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DIY Halloween Costume

Growing up, I remember my halloween costumes being very cheap in quality. My Power Ranger costumes were very thin, the helmet was only a mask, and the accessories were lacking.

My son loves costumes and this year has decided that he wants to be a Ninja Turtle. I'm sure he would be satisfied with an off the shelf costume with a flimsy plastic shell that will shatter the minute you bump into it, but the maker in me refuses to go that route.

And so here I am in the middle of May working on a costume.

Preliminary Sketches for the Ninja Turtle Costume

I started thumb nailing all the different parts and components i would need in order to pull this off. Even without sketching i already knew that the shell was going to be the most difficult component of the costume. My initial plan was to create a shell frame, blow up a balloon and paper mache over the balloon to create a dome shape.

I quickly abandoned that idea because...toddlers. That shell would get crushed pretty quickly without any interior supports. I decided instead to create cross supports out of cardboard then glue strips of thinner cardboard over the supports to create the dome shape. I don't think I realized how deep a rabbit hole I was going down so I didn't have the foresight to take progress photos at this point. But here is a sketch.

Sketch of interior of shell

Once everything was glued up. the shell was super rough looking and definitly looked like something cobbled together with strips of cardboard. I needed it to be more shell like. I ended up wrapping the entire thing with saran wrap, taped over the wrap with masking tape, then drew out the turtle shell pattern.

The masking tape pattern was then cut into their respective hexagon/pentagon shapes and recut as cardboard pieces. Each piece was then curled and hot glued over the rough shell.

Masking tape pattern over cardboard shell
cutting shell pattern pieces

Once I had all the pieces glued on, more turtle shell textures were added to each shape with hot glue. But once it was all dry, I still wanted to clean up the edges and hide the zig zag patterns before potentially moving to priming and painting this sucker.

So...out came the mod podge. I cut strips of scrap paper that came as packaging stuffing from Amazon and started sealing up the grooves.

Adding hot glue for texture
Mod Podge to seal up the grooves

And this is as far as I've gotten for now. Next step is to figure out the straps so he can wear it like a back pack, some paint, and then on to the next components of the costume. Wish me luck lol