clue how to go about it.

I did some research and figured the best approach would be to sculpt the entire costume.   Even though I had no experience at sculpting, I wanted something challenging.  My first sculpts were laughable. But with the encouraging help from members at the Replica Prop Forum, I was able to hone in on my sculpting and the improvements speak for themselves.   The RPF also lead me to a great friend who helped me complete this build, thank you Jacob!  Paint and professional photos by Jacob King.

The following instructions are a brief description of how I went about build this costume.  There are many other ways and different materials that can be used.   The hope is these instructions will inspire others to try something new.  For me it was sculpting, and now I love it!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Material List
Most of the products used were from Smooth-on.  Great quality products.

Alja-Safe® Skin Safe Crystalline-Silica Free Alginate
Plaster of Paris

Chavant NSP Soft
EM-217 (WED) Clay
Sculpting tools

Rebound 25
Silicone thinner
Silicone thickner
Ease Release 200
Sonite Wax

Ease Release 200
Dragon Skin 10 fast
Ease Release 2831
Flex-foam it V

Step 2: Building Armatures

Picture of Building Armatures
An armature is the base used for sculpting.  It is used to save time and the amount of clay used.  It also helps ensure the proper size for each piece.  It would be awful to sculpt a piece that would not fit later.

Options for armatures include:

• Lifecasting- A process used to get an exact replica of the body part.  Expensive but guarantees proper sizing.

• Duct Tape Dummy- A cheap alternative but not as accurate.

• Pre-made Foam Pieces-  Another cheap alternative.  At local hobby stores, you can find foam heads and even arms.  Not exactly the correct size but can be used.

In building my costume, I used all three methods.  For the head I used a pre-made foam piece, for the forearms and legs I used a lifecast, and for the upper body I used a duct-tape dummy.

Step 3: Sculpting

Picture of Sculpting

This is the creative step.  There are several types of clays out there and each has their pros and cons.  For everything except the shell, I used Chavant NSP soft clay.  For the shell I used a water-based clay. 

The process is simple but not easy.  You simply add clay to the armature until you get a rough shape of the desired piece.  With the help of sculpting tools, you can then get the piece to the exact shape.  The final step is to use a texture stamp to give it the finished look.

Step 4: Molding

Picture of Molding
To turn the sculpt in to a usable or wearable piece it must first be molded.
Here is the steps that I personally used.

Silicone Mold
1)  Apply a release agent to the entire sculpt.
2)  Mix and apply a thin layer of silicone to the entire sculpt to pick up all the detail.
3)  Mix and apply additonal silicone to fill in any undercuts.
4)  Mix and apply silicone until a uniform layer of 3/8 of an inch is achieved.
5)  Add registration keys to the sculpt to aide in proper alignment lager.
Plasti-Paste Mother Mold
1)  Build a dividing wall along the high ridgelines of the sculpt with clay.
2)  Add registration keys to the clay dividing wall.
3)  Apply sonnite wax to to the silicone mold and dividing wall.
4)  Apply plasti-paste material in a uniform layer of 3/8 of an inch.
5)  Remove clay wall and repeat as necessary.
Remove mold and mother mold
1)  Slowly and carefully remove the mother mold from the silicone along the dividing walls.
2)  Once the entire mother mold is removed, draw a cut line for peeling of the silicone mold.
3)  Carefully cut up the cut line until the silicone mold can be removed from the sculpt.
Put the mold back together.
1)  Be sure the silicone mold is clean from all clay and debris.
2)  Lay the silicone mold into one side of the plasti-paste mother mold.
3)  The registration keys will ensure the silicone sets properly in the mother mold.
4)   Line up the cut seem on the silicone mold.
5)  Place the other half of the plasti-paste mother mold over the silicone mold.
6)  Strap or screw the plasti-paste mold together to make it a solid structure.

