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Monthly Archives: October 2013

DIY Tardis Costume

image It’s Halloween 2013 and my 10 year old Michael has discovered “Dr. Who”.  He’s a HUGE fan, and like many Dr. Who fans, or should I say Whovians , he is obsessed.  He finds the alien, double-hearted, time and space traveling Englishman wonderfully interesting.  Not too surprising, he asked if he could be dressed for Halloween this year as a Dalek.  What in the world is a Dalek?  My thoughts exactly since as much of a fan as Michael is, I am a disinterested bystander. I hear endless recounting of plot lines and characters, but really, it’s just not my thing. So here is what a Dalek looks like. imageYeah, I said “no”.   I’m as adventurous as the next costume maker, but was not about to tackle something so oddly shaped and detailed, nor was I willing to send him out on a dark night in a costume that covers his whole head.   So, on to Plan B. He asked if I could make him a Tardis costume. This is a Tardis… image That at dapper fellow next to the Tardis is The Doctor (and don’t you ever call him “Dr. Who” for his name is “The Doctor”).  This, box shaped item with lots of squares, seemed much more doable to me.  At first, he wanted me to make it so that he was inside the tardis and could open the doors to reveal him, dressed as The Doctor inside. In addition to the technical challenge this presented, it also left him without a 360 degree view of the world around him, so we compromised.   He would be just the tardis, with his head sticking out the top and the light would be on top of his head.

So now, my pal Wendy had just received a patio heater in the mail and had this awesome, perfectly proportioned box for me to use.   Nice!  For paint, I used regular interior house paint. which I purchased in the handy “sample” size from both Home Depot and Lowe’s. image The black and white paints I already owned in regular craft paint, so I used those where needed. I painted the entire box before I did any cutting for the head and armholes.  I started with the base blue color and after letting that completely dry (I used an old hairdryer to speed up this process), I started adding all the details.  For all of these, I used painter’s tape. I highly recommend this technique, as I cannot imagine getting the nice sharp lines painting all of those squares, rectangles and stripes by hand.  Here’s a couple of pictures of the box at different phases of the process.  I apologize that the first pic is pretty crappy.image image In case you’re interested, I did the black strip first, then the white windows, then the deep blue squares and finally, I did all of the pinstriping.  Also, I worked on all four sides at the same time, so that I could remember all of the measurements for each section easier.  In other words, I painted the black box on each of the 4 sides, one after the other before I moved onto the windows which I did on each of the four sides before I moved on to the blue squares, and so on. With the painting all set, I was free to start adding all of the details.  I found the “Police Box” writing by Googling it, (you can find it here) printed it out, then enlarged it to scale for the box.  I literally just cut out the strip of letters, then glued it onto the box.  I couldn’t be bothered to cut out each letter individually, and it was almost completely unnoticeable on the black background.  Check it out… image Next, I printed out the notice and the emblem, sized them and glued them in place.  You can find the links here – Notice, Emblem. For the handle, I just bought a simple, small cabinet handle and literally screwed it through the side of the box.  I used washers at the back to give it a little more stability and to make it harder to pull through. After I cut out the head-hole (centered on top), I had the hardest time deciding where to put the arm holes.  I wanted to give Michael the most freedom of movement, but wasn’t sure if that would be accomplished with holes at the shoulders or down by the elbows.  I ended up putting them down at elbow height, and while he can’t touch his head, or put his hands together in front of him, it turned out to be the most comfortable for him.  In case you’re wondering, I used a serrated steak knife to do the cutting.  Don’t tell my husband, because he loves his steak knives at least as much as he loves me.

For the hat/light, I used a combination of things that I had laying around my house.  Here they are all gathered together… image I should clarify that the royal blue top hat was NOT lying around my house, I bought it at the party store.  The other items I used were a length of 2″ wide blue ribbon, four pencils, a blue elastic (from some asparagus I got at the grocery store), a small mason jar, one of those battery powered “push lights”, and (seriously) a martini shaker that we got as a wedding gift 12 years ago and have never once used.  In the picture, you will also see a cut up milk jug, but I ended up not needing it , so just ignore it. So take the mason jar cover and remove the flat plate from the inside of it.  Weave the ribbon through it so that it goes in one side of the cover and comes out the other side.  check out the picture so that you can see what I mean. image

After I took this picture, I realized that if I had two lengths, and crossed them like a plus sign, and did the same thing, that it would provide more stability.  You’ll be able to see this in the end photo.  In the above picture, you will also see that I cut my pencils to be the height of my mason jar plus a half inch.  I did this with my little hobby sized miter box.  I also disassembled the martini shaker and only used the cover.  The white thing to the right in the photo is the milk jug piece that I ended up not using.

