I'm a big guy but I wanted to make an even bigger costume so I chose Hagrid, from the Harry Potter series. I knew I wanted to have riser shoes, a mask, big clothes and of course BIG HAIR. But where to start?
I figured the mask would take the most time so I started with that. One thing I knew is that I did not want to spend a ton of money on real mask making supplies so I came up with my own process.
I did end up buying the wigs which was the biggest cost for the project.
This was a project built by an adult. These steps are for illustration purposes only. I will not assume any risk if you attempt any of the steps outlined here.
Here are the Supplies and the Steps!
For the mask:
- One Styrofoam head, plain (I got mine for $1 at a Halloween store)
- Plaster of Paris, from the hardware store
- Sculpey modeling clay from the art supply store
- Reference images of Hagrid (you can Google to find your own)
- Mask Latex (from the Halloween store)
- Velcro strips to hold the mask to my head
For the clothes:
- Big pants from the thrift store
- 2 couch-type pillows from the thrift store (Mine were stuffed with down feathers! More on that later!)
- Material to make a vest ( I purchased a duvet bed cover from the thrift store)
- One to two long-sleeve t-shirts and one short-sleeve one that you can trash
For the shoes:
- A pair of shoes you can sacrifice for the project (You will be drilling screws through the soles)
- Some scrap wood. I would recommend plywood, 1/2" thick, but I used pine boards, 3/4" thick. The wood should be big enough for the bottom of the shoes plus some heel risers.
- A rubber welcome mat from the hardware store, 1/4" thick. (You can also use thin foam rubber.)
For the belt:
- This one stumped me. I needed something rigid like leather but cheap. I was at a local thrift store and found a section of plastic lawn edging in a small roll. Perfect!
- A 6" x 5" x 3/4" piece of pine for the belt buckle.
- A small piece of dowel, 1/4" or 3/8" in diameter for the belt buckle pin
- More velcro strips to secure the belt.
For the hair:
I gave up and bought two "rock and roll" wigs from the Halloween Store. I also bought some gold and silver hair spray from the Halloween store. The wigs and spray was the most expensive parts of the costume. My daughter suggested I should have used yarn!
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Step 1: Step 1: Make the Mask - the Head Mold and Facial Features
I needed a really quick and cheap way to make an impression of my face so I used a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, enough to cover the front of my head. I pressed the foil into my face and eye sockets and around my nose, mouth and chin and then carefully removed the foil and set it on a newspaper-covered work surface. I took an old towel and loosely wrapped it around the foil mask, with the nose pointing down.
I used an old plastic tub and mixed up some plaster of paris with a little water and got my hands in and squished it around to mix it thoroughly, looking for a runny consistency. I gently poured the plaster into the foil shape and used my hands to smooth it up the sides. I did not fill the mask, but I coated the inside. I kept adding more until I could press the Styrofoam head into the plaster to join the two.
I let this cure for several days. When fully set, I flipped the mask over and removed the foil.
With the head propped up with some bricks on either side, and the nose facing up, I started adding Sculpey modeling clay to build up the forehead, eyes, cheeks and nose areas, looking at my reference images.
Step 2: Step 2: Casting the Modeled Face With More Plaster
I knew that the bottom of the face would not be seen so from the mouth down I covered the area with blue painters tape. I also made a dam of aluminum foil around the outside of the rest of the head to let the plaster build up there. I made sure there was no plaster from the first casting showing anywhere.
I mixed up another batch of plaster and drizzled it over the face, and let it build up thicker and thicker.
I covered the wet plaster with a rag to add some structure. I had no idea if any of this would work!
I let this cure for a couple of more days, and worked on the clothing during that time. After the two days I flipped the mask over and gently pulled the original casting out of the back, leaving the Sculpey inside the second plaster shell. I also removed the Styrofoam head to reuse later.
The last part was to pull the Sculpey out from the plaster. It actually came out in a couple of pieces. I was sure I was going to have to dig it out.
What I was left with was a plaster shell with a negative face!
Step 3: Step 3: First Mask Failure, Then Success!
My first attempt was to use Crayola Model Magic which is this cool air-dry foamy clay-like material. I did some testing and found that no matter what I used as a release agent, I could not get the Model Magic clay to come away from the plaster in any usable way! Fail!
Back to the Halloween store I went and I bought a small jar of Latex "face and body paint" rubber. You can actually paint this on your skin and do some neat things with it, but that was not my use.
What I did was paint about 5 layers of the latex inside the negative face mold. I let this cure for a few days.
Here was the important step: I dusted the inside of the latex mask with powder (I used makeup powder but talcum powder would work as well.
I started peeling up an edge of the mask, away from the plaster and immediately started dusting the new exposed area of latex. IT IS ESSENTIAL to dust all surfaces of the latex otherwise it will stick to itself and will not come apart!
Once the latex mask was free carefully cut the eye holes out with scissors.
Step 4: Step 4: Securing the Mask to a Velcro Headband
I created a band of Velcro to fit around my head at temple level. I then placed some rolls of duct tape, sticky side out to the band on my forehead.
I gently placed the mask against my face and pressed the tape inside the latex mask to secure it. I later hot-glued the vecro inside the mask.
