Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Halloween Group Costume

imageThis year for Halloween my fiancé, his cousin, her husband and I have decided to go with a group Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume. My fiancé will be the group leader Leonardo, I’ll be the goofy Michelangelo, our cousin will be the nerdy Donatello, and her husband will be the hot tempered Raphael. Now because the boys aren’t too crafty and she’s still in college I’ve offered to make all do the costumes. This will also help with the continuity between characters. I’ve been basing our costumes off of this cartoon, rather than the live movies. Also, because it’s pretty badass.

I have created a separate post for each element if you’d rather see a specific or shorter post. It’s the exact same content per section.

As a bonus, there’s also a short post on how I made a Splinter costume for my dog.

The Chest Muscles

The chest pieces were actually much easier than expected. For them I used:

  • 2mm 18″ x 12″ foam sheets in two shades of brown/tan
  • scissors
  • basic Elmer’s glue
  • Brown duct tape

For the girls chest plates I had to tape two foam sheets (four for the boys as shown) together long ways and sketched out the chest shape. After doing this with one color it’s easier to just trace it over to the other. The picture shown was a stencil of my size chest plate on a boy sized sheet.


Once you have the lighter and darker pieces cut out you can decide where you want your muscles. Them, cut up the lighter pieces and trim the edges up just a tiny bit so that when you lay it back down on the darker brown that you can see it around the edges. Then glue it on.


I gave one of them a scar.


This is my mini mock up, but it’s what the big ones look like too, minus the foam belt.


Be sure to store the chest pieces flat otherwise they could warp. I taped mine to the back of my closet door because then it’d be flat and out of the way.


The Masks

The masks weren’t hard, but they were fairly time consuming. For them you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • tacky glue
  • 2mm foam sheets – I found a pack of foam sheet masks and used them as my model
  • fabric – I found plain t-shirts on sale in each color for $3 at Michael’s

The first step was to take the pre-made masks and adjust them to better fit normal faces. This meant to turn them upside down from what they’re supposed to be and cut some more room out for the nose.


Next I cut off a strip of fabric wider than the mask off of the bottom of the t-shirt. Then, because it’s in a ring, cut it so it becomes just a strip. Next step is to smother one side of the foam mask with glue and stick the fabric to it. Then fold over the edges of the fabric and glue them down. You may have to do some trimming. Do the same with the eyes. To avoid having potentially scratchy and irritating fabric and glue on faces I decided to glue down another trimmed up foam sheet mask to the face side of the mask.


While the glue is drying I found it helps to keep the mask on your face to keep that rounded shape. But be sure to wipe any excess glue off before you put it on your face.



Sorry I didn’t take more how to pictures of this along the way.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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. And learn from my mistakes, if you do go with the outline and number system that I did, don’t use a sharpie because it takes more paint to cover that up. Just use a normal pen or pencil.


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.


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.


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.




The Weapons

The weapons were probably the easiest part of this entire costume/project.

You’ll need:

  • fabric in red, orange, purple, and blue
  • tacky glue
  • dowel rod
  • 2 nunchucks
  • 2 sais
  • 2 katanas

I didn’t take many pictures along the way, but it’s all pretty easy. I found the dowel rod at Home Depot for $4 then the nunchucks, sais, and katanas on Amazon all for pretty cheap. As a heads up though, when you order your weapons online make sure it actually comes with two. Most will show two in the picture, but it’s actually only selling one.

You’ll start by figuring out where you want your fabric, which is usually where you will be holding the weapon. Cut a strip of your colored fabric, I used leftovers from the masks, and begin to tacky glue it to the weapon. It’ll look messy at first, but once the glue dries it will look fine.


Once you’re all done with gluing on your fabric strips let the glue dry over night. Then, enjoy!


I would’ve liked to have wrapped the entire nunchuck handles in the orange fabric, but I didn’t have enough. If you plan accordingly you can do that. Also, I know the sais and katanas are supposed to be more silver, but we were going for cheap but still gets the point across. If you’re feeling it you could always paint them more silver, and stain the dowel rod darker, and paint the nunchucks brown.


The Elbow and Knee Pads and the Belts

The elbow and knee pads are made exactly the same way, just different sizes. And I’ve included the belts in this section, because it wasn’t enough work to get it’s own section.

