Intro: Cerberus Aka. "Fluffy" Costume for Your Dog
Well, Halloween is right around the corner and we've long surpassed the time only kids get to have all the fun and dress up for Halloween. Especially for those that have a different kind of kid it can be challenging to come up with the perfect costume. A different kind of kid? What? Yes, people, I call my dog my kid! I am fully aware that I am a crazy dog lady, but I feel society has accepted me very well and I now get to share my awesome costume for my awesome kid with you all today! Enjoy!
PS: Obviously, Fluffy is the 3-headed dog from Harry Potter, for those that didn't know (I hear there are some of those people out there... ;) ) What makes Fluffy so special? For one, he seems to be a bully breed, which fit for my purpose as my dog is a Pit mix, but also, "How often do you come across a three-headed dog even if you're in the trade?!" - Hagrid
PSS: I did this at 9pm, so the pictures are a little dark at times. I apologize, but hope you still get the idea behind every step.
Step 1: What You Will / Might Need...
Here are the things that I thought I might need before I started this project. I winged it as I went a long, so I ended up not needing the harness (which is part of a backpack). The idea was to help support the heads on either side, but it worked out well without in the end. What I did need and didn't show is black elastic band.
I looked in a lot of places to find cheap stuffed animals. After all, I was just going to tear them apart and likely never need them again. I found two identical ones at Ross Dress for Less for $5 each. They actually had a brown snout which I already spray painted the night before and forgot to take a picture off. More later.
All I had was blue painters tape. Not ideal, since it's not the cheapest, but the costume was needed the next day and it was already 9pm!! Cheap dollar store duct tape would obviously be just fine.
The cardboard roll I had laying around for a while. It's much sturdier than a paper towel roll. If you don't have the sturdy ones, I'm sure the paper towel ones will do, as they could be reinforced somewhat by stuffing them etc.
I also had the black spray paint. It's matte and the cheapest one Home Depot has to offer.
As you can see, I tried to spend as little as possible on this.
Step 2: Spray Painting the Snout
The closest I came to an all black stuffed animal, in the size I wanted, was a bear/dog(?) with a brown snout, so I decided to use black spray paint to liberally cover that up. That should be done outside in a well ventilated area! I used chop sticks to help separate the fur a little to get a cleaner look, however, once it all dries it will be hardened and stick together, so covering just the surface should be enough. In the first picture I'm showing what the original looked like. I let this dry over night.
Step 3: Preparing the Insides - Part I
My general idea was to create a sort of skeleton for the bear-dog so it would stay up while on my dog. To do this I used a sturdy cardboard roll. I cut one end at an angle and then to the length I seemed fit. The length depends on the look you want and size of your stuffed animal. This was going to act as the "spine".
Next came the "skull". The fasted way to do that was to blow up a balloon that was the size of the stuffed animals head. I then covered it in tape, popped the balloon and filled it with crumbled up newspaper/adds. Obviously, the tape will shrink once the balloon deflates as it sticks to the surface of it. That doesn't matter much, since it still keeps some of its integrity and you can push it back to normal. It makes it easier to cut the opening just a little bigger. I filled the balloon just a bit at this point, since they still had to be stuffed inside the animals head and the neck is narrower than the head.
I proceeded to cut off the bear-dogs legs and destuff it. I pulled out all the stuffing (keep it) except for the snout and the arms. Now I put the "skull" inside its head and filled it up with more crumbled paper until it seemed perfect.
Step 4: Preparing the Insides - Part II
At this point limbs are just being cut off right and left...
Before I proceeded to attach the "spine", I needed one arm of each bear-dog to come off. It had to be the opposite one on each. So, one lost the right arm, while the other lost the left one. I sewed the holes shut with a quick hand-stitch. Nobody will ever see it under the fluff, so as long as it's closed, it's good.
Next, I inserted the base, straight edge, of the "spine" into the "skull". Used some stuffing around the edges and taped them together. A little more tape here and there for good measure and we had a solid "skeleton".
Step 5: Attaching the Bear-dogs to the Base.
For the base I cut a circle out of cardboard. It's a random circle I drew freehand and that fit inside the bear-dogs. Then, I cut slits into the angled ends of the cardboard roll, so they can be bent over and be attached easier to the cardboard circle. I didn't use anything but more tape. You want to make sure you attach the right angle to the right bear-dog, since they're missing one arm and that's a crucial part. The arms will later be sewed together and act as a bridge over the dogs shoulder so make sure that the angle of the roll and cardboard correspond to that.
After all that, I used the stuffing I pulled out earlier to fill the bear-dogs just a little bit again. I then pulled the fluffy fabric from the bear-dogs around the cardboard circle and sewed it close. And there you have it, two really weird looking bear-dogs!
Step 6: Let's Put a Face on It.
In the movie, the 3-headed dog, apart from the scene where they're sleeping, are showing off their teeth. So I figured I would simply add some cheesy fangs to make them look more "mean". But hey, what can look any meaner than my mean Pit Bull, right? Sorry, I'll cut the crap. ;)
For the teeth I simple hand cut a few pieces from white cardboard. The pupils I punch holed. Those easily attached with the help of the super glue gun!
Step 7: How to Hold It All Together?
Now they just needed to be attached to the dog somehow. This is where I tinkered a little and made my girl endure some testing on her for juuuust a little bit. Ask her and she'll say it was hoooouuuurs. She's lyin'!
In the end I dropped the idea of the harness/backpack, since I just didn't like it showing. I thought about using a black t-shirt to cover it blah, blah, blah. It turned out that I had some elastic band left over and that those sufficed. I guess it depends on the shape of your dog a little as well. Her belly swoops so the elastic sits snug by her front legs.
But first... I sewed the two arms, that I left attached, together. I laid them on top of each other and just stitched it together with a bit of thread. They were going to sit over her shoulders, functioning like a bridge.
I then measured and attached one elastic band, that was going under her belly, to the cardboard circles, straight through the fabric and cardboard. The placement depends totally on the shape of your dog, so try what works best for them. Then, I attached two individual pieces to the front, that I would tie together later when put on.
And that did the job! I was very surprised how well it held up, but I think the size of the cardboard circles made a difference since they balanced the heads pretty well on her and there wasn't much wobbliness. Look at the picture for a bit more clarification.
Step 8: Victory!
And this my friends, is our victory moment when we won best costume at our class training event in honor of National Pit Bull Awareness Day. So you see, totally wort it... until midnight... after a long day... ;)
I hope you were able to follow this 'ible and some of you will give it a shot. I have seen a couple other pictures of Cerberus' out there, but never any instructions, so this should alleviate all your concerns. ;)
If you give it a try let me see it and also, be so kind and vote for us in the Halloween Costume Contest!!
Happy Hooowwwlloween everyone!