How to Make a Minion Halloween Costume – Part 3

January 21, 2014 in Arts Crafts and other, Halloween Costumes

How to make a Minion Costume

This is my final post on how I made my Minion (from the movies Despicable Me) costume for Halloween.    I had a clear vision, as discussed in my first post How to Make a Minion Halloween Costume – Part 1, from the start for this costume.  I will admit to not quite making my vision a reality with this costume. However, I am pleased with how it turned out none the less.  Lesson learned, yet again, is that I MUST start costume construction earlier.  Next year I plan to start my costume on or before October 1st.  After designing and printing the goggles on my 3D printer as shown in the previously shared post: How to Make a Minion Costume for Halloween– Part 2 ( 3D Printed Minion Goggles )  I had at cutting and sewing up the pants and shirt for my Minion Costume. The shirt made from a super stretchy knit fabric was simply a big tube with two skinny tubes sewn on for arms and is not discussed in detail.

Measuring and laying out Minion Pants on Denim     How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8510

I typically start by laying out the design on my materials, in this case some 4oz denim that I bought specifically for this costume at my local JoAnne Fabric store.  I used a fabric tape measure and yardstick to roughly measure the dimensions I needed for my costume.  I carefully made cutting lines onto the fabric with chalk. I had just barely enough material to make the costume from the 2 yards I purchased so I had to be very precise in my layout and cutting.

How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8511

After cutting the fabric, the one side seam was sewn up by machine quickly.  Then all of the edges up top around the bib folded over and finished.  Sewing on a machine makes very fast work of straight edges and the lightweight denim fabric was not problematic to sew, unlike heavy denim can be.

How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8513

For the pocket I cut out a printed Grue logo I drew up in illustrator. I used a sharp hobby knife to cut out the logo from the 110lb card stock I printed it onto creating a pattern or mask.  Application of spray adhesive allowed me to attach the logo mask onto the denim “pocket”.  Be careful here that you spray the foam on the correct side of your logo mask.  I then used automotive black Vinyl and Fabric spray dye to make a very nice looking Gru logo on the pocket.   This took 5-6 carefully sprayed on thin coats but the final product looks very much like it was screen printed with plastisol ink.  This method can be used for one off printing on fabrics and leathers. It saves the hassle of having to make a screen.   Also you can make this technique work on round, or other non flat surfaces onto which it is impossible to screen print.  I stitched the pocket on to finished the Minion overalls.

Salt Water Powered Robot Kit-8577

To keep the short stumpy legs look (in the above photo) and the tubular shape of the body, I used a piece of 3/8″ PEX tubing from the plumbing section. I carefully cut it to the right length to stretch out the bottom of the pants keeping the Minion-esque shape.  Using a simple brass PEX union, I was able to bend the tube into a hoop.  The hoop slides into a pocket sewn on the inside of the pants pulling the bottom flat and adding just enough weight to get the right drape needed for the costume.

Foam head minion costume

For the minion head, I used hard styrofoam sheet cut into 12 inche diameter circles and laminated together with a half sphere I purchased.   I had a hard time finding a foam sphere the size I wanted.  My costume is largely designed around the 12″ hollow half sphere that I purchased at the Hobby Lobby I really would have liked a 14″ or 16″ one to hide my shoulders better but I could not find anything in that size at reasonable cost and designed around the 12″ diameter.  I cut pink foam board on a band saw into 12″ diameter disks. I then cut out a rough “head shape” so this could all be worn as a hat/helmet.

How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8560    How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8562

I originally planned to mount the Minion goggles (see my previous post) from my 3d printer directly onto a foam ring, but even with epoxy reinforced plastic tubes added to strengthen the foam it was quickly apparent that the foam was not strong enough to support the weight of the goggles.  I cut a 12″ outer diameter ring out of some very light white pine to handle the load from the almost 1 lb goggles.

How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8559   How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8555

I’m a huge fan of the Rhino Grip Acrylic adhesive tape shown above in the left hand photo.  It’s sold in the roll flooring section at Home Depot and Lowes. It’s officially used for modified loose lay installation of vinyl floors.   It’s perfect for sticking foam, or anything else together.   The goggles were attached to the wooden ring through two holes drilled into it.  I had epoxied two  #10 threaded rod sections into the goggles for mounting into the ring.  I wanted to be able to take the head apart and felt threaded fasteners for mounting was the best option.

