Introduction: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Costume (Child's Costume)

One of our favorite things is Halloween, this year our daughter wanted to be a banana, then a special forces dude and then and then and then. The best part about being a child is that you can change your mind as many times as you want with little consequence. She finally decided (so far) on a TMNT, This made my heart warm as I LOVED the Turtles. So off to spirit we went which made me cringe, Im not a huge fan of store bought costumes (for obvious reasons) so I tried to convince her that we could make one! This seems to be a running theme with me, our motto is “We can build it” after all.

Step 1: Materials

The attached Image was our inspiration. Of course we strayed a little ;-)
A mask, we made ours outta latex but that's another instructable
Material, PJ's, Sweats or an existing Costume base
Cushion Foam
Styrofoam
Couple yards of flannel
Hot glue
Velcro
Paint
I think that's about it.

Step 2: The Mask & Base Costume

As stated previously we made our own mask! We sculpted them out of clay, molded them in plaster and cast them in latex. This is an involved process and can be googled for tips on getting started but I would think it would be easier to purchase one from the store ;-)

Next we turned our attention to the the textile portion of the costume, we are not really sewers here, we can get by but not sew anything serious. So while walking through Goodwill I stumbled upon this gem. It is not quite a turtle and it has a weird butt flap thing but I think it is a great starting point.
This is also where a green pair of sweats of PJ's would come in handy. If you like the spots simply paint them on with fabric paint.

Step 3: The Front and Back Shell

With that taken care of I started to put some thought into the shell, in my opinion this is the second most important and recognizable part of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle with the exception of the mask. I fired up the computer and started to design the shell, once I was happy with it i cut it into the blue board foam. My plan is to carve out the center a little for a better fit and add some straps. It is completely 3D and about 2″ thick at its thickest.
I did to both the front and the back of the shell
Now I understand that not everyone has a CNC so I will refer you to a former instructable I did on carving foam: https://www.instructables.com/id/Dremel-a-Batman-Foam-Board-Master-for-a-Plaster-Mo-1/
As for the front of the shell I used the same process as above. Once I got the foam master cut I made a plaster mold and pulled a latex copy. Again, long process and it may not be for everyone. So there are a couple things you can do. You can cut some foam and cover it w material and shape it out like a turtle under shell. Or dremel some foam and glue it on!
Ok back on track with the back of the shell cut it was time to paint it. When painting foam you have to cure it first so the paint does not come in contact with the foam (it will melt it) there are a couple things you can use gesso, wood glue & water or plasti dip. We used plasti dip as it works great, dries fast and paints easy! The next step was to make some kind of rigging for the shell to attach to the costume. I put a little thought into this as the costume is rear entery so I couldn't attach it to the back. So I went back to goodwill and bought a backpack I cut the backpack at the seam so I was just left with the back and the straps, I hot glued it to the shell added come foam for comfort and completely covered the back with some flannel. Now this posed another problem as the straps were now on the outside of the costume and visible. Here is what we did to fix that, we covered the straps of the back pack with brown flannel to pose as the belts or weapons rigging. This also created an issue as the rigging has to go over the back of the shell so to solve that problem we covered some foam in the same brown material (which we will cover in the next step) glued them to the front straps and stretched them over the back of the shell. Boom done. Next a little painting and the back of your shell is ready to go.
With the front of the shell being custom made outta latex (again this is not your only option see above) this part was extremely easy. We glued it to the body suit and added a little paint.

Step 4: Belts and Pads

This step is prolly the easiest of the whole costume. We will start with the knee and elbow pads. For the Knee and elbow pads I took some cushion foam and roughly shaped it out, I then took a knife and cut some v shapes into the foam to give then a little shape. Once I had this complete I took some flannel and began to glue it over the foam starting in the v shape. I then stretched it around the edges and to the back hot gluing it into place. Once this was done I trimmed a rectangle piece of flannel the height of the pad and the length of whatever it took to get around the arm and leg. I laid it face down and glued the pad in the center. I then tapered the material and glued it down. Once this was done I put Velcro at the ends to hold the pad to arms and legs. The last thing I did was cut small holes in the backs of the pads for the knee and elbow to rest in. This should help keep the pads in place during combat!

Now the belt were a very simple part of this costume! For the rigging belts I cut 2 pieces of foam the same width as as the back pack straps and a little longer than I needed. I also cut some flannel a little wider and lo get than the foam. I wrapped the flannel around the foam and hot glued it into place. I then attached it to the front straps of the backpack and used the extra to taper down to the strap giving the illusion of the strap continuing to the back of the shell. Next I built a wide waist belt in the same fashion as the rigging belts.the only difference is I added a little Velcro to the front of it to to attach it to the backpack straps and then to the back so you could open and remove making getting out of the costume easier. The last part of this was to add some Velcro to the shell & waist belt to help hold it in place and some Velcro the the rigging belts and the waist belt to help hold those in place as well! Finally we decided to add some little details we did wrist and ankle wraps out of some flannel and hot glued it into place. I also made a little nunchuck holder outta some foam I basically just wrapped it around the chucks and glued it into place. I then took the same flannel as the belt and covered it.

Step 5: Your All Finished

Well that's how we built our daughters Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Costume. We need to reprint the mask as I stated we used one we had previously made. I hope this ible helped make the process a little easier. This was not really a hard build just time consuming, it would prolly be easier and about the same price to go buy one, but what fun is that and like we always tell our kids "Store bought costumes don't win costume contest.
Jeremey

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Bio: Malmey Studios was collaborated in February 2010 By Jeremey & Mallie Adams. The premise of our work is to build high quality movie props and custom ... More »
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