Introduction: Rem Costume
(Since I tend to get asked about selling the Shinigami, Rem and Ryuk have been sold. But hey, you can make your own!)
Originally I was going to sculpt, mold and cast a latex suit, but after sculpting and making the torso, I hit a block. My mold locked and I couldn't get it open! I still wanted to make Rem so I took a different route to make a faster, cheaper costume.
In a nutshell I made a bodysuit, glued craft and upholstery foam and backer rod to it, covered it with latex and repeated this method for the feet and hands. I also made a wig and face (chin and nose) prosthetic. It's not as detailed as I would like, but overall I am very happy with the results.
This costume was constructed in about two and a half weeks, so you still have plenty of time to make it for Halloween :)
Step 1: Gather Supplies
For this project you will need:
- A body suit/unitard/tight-fitting top and tights that you don't care about (I made mine, you can buy one)
- Duct tape. Enough to wrap your entire body a few times!
- Bandage scissors
- Bags/newspaper/polyester fiberfill for your body
- A friend (or two)
- Alternatively, if you already have a mannequin that's your size you can use that and just skip making a body double all together. But maybe you don't have one. Or maybe you do but it's trapped under a giant concrete mold...
- Full-body stretchy bodysuit that zips up from the back (I made mine, you can buy one)
- Your body double
- Craft foam
- Upholstery foam
- Backer Rod
- Hot glue (and glue gun) preferably with different temperature settings
- Boots...ideally big 7.5" platform heels but go with something else if you can't walk in them!
- Ice Cube Tray
- Casting Latex
- Paint - white PAX paint, blue latex paint, white and tan acrylic paint
- Ideally, an airbrush if you have one.
- White beanie (I made mine, you can buy one)
- Wool roving
- Blue (or purple) dye
- Dye pot (and tongs)
- Hot glue (and glue gun)
- Needle and White Thread
- Mold of your head (see how to make one here)
- Ultra Cal 30
- Spirit Gum or Pros-Aid
- White Face Makeup (Since i have an airbrush and compressor, and did a bunch of costumes using the same makeup, I used Endura Alcohol Based Airbrush Makeup).) I also carried around a small creme cake to do touchups around the eyes and prosthetics)
- Black and blue (or purple) makeup (I used a creme pencil)
- Setting Powder
- Cat-Eye contact
Step 2: Prepare Body Double/Suit
Wearing a bodysuit, have a friend you in duct-tape! We started wrapping the mid-torso first, then the bust. Next was the thighs, then the arms, and then the lower legs. Only one layer of duct-tape was sufficient, with a few additional vertical pieces added along the limbs and torso. Once you are all wrapped up, have your friend carefully cut you out; using the medieval/bandage scissors, carefully cut down the back of the duct-tape suit (you will be cutting off both the duct-tape and body suit, which should now be one). Depending on your shape, you may have to cut up the arms and the legs too (I had to).
Once you are free of your double, stuff the arms and legs (with plastic bags, newspapers, extra polyester fiberfill), taping up the arms and legs as you go. Do the same with the torso.
Take the second bodysuit and pull it over your body-double. You can buy your bodysuits or make them - either way make sure the second one has a zipper in the back. I had an old one I used for the duct-tape body, and then made a second one out of cheap fabric.
Step 3: Add Foam to Suit
Looking at reference pictures of Rem, begin cutting out and hot gluing foam to the bodysuit. I used thicker foam for the upper torso and hip pieces, craft foam for the "shoulder blades", "arm vertebrae" and front-leg pieces, and backer rod for all the multiple 'squiggles' over Rem's body. Be generous with the hot glue, BUT be very careful. I found that the backer rod would melt if the glue was too hot. So be sure to do tests and experiment. Make sure to leave the zipper accessible!
At this point, you might think the costume looks rather...well, like a weird avant-garde diaper suit.
Step 4: Cover Foam in Latex
Next begin covering the entire suit in latex. This will take some time. You will have to coat the front, let it cure, then the back, let it cure, redo the front, let it cure...repeat this at least 6 times. Preferably a minimum of 8. You want it to be strong, but flexible.
I initially brushes on 3 layers of latex, then sponged on 3 additional layers to give the body some texture. You can add more texture and details by adding more pieces of craft foam or toilet paper and coating them in latex. Make sure you cover all of the foam and suit that is exposed.
For the spine, fill an ice-cube tray with latex - pour out the uncured latex after 20 minutes. Let the remaining latex cure and then repeat the process until you have a spine to your desired thickness. Once cured, remove it from the tray and glue one side to the back, just over the zipper. (It should flip open to reveal the zipper)
Step 5: Make Hands and Feet
Now do the exact same thing for the hands and feet! I bought a pair of gardening gloves from the dollar store to use as a base for the hands and a pair of platform shoes for the feet.
Using craft foam, make fingers, toes and various bone-like fragments and glue them to the gloves/feet. Then cover in latex.
Step 6: Paint Latex Pieces
Now it's time to paint! First coat your latex suit with PAX paint. This will prevent future layers of paint from cracking. Now, I didn't have that much PAX paint, so I mixed white PAX paint, blue latex paint, white acrylic paint and water. I sponged two coats of this (blue) mixture over the costume. Never, ever try to airbrush latex/PAX paint; you will ruin your system.
After the PAX-mix layer, paint the body white, (and add some blue and tan highlights). You can use regular acrylics for this - they shouldn't crack because of your special base layer. I airbrushed my costume (but I think a bit of drybrushing would have been good for more detail).
Repeat this process for the hands and feet.
Step 7: Make the Wig
Separate the wool roving into various lengths for your dreads. You'll want nice thick pieces for your dreads; they will get longer but skinnier once you roll them. Soak the wool pieces (individually) in HOT soapy water, and roll the wool between your palms and/or on a towel. (There are faaaaaar better wool-dread tutorials out there, you should probably checkthemout!).
Once your dreads have dried, it's time to dye the bottom of them. Follow the directions on the dye packet (in terms of adding salt/dye mix/hot water). I bundled my dreads up and then dunked them into the dye pot; after a few minutes I raised them up and held the bundle a bit higher-up in the dye vat. I waited a few more minutes and raised them again and held them in place for about 5 minutes. These times may change based on the type of dye you pick up.
Rinse the dreads with cold water, then let them dry (again.)
Make (or buy) a little white beanie (there are lots of easy free patterns online - choose the one that suits your head best). Glue (or if you have time) sew the dreads to the beanie! Wrap pieces of cheesecloth around the base of the beanie, and glue/stitch it in place. You want enough layers of cheesecloth for it to look like a bandage, but thin enough so you can see through it (since it'll be covering your eye).
Step 8: Create Face Prosthetics
I decided to create some prosthetics to wear as Rem - you can skip this and just use makeup, but I really wanted to make my face appear a bit more other-worldly, so I sculpted a nose and chin out of clay on a copy of my head. I then made an ultra-cal 30 mold of these sculpts, then casted the final pieces in latex. If you need a more in-depth tutorial on how to do these steps, a lot of my othertutorialscoverthem.
Step 9: Put It All Together
Apply your face prosthetics (some people prefer pros-aid, some people like spirit gum) and paint your face white. Put your cat-eye contact in, pop your wig on, slide into your suit, and put on your gloves and shoes (probably with help from a friend!). I was very fortunate (and am very grateful!!!) to one of my friends, who dressed as Misa and acted as a "handler" (she help me get around, cleared the way, and kept me hydrated).
Do you know how to kill a Shinigami?