How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8562   How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8563

I bought white duct tape at Walmart (the only place local that had it) and covered the entire foam construct with white tape. This was partially to hide seams and partially to provide a nice smooth surface to slide into the yellow knit fabric “skin” I sewed up for the head/neck.

 How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8573    How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8567

   With the addition of an elastic neck strap to the minion head it was possible to wear the helmet but the Goggles made it very front heavy.  My solution was to add a counter weight in the form of a 1/8″ x 4″ x 6″ steel plate hammer formed to the 12″ diameter on the back of the head.  This brings the weight of the entire helmet to about 2.5 lbs.  I added some soft foam to the inside to help spread the load making it more comfortable to wear.

How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8575    How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8576

For the hair I used standard black pipe cleaners.   I cut the pipe cleaner down to 3″ lengths and carefully poked it directly into the foam.  With the right   technique it went in through the fabric, the duct tape, and foam easily.   The last steps of my costume involved hand stitching some black screen/mesh for a mouth.  I had hoped to print out some sort of mouth on the 3d printer with teeth and tongue but I ran out of time.  In the end I am very happy with this years Halloween Costume. 

Halloween Minion Costume

I hope my three posts on this subject (Links to: Part 1 and  Part2 ) have helped you with your Despicable Me Minion Halloween Costume Construction.  I am already thinking about what I will make for next Halloween, though I am considering wearing one of my last three costumes.  

How to Make a Minion Costume for Halloween– Part 2 ( 3D Printed Minion Goggles )

January 15, 2014 in Halloween Costumes, RepRap 3D Printer

How to Make A Minion Costume Halloween-8500

This post is a continuation of my previous post and will primarily cover the design and printing of the Minion Goggles with eyeballs used  for my Minion Halloween Costume.  I spent the bulk of my costume time designing acurate 3D models in CAD software of the Minions eyes and goggles.  I wanted to make this the focal point of my costume and went to great lengths studying photos measuring toys, and watching the movies and shorts to get scale, proportion and details correct on this part of my Minion Costume for Halloween.  My goggles are designed to fit onto a 12″ diameter foam Minion head( ~11.5″x 5″x5″ dimensions.  My 3D printer is much larger then most of the hobby FDM style printers out there,  allowing me to build parts of  this size in one piece.  If you want to build one you can print it in smaller pieces and glue it up. I broke my model into 2 pieces so it would print easily and without wasted filament on support structures.

3D printed Minion Goggles

Above, you can see the software printing out one of the 3 pieces of my Minion goggle design. The current layer is highlighted in red on the screen.  I use Pronterface (seen above) and Slic3r to turn CAD models into plastic parts with my printer.  Both are amazing pieces of open source software built by the 3D printing community.  I printed it in 3 pieces to keep the weight down and use less filament.  The goggles when completed weighed in at ~1 lb. Quite heavy considering they are 6″  out from the center line of your head.  I designed the Minion Goggles to be printed as multiple pieces to simplify painting, allowing for true to character final product.  My Despicable Me Minion Goggle Design have 2 clear plexiglass lenses for that true “goggle” look.  This keeps dirt/food/stuff of the painted eyeball area and makes the eyeballs appear more glossy and lifelike.

3D printed Minion Goggles

3D printed Minion Goggles

 

3D printed Minion Goggles

The blue stuff in the above photos is Silicon RTV adhesive.  At about 4 hours into the almost 9 hour build there was some warping and pulling away of the parts from the Kapton tape covered heated bed build platform. I slathered on some RTV to prevent further warping and prevent the build from being ruined due to the part separating from the build tray.

3D printed Minion Goggles
I did not take a enough photos, this is the front Goggle lens retainer being built. I used support so the “rivets” around the outer perimeter would build cleanly.  I was careful to count, scale, and locate the rivets based on many photos and screen shots from the DVD.

3D printed Minion Goggles

This is the rear piece that will fit up against the foam minion head that I was constructing for my costume.  The head diameter on my costume is 12″ as this was the largest foam circular shape (more on this in Part 3 of Minion Costum Construction) I could find for a reasonable price.

