Last June I set out to make some fairly large cabbage costumes but didn’t want to involve chicken wire or other things like that. When it comes to costume making (& most other things) I try to use what I’ve got and well, the Menne’s have plenty of purple cardboard boxes (thanks to my obsession with jet.com). I have already done Lego costumes with cardboard boxes so how card can it be right?
Anyway, I searched the internet doing my homework to see if it was possible to take a rectangular box and turn it into a ball and wouldn’t ya know it’s totally possible and even easy! In fact making these cabbage costumes inspired two of our family halloween costumes BB8 and the head of R2D2. (more info on how I did that below the how to section).
Supplies: Cardboard boxes, box cutter, duct tape (FYI the real stuff holds better trust me), marker, tape measure.
Optional supplies: Papier-mâché mix (flour, water, glue), newspaper, spray paint.
1. Find some boxes. I honestly break down boxes flat and store them for rainy day play or random costumes.
2. Open the boxes flat and determine the size of pieces you’ll need. Be sure you cut the pieces so the corrugated flutes are going left to right. This is so you can get the pieces to bend to create the round ball shape.
Think of a beach ball. The pieces need to be long enough to fit the person you are making it for and need to be able to be rounded to connect.
3. Draw the shape the size you like. I have used pencils, markers and sharpies and tend to like the regular Crayola type markers because those marks are easier to cover up later on.
4. Cut your first strip carefully. (I like to put more cardboard under the piece I’m cutting on when cutting in the house. Otherwise I’d advice cutting on the lawn to avoid scratches on your flooring.)
5. Use that strip as a template to trace and cut more strips. The number of strips you’ll need depends on the size and look you are going for. More strips do make it a bit bigger but more thin strips make a much rounder ball shape. (I learned that the hard way.) I have used anywhere from 8-12 strips on various projects.
6. Roll the strips to make a curve. This is where the corrugated flutes come into play. I tend to use the edge of a countertop to help save my hands some of the work. Making the shapes slightly rounded helps when taping the pieces together.
7. Now for the fun part. Tape 2 strips together. The side with the smaller flat end will be your ‘head’ end and the other end with the larger flat end will be the ‘leg’ end.
8. Continue to add strips on one at a time using the duct tape to connect. If you feel the need you can tape from both the inside and outside. It truly depends on how sturdy you wish for the ball to be.
9. Finally decide where to put them and cut arm holes. (even if you don’t think you need them it’s a good idea for safety incase the person inside falls over they can catch themselves a bit).
10. Adjust the head hole and the leg holes. I like to use a stake knife to cut these because it seems to cut through tape and cardboard a bit better than the box cutters. I also tape the edges of the head and leg holes to add comfort for the wearer.
11. Use newspaper or whatever paper to Papier-mâché the exterior of the ball. I use the packaging paper from my Jet.com purchases…and no I get no perks for promoting them I just love to shop purple)
12. Paint it. I like to spray paint because it’s quick.
13. Make it your own! You can go nuts adding whatever detail you want.
Star Wars Cardboard Costumes
I used the same directions as shown above to make the body of BB8. I then made a smaller ball shape and cut it to the right size for BB8’s head. I then inverted the portion I had cut off and placed it inside the ‘head’ and then hot-glued a bike helmet into. I also hot glued straws wrapped in duct tape for the antenna. I hand painted the details on BB8 which got old real fast. 😦
I started with a 14″ Sono tube from Menard’s but you can find those types of concrete tubes at your local hardware store. I cut it to the right size for my son, cut a couple arm holes and then spray painted it. I used blue duct tape, gray duct tape and a couple sharpie’s to add all of the detail.
For the head I used a similar process as I did for the BB8 head but used more strips to create the looks of R2’s head. I ran out of hot glue so I actually used duct tape to tape the bike helmet in the R2 head. I then found metallic spray paint at my local hardware store Bender’s True Value. Once again I used blue duct tape for details and cut a few holes to look the part and also serve as a safety feature for him to look out when he wanted to pull his head in. Finally I got some pieces of foam from Menard’s and cut them to look like R2D2’s legs and then duct taped the heck out of them. Finally I added straws to look like the wires. The boys both loved their costumes.
I seem to enjoy the challenge DIY costumes and hope you can have fun with the process too.
Happy costume making friends!