Introduction: Dark Crystal Skeksis Costume

About: animator/ puppeteer/ luchador/

this is my 2009 halloween costume:
A Skeksis from the 1982 Jim Henson film The Dark Crystal. 

It was a full body costume, complete with hand-puppet head and blinking eyes.

Est. cost: $120
Est. weight: 9.5 lbs
Est. time: 7 weeks & 350 hours

Step 1: Things You Will Need

liquid latex,
matress foam (I used memory foam),
plastic canvas,
glue gun w/ glue sticks,
coat hanger,
rubber ball w/eye design,
plastic teeth (i used a caveman necklace),
monster gloves,
foam swimming pool noodle,
Jedi costume robe,
brown fabric,
freaky fabric,
latex paint,
matte spray,
gloss spray,
duct tape,

Step 2: Puppet Head

I constructed the head using plastic canvas & thread.  then I sealed the seams with hot glue.  A safety pin on each side acts as a hinge for the jaw.

Step 3: Making the Harness

the harness is constructed to fit like a backpack. put together similar to the head:  sewn together with thread, then hot glued. duct tape is then put over the hot luge for added stability.  See the big black part? Thats where I will see out of!

Step 4: Carving the Foam

I glued memory foam to the skeleton, then carved into shape, then coated with 3 layers of liquid Latex.

There is an instructable already made that does a much better job of how to make this part:

Credit where Credit is due, baby!

Step 5: Inside of Mouth

Carved the inside of mouth seprately, applied 3 layers of latex, then glued into mouth. 

Then I added teeth from a caveman necklace.  To do this, I dug out little holes down to the plastic canvas, addad a dab of hot glue, then coated teeth with one layer of liquid latex, to close the seam from the teeth holes. After painting, latex is removed from teeth. latex is also applied to the seam where the inside mouth piece meets the rest of the puppet head.

Step 6: Arms

I cut a swimming pool noodle in half, and used the for the arms.  one arm will actually be MY arm, while the other will be a fake, held up with the noodle.  i put two noodles so i can switch back & forth.

Step 7: Painting Head

Acrylic paints used : midnight blue, red, coffee, tan, light blue, yellow. Mixed with a little bit of liquid latex to give a more solid structure.
start with a blue base and work from there. I tried to think of this as more of a painting, as upposed to a real creature. in other works i used black to paint in subtle shading in crevises, and i thnk it worked out well. From the eyes to the beak i blended the colore from blue to a dark brown/orange with purple accents.

Duct tape over the eyes to prevent accidental painting

... oh THE EYES! I forgot!

heres how i made the eyes. I wont take credit, as I followed this guys tutorial:

Step 8: Protecting in the Head

After it was all done, head was coated with matte spray protective coating, and Gloss coating for the inside of the mouth, to make it look wet & gross. i put about 2 coats each, with about a a day to dry each layer.

Step 9: The Body

I used an Old Jedi robe. This is the front of the costume. I used more brown fabric for the top and back of the costume. 

Glued freaky fabric (thats what its called, its sold during halloween.  Its a spooky decoration for walls) to back and arms, to look desheveled.

The monster gloves I bought were Red, so I painted them to match the head, Spray Matted them, then glued them to the sleeves.

Velcro is places on the inside of gloves and on the Noodle Arms, so i can place then there securely.

Step 10: Attatching Head to Body

I attatched the head to the body with 3 big safety pins.  The black mesh is covered with some more freaky fabric. No one can see in , but I can see out perfectly!

Step 11: Finished Costume

Keep in mind that is is a bit taxing, since most of the weight is on your neck and shoulders. Also, drink plenty of water, because it gets hot!

I wore this for 6 hours. During that, I took 4 breaks by going to the bathroom, taking it off and wiping the sweat off my face.

Trust me, this is not  the type of costume you want to wear if you want to party hard.  In this costume, 5 beers will feel like a 12 pack. the upside is youll just have a couple and save money!

I should have a video up showing the costume in motion by the end of March. 

Good luck and have fun!

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