Despicable Me Minion Costume Goggles Halloween - 2    Despicable Me Minion Costume Goggles Halloween Costume - Assembly    Despicable Me Minion Costume Goggles Halloween

I have uploaded the 3D cad models for my Minion Goggle design onto Thingiverse ( http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:232679 ) in both STL and an IGS assembly in case you want to make a Minion Halloween Costume of your own with some modifications.  Just remember that the goggles are designed to fit on a 12″ diameter head.  You can scale them if you are making a smaller costume for a kid.  If you use my files and make a costume, please send me a pic, I would love to see what you came up with and how it came out.

3D printed Minion Goggles      h

The raw printed goggles held up against the foam so you can see how they will fit on the Minion Head/helmet.

3D printed Minion Goggles   3D printed Minion Goggles

The painted goggles came out well.  In the above left you can see the acrylic disc that fits in the groove on the notepad. The outer frame is a snug enough interference fit that it retains them without any glue.   In my original design I was going to use foam for the helmet, however the foam ring was not up to the task of supporting the 1 lb printed goggles.  I cut a piece of 2 yellow pine into a ring for this purpose.   One more thing to note, should you follow in my footsteps on this DIY Minion Halloween Costume,  the weight of the goggles is too much without a counterbalance at the rear.  I attached with screws a steel plate(approximately 4 in x 6 in x 0.125 in) that I hammer formed to the 12″ diameter  counter the weight of the goggles.  This brings the helmet/head up to about 2.5 lbs.

minion goggles final

More on my Minion Costume Construction in the next and final post on Making a Minion Costume for Halloween – Part 3 where I will show you how I made the helmet, and talk about designing/making the fabric portions of my Minion Costume. 

How to Make a Minion Halloween Costume – Part 1

November 23, 2013 in Halloween Costumes

How to make a Minion Costume    As you can see in the above photo, this year for Halloween I was a Minion from the lovable Despicable Me movies.  I fell in love with minions the first time I saw them.  Not only are Minions adorable, but they are every inventor/scientist/evil genius’s dream.  An army of little workers who build your creations while you are busy thinking up more inventions.  While I have a CNC machine and a 3d printer that build me things while I work on other projects but it’s not the same as having my own minion army.  Oh the things I could accomplish with a minion army…  But I digress, this post is about making a Minion Halloween costume.   The first step in making a great Halloween costume is selecting an approach, setting your costume functionality requirements,  and finding reference materials showing your character. This post will cover this first stage of the costume construction. I will cover this costume in 2 or 3 posts to break up the writing.

Kung fu panda      Kungfu panda with the kids

  The last few years I’ve been really into making my own Halloween Costumes.  Making the costume is almost as fun as going out to celebrate the holiday.  I feel like Halloween is the only holiday that is even more fun as an adult  then it was as a kid.  Two years ago I was Kung Fu Panda.  Kung Fu Panda was a last minute costume but came out well.  My requirements for the Kung Fu Panda costume were less stringent then my more recent costumes. Simply that it be clearly identifiable as Po from Kung Fu Panda cartoons and movies.  I primarily based my design off of a few pictures I found, and a small plastic happy meal toy I “borrowed” from my nephew.  Having an action figure or plastic model of your character choice makes costume design and construction go easily.  You can measure and scale a physical model using calipers to get proportions correct.

Man in the Yellow Hat Halloween Costume     Last year I was the man in the Yellow Hat from Curious George.  My costume requirements changed to include allowing me to dance salsa in costume, as I was certain to be at a few Halloween Salsa Parties.  I used illustrations from the Curious George books as well as pictures.  The key element was getting the Hat to be about the right proportions to match my frame.  You can find my complete posts on making this costume at these links:   How to make the Man in the Yellow Hats Hat  and  Dying Fabric for Halloween Costumes.

homemade-minions-costume-2

I give credit for my initial inspiration for this costume to my friend Laura who sent me a link to the above photo one afternoon in July.  She knew I was a fan of the cute yellow minions and that I was still looking for an idea for my costume.  I saw the photo and was instantly sold on the idea that I  would be a Minion for Halloween this year. The above photo shows but one of many way to make a quick easy and low cost minion costume for Halloween.   A pair of dungaree bib jeans, and a yellow hoodie with a bit of pip cleaners for hair and some goggles is all you need for this simple costume.