Step 5: Step 5: the Clothes
I put one long-sleeve t-shirt on my body and then stuffed the bottom of the other with feathers after sewing the bottom of the shirt closed. (Yes I wish it was poly-fill, but oh well. I was chasing feathers for weeks afterwards. You should have seen the inside of my shop vac!)
I then cut off the sleeves of the second shirt and stuffed the top part of those and then secured the sleeves and belly to the shirt I was wearing with safety pins and then later attached them on the sewing machine.
The pants were baggy enough, except for the butt area, so I took a third shirt and made a big butt and sewed that in place in the back of the pants.
I found a pattern online for a vest, and made some brown paper templates from shopping bags and laid it all out and tested the paper vest before I cut the pieces from the bed cover. I sewed the seams of the vest together and I think it turned out well. ( I wanted to make a big coat like Hagrid wears in many scenes, but that was beyond me at this point. Better go easy and get it done!)
Step 6: Step 6: the Belt
As stated in the materials list, the belt is made from a wooden buckle (Not really a buckle, but it looks like one), and a piece of lawn edging. I am rather proud of this! I just could not figure out what kind of material was stiff like leather, cheap and wide! If you have thoughts of what would work, please leave a comment!
The buckle was cut from a piece of wood with a jigsaw, and carved with a pocket knife and sanded. I used a little gray paint and silver paint to make it look metallic. The wood dowel piece is glued and a tiny nail was added (first drilled) to secure the pin to the buckle.
The plastic slips through the buckle and there are hidden strips of velcro where the plastic belt overlaps, to secure them together. The belt slips through a loop in the back of the vest to hold it up back there.
Step 7: Step 7: the Beard and Hair
I got the manakin head mounted to a piece of wood (there was a convenient hole in the bottom of the head.) I jammed the wood into a tripod base that was kicking around. ( I also had the wood clamped to the edge of a workbench for a while, which worked well, too.)
I used one of the "Rock and Roll" wigs from the Halloween store as the beard and mustache and secured the sections with hot glue to a strip of cheesecloth (from the grocery store). The cheesecloth wraps from around the chin and mouth area to the back of the head and is tied and then hot-glued to the Velcro headband.
You can see that the headband has a section that goes over the top of my head, to keep it from slipping down.
The cheesecloth was soaked for a few days in some dirt and clay and water in a tub to take the white color away.
I teased out the beard and mustache sections with a comb while I worked gently so as not to pull it to far and hard to break it. I used scissors to trim the mustache.
The other "Rock and Roll" wig was placed on the head and in a similar manner, teased out to make it look more Hagrid-y. To get the look of the hair flowing back off of the top of the head, I used a paint roller and a coat hanger to make a big curler!
Once the beard and hair was all teased out, I used hairspray and the gold and silver hairspray to help set the position and add great color to the otherwise black wig. (Yes, should have used yarn!)
Step 8: Step 8: Makeup on the Face Mask
I positioned the mask, under the beard and hair, but over the headband and then trimmed the excess cheesecloth away.
I used some of the beard trimmings for the eyebrows, using some "Spirit Glue" basically really tacky makeup glue, to secure the hairs.
Once satisfied the position of everything would work, removed the mask and I used some theatrical makeup from my early days in theatre to color the mask. I used a foundation base color makeup, then some red rouge highlights for the cheeks and nose to give it some life. I stippled on some black and brown specs with a plastic sponge to simulate skin pores.
I used my phone to check the skin tones against my own skin coloring.
Step 9: Step 9: the Shoes
This is the first time I have made riser shoes in this manner. If you have a better method, please let me know in the comments section.
I traced the bottom of the shoes I was to use onto pieces of pine, and roughly cut them out in the desired shape. To this I attached "Heel" boards to the bottom with glue and nails. I think plywood would have been stronger, as one of the shoes had a section break off during use.
I screwed down through the foot opening of the shoe into the wood with some drywall screws that had flat heads. I made sure the heads were well sunken into the sole area so as not to cause blisters.
I did the same thing at the toe end of the shoes, but sort of at an angle through the sole into the wood from the sides of the shoes.
Again I used brown paper to create a template of how the bigger shoe would go around the toe, to the heel area and then another piece around the heel area forward.
From the hardware store I purchased a thin welcome mat and on this I laid out the paper templates in a way that would fit all the pieces. each piece was labeled so that I would not mess this step up as I did not want to buy another mat. I traced each piece with a wax crayon and then cut the pieces out.
To assemble the pieces I used heavy duty sewing thread and pre-drilled tiny holes along the edges of the rubber mat pieces to accept the thread. That is a lot of tiny holes!
I used masking tape to hold the pieces together as I worked. I stapled the mat pieces to the wood platforms from the toe down along the sides and around the back. Where the heel piece overlapped the front piece, I used big head roofing nails to secure the overlapped areas of mat.
The rigid wooden soles were pretty uncomfortable to walk in, and made a terrible clatter. I took scraps of the mat material and stapled it to the bottom of the front and back of the shoes, ensuring that the staples were well seated so as not to mark up anyone's floors!
Step 10: And Here It Is!
All put together!
What would I do differently?
- Yarn for the hair - to save money
- A different riser shoe sole instead of wood. Maybe that thick rubber padding that is used for work and play surfaces that looks like big jigsaw pieces.
- More padding in the pants for the thigh area.
Please let me know what you think!
This is an entry in the
Halloween Contest 2019