How to Make a Mount Rushmore Costume




Be Patriotic!  Go as the great Presidents of the United States!

Here, you can see me as Teddy Roosevelt, mostly because I wear glasses.

This costume is very simple to create, being mostly made of paper mache.


Step 1: Materials

Paper Mache:
- Newspapers, torn into 1-to-2 inch wide strips
- Water, semi-warm
- white school glue
- Flour

Frame / Rest of the Costume:
- Several scrap pieces of wood (I used some old baseboard molding)
- Chicken wire (hardware store, very cheap, 'cause you only need a few feet)
- Masking tape
- Spray paint (I used a grey primer, then some "rock texture" overlay to give depth)
- Old blue jeans - sacrified for shoulder straps
- Old bed sheet
- Staple gun and Staples
- Work gloves for molding the chicken wire
- Wire cutters (for trimming the chicken wire)
- Zip ties to attach masks to the chicken wire
- President Masks (I did Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson since I wear glasses)
- Grey face makeup (or clown white and some black, mix your own -- that's what I did)
- Grey hair spray

Step 2: Frame, Chicken Wire, Masks...

Start by building a rectangular frame, with rising side pieces, and a cross piece at the top of the side supports.

Using copious staples from the staple gun, attach the chicken wire to the wooden structure.

Put on your gloves and mold the chicken wire into the shape of a mountain.

Attach the masks to the chicken wire with zip ties.

Step 3: Mix Up the Paper Mache

I used a simple flour water recipe:

1 cup flour
1 1/2 to 2 cups water
1/2 cup white school glue

Mix well until smooth, sticky, but still fairly thin.

Put in the strips of newspaper one at a time, allow to soak for a few seconds.  Then, as you pull out the strip of paper, squeegee off excess glue mixture with two of your fingers.  Lay onto the chicken wire in overlapping and semi-random directions.  DO NOT put all the strips in the same direction, the resulting paper mache will be weaker than if you randomize your strip pattern.  Think plywood.

Apply a full coat of paper mache to the chicken wire, allow to dry for a couple hours.  Apply a second, and third coat to thicken up the paper mache and give it strength.

Make sure to line the head hole opening very welll, so no chicken wire can stab you in the chin. Youch!

After your extra coats, allow the paper mache to dry for a couple days before painting.  It should be hard and crusty when fully dry.

Step 4: Paint

I used masking tape to seal the edges of the paper mache against the masks (the paper mache wouldn't stick to the plastic masks very well).  I also used masking tape to cover the holes in the inside of the masks (eyes, nose, mouth) so they would be solid.

I first covered the whole mountain with a grey spray paint primer, several thin coats.

Second, I came overtop with a stone texture spray paint, so the coloring wouldn't be flat.  I left the masks as flat grey, as on the real Mount Rushmore, the faces are lighter, since they have been carved out.  The flat grey gave this effect.

Step 5: Final Touches

After the paint dries, all that is left is to create some sort of shoulder straps that will help support this costume.  Despite the size, paper mache means it is very light -- just awkward.

I made my shoulder straps out of strips of old blue jeans -- just folded over, and sewed down the middle.  Attached to the wooden frame with more staples from the staple gun.

I also wanted to cover the completely open back, so I again used the staple gun and an old bed sheet to create a clean/finished look on the back.



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    20 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    where can I buy the masks for making this as I am in the UK and going to a party in July?

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    I love it when someone puts this kind of commitment into a unique costume. Great job.

    I also love the intro, where it says the costume is "simple to create." ; p


    7 years ago on Introduction

    We did not go full Teddy but we followed most of your directions to a T. Thank you for helping us make our daughter's post-South Dakota trip to "be Mount Rushmore for Halloween" come true. We heard the phrase "that is wonderful" more than a few times. Thank you so much for sharing your methods and creativity; your brought a lot of smiles to our Halloween. Best to you and yours.

    Halloween 2011 100c.jpg
    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Five stars, three cheers, two thumbs up, a round of drinks, and a couple bong hits. Stand tall and be proud!! Keep this costume handy and offer your services to political candidates as a spokesman in the upcoming election cycle. You would have been a hit at "Occupy Wall Street"

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Step 5

    Awesome idea for a unusual and unique costume! I hope u continue making them who knows maybe one day u start a business so I can buy one :)))

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    Thanks! You can see some of our other costumes here:


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I am doing a project for South Dakota this looks great. I am going to make it. Was it fun to make???? I hope so :D


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I'm not sure if it was only my mom and her siblings, or my mom and dad AND Mom's siblings, but they all got together for a costume party and made a four-person Mt. Rushmore costume.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    ROTFLMAO!! What an awesome idea for a costume, and hilarious at the same time!! I can just imagine the first time you tried to go through a door... *THUNK* (headpiece jamming against doorframe) *THUD* as you topple over backwards xD


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     No, not at all!  That's the beauty of paper mache.  I could easily pick up the whole thing with one hand... I'd guess it to only be 5 pounds or less.  It was more awkward than anything else... ie. I had to turn sideways to walk through doorways.