My two year old and four year old were both dressing as superheroes for Halloween, so I thought it appropriate to dress as a villain. I wanted to be someone that they'd both recognize. They watch Superhero Squad which often shows a very cartoony Dr. Doom, so that's what I set as my goal. Unfortunately, I didn't make this decision until October 24th, so I was under a bit of a time crunch. I also wanted to surprise them with it so I had to wait to work on it until after they were in bed. I had originally planned to just make a mask to wear under a green hoodie that I already owned, but it escalated into a full costume. Read on to see how I made the individual components of this costume.
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Step 1: Mask
I started with a basic masquerade mask from the Halloween store and some clay to make the form. I used clay to build up the areas that needed to be accentuated. I coated the whole form with petroleum jelly as a release agent. I used a mixture of all-purpose flour and water mixed to a watery glue-like mixture and then used thin strips of newspaper to cover the
entire mask. I used a small paintbrush to distribute the glue mix so that it saturated the newspaper strips making sure that everything layed smooth and confirmed to the various curves on the mask. For tighter curves or compound curves, you can tear some reliefs in the newspaper strips to allow them to conform to the appropriate shape.
I did two layers of newspaper and then set it in front of a fan to let it dry. When using the flour-water paste, there is a risk that if it stays wet for too long, mold could develop and grow, so it's a good idea to let it dry completely after every few layers.
For the subsequent layers, I switched to using blue shop towels. They are a super absorbent and very durable paper towel. I got the idea from the YouTube channel Ultimate Paper Mâché. You get the paper towels wet and then wring any excess water out of them. You then tear the straight factory edges off the towels as the straight edges don't lay down as smooth as a frayed torn edges. The blue towels were much easier to work with than the newspaper and provided a much stronger and smoother finish. One paper towel covered 70% of the mask (pic 7). At this point I also switched to using watered down white glue, as the flour mix was a bit too lumpy for the detail I was trying to achieve. I did two layers of the blue towels and let it dry again. Once dry, I removed the paper mask from the clay covered masquerade form and cleaned any clay out of the paper mask. I then applied a layer of blue towel to the inside of the masks to help strengthen and smooth it out a bit.
To give the mask a riveted look, I used the heads cut off of 16 gauge paneling nails. I used a pick to poke holes in the appropriate places in the mask and glued in the nail heads.
***Note - I'd recommend using a different method to paint your mask. Mine still has a heavy paint odor after 6-7 days of dry time.***
I painted the mask with a black spray paint just to give it a base coat. I originally taped off a section on each cheek that I planed on leaving them black, but after the silver paint I decided that I didn't like how it looked so I painted the cheeks silver too.
Step 2: Medallions
I used the same paper mâché technique to make the medallions. I used some small inflatable beach balls as a form. I did 3 layers of blue towel and then let them dry. Once dry I used an appropriately sized soup can to mark where to cut them. I then used some cardboard pieces cut to fit glued in layers to provide some rigidity. I did another layer of blue towel to join the cardboard backing to the front curved part. Once dry, I did a final layer using yellow construction paper. The yellow construction paper is not very absorbent or flexible, but soaking it in water and then crumpling and smoothing it out several times helped it form better. Use a less watery glue mix for the construction paper as you need a bit more stickiness. Once the yellow layer was dry, I used hot glue to attach a safety pin to the back of each one.
Step 3: Tunic, Hood, and Cape
I bought 4 yards of hunter green suit fabric that I found on sale for 50% off. The fabric was 58" wide.
For the tunic, I folded the fabric right sides together and used a sleeveless shirt as a pattern. I just layed the shirt on the fabric and traced around the arm , shoulders, and neck - leaving an extra 1/2" all around. At the waist line of the shirt, I continued marking down the fabric to approximate knee length, tapering outward slightly to the edges of the fabric. I cut the shape out and pinned the two pieces together up the sides to the arm openings and then across the shoulders to the neck opening. I sewed them together on the sewing machine using a straight stitch. For the arm holes and neck opening, I folded ~1/2" over and used a zig zag stitch to finish the openings. Once completed, I turned the tunic right side out and tried it on. I folded the bottom up to appropriate height and pinned it. I cut the excess off and folded 1/2" to the inside and sewed a hem using a zig zag stitch.
For the hooded cape, I used a combination of two free patterns found on fleecefun.com. I used the hood from the "Red Riding Hood" pattern (http://www.fleecefun.com/red-riding-hood-cape-pattern.html) and the same technique to attach the hood to the cape as found in the "fast hooded cape tutorial" (http://www.fleecefun.com/fast-hooded-cape-free-pattern-tutorial.html). They provide both written and video tutorials with the patterns so check them out.
I apologize for the lack of photos on this step. I got consumed by sewing and had some issues with my machine so I forgot to take pics.
