Since he first appeared on the big screen in The Wizard of Oz (1939), the Tin Man has become one of the most iconic characters in world cinema. So it's no surprise that many people like to dress up like him at parties and special occasions! You can buy the ready-made costume, but how about you make your own (or your little one's)? Just read the methods below, which are simple to follow and give good results. Get ready to have fun!
Part 1 of 2: Making a Tin Man Costume from Cardboard and Common Materials
Step 1. Start with a large cardboard box
You have to cut and open the box.
- Choose a box that covers your torso from the tops of your shoulders to your hips.
- Remove the flaps from the top and bottom of the box with a stylus.
- Cut a cut into one of the vertical folds of the cardboard.
- Be careful not to hurt yourself with the stylus.
- Don't worry if the stylus sticks out in the box: you'll cover everything with duct tape.
Step 2. Roll the box into a tube
You need to roll up the box to make it more flexible.
- It's no use leaving the rectangular box! Remember that the Tin Man's torso is round.
- Start rolling the cardboard from one end.
- Fold the box slowly and straight, leaving the edges of the box always aligned.
Step 3. Place the box around your trunk
The box needs to fit snugly against your trunk, but still leave room for you to move around without difficulty.
- Leave your arms at your sides when "putting on" the box.
- Have someone else wrap the box around your body.
- Align the top of the box with the top of your shoulders.
- Tape the area where the box flaps meet. Don't worry: this piece of ribbon won't be visible when you decorate the costume.
- Use a thicker, more resistant roll of tape, which does not risk the box coming off.
- In the end, the box has to form a giant tube around your body.
Step 4. Make the tube cap
This is the part that is over your shoulders, where you will also pass your head.
- Start by placing the cardboard tube on top of a large rectangular cardboard plate.
- Outline the circumference of the tube on the cardboard sheet.
- Use a stylus to cut the circle from the cardboard.
- Then measure your head circumference and add 2, 5 to 5 cm to the value. Cut a circle in the middle of this larger circle according to this measurement.
- Pass the cardboard circle over your head.
- If the hole is too small for your head, cut some more of the edges of the hole to fit the size.
- When the hole passes over your head, take the circle and tape it to one end of the tube using duct tape. Spend enough of the material.
- Try turning the tube upside down and tape it to the inside of the circle.
Step 5. Drill the holes for the arms
You have to run the tube over your head to know exactly where your arms will be in the costume.
- Place your arms at your sides and have someone put the tube over your head.
- Then ask the person to mark the position where their shoulders are on the tube.
- Take the cutting tube out of holes that are big enough for your arms to pass through and move.
- You may have to adjust the size of these holes several times before you get it right. Ideally, your arms will be able to get in and out of the tube without difficulty.
- Tape the holes around the holes so the cardboard doesn't accidentally scratch your skin.
- That's it: you've just made the trunk part of the Tin Man costume!
Step 6. Buy some aluminized ducts
You will use these ducts to make the Tin Man costume arms.
- Buy these ducts at building supply stores or online.
- Choose ducts that are the right size for your arms (or the arms of the person wearing the costume).
- If possible, run the ducts through your arms while still in the store and see if they are the right size.
Step 7. Cut the aluminized ducts to the length of your arms
Again, you're going to need someone's help - since the ducts are a little stiff (at first, anyway).
- Run the aluminized ducts through your arms to your shoulders. Calculate roughly where their fingertips are and ask the person to mark these places with a marker.
- Cut the ducts with a knife or sharp scissors.
- Tape the ends of the ducts to avoid cutting yourself.
- Bend the ducts slightly at the height of your elbows.
- Tape the ends of the ducts near the shoulders with more tape.
Step 8. Attach the arms to the trunk tube
For this step you will need a heavy duty metal hoop.
- "Put on" the cardboard tube again and put your arms through their holes.
- Place the ducts in the arms, getting them very close to the holes in the cardboard tube itself.
- Ask the person helping you to drill two holes in the top of the ducts and sides of the trunk pipe, just above the shoulders.
- Thread a metal hoop through these holes and attach the arm ducts to the trunk tube.
- That way, the costume will be relatively flexible.
Step 9. Make the inside of the costume
You'll need a long-sleeved shirt, old jeans, old sneakers, and a pair of gloves.
- One by one, place these pieces on top of another cardboard sheet.
- Paint the parts using metallic spray paint. If possible, buy a Rust-Oleum brand can, which is high quality and recommended for this type of project.
- The hardest part will be painting the pants, as they don't absorb paint as well.
