My son loves Minecraft. He wanted to be Steve for Halloween so I bought some paint and cardboard and got to work. I wanted my son to be able to walk easily, see clearly, be able to turn his head (to look both ways before crossing the street) and be comfortable. It turns out this is a really simple costume to make once I figured out how to make it all work. He got rave reviews from the neighborhood kids and was a walking photo op all night. He also liked the extra candy he received for a homemade costume (I confiscated the Twix bars as a commission).
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
Steve is a cheap and easy costume. Here is what I used:
1. Cardboard Boxes - 1 small (12"x12"), 2 medium, 2 large. Pick boxes that will fit over your body and are long enough for a torso and legs.
2. Paint - I used 2 cans of Spray Paint from Home Depot for the royal blue pants and teal shirt. I also bought a handful of Acrylic paints in white/tan/beige/flesh from Hobby Lobby for the head. Get a bigger bottle of dark brown for the hair.
3. Brads with washers - 2 large brad with washers. (Craft stores or office supply stores carry these)
4. Strapping - I used nylon packing strap but even duct tape doubled over into a strap will do.
5. Tools - Paint brushes, box cutter, Glue gun (or bottle of glue)
Step 2: The Torso
Start with the torso. Pick a medium or large box that will be just wide enough side-to-side to contain the wearer's shoulders, just wide enough front-to-back to move freely, and just long enough to cover the wearer's bottom. Of course, usually there is no perfect box so I took a large box, assembled it, and cut it in half top to bottom. I then overlapped the sides of the two separate pieces until it was a good fit front-to-back on my son (must be at least 12" front to back).
When you've got a good fit, glue the sides together and then glue the top to finish the assembly. Use your box cutter to cut a whole for the head and holes for the arms. Cut off the bottom to make the length right, you do not need the bottom flaps.
Step 3: The Arms
Steve's arms are separate, mirror image pieces. They have one open side on the top inner side (facing his torso) so you can slip your arms through, and they are cut at the elbow for movement. Use your cardboard to make a long rectangle tube, the sides will be approximately 8" wide, the length will be approximately 2" shorter than your torso piece (leave extra length to make top flaps). Glue the tubes closed on the sides and cut and glue flaps closed on top, the bottom of the arm is left open so the wearer can use their hands.
Use your box cutter to cut out a triangle at the sides and a rectangle at the rear of the arm (leave the front solid) and then cut out the inner top side of the arm. BE SURE to cut a RIGHT and a LEFT arm instead of two duplicate arms. It helps to lay out the arms next to the torso so you can imagine the final product as you cut. Fold the solid front of the arm to create an elbow, the fold should be at the tip of the triangles you've cut on the sides. See picture.
Step 4: Add the Arms to the Torso
Steve's arms swing as he walks so I attached them with a large brad with a washer. Place the washer on the brad, push the brad from the inside of the torso through the torso and the arm (look at the picture of the torso from Step 1, you can see the brad's location sticking out above the armhole). Bend the legs of the washer outward to secure it to the inside of the upper arm. Use a piece of tape or glue to secure the brad legs to the cardboard inside the arm.The washer keeps the brad head from tearing through the cardboard. Add the other arm the same way.
Step 5: The Head
Next is Steve's head. I used a 12" x 12" box as is. Assemble the box and glue the flaps shut top and bottom. Cut an access hole for the wearer's head on the bottom side leaving a small border. You can fit your head in diagonally (nose to a corner) when putting it on the wearer for more room. Now take a strip of cardboard and wrap it around the wearer's head like a crown, approximately 4 inches tall. The strip needs to sit level on the top of the head leaving a flat cardboard circle at the top without any head/hair coming out the top.
Wearing the headstrip and the torso, place the head box on your head and adjust the size so that the head sits level and comfortable. The head box should not rest on the costume's shoulders, it should rest on the headstrip with an inch or two clearance from the shoulders. This allows the head to move as the wearer's head moves, otherwise the wearer would not be able to see anything side to side. When you have adjusted the headstrip's height and fit correctly, glue the headstrip into place inside the headbox. The picture above shows the completed headbox from below, showing the headstrip. DO NOT cut the eyeholes in this step, we will do it later.
Step 6: The Legs
Use a large box to form 2 long rectangular tubes wide enough for your legs and small enough to fit up under the torso. Glue each rectangle tube closed leaving the top and bottoms open. Using your box cutter, cut out triangles on the sides at the knee (this will be above the wearer's knee) and a rectangle from the back. Fold the front of the tube at the cutout creating a movable knee. Now use your box cutter to remove the inner and rear "thigh" pieces, leaving a minimum 2" strip around the leg. Take one more strip of cardboard and glue it along the top of the inside front of the leg, attaching the two legs (see the unpainted strip in the picture - this one has ripped with repeated use but it should be whole).
With the legs complete, step into the legs and hold them up so that they hover just over the top of the wearer's foot. Use the nylon strapping to create suspenders. Staple or glue the suspenders to the front of the legs, then run the straps over the wearer's shoulders and cross the straps behind the back before stapling the straps to the back of the thigh strip (as seen in the picture). The suspenders will hold the legs in place and allow them to move naturally as you walk.
Step 7: The Paint
Painting Steve's body is pretty straight forward. I spray painted the legs (royal blue) and torso and sleeves (teal) to save time and effort. To paint just the sleeves and not the whole arms, I taped a piece of newspaper over the arm leaving the flesh part covered. When those parts dried, I painted the flesh color on the arms and set to work on the head.
The head isn't complicated. Just pencil in a grid of 8x8 squares on the front and sides of the head and then it's basically color-by-numbers to fill in the grid. When you have drawn your grid on the front of the box (face) you will now be able to use your box-cutter to cut out the eyes holes appropriately on the grid. Steve's eyes are at the 4th square from the bottom and the third square in from each side. Paint the face square-by-square following the pattern shown. The side of the head is just ears and hairline, the top and back is just hair.
Step 8: The Accessories
I used the leftover cardboard to make a sword, but a pick-axe would work too. I just glued three layers of cardboard together (for strength) and then drew a big 1" x 1" grid across the top layer. I used the paint-by-numbers pattern approach to paint a sword and then I cut out the finished piece and painted the other side in the same manner. I gave my son a reusable black grocery bag as a trick or treat sack because of it's boxy shape.
All in all I spent about $25 total. I saved some money by using strapping, brads/washers and some paint that I had leftover from other projects. My son was thrilled with the results and the costume has been on constant rotation with our friends and neighbors since Halloween. This is a simple easy project with a huge impact. Halloween win!