Wilde for Halloween

If you remember, I talked Robert into dressing as Han Solo last November, when Star Wars: The Force came out. That costume was a joint project, as I worked on getting together the “soft” elements (i.e., clothing and some accessories), and he focused on the blaster.

The Sunday before Halloween, while we were out getting pumpkins, I told him I had considered making him a Nick Wilde costume for Halloween this year. He admitted that it would have been perfect for wearing to work – it wouldn’t be too over the top to keep him from getting things done, and would be fun to wear. Realizing he was up for it, I got to work. We ran into A.C. Moore, and I picked up what I needed to make the costume:

  • brown and orange felt
  • yarn in burnt orange, brick, and grayish brown
  • RIT dye in apple green
  • acrylic paint in two different shades of green
  • fabric medium, to add to acrylic paint
  • fern leaf stencil
  • red craft foam
  • wooden craft sticks

The red craft foam and wooden craft sticks were to make the pawpsicle that Nick makes and sells in the movie. I feel I should point out…it was Robert’s idea to make it. He pulled up a picture of the pawpsicle on his phone and sketched out the dimensions and details on a piece of paper. Using that as a template, he cut out six pieces of the general treat shape and enough pieces to make two of the pawprints. Everything then got stacked and glued together, with a wooden craft stick sandwiched between the center layers. Even though the paw print only exists on one side of the actual pawpsicle in the film, Robert put one on each side of his prop – this way, it doesn’t matter which way you hold it.

Building the tail

Building the tail

While Robert worked on his prop, I got started with the tail and ears. I used this tutorial as a starting point. My starting braid was a bit thicker than the one in the picture appears to be, but I don’t think that’s actually a problem. I worked up the tail, combining three colors of yarn into each bundle to get “fur” that looked more realistic in color.

I am not 100% happy with the tail, at this moment. I think it needs more work and more layers, and I foresee either going back to fix this, or making an altogether new one.

Brushing out the tail

Brushing out the tail

When you brush the yarn, you end up with a lot of fuzz and frizz – it actually reminds me of carded wool before I spin it. I saved all the pieces that came off, for use with the ears.

For the ears, I twisted some pipe-cleaners together and  formed the framework for the fox ears (I checked in with Robert on what size he wanted them to be). Then I cut out vaguely fox ear-shaped pieces from the orange felt, and needle-felted the “waste” from the fox tail onto both sides. Instead of stitching the felt around the pipe cleaner framework, I wrapped the edges around the pipe cleaners and needle-felted those together as well. I didn’t have a headband for the ears, and the barrettes for Robert’s cat ears last year didn’t quite work out the way I wanted them to, so I set the ears aside for him to deal with the next day.

Since we were working on a short deadline, we didn’t have a lot of time to go out to source the materials for Robert’s costume (besides the supplies we picked up at the craft store). I figured we would have a shirt that would work for Nick’s shirt – at the very least, there had to be a white shirt we could dye. Hence, the apple green fabric dye. Mom looked in Andrew’s closet to see if there were any worn out shirts there we could use. She found a white, long-sleeved button-down that could work (lest you think we were stealing Andrew’s good shirts, there was a significant stain on the pocket, and he probably would have tossed it), but the tag didn’t say what the fiber content was. I was worried that the shirt would be polyester, which wouldn’t take the dye, so I went downstairs to see if there were any other shirts we could use.

20161031_011720In one of the closets downstairs, I found Mom’s old Webloes den leader shirt, from when Andrew was in Boy Scouts. It was a light yellow, which didn’t really matter. More importantly, it was only 65% polyester. The remaining 35% was cotton – which meant it should take at least some of the dye. I handed the shirt off to Mom, who worked on removing the old patches. When she was done, Robert took it downstairs to experiment with the dye bath. The end product was a pretty good match in color. Even the buttons took the color! After a quick trip through the dryer, the shirt was ready for stenciling. Robert blended the green acrylic paint and the fabric medium, and got to work stenciling ferns on the shirt.

Stenciling Nick's shirt

Stenciling Nick’s shirt

That’s right, folks. Not only did he make the prop pawpsicle for his costume, he hand-dyed and hand-stenciled designs on it, to make it a better match (This is the point where we all start chanting “One of us! One of us!”). The shirt isn’t an exact match, but it will do for now, until I can find one that has the same type of palm leaf print.

To finish off the costume, Mom searched through Dad’s old ties and found one that is near perfect. I mean…see for yourself.

My costume was pretty easy to pull together, as well. I went with the “farmer Judy Hopps” version, since it required less work than the Officer Judy Hopps one. I had a pair of jeans that would work and picked up a pink plaid shirt at Kmart after work on Halloween (it is now one of maybe three pink items of clothing that I own). I made some quick bunny ears and a tail out of gray felt, combing out some pink yarn to make some roving to felt onto the gray pieces, for the inside of the ears. I also took some white wool roving I had sitting around and needle-felted it on one side of the tail. I had a great woven sun hat that I could use for Judy (part of my regular gardening ensemble), and I was able to pin the ears to the inside hatband, allowing them to hang down easily. I pinned the tail to the back of my jeans using three safety pins, and I was ready to go! (Though, I feel like I need to make the pen for later use)

We went to Krispy Kreme on Halloween, as they had been advertising a glow-in-the-dark donut hole bucket that Robert had his eye on. If you showed up in costume, you got a free donut, which is always a good deal. Robert was sad that no one had recognized his costume all day at work, but there was a kid at Krispy Kreme who knew who we were. Robert heard him call out “Zootopia!” when we were waiting in line.

It’s always nice when someone recognizes what your costume is from.

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