minion costume 14Enter the research stage.  After lots of searching the internet looking at pictures like the one above, finding some minion toys to model after, and rewatching Despicable Me I had formulated my approach toward my costume.   I decided that the most important part of the minions was their  goggles/eyes and round head.  I decided to focus much of my costume construction efforts building very accurate 3d renderings in CAD software and then printing out Minion Goggles on my 3D Printer.   I also came to the conclusion that  making the correct pants was important.  I was looking into buying a pair of bibbed denim overalls.  I even went to several stores,and tried on different pairs.  After seeing myself in the dressing room mirror wearing the real bibbed overalls I felt that both the color and style did not really fit with the simple fun Minion character I was hoping to capture in my costume. I decided to make minion Pants complete with short stumpy legs because that’s part of what makes a minion a minion.

Cemercial Minion Costume 11     Halloween Minion Costume Option2

I really want this post to be a collection of ideas for someone in the future to see different approaches to making minion costumes. I met several of my fellow minions while out for Halloween Festivities and then friends had taken pics of Minions they saw.  Below are some other peoples approaches at making a Minion Costume. 

Minion Halloween Costume option 1a       Minion Halloween Costume option 1b

I like the above approach, I didn’t see these until after Halloween when a friend shared them on Facebook.

Halloween Minion Costume Option 3    Foam minion costume Despicable ME

The above ideas inspired my approach, using a full body “head”.  I wish I could have found a spherical foam or other lightweight dome that was larger then the 12″ foam half sphere I ended up using for my costume. My shoulders are considerably broader then 12″ so the head I built was not exactly what I wanted but was what I could make given the availability of easily and cheaply obtainable materials.

Despicable ME minion hat idea diy-minon-costumes-Despicable-me-9 Minion hat ideas

I like the different ways people used hats for their minion costumes in the above pictures.  Had time allowed I was going to buy a yellow hat and put black yarn through it for hair so I could have a more dance worthy inner hat to wear as well as the full costume. I did dance 2 or 3 songs in full costume before removing the Minion head due to it being a bit hot with it on.

best minion costume family

These people win for the best family themed costumes I’ve seen in a long time.  Super awesome!

In my next posts I will share specific details on how I measure, size, design and make my minion costume.  Click here to continue learning how I made my Minion Costume for Halloween,  http://www.projectsbyzac.com/1101/reprap-3d-printer/how-to-make-a-minion-costume-for-halloween-part-2-3d-printed-minion-goggles

How to make a Felt Hat for a Halloween Costume

November 26, 2012 in Halloween Costumes

Curious George The Man in the Yellow Hat Halloween Costume

A big part of making myself a Curious George The Man in the Yellow Hat Halloween Costume was making the big yellow hat.  I devoted most of my energy towards making one that was a perfect replica of the hat worn by Curious George’s friend, The Man in the Yellow Hat.  As you can see in the picture above, my big yellow hat came out pretty well.  This post explains how to make a felt hat for your Halloween costume.

The first step toward making a felt hat for a Halloween costume is to decide on what type of felt hat you want to make.  Find some photos online, look at period correct movies, etc.   This was easy for me as The Man in the Yellow Hat from Curious George only wears one type of hat, a big wide rimmed round yellow hat.  I found about 2 dozen different images online and in the Curious George books to help me conceptualize the size and shape of the felt hat I would make for my Halloween costume. I want to state here that real felt hats are made differently then the process we are going to use.  Real felting of a wool hat is more work, wool felt the appropriate color was not readily available and it costs significantly more.

  

I started by buying about 2 yards of basic craft store acrylic felt fabric from my local Jo-Anne Fabrics.  The fabric was only $2.99/yard and was in the perfect shade of bright yellow to match my shirt, tie, and previously dyed pants (check out my earlier post).  I did some rough measurements of the hat brim size to shoulder width ratio on photos of Curious George’s  Man in the Yellow Hat.  I then scaled up based on my shoulder width to get an approximate size.  I  made a quick beam compass to lay out the circular pattern on the felt.  A beam compass can quickly be made from cardboard taped and folded over by punching holes at appropriate radii for your needs.  The disposable beam compass is a useful trick for woodworking, crafts, fabric, and any other time you need to layout a large diameter circle or arc segment.   Folding the fabric over results in two patterns being cut out at the same time.

