Grue Trainer – Part 1

I sure have been full of telling people what to do lately.

There’s a solution for this. I will POST STILL MORE INSTRUCTIONS.

Then I will get tired of it instructing instructions all the time and quit, right?


Anyway. I’m working on a two-character Halloween costume. That’s one-a those things like this Kidnapped Mermaid Costume”

Kidnapped Mermaid Costume

Or Bruno the Trashman, who takes Oscar the Grouch around:


Or a person riding a chocobo, ya know, like ya do:


What I want to do will look like a big dude with a smaller bird-beast perched on his arm. I am calling this a “Grue Trainer” because I don’t know what the hey else to call it.

Here is the overall design for the dude:

Dude Part Diagram
As my significant other points out, I will need to be alert to light fixtures

It so happened they were doing summer cleaning at work, and lo there was a quantity of flexible packing foam about to be thrown out. And I said to my boss, “Hey, can I have that foam?” And he said, “Lo, here is more foam that you can ever ever use.”

Flexible packing foam

The next magical incredient in the dude body is duct tape. It doesn’t stick to the foam so much, but it sticks to itself LIKE A BOSS. This means quantity will be required. I used about thirty yards by the time the dude part (torso, arms and head) was done.

Dude part
Don’t be stingy

Here’s the front; the smooth side sits against my back. I was lucky enough to have enough different kinds and shapes of foam to get a sturdy, reasonably convincing shape.

Dude part packing foam
It ain’t got to be perfect

foam dude part with arms
Use more duct tape than this to put the arms on

Then I taped on some sheets of craft foam. I made sure to make them tall enough for a girdle to fit through. Why did I have a beige girdle lying around the house? No reason. No reason at all.

back attachment and girdle
Lookin’ classy

One of my co-workers says beige undergarments make him want to barf. Blame him I cannot. There’s something weird about a foam/duct-tape/robot-looking torso in your living room with a beige girdle hanging off of it.

beige girdle robot foam
Explain this to your dog-walker

I got a long stretchy (read: forgiving) synthetic-fabric (read: breathable) black dress from Goodwill. I tried it on over the girdle and had my significant other draw the girdle’s outline on my back. Then I cut a hole to match the outline. To keep it from fraying, I used fabric glue to seal the edges because the older I get the more allergic I get to sewing.

Also I am afraid of sewing machines.

But I digress.

I dislike destroying good clothing, but I did it in the name of COS.

long black dress
You gotta break a few eggs

Let’s try this thing on.

Try on 1

The girdle came from eBay. It has a band around the waist for extra stability. You see, what it lacks in aesthetic it makes up for in DOUBLE-PLY OLD LADY WAIST BANDITUDE.

girdle waist

pulling on the dress

pulling on the dress more

dress on

So far we have a dress with a foam torso stuck on the back. Not so impressive, you say? You want something with a little more zazz?

What if I say the bird part is gonna have some claws? What if I say I used this awesome tutorial to learn how to make some?

I used polymer clay instead of air-dry, and it baked and sanded just fine. I also used clear nail polish to get the shine. That also worked fine.


costume claws

costume claws

spooky claw face

The fun part about costumes is this really didn’t take that long! You’re looking at about 3 hours of work while hanging out watching Netflix. For comparison, consider that in 3 hours I can produce TWO COMIC STRIPS.



Draws. Sweats. Eats too much sugar-free candy.

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5 Responses

  1. L says:

    Cool claws! The’re really the best I’ve seen. I wish I could watch the how to, but you blocked it from my country:( Good job on every thing else too!

  2. Heckling Partner says:

    AWESOME SAUCE. This makes me nostalgic for my uber time-consuming costume from last year. 🙁 This year I am too benormously pregnant for such awesome things. Pls continue.

  3. Adri says:

    This is so inspiring. I have never taken on such a lofty arts and crafts project for a costume, and here I thought I was snazzy for making a hat once. I bow down to your creative skills!

  4. Sara says:

    I remember your chocobo costume!!!! 😀 So far, so good! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  5. How do you know what a grue looks like?

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