Introduction: Russell From UP Halloween Costume for Toddlers

I love Pixar's UP.  It's such a great movie and this year I set out to create a halloween costume for my toddler that is Russell themed.   I love the idea of creating a "real life" Russell.  I really wanted to create the textures of real life badges.   I briefly flirted with the idea of just buying a Boy Scout sash, but I knew the patches would be different, so I knew sewing this was the only way to go!

The first thing that you need is a chubby toddler.  Yes this will work with any toddler, but the fact that I have a cute little chubby todder is what led my husband to suggest this costume.

Next you need to decide whether to do the easy way, printing most of the elements and taping them on, or to go full on hardcore like I did.   I'll include some links to other tutorials on the easy costume that I found while doing my research, but I went whole hog on this one.

However to have an overview and see the art that I referred to when I made this costume, check out this blog from the artist that designed many of the elements on Russell

I've broken down the steps into the various elements of the costume that I made or had.

They are as follows
The Sash - There are 47 badges on this baby and it's really the centerpiece of this costume in my humble opinion

The Shirt - With official Wilderness Explorer Logo

The Hat - Also with the WE logo

The Pennant - Tips on how to whip this together using felt

The Leatherwork patch - Which I made out of cardboard and a special painting technique that I'll share

The backpack and other details -Note this element contains a lot of "stuff" which I did not include.  The purist in me wanted to, but unfortunately I did not think it fair to make a toddler carry around a trumpet, sunscreen, a full mess kit, blanket etc.  I settled for just including the pennant.  There's also the kerchief and how it's tied a bit crookedly over his collar, socks, shoes etc.  A great final touch is to include a real bunch of balloons!

Please enjoy my costume insanity and hopefully you'll be inspired to do an easier version for your own costume, or try to match the level of intensity of my costume, it's all up to you :)

Step 1: The Sash

The sash is my showpiece for the costume and the element I'm most proud of.  Most normal people would just go print out the images from online and stick them on some brown felt...and I almost did that, but as I saw people got innovative online and printed them on t-shirt transfer paper and ironed them onto furniture felt pads, I felt that I really had to go the extra mile on this I bought a 1/4 yard of brown polyester and a bunch of felt and began to cut out 47 little colored circles

You'll need the following
Red 5
Yellow 5
White 2
Orange 4
Light green 3
Dark Green 5
Blue 20
Purple 2
Brown 1 

Technically there's two different types of blue but I just used one blue since I was going to sew with all of these different thread colors
Light Blue
Skin Tone
Light Brown
Dark Blue

Since I made this for a toddler I didn't feel I could just do the typical sized badges so I scaled them down to 1 inch.  I laid them all out and then I took some measurements from the shoulder to the hip of my son.  Then I cut out the fabric as shown, leaving some ease for a slant in the shoulder as well as a curve at the bottom of the sash.  I sewed the sash and made sure to turn the hems, then

I cut out the felt badges by using a cuttlebug with a circle die and some shims.  It didn't cut the felt all of the way so I ended up using a scissor to cut them once they had been "stamped" by the cuttlebug.

Next I sewed the badges row by row on with thicker golden thread using a figure 8 motion and finally I "drew" on all of the designs with my sewing machine and a darning foot.  That basically makes it so the sewing machine can be used to quilt, or draw.  I discovered that I could embroider a picture by using zig zag so I just went with it.  This is seriously where I would recommend printing them out unless you start MANY MANY months before Halloween!

If you're looking for links on how to make an easier sash with sticker templates or how to do iron on badges on felt furniture pads, see these two links:
Link one: Iron on furniture pad style
Link two: Sticker Style

Step 2: The Shirt

I cut out a larger orange felt circle and used my darning foot to draw on the Wilderness Explorer logo on it.  I used a dryer sheet as a backing so that the circle wouldn't get sucked into my feed dogs.

I sewed it onto a yellow shirt that I was able to purchase at the Dollar Tree.  Now I had been looking for a shirt for some time and actually bought one for $14 at Osh Kosh B'gosh but when I found one at the dollar tree I decided to save that one for regular use and sew on the one that was $1.  I also saw one for $6 at Target or Walmart.  Basically you have to shop the right season, I was shopping way too early and couldn't find a yellow collared shirt anywhere and now of course I find them everywhere!