   

I used the cardboard beam compass to layout an inner circle as well. The inner circle is a radius 2 inches shorter then the average radius of my head as measured above the ears. I used a fabric tape measure and mirror to get that measurement. Some quick math calculations gave me the radius I needed for the inner circle.  Using some quality fabric shears I cut out my patterns for the brim of the hat.

  

The next step required a plastic covered piece of flat cardboard and a piece of circular foam cut to that previously measured and calculated average diameter of my head.  Wrap the foam carefully with seran wrap and clear tape to ensure your felt does not stick to it during this next step.   This next bit I learned back in my theater days working in the costume shop.  It is the magic trick to making a felt hat with cheap craft store acrylic felt.   Be sure to have lots of white craft glue on hand.  Add about 25% water to the white glue and mix it in well.  Next take your two cut out felt patterns and run them under hot water until they are well saturated. The felt goes limp and softens.  Wring out as much water as you can from the felt. Then take the first pattern and carefully stretch it over the foam buck working slowly until you have it stretched nicely over the foam and flat on your plastic covered cardboard.   Paint on the watered down white glue with a brush until you have saturated the felt with the watered down glue solution.   Next stretch your second cut out pattern over the first being careful to smooth out any wrinkles or bumps in the felting.   Again paint on a liberal coating of the watered down white glue onto this second felt layer.  After saturating with glue rub your hands over the felt from the center outwards to smooth any small bumps, wrinkles etc.  Let this dry for a long, long time.   This part is what killed me, it took about 48 hours for the felt to dry and I was running out of time.  I added a fan to help speed the drying.  You can also use an iron when it is mostly dry to help it along and settle out any wrinkles/fold marks on the flat part.

Man in the Yellow Hat Halloween Costume     Man in the Yellow Hat Halloween Costume

Using a similar process, repeat the previous steps but stretch the felt over a styrofoam ball for the shaped upper part of your hat.  If you are making a different shaped hat, say a fedora you would simply use a different shaped buck (foam or wood pattern to shape the felt over).  Wetting and carefully stretching/shrinking the felt till it is smooth takes some time but is not complicated or difficult.  Use elastics and push pins to hold the wet felt onto the buck until the watered down glue solution dries completely.  Trim off the extra after its dry and you are left with a nice stiff felt hat.  For a shorter hat this step would be the end of the felting.  However Man in the Yellow Hat has a tall hat.  I felt I could not stretch the felt as a single piece that length. I made a felt cone for the added height of his hat.

Man in the Yellow Hat Halloween Costume   

As this post is running long, I will simply say I calculated the arc segments and radii needed to make a cone the perfect size for the felt hat being made.  I promise to do a short post on the trick behind making a flat pattern for a cone in a day or two.  It’s not complicated but relies on a good understanding of trigonometry.  After cutting out the arc segment, roll it up and sew the seam to make the cone section.  Then stitched your cone onto the top “ball” section made earlier, ensuring it dried completely before removing it from the foam buck.

 The Man in the Yellow Hat Costume  

Stitch on the top cone/ball section to the lower brim section and you have your felt hat.  Use a piece of heavy ribbon to hide the seam where you attached the two sections of the hat together.  The ribbon serves the additional purpose of keeping the felt hat from stretching out while being worn.  You will want to run a stitch around the outer rim of the hat.  This keeps the two stiffened brim sections from separating.  If you want to go hog wild with your felt hat you can stitch in millinery wire around the rim and cover it with millinery grosgrain ribbon as you will see done on fine felt hats.  For my man in the yellow hat costume I  kept it simple and ran a running stitch around the edge to keep the two layers of felt together.   The glue dries in the felt and keeps the rim stiff but it does not necessarily glue the two pieces of felt together adequately.

Man in the Yellow Hat Halloween Costume

Another shot of me in The Man in the Yellow Hat Halloween Costume.

2013 Note:  I’ve gotten tons of great notes emails and comments on this page. I would love to see some pics of the hats you all are making. send em to me at Zac at projectsbyzac.com   and if it’s ok to let me share them on this page please say so in the email.  I love hearing that people find my posts helpful. It really motivates me to take the time to write more posts.