Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Evil mechanical dolls Halloween costumes!

Published by Manning on July 17th, 2015

Evil dolls couples Halloween costumes

These were my fiancee’s and my costumes for Halloween 2010. They were our first-ever his-and-hers couple’s costumes, and we threw them together pretty last-minute! The only complicated/time-consuming part was the paper maché turnkeys that went on our backs. I had never done paper maché before and had no idea what I was doing, so they ended up having really rough, uneven surfaces. The base for the keys was foam board and poster board, all taped together and then paper maché’d over, then painted silver with acrylic paint.

The most important part of this whole design is how the keys attach to our backs! I wanted to make them easily removable so we could sit down in the subway and stuff. So I used velcro! The base of the key is a disc of foam board, paper machéd to the key, and then another disc of foam board is attached to our clothing with brass fasteners — through my suspenders and through her sports bra. I superglued velcro onto each disc, and voilà! This worked out perfectly.

The giant knife and scissors were junk I bought at the Halloween store and repainted; they were a dull gray color when I bought them, and I spray painted them black and dry-brushed them with silver acrylic paint, then I splattered red acrylic on them and covered them with a couple coats of matte spray.

The rest is just thrift store clothes, a couple wigs, and a little Ben Nye creme makeup and stage blood. We also wore blood-red contact lenses.

When assembling the clothes I had another great find; I bought Dickies pants and cut them off and thought I’d have to sew them (booo!), but it turns out there’s a kind of iron-on hemming tape; you just cut a piece, place it between the folded edges of your hemmed pantleg, and iron! That was a big time saver.

If I had it all to do over again I’d do the turnkeys a bit differently! My paper maché and painting methods are much more refined now. I think I used Elmer’s Glue and newspaper, and I didn’t know to tear smaller pieces of paper to get a smoother look. Nowadays I use wallpaper adhesive and I always finish with a layer of craft paper, which absorbs the paste and turns nice and soft so you can smooth it out really well.

Evil mechanical dolls Halloween costumes

Rather than paint the keys all over with silver acrylic, I would start with a base of black spray paint, and then dry-brush with silver (or bronze-colored) acrylic, to get a realistic aged/dirty metallic look; nice and steampunk!

Otherwise, I think we did a good job with the clothes and wigs! This was a really fun costume and people got a real kick out of it. I’d totally do this one again sometime.

Interested in commissioning a piece from me? Please see my page about custom paper maché pieces. Please email me; don't put your request in a comment below.

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