UP: Carl the Old Man Costume




Introduction: UP: Carl the Old Man Costume

This is the main character Carl from the kids movie UP.  Its cheap and easy to make plus its a costume most people know that also stands out in a crowd.  

Step 1: Materials

 For materials I used a box, paper mache, faux fur (hair), paint, paint sticks (frame for glasses), electrical tape, chicken wire, wire cutters, masking tape, wiffel balls (eyes), wood glue, and went to a thrift store for the outfit.

Step 2: Foundation

To start I found a box big enough to fit over my head and rest on my shoulders.  A box works well because the basic shape of Carls head is square.  I covered the sides and top with chicken wire leaving a round edge for Carls big chin.  Chicken wire works well because it is easy to shape and mold plus its strong.  Then I covered everything in masking tape because the paper mache wont stick to the wire but works well with the tape.  leave a hole for the nose, ears, and a ridge across his face for the eye brows.  Be careful when cutting the chicken wire, sharp edges can form and may prick you.

Step 3: Ears

I molded the ears out of chicken wire and attached them to the sides of the head.  To attach them I just spun the excess wire around the wire on the side of the head like bread ties.  Cover it in masking tape.

Step 4: Nose

just like the ears, I made the nose out of chicken wire and attached it to the wire around the box where his nose should be.  I spun the excess wire around the cage like bread ties again. The nose should be oval and once its attached just squash it down a little bit.  Then cover it in masking tape.

Step 5: Details

I drew out where his eyes and wrinkles should be using a pen.  For the wrinkles and eye brow ridge I took strips of masking tape and rolled them up into cords with the sticky side facing outside.  Then I placed them on the wrinkle lines and eye brow ridge to give the details some depth.

Step 6: Eyes and Paper Mache

I cut a wiffel ball in half and used it as the eyes.  I used masking tape to hold it in place and to give Carl some eyelids.  I also used  more tape to create more depth in the cheeks and wrinkles.  The next step is paper mache.  For this step I used a mixture of 25% wood glue, 25% flour, and 50% water.  I also used strips of paper towel because its stronger and easier to fit in the detailed areas than newspaper is.  Let this step dry for about a day and a half  then you may need to apply another layer.  I only used one layer because I had 3 days until Halloween.  Also, be careful cutting the wiffel ball, due to the shape of it and the fact you are using a knife/scissors its dangerous.

Step 7: Paint

The paper mache was dry in about a day and a half.  I also placed a window fan on Carl to speed up the dry time.  Next, I painted Carls head with acrylic paint.  I used a color called "Santas Flesh" for the face and "Cocoa Gold" for his hearing aids.  I used blue nail polish for his eyes and a black permanent marker for his pupils and mouth.  

Step 8: Hot Glue His Hair

Next, once dry, I measured his head and applied the hair (faux fur) accordingly.  I applied the hair to his head using a high temp hot glue gun.  The gun is extremely hot and can cause bad burns so you should use caution with this step.  Next, I painted the wiffel balls and cut out a 2 inch gap between his eyes and under his eyebrows.  This gap is for my vision when wearing the costume.  Dont cut the hole too big yet because Carl wears glass and the hole me be blocked be the frames of the glasses.

Step 9: Glasses and Eye Brows

When buying the paint I also asked if I could take a bunch of free paint sticks which happened to be the perfect width for Carl's glasses.  I broke up some to make the boxes and used whole paint sticks for the long part of the frames that attach to his ears.  I then covered the frames in black electrical tape.  Electrical tape works well not only because its black but its shiny.  Then I used the scraps of my faux fur (hair) to make the bushy eye brows and I attached them using the hot glue gun again.  Lastly you can now make the eyesight hole as big as you need to see.

Step 10: Safety

The parts you need to use caution on while making this costume are with the hot glue gun and cutting the chicken wire/ wiffel ball.  When you cut the wire it leaves sharp edges so make sure you bend them in a way that they do not stick out or can poke you, especially ones that may penetrate the box and stick you while wearing it.  Check carefully, you can cover these edges on the inside with duct tape.  

