How to Make a Corvid Costume




About: I'm an experimentalist, a scientist and I have a tendency to do things just for the sake of doing them, or to find out what they're like. I love life, show me something I can feel good about. I've got an ...

I can't remember why, but having a Halloween party coming up I decided to dress as a monstrous-Crow / Raven (big black bird)

The best thing about a self-made costume is you can be fairly certain no one else is going to look the same...

It's made from / with:
Old clothes
Old newsaper
PVA glue
Needles and thread
Black paint
A pair of gasses
(and a few other things)

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Step 1: The "hat"

The head starts with a close-fitting "hat", it doesn't move and keeps everything firmly attached to a head.
I wrapped myself in cling-film then applied paper and PVA glue, waited for it to dry. The paper and glue were then built up in stages.
PVA and paper is quite flexible, this did not turn out hard.

Step 2: The Beak

A good beak is essential and I spent a fair amount of time on this.
First make a basic pattern, here it's expanded polystyrene foam. Like the "hat" I wrapped in cling-film then applied layers of PVA and paper, in stages with drying in between.
After I'd made the top-half the foam was trimmed smaller and the process repeated for the bottom half.

Notice how the end is rough and splayed-out, this helped with joining to the head-piece

Some bits of metal were added to form a hinge (cheap Meccano-a-like kit)

Step 3: Beak Meets "hat" to Make Bird-face

To join the paper and PVA I built more paper, card and PVA but used some polystyrene as lightweight-filler.
For the eyes, cut holes in thin card and test position while wearing the thing, then glue.
The visibility in this is upper sideways and narrow, with downwards-straight-forward with the beak open...

Step 4: Beak-function

The lower beak is only held on by the hinge. I thought about a string-pull but decided to make a magnetic-catch. A bit of steel and a tiny magnet achieved this.
Having the beak open provides some ventilation and forward visibility.

Step 5: Paint It Black

I sprayed the paper with two coats of cheap multi-surface black "satin" paint.

Step 6: Feathers

I cut up an old black shirt and glued it to the "hat" to make a "skirt" that extended to my shoulders. I then added a few stitches with a leather-needle as extra security. The lower edges were eventually hacked into a "feathered" edge with scissors.

I cut old black trousers into triangles and glued them to the head, it took a long time. I was going to extend this but ran out of time. The edges of the "helmet" were all feathered, but I may complete the rest next year.

(The camera-flash makes the material look more gray than it actually is)

Step 7: The Eyes

This wasn't going to be finished without some eyes. I popped the lenses from some UV-protective safety-spec's, taped them into position, then dribbled epoxy-glue on the inside.

The visibility is pretty good from the inside, but the look is right from the outside.

Step 8: Voice Changer Addition

As I was going to the Official Instructables UK Meet Up - October 30th 2010 I reserved the Velleman voice changer kit. Thanks to Steve and Jake's soldering iron.

Soldering this was straight forward, but fitting it in was tricky.

The speaker was hot-glued in the upper-beak, the battery glued in the head, and the board sewn onto the inside black fabric (below chin)

Step 9: The Long Black "dress"

I re-used a black cloak from a previous costume, hacking the edges to "feathered" with scissors.
Very much appreciated was the use of Lizzie's sewing-machine in stitching various parts together.

Step 10: We're Done, Time to Party!

I asked for a photo of me on my camera, but no good ones were taken...
So here are some other costumes / looks.

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    22 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    A very recent documentary said  your choice of bird is in fact the very smartest animal.
    This is based on recent crow studies.
    • Crows make hook tools out of twigs
    • Crows learn three step sequences to food in two trials while dogs need 70 trials.
    • Crows are smarter then parrots
    • Crows teach young about bad people to make warning calls
    • Crows tell each other of dangers in minutes.

    I hope you wanted to know :-)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is lovely! I could see this being used for stage plays as well! Nicely done!!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Second outing this year - ended up drinking with Ska Wars, but left my camera at home.



    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    What?? You are supposed to keep it with you at all times! That is something my niece has mentioned to me many times. Her skills are amazing! She has such a beautiful eye for taking pictures. I have a lot of family members that art artist but the genes skipped me somehow. I have artistic values in other areas. Color, drawing, painting, and balancing is not any of them. I am ok at taking pictures but need a lot more practice. Sunshiine

    Dr Qui

    8 years ago on Step 2

    Nice job.

    Hurah for the cheap Meccano-a-like kit, I bought myself 2 of them in the post Christmas sale in the local supermarket to go into my part bins ( after an evening of nostalgic play ;0) ) they are exceptional value, the same amount of the nuts and bolts the contain would cost almost twice the price of the kit in a hardware store.

    1 reply
    lemonieDr Qui

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 2

    Yes they are! Someone got me one for Christmas...



    8 years ago on Introduction

    the best thing about a selfmade costume is you can be fairly certain noone else is going to look the same... nicely done !

    1 reply