Introduction: Trio of Minion Costumes (Despicable Me)

Last month the wife and her friends requested some adult minion costumes and here is what resulted. I hope you enjoy.

This design gets as close to the movie proportions as possible. The arms are fake and slits will be cut on the sides to allow the real arms to be stuck out if needed. Thankfully my wife was happy to be "slightly inconvenienced for the sake of accuracy".

If you like the costumes, please vote in the upper right corner for the Halloween Costume Contest.

Step 1: Body Structure

The body of each minion is a tube of 1/2" EVA foam (aka polyethylene foam) with the edge glued using contact cement. The dome top was made by inflating a yoga ball to the appropriate diameter to fit the tube. Then plastic wrap was layered on the yoga ball. Then multiple layers of paper mache were applied. I used a 1:5 ratio of water to elmers glue. Flour based mixes can mold.

Once the dome has dried on the yoga ball, deflate SLOWLY and remove. Deflating too fast can cause vacuum and it will crumple the head. I recommend you get light weight wall spackle and try to get the dome as smooth as possible with multiple layers of fill/sand/fill/sand. It makes a HUGE difference in the final finish quality. The fleece can't hide everything.

Once the dome is off, turn it upside down and spray lines of expanding foam inside to make a "subframe" to give rigidity. Make sure there is a band around the outer rim. Once cured, duct tape to the top of the body tube. Then climb inside and add a healthy amount of gorilla glue around the edge. This glue expands and soaks into both types of foam. It will get you the strongest bond possible between the two sections.


Step 2: Shaping the Face

I used a heat gun to help shape the face of the "bee do" minion. Applying heat slowly will cause the foam to soften. Hold it in position until it cools and it should hold the shape. You can see how the purple minion's mouth was shaped to a bigger degree.

I also hot glued metal strapping to the purple minion's mouth to give it even more shape.

These small details will make the costume stand out a LOT more so take the time to give it some personality.

Step 3: Goggles

The goggles were made using EVA foam, weather stripping and round topped furniture nails. The "8" shaped front was cut. Then a 4" wide strip was attached to the back. The goggles then need to be trimmed to fit the round body of the minion. Hot glue worked well everywhere. The furniture nails are used to replicate the rivits. The lens is crystal clear acrylic plastic.

The eye was made by making a hoop from plastic tubing. Then spandex type material was stretched extremely thin over the frame and tacked in place with hot glue. When installed the wearer will be able to see out since it is dark in the costume, but those outside will see light reflect off the white hiding the person inside. To get the pupils, I found a tube and did short bursts of spray paint to create each circle. Take it slow to keep the paint thin and not impede the ability to see though the spandex.

Eyelids are made with EVA foam wrapped in the applicable body fabric (fleece) and hot glued to the hoop. The whole eye assembly is then hot glued into the goggle at the end. Be careful to not have trapped dirt and clean the acrylic with windex before install.

The straps around the side are strips of 1/2" EVA foam with lots of the furniture nails to look like rivits again.

Step 4: Upholstry

Use a good quality spray adhesive for general gluing and hot glue to tack down high stress seams.

The key to the minion costume is getting the smoothest dome head possible with the least visible seams.

BEST ADVICE: If you're building this for someone else, try to talk them into a theme that hides as much of the dome as possible to make your life easier. If you have the flower lei it will hid seams. If it is the golfer you can avoid the dome entirely.

I used fleece fabric to give some hiding of imperfections while having some stretch to keep wrinkles out. Start by spraying a vertical strip of glue on the front of the dome. Press the fabric and let it set for a couple minutes as this will form your anchor.

KEY ITEM: Stretch the fabric the least amount possible to get out wrinkles as you go. It will take more and more pull to get them out as you work to the back. 

Once the dome is done. simply wrap the rest of the fabric around the sides, again starting from the front. If you have a seam or wrinkle...you want it hidden on the side or back.

