Introduction: Block Head Costume

About: Married with children. Enjoying art as a hobby/career, and always desiring to learn and experience more in this field.
A costume instructable that is perfect for someone who has a week left before their Halloween gathering and NO costume or the cash to buy one. This is one time you'll like being known as a BLOCK HEAD! 

The reason this costume is great for the low-budget costumer is that it's almost entirely made from cardboard/paper, and cardboard is everywhere! The next time you are out shopping, take a trip behind the store and look for what they call their "trash/recycling" cardboard. It's free, usually undamaged, and is big in size. This is perfect because you will need a fair amount of cardboard to make a proportionately sized "block" for your head. Make sure the cardboard you get is corrugated.

You will need the following for this build:
  • Cardboard                        
  • Poster Board                    
  • Wood or school Glue
  • Super Glue
  • Glue Stick  
  • Flexible plastic
  • Scissors/Exacto blade
  • Ruler/Measuring Tape
  • Spray Paint  (White or color of choice)

Not necessary, but helpful items:
Spray Bottle
Small Screen

Step 1: Pre Assembly

  • To start, you will need to place a ruler under your chin, parallel to your collar bone, to determine how wide your box needs to be. Pick a size you think will look right in ratio to your body. Using this measurement with your six panels will make your box square.

Doing a Google Image search for "How to make a box" results in several plans that would make a suitable box for this project. I will show you how I made mine.
  • Using a t-square, I cut out six pieces of cardboard panels, to the measurements I thought appropriate for my box. 
  • I cut cardboard strips around 2" wide, and 1"- 2" shorter than the length of the square panels. These strips were scored down the center to make assembly corners for the inside of the box.
  • Small cardboard triangles the length of the width of the corner support strips were also cut and are used to strengthen and support the inside corner strips.

Step 2: Box Assembly

To start assembling the box:
  • Glue an inside corner flush with the edge of one of the six panels. (I used Elmer's wood glue. It sets with long enough time to move pieces around, but still bonds quick enough that you can keep moving.)
  • Next, add a panel to the other side of the corner strip. For every two panels glued together, I adhered the cardboard support triangles to the accompanying inside corner strip. I placed one at both ends and in the center of the strip.
  • Continue this process for five sides of the box. Before adding the fifth panel, cut a hole in the center of it, big enough to easily put your head through.
  • DO NOT add the sixth panel yet. You will need access to the inside of the box for the head support piece.

Step 3: Head Support

There is always more than one way to make something. For the head support, I used materials that I already had on hand. You can substitute the materials I used for something you may already have in your home, or know where to get cheaply.

I started with a large piece of polystyrene plastic. If you don't have any polystyrene, a plastic non corrugated  for sale/garage sale sign is the same thing.
  • I cut a 2"-3" wide strip that was long enough to go over my head from shoulder to shoulder. I bowed this strip at the center to fit over my head and curled the ends up to attach to the bottom of the inside of the box.
  • To make this comfortable to wear, I padded this strip with carpet pad. I glued the pad on with super glue. Elmer's wood glue and plastic aren't great together, but super glue and polystyrene make a nice bond. If you don't already have super glue it's really cheap at Wal-Mart and you won't need much.
  • To make sure this head piece stayed in place while being worn, I added another strip of polystyrene plastic at the top to go around my head (like a hat), which kept everything where it was supposed to be.
  • Once the head support felt secure and positioned right on my head, the end shoulder tabs were properly set in place. I bent them up to where I wanted the bottom of the box to be on my head.
  • Lastly, I attached the head piece in the center of the hole, to the bottom of the inside of the box using super glue. 
  • The sixth side panel can now be attached to the rest of the box. Use the hole that your head will go through to reach the areas on the inside that need glue.

Step 4: Block Texture

I learned this technique from my wife and it's a great way to simulate the texture seen on older wooden blocks.
  • Cut out six more cardboard panels the same size as your original six panels.
  • With a spray bottle, spray just one side of these panels. The water saturation level needs to be just enough to get into the middle corrugated layer of the cardboard, but no more.
  • When the top layer is saturated enough it can be peeled away from the rest of the cardboard, leaving the corrugated layer exposed. Some pieces peel better than others making this part tedious as you may have to pick away little bits of the top layer that didn't peel away.
  • Once the pieces are peeled set them aside to dry. Once dry, they need to be glued to the outside of the box. Make sure that the corrugation lines are square with your box.
  • When the glue is dry on all of the panels, go ahead and paint it all white, or a natural wood color, which ever look you like better.

Step 5: Raised Details

More cardboard! (I told you you would need a bunch.)
  • For the raised edges/frames that go around the block, cut out several strips of cardboard and glue them around all the edges of the box. You can make these as narrow or wide as you like. 
  • Letters and numbers are next. I made a template with card stock, but you could do it with regular paper. I found a font (at that I thought looked like would be on a child's block. I chose the letters and numbers that I wanted to use, scaled them to size, printed them, and then cut them out. I traced these templates onto more cardboard and then cut out the cardboard tracings. I did the same thing for the shapes.
  • All of these pieces were centered and glued onto the box with wood glue. Be sure to pick a letter or number that will give you a space to cut a sight hole out of; it helps greatly to know where you are going when you have a big box on your head!
  • This process needs to be repeated with your poster board. The letters, numbers, shapes, and edges of the block could all be painted, but the masking off of everything would take way to long.
  • One thing has to be done differently with the poster board though for the outside edges/frame. Each side needs to be made using one single piece of poster board so that there are no seam/joints at the corners. Per side of the box, measure from side to side, top to bottom, and with these measurements mark your square and cut it out. Next, measure the thickness of your cardboard strips and mark these distances on the inside of your poster board squares. Cut this square frame out and glue it onto the side you are working on.
  • All letters, numbers, shapes, and frames are best adhered to their corresponding cardboard pieces with a glue stick. This eliminates the wet/wavy look you get with wood or school glue.
  • To finish your block you need to cut your viewing hole out from the letter or number you decided to use. Make it big enough to be able to see where you are going, but not so big that people can see your face. For more of a camouflaged look, I cut a piece of scrap storm door screen to the appropriate size, painted it white, and glued it to the inside of the view hole.

Step 6: You Block Head!!

This block head build takes time, so pace yourself and do it in sections from day to day.

It makes an extremely cheap costume, and the block(s) can be used to decorate a child's room when you are finished using them for Halloween.

Remember to match the colors of your clothing with your block. You are a block head now, but you can still look good!

Halloween Costume Contest

Runner Up in the
Halloween Costume Contest