If you have a kindergarten or grade school kid, odds are they are fans of Todd Arnold's "Fly Guy" book series. So when my 1st grader's class had a "dress like your favorite storybook character day", there was only one option...Fly Guy. Fly Guy follows the adventures of a not-so-common house fly and his owner, Buzz. My son's favorite book of the series is "Fly Guy and the Frankenfly", in which Fly Guy is turned into a version of Frankenstein's monster. Also perfect for Halloween.
Follow along and I'll show you how to make a cool Fly Guy costume that will rule the school or next Halloween party. The best thing is, you can alter the paint scheme to match any of Fly Guy's high jinx (or his standard brown appearance).
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Step 1: Gather Supplies and Tools
Many of the items I used on this project, I already had. If your craft supplies aren't as well stocked, most items are easy to find in discount or big box stores.
- Mouse ears hat (ours was actually a non-branded knock-off version from some discount or party store)
- 2 pieces - black pipe cleaner (look in the hobby section for standard black or a variety of shapes and colors)
- 2 - Styrofoam balls (3" diam I believe)
- 1 - green t-shirt (short or long sleeve)
- Red and black paint pens or magic markers
- Green and black acrylic craft paint
- Craft glue or Mod Podge
- 2 - metal hangers
- Clear cellophane plastic (I recycled the wrapping from a big gift basket)
- Fly Guy book of choice - for reference and entertainment
- Small pieces of cardboard
- Ribbon or string (about 4 feet)
- 2 - 'bolts' (These are the electrodes on Frankenstein's monster's neck) - I used two plastic pieces from a Frankenstein pumpkin trimming kit
- 1 - Bandage (a standard 'band-aid')
- Hot glue gun
- Small paint brushes
- Hobby knife
Step 2: Build Fly Guy's Head
- Paint the felt portion of the hat with acrylic craft paint with medium to large craft brush. This took a couple of coats to cover the felt, but left a nice consistent finish once dry. For Frankenflly, I used green. For regular Fly Guy, you can use brown.
- Coat the Styrofoam balls with one but probably two layers of craft glue (thinned with a little water) or Mod Podge. I used Mod Podge, which is a thinner version of craft glue and dries clear. This step is important because it helps fill in all the spaces in the Styrofoam so the eye balls and blood shot eyes can be drawn on easier.
- Draw the pupils and bloodshot portion of the eyes with black and red permanent markers. I just 'eyeballed' this portion and free handed it based on pictures in the book.
- Hot glue each eyeball to the center of the mouse ears (the odd things you do as a parent). The Mod Podge layer also helps prevent the hot glue from melting the Styrofoam.
- Hot glue the pipe cleaners of your choice to the back of each mouse ear and bend slightly to represent the antennae.
- Finally, hot glue the electrode bolts to the hat just beneath the eyeballs.
- I left the ears on the hat their natural black color. This helps to contrast the white Styrofoam eyes better.
- The electrode bolts were from a pumpkin carving kit (similar to the pumpkin photo in this step that was borrowed from the internet) that I found at a retail store during Halloween season.
Step 3: Paint the Shirt (body) of Fly Guy
Start with a green t-shirt and the Frankenfly book reference. You can use a brown shirt if you are going for the normal Fly Guy look. I thought a long sleeve shirt made the overall look better than a short sleeve shirt would have. Your choice.
- Hand paint the black stripes with black acrylic paint, both front and back of shirt. Notice how the stripes don't run all the way up and down. That's the way they are in the book.
- Paint/draw the red cut and black stitches with the materials you have. You can use permanent markers, acrylic paint, or paint pens. I used a red paint pen and black fabric puff paint. The red paint pen left a shinier finish than craft paints. The puff paint gave a nice raised texture for the stitches. The little details make a difference.
- That's it. The shirt is easy. As long as you let it dry thoroughly.
- Solid color short sleeve t-shirts of virtually any color can be found at Hobby Lobby.
Step 4: Make the Wings
- Bend two metal hangers to something that resembles wing shapes.
- Cut out cellophane plastic to slightly larger than the metal wing shape. I used the clear stuff that is used for wrapping up gift baskets.
- Glue the cellophane to the metal hangers. AND LET DRY THOROUGHLY. See note below.
- Trim the excess plastic with scissors or craft knife.
- Use a black permanent marker to create the wing outline and veins (and to hide some of the glue that got everywhere). Use the book as your reference for this. Mine black lines tended to look a little more like leaves. I would suggest practicing on a piece of paper first.
- For the wings, you could also use something like tissue paper if you're not worried about the translucence. Kitchen plastic wrap didn't work well for me because it gets stuck to itself and is hard to work with.
- Hot glue will melt the clear plastic stuff. I used craft glue and that's not a good choice either. It took forever to dry and when it did, it wasn't clear, so you could see the white glue through the clear plastic. And because I am impatient, I got glue on everything. I don't have a glue recommendation because I didn't try others. Feel free to comment if you have a better option.
Step 5: Attach the Wings to Fly Guy (child)
There are probably several ways to attach the wings. I wanted something that was easy to remove so my son could still go about his school day after the costume show. So instead of attaching them directly to the shirt, I attached long black shoe strings as straps so he could wear them like a backpack. They sagged down a little, but worked much better that way.
- Cut out a cardboard rectangle large enough to cover the ends of the hangers when folded in half. Trim corners as desired.
- Cut four notches in the cardboard so the ribbon can be threaded through later.
- Hot glue the hanger ends to one side of the cardboard. Fold over and glue the other side. You are basically 'sandwiching' the hangers in between the cardboard. You should be very liberal with the glue so the hangers don't rip out.
- Paint the cardboard the same green that you painted the hat.
- Measure out enough black ribbon (or shoestring) to fit around your Fly Guy subject's shoulders. Thread the ribbon through the cardboard and space out so that it makes two backpack like straps. You will need somewhere around 4 feet depending on size of kid.
- Thread the ribbon through the cardboard and space out so that it makes two backpack-like straps. I painted two black stripes on the cardboard wing holder to help hide the black ribbon straps.
Step 6: Assemble Costume and Be in Awe of the Cuteness
Don't forget the bandage on the nose. A detail that is easy to miss, but it's all about the details. Frankenfly has a bandaged nose in the book. And kids love band aids for some reason.
Finally, my son won't wear jeans or shorts, so he has tons of wind pants. So a black pair of wind pants was readily available to complete the outfit.
Check out my Toy Green Army Man costume Instructable...
Runner Up in the
Book Character Costume Challenge