I promised earlier this week to add some more details on the Thomas costume I made for my Little Guy. So, here it is! Nothing fancy, really, just cardboard and paint. Let’s get started.
Of course, you know I pulled out one of the many diaper boxes I have collected. This is a Target, Up & Up brand club pack sized box. To start I flipped the box over, using the bottom for the top.
Then I used the top to an oatmeal container as a template to mark three circles, along what were the top flaps, to make the wheels.
Next I marked along the top edge of the box where I planned to cut away an opening and create the “cab” portion of the engine.
If you look closely in nearly every picture you will see my Little Guy “helping” through the whole process.
After removing the top portion and creating the opening where my son would stand, I cut down that same piece to use for the front platform of the engine. I also cut down the oatmeal container to use as the rounded part of the tank.
I cut around each wheel and using some leftover cardboard from another project I cut two more wheels for the front platform and to balance the entire look of the costume. I attached everything with blue painter’s tape, as well as, covered all cut edges with tape to create a smooth edge. Brass paper tacks, along with a dab of glue, were used to hold the front wheels to the front platform.
An underside view shows how I added some support to the flaps that create the wheels. I tucked the side flap in at an angle and taped it into place. This was surprisingly strong.
I used the front side flap, flipped out and upwards to help secure and strengthen the front platform piece.
After putting all the pieces together and priming the whole thing, I realized (along with from hints from The Mister) that the tank portion was really just off and out of proportion.
So, before adding color I removed the oatmeal container and added a “Party Pail” ice cream bucket instead. I did trim the upper lip and handle off the pail before taping it into place.
I didn’t toss the oatmeal container, though! I cut away about a third of the side and bottom, then pushed them together to close the gap. I tucked the bottom portion in to create a funnel as I pushed the sides together and then taped the whole thing in place.
Then it was time for the color! Lucky for us we had all the colors in our paint stash.
If you are wondering, I used painter’s tape to make all the lines nice and straight, eyeballing all of it as I went along. Then I went back with a small brush and touched up any bleed-through.
When I got to the wheels and the face my confidence and energy, sort of wilted. A quick Google search later and I found a head-on shot of both the face and the wheels. I was able to enlarge them in Paint.net and print them out on light blue cardstock. A few cuts later and I just glued them into place. The very last edition were the bars or rails that connect the wheels. These were made from strips of cardboard cut to fit the measurements between the center of adjoining wheels. To clean them up I cut a curve at the end of each strip. I covered the edges in painter’s tape, painted them and attached them to the costume using more brass paper tacks. In order to keep the costume on, I cut strips of heavy fabric, folded them in half and sewed them into straps. I made them wide so they would not dig into my son’s shoulders. To attach them to the costume I figured out where they needed to be placed, taped them down and then used heavy floss to stitch straight through the box. If you have a heavy duty needle it will slip through the cardboard like budda’!
And, here we are…a finished Thomas the Tank Engine costume!
The Little Guy loved it and has been playing with it all week. Even with all the abuse over the last few days it is still in one piece and looking pretty decent. I never would have imagined that painter’s tape would hold so well. This is one of those projects that did not take very long, does not require any special skills and had a lot of bang for the buck. Since I owned all the parts it was a virtually free costume, too. Always a bonus!
Hope this helps you make your little engineers very happy next Halloween!