Following the path laid out with last year’s costumes (a jellyfish and Rosie the Riveter;
I’ll repost those as time permits) Lena, with some help from Mom, decided she wanted another DIY costume for Halloween… a Rubik’s Cube (nothing ghoulish this year). Not a hard costume per se, but it was a little tricky to get right. And, of course, we wanted to get it right. So, let’s get to it.
The first thing we had to do was find a square box (all my materials are in bold throughout). I ended up going to Home Depot for a box and a fresh roll of electrical tape. I read that a 16-inch box would work, however, I thought that it would have been too small. If I could do it over I would have gone with the 16-inch box as opposed to the 18-inch one I went with. This would have been a little better fit on Lena. Nonetheless, the 18-inch box that I did use will work for the one night of fun. We also chose five of the six colors of the cube (remember, the bottom is open so you don’t need to cover that one); we decided to forego the white for this project.
This image doesn’t show everything I used. I also ended up using double sided sticky tape (you could use some sort of glue if you had drying time), Gorilla/Duct tape, a razor blade and razor knife, a long straightedge, and patience.
The box I ended up getting wasn’t an exact cube; the best Home Depot could do for me was an 18″ x 18 1/8″ x 16″. Not too bad, and I could definitely work with that. Besides, for 77¢ I wasn’t going to complain. I also got the roll of electrical tape for $1.79.
As noted, the box was only 16″ tall (internally). The fix was to score, with my razor knife, a line across the 18″ mark seen in the photo below. After doing this all the way around I gently bent the box on the score and ended up with a nearly square box. Lucky for us the half-inch thick electrical tape was able to hide some of the flaws (such as that extra 1/8″ on the one side). (Fun fact, my wife started playing Christmas music at about this point).
After cutting it on all four sides I closed up the scored end and used the double-sided tape to secure it leaving the bottom open. I also folded the bottom flaps into the box to make the sides a little sturdier for my daughter walking around during the evening.
I then proceeded to cut out the holes for both arms and the head. I started with a circle (using a lid from the pantry) but ended up making all three holes a little oblong. The head needed to be a little bigger front to back, but not side to side. I didn’t want to remove too much box otherwise I’d run the risk of it moving too much on her shoulders. With regard to the arms, this is where the 16″ box would have been better. You’ll see at the bottom that her arms can’t go straight down because the box is a little too wide. With the thinner box, this would have been a little better for her. Oh-well, no use crying over spilled candy corn. My fix was to cut arm holes a little oblong too. I was going to try an upside-down teardrop which would have been neat looking, but impractical and bothersome to the wearer.
It’s time to mark the box. This isn’t strictly necessary yet, however, I wanted to see where I could best line up the seems for the paper. As opposed to cutting out a bunch of 6″ squares (a pain in the ars I’m sure) I used full sheets for the most part. Drawing out the lines not only allowed me to line up the seams but it also ensured that the lines would match all the way around.
Note the black tic-marks (sharpie) on the edges. I did this so I’d be able to see the ends with the paper on the top. That way I could line up my paper edges for the seam hiding under the tape and I could also just take my straightedge and go end to end without re-measuring.
Next, we’re putting on our colors. I choose to use the two lighter colors, orange and yellow, for the front and back for a little safety (I am, after all, a dad). To hold down the paper I used the double-sided tape. Again, if you have the drying time you could use glue or rubber cement. However, I would also be wary of an uneven surface… the tape is flat and didn’t look weird.
After I got all the seams lined up (the best I could) I went back and drew my lines on all five sides using the black tic-marks I made earlier. This was pretty fast the second time around and probably saved me a lot of time in trying to line the tape up correctly.
Aligning the tape was easy(ish). I found it easier to just start on the bottom of one end and slowly run the tape all-the-way over and down to the other side. A word of caution: be sure to run the tape out only a few inches at a time and apply it. Otherwise, you run the risk of stretching the tape (electrical tape is super stretchy) and when it rebounds it may pull your paper (yes, I did this). Don’t forget all of the edges too.
That looks great, doesn’t it? But of course, we’re going to have to cut those holes out for wear. You have some options here; you could just cut out the material over the holes. I didn’t do that. I sliced it into a star using a fresh razor blade. Whatever you use, be sure it’s uber sharp so you can go through that electrical tape with ease then pull the flaps back into the box. I think this made it look better and held the material down to the box. Again, if you were to use glue this may solve this issue. I taped the pulled flaps first with packing tape then with Gorilla tape to make sure they didn’t come up during trick-or-treating.
After all the flaps were down I used a little bit of packing tape to cover the bottom parts of the armholes and the edge of the neck area. This was more to “seal” it so she wasn’t rubbing the paper and the little cracks in between the paper. And now, time to model it!
Overall it took about 2-3 hours (we have a full house) and I was getting kinda picky on lining up the tape. Lean’s happy with how it turned out… so I’m happy. Hope this was some help to you.
End of the night update: The cube survived the entire night!