A realistic dinosaur costume is great for parties and events. Most people have never seen one and are amazed by how good the costume looks.
If you want to order a costume, you don’t need to worry about transporting something that large. You can order the component pieces and make one yourself. Check out onlydinosaurs.com for full instructions on how to make one.
What you will need
- Stainless steel tubing
- Oil paint
- Whiteboard marker
- Utility knife
- Soldering iron
- Spray gun
- Air compressor
Build the frame
To start with, you will need to build the frame. This will require some welding experience.
You will need to cut the stainless steel tubing into the appropriate lengths. Then you will need to weld them together according to the instructions for the costume.
This will most likely be the part that takes you the longest. The inner frame is quite intricate. Not only does it have the barrel-like body section, but there is also the tail and headpieces to create.
The head piece is also movable and is controlled by a shaft and joysticks that extend into the body section. The person inside the costume must be able to control the head and keep enough room for their arms to move around.
It can be quite tricky to get it all perfect.
Add the tech
Once the frame is done, it’s time to add the electronic components.
The costume operator is unable to see anything while inside the body of the dinosaur, so you need to install a monitor. This is the only way they can see. The monitor sits in the front section of the body cavity, roughly where the neck meets the chest.
Next, a camera is mounted in the section of the head that will be the dinosaur’s nose. As the head is movable, the operator can point the dinosaur’s head in any direction they want. They can see what the camera is pointed at through the monitor.
A speaker and sound unit are installed in the tail. This is what makes the dinosaur roar. The costume operator can control this through the joysticks on the head control shaft.
Because the costume will get very hot, a fan is installed behind the operator. It has to blow air over the operator and keep the air inside the costume circulating. You need a good fan because the costume can get very sweaty inside otherwise. Try to choose one that will not make a lot of noise. The operator will already have limited senses, so it’s better not to block their hearing as well.
Finally, install the battery, It should sit behind the operator. Because it is heavy, it should sit as close to the center of balance as possible.
Create the outer shell
Once the frame and electronics are set up, the next step is to build the outer shell of the costume. You will use foam for this.
Attach the foam to the frame according to the instructions. At first, it will look like a giant Lego dinosaur or something from Minecraft. The foam will be very blocky.
You need to draw the dinosaur pattern onto the foam blocks, then cut them away to make the dinosaur shape. This requires some artistic ability.
It’s best to shave off small amounts of foam and slowly work it into the right shape. You can always remove more foam if it doesn’t look right, but if you take off too much at once you will ruin that section.
If you do take off too much at once, remove the entire block of foam and stick on a new one. Keep plenty of spare foam for when you have to start over.
When you have the basic dinosaur shape, it should look something like a marshmallow dinosaur.
Make the skin
Once you have the basic shape prepared, the next step is to create the textured surface. The dinosaur skin should look scaly and bumpy, like a lizard’s skin.
You will need a soldering iron for this. Use the soldering iron to carve scales into the foam. You can get as creative as you like, but try to keep the scales uniform. You may find yourself getting bored by this part, but don’t be tempted to rush. The scales are the part that everyone will see, so take your time and do it right.
Take breaks if you need to. You don’t have to do it all in the same day.
Once you have finished texturing the outer shell, you can add the skin. Apply silicone to the scales and spread it around with a trowel. Next, add stocking material to the costume. Stretch it over the foam and let stick to the silicone. This is the dinosaur’s skin.
Once the entire costume is covered in stocking material, it will look like a skin-colored dinosaur. It is almost complete.
The only thing left to do now is to paint the costume. The paint is a mixture of oil paint, silicone, and gasoline. You can mix it up yourself.
Add the paint mixture to an air compressor and spray it onto the costume.
Dinosaur skin in the movies is a mix of different shades of green and brown. It’s a good idea to start with a light beige color. This will mostly be for the belly and lighter areas of the costume.
Then, add muddier browns for the sides and back of the dinosaur. You can continue adding darker colors until you have the desired effect. The spine of the dinosaur should be the darkest area. Use a heavy brown or dark green. You can even use black.
Just don’t go overboard. It’s better to paint the dinosaur with lighter shades and leave it for a day. If you still want to add darker colors the next day, then add a little at a time. This way you can make sure the dinosaur looks good and doesn’t get too dark.
The finished costume
After all your hard work, you will have an amazing dinosaur costume. These realistic costumes are the center of attention wherever you take them. Just imagine how amazed people will be when you tell them you made it yourself.