You’ll need:

  • scissors
  • sewing machine (or needle and thread)
  • 1.5″ elastic
  • 3/4″ elastic
  • brown leathery looking fabric – 2 yds
  • plain brown fabric
  • cheap stuffing
  • a ruler or some type of measurement device

I purchased two yards of a faux leather looking fabric to use for the elbow and knee pads and the belts. I started by cutting out the belts, which were the full 2 yards in length and 4″ in width. This way they’re thick enough to be significant, but thin enough to tie in a knot. I cut out six just in case there were some belts that weren’t long enough, then I could just sew two together. And also because Leonardo has a strap that goes over his shoulder along with the one around his waist.


Next, for the elbow and knee pads. These were made almost exactly the same way so the pictures are interchangeable. There is one difference that I will mention shortly.

I measured my fiancé’s knees and elbows and mine and decided on a happy medium, because I was trying to mass produce these so they were going to be the same size for everyone. I decided on 5″x6″ for the knees and 3″x4″ for the elbows. I even made templates out of cardboard to help me cut out the right size fabric. Although I didn’t have that much extra around the edges when I cut mine out.


Because I made the costumes for all four of us, I cut out 8 pieces of both the leather and plain brown fabric each for the elbows and knees. The next steps was to match them up and sew up the long sides.



I then opened up one of the shorter sides and inserted the elastic about 1/3″ in and sewed up that side. I used 11″ of 1.5″ elastic for the knee pads and 8″ of 3/4″ elastic for the elbow pads. I found both at Walmart.



I then stuffed it, but not so it would be too full, just to give it some dimension. Then I inserted the other end of the elastic in to the open side and sewed that up as well.



There is where I ended with the elbow pads. Although I would’ve liked to add the accent lines, my sewing machine couldn’t handle it so I called it good.


For the knee pads I wanted to add the accent lines so that it would look like there were three sections like my example picture up top. To do this I simply sewed across the top of the knee pads I had just made. Keep the good side up when you sew because stuff will pop out a little on the side that’s on the bottom. It’s normal, just not so attractive on the good side.





When you sew these lines across the top keep in mind that I am not a perfectionist. The padding wasn’t all the way in the corners so some of them are a little flatter. And because the pads are stuffed it made it a little trickier to sew in straight lines. If you are a perfectionist, I’m sure you will find a way to make everything symmetrical, but it’s not the easiest thing and I just wasn’t worried about it.


Our party isn’t until tomorrow, but here’s my finished Mikey costume. Check back on Sunday for group pictures and full costume shots.



October 31, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Projects, Stories. 1 comment.

TMNT Splinter Dog Costume

imagesAs a bonus to my series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle group costume posts, here’s how I made my dog, Lilo, a Splinter robe shirt.

I didn’t take a ton of pictures along the way simply because I was making it up as I went along so I didn’t know if it would actually work or not.

You’ll need:

  • scissors
  • sewing machine, or a needle and thread
  • brown or burgundy fabric
  • brown or burgundy faux leather fabric
  • a measuring tape
  • a cooperative dog

My first step was to measure out my dog. Make sure when you do this that they are sitting or standing. My dog measures different when she’s on her back for belly rubs because she’s more stretched out. Here’s where all you’ll need to measure:

  • around the chest
  • around the neck
  • collar to belly (shorter than back so they don’t pee on it)
  • collar to back
  • width of front legs
  • distance between front legs
  • front legs to collar

So now your first step is to cut out a chunk of your fabric. Mine was left over from making the knee and elbow pads. Make sure that this piece is longer than your around the chest length, because you want it to wrap around. Lilo was about 17″ around, but her robe is about 22″ at the longest point. I then measured three inches shorter than the 10″ of her collar to back so that she would definitely not pee on it. I used a little bit of an angle, then sewed the hem at the top and bottom.


My next step was the arm holes. I actually didn’t use measurements for this part. I just held it up to Lilo and used a Sharpie to make dots where her arms needed holes. I then made 2″ diagonal cuts where each arm needed to go, which would create a square when pulling back the newly created flaps. Then I sewed a hem around that.


Next I sewed at an angle along the top to create a new hem. This is what will give the top that robe like appearance. I also discovered that when I put it on Lilo the collar area was much too large, so I created two little pleats in it so that it was sit closer to her neck.


Finally, I used a strip of faux leather fabric, also leftover from the knee and elbow pads, to make the belt. I sewed it along the shorter part of the belly, but nowhere else, so that it could be tied and so that the shirt could wrap around without any hang ups.


Here’s the final product on Lilo.


