Introduction: Telescoping Minecraft Creeper Costume
Minecraft - its an obsession in my house. When my 8 and 10 year old kids aren't playing it, they are sharing the details of the Obsidian they just mined, or are drawing up plans for their next creations. So when it came time to choose this years Halloween costumes, the characters of Minecraft were an easy choice.
After carefully considering all of the available characters, including sheep, skeletons, or one of the many skins of Minecraft Steve, my daughter settled on a Creeper. I knew this would be a very cool looking costume - but I wasn't sure how practical it would be. The Creeper has a long body with 4 short legs to support it. Wearing a costume with a body section that extended to her feet would make it near impossible to walk - let along climb stairs when Trick-or-Treating.
We considered shortening the body so that the feet were closer to her waist. This would improve the mobility, but would definitely look a bit odd. After some brainstorming and multiple design sketches- we finally found the solution to our dilemma: a Telescoping lower body! It could be lowered when stationary and then raised up for walking.
With a design concept in hand, we set about making our Creeper!
Materials you will need:
* cardboard sheets
* Photoshop - or similar photo editing software
* sheetrock screws
* liquid nails
* scotch tape
* 3M spray adhesive
* Gorilla Glue
* scrap foam
Tools you will need:
* color printer
* straight edge
* utility knife and Exacto knife
Step 1: Get Your Dimensions
I've found that the key to making a great looking character costume is to have it scaled correctly. Without a Creeper action figure (does this even exist?) to measure, we downloaded one of the many papercraft templates that are available online. Papercraft templates are great in that they give you all of the dimensions you need on a single sheet of paper.
Once you've gathered the dimensions, you will need to then determine your scale factor. Since this costume is for my daughter, we took our key scaling dimension off of her. Our scaling dimension was measured from her shoulders to the ground. The thought is that the body portion of the costume is supported by her shoulders, and as a result the shoulders of the Creeper costume need to match this height.
The scale factor can then be applied to all of the dimensions from the papercraft template. You are now ready to start cutting cardboard.
Step 2: Make the Body
The Creeper character is essentially made up of rectangular box shapes. This makes cardboard the logical choice of construction material. Ít's cheap, easy to cut, and easy to fasten together with glue.
Our costume was made up of three distinct sections: head, body, and lower body. We started with construction of the body, which is itself constructed from three separate pieces. The front surface and side surfaces were made from a single piece of cardboard with two small flanges - one on each side - for easy attachment of the back surface. We attached the pieces together using liquid nails. Sheet metal screws were used to cinch the pieces together and hold them in place while the glue cured. This provides the added benefit of allowing the partially assembled box to be handled before the glue is dry.
Next the end cap was added. This too had flanges that were used for gluing to the body section. A square shaped hole was later cut into this end cap to allow my son's head to fit through.
Arm holes then need to be added on the side surfaces. Make these oversized to facilitate the process of putting the costume on and taking it off.
Helpful hint: We found that scoring the cardboard before bending to allow for much cleaner folds.
Step 3: Make the Telescoping Legs
The telescoping section of the costume needs to snug to the body, but still have the clearance to slide freely. We accomplished this by wrapping a strip of cardboard around the body. I placed some cardboard shims between the two sections to ensure there was at least some clearance. With the folds in place, I capped the lower section with a rectangular piece of cardboard.
Legs can now be added to the lower section. The legs are again made from cut and folded cardboard pieces. Flanges are used for attachment to the lower section.
Step 4: Make the Head
The head, which is essentially a cube, was constructed from three separate pieces. The first piece makes up the top of the head and three sides. The three sides fold down from the top surface, which starts to make up the shape of the cube. The edges are secured together with cardboard angles and liquid nails. Sheet metal screws are again used to hold everything together while the glue dries.
The fourth side surface is added and again attached with cardboard angles. If my cardboard sheet were large enough, I would have made this just fold down from the top surface.
Lastly, the bottom surface needs to be added. It has a square hole for a head to poke through. This is attached with cardboard angles.
Step 5: Add the 'Skin'
The first step is to make your skins. Our skins were made from images printed on a color laser printer, however any color printer will do. We used a high resolution papercraft template as the source image for our Creeper (the one you used to get your dimensions may very well work). It took some time to find one that had a high enough resolution to not lose its definition when blown up to 16x its size.
Once you settle on your image, open it in Photoshop. Next open up a blank Photoshop file and set the canvas size to exactly match the dimensions of your surface of interest on the costume. For instance, each side of our head measured 14.00 x 14.00 so we set the canvas size to that for all surfaces on the head.
Back in the papercraft image, select the surface you wish to enlarge and paste it in the new canvas. Perform a free-transform to stretch it to completely fill the canvas. The file can then be saved to a .pdf. I have attached 3 of my .pdfs to this page. These can be scaled to meet the size you need. The body image can be used for all sides of the body with some trimming where needed.
The file can then be opened in Adobe and printed to a color printer. Be sure to print it with no scaling (100% size). To do this, select: Page Scaling>Tile Large Pages. You will have to trim the resulting prints and tape them together. The easiest way to trim the prints is with a sharp Exacto knife and a straight edge.
Before attaching your skins, tape all exposed seams on the cardboard with masking tape. This smoothes the transitions and covers the cut edges.
Use 3M spray adhesive to attach the skins to your cardboard. Again tape all of the exposed seams - but do so with scotch tape this time so that is not noticeable. As much as I love the 3M adhesive, it does tend to peel back at the edges over time. The tape prevents this.
Step 6: Assembly
There are two assembly steps:
Tethering the lower leg section to the body section: A two foot length (approximately) of Velcro was used to tether these two sections of the costume together. The Velcro is secured to the lower leg section on the inside, near the bottom. It is attached to the body section on the inside, just beneath the arm hole. We secured the Velcro with Gorilla Glue.
Be sure to leave a short length of velcro at the top. This will be used to hold up the lower leg section of the costume when the wearer needs to have it up for walking. The Velcro mates with a small piece on the outside of the costume, mounted towards the top of the lower leg section. This may sound a bit confusing, but it makes a lot more sense in the shown photos.
Tether both sides of the costume to evenly support the weight of the lower leg section.
Attaching the head: We attached the head with 2"strips of Velcro. This allowed for easy removal of the head (as required to eat candy during the various Halloween festivities). The Velcro was bonded to the cardboard with Gorilla Glue.
Step 7: Finishing Touches
... almost done!
Eye-hole: Cut a hole in the head so that the wearer can see out of it. We cut along the pixel borders to keep it as clean as possible.
Shoulder pads:Foam was also added under the top surface of the body to prevent the cardboard from digging into my daughter's shoulders. This significantly improved the comfort of the costume
Enhancements and other ideas:
* Camouflauge the eye-hole: black screen or nylon stocking could be mounted to the inside of the head to hide the viewing cut-out.
* Give your Creeper a mortal enemy: Build a Minecraft Steve costume as the perfect complement to your Creeper! https://www.instructables.com/id/Minecraft-Steve-Costume/