I make my kids costumes and they never cease to challenge me. This year was no exception! My more “animated” son desparately wanted to be Mega Mind with the Black Mamba cape. He loves this movie so much he can pretty much recite the monologue for the whole movie! I thought ” ok, well that’s easy enough..black under armor type pants and shirt, black boots and gloves, whip out a cape, and a stuffed bald cap for his “giant blue head”. SOOO not easy!
I have made several capes (we have tons of Super Hero costumes) but never one with a huge collar. I bought black and blue velvety material for the cape. I tried to use interfacing to make the collar stiff. I tried to use floral wire, wire coat hangers, pipe cleaners, even fun noodles…nothing seemed to work. I ended up with one of two results. Then I found out I could buy a big roll of craft foam from Joann Fabrics for like $8. I cut a piece the shape of the collar and inserted it between the two pieces of fabric of the collar…finally success!!! It was stiff enough to stand up but not heavy to weigh it down or any chance of poking my child’s neck.
I thought the hard part was over…NOPE. The brilliant idea of two bald caps (from a Halloween store) stuffed did not work. I tried a soft sponge ball cut in half to stuff the cap, it looked more like a mushroom. I tried to cover that with batting…looking better. I had my son put one bald cap on his head (normal way) then I actually glued the ball and batting on top. I did this to keep it from moving. Then I put the second bald cap on top of the batting, well I TRIED to put the second bald cap on top…it just would not stay on.
So then I had the idea to make a “slip cover” out of the kind of material you would line a woman’s swimsuit with. Yeah, that looked more like something um…obscene. So scrap that idea. Then I thought AH HA! Paper mache! You all did those little paper mache Christmas ornaments in elementary school? No? Well, fortunately for me, my elementary school teacher liked them! So I took a 12″ balloon and blew it up. Measured the circumference of my child’s head and marked a line around the balloon. Then I tore up the strips of tissue paper, dipped them in liquid starch and started layering them on (3 layers). And thanks to a tip I saw used 3 different colors to determine where I had layered and tip #2 set the balloon on a pitcher to hold it.
I let it dry ( about 10 hrs) then decided for sturdiness sake I would repeat the process. That would be a total of 6 layers of tissue paper. Then after that dried (another 10 hrs) I painted it blue with acrylic paint. Then came the moment of truth. I popped the balloon… I can not tell you how happy I was that the “head” stayed in tact! I had a pair of long black gloves and found a pair of black boots clearanced at Payless for $6. I added some “bling” with a strip of plastic metallic looking studs that came on a roll at Hancock Fabrics, just attached with hot glue gun.
The only thing left was to put it all together. I first attached the “spock/elf ears” with spirit gum. Then I ended up using the bald cap (that had not been tampered with) as a base on his head. I used masking tape to hold the giant blue head in place, then I painted his face, ears, and neck to match. I actually used a fat eyeliner to do his whole face. This costume was so frustrating and challenging, but worth every bit of it when I saw how happy my son was!! Everyone commented on how fabulous it was, but the best compliment was from my son who’s response was always “Yeah, my mom makes the best costumes, she can do anything!” My only regret…that I didn’t start with the paper mache!