Monday, October 29, 2012

TARDIS Halloween Costume

How to make a (Relatively) Simple TARDIS Costume


So James wanted to be a TARDIS for Halloween.  Being a lazy bastard, I rolled my eyes because I knew there would be no TARDISes on the shelf at Target.  "You've got your Finn (Adventure Time) costume from Dragon*Con.  Why not do that?"

"Awww.  I want to be a TARDIS."

"Ehh.  We'll see."

Last week, he said he would be Godzilla again this year.  He had been Godzilla for two years in a row.  It was cool and we used the sound shirt, too.  (Watch the video I linked in the previous sentence.)  The costume cost a little bit so I didn't mind the extra use.

But there was the slightest bit of resignation in his voice.  I didn't like that.  Yes, I'm a lazy bastard but I don't necessarily want to pass that on to him.

So I went to an office store and got most of that biz listed below.
  • A 20x20x20 unfolded box from any office supply store ($6)
  • An unused medium pizza box (preferably about 14"; free if you ask nicely)
  • Roll of gray fiberglass screen for windows (get white if you can; $6)
  • Two cans of "Gloss Brilliant Blue" spray paint ($4 each)
  • One can of white spray paint ($1)
  • One pack of Sharpies, one black and one blue ($5)
  • Top of hair product jar (free, if you dig it out of my wife's trash like I did) - You need a circular cap that fits on the bottom of the next thing ...
  • Cheap plastic drinking glass, mouth 3" diameter (less than $1)
  • Black posterboard (~$1)
  • White posterboard (~$1)
  • Taplight, about 2 - 3" in diameter ($3)
  • Multiple packs of 2" white block (or Helvetica) vinyl letter stickers (you'll need four 'X's and that meant four packs; $6 each)
  • Multiple packs of 1" white block (or Helvetica) vinyl letter stickers (you'll need twelve 'L's and that meant four packs; $5 each)
  • Blue construction paper ($1)
  • Bottle of tacky glue ($1)
  • Duct tape (you've already got that, right?)
  • TARDIS note (free, click here)
  • ThinkGeek Personal Soundtrack Shirt ($40, not really needed if you have a cell phone or a Doctor Who sound device)
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Assemble the 20x20x20 box with one end open.
  2. Measure two inches from the edges and three-and-a-half from the top (of the assembled end of the box).  This forms two sides of your windows.  From the 3.25" line, measure down 6.25".  This is the bottom of the window.  Find the midpoint on the box and bisect this rectangle.  Draw the inner edge of the window one inch on either side of this line.  You should end up with two rectangles seven inches long, six-and-a-quarter inches tall.
  3. Repeat on all four sides and then cut the rectangles out.  (I only did this on three sides because I worried about structural integrity.  Needlessly, as it turned out.  Also, you'll see in the video above that the front window is one big rectangle instead of two smaller ones.  This was for visibility's sake.)  Save the cutout bits for later.
  4. On the pizza box, measure to find the center point and then place your plastic drinking glass there.  Outline the mouth onto the box and then cut the circle out BUT cut it about a quarter of an inch smaller than your circle.  (This is so the box will fit more snugly on the glass.)
  5. Cut oblong arm holes on two opposing side of the box.  Place them wherever you'd like.  I measure my kid and put them where they seemed most natural.
  6. Glue the pizza box to the top of the bigger box upside down.  This is so the bulk of the cracks/creases will be underneath.
  7. Shake those blue cans and spray that mofo.  (Prop open the pizza box so it doesn't get painted shut.)  Also, paint the cap for your drinking glass.  Save some of the newspaper that got coated with blue.  You'll need it later.
  8. Measure out the roll of screen and cut out four rectangular panels, 20 inches long and 8 inches high.  Hang them from a wire or something and spray one side white.  (Don't spray them lying flat; the paint will likely fill the holes.)
  9. With your black posterboard, measure out four rectangles 19 inches long and 3 inches tall.  Also, measure and draw guidelines half-an-inch from the top and bottom of the rectangles.
  10. With your 2" vinyl letters, spell out "POLICE" on one side (the letters will likely need to be snug) and "BOX" on the other.
  11. With your 1" letters, spell out "PUBLIC" and place the tops on the top guideline.  Then spell out "CALL" and place the bottoms just below the bottom guideline.
  12. If you chose to leave the back windows intact (meaning you didn't cut rectangles out), use the cutout rectangles to trace and then cut out false windows on the white posterboard with blue construction paper lines for the panes.
  13. Use the rectangle cutouts to trace in pencil the detail rectangles under the windows on all four sides.  Use the blue Sharpie on the pencil.  It stays on the painted surface well and stands out just enough.
  14. Measure one inch in from the edges of the box on all sides and draw lines from near the top all the way to the bottom.  Then go over them and the center bisecting line in black Sharpie.  These form the so-called door lines.
  15. Resize the TARDIS note to be six inches tall and print it out.
  16. Glue it to the front in the left rectangle just under the window.
  17. Glue the "POLICE BOX" signs above the windows on all sides.
  18. Duct tape the screens inside the windows (with the spraypainted sides facing out).
  19. Open the pizza box, place the taplight inside and put the glass over it.  Close the pizza box.  See if there's any light spillage and then tape the blue-painted newspaper scraps inside to block it.
  20. If you've got a sound shirt or other audio device, download some TARDIS effects, theme music, etc.  
  21. Enjoy.
If you're an adult, this will easily cover your torso.  For a kid, it comes down to their thighs.

If I had it to do over again, I might have painted blue pane lines on the windows and gone ahead and cut out the rear windows, too.

Also, I might have tried to put a block of foam in the top of the TARDIS and cut out a small circle.  For his head.  I'm imagining Halloween night will be kind of difficult for him to keep it steady.  I might put something in there before then.

At any rate, I hope you like it.  Maybe some of you more crafty types can make it even better.


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