Oct 28, 2010

Headband Masks for trick or treating

I wanted to make a bunch of Star Wars masks for my kids and their mates to play around in for my six year old's party and also for trick or treating a week later.

Firstly I want to let you know about the great mask print outs that we got from here and here. So lovely and retro and hand drawn/painted, just like the original artwork for the movie posters. Love it! I printed out some of the masks and then glued them to some Dollar Tree poster board to make them a bit more sturdy. Then it was Paul that did the cutting and covering with a layer of sticky back plastic, also from the Dollar Tree (the sticky back plastic, not Paul). He cut holes for the eyes and little doors for the noses to poke out a bit. We covered them with the sticky back plastic because the print outs were inkjet and so not water resistant. I figured there would be party beverages flying around, so the plastic covering would give the masks a better chance of lasting longer than just one night.

I originally planned to do the usual stick a couple of holes in either side and put elastic on to hold them on the kid's heads, but we had kids ranging from four up to eight years old and so one size wasn't going to fit all. It was a moot point anyway, because as it turned out I had no elastic. Bah. What I did have though were three packs of Dollar Tree kid's hair bands. They came in packs of three, so I had nine in total, which was perfect. They are just kid sized ridgid plastic hairbands that are covered with a woven fabric layer to make them prettier. All I had to do was get the hot glue gun out and glue them onto the backs of the masks at the right height.

The thing I really like about this result is that for trick or treating they can be flipped up to be worn like a real headband whilst walking about, so that you can see properly to cross roads etc, but it's easy to flip them down into a mask after you've knocked on the door. No more face planting on people's doorsteps because you can't see where you're putting your feet! (or is that just me?)

Ooh and one last one. I was one hair band short, so I glued an old pair of the 3D movie glasses to the back of the R2-D2 mask. That worked really well too, even though they were adult sized glasses.

So, just a quick post really, and more of an idea than a project, but I thought it might be useful to a few trick or treater last minute preparations.

Total cost for ten star wars masks was $5

$1 poster board
$1 roll of sticky back plastic (The Dollar Tree called it "self adhesive shelf liner")
$3 three packs of three Dollar Tree headbands.

The other good thing is that they have been worn a lot this week by a lot of different kids and none have broken so far. In other Halloweenish news... The 4th July tree has now become the Halloween tree. You don't need to tell me how weird this is ;)

No real projects to blog about from my older daughter's 6th birthday party really. We had to go for a pretty small party this year, with only four families, because we'd been ill and when we were finally well enough to have the party, the weather was terrible and with a party limited to the livingroom and kitchen, it had to be small. I used the same aproach with the cake this year as I did with the superhero cake from last year, only this time it was an Empire cake with storm trooper and vader party rings squished in the sides for decoration. We made balloon torch light sabers and had a death star pinata to abuse. I think my favourite bit was the party food at the "Ackbar Snackbar" in the kitchen :) She wants to be Darth Vader for halloween. Do you think it has anything to do with her feeling an affiliation to the entire crew of the death star, who just happen to all be British?
Hope you all have fun trick or treating on Sunday! Seems like October was the Star Wars month for us. I think we're maxed out with it now after back to back birthday and Halloween. I wonder what new obsessions November will hold for us.

Oct 14, 2010

Halloweens of the past, more reader's creations and a bit of randomness

Hellooo. I keep saying that I'm going to re-fangle the catagories for this blog, to help people find things more easily, but yeah, not got to it yet, so in an effort to be helpful, here are a few links to older projects we've done that are either halloween related, or might be useful as far as costume making goes...

Old halloween stuff...
I've got lots more links for you to lovely reader's versions of our projects too, but here are a few random pictures from the week to break up all the text in this post ;)

There haven't been any bloggable projects as such this week. It's more been a week of make believe, in that there's been a lot of den building. The kids (well, mainly my four year old) really wanted to make a "fairy fashion shop" in the livingroom, so for days we had all the furniture moved around and piled up in weird ways in an attempt to fake a boutique, including half the chairs from the kitchen. The livingroom was also stuffed full of every dress up dress, scarf, regular dress, kid's shoes, and well anything that was considered girly looking enough to be sold in a fairy fashion shop. I helped them to use electrical tape to fix some PVC plumbing pipes between chairs to make the rails for the clothes to hang on and we used every long stick thing we could find, even the broom handle to make the shop front and "fitting rooms". My older daughter's Christmas present a couple of years ago was a toy cash register, so that made the store totally real in their eyes. We have humungous stores every now and again. I think the last one was a pet shop that lasted for about a week (It slayed me that it had an all purpose "amphibian and reptile tank" where frogs and alligators seemed to co-exist quite happily).

Anne-Marie and Sara, if you're reading this, thank you so much for passing on all the lovely dress up clothes! We wouldn't have had such an impressive selection without your generosity! Lots of little girls came over to play and enjoy this nonsense over the course of the week. At the end of the week I was looking after a couple of little boys at short notice and that night we decided to make the millenium falcon out of boxes in the livingroom. One of our mates redecorated recently and had a lot of boxes that he gave us, so that was perfect! I had a horrendous silver sheet that I found at a thrift store that we threw over most of it. I dread to think the 80s-tastic yuppy boudoir that monstrosity was originally purchased for! I only got the one lame photo before it was too dark. Thanks Rich for all those boxes! I'm sure they will become many more things in the future.