Check out these links from smooth-on

Step 5: Casting

Picture of Casting

Now that the molds are finished it is time to cast in the desired material for the final product.  For my build I used dragon-skin fast silicone.  The material is flexible and long lasting.  Perfect for all the ninja moves that Mikey will be performing!

1)  Apply a good coat of releae agent to the inside of the silicone mold. 
2)  Mix and SLOWLY pour the dragon-skin material into the molds.  (Helps remove in air intraptment)
3)  Continuosly rotate the mold until the dragon-skni material evenly coats the entire mold.
4)  Add more dragon-skin until a good even thickness is achieved.
5)  Open the mold and gently remove the dragon-skin cast!

*Same process is used for the foam shell, just different materials*

Step 6: Painting

Picture of Painting

Now that you have all the pieces casted it is time to bring them to life.  For this costume it was all done with an airbrush using a silicone base.

1)  Clean the casting first
2)  Apply the base color (green)
3)  Add accent colors (yellow)
4)  Added shadowing and details(brown)
5)  Blend the colors with another coat of green.

Step 7: Accessories

Picture of Accessories

To finish off the costume add the accessories!
For the head:
 Custom eyes from tech-optics
 A custom bandana (Orange of course)
 Teeth were sculpted and casted in plastic

For the body:
Custom pads and belts were made.
Purchase a set of nunchucks!

Step 8: Harness

Picture of Harness

Harnessing is fairly simple with this build, but is still important.   You want to make sure everything stays where it should be.
The shell needs to have some strapping like a back-pack sewn in to hold the shell to the back.  The front portion of the shell is held in place with the belt and some overall straps.

Step 9: Cowabunga!

Picture of Cowabunga!

Slip everything on, then hit the streets!  Cowabunga!  


Folda Fett (author)2017-04-21

I love it! Wish I could make that.

chechos84 (author)2016-12-23

Bad-Ass! :)

Zippityboomba (author)2016-10-16

Tubular. Rad. Awesome. Cool. Where's the pizza, dude? :)

Jedi_zombie85 (author)2016-09-27

Amazing dude

chrisjlionel (author)2015-10-04

Great instructable. Congrats on the win.

cue3184 (author)2015-06-08

that's incredible, I tons of credit. It makes me wonder if other forms of the turtles can be done

nomesy81 (author)2015-01-15

oh my gosh, so detailed. i love it,

craigie22 (author)2014-11-24

Hi please would you consider in making one to sell as I want to surprise my son for his birthday his favourite one is Leonardo please can you help me my contract details are

jwm21m (author)2014-11-22

this is very amazing. please check your messages.

xXDeaDXx666 (author)2014-10-14

Costum is major sick!!!!!

csimmons15 (author)2014-09-21

How did you sculpt the face?

tolomelli (author)2014-09-18

Dericrw, this is truly awesome

Joshblake (author)2014-03-17

Amazing job!!!!

greencupcakes (author)2014-02-05

This is actually amazing!!!!! I'm an art student and wish I could make one but I don't have money for materials for this and for collage at the same time :/

Brian996 (author)2013-10-02

Great job! You have a lot of money invested there.

My Tae Kwon Do instructor (he was an olympic coach too) was actually Mickey. And yes, he taught me how to really use nunchuks as well as others.

Uberizer (author)2013-10-01

I am awed by your commitment to this project. I didnt believe it when i saw it. I thought this had to be a joke. You did amazing!

abockhold (author)2013-10-01

Wow! That looks like a ton of work, but it definitely shows. This is the ultimate Halloween costume!

jrain_ (author)2013-09-20


ryanjblajda (author)2013-08-06

this thing is badass.

wolowizard1997 (author)2013-05-27

truly epic

DirtyMooseDesign (author)2012-11-21

Congrats on the win! amazing costume i looked at your RPF blog for pointers when i made mine. see ya next year!

