Monday, 26 March 2018

Day Of The Dead costume - a quick, easy and cheap make!

DOTD costume - Time to make 1 hour. Cost approx £3. Suitable for beginners. Specialist tools required/advised hot glue gun & basic sewing kit (safety pins)
DOTD makeup  - Time to apply approx 1 hour. Suitable for enthusiastic beginner. Specialist tools required/advised theatrical/sfx face paints, black khol eyeliner, artist brushes.

ZIP FACE costume - own clothes used, no additional cost and no specialist tools required.
ZIP FACE makeup  - Time to make approx 30mins. Suitable for enthusiastic beginner. Specialist tools required Zip face sfx kit or own zip plus sfx skin glue, red face paint, fake bloods

These costumes are from back in 2014, the first Halloween party we held in my nephews new house. I've created fancy dress costumes before this, but sadly have no photos to share and my DOTD outfit was the first time I'd taken step by step photos of a 'make'. I never intended to use them as tutorials but glad I have them so I can now share with you...and I'm now mindful to do this with most of my costume makes. It was a last minute thing, literally told about the party a day before, and as we were both working had to think of something very quick to put together within a few hours.

I decided the makeup was to be the priority look, and the costumes would comprise of what we'd already got in our wardrobes with a few adds-ons from my then little craft 'bits 'n bobs' box (now a much larger Hallows Supplies box) and items from a last minute visit to a pound shop (our UK version of Dollar Stores, and which sells many useful cheap items for the festive and holiday seasons).

(Visits to the pound shops and supermarkets have now become a regular thing for me, either on the day (31st October) if possible, or straight after when the items are reduced dramatically for quick clearout off the shelves. I've found many small items and props that can be broken down and reused for future costumes, often sold for pennies in the sales and have helped me build up a good stash of materials for little monetary outlay).
Items from my own stash included black satin ribbon, plastic skull and bone beads, black tassel shisha mirror earrings, black feathers, and some elbow length gothic net gloves (plus theatrical face paints and make up effects). In the pound shop I found some black net table cloths with web and skull patterns, some red and black artificial flowers and a plastic headband with some rather funky black glittered skulls, oh and a little soft toy voodoo doll (pictured but not used in the final costume). I think in total I spent £5 on our costumes combined...not bad eh?!

So, to start off (sorry no pictures on these pieces) I made a flowered headdress, which is quite a traditional part of the costumes worn by woman in Día de Muertos festivities. I removed the skulls from the headband and used a hot glue gun to attach the various artificial flowers and foilage, the feathers, and one of the net table cloths as a veil. I made a corsage by gluing more flowers onto a large safety pin, then I cut off the fingers of the gloves to make them fingerless and made some bracelets, threading the little plastic bone and skull beads onto elastic thread (from my sewing kit).

I had a hunt in my jewellery studio for a cheap plated ring shank and glued one of the glitter skulls onto made for quite a statement ring! It was a bit cumbersome to wear, but funky and fun.

Next thing to do was create the costume....
At the time, I didn't have anything like the full skirts and frilly tops worn in tradition costume, so I picked my favourite dress by Firetrap which was quite gothic in pattern and colour and 'dressed' that up instead. All the accessories were just pinned on using little safety pins so the dress wasn't damaged and they could be removed easily afterwards.
The dress was overlayed with a black fabric bustier 'faux corset' to help cinch the waist in and hide the buttons and buckle fixings on the dress.
I then made a bustle and drapes with the remaining net table cloths, just by simply pleating them up and pinning into place around the bottom edge of the bustier.....ah look who popped by to see what I was doing...Deadly the Firetrap Gnome! (He hangs around a lot during the Hallows season).
Unsightly pins at the hips were hidden from view by artificial flowers (I glued clips to the backs of them) and added a bow of thick satin ribbon to the top of the bustier.
The corsage was clipped to the shoulder and I made a necklace using a length of satin ribbon with one of the shisha mirror earrings attached as a pendant....
...with the headdress added, plus a black crochet spanish style shawl from my wardrobe and some knee length black boots...
...the costume was complete!
I used basic Snazaroo facepaints for my makeup, a base of white for the skull shape and then red and olive green to match the colours of my outfit. I searched the internet for lots of images and ideas on sugar skull makeup patterns (Pinterest is a great place for inspiration). The majority of the lines were drawn on using black khol eyeliner and the colour blocked in and shaded with artist paint brushes...overall it took about 2 hours to apply....quite a long time because this was my first attempt at anything full face and so intricate in design. A steady hand and patience was required to get the markings symmetrical...I had to scrub off and re-apply several times, hence the 2 hours to complete  lol! I'm happy to say I'm a bit better at applying the make up quicker now! I'd say give yourself at least an hour to apply makeup if you're after a neat and precise application.

I started off using Snazaroo products because they were readily available from a local shop and, because they are marketed for kids use, they are very good if you have sensitive skin (like me). For the price, they provide quite a decent amount of paint and will last you a very long time. Easy to apply (water based) using just sponges and brushes and very easy to remove (soap and water) they come in a very wide range of colours that are also blendable. I've added to my makeup kits with various other products now but Snazaroo are certainly worth considering if you're just starting out with and doing the basic face paintings.
I 'thought' I had a close up photo of my makeup, turns out I didn't, but someone else at the party did take this rather blurred one which they kindly sent me.
I don't have any step by step photos (or close ups) of Clives outfit I'm afraid, it was a case of him coming home from work, having some sfx makeup quickly applied and heading straight out the door to the party. We went for the 'zipper face' effect rather than a full character costume. Zipper face kits can actually be purchased online or from fancy dress suppliers/shops but I used a spare zip from my sewing kit, stripped off the excess fabric from the edges and attached in place with spirit gum/glue (experience is now proving this is not always the best way to attach sfx prosthetic to skin, other than using for lace edge wigs...but I will talk about that in a later post on my makeup kit). The edges were sealed and blended into the skin with sfx latex rubber, the inner raw skinned section was created by filling in with red face paint, shaded with darker hues and black and then smeared with runny, and congealed fake bloods (I use Mehron products). He found a string of plastic skeletons in my stash which he hung around his real significance to the 'costume', but just for fun, and wore just a simple black shirt and jeans outfit.

Two relatively simple looks, but effective considering so little money was spent and we made up most of it using our own clothes...job done!

(I will provide links to as many of the official supplier websites of the products used, but these can often be purchased widely elsewhere online or from fancy dress/theatrical supplies shops)


SNAZAROO - Homepage

SNAZAROO - Face paints

SNAZAROO - Other accessories

MEHRON - Home page

MEHRON - SFX products incl fake bloods

Fun World Zipper sfx Kit - example of supliers

YOUTUBE VIDEO - Snazaroo Beginners Sugar Skull Face Painting Tutorial

YOUTUBE VIDEO - basic zipper sfx kit application (by Lewis Painter Media)

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