This was a behemoth of a project involving an inflatable costume, a LED costume, and a glove that controlled the colors and patterns of the LEDs.
I’ve been wanting to make an inflatable creature that would give birth to me for a while now (lots of my friend’s are having babies, so I guess my subconscious is trying to digest this). In this project, the giant evil mama bear gives birth to a slutty baby bear with LEDs, who then performs a LED hula-hoop number. After the main show I used the “power glove” to control the led lights while dancing and socializing.
Step 1: Evil Teddy Bear 1: Sketching
I’m a firm believer is sketching lots of ideas first. After deciding what we are doing, we can start making!
The nylon to use is important. I found that an impermeable nylon was more important than a lightweight nylon. I went to the fabric store and tried to blow air through the nylon. If air can’t go through, then it’s good. If air can't go through, and it’s a light fabric that is better. Parachutes are made of rip stop nylon or ballistic nylon, which I couldn’t find. I guess if you can find this it would work better.
Step 2: Sketch and Cut Out Shapes
Sketch the shapes- I made different pieces for the head, body, legs, and arms. Lay two layers of nylon flat, sketch out the shapes with chalk, and cut two identical pieces. Sew the pieces together with a French seam.
This photo is after I attached the head and one leg. I blew it up with a hairdryer to test. I started with the first half of a French seam until everything looked good. I finished the french seam at the very end.
Step 3: Magnet or Zipper to Close Costume
I used a magnet strip to make the closure airtight. I assume an airtight zipper would work way better, but I couldn’t find one on quick notice. The magnets weren’t very strong, so I added three clips to hold the closure together. The magnets were just to keep the air from getting out. This is in the very front of the costume. I cut it open and glued the magnets inside.
Step 4: Vacuum Back Pack
I made a backpack out a hand vac, straps and some duck tape. The vacuum sucks air from outside, and pumps it into the costume. When being “birthed” I had to take it off quickly, so keep that in mind when making it. I attached a tube to the end of the vac which connected to a plastic piece on the costume. I also ducked taped this.
Step 5: Finishing Touches to Evil Inflatable Bear
Photo is of me practicing being birthed. I had to undo the clips holding the costume together, turn off and take off the vacuum, and undo the magnets. It took me a few times to do it quick.
I glued on light nylon fabric to decorate the face. I didn't sew because I didn't want to put more holes where air could get out. After realizing I couldn’t see anything, I sewed in a clear plastic window with black mesh behind it. I also made his head smaller, his legs shorter, and added the arms.
Step 6: Baby Teddy Bear Costume
I based the baby teddy bear costume off of a bondage puppy dog I wore for aerial chains in Atomic Entertainment's production of Circ X. It was designed by Diego Montoya. Watch the video.
First I made a base for the fur to go on top of. I used a Brazilian cut speedo as a pattern for the bottoms, and used the measurements from my dog costume for the shoulders. You could probably just sew fur on top of some little shorts. I cut the pieces of fur into strips and sewed them down vertically. Don't forget it needs to stretch, so try on the base and pin the fur on top. Or just leave enough room for stretch. I wanted the shoulders large so I had to put multiple layers. The bottom layers I sewed with a machine, but when the fur became too thick I had to sew by hand.
I sewed a strip of plasticy streach fabric where the LEDs would be connected. I used Velcro to attach the LEDs easily, and so I could use them later for other projects.
Step 7: LEDs
All the LEDs technology was inspired by uiproductions instructable. Mine project is really similar, except I controlled the LEDs via xBee. I still ran into some problems:
Where to put the microcontroller?!?!?
Since I am doing hula-hoops I need to put all the electronics somewhere it won’t get broken. I put them under my furry pants in the back, and made a nylon water resistant bag so I didn’t sweat on anything. The fur helped absorbe the shock from the hoops, but I still had to avoid that area while hooping.
Step 8: Finishing Touches
I made some ears our of fur and elastic, which I based off of the bondage dog costume. I just cut the fur into a triangle and sewed it on elastic. Also, the "Power Glove" (I talk about in next step) is kinda ugly, so I made fur cuffs too.
I added a black metallic chain with swarovski crystals to add some sparkle. I glued crystals on the wires of the LEDs to add some more sparkle. I wore my hott dr martin boots.
Oh yeah, and since the costume is pretty reveling I had to get in shape! I did the Insanity Workout for a few weeks prior to the show.
Step 9: Power Glove!
The "Power Glove" was for after the hula-hoop number. I danced around and control the leds on my costume. I previously used an Ipad to control LED bras in Atomic Entertainment’s Cirq Evolution show. Click here to watch the LED bra video. I wanted to be able to control the lights with one hand, so I could have a drink in the other hand!
I cut out strips of conductive fabric and glued wire between two pieces. I sewed the fabric to the finger tips of a glove. I made the thumb the ground, and each finger on a different pin. The program on the arduino is a basic button sensing program. When the circuit is connected, a message is sent out through the xbee to the LEDs. The cool thing is it senses if two, three, or all four fingers are touching giving me 15 different finger touching combinations.
Step 10: That's It!!!!! Photos From the Show!
Here are some photos from the show! For more information, photos and videos about my company check out our website at: