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Simple (yet effective) Edward Scissorhands costume for kiddos

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Picture of Simple (yet effective) Edward Scissorhands costume for kiddos
When my son told me that he wanted to be Edward Scissorhands for Halloween, I knew that we were going to have a blast making the costume for him. Everyone in the family had something to add - my son of course offering the piece de resistance by literally *becoming* Edward that Halloween night :)

Many people have asked us over the last year, so here it is - how to make a (mostly!) simple Edward Scissorhands costume for your kids. Tone it down or add to it as you like.
 
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Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3: Collect (lots of) Belts

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Collect belts from used clothing stores. We ended up with ten belts for our then 4 year-old son. Obviously, bigger bodies will need more belts. They were collected over a period of several months anytime we were near a Salvation Army. Find black belts of all shapes and sizes with lots of grommets, studs, big metal buckles, etc. The more visual variety the belts have, the more interesting the costume will look.

Step 4: Sew a Simple Shirt & Pants with the World's Most Forgiving Fabric

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Next, sew the shirt & pants. Note: I am NOT a seamstress and you do not need to be either.

Buy some cheap black pleather at the fabric store (I bought a yard and a half for my 4 year-old, but again, bigger bodies will need more). Retrieve a shirt and pants that are essentially the size and shape you are seeking. Draw a simple pattern around them on the back of the pleather, allowing about a half inch on every side to sew. Pleather is wickedly forgiving and easy to work with.

The shirt will require six cut pieces of pleather - two for each sleeve (if you are brave, or more experienced than I, you can achieve the sleeve in a single piece of fabric - but for this particular suit, the additional seam is irrevolent), one for the front and one for the back.

The pants are just two pieces, front and back, with an additional inch of length added to sew in the elastic waistband. If you are literally looking for the costume to be a one-night wear, you can also just belt it up with electrical tape and skip the waistband altogether.

Sew 'em up! These pieces should be straightforward and very simple - they basically serve as a blank canvas for all the wonderful belt gluing you're about to do!

Step 5: Fuss with the Belts 'til They Look Right

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Now it's time to figure out where you are going to place the belts on the pleather suit you have made. Lay the belts out and arrange them in a variety of ways until it looks good. DO NOT cut any of your belts until you have made final decisions regarding placement, because you will then cut them to size based on their location on the shirt and pants.

Once the belts are cut and you have an idea of where they will be placed on the suit (drawing a "map" sketch of their locations wouldn't be a bad idea), use a hot glue gun to adhere the belts to the shirt and pants. Afterwards, you will want to reinforce all of the belts in place with black electrical tape to keep them from falling off - the hot glue and pleather are only a fleeting bond and the tape will hold everything in place.

Once your bucked pieces are in place, you will have lots of scrap pieces with grommets and studs. Fill in the rest of the suit with these scraps in the same way you attached the buckles.

Congrats! With the addition of a black turtleneck and a final belt worn loosely around the neck as a choker, you now have yourself an Edward Scissorhands suit.

Now, about those scissorhands...

Step 6: Edward Plastic Butterknife Hands

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The hands begin with a plain pair of well-fitted black knit winter gloves.

Using a toilet paper roll, cut 2 pieces of cardboard that will make the shape of the entire back part of the glove to give it a sense of robotic body - spray paint them shiny black and when dry, attach to the back of the gloves with a glue gun.

Take ten gray or silver plastic knives and file the teeth down with sandpaper (this is for safety and to flatten out the curve of the butter knife). Then attach knives to the pinky, ring and middle fingers of each glove using electrical tape - Stuff the glove first with tissue paper to give them the shape they will be when worn (or have your child wear them) - you will need to secure these firmly around each finger, or the knives will droop.

For the pointer finger, you will have an actual "scissor" made with the butter knives. We didn't feel it was necessary to the illusion to have all of the fingers have actual scissors, but we liked the visual appeal of having the one on each hand.

To make this portion of the glove, make a mark on the center points of two knives, and then drill a hole through the marks. Bring the knives together and screw them together with a very small screw and nut. For safety, add a drop from the glue gun onto the spot where the screw sticks out. Do the same to the other glove.

For the loop at the top of the "scissor," cut a small circle from a 2" PVC pipe and then cut that in half into two "C"-shaped pieces. Spray paint the pieces black and then attach to the top of the screwed-together knives with the glue gun. Note that they look more like real scissors when the tops of the knives are facing each other as the sharp part of the scissor.

Tape off the thumb with electrical tape (Edward does not have a scissor on his thumb :)

Step 7: Hair & Make-Up

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While a wig is certainly an option for this costume, real hair just simply looks better. Our son told us his plans to be Edward early enough so that he could grow his hair out to an Edward-appropriate length for Halloween. This is one of those costumes where the hair really matters, so a little pre-planning on this can really go a long way.

To make the hair stick up Edward-style, use about a tablespoon of a max-strength styling agent (we used Got2b glued spiking glue) on dry hair. Lean them over and blow dry upside-down so that gravity can aid you as the product is drying. Once you've achieved the desired amount of stickupedness, use hairspray to shape the ends and touch up the roots. Then, if necessary, spray the hair black with temporary hair color - we used 2 cans of Fright Night brand in 'Black Fog', and it went on very nicely. Apply outdoors, if possible, the stuff stinks.

