Hare Ears

Hare Ears
Project Status: Complete

Click on the links below to jump to the various sections of this design….

 

Intro

The idea is to make some clip-on hare ears for a Mad March Hair costume. They are going to be long and shaped so they are not just the 2D cheap ones you get on a headband!

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Brief & Inspiration

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Time & Money

  Estimated So Far…
Time to Design 5 hrs 3 hrs
Time to Build (Including sourcing/scrounging materials!) 10 hrs 5 hrs
Cost to Build £25 £0

This has cost me much less than this as most of the materials were scrounged or already available. The only thing I have had to buy was the fur to cover the ears (~£5).

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Preliminary Sketches & Development

As I want to make them quite large but not uncomfortable to wear I don’t want to use oven drying clay (like Fimo). I’ve previously made some twisted goats horns from clay but they are slightly uncomfortable to wear as they are too heavy.

My initial idea is to make a wire frame and then cover it in a few layers of paper-mache before covering them in fur. I don’t see any issues with this although I will have to coat the paper-mache with a water-proof PVA to weatherproof them.

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Review So Far!

The main difficulty I see coming up is how to attach them to your/my head! There are a few options to consider:

  • Hat
  • Headband (elasticated circle style!)
  • Clips
  • Alice Band

I’m going to try and go with clips as the first option and alice band as the backup option as I don’t want it to be obvious how they are attached.

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Construction Notes

The first step was to make the basic shape out of wire (the lighter the better but still has to be fairly sturdy).

Wire and masking tape.
Wire and masking tape stage.

Then wrap this basic shape in masking tape. At this point it will still be quite angular and not rounded off, don’t worry about that… each layer added makes it smoother and the fur should hide a multitude of sins!

Once you have this shape to your liking you can move on to the next stage, there will only be limited changes once you have covered it in paper mache.

 
Paper mache
Paper mache

The mix that I used was one part flour to one part water with a sprinkle of salt. It was a recipie that I grabbed from the internet somewhere but it worked first time for me so I’m sticking with it. The idea for those who haven’t used it before is to mix it all together and then dip strips of newspaper into the mix scraping off any excess mix and then laying the paper onto you blank, in this case our wire and masking tape hare ear.

 
Supporting the blank while applying the paper mache.
Supporting the blank while applying the paper mache.

One tip I do have is that it make life easier to suspend the blank from something while you are applying the paper mache as you are going to run out of hands and its not a shape that will stand up on its own.

This allows you to cover everything except for the tip of the ear, which you can come back to once the rest of it has dried. I had intended to do several layers and allow it to dry between layers but after one layer of paper mache it seemed tough enough to go without extra layers and I was conscious of keeping the weight down as well.

 
Fur is on!
Fur is on!

The next step is to get the fur on! I was aiming to just have one seam on the fur down the middle of the ear at the front so the seam is in the hollow of the ear. The longer the length of the fur the more forgiving it is with hiding mistakes. I just started glueing from the from the center of the ear and rolled the fur around the ear gluing as I went but leaving the tricky bits like the bottom and the crooked tip until the end. I left the tricky bits until the end as it is much easier to do once you have cut away any excess fabric and it isn’t flapping around in your way.

 
Fur on both!
Fur on both!

After a few experiments with clips for the ares they turned out to be just too heavy and large for the clips to deal with so they had to be sewn onto a band instead. The band was just two layers of fabirc with some interfacing to stiffen it up a little.

 
 

Final Review & Improvements

Hare Ears
Hare Ears

The ears were pretty good when finished but as normal I had over engineered tham and they were too heavy! The tail that I added last minute was far simpler. For the tail I just created a very simple wire frame and wrapped the fur around it sewing it in place on the back and adding a belt loop.

To improve these ears I would either remake them in the same way that I made the tail or add an additional support running from between the ears to the back of neck. I have already been asked for a smaller version of these so when I get chance I will make another pair and upload the results.

Claws

Project Status: Under Construction

Click on the links below to jump to the various sections of this design….

