A stalk-around also know as a Stalk-about or a Lurker is a costume that mounts on your shoulders, Making you look like a 8 foot tall monster! The professional version of the costume costs over 2400$, I knew I wasn't going to pay that much for it so After looking at some reference photo's and other plans I sketched up a design that would turn out to be just as frightening and a fraction of the cost!
The costume comes complete with controllable arms and working head movement! So let's begin!
Here's a video of the complete costume!
Step 1: Material's and Supplies
1" PVC piping ( I ended up using about 25 feet )
PVC connectors Including:
4 T connectors
1 Cross connector
6 End caps
90 degree elbow ear drop
old camera tripod
wooden screw mount ( instructions for making in instructable)
Zip ties or cordage
foam tiles or chicken wire
8 eye bolts
two 2" triangle hinges
monster gloves ( I got mine for 7$ from a costume supply store)
Cheap drapes or big piece of fabric
Button snaps or Velcro
See through fabric (optional)
Hot glue gun
Hot glue sticks
PVC pipe cutter
Step 2: Building the Frame: Shoulder Pieces
(Note that all measurements in this Instructable are based on my body shape, so yours will most likely be different)
Start by first measuring the width of your shoulders and cut 2 pipes the length you measured ,I ended up cutting the pipes nine inches and trimming them down to seven.(remember to Always cut all the pipes a little longer that normal, you can always trim down but you can never add on.) Then cut the pipes in half and add the T connectors, Finally add two of the 90°s on the ends. You now have your shoulder pieces!
Step 3: Building the Frame: Chest Mount
Now that you have your shoulder pieces you'll need to make the chest portion of the costume, To start take one of the shoulder pieces and attach it to a section of pipe, Then cut the pipe to about mid torso length as shown in the picture(mine ended up being around 11 inches) you'll need two pipes this length. Now cut a smaller section of pipe to connect the two shoulder pieces together (picture 3 & 4) connect them together to form the front portion, To form the back portion do the same thing you did with the front except cut the pipes that extend down to just above hip level (it ended up being around 14 inches) , this adds extra stability. You have now created the base of the costume!
Step 4: Building the Frame: Upper Portion
Now that you're chest frame is finished it's time to make the upper section of the frame, First off the finished product should stand about 8 feet tall, I'm roughly 5' 7" and the foam head is 1', So I ended up making the 2 middle pipes around 1 1/2 feet which would make the entire costume standing about 8 feet. Once you've cut & connected the 2 main pipes you can put the two T connectors on the other ends and measure a pipe that will fit in between them (Mine measured out to be 9 inches) then cut it in half and add the cross connector, For the shoulders I placed the head on the cross connector and judged how wide i should make them with a small piece, also take into consideration that it will be bulked up afterwards (Mine ended up being 5 inches for each shoulder) after there cut attach them to the frame and place a couple of the end caps on, Now you're ready to move on to making the arms!
Step 5: Building the Frame: Arms
To make one of the arms you'll need to start with one 42" pipe, Now instead of cutting the pipes right down the middle I cut them a couple inches off from it, due to the fact that in real life the upper arm is a little longer that the forearm, so instead of cutting it at 21" I cut it at 19".
after there cut the the next thing you need to do is to put the eye bolts on the connectors, I used two end caps for the longer pipe and one 90° for the shorter pipe, I found the easiest way to screw them in is to first make a small indentation on the tops of the connectors using a nail, Then screw the eye loops in, once they got to hard to turn by hand I stuck the tip of a pencil in the loop, and used the pencil as a lever, Then take one of the 90°s and placed it onto one end of the shorter pipe, Now take a small pipe and insert it in the other end of the 90° Then cut to desired length(These serve as handles.)Next take the two 90°s and put them on both ends of the longer pipe, Finally I placed the arm pieces together and secure them with two zip ties linked together. Repeat these steps to make the second arm! To connect the arms to the body frame you'll need two more end caps with eye bolts, But rather then have the eye bolts connect to the front have them connect to the sides
(as shown in picture 16 & 17) those connect to the frame, secure the arms to the frame using zip ties as done before!
Step 6: What Tripod to Use
To have the costume's head movement work right you'll need the right kind of camera tripod, most tripod's will probably work as long as they have a full up & down 360° turning capability. Above is a picture I found of the model I used. You'll also need one with legs that can come off, I just needed to remove a few screws on mine.
Step 7: Costume Head: Wooden Mount
Now that the arms and framework are finished let's move on to what I think is the coolest part of the costume, The working head movement, To start you'll first need to make a wooden head mount that fixes on the camera tripod, I made mine by simply cutting a piece of plywood into a circle a little bigger than the foam head's neck base (this was all done by using a rotozip) I then found the center of the circle and drilled a small hole so the camera tripod could screw snugly into it, I then made two additional holes and attached a miscellaneous fitting I found to work as a foam head support. I had to cut some pieces out of the head to make it fit.
