This is my homemade Curious George Costume.
Step 1: Materials and Molding the Head
For materials you will need:
1. 5 foot roll of chicken wire.
2. 1 bottle wood glue (paper mache mix)
3. 1 bag of flour (paper mache mix)
4. 1 large roll of masking tape
6. wire cutters
7. HI temp glue gun with a good supply of glue sticks
8. 2 rolls of paper towels (I use towels instead of newspaper for the paper mache)
9. 3 yards of brown faux fur (fabrics.com)
10. 1 yard of light tan wool (joann fabrics)
11. Brown thread and fishing line (used as thread for the body because its more durable)
12. black permanent marker
13. 1' X 6" piece of black pleather (joann fabrics)
14. small bottle of tan paint
15. small bottle of white paint
16. small paintbrush
17. any plastic/metal objects you can find to use as eyes that are round (ex. wiffle balls). i used aluminum candy cases that i found at CVS that were egg shaped.
18. a 2 foot zipper OR velcro for the back seam of the body suit.
Step 1) Cut chicken wire out in a 3.5' X 3.5' section which should be about 3X the size of your head. You should make the head bigger than normal because George has a pretty big head compared to his body. You dont want to end up with a head thats normal sized because it will look like a normal every day gorilla costume.
Next mold the piece of chicken wire into a round ball. leave an opening at the bottom for your head to fit into. the opening can be bigger than normal because you still need to add Georges mouth which will cover some of the neck hole.
Cover the ball in masking tape
Draw on Georges face so you can see where to add everything as you go on.
Step 2: Mouth, Ears, Nose
Using the chicken wire, hold the wire up to the mouth outline and cut to the proper length. Before you cut the wire, you should hold it up to Georges face so that it bends around his face exactly where you will place it after you cut it out. If you dont bend the wire you may come out with short or flat cheeks. If you are unsure then cut out a larger piece of wire and trim it later.
Once you have the correct length you will need the correct width. If you place Georges head at your feet and you are looking down at him, the mouth should be almost half the width of the head as you can see in the picture. since you will be bending and molding the mouth you will need a little more wire so cut a generous portion and trim later. once you mold and bend the lips and cheeks attach the mouth by sticking the ends of the wire through the tape and spin them around the wire cage of the head like bread ties. it will have a strong hold. Next, cover the mouth in masking tape.
cut out a small triangle of wire approximately 4" X 4" for the nose. Mold the wire to match Georges nose and attach it the same way as the mouth. Cover with masking tape.
Using the same process for the ears. Cut the wire out approximately 1.5' X 1.5' and mold it into an ear shape. Mold both ears before you attach the first to make sure they are symmetrical. Attach them like you did the nose and mouth. Georges ears sit at a funny angle and bow out a little. If you dont get the shape or angle just right you can always bend and mold them after you attach them. next, cover them in masking tape.
Step 3: Paper Maché
For this step I used a mixture of 10% wood glue, 30% flour, and 60% water. I also used strips of paper towel because its stronger and easier to fit in the detailed areas than newspaper is. Let this step dry for about a day and a half then you may need to apply another layer. Cut the strips of paper towel in big strips and small strips. Big strips 3-4" wide and small 1" wide. lay them in a criss cross pattern as you apply them.
Step 4: Apply the Tan Fur and Fix Ridges
using a sharpie, mark all of the divots and areas where the head and mouth arent round. cut out pieces of wool and hot glue them to these areas to make Curious's head look as close to completely round as possible. this is not as important on the head as it is for the mouth.
Next, pull the wool of George's eyes (lol) and tape it in place. cut the fabric out in a pattern that matches Georges face and begin to hot glue it in place from the top of his face and glue as you go down to his mouth. The fabric is difficult to roll over his cheeks and mouth without having wrinkles. I glued my forehead and eyes down first, then the nose, then the mouth. As I glued the mouth down I had 2 places with wrinkles around where his lips would be. I cut the wrinkles out and glued the seams down. I tried to hide them as much as possible.
Use the same process for glueing the ears. tape the wool down, cut out the pattern you need, and glue it. when glueing the ears it is easiest to start on the inside of the ears because you can hide any mistakes. Once the inside is glued down, roll the wool over and behind the ears as you continue glueing.
Step 5: Adding the Brown Fur
This is the same process as the last step except I didnt glue all of the material I sewed most of it.