- You may have to apply two coats of paint. If the fabric of the garments is still visible or not shiny, iron more of the product after the previous layer dries.
Step 10. Paint the costume's torso and arms
You can use the same type of spray paint you used to paint the garments.
- Although the aluminized ducts are already silver, you need to apply paint to them to disguise the spots where there is adhesive tape. What's more, this serves to even out the color of the entire costume.
- Apply a generous coat of paint to the cardboard trunk. Then wait for the product to dry.
- After the arms and torso are completely dry, you can apply a second coat to even out the color.
Step 11. Paint the costume accessories
The Tin Man's accessories are an ax and a hat.
- Use a large funnel for a hat. Place it on top of the cardboard plate and apply a lot of metallic paint.
- Repeat the process with an axe. You can use one of those toy axes that are sold in fancy shops.
- If necessary, apply a second coat of paint to both accessories.
Part 2 of 2: Sewing a Tin Man Costume for a Child
Step 1. Gather the necessary materials
You will need the following:
- Vinyl fabric (silver color if possible).
- 6 mm flexible PEX tube.
- 6 mm flexible threaded bar.
- Silver metallic spray paint (if possible, Rust-Oleum brand).
- Aluminized ducts (with the ideal length and circumference for the child's arms).
- Large nuts (to simulate fancy buttons).
- Leggings or old sweatpants (which you are going to paint).
- 2.5 cm wide piece of Velcro (for the back of the costume).
- Velcro piece 1, 3 cm wide (for the front of the costume).
- Grosgrain ribbon 2.5 cm wide and 9.5 mm long.
- Epoxy glue to attach the bow tie and buttons to the front of the costume.
- A pair of cotton gloves.
- Big funnel and toy ax.
- Small watering can.
Step 2. Make the costume shoulder piece
For this, you need to measure the shoulders of the child who will be wearing the costume. Place the tape measure end to end.
- Cut a circle from the vinyl fabric that is the diameter of the child's shoulder measurements, but add 6 mm to the value.
- Cut another circle in the middle of the previous one, which is the same width as the child's neck and a few inches longer.
- Make a straight cut from the middle circle to the edge of the outer circle. This way, the child will be able to put his neck through the costume.
Step 3. Make and secure the two pieces of vinyl fabric collar
These pieces must be shaped like crescent moons.
- Measure the length of the child's neck to see how far the collar has to go.
- Use this value to determine the optimal width for vinyl crescent moons.
- Cut two identical crescent moons from vinyl fabric.
- Place one of the crescent moons face down (ie, matte side up) in the circle you cut in the previous step.
- Align the inner tip of the crescent moon with the front of the middle circle. This inner edge should be in the opposite direction to the straight line you cut earlier.
- Sew the crescent moon around the circle, passing the thread 6 mm from the inside edge.
- Repeat the process with the other crescent moon, but on the opposite side of the circle (ie, on top of that first moon).
- Cut excess fabric from the back of the collar.
Step 4. Make the velcro closures
You will use the Velcro pieces to close the neck and shoulder pieces of the costume when your child is wearing it.
- Cut two small rectangles from the vinyl fabric.
- Sew the end of one of the rectangles on the left side of the collar to the back of the costume.
- Tape a small piece of male Velcro to one end of the rectangle.
- Attach a small piece of female Velcro to the right end of the collar. This way, the two pieces of material will join and form a flap when you close the costume.
- Repeat the process - but this time, attach the flap and Velcro to the circular shoulder piece, in front of the straight cut you made earlier to run the costume over the child's head.
Step 5. Sew 2.5 cm wide pieces of grosgrain tape on the underside of the circular piece
Nail these pieces of tape to the longer end of the circle. They will hold the costume trunk piece.
- Place each piece of tape 5 cm away from the others.
- Nail the loose end of each piece of tape over the first, forming a loop with the material under the shoulder piece.
- Remember to leave a 6mm gap between the tape pieces and the edge of the vinyl fabric.
Step 6. Measure the child to make the torso piece
Now, you will start preparing the centerpiece of the costume.
- To do this, place the circular shoulder piece (to which you just sewed the collars and pieces of ribbon) onto the child.
- Measure the child from the end of the shoulder piece to the base of the torso, where the fantasy main half should end.
- Add 6 mm to the measure. This is the ideal length for vinyl fabric.
- Measure the circumference of the circular shoulder piece and add a few inches so that the edges of the vinyl on the torso overlap.
- Cut the vinyl fabric from the trunk piece to the values you just measured.
Step 7. Nail shoulder piece to torso piece
Start by lining up the two pieces on the correct side (from that straight line you made earlier to place the costume on the child).