This whole project took only about an hour, maybe an hour and a half but only because I had to keep trying to catch Lilo to see if I was on the right track. She spent the rest of the evening avoiding me in fear of me swaddling her in something else. I decided against attaching some sort of stick for Splinter’s cane because Lilo would probably destroy the whole costume trying to get the stick off.

Again, I’m sorry for not taking more pictures along the way. On the bright side, I made this up as I went along so I’m sure you can do it with my mediocre instructions and your own ingenuity.


October 20, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Projects. Leave a comment.

Evil Dr. Vacuum

Dr. Vacuum is the evil mechanical menace that Sneakers tries to defeat for us. He does a pretty good job at fighting him off. He waits, then he attacks!

November 6, 2011. Tags: , , , . Stories. Leave a comment.

Oddly Timed Pictures of My Dog, Sneakers

November 4, 2011. Tags: , , , . Just Talking. Leave a comment.

A Dog, Six Birds and Four Fish

Throughout my life I have had a few pets. If you add them all together I’ve had 11 different pets.

The first was Sweetie. He was a parakeet that we had when I still lived in Utah. This was way back before my sister was even born. My dad found him outside of a super market and brought him home. He would play around on my fingers and like to fly on top of a painting we had to poop on the frame. I can’t remember why we got rid of him, but we gave him to someone else that could take care of him.

The rest of the pets came in once we moved in to our house in Saginaw. I won three fish at my elementary school’s fun fair. One of them was eaten right away and I was left with the biggest and the smallest one. The little one died after a month, but the bigger one lasted a year. It died when we went out of town for a week and the neighbors replaced it for me. Then I went out of town again with my dad and it died in my moms care and she didn’t replace it.

Sneakers was our next pet. He’s my fluffy baby boy. We got him in April of 2002 and he’s been sleeping on our couches since. In fact, that’s exactly what he’s doing right now.

Next we bought two more parakeets. One that looked just like Sweetie and a blue one. One was mine and one was my sisters, although I can’t remember which was which. We named them Tiger and Charlie. They were nice birds. One got stuck behind our bookcase at one point, but mom saved him with some climbing rope. Then one day they died. We’re not quite sure what killed them, we think the food, but we came home one day and they were both dead. We decided to put them in a shoe box and buried them in the back yard. We even marked their grave with a big rock.

After Tiger and Charlie died I didn’t want any more birds. Mom did. She went out and bought three finches. My gosh those birds were annoying. They never ever shut up. They were cute, but I didn’t want them and Lily didn’t seem to care either way. I eventually talked my mom in to taking them back to the store. Who would have guessed you can return a bird.

Most recently, in May of last year, Joe and I decided we wanted some fish babies. So we asked Joe’s sister’s boyfriend, a fish aficionado, about what kind of fish is easy to take care of. We decided on the rosy barb. They like to hid behind their log and dance in the corner of the tank.

I’m sure that in the future there will be more pets, but ask of now, there is only Sneakers, Bingo, and Mr. Bubbles and I’m okay with that.

March 13, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Just Talking, Stories. Leave a comment.

How to Keep a Puppy Warm

We’ve always had to make sure Sneakers was groomed because my mom is allergic to him. He got incredibly furry because we were afraid to take him anywhere to have him groomed after the paralysis incident. A few days ago mom finally took him somewhere to get a hair cut. He came back completely buzz cut with the only hair on him being a poof on the bottom half of his tail. His hair was so short that he looked pink from being able to see his skin.

This morning I had a message from my mom saying Sneakers had been shivering. When I went to let him outside he wouldn’t go. He just stood in front of the door wanting to be let inside. So I thought, “I put on a sweatshirt when I’m cold, why can’t Sneakers?” I have a bunch of scrap yearn and a lot that tends to match. I googled dog sweater patterns and couldn’t find any that I liked so I decided to wing it. It’s worked for me and various crafts in the past (like my Marge Halloween dress). So I went for it. I made the collar so it could just slide over his neck. The back cover was one big piece. Because I’m not skilled enough to make arm holes for a one piece sweater so I made a wide strap for his chest and to keep the back piece in place.

That strap gave me some trouble. I ended up having to make two. The first one was far too long. I could have made it work, but it would have covered most of the green stripe. Mom felt those stripes were too pretty to cover up. I thought so too so I started again. I made a shorter one that tapered off on one side. I even made my very first knit button hole. That took a few tries too. Button holes are a pain in the butt, just in case you were wondering. When I finally found the box of buttons after tearing through the basement and every closet in the house my mom helped me pick out one that we thought matched.

