Introduction: Muno (from Yo Gabba Gabba)
This is a design I created for the New York City Halloween parade. Muno appeared with his buddies Sock Monkey and Mr. X (as featured in the classic Kia commercial).
How d'ya like me now?
Step 1: Materials and Prep Work
Muno was designed to fit a 6ft brit, who happens to be quite thin. This costume can be adjusted accordingly, but the instructions provided here will be for a tall thin person.
Weeks before starting this project, I had already decided the bumps on Muno's body would be made from the tops of 1 liter seltzer bottles. I made sure to save them so I had a large quantity at my fingertips. Make sure you select a brand that has a perfectly round top vs one with a v shape!
5 yards of 1 inch thick foam
6 yards of red spandex (56 inches wide)
1 yard white spandex
1 square black felt (9x12)
1 36 inch plastic red zipper (large tooth)
1 20 inch plastic red zipper (large tooth)
aluminum pie pan
black mesh to cover mouth hole
24 bottle tops
hot glue gun
thick sewing thread
optional: broomstick, contact glue
Step 2: Foam Body
When making any costume, the key is proportions. It's important to calculate the size of your finished product based on the size (in this case height) of the person wearing it. For this particular costume, the person inside will be looking out of the mouth. Since my subject is 6ft tall, I knew my finished product would come out around 7.5 ft tall.
I started by making the foam body. First I measured out the approximate height and dimensions, then I drew Muno free-hand on the foam. Make sure to line the mouth up with the eyes of the person inside. Before cutting anything, I widened the arms and legs to compensate for the curvature that will happen when you attach the 2 layers together (i.e. make it 3D). Again, keep in mind the measurements of the person who will be wearing it. Their arms, legs, hips etc need to fit inside and they need a reasonable range of motion.
Since I was limited by the width of my foam, and i wanted to ensure that there was enough room to move around in the arms, I opted to cut the body and the shoulders out (up to the mouth) then add the arms and head on separately. This also allowed me to do a fitting without completely suffocating my subject.
I cut out 2 identical layers and began assembling the body. In this case, I sewed the two layers together using thick sewing thread and a curved upholstery needle. This is painstakingly slow and... well... painful. But it's effective. What's more effective (I've recently discovered) is using contact glue. However, contact glue is messy and highly toxic (i.e NOT kid friendly). Either method will work - it really just depends on what fits your lifestyle better. When attaching the 2 layers, leave the inside of the right leg open so you can attach a zipper later on.
Once the main body was fitted, I added the arms and the head. and then did a quick fitting. For added comfort I slit a hole in each hand right next to where the thumbs attach. That way the wearer could get his hands out if necessary. I used small scraps of foam to cut 2 identical U shapes for the thumbs and attached them as well. (in retrospect, it would be best to add the thumbs after they have been covered in red spandex).
Step 3: Red Outer Layer
For this step, I simply used my completed foam body as the pattern. I carefully laid out the material (folded over and pinned together so I could easily cut out 2 layers at once). The dog promptly mistook it for his new bed, which made him super happy.
The spandex was not quite wide enough to cover the hands in their resting position. Luckily spandex is stretchy and I was able to cut each layer from one whole piece. This is recommended to give it the toy-like effect you want, as seams would be very distracting.
I traced the body on the fabric, then carefully cut it out and sewed the two pieces together using my trusty machine. Again, leave the right inseam open, as you will be attaching a zipper later.
Once assembled, I slipped it over the foam body and pinned the edges into place.
Note: thumb pieces were covered individually using scraps.
Step 4: Zipper Installation
Using the 20 inch zipper, I pinned it from the crotch towards the ankle on the right inseam. Make sure the zipper top starts at the crotch (i.e zipping down towards the ankle).
Clearly, this hole is not big enough for a grown man to get inside this costume, so you'll need to add the other zipper in the opposite direction. (Or alternatively, use a 56 inch zip if you can find it!). Starting at the crotch, pin the 36in zip up the back of the costume. Once in place, you'll have to slice the foam and the material open. Readjust the pins if necessary so the zip lies flat up the back.
Sew the zips into place - make sure to fold the spandex over so that none of the edges get caught when you use the zipper later.
Step 5: Bumps
For this, we cut the top off the bottles. We then cut the tip of each one off, creating a relatively round shape.
Each shape was covered with an 8 inch piece of red spandex and fastened with a rubber band at the back.
Once assembled, we placed them on the body and secured them with the glue gun.
Step 6: Mouth, Eye and Teeth and Final Fitting
All we had left to do was attach the head trimmings and do the final fitting.
For the eye, I covered a 9in aluminum pie pan with white spandex (secured again with the glue gun). Check
Then I cut a 3 in circle from the black felt and attached that to the center of the eye to create the pupil. Check
I used foams craps to create two identical teeth, covered them in white spandex then sewed them to the mouth. Check
The black mesh was attached to the mouth from the inside with the glue gun. Check
Final Fitting FAIL
We found in the fitting that the head kept leaning forward and obstructing visibility. We solved this by attaching a broom stick inside the back of the costume to hold it erect. For those making the tall version, watch out for low tree branches and NYC scaffolding :)