This costume was a huge hit a few years ago when a stinkbug infestation hit my town. They've made a comeback this year, so I'm updating my old design to share with you. Hopefully your town isn't suffering a stinkbug infestation, but this is sure to be a hilarious addition to any Halloween party! Finished dimensions: 23" x 37".
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
You will need:
- Print pattern at 100%
- A large piece of cardboard. 4'x5' should be plenty. I got a bike box from my local bike shop.
- Hot glue gun
- Straight edge
- Utility knife
- Marker for pattern transfer
- Spray paint for the base coat. I used Rust-Oleum Hammered Brown.
- Acrylic paint for details. Find 2 colors, 1 that is darker than the base and 1 that is lighter. I mixed black and metallic gold to get a dark brown, and used the gold straight out of the bottle for the lighter color.
- Sponge for applying paint
- 2 7'-lengths of jute
- 4 6"-lengths of small wire
- Wire cutters. I used needle nosed pliers.
- Stinkbug for reference. If none are available, find an image online.
- Netflix. This one is optional. For reference, Midsomer Murders was my choice while making this costume.
Step 2: Cut Out the Pieces
Print the pattern and cut out the individual pieces. Lay them out on your cardboard and trace. Make sure the corrugation is going in the same direction as the arrows (this makes the next step much easier). Flip pattern pieces B, C, D, E, and F and trace again for a total of 11 pieces. (I don't recommend using a cat in this step.)
Carefully cut out each piece with the utility knife. Use a sawing motion, which will give you more control of the knife. It's a little slower, but corrugated cardboard is persnickety. This motion helps prevent the corrugation from dictating where your knife goes.
After you cut everything out, assemble the pieces to make sure it will fit correctly.
Step 3: Shape the Cardboard
This is the most time consuming step, but very important! The cardboard needs to be rounded. You can use the edge of a table or a porch railing. Run each piece individually across the edge of the rail. Try to make each piece look smoothly rounded.
Note that I have flipped the cardboard so that the printed side is down. Even though the final result is painted, the original ink sometimes shows through.
Step 4: Glue!
Start by gluing the 2 D-pieces together. Run a line of glue along the inside and outside seam.
Next glue the 2 C-pieces together, inside and out. Glue them to the D-pieces. Continue with B, E, A, and finally F.
Does it look shell-like now? Yay!
Step 5: Paint!
Use 3 colors for your paint. I used a medium metallic brown for the base layer, and metallic gold and dark brown to get the mottled look. You can use any colors, just make sure there is contrast between them.
Spray paint the inside and outside of your shell.
Using the sponge, randomly apply the dark and light layers. (NOTE: Don't paint F pieces yet) I started with a layer of dark brown, then applied the metallic gold, and finished with another application of dark brown.
Finish up by painting stripes with the dark brown and metallic gold on F pieces.
Step 6: Add Straps
Hold the shell to your back to determine the most comfortable placement. Mark where the top of your shoulders hit the shell. Make another mark on each side of your waist. This is where you will attach the straps.
On the inside of your shell, make 2 small punctures about 2" apart at each mark. From the inside and starting at the waist, run a length of wire through one puncture, and back up into the other. Knot the jute around one side of the wire. Twist both ends of the wire together. Run a length of wire through the corresponding shoulder punctures. Twist the wire ends together with the jute running underneath. Repeat on the other side.
To wear, slip your arms through the "straps," cross them over your chest, around your waist, and tie in the front.
I added a gas mask to complete the outfit.