For the make-up, start with a semi-unnatural shade of white for the base, and then add in a few shadows under the eyes and at the cheekbones (this is Johnny Depp we're replicating here) with charcoal-colored eye shadow. Add scars in various locations with smudged red lipstick lines, blotted until softened and subtle.

Color the lips with the same white foundation that you started with, and then draw in a new set of cupie doll lips with black eyeliner, and then fill in with black lipstick.

Voila! Your little Edward is now ready to take on your neighbor's hedges!
torreyakatoe9 months ago
Haha, actually made this 2 years ago. Got 10 belts for $8, total costume only $15. Won 6 contests with it! ?
about how much cash did you spend on this costume?

so far it hasn't been cheap. over a $100 easy.

caraslifka (author)  scarlettfox9 months ago
YIKES! I bought a bunch of used belts for 99 cents each and less than 2 yards of cheap pleather - probably $25 for the entire costume, including the hair spray. Are you buying the belts used?
scarlettfox9 months ago

this is very involved, but so far worth it. First, you have to collect like... a dozen belts for cheap, or it can add up very fast. That takes time, because 99% of belts won't be "right." They'll be gold, or the wrong color, or wrong width or material... then you have to sew the material by hand. (after purchasing it, which I did online.) then you have to figure out how to arrange the gloves. It's not easy to find black gloves in a tiny size. It was even difficult on amazon. they are all cutesy. Then you have to get black shoes, and make the knives and or tape them to gloves. then arrange the costume with glue. then theres the matter with buying the correct, not crappy make up that won't smudge all over the black. Then you have to do the make up right on a toddler. Then the hair... It's a lot of work. then the toddler is upset because he essentially cannot use his hands during a holiday where hand use... is essential. So, all in all, it's expensive and a TON of work. Lots of buying little things that add up, and planning ahead. I've been working on it a month and am hoping to be done in time. Finding the belts took the longest. It's amazingly adorable so far though, I'm so excited.

JenniferH29 months ago

Why can't I see anything for steps 1 & 2? What am I missing?

EMUSAW10 months ago
OH MY GOSH, THIS IS SO ADORABLE!!!!
Most adorable costume and kid ever!
erlabjork3 years ago
best costume ever! i love it!
Aww! That last picture is so cute!
amandaggogo3 years ago
This is themost adorable Edward Scissorhands I have ever seen! Love how he's got is expression down pat. What a cutie! :0)
Awesome job on the costume by the way!
totally agree :D
he's sooo cute!
TalitaPeres3 years ago
I was afraid! =D... loved it!
cenzi3 years ago
oh my god!!! I hadn't seen this instructable until now!! congrats on winning!!!! this is absolutely awesome and I just can't believe your son WANTED to be Edward!!! I love it!
caraslifka (author)  cenzi3 years ago
thank you thank you! i love your lego guys as well, so awesome and well-constructed! we're winners, wooo! ;)
jgil63 years ago
He looks amazing and what a cutie! I tried doing the make-up thing on my son and he hated it. We had to wash it all off! What a little trooper! I think I want to try this next year! Great job!!!
that is the cutest damn thing EVER lol. very nice!!
I think that your son is probley the best posible person for the"role".If my brother suted up in that he would look weird
Kryptonite3 years ago
Amazing, the title of the Instructable covers it perfectly, it's so simple and SO effective! I'm genuinely impressed, I hadn't seen past how truly simple the costume was until you pointed it out, great work!
caraslifka (author)  Kryptonite3 years ago
thank you so much for the nice comment...it's true that i think this costume looks much more involved than it actually was. when people started making a big to-do about it on flickr, i remember my response being "but all i did was glue a bunch of belts onto some pleather." i guess it's proof that overthinking it doesn't always make for the best end result. thanks again!
Your pictures are especially spectacular, did you take them yourself?
caraslifka (author)  Kryptonite3 years ago
i did, yes. thank you :)
lironess3 years ago
Wow that is just about the cutest thing I have seen for a kid in a LONG time :) I totally LOVE it!
He is the most adorable Edward Scissorhands I have ever seen!
adorable and totally scary
Thats exactly what I was going to say!
Yes, his presentation of the costume really pushes it over the edge!
caraslifka (author)  Penolopy Bulnick3 years ago
thank you :) he really turned it up a notch when he put the suit on, which i think adds a lot to the overall costume.
Amazing =)
zomfibame3 years ago
by far one of the cooler things I've seen on Instructables.
nnygamer3 years ago
Awesome!
caraslifka (author)  nnygamer3 years ago
ty! :)
So many great ideas in here! I love how you made his hands.
caraslifka (author)  jessyratfink3 years ago
thank you - i gave my husband the basics of how i envisioned the hands looking, and then set him free to make it happen...i think he did a nice job making something simple that also functioned like Edward's hands - I should have added the picture of him giving me a haircut with them, ha!
Quite good - I especially like the hair at the end. Kudos!
caraslifka (author)  valhallas_end3 years ago
aww, thank you! my husband used to wear his hair very tall and spikey, so he had some experience in making it happen for our kiddo :)
NoFiller3 years ago
Great costume. I love your creative use of belts and plastic knives. He is Edward Scissorhands!
caraslifka (author)  NoFiller3 years ago
thanks much! i have seen other costumes where the scissors were cut and painted from styrofoam, but i felt like this was a much easier method, but it's cute and funny and adds to the "costume" feel of it. :)