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Topic: E.T. Phone home...with LED technology!  (Read 4828 times)
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I make clothes for imaginary people

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« on: November 02, 2008 11:31:03 AM »

First off, Wow. There are so many good costumes on this board already! I don't know how I can compete; but I wanted to show off anyway because I'm pretty proud of this piece.

I was commissioned by a friend of a friend (you know how that goes) to build an E.T. costume for her 5 year old for Halloween. Apparently the kid is obsessed. Due to her budget and my time constraints we decided that I would build him a mask and hands and paint a shirt to go with it. That way he could continue to use the mask and gloves as he grew and replace the body portion as needed and get more elaborate as he got older if the whole E.T. thing turns out to be a life-long love instead of a phase.

Anyway, here is the finished product.
The monster shoes are all him BTW.
The kid was pretty stoked about the whole thing and told his mom that he never wanted to take it off.
The best part? LED technology! That's right, his finger actually lights up AND he has a motion-activated "heart light" wired into the t-shirt. He thought that was the coolest thing ever.

Here's my basic process for those who are interested:
I started with some basic black gloves that his mom had bought and sculpted fun noodle pieces (cheapest/best craft foam source ever!) into long alien fingers which I then attached with hot glue while wearing the gloves to make sure that they retained their stretchiness (don't worry. it was a low temp gun).

Then I padded the hands out with fiber fill and stretched and stitched panty hose over the whole thing. Knuckle and wrinkle effects were achieved by stitching trapunto-style over the hose. Another example of this technique can be found here https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=268050.msg3018124#msg3018124.

Next, I ghetto gessoed the whole thing with a mixture of Elmer's glue and water to get it ready for painting. Runs in the hose are no big deal because the glue and paint keeps it from being a problem.
For the light up finger, I bought a cheap LED key chain from Walmart and enlisted the help of my boyfriend to separate the bulb and solder on longer wires so that the button would be in the palm and the bulb in the fingertip. Encasing the wires in the finger was as simple as hollowing out a channel and then gluing it shut.


The last step was to paint the whole thing, making sure to leave a thinner layer of paint where I wanted the light to show through the finger and highlighting the button so that the five year old could find it. I also cut slits at the base of the fingers so that he could have his fingers free for candy eating if he wanted (very important).


The mask construction was a bit simpler. I used a blank mask base which I strengthened with cheesecloth and glue and build up with more of my fun noodle pieces (this entire project took less than half of one fun noodle).
I used the same pantyhose trapunto method as I did in the hands to give the face character and definition and then lined the inside with felt and painted it.
The finished mask and hands.

For the shirt I simply added acrylic medium to the same paints I used on the appendages and went to town. The motion-activated LED heart light was cannibalized from a Walmart Halloween shirt and stitched into the inside of the shirt under plastic. The original shirt will end up in a future project, I'm sure.


Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the project. I feel like the mask could have looked a little more like E.T.; but I think the face dimensions I would have needed would have been uncomfortable for a small child and I really wanted him to get a lot of use from it.

Sorry for the HUGE post. What do you think?

« Last Edit: January 07, 2013 10:34:29 AM by rackycoo - Reason: changed non-working images to links » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2008 11:56:14 AM »

Ha ha ha, loving that costume!!  Really liked the in progress shots too, show the huge amount of work and detail that you put into it Smiley  He must have totally loved wearing the outfit!

It also tickled me that Mr Loops has the same monster slippers as him Cheesy

« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2008 11:59:41 AM »

i love the fingers!
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Gotta go - kids chewed thru their straps...

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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2008 12:14:35 PM »

 Grin Awesome job!

Come check out my etsy shop - vintage, eco-friendly and all kinds of crafty goodness Smiley

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."
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Stop molesting STEWie bunny!

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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2008 12:18:30 PM »

I love it.  It looks great.  BTW, is there a freudian slip in your post.  I think you meant to type paint a shirt but in stead you types paint a sh*t.  hahaha Cheesy

Don't forget your towel.
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2008 12:34:27 AM »

i'm amazed at your crafting skills! the construction is brilliant! i can only imagine what you could do if you weren't on a budget...

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I make clothes for imaginary people

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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2008 08:06:26 AM »

I love it.  It looks great.  BTW, is there a freudian slip in your post.  I think you meant to type paint a shirt but in stead you types paint a sh*t.  hahaha Cheesy

Fixed. Thanks for the heads up.
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2008 02:24:36 PM »

totally awesome!

Okay so once again I am completely redoing my pictures. Got tired of photobucket, the only reason I used it was for here so I decided I will just use Craftster's photo uploader. So while I am switching over my photo links will be broken. Message me if there is a post you would like the pics for.
crafty gurll
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2008 06:50:21 PM »

Wow, that is really amazing! Smiley
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2008 09:35:45 PM »

The costume is awesome!  My son was obsessed with ET when he was younger for several years and would have loved this. 

It is unique and original and looks fairly durable so that he can continue to play ET long after Halloween is over and the finger and heart light put it over the top amazing.
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