Lay the brown fur over the head and tape it down in place, then cut out the pattern so it fits Georges head. Use slightly more material than you think you will need because the brown fur should sit on Georges head slightly loose. Start just behind the eyes. roll up the fur a lttle bit to give George eyebrows before you glue it down. Glue the brown fur down along the perimeter of the face and cheeks. Once you have finished the perimeter cut out small slits for the ears to poke through then glue the fur down around the ears.
Next you will sew the fur. Cut 2 seams from the back of Georges head to the top of his head. these seams may be in random spots depending on how you placed the fur on Georges head. You also may have more the 2 seams. now tape the fur in the exact place that you need it and cut out any excess fur and smooth out any uncessesary wrinkles. Next, sew the seams with the brown thread from the top of the head to the back. once you get to the back glue the perimeter of the neck to secure the fur.
Step 6: Eyebrows and Hair
The eyebrows on George are both symmetrical half moon shapes. Tape your leather where the eyebrows are located and draw the half moon shapes to the size you need. Once cut, place them where they need to go to make sure your pattern was correct. Both eyebrows should match so once you cut one out you should trace it and cut the 2nd one out. last, hot glue them in place.
For the hair i cut out long finger shapes from the brown fur. I cut out 4" X 5" then sewed 2 sides inside out so I could hide the seam once I turned it right side out. With the last remaining open side I took extra pieces of fur and stuffed the finger like hair to give it its shape and so it stands up slightly off Georges forehead. Once you stuff it then sew the last side. Sew the hair to the forehead (brown fur) of George so that it hangs down infront of the tan wool of his face slightly. Repeat this step and make three pieces of hair. If you look at my last photo you will see a better image of the hair. The hair is also angled to one side, it doesnt hange straight down, so sew it on crooked.
Step 7: Eyes, Eyelashes, and Painting
I looked at a drawing/cartoon image of Curious George and based on the images on Google, i drew in the eyes where I thought they looked most accurate. Next cut the eyes out, I used a sharp knife to do this (use caution).
next take your eyes and mold them if you are using a bendable material. My eggs were aluminum so I could add some shape to them. Next paint them white and insert them from inside the mask.
Hot glue the eyes around the inside rim until they are secure.
Using the same method as the eyebrows, add the eyelashes and hot glue them in place.
Based on your cartoon images, draw in the pupils where they look most accurate using the magic marker.
Using the tan paint and small brush add in the details over the eye.
Step 8: The Body and Hands
I ordered 3 yards of brown short pile fur ( 3 feet X 54"). I didnt add actual photos of this cutting and sewing process because its easier to explain in writing. I traced the outline of my body on the fur using masking tape. The trace didnt include my hands, feet, or head, but did include my neck. I have never sewed or taylored a body suit so I left alot of room for error. I re-outlined my initial trace with another trace that was 3" wider and longer. i just mirrored the first along its perimeter. This excess material will compensate for the curvature of my body. The initial outline would only cover the front or back of my body but wouldn't cover the sides or wrap around my arms and legs correctly. Also, Curious has loose fur so you can be generous with expanding your 2nd outline even further. once you have completed you 2nd outline repeat it again to cover your back.
Now take your two matching outlines and sew them together with the fur side on the inside. If you sew them together inside out it will hide the seam when your done. once you finish just turn the body suit right-side out.
for this step I used fishing line (8 lb test) because its clear and 100 times stronger than thread. I also sewed by hand which took forever but if you have a machine then you should use it.
Once both sides are sewn together, cut a line from the center of the neck to the middle of your lower back (not too low). Do this before you turn the body suit right-side out, it will make it easier. Next, sew in your zipper. There is only one way to sew a zipper so I dont feel the need to explain. even if you sew it with the wrong way facing out it still works correctly, its just a hassle. if you dont have a zipper, you can use velcro or you can cut out a long shoelace like line of your brown fur and cut holes along the seams. just string up the back like you would lace shoes.
Hands. I used the same process for the hands. outline your hands and expand the outline by 4" along its perimeter. Curious has hands that are just as big as his face so make sure you have the correct size, you dont want baby hands. next, sew the perimeter with fishing line and flip the hands right side out. Both sides of the wool should look the same so you dont have to turn the hand inside out before you sew them, just try to hide the seam. next stuff the hand with extra fur you may have laying around to make them puffy.