|Photo nabbed from friends Facebook page|
Better late than never they say! This post has been on the pages since I made this “Up” house costume for a Halloween party (which to be fair was held in November.) So, a month after the party, and nearly two months after the great holiday of costumes and candy; Halloween. Better late than never they say! Apart from some shaky cellphone shots, I didn’t catch much of the party, but it was a huge turnout and everyone came in awesome costumes. I hadn’t known what to expect from a Swedish costume party, especially coming from university in England where every other party has a mandatory “fancy dress” theme, and no one bats an eye when a yellow body painted covered Simpsons clan walks into their local club.
I had some friends over beforehand, Panda, who came all the way from London for a spontaneous weekend, and a couple close friends from our old class; one dressed as generic Halloween attendee and the other in an awesome and glamorous Maleficent costume (with homemade horns!) We had a nice mini-evening with drinks, snacks and inspired by Panda’s Tina Belcher costume we had to watch some Bob’s Burgers. I love hanging out with these guys, it’s just like old times. I had to get my mom to get a photo of us all lined up with our costumes on. Just like when you’re a kid about to go trick-o-treating! Spot the over-achieving lover of crafts and dressing up…and her nice compliant friends. (Oh and FYI Panda was pulling a Tina face, she doesn’t really hate the world)
“Up” House Costume – The DIY Process
- Felt (About 2 A4 sheets x black, yellow peach, brown, green 1 x grey, blue, white, purple)
- Popsicle sticks (pack of 100 or more)
- Pack of colourful waterballons + Balloon Pump
- Pipe cleaner (I went for sparkly ones)
- Glue gun & many glue sticks
- Ribbon x 2 (to attach to house and tie around your chest)
- Figure saw (or something that can cut popsicle sticks)
- Surface to work on (that can handle hot glue and mess)
- Needle and Thread (Optional)
- Sky blue top/Dress (Optional)
- Paper + Printer (optional)
- Pinheaded needle (optional)
So, as you may be able to tell I went for a kind of elaborate costume this year; the house from the movie “Up”. I chose not to make it out of cardboard or to just draw onto a big box as that wouldn’t work at a small house party plus would easily get water damaged. I wanted to make a small fabric house to rest on my shoulder. So with a quick sketch and a head full of vague ideas I headed to a local craft shop for inspiration. I preplanned to use felt as it’s cheap and available in many colours and found a huge pack of popsicles sticks and immediately pictured this tiny house with a wooden frame. I used a glue gun I already had to create the structure and got through nearly a whole bag of glue gun sticks for this project! I also used a figure saw to trim off excess parts of the building.
I drew up a quick sketch, but most of the building was just working from a picture reference, the mirror and what felt comfortable to wear and stable enough to withstand a party. The main structure for the part resting on my shoulder is in the photo above. My arm went through the large hole on the side, and I made sure the make that side of the house’s fabric loose enough to be able to easily slip the house on and off. I lay sticks diagonally to give the structure strength and added extra glue in gaps I found to close it up. Once the house was completed I tied two bits of blue ribbon on the outer sides of the house so I was able to tie myself into it to prevent it from tilting off my shoulder.
I had built the structure with the porch part at a level that was comfortable to have by my neckline, keeping in mind the 3D aspects of the house, such as the curved panelling above the first floor window. I cut the felt by eye in strips, then creating different textures (scalloped or squared) for the roof shingles and paneling on the house. I tried to be accurate with colour and window placement. I applied the felt to the house using the glue gun. By this point my room was covered in popsicle sawdust, felt fibres and curious cat paws.
I frequently tried the house on and used the mirror for reference on how it was turning out. I didn’t have time to create an completely accurate depiction of the side or back of the house, but felt it was fine to compromise on. I did make a silly mistake which I realised too late; my costume was made in mirror image of the original! Luckily no one seemed to notice! The inside is messy and scruffy, especially as I did not have enough time to machine-sew the layers of felt together, i.e. they were glued together. This meant they were not as secure as I would have liked. I solved that by gluing scraps of felt along the back to give better hold.
Water balloons on pipe cleaners created the perfect mini cloud of balloons that lifts the house. I simply pumped them up them halfway and attached them to pipe cleaners which I twirled around an old headband.
I think details make a costume. I made time for seemingly unnecessary things such as the house number, doorknob, curtains in the window, and my favorite; the tiny moving rooster windmill (felt cut and glued onto a pin head) The characters were printed off and cut out, and attached with some glue. Notice the perspective; the staircase and porch are actually three dimensional thanks to the structure inside.
A little look at the three sides of the completed costume. For the dress I hastily hand-sewed on some white felt cut into clouds. I am pleased that I kept this vintage dress actually, it was the perfect Disney sky-blue and helped create the cartoony illusion of the flying house.
This was the most fun costume I have ever worn, and everyone I met had a smile on their face which felt really nice. I won best costume to Zombie Jesus, not sure how that will play out in the afterlife…but it was very flattering! I put in a lot of effort and people seemed shocked that I had made it, but to me it was just a great little project. I like keeping my hands busy to excessive Netflixing and rarely start projects that require you to follow strict instructions. I like to make it up as I go along, and don’t have the patience for measuring. The best part of making this costume was that even if the house was wonky, mirror-imaged and not entirely accurate, it doesn’t take away from the impact it made. In fact I think it makes it a bit quirky and adds to the childish Disney feel.
All I know is that I definitely want to wear a crown of balloons more often!