After going to Ren Faire last year, I sketched out a design for a Centaur costume with moving legs. The skull is pipe foam covers held together with masking tape and covered in Claycrete.
The front hooves of the Centaur costume are high-heel boots with the heels ripped off and a sizable wood platform attached. I’m essentially balancing on my toes with hidden metal pieces running up the back that help me to balance. I then shaped out the silhouette of the hoof with cardboard and covered it in fur and scraps of leather.
The horse is a PVC pipe skeleton covered with chicken wire, then fuzzy blankets. There are hinges at the hip. The back legs are then tied to my front legs by a string: left back leg to front right leg and vice versa for an accurate walking animation.
I have a heavy leather belt around my waist that the skeleton is anchored to. There is also parachute chord that goes from the middle of the horse back up to a harness on my back. Getting it all right so that it worked and I could support the weight took a lot of trial and error in design!
It was my first time working with chicken wire and I really liked it. It was easy to sculpt into what I wanted.
The Centaur Costume Fur
The fur is blankets rather than fur fabric that you’d buy at the fabric store. They are microfiber blankets that are super soft. Fluffie brand seems to be the fluffiest and is what I used for the body of the horse. I prefer the blankets for a number of reasons:
- Shorter pile (horses and goats usually have fairly short fur)
- Lower price ($23 for a yrd of fur-yikes! $20 for a king sized blanket – yes please)
- Stretch (traditional fur fabric does not stretch, the blankets do)
- No fabric backing (fur fabric has a synthetic fabric backing that is itchy. The blankets do not so they are super soft on both sides and lighter in weight. There’s nothing I’d rather put against my skin.