My 3 year old son loves trains, particularly Gordon the #4 engine from Thomas and Friends. I decided to make it for his Halloween costume! It took 2 days (because of paint) to complete once I had all of the "ingredients".
First, I grabbed a glue gun and many glue sticks. I cut the bottom of a diaper box off, keeping the the lid in tact to make the rounded boiler by overlapping it and taping the seam. I split part of the lid and left it standing up for the train cab. I made the tender by using a baby wipes box, cutting it into the proper shape. Then I painted both of these blue (just regular craft acrylic paint) and let dry overnight.
Next was the detailing (this was fun, and very MacGyver of me. I used a lot of "found" items from around the house): Dome - yogurt container painted blue Funnel - plastic drink bottle with yogurt container glued on top, painted black Whistle - pen cap covered in yellow electrical tape Wheels - blue foam cut out to circles Wheel Rods - grey foam cut to shape Handrail - grey foam cut to shape Coal - black tissue stuffed into the "tender" and hot glued in. Details and Boiler Bands - Red electrical tape Black Buffers - IKEA magnets that I happened to have (but you could paint milk jug caps for this).
Gordon's Face - I couldn't find Gordon's face (straight on) anywhere on Google images, so I just took one from my son's books (took a photo of it) and then brightened it so it would print out as a black and white (just onto plain paper). I outlined it with black marker to make it stand out and glued it onto a 1 gallon ice cream pail lid. I taped around it with black electrical tape to finish it off.
All of these details were hot glued into place. Makes for a fast drying detail job. Fits my son perfectly (it will dangle with suspenders)!
Note: I even put reflective stripping on the back of the tender for safety at night!