- Sew the top edge of the torso piece to the outer edge of the shoulder piece, leaving a 5mm gap.
- Sew this seam along the undersides of the shoulder piece and back of the torso piece.
- Leave some slack in the torso piece after you finish sewing the shoulder circle. This is where you will join the Velcro pieces to close the costume.
Step 8. Thread the PEX tube through the fabric loops on the underside of the shoulder piece
- Start with one of the loops at the ends of the circular piece, passing the PEX tube through each one to the end.
- Cut off the excess tube when you're finished threading it through the loops.
- Cut a piece of threaded bar about 5 cm long.
- Screw this bar into one end of the PEX tube, leaving part of it loose. Finally, nail everything together with glue.
- Thread the other end of the bar into the tube across the gap in the shoulder piece. This serves to close the tube, giving the impression that the circle is continuous - and, in addition, giving more support to the fantasy shape.
- At the end, remove the tube from the handles (without putting glue on the bar for now).
Step 9. Attach a strip of male Velcro to one edge of the torso piece
Take a strip 2.5 cm wide, but the length of the trunk piece, and nail it to the longest edge of it.
- This Velcro strap should run from the top to the bottom of the costume's torso piece.
- Then attach a strip of female Velcro to the back of the flap that is on top of the previous one.
- Now you can place the PEX tube back on the fabric loops and glue the bar.
Step 10. Make the fantasy bow tie
Start by cutting a small rectangle of vinyl fabric.
- Cut the rectangle to the width you intend to make the tie.
- Also cut a thinner strip of vinyl. It will serve you to tie your tie.
- Crush the vinyl rectangle in half and tie the thinnest strip around it.
- Apply epoxy glue to the middle of the bow tie so that it sticks.
- Sew the bow tie to the front collar of the costume with epoxy glue.
Step 11. Make the costume sleeves
Start by cutting two holes in the sides of the trunk piece.
- Make these holes a little wider than the arms of the child wearing the costume. That way, she will have freedom of movement.
- Measure the length and circumference of the child's arms. Add a few inches to the circumference so the sleeves don't stick together.
- Cut a rectangle of vinyl fabric the length and width (corresponding to the circumference) of your arms, but remembering to add those inches.
- Cut the rectangle into the shape of a tube, leaving 6mm of clearance between the seam and the edge.
- Cut the aluminized ducts. You need two small pieces for each arm: one will be on the shoulder, one on the elbow.
- Knead the duct that will be against the elbow and sew using thread and needle.
- Run the shoulder duct over the vinyl tube you just sewed. Sew it in place with more thread and needle to form the top of the sleeve.
- Pass the duct that will be at shoulder height over the vinyl tube and sew it with thread and needle.
- Sew the sleeve to the trunk piece. Don't worry if there are some slacks: this only serves to prevent the fantasy from falling apart.
- Repeat the process with the other sleeve of the costume.
Step 12. Sew buttons to the front of the costume
You will nail these buttons using epoxy glue.
- Remember that you are going to use donuts to simulate buttons.
- Distribute the threads in an equidistant space, going from the top to the bottom of the torso.
- Secure each donut with plenty of epoxy glue.
- Allow the threads to dry completely before handling this piece again.
Step 13. Make the costume pants
This part of the process is relatively simple:
- Measure the length of the groin to ankle region, in addition to the circumference of these regions, adding 6 mm to each of these values.
- Cut the rectangles from the vinyl fabric. Each should be the length and circumference you just measured.
- Sew these rectangles into the shape of tubes, still leaving the gap of 5 mm.
- Nail the tubes to leggings, sewing the material at the top and bottom. Again, leave a 6mm gap in the seam.
- Make the knee part using the aluminized duct. Cut a piece of material that covers this region of the child's legs.
- Cut the duct at the back to add this piece to the costume's legs. Then just nail it together using hot glue.
Step 14. Paint the costume
You will need several coats of silver spray paint (preferably Rust-Oleum brand).
- Paint the torso and shoulder pieces and the pants.
- Also paint accessories, including gloves.
- The funnel will serve as a hat, while the watering can represents the oil can.
- If you have a toy ax, paint that too.
- Wait for the costume to dry before letting your child (or other child) play with it.
- Be patient. It will take you a few hours to assemble the costume.
- Apply spray paint in a well-ventilated location.
- Ask a friend or family member for help!
- Feel free to customize the costume as you see fit: put on a silver bow tie, a red heart stamped on your chest, and so on.
- Paint your face (or the child's face) with non-toxic gray paint.