Step 4: Turning Fabric
To keep the cape together in the front, I sewed a button on one side of the cape. I didn't want to cut a button hole in the other side, so I decided to make a loop out of some of the same fabric. To do this, I sewed a 1/4" tube using a straight stitch. I tried turning it inside out by hand, but was unable to do it. A quick call to my mom and she told me about this trick. They also make specific tools called turners that do the same thing, but it can be done with common household items.
Start by sewing one end of the fabric tube closed. Get a drinking straw (or other hollow cylindrical object) that will fit inside of your fabric tube and slide it inside to the closed end. Use a stiff object that will fit inside of the straw (skewer, knitting needle, wire coat hanger, etc) and push from the closed end of the fabric. This will turn that small fabric tube inside out.
I then sewed the loop onto the cape opposite the button.
Step 5: Belt
After seeing that my normal belt was far too skinny, I decided to make a new belt. Luckily I save everything and had a scrap of brown faux suede from a window curtain that I cut down for our kitchen window. It was just the right size to fit around my waist with a few inches overlap. I hemed the raw edges and sewed some on some Velcro.
**After wearing this around the neighborhood, and dealing with the belt coming off several times, I would recommend skipping the Velcro and just using a safety pin***
For the buckle, I layed the hemed belt on a piece of thin cardboard (thick card stock??) and marked the thickness of the belt. I then drew out a "D", leaving a section for the belt to loop over. I used spray adhesive to glue yellow construction paper to the face of the buckle. Cut reliefs around the curves and miter the corners and wrap the yellow paper around the back. Keep the edges down with glue or tape.
Loop the belt through the buckle slide the buckle to the middle of the belt. The ends of the belt will be positioned at your back.
Step 6: Gauntlet
For the gauntlets, I hit up the dollar store. I bought a pair of cotton work gloves and a 2 pack of flexible plastic cutting mats (for food prep). I used aluminum foil tape to cover the individual armor pieces. I used the templates and techniques demonstrated in ClintonMC's instructable (https://www.instructables.com/id/Contume-Gauntlets-for-less-than-a-fiver).
The cutting mats were translucent so I put the templates between the two cutting sheets and taped all the pieces together. I was then able to cut all the pieces for both hands at the same time.
To cover the many pieces with foil tape, on the second glove, I found it faster to lay a long strip of foil tape sticky side up and place each plastic armor piece face down on the tape. It's a good idea to mark each piece before hand. I then put the backing paper back on the tape. I then used scissors to cut the pieces out leaving just enough to wrap the edges. If you curve the pieces when wrapping the edges the tape will hold them in a somewhat curved state.
I used a low temp hot melt glue to attach the armor to the gloves. Do all fingers first, starting with the tips and working towards the knuckles. After the fingers and thumb, place the wrist piece, then the hand piece. Attach the knuckle piece only applying glue at the pinky knuckle and index finger knuckle. This will allow the knuckle piece to float over the hand piece. Finally attach the cuff, only applying glue between the cuff and the underside if the glove at the wrist. This allows the cuff to move over the wrist armor when you bend your wrist.
If I were to do another pair, I'd do each finger plate by trial and error. The templates were great, but I normally wear a XXL glove so there were a few pieces that were simply too short. Unfortunately, I already had all the pieces cut out before I realized it was going to be an issue.
Step 7: Gauntlet Improvement
After wearing the gauntlets just a few times within the same day the edges of the finger plates were starting to come unglued. To remedy this, I decided to sew them on. I started by using a tool to poke a small hole through the edges of the armor pieces. I then threaded a small needle using a needle threader. I doubled the thread over at a length about 2 feet long and tied three knots at the end. Trim the excess close to the knot. Start your needle from the glove side and slide it through the hole in the armor plate and pull the thread through to the knot. Loop the thread under the finger to the other side of the piece. Slide the needle through the hole in the armor and through the fabric and pull it tight so the armor plate is curved correctly. **Keep in mind that it you pull too tight, you may not be able to get your finger in the glove.*** Loop the needle around the thread and through the fabric forming a loop for a knot. Pass the needle through the loop and pull the knot tight. Pull the needle through a shirt section if the fabric and pull tight. Cut the thread close to the fabric. This will trap the end of the thread. Tie more knots in the end of the thread and repeat the process for the remaining fingers.
For the knuckle and hand pieces, I just stitched them directly to the glove.
Step 8: Go Enjoy
Your costume is done. You may want to continue and make arm and leg armor, but I ran out of time. The boys loved that I dressed up and I had a lot of fun wearing it to work. My oldest son is still wearing the gauntlets - often with his Wolverine costume.
Participated in the
Halloween Costume Contest
Participated in the
Superheroes and Supervillains Contest