Hi, If you're reading this you probably have a Minecraft addicted child as I do that wants to be Steve for Halloween…. I have looked at many tutorials, Instructables and store bought versions of the infamous Steve head. While they all have their specific technique and strengths to creating; I consistently find one area lacking. The stability once the box is placed over the head. A flat shape just doesn't sit securely on a round object, specifically one that is moving around. Maybe that's trivial in the grand scheme of being Steve, but it causes safety issues and I have childhood memories of masks not fitting properly and bouncing around on my head while I valiantly tried to see out misaligned eye holes and continuously pulled the mask back to it's proper place. It's a wonder I survived all my visually impaired Halloween nights to create this Instructable at all. My quick solution could definitely be modified to an actual fitted head harness or something more sturdy but for a pretty quick build I think it does the trick so long as the child/adult isn't running or wrestling wildly about…. Lastly I'm going to outline my steps using the equipment I have regular access to as a graphic designer in a production environment. You may need to adapt or adjust certain steps to complete your Steve if you don't have the same resources. So lets get started.
Things you will need:
- Access to print your Steve skin directly or an outside source for producing
- Photo editing or manipulation software (Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator)
- Large format HP Printer
- 50" roll of printable adhesive vinyl
- Laminating Machine and laminate
- A square cardboard box 12" or larger
- Exacto knike or box cutter
- 1" thick foam padding approx 4' wide x height (the size of your box)
- Duct and masking tape
- Spray adhesive
- Window perforated vinyl
- Blue permanaent Marker
Step 1: Creating Your Steve Skin Print File
The first thing you will need to do is find a papercraft Steve file online you can use to print your Steve skin or create one yourself. I googled Papercraft Steve then narrowed my search by file type and resolution until I found files I could use to build my own. I will provide the files I found along with a pdf of the print file I created. Once you locate the files you'll need to open and arrange them using whatever software you have into a print file. I used Adobe Illustrator to build my file. Make sure to measure your box accurately and prepare your files at 100% print size. You'll want to make sure all your printed sides will completely cover the sides of the box and to be safe I'd even include some extra bleed in case any shifting occurs as you apply your skin. (Bleed is extra printed area beyond where you intend to cut. It assures you cover everything and have no white lines or cardboard box showing.)
Step 2: Printing and Laminating Your Steve Skin.
Once you have your print file prepared it's time to print it. If you don't have access or the ability to print the panels yourself you'll need to go to Kinkos or someplace similar and have them professionally done for you. Take your file on a flash drive and tell them what you want. I printed mine on printable adhesive vinyl that way it was all one big decal that I applied. Think of it as wrapping paper with a sticky back. After my piece was printed I laminated it so it would be more durable and resistant to water, scratches and being easily damaged. Another option you could do is print or separate the panel into individual sides and apply them. You'll have more edge seams and it'll be more prone to pealing up on the corners and edges but it will be easier to apply for beginers. Also you can print plain paper and then apply adhesive spray to the back then lay the panels down. This approach will be very fragile to water or pretty much anything if you chose to use it so be warned. If you want the mask to last I personally wouldn't use this approach.
Step 3: Cutting Out Your Steve Skin
There is nothing special about this step and no special tools or techniques required. I used a plastic triangle straight edge and and utility knife. You could also use and exact blade and ruler. Whatever it is it needs to be new and extremely sharp to get straight crisp lines in a single pass. (FYI what is said about dull knives being more dangerous is true.) You'll have to push and work much harder which leaves room for getting cut or slipping. I always use new blades and change them often. Make sure to cut a hair inside the color all the way around so you don't have any white line around the edges. If you do they will be very obvious when you start applying the skin to the box. Always cut away from you!!!
Step 4: Fitting/padding and Stabilizing the Box for a Head
As I mentioned in my introduction a flat surface just doesn't balance or sit stable on a moving round surface and vise versa. So what is the simple solution you ask…. Make a nest for your head to rest. Do you think a mother bird would try to set her round baby eggs on a hard flat surface NO!!!!! So don't expect the flat box to balance on your round noggin. It's not gonna happen. First thing I did was cut a square foam piece slightly smaller than the inside of your box. Keep in mind this will be the inside top of Steve's head.
- The hole will only allow the top of the head to rest securely like and egg. the circle is 5 - 5 1/2" wide.
- I then cut out the circle carefully with my utility knife and removed the piece. This left the hole.
- I then took the round piece I just removed and cut it in half horizontally like you're separating the top and bottom of a bagel. I then cut one of those halfs into four equal pie like pieces that will be used later as well as the remaining circle piece.
- Next I cut another square foam piece the same as the first. Then I sprayed adhesive to the piece with the hole in it then sandwiched the two pieces together. Be careful to keep adhesive out of the hole because your head rests there.
Lastly flip those two pieces over to reveal a flat foam surface where you will attach the (4) pie shaped pieces with spray adhesive in the corners like legs on a table. you'll attach the remaining circle to the middle for more stability and padding for your head.
- Now apply spray adhesive to the bottom (4) corner leg pieces and the middle circle piece as these will be the contact points for inside the box.
- Flip the whole piece over and gently position it (adhesive side down) into the box apply firm downward pressure. You will now see that you have created a nest for your head to rest and a stable flat surface for the box to sit. Additionally you have centered where the head will rest within the box while lining up where your eyes will line up with the cut out eye holes.
Step 5: Padding the Inside of Your Steve Head
In this step we will take some of the remaining foam padding and add strips to the inside of the box.
First I took one of my remaining sheets made sure it would fit well inside the side of the box and then scored or cut 3/4 of the way through the foam with an exacto knife as you can see in the first picture. I did it this way so you can still easy spray the entire sheet with adhesive and then separate into strips verses having to spray them individually and making a sticky mess everywhere. I made my strips about 1 inch wide and 9-10 inches long so they would easily fit inside the box without obstructing anything. After I scored/cut so I could see how many I'd get from each sheet I separated them completely with my exacto knife. Then starting with one side of the box I evenly spaced and applied the strips. I started with the middle strip then repeated 1 inch gap, then 1 inch foam until I had five on all sides except inside the face side. This area you will leave blank so it is easy to see out.
Step 6: Closing, Reinforcing and Sealing Your Box
In this step all that is left is to close the (4) remaining flaps after you reinforce the seams with duct tape. In the first step you can see the out side seam of tape but there is also an inside seam that I applied before so the (2) edges are as firm as possible. When you apply the second strip of duct tape to the outside as in picture (1) it really holds the two flaps together well. You'll want to too the same thing for the other seam on this side of the box. Next before pulling the other (2) flaps down and taping them you'll apply some spray adhesive to the flat area where the flaps will lay and make contact as you can see in picture (2). This will hold all (4) flaps together and keep them from moving or separating. Fold the flaps down and apply firm but gentle pressure to activate the adhesive underneath. Finally tape the outside seam then apply another piece as seen in picture (3) to reinforce and hold it all together. Last thing to do in this step is to apply masking tape over the exposed exterior seams so when you begin applying your Steve skin you have smooth surfaces. My masking tape is green in picture (4) After all this you'll have completely sealed box that is reinforced and structurally sound with padding already built inside!!
Step 7: Applying the Steve Skin
Bare with me on this step it might be kinda confusing but I'll do my best to explain thouroughly. Look for notes on the pics to explain whats shown. So as I mentioned in an earlier step my Steve skin for the head is actually printed onto laminated adhesive vinyl. (This basically means it is one big sticker/decal like wrapping paper. Once I get it into the proper position I'll need to remove the backing paper with reveals the sticky surface that will stick to the outside of the box. If you didn't use my approach you'll have to apply with some spray adhesive and will most likely need to do each side separately.
Beginning with picture (1) you'll see the first thing I did was position my skin over the box and checked all the sides so I knew everything would cover properly and line up. Then I taped it into position so It wouldn't move. At this point no backer paper has been removed and all the decals adhesive is protected and covered by that backer paper which is the bright white you see. I won't remove that until right before I'm ready to apply that side.
