Introduction: Wind-Up Doll Costume

This wind-up doll costume is the perfect interactive costume for Halloween. Not only is it super cute, but THE KEY ACTUALLY TURNS! In this tutorial I will show you how to make the key mechanical or wire it up to turn with a button.

I had quite the battle with this costume. I went through 3 iterations trying to get the key to turn and ended up with the final version in the 11th hour (doesn't it always seem to work that way?). Read about my process of building the key and the two failed versions at the end of the Instructable.

My makeup was done by the lovely Kiriko Kikuchi. Tutorial coming soon!!



Step 1: Laser Cut Key

I laser cut the key head out of cardstock and the key base out of 3/8" plywood. I've attached the illustrator file so you can cut your own.

See the following steps for assembly instructions.


Building my #Halloween #costume with #lasers #instructables @p9workshop

A video posted by @carleyjacobson on

Step 2: Assemble Key Base

You will need the laser cut wood pieces, a servo, and 2 pieces of elastic (length: your waist + 5 inches for each). Refer to the last image in this step to learn the names of each part of the base assembly.

  1. Glue 3RINGS to the top of the MIDDLE piece and 3RINGS to the bottom of the middle piece. **
  2. Let that dry.
  3. Place the servo in the cut out rectangle on the MIDDLE piece then glue the servo to the MIDDLE piece.
  4. Note where the top of the servo is sticking out ---> this is the TOP of the base. The other side is the BOTTOM.
  5. Glue the OPEN RING to the RING on the BOTTOM of the base. Make sure the opening lines up with the wire attached to the servo.
  6. Thread the elastic through the BOTTOM piece.
  7. Glue the BOTTOM to the OPEN RING. Make sure the BOTTOM is oriented so the elastic doesn't hit the servo.
  8. Glue the TOP to the RING on the TOP of the base.

**If you have a bigger servo you may need to add more rings to make everything fit together.

Step 3: Assemble Key

  1. Cut a cardboard tube to 8" length
  2. Add the INSERT you laser cut to the tube and epoxy it in.
  3. Cut a slot in the tube about 3" down through the center of the tube. I used a small hand saw.
  4. Put the key head into the tube slit. Align the tube so it sits directly in the center of the key head.
  5. Super glue the edges of the key head to the tube.
  6. Spray paint the key and base. I used a white base then a metallic silver paint.

Step 4: Attach Key to Base + Creating Movement

Glue the key to the servo in the base. I used epoxy and it fell off. Then I tried hot glue and it hasn't fallen off yet!

To move the key you have 2 options:

1. Move by Hand - Mechanical: in this case you don't have to do anything! The key is attached to the servo and will move and make an awesome noise when people turn it.

2. Move Electronically: You can attach a battery pack to the servo using the wire hole in the base design. If you create a button people can press it and the key will turn!

Step 5: Attach to Body

Wrap the elastic around your waist. I tied the elastic in the front to get a snug fit, but you can add snaps or buckles.

I ran the elastic under my dress by leaving the dress un-zipped, wrapping the elastic around my waist, then just snapping the top of the dress. It worked surprisingly well and left no skin showing through the open zipper.

Step 6: Clothing + Accessories

Check out my Pinterest Boardwith inspiration for different wind-up doll looks. There are so many fun options!


Dress: I got super lucky and found this dress that fit perfectly at a thrift shop. I did get it steamed to give it a polished look. It has a tulle skirt underneath to give it volume. I was going for more of a vintage look. Some other looks include: robotic doll, rag doll, ballerina, fairy, and more!

Shoes: For this outfit I went with Mary-Jane style shoes with a wedge heel. The shoe really depends on the dress. I would also suggest ballet flats or ribbon lace up (gladiator style).

Wig: I found a really nice wig that can be styled with heating products. I wanted to have the option to do some curling + teasing. I ended up just styling it with two long braids. If you want more looks for hair styles I suggest looking at my pinterest board.

Step 7: Makeup Application

Here are some photos of the makeup. Separate tutorial to come soon!

