This is an in depth look at how the Chesire Cat came to life. I asked Chris for some information on how he put it all together and this is what he wrote me.
“I didn’t keep track of my hours, but I spent at least 30 hours on assembly, plus a lot of time scouring thrift stores for parts. My original design was going to use fuzzy tubular scarves for the arms and legs, but I couldn’t find the right ones. I bought a very large grey sweat suit, but I decided that the head deserved a better body than that, so I covered it with fur. I don’t have pics of the paws, but they are a pair of cheap welding gloves covered in fur, with floor-mat foam claws. I made this costume to wear at a small amusement park near Pittsburgh, PA. I work there, for Halloween and Christmas, as a costumed character. I actually use a lot of old fire equipment in constructing the costumes. Bugsy’s “Poison” tank is a breathing air cylinder concealed in a cardboard housing. He sprays air from a poison wand onto guests- it’s a shock to get a blast of air! The Phantom, the Tree, and Scarecrow use old pack frames as supports.”
Thank you Chris for taking the time to share with me how you made the costume. Please click on the first picture to view in full and also see the descriptions of the process. If you would like to view the other costumes they are here
I started with a hard hat.
Cut rings from 2″ foam insulation board. One sheet can make 3-5 heads.
Glued the rings together, and started shaping with a wood rasp and an orbital sander.
Installed the eyes. They are 4″ plastic Christmas balls that split into 2 halves so you can put things inside. One has 3 green LEDs and one “Flickering Candle” yellow LED that makes the green flicker also. The other has a large, multicolor flashing LED. The eye surfaces are white sheer fabric mounted between the ball halves, with black tape pupils glued on.
Anti-fatigue foam floor mat used for the ear structures. It’s stiff yet flexible, and easy to shape.
Shaping the face.
I covered the top of the head with sheer fabric so the hot glue has a better surface to mount the fur to.
Sheer fabric “Skin”. The mouth is wire “Art Mesh”, used for making plaster or clay armatures, painted white. The fangs are cones of mesh. It is easy to see out through the mesh, but hard to see back in.
Starting to add fur. Grey is Fun Fur, purple is an old rug from Goodwill.
Fully furred head, testing the eyes. I drew the teeth on with a Sharpie.
I removed a section of fur from the head so I could add a black stripe.
Whiskers! The final version has the stripes on all six whiskers.
Fuzzy hat- $1 Goodwill find. The “Frosted” fur makes nice stripes!
First wear in the park! The body is just fur glued to a grey sweatshirt/ sweat pants. The shoe covers are temporary, with fur pinned to the pants and shoes.
New feet! I glued foam to an old pair of Wellies to make the foot shape, then covered the boots with fur.
Stripey! I made a tube tail out of fur, stuffed it with scraps of fur and fabric, and attached the tail to a belt.
I added EL wire to the mouth, so people will know that he’s a Cheshire Cat.
“Most people are Mad here. As you can see, I’m not all there myself!”