Introduction: Fantastically Fun Flipper Costume

This costume was created as a project in a Technology course.  For the project, students had to create a flat pack costume design.  A flat pack costume design is a design that can be easily taken apart and stored in a minimal amount of space.  Based on the "Being Green" concept, students had to create a marine-themed costume using recycled cardboard and slotted construction. The class was divided into groups of 4-6 and each group had to develop a line of costumes around the same theme.  My groups theme was Marine Accessories.  My costume was a Flipper.

I was required to develop an Eco-friendly, marine themed costume to fit a middle school aged child with little to no supervision.  The costume had to be assembled easily using no fasteners, only slotted construction.  The costume could be for either Halloween or for a play and had to be sufficient for indoors and outdoors.

The costume must be:
   - marine themed
   - Eco-friendly
   - able to fit a middle school age child
   - able to be used indoors and outdoors
   - able to be used under little supervision
   - easily assembled

The costume must be:
   - built using only recycled cardboard
   - built using only slotted construction

Step 1: Materials

Supply list

ITEM       MATERIAL DESCRIPTION      QTY             SIZE               REMARKS - PART
S1                 CARDBOARD                         3                35"x43"              To make costume

Tools and Equipment list

ITEM                 TOOL                                       USE
TI                 CUTTING MAT                        To protect surfaces that you are cutting on
T2                UTILITY KNIFE                       To cut cardboard
T3                RULER                                     To draw straight lines to cut on
T4                PENCIL                                    To draw lines to cut on
T5                TAPE MEASURE                     To measure

Step 2: Measurements

To ensure the costume is the right size for the wearer, take a few measurements prior to construction.  There are three parts to this costume: the flipper body, a neck strap, and a waist strap.  All of the parts need a measurement. Use the tape measure(T5), to measure the following:

For the flipper body measure the length of your body from shoulders to just above the knee.  You may add or take away a few inches depending on how low you want the costume to hang. Another measurement needed for the flipper body is the width of your body at your waist.  Add 6 inches to this measurement because the flipper body should extend past your body when completed.  

For the neck strap of the costume, measure the width of your neck and a few inches below your shoulders on both sides depending on how low you want your costume to hang.  These combined measurements will be the length of your neck strap.

For the waist strap of the costume, measure your waist.  You may add a few inches if you would like the costume to be a little looser.

Once you have all these measurements recorded you may begin construction on your Fantastically Fun Flipper Body.

Step 3: Creating the Flipper Body

1.  Have the measurements of your body length and width at hand.

2. Use the pencil(T4) and the ruler(T3) to draw a flipper shape on the cardboard(S1).  A flipper shape is narrower at the top and wider at the bottom.  A Flipper shape also has a wide U shape for a neckline and a wide upside down U shape on the bottom.  The shape you draw should have the dimensions of your measurements.  The lowest part should hang just below your knee and the highest part should just hit your shoulder. 

3. Place the cardboard(S1) on the cutting mat(T1) and prepare to cut out the flipper shape.

4. Using the utility knife(T2), cut out the flipper shape.

5. Once you have the shape cut out, you have to fold it.  Fold the flipper shape in alternating directions every four inches.

Once you have completed all of these steps, you should have something resembling a flipper body.

Step 4: Creating the Neck Strap

1. Have the measurements of your neck and shoulders at hand.

2. On the cardboard(S1), use the ruler(T3) and the pencil(T4) to draw a rectangle about two inches wide and as long as the combined measurements.  This rectangle will act as the neck strap.

3. Place the cardboard(S1) on the cutting mat(T1) and prepare to cut.

4.Cut out the neck strap using the utility knife(T2). 

This piece will hold the costume up and also looks like the ankle strap on a flipper.

Step 5: Creating the Waist Strap

1.  Have the measurements of your waist at hand.

2. Use the pencil(T4) and the ruler(T3) to draw a thick rectangle the length of  you waist.  The rectangle should be 4 inches wide and as long as your measurement for your waist. This piece will be the waist strap.

3.  Place the cardboard(S1) on the cutting mat (T1) and prepare to cut.

4. Use the utility knife(T2) to cut out the waist strap.

This piece will hold to costume to your body.

Step 6: Slotting the Flipper Body

Because the Flipper Body is the main part of the costume, all of the pieces slot into it.  So four slots are needed. 

The slots needed for the neck strap are located at the top points of the costume, closest to the shoulders.   Make a two inch slot about on inch below the very top of the costume.  Do the same on the other side of the costume.  The slots should be parallel.

The slots for the waist strap are located at waist height.  Make a four inch slot at waist height.  Do the same on the other side of the costume, making sure the slots are directly across from each other. 

These are all the slots needed for the Flipper Body.

Step 7: Assembling the Flipper Costume


ITEM                                                                       QTY                                                          PART NAME

P1                                                                              1                                                      FLIPPER BODY

P2                                                                              1                                                      NECK STRAP

P3                                                                              1                                                      WAIST STRAP

Now that all of the parts are made it is time to assemble the costume. 

To attach the neck strap:
Insert one end of the neck strap into one of the slots made at the top of the costume.  Insert the end from the front of the costume so the end is sticking out on the back side.  Once the end is through fold about two inches of the end of the strap to secure.  Do the same thing with the other end of the strap. 

To attach the waist strap:
Insert one end of the waist strap into one of the slots made at the waist of the costume.  Insert from  the front.  Fold about two inches of the costume back like you did for the neck strap to secure into place.  Repeat the steps with the other end of the waist strap on the other side of the costume.

Your Fantastically Fun Flipper Costume is now complete.  Enjoy!