I started this project with one goal in mind, to create the ultimate Sully costume. I research different techniques that would make him appear more lifelike (think Bear in the Big Blue House) and less mascot (Sparty).
It boiled down to mobility. Mobility would bring this costume to life.
I am going to attempt to break down every step of this costume.
A good amount of time was spent just creating the patterns. Fortunately for anybody making this costume, I completed that task for you.
This is a fairly complicated build and I would expect anybody making this on nights and weekends to spend a few months completing the costume.
Please don't attempt anything that you do not feel comfortable with. watch some foam cutting technique videos. How to use contact cement videos etc.
Please ask questions if something is unclear
Step 1: Supplies
Shannon Fabric long pile gorilla fur Turquoise - 9 Yards
5 gallon bucket
blue flexible PVC - 8 feet
Gorilla tape - 1 roll at least
Extra tough scrap fabric - 1 yard
Loctite professional strength super glue
Loctite Professional Strength spray adhesive
Puzzle matt EVA foam - at lease a six pack
flex seal white - 1 can
costume claws - I found mine at big lots but you can find something similar
2" upholstery foam - over 9 yards
2" gray pipe insulation - 6 foot
2 smaller buckets - I got mine from family dollar
60 lbs test spider line
little eyelet screws - 18 count
4 inch clear acrylic globe for eyes
Step 2: Foam Pattern Body and Legs
1. Download the PDF attached
2. I created a small scale Sully for reference (this step is optional but very helpful)
3. Use the PDF as a guide or project the pattern on the wall and trace pieces onto large sheets of paper
4. Transfer pattern onto 2" foam
5. Cut all piece out used a bread knife and separate
6. In a well-ventilated area, use Contact Cement to glue all the piece. Every piece should be left as an individual section at this point. You should have: chest/upper back, belly/lower back /tail, two shoulders, two upper arms, two legs, and two lower arms.
7. The bottom of the feet is EVA foam. I don't have an exact pattern. use the size of the legs to guess feet size. I am 6'3", I had to a foam extension on the side of the hips.
8. This is a great time for the first test fitting. Have someone help you drape all the pieces and make sure you fit inside. It is ok if you head is poking through the neck hole at this point. it will be fixed with the spine after. Your arms should be just inside the lower arm attachment.
9. While in the suit. Find a good spot for the elbow joint and have someone mark where it should bend.
10. While in the suit. have someone hold the chest up and mark the proper height on the front and back.You want to see out of the neck hole but not have your head go through it.
11. Use Contact cement and 2" elastic strip to attach elbow joints and chest joints (you can see where I attached mine in the indoor pictures)
When you are done with this step you will have a torso, two arms, two shoulders
Step 3: Head and Eyes
1. Use the PDF as a guide or project the pattern on the wall and trace head pieces onto large sheets of paper
2. Transfer pattern onto EVA (puzzle Mat) foam. I found my puzzle mat at Five Below, and fortunately was already blue.
3. Cut all piece out using a utility blade or Xacto knife and separate
4. In a well-ventilated area, use Contact Cement or hot glue to connect all the piece. Use a heat gun to create the bevel at the top of his brow. There should be a gap in the foam between his brow and back of the head crown. This is crucial for venting and will be well hidden with fur later. Trust me, you want to vent
5. Sketch on a smile and where you think the eyes would go. It will make it easier to determine where the bridge of the nose should go. I just eyeballed this step. It is important to create the right arch on the bridge of his nose and freehand the bottom of his nose once the bridge is attached. Use a Dremel tool or a really sharp blade to soften the features of his nose.
6. At this point, you should have a blank blue head with a nose and a pretty good idea where you want the mouth. Cut the mouth out a bit smaller vertically that you think. Then use the heat gun to soften the jaw area and pull his mouth more open. Trust me, it looks more natural that just cutting it all out of his face. Look how your jaw changes when you open your mouth and try to emulate that.
The eyes are key to bringing any character to life. In this case, I bought a 4" clear plastic globe on Amazon.
1. Trace the circle onto a piece of EVA foam. Cut out the circle the same size as the globe.
2. Use a piece of pvc pipe or something similar to punch out the pupil. Use a larger piece of pvc or something round to score a larger circle around the Iris. This gives the eyes some much-needed life under the dome.
3. Paint the pupil black. Tape off the iris and Plastidip the whites. Take the tape off the iris and use a series of different shade blue sharpie shades to draw in the details. Basically, draw progressively larger triangles till you reach the whites of the eyes.
