Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Homemade Halloween Costumes (2014)

Every year since Builder Boy was one year old I have been making his Halloween costumes. For the past five Halloweens I have gone the much easier route of painting on bought t-shirts. Because that's what they are used to, thankfully the boys have never requested more elaborate (or expensive) costumes. So for as long as they're happy with it, I'm going to do it the easy way!

This year the boys decided they wanted to be Angry Birds from the App Game (and web videos based on the game.) They also thought it would be fun for all of our family to be various Angry Birds. Since it's mostly just painting on t-shirts with inexpensive acrylic paints, I agreed. My costume required an additional element, and we went a bit more elaborate with Lady Bug's, but on the whole it did not take too much work or money, and we are all pleased with the results.

Because the boys have been planning this for several months, I had time to keep an eye on Wal-Mart and snag the right size and color shirts for only $2 each (including Principal Daddy's shirt!) I already had most of the colors in paints from previous years and projects, so I only spent an additional $1.50 for three colors of paint. I painted the shirts one after another, and then waited 20 minutes before starting through them again for the next layer. That way, 4 layers for 5 costumes only took 3 hours, with a break in between. I also timed doing this on the weekend so Principal Daddy could be napping Lady Bug and then keeping her upstairs while I worked on this downstairs. Principal Daddy's required additional work on a different day because I didn't have two colors that I needed, but if you have all your supplies you can easily knock out a whole family's worth of these costumes in a day or weekend.

I printed out pictures of the characters I was replicating so that I could have a better chance of accuracy. I decided against painting on the different belly color because I wasn't making an outline, leaving the entire shirt/person's torso as the "bird." Even though I did not paint on the "belly," I still used my finger nail to slightly "indent" the fabric temporarily on each shirt to approximate where it would have been on the larger scale. This helped me greatly in positioning the beak and eyes in a more accurate manner. I did not do this with the last shirt, and I really regretted that, as you will see.

Red-Layer 1
Builder Boy chose Red as his Angry Bird. I did an image search on Google and he chose the expression he liked best. I started with a black squeeze bottle and made the outline. (If you don't have a squeeze bottle, put an Elmer's glue cap on top of the acrylic paint bottle for "drawing.")

For the second layer I filled in the black areas and started on the first layer of the beak. Because it's acrylic paint on colored fabric, several layers were required, and an hour of drying between each layer is required.

Red-Layer 2 (wet)

Red's open beak needed three different colors. I painted the top with a yellowy-orange I picked up at Wal-Mart. I tried adding some black to darken it. That did not look good when I mixed it, so I did not use that at first. I tried mixing the yellowy-orange with some red, and that made a darker orange which worked for the "outside" of the bottom beak. To that I added a small amount of the orange+black failure and used that for the "inside" of the bottom beak. It originally looked horrible; but as it dried and the red fabric showed through some, it turned out perfect.

The third layer I painted in the white of the eye-balls and added another yellowy-orange layer on the beak. The fourth layer I did one more layer of white and one more top beak layer. The fifth layer I did the next day and just re-did the black outline around the eyes and beak that had gotten painted over.

Red-Layer 3
Red-Layer 5
Red-Layer 4

Terrence-Layer 1
Early Bird chose Terrence as his Angry Bird. Layer 1 was the black outline, layer 2 was filling in the black and the first layer of beak color (Since Terrence's beak is closed, I used the same, original paint color.) Layer 3 was the first layer of white on the eyes and a second layer on the top beak for color differentiation. Layer 4 was another layer of white and more orange on both parts of the beak. Layer 5 (not pictured) was refreshing the black outline around the eyes and beak.

Terrence-Layer 2
Terrence-Layer 4
Terrence-Layer 3
Mathilda-Layer 1
For me, the boys chose Mathilda, the "mommy" Angry Bird. You can't tell it's a girl in the game, but she is drawn in a more feminine manner for the web cartoon show, and that is what we based my costume on.

Because my bird is white I was able to use some fabric markers that we already had, and because there was no background color bleeding through, I was able to make mine with only three layers.

Mathilda-Layer 2
I drew the beak and outline with brown like in the picture, used a pink fabric marker for the cheeks, and used the black paint for the eye-brows and eyelashes on the first layer. Layer 2 I painted in the beak (only one layer was needed) and painted in the black on the eyes and eyelashes. For layer 3 I colored the "inside" of the beak with the brown fabric marker, refreshed the pink on the cheeks, and colored white on the eyeballs. I did that because on the picture there was a slight color difference between the eyelids/rest of the....skin? feather? color and the eye-balls, and I thought it would be better to paint the eyeballs so that the eye-lids and rest of the body would be the same color.