Cut all holes (eyes, mouth) before upholstering. This way you can then wrap the fabric around the edge. 

Overalls: I suck at sewing so I did all my work with a rotary cutter, spray adhesive, and then wrapped each edge over on itself.

Step 5: Purple Minion

The purple minion took some extra work on the hair and teeth. The hair is coconut husk sheets that usually line planters. It was pulled into triangle shapes (thicker on the base...thin at the top) and glued in layers to get bulk out of the hair. Everything was sprayed silver as a basecoat and then different shades of purple. The teeth are cut from 1/2" EVA foam.

I still need to add pipe cleaners to give the "stubble" you see on the little monster in the movie.

Step 6: Bee Do Lights

Each of the red lights was made by taking a pitcher from the dollar store, cutting off the handle and painting it with transparent red paint from a hobby store. A layer of gloss clear was then added since the red can end up tacky. Then take silver duct tape to wrap the base. I took a foam circle, connected it to the light with duct tape strips on one side, and then glued the foam base to the head. This way you can lift the light shell to put a flashing LED light inside and close it back up.

I added a LED headlamp from Costco that had a flash setting. 

Step 7: Arms

I found irrigation tubing that was bent like those bendy straws. This allowed it to be positioned in any orientation, stretched, or compressed. It was upholstered with a simple strip of fabric left over from the body. Gloves are being sewn and will be attached shortly. To mount the arms, cut a hole in the body, but START SMALL. The more snug the hole is...the less you'll have to glue. If it is super snug you don't have to glue at all and can rotate the arm around.

Step 8: Charity Events and Random Outings

We try to get year round use from the costumes. Entertained at a children's hospital holiday party, surprise birthday visits, seeing Santa, and Halloween parties.

Comments

author
corradini made it!(author)2013-10-23

Insane. It's like watching an episode of Prototype This meets the Mythbusters guys. You must have done a LOT of brainstorm-shopping... (Hey, great term, if I do say so myself - it's something I do all the time building equipment for my startup...) Clever use of materials - I love the coconut husk stuff for evil minion's 'hair'! (Yep, I voted for ya -- good luck!)

author
Partybot made it!(author)2013-10-23

Thanks so much. That means a lot. Yeah I enjoy walking down every single aisle at the hardware store just taking in what is available. The Home Depot employees never know where to find robot pants, unicorn horns, 6' dream catcher kits, or minion goggles. Oh and I will be ripping off that term...I hope you don't have it copyrighted.

author
tom.chester.56 made it!(author)2015-04-09

These are licensed characters. Don't you need permission from Universal Studios to create these? I know with any other characters from movies, cartoons, etc, it is illegal to recreate them.

author
Partybot made it!(author)2016-04-24

With all costumes based on copyrighted characters, there is an unspoken agreement that if you don't sell them, companies see it as free promotion. The only way you get a cease-and-desist is by making it a business.

author
pfred2 made it!(author)2015-08-06

You can make whatever you want in this life for your own use. But when you go to distribute things then the law gets sticky on that point.

author
Partybot made it!(author)2015-04-11

Legally, yes they own all intellectual property including the right to reproduction. They could technically tell me to stop or threaten to sue. In reality though, big companies love the free attention and don't care as long as you don't make money off their copyright. Even small scale sales are usually fine. There have only been a handful of cease and desist letters sent to the Cosplay community. In fact, I sent this picture to Universal Studios and they loved it and shared it on their feed so I'm not too worried :)

author
madneth made it!(author)2015-08-22

I love it. I plan to make it and we have already started. thank you

author
Partybot made it!(author)2016-04-24

I'd love to see pictures

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Cruzchristian+ made it!(author)2015-09-09

I was wondering what color yellow fleece you used for the minion. Was the color just yellow? And i dont live in a big town so its hard to get my hands on things....with that being said you used acrylic clear plastic for the goggles. Is there anything i could take apart in order to get the pieces i need? I just havent had any luck in finding anything to use. Thank you

author
Partybot made it!(author)2016-04-24

Yes the fabric was yellow fleece with no dye. I'm sure you can find it online. For the eyes you could use plastic plates/platters from the party store

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dominguez650 made it!(author)2015-10-01

where are you able to see from?? mouth area or eye area?