4. Glue the pupil back in place. push the foam eye into the globe creating a convex eye. The white plastidip will have enough grip to temporarily hold the eye in place. Once the eye is positioned right, glue it in place.
This is a great moment to stage your design and make sure your proportions are correct with the body. The head is going to feel REALLY BIG compared to the body and that's ok
Step 4: The Spine
The spine is one of the most important parts of the costume and is load bearing. It is worth taking your time to get right.
1. Use a heating gun to bend the 8-foot blue PVC pipe at the 4-foot mark.
2. Use a heat gun to bend put an arch in the PVC the same angle as Sully's back. It should create that hunched overlook that Sully Has.
3. Cut slits 6" into the "back belly" upholstery foam. Use a ton of contact cement to attach the PVC to the "back Belly".
4. Use contact cement and scrap material to cover the slits in the "Back Belly". Be generous with the Adhesive. The slit/PVC area is the main support for the entire upper body.
5. Cut the top brim of a five-gallon bucket off.
6. Tape the top of the bucket to the top of the spine.
7. Place the chest/upper-back on the spine. Push the Bucket through the chest/upper back and temporarilly tape it in the neck area (see the picture. The bucket is orange)
8. Use contact cement to glue the bucket in place. Use scrap material to wrap around the neck hole to secure the neck/spine to the chest upper back.
9. Try on the entire torso and make sure it is still comfortable.
Step 5: Fur
Nine Yards of your 4" pile turquoise gorilla fur should be enough to cover all of Sully. THE FUR IS DIRECTIONAL, MAKE SURE IT IS LAYING THE RIGHT WAY. Watch some basic dress draping videos on youtube. It will give you a better idea how to do it.
BODY AND LEGS
1. Put Sully on a Mannequin or hang him up somewhere. You want to be able to walk all the way around him.
2. Use the body pattern and a starting point. Pin all the paper body patterns to their respective parts.
3. Use tape, fabric, more paper, or whatever works to extend the patterns.
4. Once you have a rough-in Fur pattern, use some throwaway fabric (I used old bed sheets) to create a rough draft Sully skin.
5. Sew it all together and wrestle with the beast for a while and make sure it all fits (the fur is not cheap so I would rather make mistakes now.
6. Once your pattern is 100% perfect, transfer the pattern onto the blue fur.
7. Cut out the pattern and sew it all together except for the top of the shoulders.
8. Wrestle the beast once again and put his fur on. At this point, your ENTIRE house should be covered in blue fur.
9. Hand stitch the top of the shoulders together
1. Use some extra foam to create an eyebrow ridge. It helps the eyes look like they are sitting back in his head and no GOOGLY
2. Repeat the same patterning process for Sullys head
3. Once you have the pattern perfected, transfer onto the fur.
4. Sew pieces that make sense together, like under the chin
5. Use spray adhesive to glue the parts that are too small to sew as one unit (Like the eye area)
6. Cut out the area the eyes will be mounted. Slightly smaller than the actual eye.
7. Glue the eyes directly to the EVA foam.
8. Use some lycra to create an eyelid. It helps shape the eye and soften his thousand mile stare.
AT THIS POINT
Now you should have a Sully that is starting to look complete! With a few more details and finishing touches. you will be done.
Step 6: FINAL DETAILS
This section is going to be a brain dump where I explain all the random out of order details that need to be done to "finish" the costume.
1. Attach suspenders to the belly/back area of Sully, that way the weight of the costume rides like a backpack and no on your neck
3. Cut out the pipe insulation for his lower lip. Plastidip and paint the piece a slightly off blue color. glue his lip on from inside the head.
4. Use EVA foam for his teeth. Just measure his lip size, cut out the desired teeth length, use a Dremel to carve the teeth as one piece, and glue it behind the lower lip.
5. I created a simple hand extender mechanism so I could control his fingers. A simple youtube search will go into a lot more detail on this process.
6. Use lycra to cover to open palm
7. Use a fishing waiter belt to hold up the leg fur (like a garter belt).
8. wear blue compression gear under the suit. It helps you stay cool and if any part gets exposed it will be the right color.
9. I found Claws at Big Lots and attached them to the hands and feet. It really helps define the costume. Any black claw-like object should work.
10. Airbrush (or carefully spraypaint) the purple spots onto the fur.
Step 7: Final Thoughts
This costume is BIG. I can't stress that enough. He is a huge crowd pleaser and super fun to wear.
I know I have skipped some steps and will be updated this as I pile up more information. Please comments below and ask any questions on details I might have missed. I will be happy to answer them.
Good luck and thanks for reading
nbehling made it!