This year I wanted to try something a little different then my usual mash-up costumes. I decided to go big or go home and what better way to make something big then to inflate it. So this year I am going to convert a 8’.5” foot tall 7’ wide Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Inflatable Lawn Decoration into a portable / wearable costume. More projects / photos at SubBass100.com
Step 1: Step 1: AC/DC?
The first step I would need to do is check to see if the fan motor will work on a portable DC power source. I was a little bit saddened when I read the sticker on the power supply. It read output voltage 12vac. If it was a synchronous motor the whole project would be canned but it turns out that when I hooked up a 12vdc power source the fan turned on and worked as it normally would. So I am guessing that either the label was printed incorrectly or the LED’s inside some how were part of an H-bridge to convert AC to DC.
Step 2: Step 2: Power
Next I had to find a 12v battery that would last long enough to keep this costume inflated at a party. This was done by using an old gel battery from a batter back-up. So I cut the wire that went to the wall adapter and soldered on some flat connectors that would allow me to connect to the battery. After testing the motor on this new battery the first thing I noticed was how heavy the battery was. So I decided to make a way to attach it to my belt. This one done by using a plastic coat hanger (the kind with the metal swivel hook at the top). I cut the hanger down to the length of the battery and used some duct tape to fasten it. I bent the metal part of the hanger to be more narrow and hung it from my belt. It was a little uncomfortable in the beginning but as I re-positioned it and bent it different ways it was not as bothersome anymore.
Step 3: Step 3: Sewing
Now I needed a way to get into the costume. I noticed that there was a small zipper on the back to aid in the deflating process. So I figured I make that wide enough that I can fit into it. I took a trip to a local Walmart and picked up a 24” heavy duty zipper. If I could have done it all again I would have got a 36” zipper. The 24” works but is a little snug getting into it. I cut the costume along the seam to the length of the zipper. Before I added the zipper I took the time to fold back where I cut and stitched the flap on each side as well as some extra stitching around the very ends for strength. Then I stitched in the zipper. After watching a Youtube video on sewing I decided to go with a straight stitch as it was the simplest and fastest one I can find. To do a straight stitch just bunch the fabric together so it makes multiple MMM shapes then push your needle through the arches. Don’t make too many arches or it will be difficult to pierce with the needle and pull the thread threw.
Step 4: Step 4: Trying It On
At this point I went outside and tried it on, cool! It filled up and looked great, but there were 2 problems. The most annoying issue was the fact that I couldn’t see anything when in side of it. Even if I put my face up to the material I couldn’t see anything! The other problem was the fan dragged on the ground and clogged up with the material so the costume would start to deflate.
Step 5: Step 5: the Window
I went to a local fabric store and purchased some thin transparent plastic. I had to but it by the yard so I still have a lot left over. I measured a piece that would go right behind Stay Puft’s scarf. I did this so If I wanted to use it as a decoration later or scare people with it, it would still look like a lawn decoration. I cut the costumes fabric and stitched the flaps back like I did with the zipper. Then I overlaid the plastic and and used duct tape around the edges to make it air tight and give it a boarder. Lastly I stitched through the tape, plastic, and folds. the whole way around to make it strong. Now I am able to see out of the Stay Puft costume.
Step 6: Step 6: Inflation
The last obstacle I needed to overcome was to hold up the fan so It didn’t drag on the ground. Although this was the toughest thing to figure out it was actually the easiest thing to do. I’ve determined that I will stuff Stay Pufts feet into my shoes to save them from becoming ripped and also give me something comfortable to walk on. The fan is located in Stay Pufts heal / ankle area which just so happened to be right on the upper back part of my shoe. I took a metal coat hanger and bent it in an L shape and placed the one half inside my shoe under the padding and above the sole. I was able to widen the metal coat hanger and fit the fan into it securing it against the back of my leg.
Step 7: Step 7: It's Alive!
The costume worked great and ended up winning a funniest costume award at a friends Halloween party and won first place at my works Halloween costume contest. I plan on taking it out on Halloween and acting like a normal lawn decoration until people get closer. Then I’ll move in on them and hopefully scare them pretty good! I'll try to get some video up after Halloween!