Thanks for reading, maybe next year I can find a Russel, make Kevin (the big bird), and dog sit my friends golden retriever for the day.

Halloween Epic Costumes Contest

Finalist in the
Halloween Epic Costumes Contest



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    37 Discussions

    Thank you so much, my son win the 1st place compation


    wow, awesome job. That looks better than my Carl. Im glad my instructable could help you. Very nice work.


    Should the faux fur be used on the back of the box?

    No, paper mache needs 24 hours to dry


    3 years ago

    Think I could do this In a day

    Thank you for this tutorial it was the talk of the night. My daughter,wife and I worked on it all week and last night at a halloween party everybody wanted to take pictures and saying how nice it was.Must of took like forty pictures last night lol..thank u so much again.Also wanted to mention i also couldnt find faux fur so i went to walmart and got a regular pillow for $2.50 and use the inside for the hair. I also added the grape soda pin on the coat which my daughter made and glued a bike helmet($2.00 @ goodwill store) inside to make my movements more stable which worked to perfection. Thank u again from all of us here.


    I am making this for Halloween this year! Where did you buy the faux fur? How much did you find you needed? I couldn't find the same paint colors you used but I found some flesh looking ones. I have everything I need except box, fur, electrical tape and cane with tennis balls! Any help or suggestions would be awesome!!

    2 replies

    I bought the fur at Joann fabrics. They actually ran out but a lady waiting in line over heard me talking and gave me hers. I only needed about a yard of fur. You should measure your box first to be safe.

    As far as the paint colors go. I just randomly picked fleshy colors so dont worry about that.

    Suggestions: the fur is the most difficult to find. Go to any fabric store asap. They sell boxes and electrical tape at home depot. Also ask for paint stirrers there. They are free and the lady working gave me 10 for free. As far as the cane goes you can use pvc pipe or cardboard dowels which are also sold at home depot. I had a friend that was a nurse so she grabbed one for me at her hospital. You can also search thrift shops and second hand stores for canes. I have seen them before there. Go to the salvation army and buy a brown 10$ suit to wear. Iparty for balloons and search for a promo code for balloon sales. You should be all set if you fall the instruct able.

    Thanks for viewing mine, Good luck.

    Great! Thank you! I did remember to get the paint sticks at lowes improvement. I will work today at getting the fur. Joann had some but they seems too beige tinted. Thanks for your help! I hope it comes out somewhat decent. Ha

    I truly cannot thank you enough for this tutorial! I made it for my son and went to the Trick or Treating night at Disneyland and we couldnt even walk far before people stopped us to ask if they could take pictures with him. I had never used chicken wire before and I only had 5 days to make it.

    I made the spliter costume as well, once my son saw your instructables he like carl and there i went.
    Thank you!!!!

    1 reply

    You made me so happy!! this is awesome. I am glad you chose to make Carl. and by the way, you did a perfect build.

    I also was attacked by photographers!! I walked around in a parade on halloween day and was mobbed by children. They stole all of my balloons! lol.

    I actually had no idea how to build costumes or any idea that the website "instructables" existed before i built Carl. I just ventured off to home depot and found items that would work. Im glad I made a DIY project with it. The fact that you followed my step by step made it completely worth while and made me genuinely happy. So thank you.

    I hope building became infectious with you like it did with me. I cant find time to make a build this year. after Carl, my builds grew from weeks to months and now I cant even find time to build for 2 days. Its rather upsetting. Anyway, your email made my hours of building 100% purposeful. THANK YOU

    how did you shape the chin? In that picture you can't see very well

    Ya, it was just my head and a big open box. I made the costume last minute. usually I would stuff the head with bubble wrap and secure it with a tape or glue. The box was big enough so that it rested on my shoulders all day so it was too bothersome.

    Congratulations on being a finalist in the Halloween contest!!! Can’t wait to see if you win! Good luck!