Mathilda-Layer 3

When I drew the face on I forgot to make room for the top feathers that stick out above Mathilda's head. To make up for the lack of pink feathers, I purchased a pink feather boa. Not really my style, but the boys wanted this to be my costume, and Lady Bug can add it to her dress-up stash when she's old enough not to try to eat the feathers.

One note; when I painted this shirt I tried to make the shirt as similar in perspective to the picture I had as possible. I however failed to consider my womanly shape, and when I tried it on I discovered the beak placement caused a rather.....3D effect. However, I'm not sure how this could be avoided, as I don't think putting the beak in the....valley rather than the mountains would be any better. So.....just keep that in mind if you make this yourself.

Bomb Bomb-Layer 1
Bomb Bomb-Layer 3
For Principal Daddy's costumes the boys chose the biggest bird left (after Terrence) Bomb Bomb. (Not sure if that's his official name.) It was impossible to do a visible outline for this one since his body color is black. I still did one with the beak for my own guidance, but I did not orient it as well as I did the other shirts, and as a result this is the least accurate costume, and it bothers me. The boys also noticed right after I finished the first layer that there was no place for the fuse-like top feather. I really don't know how to fix that once it's already messed up, so if you're going to make this costume, paint the beak and eyes low enough to have room for the top feather.

Because the shirt color is so dark, this one required three layers of white paint and three layers of beak paint.

The brown eyebrows required two layers. The first layer I did the original brown that I bought. For the second layer I added a small amount of the beak yellowy-orange to lighten it a bit. I think I also added a tiny bit of red.

Bomb Bomb-Layer 4
Bomb Bomb Layer 5
The gray I bought I only used one layer with, since it wasn't supposed to stand out from the black too much. Because I did not have the brown and gray when I started (I originally thought I could mix colors to get them, but when I saw the orange+black awfulness, I changed my mind) and because I did not orient everything with making the belly indent like I did with the others, and because I used a smaller picture to work from, this costume did not turn out how I had hoped. If a reader makes this costume and learns from my mistakes, I would love to see a picture of your result in the comments!

Finally for Lady Bug we thought it would be cute if she was dressed up as the eggs that the Angry Birds are always trying to protect or rescue. I thought a tu-tu would make a perfect "nest" for her costume. Builder Boy went to Wal-Mart with me for the materials, and as a result we ended up with the most elaborate (and pricy) costume of the bunch. But it's also really cute! I made the tu-tu the weekend before I did the painting, but they could be done on the same day (or even while you're waiting for paint to dry) as it only took about 30-40 minutes to make.

For the "straw" we chose gold glitter tulle on a roll, for "sticks" (Builder Boy's idea) we got wide, textured brown ribbon, and for the "grass" (also Builder Boy's idea) we bought thin, striped ribbon. Using the cardboard wrapping method on a piece of cardboard 6.5 in wide, and cutting only on one end for the tulle and brown ribbon and both ends for the green ribbon, we had just enough to make a baby sized tu-tu with one roll of the gold tulle ($5) one roll of brown ribbon ($4) and one roll of green ribbon ($3.) I tied the cut pieces on another piece of medium with, brown ribbon ($2.) I started in the middle, and cutting to the lengths mentioned earlier, I had just the perfect number of each to follow this pattern: B(rown), G(old), Gr(een),G, Gr, G, B, etc. The tulle does seem to overwhelm the brown, so those have to be fluffed out to be noticed. The green, being shorter, stays on top just fine. (These colors/arrangement would also work for a nature fairy or a scarecrow costume.)

For the "eggs" I painted a black outline, making sure that when the tu-tu was on the bottom would be covered so they would look they they were actually in the "nest." After the black dried I used some gold glitter paint I had bought for a different project and painted an outline around the black for a better differentiation between the eggs and the background.

I also happened to have a gold glitter bow that I also got at Wal-Mart (no, Wal-Mart did not sponsor this post. But, hey, Super Store; if you'd like to, send me a message!)

Aren't they cute?
So to recap, the boys' shirts cost $3-5 each, depending on if you can get the shirt on sale or not and if you already have the paint. At worst it might end up costing $7-8. I meant to buy the shirts a size too big so that it could go over a jacket if necessary. But because I bought them so early, they had a growth spurt and now the shirts fit perfectly. So, buy two sizes too big.

My costume has a feather boa added, so it ended up costing around $10 because I already had the fabric markers. If you can find a cheaper feather boa, or already have one, then the price is even less.

Lady Bug's costume cost around $20. The long sleeve onesies only came in a three pack, but I buy those for her for the winter anyway for under dresses. I also bought her a pair of (boy) brown sweat pants to wear under the tu-tu because she's a baby and it's fall and cold.

Sorry about the aspect ratio (that's what it called, right?) of the pictures. I STILL haven't found my lost SD card, so I can't use my preferred camera, and am having to use my back up camera.


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