Now you need to paint the jar cover (just the sides of the cover, only on the outside), the pencils and the martini shaker cover.


I cut out the bottom of a Solo cup (a plastic “keg” cup), and painted it the same color. This will be used to cover the holes in the martini strainer top.


Now is when it gets put together.  You will want to plug in your hot glue gun now, because it’s put together with lots of hot glue.  Take your mason jar cover, with the ribbon woven through the top, screw it onto the mason jar then invert it and center it on the top of your hat.  Glue the cover and the ribbons to the top of the hat.  Use plenty of glue because this is what will make your hat and your light into one solid unit. Next glue your pencils to the jar cover, spacing them out evenly at the four “corners” of the jar.  Once the glue dries, put your blue rubber band over the pencils at the same spot you just glued.  This will give them a little more stability.  Now,  invert your push light and put it on top of the mason jar’s bottom (when it’s on it should shine down into the jar).  If you haven’t already, glue the little plastic top to the martini shaker strainer top.  Now carefully squeezing the pencils together, place your cover onto the light.  It will sit on top of the underside of the light and catch the pencil ends in the edges.  When it’s time to turn on your light, just remove the cover to do so, then replace it.  I’m planning on hot gluing the cover in place for trick or treating, because my son will be running like a sugar-loaded maniac (which he will be by that time).  If you decide to do this, wait until it’s “showtime” because there will be no way to access the light once it is glued.

I decided after the fact to add some horizontal “bars” to my light.  I did this with blue pipe cleaners and just (say it with me) hot glued them in place.  Here is a closeup of the final hat/light assembly…


I just realized that the cover is on a little crooked, but it DOES fit on there straight, I promise you.

And that is the whole thing.  He wore it to a party last Saturday and these pictures were taken on my porch before we left.



That thing in his hand is called a “Sonic Screwdriver”.  It’s the Doctor’s tool and I bought it at Newbury Comics.  On Halloween night, he’ll be wearing a navy long sleeved tee, which I think will make the costume look even better.

I think that’ll just about do it.  Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and good luck making your own Tardis costume!

Halloween Costume Photo Decoration

20131002-165257.jpgA quick little post with a Halloween decorating idea. I bought one of those “school days” picture frames at the Christmas Tree Shop (which is a New England favorite for picking up inexpensive housewares). These are the frames that you would usually keep your child’s school pictures in year after year until they graduate from High School. I got one for each of my kids to put their Halloween costume photos in.

In the large photo opening, I made a little Halloween paper decoration, but you could easily find a greeting card that you like and put the cover of it in this spot if you don’t feel like making your own.

We hang them up for the month of October when I put up the other Halloween decorations and every year the kids love to look at their old costumes and remember Halloweens past.

20131002-163044.jpgAs a tip, I recommend that you add the new photo each year before you put the frame back in storage. I’ve forgotten before and have found myself rummaging through my computer trying to find two decent photos from the previous Halloween. I seem to recall saying lots of swear words that day.

My plan is to hang these up every Halloween forever and ever.

DIY Minion Costume

20131001-090938.jpgSo this year, my 8 year old asked to be a Minion for Halloween. I was psyched! Not since he asked me to make him a Buzz Light Year costume have I been so happy with his choice. Trevor is famous for wanting the cheapest store-bought costume (Power Ranger, Spider-Man) breaking the heart of a woman who lives for making memorable Halloween costumes for her kids. That would be ME.

I putting out this tutorial early in the season so that anyone who want to make one for their little guy will have time to make it happen before the big day.

Here’s a list of things you will need to make the goggles and hat:
Two mason jar lids
A silver grommet
A grommet tool
Black nylon strap (long enough to wrap your child’s head twice)
A black buckle for the above strap
Two whiffle balls
A Dremmel
A glue gun and some glue sticks for it
Yellow fun foam (a sheet will do)
Yellow stocking hat
Black pipe cleaners

So I started by making the goggles. To do this, I started with two Mason jar lids, with the inner circles removed.