Once the sweater was done he was very comfortable in it. He begged for food from me and has been sleeping in it since. Overall I think he’s a very happy boy about it.

March 11, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Projects. Leave a comment.

Mr. Sneakers

Sneakers is our baby. We’ve had him since he was four months old so he’s grown up with us and we’ve grown up with him. He loves his squeaky toys, specifically the squeaky carrot, he loves to beg, and he loves to jump. Unfortunately, he loves to jump.

Sneakers is a bichon frise, shih tzu and yorkie mix so he’s little a furry. He also has an underbite and sits with his front paws facing out. As he got a little older we noticed that he had an unusually long back. We’re not sure which breed he got it from, but he has it. This has given him some problems in the past. It used to be just that he would whimper when jumping off of the couch and not being able to jump on anything.

Then at the end of last November he had some more severe pain. He couldn’t jump or even go up one step. It even hurt him to walk because he was having problems with his back legs. He went to the vet where we learned he has a slipped disk. The drugs that the vet gave him didn’t do anything but stop the pain. Then mom decided to try something new. She took him to an acupuncturist and when he came home mom set down the basket he’d been in and he hoped right out. We were amazed how much it helped him.

Two days ago his back started hurting again. He would still walk around but he preferred lying on his big red pillow. Then yesterday my mom noticed that he wasn’t going to the bathroom or eating, which we know is a bad sign. Then we noticed that he couldn’t even move his back legs. Mom took him to the emergency vet last night. They squeezed his toes and noticed that he couldn’t feel it. They tried it again with a forceps and he could feel it.

This morning I took him to the vet this morning and they did the same type of test except he had lost that deep pain feeling. He squeezed Sneakers toes with a pliers like tool and he didn’t even react. He explained to me that Sneakers’ slipped disk is pressing against his spinal cord causing paralysis.

I took him to the acupuncturist again and he will be going a handful more times in the next few weeks. There was a noticeable difference in his mood when we left. The acupuncturist is also a vet and she showed me how to express his bladder, or to basically squeeze the pee out of him. He’ll just poop whenever his colon in full, which he did while we were there. She also seemed to think there would be hope that he could eventually gain feeling back  in his legs. We’re going to look in to doggy wheelchairs if that doesn’t occur. He’s still a happy boy so we’re not going to give up on him.

February 9, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Stories. Leave a comment.

“Sneakers, you stink!”

Sneakers hasn’t had a hair cut or a bath in quite a while and with family coming in Wednesday he needed some grooming. Especially because most of our relatives are allergic. When I left this morning he had hair, when I came home he did not. He always looks a little silly after he loses all of his hair.

November 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Just Talking. Leave a comment.


Sneakers is my silly dog. He is quite the character. He’s part bichon frise, part shih tzu and a tiny bit yorkshire terrier. Fortunately he got the cute end of all of them. His full name is Sneakers Chester Keener-Clark. He’s going to be nine years old on December 16th. We got him way back when I was in middle school. I was starting to walk home from school and stay home the hour or two before my mom came home from work. She wanted someone to be there so why not a companion/watch dog? Besides, I had wanted a dog for a while, especially since I knew a horse was out of the question.

Sneakers has a big crush on Joe’s dog, Princess, but is afraid of Joe’s sisters dog, Gizzard. The funniest part of it is that Gizzy is smaller than him. Of course Sneakers isn’t that big. He’s not very tall, but he’s oddly long. He has quite a long back, which has caused him some problems, but those can be solved by time and a baby aspirin hidden in a piece of cheese.

Sneakers goes by a lot of different names in this house.

  • Sneaky
  • Baby Boy
  • Mr. Twister
  • Stinky
  • Sneaky Peepers
  • Bob (but only for Lily)
  • Sneaky Boy

There are more, but I think you get the point.

Sneakers is our baby. He sleeps in bed with me every night. Sometimes he even curls up next to me. He’s also the king of lap dogs. If he can be on your or next to you he will. And even if you don’t want him there, he’s too cute to kick away. He’s got his favorite toy, which is a carrot with a squeaker in it and he loves to lick out the bathtub after I get out of the shower. He licks the water off of my ankles then stares at me until I put him in the tub, then he hops out when he’s done. He also has a tendency to burp while he’s begging for whatever is on the table. He acts like nothing happened too and it’s always funny. He’s a silly dog, but he’s our silly dog.

November 13, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Just Talking. Leave a comment.