 

Intro

These are not just stick-on fingernails, oh no they are far more than that. They are articulated extensions with realistic movement and and least some lifting capability! As usual it is the mechanics and movement that I am interested in and haven’t really considered the covering once it works, maybe robotic, fleshy or a combination but it would really depend on the rest of the costume in use.

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Brief & Inspiration

The look I am thinking of is very similar to the design of the hand at the start of the first video shown below and then there are some more showing possible mechanisms in greater detail.

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Time & Money

  Estimated So Far…
Time to Design 15 hrs 1 hrs
Time to Build (Including sourcing/scrounging materials!) 20 hrs 0 hrs
Cost to Build £50 £0

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Preliminary Sketches & Development

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Review So Far!

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Wings v1

Project Status: Backlog

Click on the links below to jump to the various sections of this design….

Intro

The idea behind this was to create a set of mechanically articulated wings. They should be powered either by mechanics, pnumatics or hydralyics. Its the actual maechanics that I’m really interested in and have in mind a finshed product that is either styalised stem/cyber punk or devil/dragon wings. I have a feeling that I will simply build two sets once I have the mechanics working neatly and simply. There are several versions around that are controlled by moving the upper arms but these have never appealed to me!

Time & Money

 EstimatedSo Far…
Time to Design30 hrs 
Time to Build (Including sourcing/scrounging materials!)3 Months0 hrs
Cost to Build£300£0

Initial Thoughts

This was my first ever prototype in cardboard and string that I have carried tucked away for about 12 years!

This is my recent full-scale mock-up using Correx (for-sale-signs) and 6m bolt and wingnuts.

I think that I want to make two sets of wings – a futuristic angel set of wing with metallic feathers and a set of leathery devil / bat wings.

Having watched lots of videos I think that I want to run these on linear actuators (electric pistons… kind of) as I’m much happier with electrics than trying to work out some pneumatic or hydraulic systems. The linear actuators are a better bet than servos as well as they don’t tack power to hold something in position so the battery packs should last a lot longer.

Component Ideas

12v Linear Actuator

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000849922418.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.21a13c00d0an4l&mp=1

Aluminium Box Section

https://www.aluminiumwarehouse.co.uk/

A waist strap with an aircraft buckle would look cool

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Universal-Aircraft-Buckle-Extender-Safty-Seat-Belt-Black-Airplane-Seat-Belt-ON3/392856297831?hash=item5b780f6167:g:Ak0AAOSwGx1ZznFa

Aluminium blinds to make feathers

https://www.argos.co.uk/product/9174157

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pvc-Venetian-Window-Blind-Blinds-In-Black-Cream-White-Silver-Teak-And-Natural/201460865399?var=500640807953&_trkparms=ispr%3D1&hash=item2ee800d977:g:Hc0AAOSwWCFbwySV&amdata=enc%3AAQAFAAACYBaobrjLl8XobRIiIML1V4Imu%252Fn%252BzU5L90Z278x5ickkrmmq8hWevtuKE7%252F%252BLfVXth2TaazDnw%252BeJHOHfkoO1aov6BairgSVSk0voFLu64YXB6WG1u0RJ4oOUTk50NFXZWuwkhJAp3cy0N19ARTwGTBvtX%252BjHdIbFa4z%252ByNnP62jk6XZhH%252BoTZ1Ksgzn9GW14I099m5AmKhB%252F%252FNlMPvclJ4ZcF1uTwEU3QLpPHGNMyQv1bmOH9WWhTo7mcfGcVNDb%252BvBzCafJ7yolP0l%252B1BHvnDgVHrqPoC5fdgd%252FPhP6CExcW2jfedmFu%252F6I5Awtj565d9rFILsRg%252Bs%252BdgjDtUUAthGFak5hpWdqf%252BmYYDk9%252Fx9Es6AhfMBozfvILhceSBJEM2LszUjcFqyldg5vLHP6JLL%252F52Ld8CmWoQIk2iiYQdAiXCyg8%252B7n6Zgr4T9QaxD%252FUegOvEzQUKqs55ASTrMHozn4JzAX76AGbiokFhSvBAwJTTkhC%252BylEq077Zkuw4r3C4yOII86D8uRjj361prsTQokskHz1n0h5daDihwdryylHEnhtQaYS73wmMK3Zuc8kK1woRCMcVWtxkafQd%252Fqie93sSUP6iAMCzcztE8mbHDNIIiVsVVSNeGvJFyUtBeHDcCpjdu0ts5KfalcbmQeQN80G0B6QJBkf7HsEnuZvKsN7hvWtBrlCphbAGPRiq4Vq3mivxouYZsU3tDt1Mk%252FNnwjxOzdxsDjZT6y4wDB9JtgJbHqQZ654IFdxrDNuO05Z7K%252BX7PKzYWFzLzArSoH6ehy%252BPV%252FimP9YLmJw8ISIsF%7Ccksum%3A201460865399e1aedc5e098e490bb93cc95088e0389d%7Campid%3APL_CLK%7Cclp%3A2334524

