All right, time to finish Foxy’s torso. I said it before, and I’ll say it again. This part of the costume was frustrating. I mean, really frustrating. While trimming the torso until it fit me right was tedious, this part really wore my patience thin. So there is a large gash in Foxy’s chest, through which his endoskeleton can be seen. While there were a few little extras I needed to eventually take care of, the main part of his torso I wanted to complete before moving on was this little section of endoskeleton, the materials for which I had already acquired. One, a tough cardboard tube from an aluminum foil box. Two, craft foam. And three, wind chimes.
W-wind chimes, Duck? Are you sure?
Yes, I’m sure!
Ahem, yes, wind chimes. During a crazy storm, the wind chime outside was destroyed. All that remained was a wooden ring with strings hanging from it and two metal tubes strewn about in the dirt. When I saw these tubes, I thought it would be really cool if they could be used for something. I washed the dirt off of them, and I thought to myself, if things go as planned, these can work for Foxy’s endoskeleton. A little bit of real metal goes a long way in giving the illusion that everything, even silver-painted cardboard, is the real deal.
Eventually, the day came to put my carefully thought-out plans to the test. I studied what I could see of Foxy’s endoskeleton, hidden in shadow though it was, and devised my own design. Before I could add the details, however, I wanted to attach the wind chimes to the cardboard tube. I cut a hole out of either side of the cardboard with an exacto knife (scary stuff, this is; I had to use a heavy-duty knife to cut through this baffling-ly strong cardboard), and then I shoved the longer chime in at the angle I wanted. I put this one in the tube first because it was longer, so I wanted to shorten it more by hiding a lot of it inside the tube. I then added the shorter chime, which couldn’t go in as far because the longer chime was in the way. This worked out just nicely, though, because now both chimes were pretty similar in length.
I hot glued these chimes in place, and then I began adding various details in craft foam. One was a triangular ridge around the middle. This was done by folding a strip of craft foam in half long-ways to foam a V shape. (Craft foam doesn’t fold well, as it likes to return to its flattened form once you release it. To help it fold better, you can use an exacto knife to create a shallow cut down the middle of the foam’s outer side.) I also created a flat strip of foam to go underneath. So while the first piece laid flat, I added hot glue down the middle, then carefully held the piece, folded into the V shape I wanted, until the glue dried and kept it in this shape. (Be very careful attempting this yourself, as it’s easy to squeeze the hot glue out and onto your hand. I was lucky I didn’t get hurt this time, but I have the experience to know that hot glue is…really hot.) I then hot glued this to the second piece of foam, creating a long, triangular strip. This wasn’t very bendy, but I wanted it to follow the curve of the cardboard tube, so I added hot glue to the cardboard and pressed the triangular piece down firmly so that it bent into the curve I wanted.
Foxy’s endoskeleton was looking pretty good at this point, but this strange contraption I had made was still sorely in need of some paint. I painted the cardboard and the craft foam silver, then, I dry brushed the entire thing with black paint using a wet brush to make it look aged. Strangely enough, the paint did not want to stay on the metal wind chimes, so I had to be really careful that I applied the paint lightly so I wouldn’t rub it right off seconds later. Last off, I added a little bit of rust using paint and coffee grounds, the method for which I described in a past post about the making of Foxy’s feet. Right, so now for the hard part.
As you might have realized, I can’t just add this piece into the costume, as it is a decent size and will clearly interfere with my wearing of it. So what I did was a figured out the placement of the endoskeleton and started carving foam out of the inside of the torso to embed the endoskeleton into it. I got my placement wrong a few times, though, so I accidentally cut out more than I needed. Woops. Well, I could cut down fairly far into the chest, which was two inches thick, but the rest was one inch thick, so I couldn’t go down as far. Strangely enough, it was the part of the endoskeleton that had more room to burrow within the foam that caused me more issues.
When I tried the torso on with the endoskeleton held temporarily in place, the top part pressed hard into my chest, while the bottom, which stuck out more, was fine. Hmm, what a perplexing predicament indeed. This was quite a problem because I could only dig so far down before I’d cut straight through to the front of the torso, which would not be ideal at all. Seeing as I could excavate no further into the foam, I decided to first permanently attach the piece to the torso and figure things out from there. I thought the best way to secure the endoskeleton in place would be to sew around it, but I didn’t want there to be ugly stitches showing in random spots on the front of Foxy’s torso, so I only sewed around the wind chimes where it was set beneath the border of the chest or the border of the large gash in said chest, so I could hide my stitches beneath the original stitches I had already sewn. By tying each wind chime in two different locations, top and bottom, this was, fortunately, sufficient to secure the endoskeleton in place. I also placed a tiny bit of soft fabric at the end of each wind chime to prevent the chance of them digging further into the foam and creating a hole. Because caution is important.
But I still needed to do something about the endoskeleton pressing on me, not to mention the bulge the lower end of it created beneath the torso. With no other option left to me, I realized that the only way to decrease the amount the endoskeleton stuck out would be to flatten it. Yikes. I certainly didn’t want to ruin the illusion of a round, metal pipe, but I was left with no choice. So I began to press down on the back of the cardboard tube. After making a noticeable dent, I was quite pleased to find that, while I was able to flatten the back of the tube, the front remained round like I wanted, so from the outside of the torso, you really couldn’t tell that anything had been done. Phew. Now that was a relief. I kept working to flatten the tube’s back side as far as I could, even going so far as to cut down the middle so it would squish further, along with prying off the triangular ridge off the back using an exacto knife to decrease the circumference just a bit more. If I was going to do this, I might as well go all the way. Now when I put the torso on, it is a lot more comfortable.
After this, I had some final hot gluing to do. First of all, I hot glued the flattened ends of the tube down as much as I could so it wouldn’t pop up again, and I also added more hot glue to secure the wind chimes into the cardboard, as all my adjustments had been quite rough on them, causing them to become loose. All this new hot glue needed to be painted over, as well, so I painted all the new globs of glue silver and dry brushed them, even the glue on the back, because I’m obsessive like that.
Now, while the endoskeleton should have rightly been complete at this time, I had recently been introduced to the most upsetting issue of all. When I put the torso on and off, I found that it was a little too easy for the endoskeleton to brush my face and possibly scratch it. I couldn’t allow something like this to happen, so I decided to cover what I could of the endoskeleton with some spare, soft fabric, which I placed over the wind chimes and the top of the cardboard tube. Once again, I only secured them in place where my sewing could be hidden within the stitches already present.
For added safety, I also plan to add black fabric to the back of the large hole in Foxy’s chest to protect myself from even coming into contact with the endoskeleton at all. I still need to buy something that is soft, but doesn’t trap heat too much because this costume is going to be hot enough without me sealing up one of the holes through which I could have gotten cool air. The only black fabric I have right now is some rather flimsy fleece that tears easily, so that won’t do. While it is important that I take care of this, I think I will get to this later when I fix the Velcro problem and add the red tufts on his shoulders, another task I don’t feel like attending to at the moment.
While nearly every piece of the costume still has extra details I need to return to, I want to get the main parts of Foxy completed first. That means that my next task is the all-important head. Due to the complexity of this particular piece of the costume, I had been putting it off, but I can do so no longer. I would also really like to figure out how to make the jaw open and close, so I’ll need to give myself as much time as possible to figure this out. I really look forward to finally seeing what Foxy’s head is going to look like. I hope I don’t mess it up….
Then Again, the Duck Gets A-Head of Herself…Ha Ha!