Introduction: Create Real Working IPod Costume(s)

On a Brides Wedding's ALL about the dress, but on's all about the costume.  So I wanted to find something both my kids could agree on before the slow & strategic torment of their Dad began.  You've all been there, whether Toys r us, Walmart, or Party City, you walk in with the intent of spending a few minutes to buy some costumes...four hours later, you're wondering whether Rod Sterling is going to pop out and announce you're in a new episode of "The Twilight Zone".  

I'm thankful that within the fabric of time & space, my kids share a common appreciation for music!  So I tossed the idea of making them their own iPod costumes, as I've seen alot online and thought it'd be fun.  Somehow, I wanted to take what I've seen and boldly go a step further.  So I thought to myself, what if I made a working iPod, something with lights AND MUSIC...!!!!  The seed was planted and the idea took root.  These costumes will work on kids in a variety of age groups.  Mine are 8 & 9 yrs I made them iPods a bit different.  One (blue)was made for my son to be inside of, except for his arms if he chose to have them reach for candy.  While my daughter's costume(red iPod) was made so her head & arms would come out. 

I still wake up looking underneath my bed for some missing magic lamp, as this turned out better than I could have wished for.

Here's what you'll need if you so choose to accept this mission:

Tools of the trade:   
Cardboard (Try Electronic/Appliance stores, the bigger the better)
Hot Glue Gun (.99 cents store)
Lots of sugar to go with your coffee
Package of Glue sticks - I used one package(.99 cents)
Paint - Primer, whatever colors you choose ( I used Blue, Red, Metallic, & White...though the Primer could easily substitute for white since it's a base.)
Box cutter
Electrical tape
Duct tape - Doesn't matter what color
Painters tape
Magic Marker (Red, Black)
Batteries (D x 8)
Switch device
Mini speaker (from Hallmark card)
Halogen lamp (.99 cents store)
Portable Mp3 player or iPod (goes in console)

Step 1: Who Cut the Cardboard?...can Someone Open a Window!!!

You must become ONE with the cardboard....o.k., maybe I'm pushing it.  But choosing a box will be paramount to how the rest of your project will start to develop.  I was fortunate to find a huge box at PC Richards left over from a plasma television set.  But ever since I found the website for "Instructables", I've just been piling up on the cardboard.  Since I made two variations of the iPod, here are the measurements I used:

Blue iPod:  16" width, 36" height, 12" depth (for son)
Red iPod:  14" width,  25" height, 12" depth (for daughter)

The extra height on the blue iPod is because my son was going to be inside the costume, which would cover his head.  The Red iPod on the other hand doesn't cover the head.  The arms are outside on the both of them...but there is enough room on the blue iPod to keep the arms inside.  It can be a bit of trial and error, just remember whichever costume you choose, the length should not surpass their knees.  In other words, it's easier to walk if the cardboard is above their knees. 

With the measurements above outlined in pencil, I cut the cardboard with a box cutter.  If you're so lucky to find a cardboard box that closely resembles either of these measurements - you're way ahead of the curve.  If you're making your iPod box (cut)from a very large piece of cardboard, always remember - measure twice, cut once!  And use duct tape to reinforce the folds.

Tip:  Creating the box is the beginning, but to save time and effort, now would be a good time to draw and cut out holes for the arms and head, depending on which iPod you choose to make. 

Golden Rule:  Remember to recycle what you don't use. 

Step 2: Prime Mover...prepping for Paint.

"Prime Mover" isn't just a song from the band "Rush, as our next step will be to prime.  The purpose of using Primer is to spray a coat(layer) that will make the cardboard suitable for paint.  Basically, it'll allow the paint to stick to the cardboard without absorbing into it.  Some people choose to use white paint instead as a base, but I find Primer works better as a sealant and helps to save me paint.   

I used short, even strokes to cover the surface of the cardboard, I spray around the (cutouts)window
and leave out spraying the front.  Later we'll place a piece of foam board to cover the front.

Tip: Avoid working in an area that's enclosed, an open space is I chose to work outside. 

Step 3: Drill Baby, I Mean Paint Baby Paint!!!

Life's about choices, you can decide to roll it on, use a paint brush or like me, simply spray it on. Overall, using spray paint seems to be less mess, and the end result can be impressive. 

Tip:  Remember to use a drop cloth or cardboard to keep things clean.

Step 4: What's an IPod Without Heavy Metal...

O.K., maybe the subject line is misleading, but my kids mentioned the iPod would look cool with a metallic look on the back.  This required some painters tape and scraps of cardboard to cover everything but the back side and flap.  Since the cardboard has already been primed, I can apply(spray) the Metallic paint.  To bring out the back further...I made a stencil of the Apple logo.  Cut out the stencil and sprayed on white paint to bring it out against the metallic color.  Lastly, outlined the logo in black marker to bring out the details.

The iPod is more accurate to paint entirely one color...but who am I to argue with a request for heavy metal..!?!  

Step 5: Some Face Time With Foamboard

I wanted a really clean look for the iPods, so I decided to use foam board, specifically for the front.  Using the measurements from either iPod box, I traced out the outline onto the foam board and cut out using a box cutter.  Rather than sharp corners, I drew small round edges to mimic the actual iPod, giving it a more polished look.

Once the foam board is cut, you can immediately paint whatever color you want you'd like.  The good news, foam board doesn't require any "Primer".   

Blue iPod:  I created the wheel using foam board.  I then used a hot glue gun to paste it onto the front.  Keep in mind that hot glue dries quickly, so plan ahead and know the position of where you'd like to place your wheel.