Oh and we're making another pinata. I swear out of all the messy stuff I let the kids do, making pinatas has to be the most unfathomably sticky and gloopy. Next time I have to remember to make everyone wear a swimming cap!

Right, on to the awesomeness that is stuff that you lot have made! In no particular order (because really, c'mon, do you think I'm organized enough to have anything in any kind of order?!) Click through and have a gander!

As usual, all links are to other people's versions of our projects. if you want to see our posts that inspired them then I believe each of the readers posts does link back to the Filth Wizardry one.

Keep making messy art and telling me about it, because it helps me to feel justified in writing another blog post about the mess we just made, rather than cleaning it up.

Oct 3, 2010

Milk Jug Storm Trooper Helmet

Well, you know how we go with phases of obsession here. It was fairies a while back and now it's Star Wars. I thought it was worth putting this post up right away because with it being Halloween soon, there must be a few of you that are looking for budget Storm Trooper costume solutions (especially if you have more than one kid that wants to dress up as a storm trooper!). All you need for this are a couple of gallon size milk jugs (with their lids/caps), some hot glue and something you can cut them up with (I used an exacto knife, but it would probably be doable with a good pair of scissors because the plastic is quite thin).

I thought of this while I was making the Fimo storm trouper helmet for our Star Wars peg doll set. As I was modelling the helmet I started thinking it could be approximated with strategically cut portions of milk jugs. I had to wait a couple of days until we finished our second gallon of milk and also had to be fairly confident of what shapes I wanted to cut, because I only had the two containers to work with and I knew I needed both. Here are the containers I used (still with a bit of dish soap water in them!)

These are the shapes I cut out of them to use. Pieces A and B are cut from the first milk jug and then piece C is cut from the second milk jug. This really was a prototype, so next time I think I'd go for a taller piece as section C. I guess it depends on the size of the head you're making it for though. My kids are four and just turned six, so petit was the aim of the game with this helmet.

I used hot hotglue, rather than the low temp stuff, in order to try and secure the pieces together more firmly. As you can see from these photos, piece A was the lower front and sides of the helmet and piece C is the front of the helmet from the nose up. The pouring top part of the milk jug had to be cut off to make piece C, so to cover up that and make the helmet a bit more aesthetically pleasing I cut out the circular indent from the side bit that was left over from first milk jug. This fitted in nicely to fill that hole.

I hole punched the back of the two protruding side panels so that I could put in elastic to hold it on. It's not a "full helmet", but it is significantly more than a mask. I then glued the two lids of the milk jugs on either side of the mouth part.

Once the structure was all glued together I popped it on my daughter to figure out where the eye holes needed to go. It wasn't going to work to have the eye holes cut where the storm trooper's eyes actually are, but with the milk jug being partially see through, it was easy to see where to put them and it worked out that I could hide them pretty well in the decorations afterwards.

I had a can of white spray paint, so I used that on it. You could paint it with acrylic craft paint though, or if you are smart then you could deliberately get the totally opaque white milk jugs to start with!

Here it is painted up with black, white and grey craft paint. I had the paint out already from making the peg dolls, but a grey and black sharpie marker would do the job. I decided at the last minute to put the ear cover things on (they are made from the bottom plastic sections from the containers you get from the 50cent toy dispensers around here). The horizontal black line around the forehead is just a strip of black electrical tape.

As far as clothing went, I just used a back long sleeved top with a white vest over it. I didn't have a poloneck/turtleneck so I just gave them a black dollar store ear warmer band to put on around their neck. I didn't get as far as doing anything for the lower half of this outfit, because the kids are happy to just run around in it as it is (they want to be Darth Vader and Princess Leia for halloween anyway). I hope this is useful for a few of you that have wannabe storm troopers. It's not totally accurate and if I did it again then I'd change a couple of things, like removing the front nossle to make a better version of the mouth area, but it's good enough that most young kids will be happy with it.

If you have the milk jugs, but no one wants to be a storm trooper then you could always use them to make trick or treat pumpkin pots like we did a couple of years ago, here. :)

Oooh, or there are the milk jug batman masks too, here. I'd forgotten how much we mess about with milk jugs!

Another Star Wars related thing that might come in handy for trick or treating is the torch and balloon light saber hack that I posted at the beginning of this year.

Most kids have a torch for trick or treating anyway, so if you have young Jedi then this might be exactly what you need to both light the way and avoid the injuries that the combination of candy high kids and expensive and solid plastic light sabers can result in ;)

Update: A while after this we made some cheap and easy x-wing pilot's helmets for the kids to lark around in. You can see those here.

There is also a post here with a printable x-wing flight suit iron on thingy that I made for the kids to go on some orange hoodies.

