Introduction: Super Mario Yoshi Rider Costume

About: animator/ puppeteer/ luchador/

This is my Super Mario riding Yoshi puppet! I prefer to call it a puppet rather than costume. With fake Mario legs on the puppet & my own legs inside the Yoshi legs, It gives the illusion that you are riding a real life Cartoon Dinosaur!  To add to the realism, Yoshi has a full opening & closing mouth and exending toungue

Inspiration for the costume mechanic was the goblin riders from the silly battle sequence in Jim Henson's Labyrinth.

It took about 4 months from start to finish, with about an extra month for Research & Development.  Final estimated cost was around $450.

Primary materials were:

  memory foam, for the skin

  PVC pipe & plastic canvas, for the skeleton

  a whole lot of hot glue & duct tape, to keep everything together

 paper mache of a dodgeball for the yoshi head

  plastic hangers, screws, bolts & red leggings to create accordian mechanism for toungue

  Spray paint for color. Latex paint wouldve been best, but the deadline had to be met

Most importantly, since a fake one just wouldnt do: 

  the willpower to walk around for 5 months while growing a big handlebar mustache!

Showing off the puppet at Wizard World Comic-Con 2010 in Austin, Tx:

Step 1: Research & Development

Making alot of Sketches, taking measurements, & going to Lowes & Home Depot to write down prices & figure out a budget.  the best way to get something like this done is to spend a month drawing & thinking before you really commit to a plan. then start building, but not with the actual materials...

Step 2: Pre-Production Work

I made the skeleton prototype out of foam noodles & duct tape. Not too much duct tape, as I needed it to come apart easily.  It made it easier to assemble & re-assemble until i got it right.  Once that was done, I proceeded to the PVC pipe skeleton

Step 3: Skeleton

The skeleton is made out of flexible PVC tubing for the curves, & PVC pipe to hold it together.  Once i had the dimentions right, I glued it all together with PVC cement.

Make sure to glue it OUTSIDE, & with a face mask... that stuff is gross!

Eventually, near the end of the project, parts of the Skeleton had to be cut off to make the costume lighter.

Step 4: Mesh Skin Base

I covered the Skeleton with plastic canvas & duct tape, to add shape & give the foam skin a solid surface to conform to. It kinda resembles a canoe, with holes on the bottom for my legs.  the PVC pipe sticking out in the front is where the head will go.

Step 5: 1st Pass Yoshi Legs

Yoshi legs are made from plastic canvas & duct tape.  This 1st pass shape did not work, so its back to the drawing board...

Step 6: Mario Fake Legs

Mario fake legs were made from PVC pipe, flexible electrical pipe, & foam noodles for shape.  The Body frame is now cut to add better range of motion for Yoshi legs.

Step 7: 2nd Pass Yoshi Legs

Plastic canvas attached to shoes with hot glue & metal paper fasteners.  Better shape.  More adjustments to come

Step 8: 1st Pass Full Body

Large velcro straps attached to skeleton, then attached to an over the shoulder harness bought at Lowes. the Mario Overalls conceal the harness.

The Fake mario legs rest well inside the overalls.  2nd pass on Yoshi legs complete, as they now resemble large boots with Yoshi hips resting on my knees.

Step 9: Yoshi Head

Styrofoam eggs & dodgeballs covered in Paper mache & Duct Tape over afor eyeballs, nose & cheeks.

Step 10: Head 1st Pass

The Head is now covered in Matress Foam, with eyes to follow.  Also, Yoshi arms made from flexible PVC pipe & Cross shapes PVC joint, attached to skeleton with Duct Tape & PVC cement.


Step 11: Foamed Yoshi Legs

Covered Yoshi Legs with Matress Foam with a hot glue gun. They now resemble giant chubby stubby legs when combined with the body.  Extended the foam so it goes into the body.


Step 12: Foamed Body

Folded foam into pelvis area to conceal legs separation. At this point, the costume began gaining weight rapidly, so a Support Belt was added, so the weight can be distributed between my waist and shoulders, and a little less on my back.


Step 13: Final Foamed Body

Added long strip to make the saddle (not pictured). Glued overalls to the inside of saddle

Foamed hands & arms with same technique as body & legs.  Pushed foam into the body & glued shut.  Hands & fake mario legs rest on eachother to give both stability.  Added strip on ankles & extra layer on Yoshi toes to make feet look like big shoes.

Glued eyes onto head. added layer to eyes to make eyelids. 


Step 14: Yoshi Mouth

Made a Y-shaped skeleton for the mouth out of PVC pipe.  Used threaded PVC male & female adapters to hinge the mouth together (see drawings in step 1).  With the Hinge, the mouth can swing open & closed.

In the middle of the Y skeleton is where the toungue will be glued...

Step 15: Final Spraypainting

Unfortunately, I ran out of time, so i just used spraypaint AFTER I covered the foam with liquid latex. BIG MISTAKE! The paint doesnt totally stick to the latex, & when bent, the paint flakes off.

Use spraypaint, or use latex & acrylic paint, but DO NOT USE BOTH!

Step 16: Toungue

I based the mechanism on Ultra-Hand, a Japanese toy from the 60's.  Interesting trivia about that: Ultra-hand was and manufactured by Nintendo, & created by Gunpei Yokoi, who also created the Game Boy. So its full circle for Mr. Ultra-Hand.

I made one on my own with plastic closet hangers from Lowes. I cut the Hook part off so it resembles a plastic rod, like in the drawing.  I then fastened them together with metal screws and bolts, then covered the bolts with hot glue, so it doesnt unscrew itself off.

I covered the mechanism with a red legging, & glues the tip of the legging to the tip of the mechanism.  When the mouth is pulled open, I pull down the handle on the toungue (kind of like a pair of scissors) and shoot the toungue out.

Step 17: DONE!

There it is, my Super Mario Riding Yoshi Puppet!  It took a long time and alot of sleepless nights, but it was well worth it. challenge

First Prize in the challenge

3rd Epilog Challenge

Participated in the
3rd Epilog Challenge