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Topic: I need people who are experienced with mascot costumes or costumes in general!  (Read 1365 times)
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« on: May 22, 2008 10:07:22 AM »

...so I'm obsessed with Hoshi no Kaabi and Kirby in general. He's adorable. I mean, come on, look at that face!

How can you not adore him?

Anyway, I had the bright idea of dressing up as Kirby for the next Anime Detour! Cheesy How kawaii would that be?
I've seen other Kirby cosplayers, but they only wear, you know, pink clothes, pink shoes. I want to be the real deal. I want to BE Kirby (I'm crazy, I know).

A quick Photobucket search brought up this image of someone cosplaying Kirby, which I really like:

The only problem is, I'm 5'8" and thus could not fit into that costume. It's cute, though.

Basically, my costume needs to be the following things:
* Round and pink (of course!)
* It needs to STAY round (that is, it needs some type of support to keep it up)
* It needs to be able to be seen out of
* I need to be able to reasonably walk around in it (but not for a long period of time; I don't plan on wearing it all day)
* It can't be too heavy
* It needs some way of sitting on my shoulders or head or whatever
* I do not need to be able to use the hands to actually grab things, but it would be nice to be able to put my hands in them to move them around for pictures

Does anyone have any idea of how to achieve these goals? Could someone math up a sphere size that would fit me in it? I was thinking of making the costume over my top half (head to knees) and then making the shoes out of duct tape to cover my calves and feet since I'll be a huge Kirby anyway. As for the actual costume, I am totally unsure - I thought about making a wire frame and then covering it with pink fabric, then doing iron-on transfers of the eyes, pink spots and mouth, but I'm not sure how that would work out for me to be able to see.

Also, quick side note: does anyone know if it's possible to get a cheap and reasonably loud speaker system/recorder thing that I could use to make it sound like Kirby's saying his trademark "Poyopoyo~!" (or alternatively, "Hiiiiii~!")? I thought maybe my iPod with my speaker system strapped to my arms might work, but I don't have a way to power that.

If anyone can help me with this, it's Craftster. Thanks for any help you can give me!


(edited to add: there is what appears to be a full-size? Kirby costume here but I believe it was made by Nintendo for their commercial, so of course they had all the resources they needed...)
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008 10:11:33 AM by instantkarma » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2008 02:18:57 PM »

Can't help with the costume part, but for the sound, there are little computer speakers that don't need a power source.  I have some, and the sound quality is not great, but I think it would meet your needs.

Good luck!
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2008 06:45:52 PM »

Okay, I would actually make the pink part of your costume go from head to thigh, then let the "shoes" go down to your knees, that way you can be Kirby on stilts (your legs) or kneel and be regular old Kirby for pictures and such.  I would make either a plushy costume, or one that is flat-ish front to back, in order to let you in and out of doors (and it...even if you plan to stay outside, the costume's got to fit through a door at some point). 

Sewers are for ninja turtles--seamstresses are for sewing Wink

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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2008 07:03:15 PM »

Ohhh, the kneeling thing is a good idea! I could even just wear pink pants or something with the "shoes" so it doesn't look too weird. I was thinking about the plush idea too...I'm sure there's firm-yet-squishy fabric out there that could help me.

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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2008 07:15:59 AM »

I worked at a shop that made all kinds of mascots, professional ones. The basic structure is foam rubber, often 2" thick, sometimes plastic tubing is used for structural support (like large hoops inside big round shapes). Sometimes fur, sometimes a thick jersey material over the foam depending on the character.

I'll be blunt, the materials are expensive & the labor is very time consuming, even if you have a sewing machine capable of heavy duty sewing. If you don't own a comercial machine capable of sewing through 1" foam & two layers of thick imitation fur, you will wind up doing every single stitch by hand.

The ladies who do the hand work use leather 1/2 gloves (just cover a couple fingers & thumb) and needles about 4" long.

Foam & fur for a human sized Kirby will easily run about $300. The starting price for mascots in that shop is roughly $1000 and they go up from there, the more unusual & detailed, the pricier they get. There is a local high school whose mascot is a dragon, the costume is fantastic but cost the school $4000, without a head included as they ordered a rubber dragon head separately.

Good News: Ball shapes are actually pretty easy, any childs' toy ball pattern blown up to scale should do, probably 6 panels will give you a good shape. Eight panels would be nice too but not likely neccesary. The one pictured looks to be 6 panels Smiley
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2008 07:46:54 AM »

"Wow" about the materials. I didn't imagine it would be that expensive! Hmmm. Well, I'm not planning on making the thing amazingly high quality...it really only has to hold up for a couple days. Thank you for the advice on materials and structure, though. I didn't even think of using foam or rubber tubing...I might have to take a trip to the hardware store and sit around bending things for a while. Tongue LOL.

On a swapping hiatus due to college...

« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2008 12:03:18 PM »

The reason the foam is used is because it's light & holds it's shape all on its own. We had an "Audrey" plant (little Shop of Horrors) that was awesome, a 6' tall man had to manuver it but I could pick it up & carry it's weight easily. Ok, I could lift the weight easily but carrying it was like being an ocean liner in a bathtub, but you get the idea Smiley Wearing it was like being a blindfolded ocean liner in a bathtub.... but I digress.

Foam is really fun to work with because of what it does & what you can make it do. A human sized Kirby would probably only weight 10-12 pounds? the whole weight could hang on your head comfortably if the costume was hollow (most big things are hollow) Smiley If you trip & fall, you're padded. If where you fell down it dents in, no sweat, punch it out.

And what's the reward if you win? if there are cash prizes it might be worth spending a bit.
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2008 03:18:38 PM »

You know, I actually don't know what the prize is! I want to say it's money and/or merchandise, but I'm actually not sure.

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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2008 03:42:42 PM »

You can always go with the inflatable aspect, which is what I did when I made my life-size Jabba the Hutt suit. Although, I live in the South and hate the heat especially at conventions...so the internal air conditioning is right up my alley!

This time of year, you'd have to cannibalize the fan and control switch from a premade inflatable suit, but right after Halloween those costumes are dirt cheap - cheap enough to where I don't feel guilt buying them just for the fan! Cheesy

Granted, you'd need to use ripstop nylon, or some sort of other fabric with in suit's inner side plastic-coated to hold the air.

If you want to go the foam route, which is probably easiest, you may want to check out the boards at cosplay.com, acparadise.com, and some of the (hah hah hah) furries' boards.
Although Furries are creepy, they're very talented and eager to help others with their mascot-sized build issues.

I used to have links to foam wholesalers, but I can't find them right now!

By the way- if your suit did need shoulder supports, I recommend using old football shoulder pads. They make a great base!

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