dericrw (author)DirtyMooseDesign2012-11-26

Thanks Rexrothwell. Next year has already begun... lol

licenseless (author)2012-11-16

HOLY CRAP!!! thats just like the movie costume from 1990 ... when i was 8... the fact that now i see how it was made... i feel a little saddened by the reveal... it takes away from the movie hahahahaha BUT!!! IT IS AMAZING!!! good job man!!!

dericrw (author)licenseless2012-11-26

Thank you Licenseless!

dericrw (author)2012-11-15

Kristylynn84: Thank you :)

Rohtik: Awesome! Definitely give it a shot, but start small. Starting small will help you develop sculpting skills and get an idea of how far you want to go. Good Luck!

SlippingHalo: It is a big project to take on, but a rewarding one. Look forward to seeing your take on the Turtles! Cowabunga

SlippingHalo (author)2012-11-15

Damn, this is awesome. My brothers and I started working on this project this year, trying to figure out how to do it, and we ended up doing it almost exactly how you did! We ran out of time, so we're going to pick it up next year. Nice job!

rohitk (author)2012-11-15

wow. this is absolutely amazing. i will be making this next year definetly.

kristylynn84 (author)2012-11-13

holy crap balls. you're gooooood.

poofrabbit (author)2012-11-13

Congratulations on being a finalist in the Halloween contest!!! Can’t wait to see if you win! Good luck!

dericrw (author)poofrabbit2012-11-13

Thank you proofrabbit! It's an honor to be a finalist amongst all of the amazing entries.

Towering Props (author)2012-11-09

how much of this life cast did u actually use to make all the body parts?

dericrw (author)Towering Props2012-11-10

It all depends on the part your casting. You can save a bunch of materials by using or making a container that closely contours the shape of the part being casted.

Here's smooth-on's guide

Javin007 (author)2012-11-10

I don't even...

zjarrell8 (author)2012-11-08

Dude, as you already know, that is so awesome!! I had already started some concept design of my Halloween costume for next year. I was planning on making a Donatello costume with a combination of paper mache, panty hose, foam rubber, and liquid latex. After seeing your tutorial, I am seriously considering sculpting now. Durability is the big pro, but cost is the major con.

Could you give me an estimate of what all of the materials costed?

dericrw (author)zjarrell82012-11-09

Thanks zjarrell8.
I didn't keep an exact tally on the cost of materials. An estimate would be $5,000 USD, a partial reason for the high price would be everything was silicone. There are alternatives that are much cheaper, such as latex that you mentioned.
Good luck with your future endeavor!

BreannaC (author)2012-11-08

This is absolutely fantastic! You have really nice craftsmanship, I'm inspired to delve into sculpting more. Thanks for sharing, this is a really impressive costume build.

Honus (author)2012-11-03


dericrw (author)2012-11-02

Thank you Penolopy, poofrabbit, mike, and jessy! I'm glad that I choose Mikey! But the other three will be done in the near future.

bcbreakaway (author)2012-11-02

Great job! Question about the bottom of the feet. If they are made of dragon-skin fast silicone, how durable are they exactly? I notice you are wearing them on the sidewalk and in other areas in the photos. Will they not show wear from being walked in?

dericrw (author)bcbreakaway2012-11-02

Thank you!
The dragon-skin silicone is VERY durable! No wear at all in 10+ hours of wear.

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2012-11-02

Oh my! It looks like you took it straight out of the movie!!! Amazing, amazing job, and, like everyone else, Mikey is my fav :D

poofrabbit (author)2012-11-02

This is awesome! Reminds me of the first tutle movies that came out, very well done!

mikeasaurus (author)2012-11-02

This costume looks fantastic, and the detail of the skin really come through with this process. Mikey might also be a personal favourite.

jessyratfink (author)2012-11-01

I'm kinda freaking out right now. This is so amazing my brain can't process it.

Michelangelo is my favorite Turtle! :D

About This Instructable




More by dericrw:Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesMikey Costume
Add instructable to: