We are long time fans of the Muppets here at Malmey Studios. We have build many costumes but have never taken on something as difficult as a Muppet. The nice thing about Sweetums is he towers over his Muppet and Human counter parts so the costume lends its self to a taller person very well. The bad thing about Sweetums is that he is a Muppet and they are very difficult to build. Basically they are mascot costumes and puppets combined. Mascot Hard! Puppet Harder!
the picture attached is our costume built in this tutorial.
Step 1: Materials & Mental Note
This is an actual picture of the Sweetums costume from the Muppets
Materials, there is a laundering list of materials hopefully I can cover them all.
Long Pile Fur 2 different colors - eBay
Flannel Material for shirt and pants - Joann
Burlap and rope for robe
Felt for nails, mouth, eyes, noes, so on
Foam head, hands, feet
Plastic grating for head frame
Beach ball for head mold
Pair of gloves for hands
Feathers for eyebrows
Styrofoam for noes, fingers & lips
And I think that's the majority of it.
mental note get ready for some long nights of pulling you hair out!!
Step 2: Head and Feet
After a little research I jumped into this costume with both feet, which may have been a little overzealous but thats the way I do things! So I started with the Mascot forums and began with the head.
I started with a 24″ beach ball, a beach ball is ideal for for circle heads as the pattern is already laid out for you! So my next step was to get some crotchet plastic sheets and start forming out the “head cage”. After forming the “head cage” i sewed them together and reinforced them with a little hot glue! Next I cut some 1″ HD foam and hot glued it to the “head cage”, cut a generic opening for the mouth and BAM, your on your way.
Next we started adding the detail, once the mouth was cut I wanted to do the eyes! Not so easy, placement was not going well so I switched gears. I started with 5″ HD foam and based out a couple feet! While I was dealing with the feet I also made some legs, they go up to about the knee. The foam will support the felt and the fur. I also fashioned the the noes to help me with eye placement. I built the noes out of 2″ HD blue board. I also had to build out the bottom lip as it stick out far beyond the mouth. I also worked on the rig inside the head so that the head would not just flop around. I took some of the remaining plastic grating and made a halo to go around the head, I put some padding in it for comfort and glued a top to it. With the halo made I decided to run some grating straps to hold the halo in place, I also cut a little of the side foam away to allow better head and shoulder placement. With the head being able to be securely fastened and the noes complete I moved on to the eyes. I bought a couple of plastic globes from the craft store it was difficult for me to decide on size so I bought 2 one Larger and one smaller. For this project I decided to use the larger ones. I marked up a couple different places and starting into the foam. Once I got them where I wanted them I started working on the eye sockets to give Sweetums that grimacing look. I also worked on Sweetums mouth, I know he is suppose to be very slack jaw and have a serious under-bite but we decided to make him a little more costume and a little less puppet so we pulled the jaw back towards the face a little, giving the wearer the use of both hands for the costume. We have built the jaw out some and plan to place black material in the mouth area, we are also planning on making it very loose to give Sweetums the illusion of being very slack jawed. Here are a couple pictures where we are at with the costume. Well thats it until the fur arrives, thanks for following along. There is not a ton of commentary to go with these steps. I went out and purchased some felt and I started with Sweetums foot and leg to get use to gluing the fur and felt. Sweetums has a darker, shorter fur on his feet and legs and 2 different colors of felt. First off I took the Foot and Leg I built and used the scissors to shape them a little better, Once that was complete I started gluing down the dark brown felt for the base of the foot. Once I completed this tedious task I cut black for the toe nails and glued them down as well. With the felt in place I started to glue the fur to the leg first, since it was a cylinder it was an easy practice piece. I got that down pretty quick so I began the foot, this was not so easy but I figured it out, I cut an oversize piece and laid it over the footI then shaped it out a little and started gluing it from the top to the bottom. Once the fur met the felt I cut it all the way around. Next fur job I tackled was the head, this was not easy but was a lot of fun. I started with the same beach ball shape and cut the fur into 4 pieces, instead of cutting the shape at both the top and the bottom I cut the bottom of the fur straight to allow the fur to hang and give it that loose swaying look. I started with one panel and moved my way around the head seaming the edges until I reached the front 2 panels of the head. I did not want there to be a seam in the middle of the face so I left the front as one big piece. With the fur covering everything except the front 2 panels of the face I turned my attention to adding the fur to the bridge of the noes and adding black felt into the eye sockets to cover the foam I also covered the lip and the foam noes in orange felt. The felt is not the easiest to work with, it takes some practice and a little time to get use to, however it stretches nicely and seams pretty well. Finally I dealt with the the face cover piece. I cut it over sized glued it on and trimmed the fur to fit. Next I needed to add the material in the mouth area so you can not see the man behind the mask and I had to make the teeth. We sculpted out a tooth quick and molded it with urethane and poured 2 resin copies. As the resin dries I placed a screw in the resin so I could attach it to the lower lip.
To finish up the face we took a little foam and cut 2 1/4 moon shapes and covered them in orange felt. We then dirtied them up with a little paint.
Step 3: Hands, Clothes and Robes
Next on our agenda we turned our attention to the hands. We started with a simple garden glove and some 2″ foam insulation. We formed out huge shapely monster fingers in the foam. We then drilled holes in the foam for finger placement. The gloves needed some major modification, We prolly should have not started with a glove but I thought it would be a great base. So we cut off all 5 finger tips and split all the gloves at the seams. Once the fingers were split I started with the middle and the ring finger I seamed those 2 fingers together since Sweetums only has 4 fingers. I then attached all the shaped fingers to the remaining split fingers of the gloves. Once the fingers were attached I started covering them in felt. There is no good way to stretch the felt so I decided to seam them down the middle of the finger. We also decided to add some upholstery foam to the top of the hand and the palm for shape. After placing felt on the fingers I moved to the fur. Placing the fun was rather easy I just cut holes into the fur and pushed the fingers through. Once the fingers were pushed through we glued the fur down and seamed all the edges. Next i cut some smaller pieces of fur and covered the knuckles. The next step was the finger nails, I was unsure of how to do this so I put some thought into it. What i did was cut some felt in the shape of nails and painted them with resin, after they hardened I sanded them down glued them on and put a quick coat of paint on them for color and we have Monster hands. Next we turned attention to the clothes. We bought all the material (flannel) and began to sew (this was our first sewing adventure) after a couple hours we busted out both the shirts and pants. This step is pretty straight forward materal, pattern, sew! Once we finished sewing the beige flannel clothes we hand stitched patches on them. We also purchased a ton of burlap and some 3/4″ tie down rope for the over robe. We tied the rope at the ends and frayed the leftover. We also frayed the burlap and cut it into the robe shape.
Step 4: All Finished
We have made a ton of costumes but this was probably the most difficult I hope these steps and pictures help you complete your own Sweetums, Muppets or Mascot style costume.
I have been through as possible although Im sure I forgot something.
Enjoy and if you decide to tackle this. It is difficult but 100% worth the work and effort.
If there are any questions please ask.
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gene.lerohl made it!