Next I began to apply one side at a time beginning with the sides that had overlapping flaps that would wrap around a corner. You can see in picture (2) that two sides have been applied with the dark flaps wrapping around the corner. This also provides bleed so no box shows through and reinforces the sticker from pealing up.
Picture (3) shows the process of separating the adhesive from the backer paper prior to applying it to the flat box surface. I use a plastic squeegee like you'd use for applying vinyl to glass to push the air out from under the surface moving slowly from one side to the other. Air under the surface creates a bubble and looks bad. You can also use your hand or a rag with consistent pressure just make sure you work from on side to the other pushing the air out as you go.
Picture (4) shows that I'm getting ready to fold down a flap that wraps a corner from the side to the top of the head. Then I will remove the backer paper and fold the top side of Steve's head down which will conceal the flaps.
Picture (5) shows the completed applied skin to the front and sides. All that remains is to trim the white flap area off with an exact knife and it will be ready to move onto the next step.
Picture (6) finished wrapping!!! YES!!!!!!!
Step 8: Cutting Out the Square for a Head.
Congratulations you have a completely sealed and wrapped Steve box head see picture (1) of the bottom for proof….. So where does my kids head go? Great question! Now all the reinforcing we did in earlier steps will make sense because it's time to use some force and cutting technical skill to reveal all the work that has already been done to make this awesome!!
First you'll need to measure how big your kids mellon is. Then add a couple inches in Diameter to make sure it's big enough. In picture (2) you'll see a black box that is not big enough for a head to fit through…. Then you'll see a white drawn line outside of that black box. That is the cutline for the area to be removed.
Next get the sharpest utility or exacto blade you have and begin to cut out the box on that white line see picture (3). Since we reinforced it so well and glued everything together you'll be cutting through two layers of cardboard. It's actually pretty easy though because everything is constructed to sturdy. Cut out from the corners first so they are completely through and neat. Then connect your cut lines in the middle. When it's all done the piece should just pop out revealing the awesome inside structure and padding of picture (4)!!
Lastly in picture (5) you can see that I applied strips of black duct tape to the sides of the cut out box so it's smooth and doesn't cause any paper or cardboard cuts when putting on or wearing Steves head.
Step 9: Steve's Eyes Holes
When you begin this step you will have two square eye holes that need to be removed. See picture (1 - 3) The process is the exact same as the last step except you aren't enlarging the holes at all and you're only cutting through one layer of cardboard. From what I've seen there is some pretty cool and original customization that I do in this step that isn't offered or done on any other Steve head anywhere. Yes I just made that bold claim and I'm confidant in it:) So go ahead remove those eye holes. When you are done you will have what you see in picture (4) good but not AWESOME….. A cardboard Steve head with not a glimmer of life in his eyes….. This bothered me very much and isn't how Steve looks. So I began to experiment and brainstorm trying several ideas on how to add the blue color to Steve's eyes without interfering with safety and vision. I settled on white perforated window vinyl as seen in picture (5) then tested permanent blue marker colors on it until I was satisfied. This stuff is the same as the other vinyl I used with an adhesive back and backer paper. It works by being a 50/50 pattern of holes and vinyl that doesn't vision and is used on buses and other application stat want a see through graphic. Anyway in picture (6) you can see the marker colored vinyl. I then bordered it with masking tape sticky side the same direction as the blue as seem in picture (7). Then I positioned the two blue eye colors inside the Steve head over the eye holes as seen in pictures (8 and 9) and rubbed down the tape to hold them in place. TADA!!! Steve now has life and you can still see out completely clear.
Step 10: The Completed Steve Head
These final picture show my wife, myself and finally my stepson wearing the Steve head. As you can see the eyes really do make a hugh difference and the padding keeps the head where it is suppose to be so your child can wear it safely:) I hope you've enjoyed this instructable and if you have any feedback or questions please let me know.
Good luck and happy instructabling!!!