How to Make a Cool Halloween Costume: Thor the God of Thunder
My boyfriend is a high school special education teacher in Brooklyn, New York. Once he decided to grow out his hair to donate, all of his students started telling him how much he looked like Thor and well, they were all right. He decided to be Thor for Halloween to try to inspire his students and show that you can be who you want to be. He wanted to be Thor for a day so he was.
We thought about buying the costume but they always looks so cheesy and are never comfortable so I told him I would make it for him. Little did I know it would take me about 80 hours to complete! I have never attempted to make armor before but didn’t think it would be as involved as it was. There was a lot of trial and error that went into this costume but I will just talk about what worked. I will try to give you as much detail about making this costume without being too long winded but 80 hours of work is A LOT to write about!
First, I looked all over for foam that I could shape around his body. I found a sleeping matt at Wal-Mart that is used for camping for cushion under a sleeping bag. It had a ridged sort of design on one side which I thought would be perfect to add detail to the armor. I traced one of his tank tops on the foam and cut out a shape I thought would fit around his body. Once it was on him I did a lot more cutting to get it to where is looked and felt the best. (Don’t wait too long for this part so you can size the rest of the costume properly!)
After I had the base of the costume cut out, I found a really good picture of the armor online and cut out all the pieces that stood out. I traced the paper shapes onto the foam and used an Xacto knife to cut out the shapes. I only cut out shapes from one side of the template and then flipped the paper over and traced it on the foam, this way I still had half the paper to use as a guide and also so each piece would mirror the other on each side of the armor.
When I was done, I made sure all the parts fit on the costume. I would make sure the base of the foam fits around him first and cut what you need to before you cut the smaller parts of the foam. I didn’t wait, cut all the small parts and had to do some more adjusting later on once I fit the large part of the foam around him.
I decided the best way to attach the armor on each side around his body would be to use dog collars. I found them at a dollar store, cut them in half and hot glued each side to the inside of the costume. To help support the shoulder pads I found metal spoons at the dollar store also. I broke of the plastic spoon part, sanded down any sharp edges and bent the metal to fit nicely under the already rounded should pads. I had cut out round should pads from the extra foam and used a hair dryer and a medicine ball to help shape them. I bent the spoons by putting them under my heel, leaned down with all my body weight and pulled back on the other end of the spoon. It sounds funny but worked well and wasn’t that hard. Next I glued the spoons to the underside of the shoulder pads. I would suggest putting the hot glue on the foam first and then placing the metal on the foam. I wasn’t thinking fully, as I was doing this late night after work, put the glue on the metal which basically dried instantly! Then I was stuck picking off all the glue from the spoon before I could actually glue it to the foam!
Once I had all the pieces cut, I had to use Modge Podge to help seal the foam before I painted them. Foam is very porous, without the modge podge the paint wouldn’t look good at all. I put about 3 layers of Modge Podge on the foam. Once they all dried I had two different shades of grey acrylic paint to use. I mixed the two shades together to make a medium grey color and used all three on different parts of the costume. I thought it would give it more depth and detail. I also used Black puff paint for some extra details. I painted the base of the armor all blue to try and match the picture I found online as best as I could. Once all the paint was dry I started to hot glue all the small pieces of foam to the base of the armor. You can never use too much hot glue! For some extra detail I cut out small shapes of blue craft foam, used dark blue puff paint to make horizontal lines on them and glued them in different parts of the costume.
For the small round circles on the belt I used a stress ball cut in half and for the two larger sets I used wooden circles I found at Michaels. They were light and had a large surface area to put the hot glue to attach it to the foam.
Next I made the cape! I found the perfect color of fabric at Wal-Mart for $10. It was also really light so it didn’t pull back on the costume at all once it was attached. I had to buy two pieces and sew them together since I couldn’t find once piece that was wide enough. I overlapped the top part of the fabric to make the pleats he has in his cape. Once I had the pleats where I wanted them, I pinned the fabric and sewed right across. I measured the bottom to be about six inches off the ground, cut off the extra amount and hemmed the bottom of the cape. The extra fabric was used later to help complete the look of his arm armor.
I attached the cape using big snaps I found in Michaels. Make sure they aren’t the complicated snaps you need a special tool to attach. I just glued one side of the snaps to the foam and the other to the fabric after measuring and marking off the spots. This way the cape can come off easily which is good for transporting it, cleaning the cape if anything gets on it and storing it if you like to keep your costumes.
For the shin guards and arm guards I cut out the shapes using craft foam, used puff paint for the details and Velcro to attach them around his body.
The last part of the costume I worked on was Mjölnir, Thor’s Hammer! I used Fomular I found for $6 at home depot, which is the foam used for installation in houses I think. I traced a rectangle 7 inches wide and 10 inches long. I traced this out 6 times and cut out each rectangle. After I had all the pieces I measured and cut an inch off each corner. Then I glued each rectangle on top of one another. I found an old piece of wood from a broken rake in our shed (don’t ask me why my dad keeps these things and just doesn’t throw them out but I was glad I had it!) I cut a hole out of the middle of the foam a few inches deep to fit the piece of wood in far enough where it felt sturdy (about 4 inches). Next, I painted the Hammer grey. Then I printed out a picture of the symbol that is on one side of the hammer and typed up the saying on the other. I taped the print out on the hammer and poked holes in the lines to outline the letters and symbol perfectly. When I was done I used a tooth pick and extra black paint to fill in the indents. Once all the paint dried, I wrapped brown ribbon I found in a clearance bin at Michaels around the wooden handle, made a strap and then glued the handle into the hole in the foam.
Once it was all said and done I was so proud of how the costume turned out. We went out three nights this year for Halloween and everyone loved his costume! A lot of people couldn’t believe the hammer was not store bought which I thought was pretty cool. People were yelling out THHOORR as we walked down the street and stopped to take pictures with him. He really looked fantastic and I was so glad to see the reactions he got when we went out. He also wore it to school and the kids went insane!! They all thought it was so cool he came to school as Thor and all took pictures with him, posing with the hammer and everything!