Remember "Big" the hit starring Tom Hanks, now you can be the ever cryptic fortune teller "Zoltar" Complete with naughty fortunes in this self contained costume that leaves your hands free to interact with the crowd.
Step 1: What You Will Need - Supplies
2 UHaul wardrobe moving Boxes
1x2 boards cut in the following dimensions
2x 40 inches
4x 24 inches
Hot Glue Gun
Lots of Hot Glue
Staple Gun with Staples
Hammer & Nails (Optional)
Yard Stick (optional)
Empty Card Board wrapping Paper rolls, 40"
Misc packing foam pieces
Tan Paint (or wood grain wallpaper/ shelf liner)
Wrapping Paper (striped or suitable “wallpaper” Color)
Clear Plastic sheeting
Facial Hair (Spirit Gum is best to keep it on)
Extra Wide Ribbon
Christmas Bulbs (Plastic)
Battery Operated Plasma ball
Plastic Mirrored Pieces
Step 2: Box Assembly
Step 1 Box Assembly
When you pick up the boxes from The Uhaul store they measure 24" x 21" x 48” each. Make sure you have large space to work, cut each box lengthwise down one of the sides so it now lays flat opened on the floor. In the end you want your costume to be 24” x 40” square. If you look at the boxes flat on the floor you have 4 rectangles 24” x 48” and 4 rectangles 20” x 48”, Cut along the seams to remove 1 24” x 48” rectangle from each box this will be your roof and your floating table ( Around your waist). Lay the boxes in one ling line with 2 20” x 48” rectangle next to another.
Using a measuring tape measure up 14 inches from the bottom all the way across both boxes. Using your yard stick draw a line all the way across that is 14 inches up. Using your glue gun hot glue 2 of the 24 inch boards on the line across the 24 x 48 inch rectangles and glue one of the 40 inch boards (it will connect the two boxes). Once dry, flip over the boxes and secure the boards with the staple gun. Form the box into… well a box… with the two loose 20 x 48 rectangles flat on the floor, use the glue gun to glue the final 40 inch board onto the box, you have to climb inside to do this. Flip over and use the staple gun to secure, congratulations you made a big box.
Step 3: Cut the Window
Cut the Window
By cutting the window now you will allow more light into your workspace. The window measures 28” x 28” and will be cut out of one of the wide sides. The window is cut just above where the board support rests inside the costume, so just over 14 inches up. The center of the box should be apparent because it is where the 2 boxes join, you can measure 14” from the center on each side. The height of the window is also 28”, I suggest measuring and drawing where you will cut before you break out the knife. Cut the window with a sharp knife or box cutter. Try to make the cut edges as smooth as possible it will make decorating easier.
Step 4: Create Harness
Create the Harness
The costume is supported on the shoulders beneath the clothing allowing the wearer to interact with both face and both hands. The straps that are on the shoulders are tied or otherwise anchored to the remaining two 1” x 2” boards, measuring 24” in length. First measure the shoulder width of the wearer. The wearer will have to pass through the bottom of the costume and through the boards to don the costume. Add one inch to the measurement and this is the width between the two 24” support boards. The boards then attach to the two 40” boards in the front of the costume and in the back, first use hot glue to put them in place then use staple gun or small nails to secure them to the frame.
Have the wearer step into the costume, come up from the bottom and squeeze shoulders together for a easier time. Based on the wearers height you want the wearers face to be in the center of the window. Once the costume is positioned in correct place measure the distance from the wearers shoulder to the harness support board. Get out of costume and use the measurement to correctly measure the proper amount of extra wide ribbon that will go over each shoulder to support the costume. Please make note you will need to allow extra ribbon to tie to the support beams and adjust as necessary to make sure the lengths are even as you wouldn’t want a tilting Zoltar.
Step 5: Paint or Prep Exterior
Now is a good time to paint the exterior of your Zoltar costume, you will want to cover the seams with a non smooth tape (like Masking Tape) for best results. Paint the exterior completely with a flat or semi-gloss paint in a tan or light brown color. You can add wood like texturing with other shades if desired. I actually found wood grain wallpaper and used that instead but that is not an easy thing to always find.
Step 6: Install Wallpaper
You will need to have four 40” rolls of wrapping paper anyway, just for the empty cardboard rolls, so try and pick one (or several) that will work well as wallpaper. Christmas items are starting to appear in stores early in October. I chose 2 colors for my costume a blue and black stripe for the side and front walls and a silver and white stripe design for the rear wall. Try to have as few seams as possible, match up the stripes or patterns so the design appears flawless. Hold paper in place with small pieces of tape and then secure with hot glue.
Step 7: Create Window
I used clear plastic sheeting for my window, the type that you would use as a drop for painting. Make sure that you choose the clear, not the opaque, it is not always obvious. Print Z O L T A R in a large font I liked Bernard MD Condensed Font. Font size 525 for the Z&R, font size 515 for the O&A and font size 505 for the L&T. Tape the letters onto a smooth, flat, dry surface in the proper arrangement and secure the clear plastic on top. I cut the plastic in a large enough piece to have plenty of extra but small enough to be manageable. Trace the letters onto the clear plastic with black permanent marker. Paint the letters with a bright red gloss or semi-gloss paint. Set aside for later to dry.