Sci Fi Collar

Project Status: Backlog

Intro

The Sci Fi Collar is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while! A long futuristic looking collar / facemask / neck-piece.

Click on the links below to jump to the various sections of this design….

 

Brief & Inspiration

No brief for this one as its just something that has been in the back of my mind for a while. But I have been ispired by some artwork done by Bluefley.

http://shadowness.com/Bluefley/-first-snow-
http://bluefley.cgsociety.org/gallery/434879/

First Snow by Bluefley
First Snow by Bluefley

I like the idea of the large hood and the solid collar piece with the lighting on it which would be easy enough to do. I would just need to embed some LED’s into the collar. There could be a variety of functions built into the collar such as uplights for the face, red LED running lights as in the artwork above and front facing flood lights for use at night.

It would be nice to have a control panel for the lighting built either into the sleeve of a coat or onto a wrist piece. The control themselves sould also be illuminating creating a glow from the wrist unit. A variable control for dimming the front spots and a pulsing heartbeat LED should also be on the wrist unit.

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Time & Money

  Estimated So Far…
Time to Design 15 hrs 1 hrs
Time to Build
(Including sourcing/scrounging materials!)
20 hrs 0 hrs
Cost to Build £100 £0

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Preliminary Sketches & Development

Basic ideas at this point are to have the collar in two seperate parts; Collar and Controls. The collar is going to need controls for the various lighting options and these control could either be wrist mounted or hip/holster mounted. In either case there would need to be power and control leads from the control unit to the collar.

Either configuration could feature extra lights and dials on the Control Unit. The wrist controls could feature a torch inline with the wrist. A hip/holster control unit could feature extra storage to be used as a pocket.

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Review So Far!

At the moment I am leaning towards having the hip/holster Control Unit as oppose to the wrist version.

I am still torn between having a futuristic sci-fi industrial look or a steam-punk look. I can go ahead and build the electronics anyway and see how the costume evolves.

I still have to decide how best to build the collar – foam / latex / fibreglass / vacuum molded plastic…. etc!

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So this whole thing is totally achievable in foam. I’ve been watching a lot more tutorials and this one for example basically covers all of the techniques…

Fire ‘Obby ‘Orse

Project Status: Complete

Intro

Right then this is a request to design and come up with an ‘Obby ‘Orse fire costume for use by one of the UK Burners groups at this years burning man! [Edit: this was a good few years ago.]

Click on the links below to jump to the various sections of this design….

 

Brief

To come up with an ‘Obby ‘Orse costume to be built and tested in the UK and then shipped / flown to Black Rock City!

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Time & Money

  Estimated So Far…
Time to Design 10 hrs 6 hrs
Time to Build
(Including sourcing/scrounging materials!)
20 hrs 0 hrs
Cost to Build £60 £0

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Preliminary Sketches

Horse and Fire Skirt!

My first idea was to have a belt with attached firey tail and a horses head! The horses head would hinge at the point it connects to the belt and the head could be controlled using the reins which would be stiff rods as oppose to flexible material. This design would be rounded off with a fire skirt and sword (or whip!).

