Instructables

The Phoenix Costume Process

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My Halloween costume was a mythological phoenix, the colorful red and gold bird that bursts into flames and is reborn from its own ashes. This costume consumed all my free time in September and October, but I'm really pleased with the result!

To make a phoenix costume:
Bodysuit:
- 1 white full body unitard (Bal Togs brand)
- Jaquard brand fabric paints - 2.25fl oz size
     - Lumiere line (2 crimson, 2 gold, 2 burgundy, 1 burnt orange)
     - Neopaque line (2 yellow, 2 gold yellow, 2 red, 1 black)
- paint brushes
- 1 iron (for heat setting)
- 1 mannequin to hold your bodysuit's shape
How-to:
Plan out your design, then start painting! This design took me at least 40 hours to complete. Having a mannequin is crucial for holding the body suit in the stretched position. The body suit is made primarily from nylon, so I chose Jaquard paints because they were one of the few that list nylon as a suitable base. If your body suit is made from a different fabric, you may want to investigate a different brand of paint or do a test sample.  After the body suit is dry, flip it all inside out and iron it with the correct setting for the fabric. I placed towels in the legs and arms so the designs weren't pressed together under the heat.

Bird Feet Boots:
- 1 pair of boots
- 1 inch thick green high-density foam (sold a fabric stores for seat cushions)
- white craft glue
- scissors
- 6 fake bear claws
- black or brown acrylic paint
- 16oz liquid latex
- foam brushes
- fabric paints for painting the boots to match (leftover from body suit)
- paint brushes
- Hot glue and gun OR Liquid Nails perfect glue
How-to:
Using craft glue, stick together pieces of foam so that they are wide enough for a toe (about 3 inches wide). Shape the foam with scissors so that it is rounded and toe-like (repeat 5 more times). Cut out an insert for the claw, but don't glue the claw in yet. Paint the green foam with acrylic paint so it matches the boots. Using the foam brushes, paint the toes and boots with liquid latex. Be sure to follow the instructions on the liquid latex. Once the latex is dry, glue in the claws. Then paint the boots to match your costume. I used fabric paints since they would match the body suit even though they're not the perfect paint for sticking to latex (and I'm not sure what is).

Headpiece:
- 2 4'x4' pieces of polyethylene foam
- hot glue and gun
- 1 red and 1 gold spray paint
- 2-3 sheets of kids thin craft foam
- acrylic and fabric paints (leftover from body suit)
- paint brushes
How to:
Create paper patterns of each spiral piece and cut them out of polyethylene foam. Glue the pieces together with hot glue so that the flat sides are together and there's a space for your head. It's almost like making a helmet. Cut out pieces of the thin craft foam for the beak and side "feathers" and glue on with hot glue. Give the entire headpiece a base coat with spray paint, then add accents of color with acrylic paint and any leftover fabric paint.

Wings:
- 1 pair of Isis belly dance wings
Available online

Face:
- Face and body paint - Paradise, FAB, and Kryolan water-based cakes
- paint brushes
How-to:
With water-based face/body paints, dip your brush in water and rub it on the surface of the dry cake until the paint is a smooth and creamy consistency. Now paint your face however you wish! I don't have any process photos of this part, so you get to be creative!
annieannie11 months ago
Unbelievable!!! I hope you took first place at ANY costume party, you would have deserved it!!
LP211 months ago
Wow ! Awsome !
dcivarson11 months ago
This is incredible. You are very talented. Thanks for sharing!
Wroger-Wroger11 months ago
Far out.....
Wroger-Wroger11 months ago
Far out.....
chuckyd11 months ago
Wouldn't it be a lot easier just to paint your skin?
BreannaC (author)  chuckyd11 months ago
Even though the body suit took longer to paint than skin, it was actually much easier in the long run. I wanted to wear this costume a few times so the body suit allowed me to get ready quickly yet still "look" like my skin was painted. Plus it was nice that all my work didn't just wash down the drain at the end of the night :)
how much do you think it cost you to make?
BreannaC (author)  sarahannharper11 months ago
Sorry for such a delay in responding, just now saw this! I'll send you a private message with more info.
Eromanga11 months ago
Excellent finished product - looks awesome.
BreannaC (author)  Eromanga11 months ago
Thank you!
shadowkat11 months ago
Very nicely done. Will you be posting some V2 pics of the later transition of the costume?

-Kris
BreannaC (author)  shadowkat11 months ago
Haha, that's a good idea! I should probably create an Instructable about all the variations of bird-like creatures one can create with wings and bird feet boots :)
peanutgnome11 months ago
Nice work on the instructable Breanna - I've seen the boots close up in their third incarnation as the Raven, wonderful work! Glad to have met you in person, we will have to get you on haunTopic radio for sure!
BreannaC (author)  peanutgnome11 months ago
Thank you for the compliments! Glad to have met you too! Those poor boots have gone through many more incarnations than I ever intended...but they sure are fun :)
askjerry11 months ago
Very nice... the basics are simple... the painting and makeup transform it into something absolutely stunning!
BreannaC (author)  askjerry11 months ago
Thank you so much!
Oh man! This is a really beautiful costume. I remember seeing this on the Chipotle Boorito thing and thinking it was neat, wondering how it was made. Lo and behold I find it on Instructables. Nice Job!
BreannaC (author)  Stephanefalies1 year ago
Haha, what a small (costume) world! Thanks so much!
MonkiMan1 year ago
wow, Just amazing!
poofrabbit1 year ago
Congratulations on being a finalist in the Halloween contest!!! Can’t wait to see if you win! Good luck!
triumphman1 year ago
You are invited to my next Halloween bash!
WOW! Nice custom esp. the face design and colors. Well done.
Honus1 year ago
This a really well thought out costume- the body suit painting is just phenomenal.
BreannaC (author)  Honus1 year ago
Thanks! I'm so glad I found a way to look bodypainted yet stay warm :)
Lorddrake1 year ago
WOW .. faaaaaaaaaaaaaaantastic job.
BreannaC (author)  Lorddrake1 year ago
Thank you! It was fun to wear too.
This costume is just amazing! The facepaint, the outfit, all of it is just beautiful!
BreannaC (author)  Penolopy Bulnick1 year ago
Thank you so much, Penelopy!
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