Sunday, December 22, 2013

Giant Origami Crane Hallowe'en Costume (2013)

For Hallowe'en this year, my girlfriend gave me an awesome idea for a costume: to dress up as a gigantic origami crane.  I immediately fell in love with the idea and began thinking on how I could execute.

We discussed the idea for a bit and initially thought of using fancy printed paper.  However, there were two problems with this approach: large printed sheets are hard to source, and when you find them, they cost about as much as a small island.  Thus, we went to plan B and settled on making a white crane, thereafter to stamp it with a traditional-looking pattern.

I began by purchasing a few sheets of white poster board at my local dollar store, defending them from the cashier who was on his way to folding and creasing them into a small bag.  I then taped a few sheets together, cut the whole thing into a square, and folded a standard crane:

A standard, if slightly large, origami crane.
I made a much smaller model out of regular origami paper and cut it up to figure out how I was going to fit the large-size model around myself.  Then, I cut out the center of the huge crane and started working on creating a coffee stick armature to stiffen the model:

Trying to figure out how to make this thing rigid when there's a gaping hole in the middle.

Why, hello!
Adding bracing on the underside.  You can also see a brace at the base of the wings.
There is a long wooden dowel in the tail.
Another dowel braces the neck.
Top view; you can't see any of the armature.
We then selected a pattern and cut it out.

My girlfriend sculpted it out of a potato as a test:

Finished potato stamp.
I then made a second version of the stamp out of EVA foam:

The two stamps.
We promptly proceeded... not to use the stamps at all due to time constraints.  I did get the wings attached to my wrists using invisible wire though:

Flapping the wings.
A small coffee stick piece was painted white and used as a fishing line anchor inside the wing.
And that, as they say, is that!  Here is a timelapse of the whole process, from raw poster board to finished costume.