The jars, with lids confiscated, will now make pretty vases for some cut flowers. I next popped a hole through the side of each lid, using my grommeting tool, which I will also need for the step after this.


These don’t have to be perfect, just big enough to slip a small grommet through. So now, I grommeted the two rings together, using a silver grommet. The end result is two rings attached like so…


Not the neatest job, but they are secured enough for my 8 year old. What more could I ask? They’re starting to look like goggles now, huh?
Ok, next step is to make a way to attach the straps. I did this with my trusty grommeting tool, but I could have used my Dremmel if it had occurred to me, and I’m sure the holes would’ve been prettier. Cut one slot, about an inch wide on each ring, directly opposite the grommet. It looks like I forgot to photograph the slots before I threaded the strap through them, but this is what they looked like after I strapped them up. I used a black nylon strap that I stole from my kid’s old backpack, but you can buy it by the yard at JoAnn’s.

I also had a buckle from the same backpack strap, so I threaded the straps through that to make the goggles adjustable.

Moving on to the Minion eyeballs. I went in search of 2 whiffle balls, the kind that are white with half the orb all “holey” and half of it plain. Ones like this…

But alas, there were none to be had in late September at Walmart. If I wasn’t such an impatient gal, I would have gone online and ordered them through EBay. Which is what I recommend you do if you live in a cold weather climate that doesn’t stock whiffle balls year-round. Anyway, I went looking for anything similar at Walmart and found these orbs in the pool section, on clearance. I honestly am not sure what their original purpose was, but they were battery powered and glowed in my choice of red, green or blue.

I started by popping out the battery compartment and light, so that I had a hollow globe. Then I took one of my goggle “lenses” and marked off how much of the orb I needed for my eyeballs.

Then I fired up my handy Dremmel and cut it along the line. After cutting, I then sanded the cut edge a bit, to remove any jaggy edges.

Holy crap. Who needs a manicure? I do! Check this out.

Alrightie then. So I still haven’t glued in the balls yet (a little juvenile humor for ya there) but next step would be to get some irises for your balls (heh heh).

Believe it or not, there’s a link for a multitude of irises. They print out, in pairs, on a sheet of paper, then all you need to do is pick the color you like, enlarge them to the appropriate size, and cut them out. The iris page is here. Creepy, huh? I also outlined the irises with a black Sharpie, which makes them look more realistic. And because I’m a freak for detail.

Ok now, run and grab your yellow sheet of fun foam. Lay a straight edge along your eyeball where you want the eyelid to fall, then hot-glue that sucker down. Trim off the excess.

I used a teeny bit of hot glue to adhere the irises. If you haven’t already, make sure your strap is connected to the goggle frames. Now you want to put your eyeballs into your goggles and hot glue them into place.

I used a hefty amount of hot glue to cover any leftover jaggy edges on the eyeballs.

And there you have it, your Minion goggles. In case you were wondering, I made them to sit up on my son’s hat, not across his eyes because I didn’t want to impede his vision in any way. I will admit that I had to talk him into this, but compromised by allowing him to have his face painted yellow when he trick-or-treats.

The hat was much easier. Just find a yellow stocking hat to fit your child’s head. Then take black pipe cleaners, cut them in half, and carefully poke them through the top of the hat.

I then carefully turned the hat inside out and squeezed a big glob of hot glue on all of the pipe cleaner ends. This serves two purposes because it not only keeps the hairs in place, but it also protects your child’s head from the pointy end of the pipe cleaner.

Once the hot glue is good and dry, flip the hat right side out. You may need to trim some or all of the pipe cleaners so go ahead and give that bad boy a haircut. And it’s done! Put the hat and the goggles together and you have a Minion costume.

To complete the ensemble you need to gather up the following:
A yellow long sleeve shirt
A pair of overalls (I had the hardest time finding some to fit my kid, so mine are homemade, but store bought would be just fine)
Black shoes
Black gloves
Yellow face paint (optional)
Also, I recreated the “Gru Industries” logo in black vinyl and stuck it to the front of the overalls. Here’s what I based it off of…

20131001-205141.jpgSo here is my kid in his costume, but without the face paint. I didn’t make him up for the purposes of this dress rehearsal. Isn’t he the handsomest 8 year old you’ve ever seen?

I promise to come back and add a picture of him that includes the face paint shortly after Halloween.

Now, to turn my 10 year old into a Tardis. Hmmm…

Good luck with your own Halloween costumes this month!