Technically the badge should have another rim of yellow, but I was having trouble with my sewing machine, so I ripped out what I started and left it.  There's a Chinese saying, about trying to put legs on a snake.  Basically it means that you have something good and ruin it by trying to go too far, so I relied on that a lot during this costume.

Step 3: The Hat

I also found it nearly impossible to find the "right" yellow of cap.  I ended up going to several stores and finally settled on one from the Salvation Army that had a logo on it.  I ripped the logo out using a stitch ripper and then printed out a design online.  If you're smart you'll stop there and tape it onto the cap.  If you're an intrepid adventurer like me, forge on and cut out the design and keep tracing it onto the hat and then use your sewing machine to color it in, using zig zag.  Note, I started this design a little too low which made it impossible to add the brown border due to the brim of the hat jamming my machine, so you will want to account for stuff like that.   It's not easy being the first adventurer to chart their way into unknown territory, so please learn from my mistakes :)

Step 4: The Pennant

Using the Logo you cut out to do the hat, recycle the pieces to cut out their compatible colors in felt.  Layer and glue it onto the pennant.  I'm surprised this was so easy compared to the rest of the costume but it would be even easier if you just printed it and cut it out of paper :)

Step 5: Leatherwork Patch With Beads

To make the leather patch with beads that are hanging from Russell's sash, I used a technique with cardboard, paint and mod podge.

First cut out a square of cardboard, the kind you find on the back of a pad of paper, or a cereal box.

Trace the elements from the Wilderness explorer logo on it lightly in pencil.

Use an embossing tip and a ruler to emboss the shape.

Punch a hole in the top and bottom corner.

Mix mod podge and paint 50/50.  Paint a thick layer over your square and wipe it off with a paper towel.  You may have to do this more than once, but it should make a shiny layer. 

Once it dries it will look like leather. 

Thread some cord on and put 4 yellow beads and 4 green beads.

Attach this to your sash, or in my case we clipped it to his belt loop.

Step 6: The Backpack and Other Details

Russell wears a backpack covered with a bunch of scouting stuff.  I chose not to add all of the items as my son is barely walking and I imagine it would be tough for him to carry around all of that stuff.  If you do choose to add items, from what I can tell he's also carrying
A blanket
A trumpet
A tin cup
a mess kit
a butterfly net
The Widlerness Explorers manual
A canteen
Rope and I think a flashlight.

The kerchief is one of my dog's bandanas.  Note when you tie it on make sure it overlaps the right collar but the left collar is hanging out, just like a little boy might make that mistake when tying on his own kerchief.

The socks should be white/off white and pulled up to your knees

The shoes should be brown with orange laces if possible, but I didn't have orange laces so I went with some regular brown shoes

The shorts should be dark brown but we went with a pair of khaki shorts that happened to be the right style.

Finally the grape soda pin, I don't have any photos of how I made it since I made it many years ago when I first saw the movie but basically I took a grape soda bottle cap and used the cropadile II punch to punch two holes in it.  From there you can either use a pin to pin it on with the open end, but you have to weave the fabric through the cap while pinning, or you can do what I did and use a pair of pliers to carefully pry open the top of a safety pin, thread the cap on and then crimp it back on, this leaves you the whole open end of the pin for pinning.

Step 7: You're Done, What an Awesome Halloween Costume

"The Wilderness must be explored! ar ar grrr!"

I hope you have a sweet Halloween with lots of treats!

I hope you enjoyed looking at this costume as much as I enjoyed making it!

Some notes:
While I went hog wild making many details, the "leatherwork patch" with the beads is a choking hazard so I only used it for the photo shoot, I didn't have him wear it when we went out in his costume for the fall festival as it's super attractive to a toddler to try and eat!

Also I wanted to use some helium balloons behind him and get a photo shoot in with our dog who looks a bit like Dug, however my son is barely even walking so that really wasn't too realistic at this point, so the final photo was a product of a photoshoot in front of a white sheet and some careful photoshopping :).  In hindsight here if I had thought about it I would have used a darker sheet as a backdrop so the photoshop would be easier, it was not as easy as I'd hoped (to use the magic wand tool) because the white sheet was too close  the color of the shorts!

Perhaps when he's a bit more sturdy and able to walk I'll go take him to Heritage Park, a park full of Victorian Homes, and do a photoshoot, since I don't live anywhere near Herriman, Utah, site of a replica house, which I caught a cute glimpse of in this blog

Halloween Costume Contest

Runner Up in the
Halloween Costume Contest