I had a lot of fun putting together this Treebeard costume for Halloween this year. It took a weekend to make the head and another day to put the body together. It was a pretty rushed build, I needed to use a heater and hair dryer to dry the paint and clay quickly enough but somehow it all came together. I've put notes on most of the images to explain the steps but some of them only show up if you expand them.
Most of the effort went into the head. It has a base of cardboard, with layers of papier mache, plaster of paris (which is awesome and hardens in about 10 minutes) and a super light weight air-dry clay for the details. I really appreciated the help I got from the folks at the Utrecht art shop in San Francisco, they steered me to just the right materials even though some of them were cheaper than the ones I was looking at and gave me the tip about using the air-drying clay.
A lot of people asked me about the eyes at the party; I made them by printing using a photo printer on some thick photo stock, I was surprised how well that worked. To make them 3D, I cut a spiral slit in them and bent them into a shallow cone. After that, I put some "triple-thick" acrylic varnish on top for a bit of shine.
Being an electronics geek, I couldn't resist throwing some LED fireflies in the beard just for good measure.