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Friday, October 30, 2009

How-to: Make an Up! Costume

This costume takes approximately six hours to complete from start to finish so please leave yourself enough time.

What you'll need:

  • Large piece of Cardboard (I used a White Science Project display board that was $5 at Michael's - highly recommended since it's already white and ready to color on)
  • Wide ribbon like the kind you'd tie up hair with (something substantial with no wiring in it)
  • Duct tape
  • Colored pencils and crayons
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape or clear packing tape
  • 1 Cardboard Toilet Paper Roll
  • 2 Suspender Clips (or binder clips) - see picture right
  • 12-14 Helium Balloons in various colors with long strings
  • Annie's Up House Image/Template and Carbon Paper (Optional)
  • Straight edge (ruler or Ikea catalog... whichever your preference)
  1. IF you are going to use this image as a starter for a template, you will take the image and blow it up to your desired actual size. Print then use carbon paper to transfer your design onto the cardboard itself. For more on this process, check out my earlier post on Vector Paintings.
  2. If you'd rather free-hand it, here's how I did it.
  3. Outline your house with pencil.
  4. Choose the permanent lines you want to use with black sharpie.
  5. Color in all the details.
  6. Cut the design free of the cardboard. (Note: it's important to do this step post-coloring because cutting the cardboard down will make the piece lose a lot of integrity. If you cut it first, then color - pressing on it with the crayons may bend it in places.)
  7. To make the guide for the balloon strings, tape a cardboard toilet paper roll behind the drawing of the chimney using duct tape.
  8. Using duct tape, attach white ribbon to the back of the design, enough so that it comfortably fits over your head and across your chest the way a sandwich board might. Now your costume is ready for the balloon stage!
  9. For the balloons, I recommend getting 12-14 (enough so that it looks good and you have back-up if any break or leak, but not too much so you cant move anywhere). Helium only lasts a good 8 hours total so make sure to get the balloons right before you need to wear your costume. (Note: if you use Mylar balloons instead, they will last for at least a week! However, they don't look like the ones from the movie as much).
  10. This next step is optional but highly recommended. To keep all the strings together (which will soon become important), wrap them in clear packing tape or masking tape all the way down starting at the point you want the strings to emerge from the chimney and going all the way down to the end of the strings (away from the balloons).
  11. Now you're ready to put the whole costume together! 
Final Assembly Instructions (When you're ready to wear it!)
  • Get dressed. I recommend a totally black outfit with black pants that have belt loops through them. 
  • Slide the sandwich board-esque house over your head. 
  • Then take your balloon cluster and feed the bottom of the string rope through the cardboard toilet paper roll.
  • Take the string rope and then feed it through your belt loops until you've got the strings right at the level you want them for emerging from the chimney.
  • When ready, use the first suspender clip to secure the rope to itself to keep it at the level you want it (you could also knot it but that makes it hard to get in and out of the costume).
  • Once secured, use the second suspender clip just to adhere the string rope to your pants themselves.
  • You're finished! Be careful of anything overhead that might catch on the balloons and go find an old man to stand next to. 
Confused? Here are photos to give you and up-close-and-personal reference. Click them to get to a bigger version.

Good luck! Careful walking in this and fair warning: it's pretty tough to bend down so make sure everything you need is counter-height :)


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