Step 8: Costume Head: Tripod Attachment
After The wooden base is finished, the next step would be attaching the tripod to the frame, I cut a couple pieces of foam insulation and trimmed the edges down so they would fit snugly in the cross connector, I then slide one of the pieces over the tripod shaft and slide the tripod into the cross connector, I finally plugged the opposite end of the connector with the other piece of insulation, It should hold it in place but still have it swivel smoothly. I also suggest to save a few back up pieces in case the others flatten over time.
Step 9: Costume Head: Helmets and Hinges
Now that the attachment part is complete it's time to move on to the actual movement, For this part of the project you'll need the 2" triangle hinges, the hard hat and the metal strip. First off the helmet I used was a plastic army helmet from last
year's Toy soldier
, (Thanks PuckstoppingPoke!) Once I added another chin strap it worked fine but you can always use a hard hat, I started by drilling some holes in the wooden base and then I attached one of the hinges to it. Next I attached the metal strip to the hinge using zip ties (there were a lot stronger then I thought) I then drilled a few holes in the brim of the helmet and a place another hinge there (I used a regular hinge on the helmet cause I was a little short on time, I'd normally recommend another triangle one)Next I put on the helmet, then the frame. Now it's time for the tricky part, Keep your head in the natural position then position the foam head so it sit strait too, now place the metal strip against the helmet and mark the place on where to attach it to the hinge, Once that's done take off the helmet and the frame and zip tie the helmet to where you marked on the strip,then try it on again and test the movement of the head. It may take a few tries to get it positioned just right!
Here's a video of my dear friend Mr. ghoul showing the head in action!
NOTE: This was made after I bulked it up which will be shown in the following steps.
Step 10: Bulking It Up: Frame Base
The costume is half way done! Now it's time to bulk it up let's start at the base, this part of it is important, the bulkage at the base will give the costume a snug fit and it'll take a lot of the weight off you're shoulders. All you need to do is cut sections of pipe insulation the same length as the pipes themselves, then remove the adhesive backing and squeeze them together. The insulation around the shoulder wasn't able to stick together so I just pressed the adhesive backing to the actual pipes. I also started to run out of pipe insulation for the back so I just cut the rest of it into smaller sections.
Step 11: Bulking It Up: Arms
The next step to the bulking process is the arms for this you'll need the foam tiles, some hot glue, some duct tape and a pair of scissors. I started with the forearm, begin by cutting all the nubs of one of the tiles, then put a line of hot glue along the top of it and place the pipe it, while it's drying cut two long strips of duct tape and have them at the ready, once dry wrap the foam tightly around the pipe and secure it with duct tape, I then added addition strips afterward. Repeat the process for the upper arm the only difference will be that you'll have to add another strip of foam to cover the full upper arm.
Step 12: Bulking It Up: Shoulders
To bulk up the shoulders I started by cutting the foam tiles so it's length was from the neck to a little past the end of the pipe, I then cut a groove out of the edge so the arms could still have full mobility (As shown in picture 2) Next I placed a dab of hot glue on the edge near the groove, let it dry and secured it the rest of the way with duct tape. I had to take off the arms to slide the shoulders in place, I used hot glue and duct tape to secure the shoulders to the frame. To attach the hands to the costume I just used some simple hot glue.Now all that's left...... Covering it up!
Step 13: Covering
NOTE: Pictures of the covering process will be posted soon
The size of sheet I needed ended up being a lot bigger then I originally though, first I tried using some small curtains...Not even close! Then I tried using a queen size mattress sheet...closer but not quite there. I finally ended up using a pair of large black drapes sewn together, It did the trick! I started by draping the sheet over the framework, I then evened it out and cut a hole where the wooden mount was I then pulled the sheet through, Next I cut a square notch out of an old CD I then hot glued the CD to the wooden mount ( It keeps the sheet from coming out of hole again) For the arms I Found the parts of the sheet where the arms would have good mobility but not reveal the framework of the costume. I then applied some pieces of Velcro to hold the sheet to the arms. When I finally tried on the costume I discovered that you could still see some of the tripod and framework, to fix it I took a piece of scrap silk and cut a hole in it the same size as the fitting on the mount and put it in place, So once the head is secured the silk covers the remaining framework. We now have a finished costume!
Step 14: Turn Out & After Notes
My only after notes are to make sure to use PVC glue just to hold it all together and defiantly use a hardhat (It got a little tough after a while)
Other than that the Stalk-Around was a huge hit! Almost every 5 minutes I had someone wanting to pose in a picture with me, a lot of people were terrified.....Especially when I ran with it ;) I got a lot of complements on it and it even made it on the local courier journal
site! The payoff was defiantly worth all the work!