Step 8: KEY FAILS

I first attempted was to attach the key to a wind up toy mechanism. Although I had seen this done on the internet, I thought it looked flimsy but I still decided to give it a try. When I actually glued the key to the mechanism it completely fell apart.

My second attempt was to use the motor from a littleBits kit. This required a lot of structural build up around the littleBits to keep everything in place. I ended up having the same problem - the littleBits motor was too weak.

Comments

author
cora.shaw.10 (author)2014-10-30

Hi can you please tell me where you got your Servo?

author
Carleyy (author)cora.shaw.102014-10-30

Yes! You can get them at most electronic parts store. Radioshack sells them http://www.radioshack.com/search?q=servo

author
ngraff33 (author)Carleyy2015-10-15

How did you power the servo? Is there a battery pack to connect it to or does t need to be connect to a circuit board?

author
BrightStCy (author)ngraff332015-12-10

Yes! Carleyy- is there a battery pack?

author
BrightStCy (author)Carleyy2015-12-10

You are fabulous! I was wondering what in the world a servo was! I need to be a Steampunk service bot in January. You have saved my hide!

author
cora.shaw.10 (author)Carleyy2014-10-30

Thanks!! I am soooo excited to do this. Now I'm in a race to get it done by tomorrow!!!! Amazing idea. Thanks for posting.

author
Carleyy (author)cora.shaw.102014-10-30

Awesome! Please share a picture of your project in the comments when you finish. I'd love to see it!

author
Lupa Epsilon (author)2015-10-06

For Halloween this year, I plan on attaching the key to a very tiny music box. (It's tiny; probably no bigger than 3x3 inches.) This way, when you turn the key, it plays music!!!!!! I have the perfect dress, too. My friend is really into acting, and she was helping clean out the school costume room, and she got this cool renaissance-style dress, but it didn't fit her, so I got it!!!! My dad is ordering me colored contacts that make your eyes look bigger, it's gonna be awesome!!!!! Note: if you are doing this for Halloween, then you want make sure it's a very warm costume. You don't want to have to wear a coat over your masterpiece!!!!

author

I live in Michigan; it can get very cold on Halloween up here

author
cora.shaw.10 (author)2014-11-01

Well, mine turned out great. I missed the part where you said you cut your turn key out of card stock. Mine was out of wood BS very heavy so I had to so some extra bracing. I would post a pic, but I don't see an option for that.
I won the costume contest I was in!

author
Carleyy (author)cora.shaw.102014-11-04

I did it out of wood at first but I had the same problem! Your costume looks awesome!

author
M.C. Langer (author)2014-10-30

This is fantastic, Carley! Great job! :-)

author
Carleyy (author)M.C. Langer2014-10-31

Thanks!!!

author
onemoroni1 (author)2014-10-30

So cute, you got my vote.

author
Kiriko Kikuchi (author)2014-10-30

Looks awesome Carley! Here's the makeup tutorial: https://www.instructables.com/id/Halloween-Costume-Wind-Up-Doll-Makeup-Tutorial/

author
mrmath (author)2014-10-30

Way more complicated than I anticipated. I am really impressed that you went the extra mile with this to make it turn manually or with a motor. I would have just strapped a giant cardboard key on my back.

author
peppypickle (author)2014-10-29

Incredibly creative! Such a fantastic costume!

author
Carleyy (author)peppypickle2014-10-29

Thanks! I appreciate the support!

author
SparkySolar (author)2014-10-28

neat

author
Carleyy (author)SparkySolar2014-10-29

Thanks!!

author
BLR_RAVI (author)2014-10-28

wonderful effort...truely realistic doll...great pic and description

author
Carleyy (author)BLR_RAVI2014-10-29

Thanks! I had a wonderful makeup artist help me.

author
shruti.takhral (author)2014-10-29

great mind

author
Carleyy (author)shruti.takhral2014-10-29

Thanks!

author
Victor Does (author)2014-10-28

Lovely atmosphere in the pictures!

author
Carleyy (author)Victor Does2014-10-29

Thanks! I took the pictures at the Exploratorium. It was a really fun photo shoot!

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Bio: Former Instructables employee CHECK OUT MY WORK www.carleyjacobson.com
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