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Partybot made it!(author)2016-04-24

the eyes

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Schweddyballs81 made it!(author)2015-10-07

what type of material did you use for the stringy hair of the yellow minion?

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Partybot made it!(author)2016-04-24

It is flexible plumbing tubing from Lowe's. Try to find black because the paint would chip on mine

author
bschonec made it!(author)2015-10-10

Would you be so kind as to tell us how tall both minions are from the bottom of the EVA foam to the top of their heads? (Top of dome of yellow and top of "flat" head on purple).

My wife and I would like to make our own costumes, and like you, we want to get the proportions right.

Thanks!

author
Partybot made it!(author)2016-04-24

So sorry. I didn't get a notification of your message. The minion is about itself is 5' tall. Total height depends on the person inside and straps can be adjusted.

author
Jedi_zombie85 made it!(author)2015-10-15

Amazing

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dominguez650 made it!(author)2015-10-01

How can you see out? Thru mouth or eye?

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rosabell made it!(author)2015-08-28

Hey this idea was great !!! I was wondering if you could make one for my 4 yr old and u could pay you . He would love this idea for Halloween

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madneth made it!(author)2015-08-22

I love it, I plan to make it and we have already started. thank you

author
pfred2 made it!(author)2015-08-06

Pretty sweet Minions costumes.

author
chicomegan made it!(author)2015-07-05

I'm so happy i found this! I want to make this for my son this Halloween! This is a great jumping off point for me. Never thought of foam bodies.

author
ornarvaezjr made it!(author)2015-06-21

awesome!!!!!

author
jennifer.carrbraham made it!(author)2015-03-25

Would you be willing to rent out your costumes or be hired? We are hosting an event April 5th and would love to have two of these. My contact number is 253-859-5823 ex 9121

author
dianna.sanchez.9 made it!(author)2014-11-15

This is so inspiring! What is the measurements of the minion bodies? length and width. Thanks, looking forward to completing mine!

author
Partybot made it!(author)2014-11-16

Thanks. They're 24"x56".

author
benn.cheney made it!(author)2014-10-24

Hi,

These look amazing!

What size foam sheets did get please?

What is the diameter of the body?

Is each eye piece 8in diameter each?

Thanks
Benn

author
acde2011 made it!(author)2014-10-23

found this while searching for halloween costume ideas for kids, and embarked on it.

I found some red transparent plastic cups at Target to use for the bee-do minion lights:

http://www.target.com/p/spritz-tumbler-red-10-ct-10-oz/-/A-14620158#prodSlot=medium_1_6&term=spritz+cup

but not sure how to attach them on the head. any suggestions?

author
Partybot made it!(author)2014-10-23

I would cut a disc out of 1/2" foam rubber about 1" bigger than the open end of the cup. Press the cup into the foam to make an outline. Take a razorblade and cut a slit along the diameter. Now when you put the cup back down it should slide into the grove and stay in place. Glue the disc to the head with contact cement

author
acde2011 made it!(author)2014-10-23

Ingenious!! Thanks much.

Btw, I found a clear plastic bowl, about 18" diameters, at a local party store. I will be using that for the dome of the head. The bowl has a flat bottom; I am hoping to either use a baseball cap or frozen/elsa wig, if I can convince my daughter.

The body is a bit big/heavy for my 5 year old, she will have a hard time carrying it around. I am thinking I need to install some sort of harness on the inside so she can carry/support on her back like a backpack (except that she is in the backpack!).
Do you have any suggestions?