 
Hoof Boot Covers

One thing that may be used with any of the following designs would be Horse Feet / Hooves! This is a fairly simple one to do as its just a boot cover with a metal strip around the bottom for the horse-shoe. It would be nice if the fabric for the covers were white at the bottom fading into black or some other suitably horsey colour! I was thinking of black as it would be easy to clothe the rest of the person in black.

 
Backpack ‘Obby ‘Orse

This version is an overhead puppet based around a back pack frame. The horse itself is moveable and controlled by the vertical rod in front of the wearer, the horse itself pivots on the backback mounted pole. This version could feature a fire mane and tail and be rounded off by the Hoof Boot Covers.

 
Maximum / Minimum Angles

One extra thing that would need to be added to the backpack mounted version would be chocks or blocks to prevent the horse swinging to far forward or backward (noted in this image by angles A and B).

 
Horse Costume

This version is not one of my favourites but included here as an option. The ‘riders’ legs are actually the back legs of the horse and there are a pair of small fake legs to make it look as though he/she is riding the horse. The rigid bridle allows the rider to control the horses head and body. Links at the knees make the horses front legs walk in time with the rear legs. I feel that this costume would be too flamable and would not pack down to allow easy shipping but is included here as an option.

 
Two Person Backpack Varient

This is a two person varient of the Backpack ‘Obby ‘Orse. In this version there are two backpack frames with the front person controlling the head and the back person controlling the tail. This would give the horse four legs! One extra thing that could be done would be that the person controlling the tail could lift the head controller allowing the horse to rear-up and lift its front hooves! This version could again feature a fire mane and tail.

 
A Slightly More Traditional Hobby Horse

This would be a slightly more traditional hobby horse in that it is basically a ride on stick with a horses head. A couple of slight additions would be the additional bar holding the seat (a bicycle seat) and the flaming tail. This version could again feature a flaming mane.

 

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Review So Far!

At this point without further input I have two favourites – the Two Person Backpack Variant and the Slightly More Traditional Hobby Horse. Without further input from the end users / clients though its hard to know which factors weigh more heavily. Should the prop be ultra portable, light and simple or is visual effect and impact a greater consideration?

After going over the options with the client we have settled on the one man backpack version. This will collapse down to a quiet compact set up as well as being a larger statement. Another bonus of this design is that a lot of the components can be recycled down to the other models in case there is a major flaw.

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Design Sketches

Basic Design Ideas
Basic Design Ideas

There are three main points in this sketch;
A – The pivot points that must be allowed to freely rotate.
B – The handle(s).
C – The point where the horse attaches to the backpack frame.

In the sketch there are A1 and A2 designs showing two options for the pivot points. I believe that this needs a little more refinement as A1 does not feel like it would work and A2 seems to be over engineered. The whole idea of this is that it is as simple as possible.

 
Pivot Point Design
Pivot Point Design

This is A3, the third itteration of the pivot point design.

A – Bolt
B – Washer
C – Tube (bolt goes through the tube!)
D – Spine of the horse
E – Vertical support pole
F – Nut

All of the nuts shown in these sketches will probably end up being wing nuts so that less tools are required during assembly.

The main points left to cover are:

  • Attaching the head to the spine.
  • Attaching the wick to the head and tail.
  • Making the support pole and spine breakdown into smaller poles.

Before covering these last points I think it is worth making a mock up of the horse so far to test the weights and ease of use. I will have to do this without drilling the holes for the pivot points as the balance point will shift as the final points are resolved and I want the balance to be easy to use. Lots of gaffer – the temporary solution while I test things out!

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Construction Notes

It turned out pretty well and didn’t deviate from the designs really. Nearly all of the horse packed down into the rucksack the shoulder frame is based around which worked well.

I did do a couple of unlit practises with it to figure out how long I could get away with the tail being before it got close to the operator when they span round!

In the end I abandoned the idea of the chocks or stops to prevent the amount of travel or rotation of the horse. I was falling into my usual trap of over engineering everything. Must remember my motto… “Keep it simple, get it done!”

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Further Reading

http://www.ancientmusic.co.uk/mast_article.html

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