Okay, okay, I give in! Last year when I put up this Halloween post with pictures of the costume I made for Lotte, I received an insane number of emails asking me how I made it. INSANE number, and in the past month it’s picked up to a few emails a day! A few people even offered to pay me to make one for their kids. I am crazy flattered and so psyched that everyone loves the costume and is reaching out to me, so I decided to revisit it for a second and put up a quick post with some deets.
For those that don’t know or remember, Lotte was a blue macaw from the under-appreciated movie, Rio. We still love that movie, and there is ZERO merchandise available, so I understand the panicked moms reaching out to me when their kid cries out for a Rio costume.
I didn’t take pictures of the process, so I’ll try to explain it the best I can. Bear with me.
Step 1: Buy the materials.
- a blue t-shirt and some leggings (or maybe tights) from American Apparel (or where-ever)
- a ton of felt. Not wool, just cheap craft felt. I chose a few different shades of blue, but make sure you buy enough of 1 color so you have big pieces for the wings. You can order them from here (they’re on sale!).
- a glue gun and sticks, if you want to glue everything OR
- a needle and thread, if you want to sew
- a kid’s cheapo hat. I used a 99cent ladybug helmet from Michael’s. Anything will work.
- newspaper or newsprint
- masking tape
- tin foil
- cardboard plates
- flour + water for paper mache
- scissors. Duh.
- paint + brushes + Sharpies
- Note- I didn’t use those exact measurements. Instead, I held up a big piece of felt between LJ’s shoulder blades and stretched out to her hand. Mark it and cut it. Do the same for the other side. Fiddle with the shape until you’re happy. In that tutorial, they cut out strips of bumpy “feathers”, I did them individually and it took FOREVER. Either works. They sewed the feathers on, I used a hot glue gun and burned the crap out of my hands. Either works. Layer the feathers, starting at the bottom of the wings and moving up. I fastened the wings onto the back of the costume with a few stitches, and made little felt bracelets to attach the wings to her wrists. Play around with it.
- You can leave the shirt plain, and with those killer wings, that would be more than enough! If you want to go all out, though, I did the same thing as I did for the wings. Layer them, starting at the bottom. Again, I used hot glue, but you can sew. You can leave the sleeves on or cut them off: I think I cut them off and layered a turtleneck in case it was cold.
- IMPORTANT! Cut the neck open a little bit wider or they won’t be able to get their head through with all the felt and glue.
- First, cover the entire hat with tin foil. Tape it up. It’s doesn’t have to look pretty.
- Look at that beak? See how it kind of looks like cardboard/paper plates? I fiddled with plates for quite a bit until I was able to cut the right shape and tape them together. Tape the beak onto the hat. Again, it doesn’t have to be pretty, just stable. Tape the shit out of it.
- Those eyes? I balled up some tin foil and taped it on. Seriously. That’s all.
- Now the fun part, if you like getting messy. Here’s a simple paper mache recipe. It’s only flour and water! I would also add a little bit of salt. Rip some newspaper or drawing newsprint into strips. Here is how to paper mache, if you don’t know. DON’T GIVE UP!! IT IS SO, SO EASY. Trust me. I do this with elementary-school students. You can do it. Once it’s all covered, set it someplace to dry.
- Google image some pics of Blue or Jewel and do the best you can. I did the blue first, then the beak, the eyes, etc. Add shading if you’d like. Touch it up with sharpies. Jazz it up with a few feathers if you’d like.
- Chin-strap. You might need to improvise some sort of chin strap because the head will be a teensy bit heavy.