Step 8: Form Inside Table
Form Inside Table
One of the cardboard pieces left from the original box cutting will be used to form the table around Zoltar. You need to cut a hole in it large enough to fit through but small enough to give the illusion that Zoltar only exists from the waist up. Humans do not have circular waists, we are wider from side to side than from front to back. Start from the center rear of the cardboard panel, closer to the rear edge than to the front. Draw a uniform large oval, long side corresponds to the longest side of the panel. Try to go through hole in “diver” position. If it is an easy fit you have a perfect size hole, if you can not fit or it is a tight squeeze adjust uniformly as needed.
Step 9: Black Paint
To give the window a true 3D look I used packing foam from an old computer. Any foam would work, attach to the outside of the window opening. This is not necessary but it gives the window a more finished look. Once it is affixed to the window with hot glue, paint black with flat or semi-gloss paint
The 40” cardboard empty wrapping paper tubes will go on the top of the costume as a small overhang, makes it look less like a box, while you have the paint out this is a good time to paint these black, it is very difficult to do once they are on.
Roof & Table
The cardboard panel that has been left for the roof needs to be painted black on both sides and the table needs black paint on the top and around the edge of the opening
Using a measuring tape and a straight edge, preferably a yard stick, draw a line from each edge in two inches all the way from the top to the bottom of the costume. Do this on each edge on all four sides of the costume, paint these two inch strips with black paint from the top to the bottom all they way around the costume.
Step 10: Inside Accents
Install the curtains, they can be affixed with hot glue or staples. Apply mirrored accents on the inside, Silver or Gold accents, to side and back side walls, hot glue works well for that.
Put up front window, I used wide clear packing tape to pull the window tight and straight and then used the staple gun to make it more secure, cut away any extra plastic sheeting
Install the inside table at this point, Always do this last as it is much harder to work inside once this is installed. To install the table, hot glue it to the exposed wood then staple gun or use small nails to secure into place, I f there is any exposed wood be sure to paint it black.
Apply Small touch lights, it is very dark inside a closed box, be very liberal with the touch lights on the roof, the inside front wall around the window.
Step 11: Attach Roof
Attach the roof to the top of the costume using hot glue, a lot of hot glue. Once dried cut two 6” x 6” squares on three sides, for air holes. By cutting only three sides the air vents can be opened and closed for cool air , drinks ect.
Step 12: Attach Roof Ledge
Attach Roof Ledge
Glue the pre-painted black wrapping paper tubes to the top edge of the costume, the ends of two will need to be cut to a shorter length, the two that are destined for the shorter size. The corners will be funny looking but can be accessorized.
Step 13: Outside Accents
Use various items to decorate the window sill, the edges of the costume, the bottom edge, the outside sides, the black painted areas on the sides, the corners of the roof ledge, and handles for the air vents. To accessorize I used items from thrift stores and Dollar Tree. Silver and Gold Christmas garland on the corners and bottom edge, gold and silver glittery plastic Christmas ornaments on the corners of the window frame and roof ledge corners, glitter, beads, gold and silver plastic coins up the edges, I put silver plastic mirrored platters on each side of the costume for extra appeal. Just Have Fun with it, you cant screw this part up.
Step 14: Extras & Costume
I added a small slit above the table to be able to deliver slightly naughty fortunes on the left (from the inside). I used a switch cover and a piece of paper marked with “Fortunes”.
I installed a “doorbell” from the Dollar Tree that you could ring to receive a fortune, I installed the button on the outside with the actual ringing device on the inside of the costume
Sign & Coin Slot
I glued a small decorative frame (without glass insert) with the message on paper “25 cents for Fortune” and I made a coin slot with the top of a plastic Tootsie Roll coin bank, taped a small box behind it to collect coins
I used some props on the inside table for added effect, Tarot Cards, a battery operated Plasma Ball, the actual fortunes, an old silver bowl to hold the fortunes, old votive holders which I put fake battery operated votives in.
The turban is a must have, one of the most expensive purchases I made for the costume, a colored puffy shirt, a gold vest (this was home made out of gold fabric), colorful mardi gras beads, facial hair (if you aren’t already attached to some, spirit gum works well to attach), make up (thicken the eyebrows in black, use black eyeliner on the eyes), finger rings, sash around the waist – this is actually important because it holds the harness in place around your waist and restricts movement of the costume.
To Don The Costume
You must enter from the bottom, have one or two friends assist in holding the box up while you assume the diver position and slide through the hole in the table. Once the harness is comfortable on your shoulders and the costume is self supported have someone pass you your costume through the air vent in the top of the costume. You can not put on the shirt, vest ect. before you get in, then you will see the harness and it will ruin the illusion. Your friend can now pass you all the other props and you can position them as you like hands free.