Will post pix when done. Nothing even close to the professional stuff you got there, but hey, 5 year old thinks it is the real thing!

author
Partybot made it!(author)2014-10-24

here is a view with an abundance of gorilla and hot glue

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author
Partybot made it!(author)2014-10-24

take irrigation tubing called "pex" from the hardware store, cut it to form a custom sized hulahoop that goes inside the minion. take the foam you used for the body, cut strips and glue them over the hoop to the inside of the body like belt loops on pants. then thread nylon strap around the hoop (front left, back center, front right) to form shoulder straps. you can pad them if needed.

author
mike.trefry.56 made it!(author)2014-10-20

Where did you get the foam at? I'm trying to build it for my fraternity Halloween party.

author
acde2011 made it!(author)2014-10-24

I bought it online:

http://www.thefoamfactory.com/

http://www.thefoamfactory.com/closedcellfoam/cross-linked-polyethylene-foam.html

It is working out great. Easy to use, cut, duct tape etc.

author
nicole.lowe.56481 made it!(author)2014-10-17

Fantastic costume!! Love it! How did you get the fabric to lay so flat and smooth on the top? I am having problems with the fabric bunching up since it's round..

author
Partybot made it!(author)2014-10-17

The key was using a fleece that had good elasticity and hiding the wrinkles where they weren't obvious. Having somewhat thick fleece also hides the seams.

I used a high strength spray adhesive and followed the directions to let it get tacky so it really worked like contact cement. I did a vertical stripe up the front and got that secured. Then I pulled at a diagonal up and back working my way back. Same starting on the back. You end up with a horizontal seam at the bottom of the dome and two diagonal seams at the back of the head. Hope it helps.

author
christianb3 made it!(author)2014-10-12

helllo, would you be able to email me a list of all the products and equipment you used to make this minion? Thanks

author
Partybot made it!(author)2014-10-15

Products and tools are listed in the text. You can get the foam from foam by mail dot com and Barge contact cement from amazon dot com.

author
iMotherMonsterr made it!(author)2014-10-13

what did yours for the purple ones hair?

author
Partybot made it!(author)2014-10-15

Coconut husk mat which you can get in the garden section of the hardware store. You can also use Horsehair Braiding aka Crinoline Tubing in purple which may give a better effect

author
SDB1 made it!(author)2014-08-10

finally.. i finished. thanks so much partybot...this is my mexican minion.

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Partybot made it!(author)2014-08-10

great job. especially the goggles.

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SDB1 made it!(author)2014-08-11

thank u very much ,yes ,one week only in the goggles,i was used fiberglass. and use acrilic with microperforated vinyl adhesive.

author
SDB1 made it!(author)2014-08-10

finally.. i finished. thanks so much partybot...this is my mexican minion.

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author
SDB1 made it!(author)2014-08-06

hi.=)¡YOU ARE isnpired me to. and i made my our minion inspired for you work, but i have one trouble with mi googles,, and i checkin your pictures and see, the diference ,thanks for not be selfish,and showing how to make,,, greetings from puebla.mexico

you can see my progres in facebook SD BOTARGAS/ FACEBOOK

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author
Partybot made it!(author)2014-08-06

Wow that is GREAT. I'm so happy I could help! I'll keep an eye out for your future work. I'm always happy to answer any further questions you may have.

author
ALECIALLEY made it!(author)2014-05-22

sick...

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Joshblake made it!(author)2014-04-24

Ok, you inspired me and I attempted the project. :) I loved what you did with them!!! The purple one now has pants, but I took the pic before I was done. haha. I also made a baseball cap to go on the yellow minion. :)

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Partybot made it!(author)2014-04-25

You did a great job. I'm happy I could help. It's that felt used on the purple minion hair?

author
Joshblake made it!(author)2014-04-25

Thanks...actually the store had a sale on vehicle carpeting...I think it was $2 or so....so I bought a few packs and just cut it up and spray painted it purple. :)

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Bio: I am a foam fabricator and own a costume and prop design company called Partybot Designs. I take on commissions of any scale from cosplay ... More »
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