TMNT Shell

As part of my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles group costume, here’s the shells.

Now the shells were a little tricky to start, but once I had a plan it got easier. You’ll need:

  • duct tape
  • large pieces of cardboard
  • hot glue gun
  • spray paint
  • paint
  • paint brushes or sponges
  • utility box knife
  • cutting sheet/board
  • elastic 1″-1.5″
  • tacky glue

Fortunately for me, my fiancé can get very large pieces of cardboard for free, but there are plenty of places that will give you big cardboard boxes for free. Try places that sell large appliances (i.e. fridges, ovens, large car parts). Measure the shell wearer with their arms down from the outside of one arm, across their back, and to the outside of their other arm. Then from their neck to the bottom of their butt. Cut out a rectangle of cardboard and add two-ish inches to your previous measurements. So, my fiancé measured 22″ x 32″ and his piece of cardboard was 25″ x 34″. Keep in mind that my fiancé is 6’6″ so don’t base your measurements off of his. I’m 5’7″ and mine was 22.5″ x 32″. Next make lines about 4″ in around the entire shell rectangle.

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You’ll then want to make lines in the corners, diagonally, where you’re going to cut (as seen above). Then also on each short side directly in the middle. On the long side you’ll need to make two lines evenly spaced out within the 4″ margins, so that 26″ space of the 34″. Cut along those lines. You’ll then need to slightly overlap those cuts so that it causes the shell to bubble a little bit. Duct tape them to keep them where you want them.

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Trim the corners so they’re round. It should look like this now.

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The next step is to begin cutting out the pieces you want to use for the shell decoration. After doing some googling it seemed that hexagons were the way to go. Being more geometric actually made it easier. Now, these aren’t perfect hexagons by any means, but the three middle ones are all the same size.

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I was also able to use the remnants of the hexagons to make the other shapes for the shell.

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I also found that it helped to prearrange the pieces on the cardboard shell to make sure I had enough and that they would all fit together.

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It might even help to do some sort of paint by numbers method, where you trace the piece on to the shell, then number each so you can glue it on later. This helps ensure that you know where your pieces are going, which will reduce any potential mess ups. My fiancé’s shell is getting a scar.

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Once I had everything where I wanted it, it was time to hot glue it all down. I did learn at the painting process that some of the pieces wanted to come loose and had to be reglued down. So extra glue is not a bad thing.

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From that point I knew I didn’t want the cardboard color to be the shell color so I looked up spray paints that appear to have some texture. I discovered Krylon’s Natural Stone spray paint. Pebble looked the most turtle shell-y to me so that’s what I got. I had to use the entire can on just my sized shell, so stock up on your craft store coupons. You can see where some of the pieces have popped up a little.

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After a lot of fretting over the lightness of my shell color I decided to stick with it and paint in the shell plate cracks with a green/black mix to give it a more defined, turtle-y look.

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And don’t worry if the edges get a little sloppy, the imperfect edges make it a little more realistically turtle looking. It only looks iffy up close.

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I found some soft green elastic at Jo-Ann’s to use for the straps to attach the shell to the people. It was fairly easy too. They were attached similarly to backpack straps. I used tacky glue and duct tape to make sure the straps stuck. A good way to find the placement of the straps is to have someone hold the shell for you and just make a dot right under your armpit.

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The straps may be a little finicky to get in and out of, but they’ll stay on and be in the right spot.

The pictures shown are the process of making two different shells, which is why it looks kind of like they don’t match, but it’s the same process for each.

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October 12, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Projects.

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