It’s that time of year again, when allegedly normal people dress up and pretend to be something else. The options are virtually limitless, bound only by the confines of the imagination. So, I picked tree bark.
Two things inspired me to make this Halloween costume, Miyazaki’s “No Face” character from Spirited Away….
…and the Digital Dudz costume app. As soon as I saw that rolling, creepy eyeball, I knew I had to use it in my costume somehow.
I made the oversized robe from crushed velvet found in the scraps bin at the local fabric store. It’s perfect for that flexible, soft bark look we all want.
The sewing machine always gets the most use during October.
I wanted the robe to sit across my shoulders a little differently from normal. I debated making false shoulders, to match the elongated head, but I think this hunchback works much better and feels more integrated with my body.
Be sure to trim your fingernails when using a sewing machine. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve sewn my huge thumbnails right into one of my projects. Embarrassing!
I left room to grow into it. Let’s just say I enjoy my leftover Halloween candy.
Giant wads of uncooked ramen noodles make a super snack when sewing. You can see my half gnawed ramen nest behind the machine here.
I hemmed every edge, and even folded some of the edges inward to hid the ugly side of the fabric.
The hunch is in full effect.
The cyclops mask came from a desire to combine bewilderment, creepy forest monster, and a pinch of cuteness. I made the base from 1/4″ plywood attached to a face sheild. The sheild mechanism lets me easily lift the mask to eat or talk at one of the hundreds of Halloween parties I intend on crashing.
The Digital Dudz app runs full screen on any iOS or Android device. To enhance the eyeball effect, I mounted a magnifying lens to the mask and position my iPhone about 1″ back from it. This both increased the size of the eye, and added a rounded glassy look to the eye.
I used a bit of hot glue and super thick cardboard to make the iPhone holder. It actually snaps in very securely. Waoahohoho!! That is one sweet walnut back on that iPhone, I wonder where you can get one just like it? Oh, right here!
What is this monster in the workshop?!?
Shazam, it’s actually just me.
The best effect is had when looking straight on at the eyeball.
This will need long, spindley fingers to go with it!
Gluing on the Bark
A costume called “The Lost Woodman” isn’t complete without natural tree bark all over your face (as stated in the costume handbook, page 761).
I’d normally shed a single tear on the plywood and it would spring to life, producting layer upon layer of bark within seconds, but I was a bit dehydrated. Hot glue it is.
Hi, I’m the Lost Woodman, and ProActive Solution worked for me. I used to be more of a Sequoia guy, but thanks to ProActive, I’m a youthful Oak!
Peering out betwixt the the bark.
I bult up a false top of the head to help fill out my hood while wearing the mask. I tried to use the least amount of material possible to reduce the weight, but the mask still weighs quite a bit. I think a v.2 is in order for next year. Perhaps I can laser cut the bark strips from cardboard and brush them with wood stain.
As fun as the mask and robe were to create, my favorite part by far are the stick-finger hands.
I laid everything out on the floor to see what effect having spindly sticks for fingers would have. It looked really cool, but there needed to be a bit more life in the sticks. Some darkening around the tips and clear coat should really help things out.
I always have a jar of walnut stain and mineral spirits mixed up in the workshop. It worked great for dying the gloves and giving the wood fingers some “age” around the base and tips.
I used a glossy polyurethane on the leather and wood. I didn’t anticipate the greasy skin look, but I was very pleased with the outcome.
Even a bark monster need some refreshing juice on a warm day.
I found that most common tasks became more difficult with the extended fingers. The second photo is where I really started to regret filling the gloves with super glue before putting them on. (It has taken me 3 days to type this blog post using my thumbs.)
We went out to the park for a quick photoshoot amongst my brothers, The Trees.
The magnifying glass really made the eye come alive inside the mask.
Yo, I’m a bit thirsty, can I borrow some phloem?
My face is fairly secluded behind the mask. At night, you can’t see me at all.
I went into a nail salon with these bad boys. Oh! The screaming, the throwing of clippers and files, the fainting, the involuntary stress farts…but I made it through to the end.
I will eat so many childr- uh, candies on halloween my belly will be this big!
Hello, profile pic!!
The Lost Woodman Costume Test from Tinkering Monkey on Vimeo.