My son is a Thomas fanatic, so I figured if I could make him a Thomas costume I'd be his hero forever. I had seen some Thomas costumes in the store, but thought they were pretty boring. So I searched online, came across www.coolest-homemade-costumes.com, and let my imagination get the better of me. I worked on my son's costume over 2 weeks (I only had a small amount of time each day to work on it). My son watched Thomas begin as boxes and turn into his favorite train costume. I had actually planned to surprise him, but decided he'd enjoy watching the Thomas transformation and even "helping" me out a bit (and he really did love it). The end result was awesome!!! Here's how I did it...
- Medium Box w/ Lid
- Shoe Box w/ Lid
- Round Boxes w/ Lid
- Paper Dessert Plates
- Construction Paper
- Extra Cardboard
- Tissue Paper
- Blue, Black, and Gray Paint
- Black Marker
- Carbon Paper
- Paper Tape
- Extra Strength Mounting Tape
- Extra Strength Velcro
- Paper Cutter
- Utility Knife
- Computer & Printer (optional)
Step 1: I started by deciding on my materials. The hard part was keeping Thomas proportional. I started with an Office Depot box that was 17 1/2" L x 11 1/2" W x 9" H. I cut a rectangle in the bottom of the box large enough for my 3 year old, Raymond, to stand in. I then placed the box upside down (open at bottom) to form Part A. This same box had a lid, which I cut in half to make Parts B and C. Part B is open where it attaches to Parts A and D. It is also open on the bottom due to being cut in half. I used paper tape to secure Part B to Part A. I cut the remaining half box lid to create Part C. It is open on the bottom and where it attaches to Part A (which is where it was cut in half). I secured it to Part A with paper tape.
Step 2: I used a small shoe box with a lid for Part D (it happened to also be 11 1/2" W). I secured the shoe box to Parts A and B with paper tape, making sure that the lid was able to be taken off and put back on so that we could use the shoe box as a candy "bag". I then covered the entire formation (Parts A through D) in paper tape to reinforce it, and painted it Thomas Blue. Taping the box before painting covered up the writing on the boxes and let me get away with just one coat of paint.
Step 3: I had planned to use styrofoam circles to make Thomas' neck (Parts E) and face (Part F), but the styrofoam was much more expensive than I expected. I did, however, come across cardboard boxes with lids at Michael's that were the perfect size (7 7/8" round, 3" deep) and were only $3 (example boxes pictured above). I bought two and prepared to tape them together with paper tape (without their lids). Before taping them together, I cut a hole just barely large enough to fit Thomas' smokestack (Part G). The smokestack was a Crystal Light container (the type that holds 6 small tubs that each make 2 quarts) covered in paper tape. I then taped the boxes together and fit the smokestack into its hole. This formation (Parts E and G) was spray painted black.
Step 4: Thomas' face (Part F) was simply the lid of one of the round boxes. I spray painted it gray. I got a head-on image of Thomas from the Thomas and Friends website and printed his face (after resizing the picture to make his face 7 7/8" round). I then traced Thomas' face onto the lid using homemade carbon paper (paper that I covered with pencil). I printed Thomas' face a second time, and cut out his eyes and mouth. I glued these in place on the painted lid, then used a black Sharpie to outline the rest of Thomas' face (using the previously traced lines as a guide). The lid was then placed onto Thomas' neck. The whole formation (Parts E-F-G) was taped to Parts A-B-C-D using extra strength mounting tape (seriously strong stuff!!!).
Step 5: The designs on Thomas' sides were made with construction paper. When necessary I created a design on my computer and printed it onto the right color paper so that I had guide lines for cutting. This was especially helpful for Thomas' whistles. I cut red construction paper for the trim along Thomas' bottom edge. I cut circles out of cardboard and spray painted them black to make Thomas bumpers (two in the front and two in the back). Thomas' wheels are paper dessert plates painted Thomas Blue. The "rims" were printed onto blue construction paper, cut out, and pasted onto the plates. I created 6 identical wheels, and used my super mounting tape to attach them. I also covered the top of the shoe box with black construction paper and cut a flap in the top to put candy through. Finally, I crumpled up some tissue paper, spray painted it black to resemble coal, and taped it to the top of Part B.
Step 6: I thought I was pretty much done, until my husband (ever the engineer), realized that Raymond would have to figure out how to put his candy in the shoe box BEHIND him. We decided it would be much better if Raymond could drop his candy into his smokestack. So we took Thomas's face off (Part F), cut the bottom out of the smokestack (Part G) so that it was simply a pipe open on both ends, and cut out the box floor between the two round boxes (Parts E). Now Raymond could drop his candy down the smokestack and it would all collect in Thomas' neck. We could then take Thomas' face off to get the candy out. GENIOUS!!! By the way, if anyone decides to do this...do it earlier than we did. It was quite hard to do with the whole thing already assembled.
Step 7: The final thing to do was add the straps that would keep Thomas on Raymond. I bought red straps and extra strength velcro with an adhesive backing. I attached the straps as shown in the pictures. You'll notice that the straps go not only over Raymond's shoulder's, but also around his body. This helps keep the straps up and the costume balanced so it doesn't shift backwards (the back is heavier than the front). I also should note that I made the straps adjustable since I don't know how bulky Raymond's clothing will be (that will depend on what the weather is).
Voilà! Thomas was done! A few things to note...I tried very hard to keep Thomas as light weight as possible but he's still a good weight. I also made a costume for my 1 year old, Ryan. I will post about that in the near future. The two costumes combined cost about $40 in materials. I tried as much as possible to use items I had in the house. My biggest expenditures were paint and velcro.
I'll post pictures of Raymond in his Thomas costume following our neighborhood Halloween party this Saturday.
*** Updated THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2010 at 10:32 PM ***
Below are the templates I created when making Thomas.
1. Thomas' Face
2. Thomas' Whistles (print on yellow paper)
3. Thomas' Windows and #1 (print on yellow paper)
4. Thomas' Wheels/Rims