Last of all, if you like the Star Wars toys out of stuff from the recycling bin, then you might like the R2-D2 secret storage boxes that we made, here.
Oh, no, wait, one more... There's a bunch of Star Wars peg dolls that I made my daughter for her birthday, and the Millennium Falcon doll house that her dad made to go with them. You can see those here and here.

Oct 2, 2010

DIY Star Wars toys

The kids are wildly into Star Wars at the moment. Have you seen the price of Star Wars toys!?! Good grief! Even second hand they are still mighty pricey unless you get lucky. So, I've been painting peg dolls and we've all been making space ships out of recycling again.

First I'll show you the ones the kids helped to make, then I'll show you the birthday present me and Paul made for our older daughter, who turned six yesterday. Me and the kids made an x-wing and a tie fighter one evening a couple of weeks ago, when I should have been making dinner. Just hot glue and stuff from the recycling bin, plus a bit of paint on top.

The x-wing was made from a small cardboard box for the body, a cereal box cut out for the wings, four corks for the engines, with pen lids on the tips of the wings and on the back of the engines. The guns coming out of the ends of the wing tip pen lids are snipped off electrical ties like the ones I used to make the insect antennae. The nose of the x-wing was made from strategically cutting a mac and cheese box and then glueing a bit of an egg carton to the end. The cork engines had a plastic lid stuck on the front of each (from a quarter machine toy container). Lastly the cockpit cover was made from a clear plastic wood screw box.

The tie fighter was made from a toilet roll tube, two cut out bits of plastic from the bottom of a black plastic Trader Joes chana masala tray (mmmmm curry!) and the middle is just a left over plastic baseball from when we did the vuvuzela craft a while back. I love the wonky little cockpit window that my four year old drew on it.

These have been a huge hit with the kids. My older daughter was particularly excited about the x-wing because the pilot actually went inside it. They were so into them that I was on the verge of helping them to turn a couple of old frisbies into the Millenium Falcon, but Carys's birthday was a week away and so me and Paul decided to secretly make her a more robust Falcon dollhouse for her present. After I made Pixie Hollow for Ffion back in March, I wanted to do something equally home made for Carys and so we decided to spend a few evenings with me painting up peg dolls and Paul screwing various thrift store finds together to make the Falcon for them to go in.

I painted up all the peg dolls over the course of four evenings, after the kids had gone to bed. They are really freaking small! It would have been much easier to use larger peg dolls, but these were the ones we could get cheaply at Michaels (didn't have time to wait for anything by mail), also I needed them to be able to fit into the doll house we were making for them. I used two sizes. Darth Vader and Chewy are made from larger 2-3/8" blank peg dolls (they came in a packet of two) All the others were made from the little 1-5/8" peg dolls that came in packets of three. Some of them had bits chopped off and glued back together in weird ways to get the right sizes and shapes. Here's the only in progress photo I took (about half way through).

The cute little faces were based on a great flikr set by Ty Lettau that I found via laughing squid, at just the right moment!

Vader and the storm trooper's masks were made by covering the peg in clingfilm/clingwrap and then molding Fimo clay into the right shape, then carefully pulling it off and baking it hard. It was fiddly, but I couldn't think of another way to make the helmets be realistic and fit the pegs correctly. Vader's can be taken on and off to reveal his gnarly face when he decides to leave the dark side. I glued on the storm trooper's helmet though.

Leia's hair is a couple of wooden beads glued onto the sides of her head. Han Solo in carbonite is a Jenga block with half of one of the peg doll's heads glued on. C3P0 had his head chopped off and replaced with a random smaller wooden head shaped thing I had handy. R2D2 was the bottom bit that we chopped off to make Yoda with another half a head glued on the top. He's teeny (only 3/4" tall). They are all painted with acrylic craft paint and have a couple of coats of satin finish Mod Podge to varnish them (Darth and the storm trouper's helmet are varnished with gloss Mod Podge) I superglued felt to Chewy's head and little felt ears to Yoda, which went rock hard once I painted and varnished it.

I still want to make Boba Fett and Jabba, maybe even a couple of Ewoks, oooh and Admiral Ackbar! There are so many characters we could keep going with, so if the kids are still into it I might make more as stocking fillers for Christmas. Anyway, here are the pics...

Han Solo

Han in carbonite
Obi Wan Kenobi

Luke Skywalker in his X-wing flight suit.

Princess Leia.

Lando Calrissian Yoda.

Storm Trooper. It was very late when I painted this little dude and I now realise that the way I painted his boby armour makes it look like he's wearing a thong. Nice.

Darth Vader

With his mask off.
Chewbacca. R2D2 Then you can arrange them into groups for sinister family portraits :)

Paul has written a post on his blog "Fangletronics" showing how we put together the Millenium Falcon dollhouse from random thrift store finds and recycling. So if you want to see all the bits that went into making the ship below then pop over to his post here.
It's been played with almost constantly since the kids got it yesterday. It's always a relief when something you have spent a lot of time on is well received! Phew! I think Paul did a good job making the falcon sturdy, so hopefully it'll last for a long time.