Thursday, November 3, 2011
Tutorial: Headless Man Cyborg
Rolling backpack with handle and a two way zipper (so it can be partially closed on each side)
cardboard (I got a couple free posters that I used along with some cereal boxes)
3/4 length adult coat (I tried with a lab coat, but it was too short)
Gloves (rubber or winter gloves)
Quilt batting or poly fill
Scrap of muslin or flesh colored fabric
Silver spray paint
Random bits of things that may look mechanical...I have a plastic straw, Christmas picks, some pipe cleaners, and a balloon.
As you can tell, much of this may already be in your home. I didn't have a rolling backpack, so purchased a Hannah Montana one at the thrift shop (please don't tell my son, I spray painted it black so he couldn't tell).
Step One: Create a tube with the cardboard or cereal boxes to fit within the neckline of the jacket. I added extra length with duct tape and staples. At the bottom, I used two 8 x 2 inch pieces of corrugated (from a shipping box I had) to the end of the tube. This gave me about 7 inches of space where candy can fall from the neck hole into the bag. That's right, no need for a candy bag. The candy just goes right into the backpack.
So set the tube in the pack and with the handle extended on the backpack, ensure you have at least 4 inches above the handle for the neck.
Step Two: Create shoulders. Here, I took another piece of cardboard and cut out a rectangle with curved corners to act as my shoulders. I taped that to the handle (set it on top of the handle) with duct tape. Set the neck into the backpack and cut a half circle into the shoulder cardboard piece so that the neck sits nicely in place.
Step Three: Fill coat arms with batting, make a couple stay stitches so that the batting doesn't fall out. Stuff gloves with poly fill and sew them to the sleeve hem.
Step Four: Test...I tried this out several times with my son just to see how it fit. Tweak it here and there as needed. My son is tall, so I needed a long neck. Place the backpack on your subject, put the coat on over that and button the top button. This will keep the neck in place as well. Figure out where your subject's head will come out of the coat, we had two buttons under his neck.
Step Five: Decorate the neck. Some folks have just filled the neck with paper mache, or simple stuffing to make it closed off (in this example, you wouldn't need a long tube), but if you leave it open, it becomes super cool. I added a bunch of items with simple duct tape to the inside of the neck. You will spray paint these silver, so anything will do. One was a Christmas straw with a plastic tube over it that I separated and made it two different pieces. I purchased two Christmas picks at Micheal's. One was a twisty thing with wire and the other was a stick like item with fronds. I also added a little batting to the outside of the neck, then removed it. Not sure why, but there was some left and when painted, it kind of looked textural.
Step Six: With spray adhesive, attach a strip of muslin to appear as skin on the outside of the neck piece that shows above the collar. I left the edges raw. Insert tube into backpack and jacket on top of backpack.
Step Seven: Test. Find where the head comes out of the jacket and sew one hand a bit above that place. I sewed one hand directly onto the coat so that the fingers passed the side of the coat. This way, the fingers of that glove will be on the opposite cheek of the person wearing the costume. I sewed the second hand on in similar fashion.
Step Eight: Decorate. Since my son wanted it to be half man half machine, we added some "blood" to the neck on the muslin with face paint. I tried the fake blood, but that never dried. Paint would work here as well. We painted my son's face with some white cream makeup and spiked up his hair.
If you will be trick or treating, add a couple safety pins to the zippers so that they don't open and spill all the candy.
Eight steps...really simple once you get the idea. I'd love to see if you made something similar in the future!