Red iPod:   I made a ring that resembled a wheel from paper as a stencil, so when I painted the foam board red, this area would remain untouched.   Then drew the Menu items onto the wheel and
outlined in black marker.

Tip:  Coffee is our friend....there's no such thing as too much sugar!!!


Step 6: Arm Hole Cover (Optional)

This step is optional, but I tried to imagine if it were a cold Halloween evening, I'd want to limit the amount of drafty air getting through the arm holes.  I thought if there were some type of elastic port opening, that could work nicely.  So, I used a leg stocking my daughter out grew from a dance recital, stretched it by using a circular piece of cardboard an inch bigger in width than the arm hole.  Since the cardboard insert was used to stretch out the stocking, I sprayed one side to match whichever iPod costume I was going to glue it to.  Once dry, you can hot glue it to the inside of the box.  This will require some precision since you're only putting glue on the rim of the hole, remember, the cardboard inside is only an inch larger in width than the hole itself. 

Once the hot glue has dried, removed the cardboard insert from inside the stocking - have an elastic cover.  I then make a slit to allow the arm to pass through, it's sure to make a difference if it's cold, plus it adds a cleaner look to the iPod overall. 

Step 7: The Music Within....

Both costumes share something in common, they both utilize a single speaker made from a Hallmark music card.   I love this approach, as it utilizes something that would eventually be thrown out...and the size doesn't impede on the battery life of an mp3 player as compared to a larger speaker.

I amplified the sound of this tiny thin speaker by using an acorn or round capsule(from .50 cent vending machine), I use the round clear plastic part to cover the speaker.  It works even better if you can drill four tiny holes on top.  For the blue iPod, I found the holes allowed the sound to permeate both the inside and out of the iPod box.  

Step 8: The Control Console (Blue IPod Only)

Since the Blue iPod was made to have someone inside, I thought I'd give that person greater control of their costume.  So I made a console to retro fit an Mp3 player, in this case, an iPod classic.  The key is to cut two pieces of equal length.  One serving as the base, the other will form a "V" shape, both pieces glued together will form the console.  At the center of the console, I cut out a square a bit larger than the music player to allow it to be pushed in abit.  If you size it right, it should be a snug fit.  I used duct tape to create a bit of friction that keeps the iPod classic in place. 

Since I placed the mp3 player in the center, I may eventually entertain cutting out some space for a drink holder and even a slot for a few choice candy bars.  What a life...!!!

Step 9: Something Strange in Ur Neighborhood, Who Ur Gonna' Call? (Blue IPod)

Guess you'd had to have seen Ghostbusters to get that joke!  But I thought to myself, o.k., we have an iPod....what could I use to give it a Halloween type theme? 

Batman has the Bat signal, Transformers have the Autobots & Decepticon symbols....AAAHHhhh, Ghostbusters...but you can use whatever fits for you.  I originally thought of some crazy pumpkins, but went with a sketched I made from an old video tape.  I colored the sketch and glued it onto a thick piece of cardboard to bring it out.   

Even though it's in the background, I thought it put a nice touch to the inside of the iPod costume.  For an internal light, I used a mini halogen lamp (.99 cents store) and attached to the inside top flap. 

This completes the build for the Blue iPod costume.  Overall, happy with the result, and my son seems to really like it. 

Step 10: Back in the Red....

I cut a piece of plexiglass to fit the inside of the window, then use the hot glue gun to attach.  To give it a smoky look, I used a thin white cutting board(.99 cents store) and place it on top of the plexiglass from the inside the box.  Glue that on top of the plexiglass.  This will give your lights a cool blur...

Since the box is basically completed, let's focus on the internal lights.  I created a light box by measuring the size of the window, then making a box that would fit over the window from the inside.  The key is to make sure the box is about 3" in depth.  This allows room for the wiring & lights that will be glued onto the back of the light box.  I created a wiring harness coupled with a switch that I attached to one side to control the power.  Since we don't have an AC Adapter, we're have to use batteries.  Most common batteries are 1.5volts, I chose to use "D" x 8 to power this iPod.  The amount of batteries may seem a lot, but it really depends on how long you intend on using the lights for.  An evening of trick or treating is sufficient for me, you can use less if that works better for you.


Step 11: Then There Was Light...

With the attached battery pack, I use the switch to test the lights.  The switch is ideal to save power while your kids are moving in remote areas.  The lights need to be seen...doesn't hurt to save the juice (good stuff) for an audience.  Once the lights are tested, I drill a small hole to position the switch on one side(by an arm hole), then glue.

After this, you can glue the box flaps to encase the iPod box.  You're done!!!  Enjoy your iPods with both music and lights.

Step 12: With Functionality, There Should Be Some Comfort.

Both iPod costumes can be enhanced by making the fit more comfortable.  The blue iPod can include padded straps to hold the costume up so that the head doesn't touch the roof of the box.  Sorta' like a book bag, but the straps would be bolted onto the back.

The red iPod can include foam cushion or styrofoam by either side of the neck hole or the entire rim. I've thought about taking packing peanuts(foam), placing in a blender(what fun) and chopping into some bits.  These bits could be placed inside an elastic tube or sock of some sort, creating a type of neck pillow.  Come to think of it, would be like making a snake like beanie babie huh?   So many ideas, so little time.

If your efforts bring a smile to your kids(loved ones) faces...then you've succeeded...good luck and God speed.

Halloween Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Contest