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Coolest Monster Exterminator Costume

There are psychics & ghost-busting teams who drive unwanted spirits from haunted houses, & then there are regular exterminators who eliminate common household pests. But what happens if your home has been invaded by MONSTERS? If what’s lurking in your house is definitely badder than a rat, but nowhere near as incorporeal as a ghost, then you’ve got goblin problems, & it’s time to “Get Gorkin!”

Trophy armor: The trophy armor took me years to figure out how to make, which is why I’ve included a video to show how I did it:

The point of trophy armor is to wear bits & pieces of your defeated enemies, in order to show off your monster-hunting prowess. To create my leather trophy armor, I first had to get vegetable-tanned leather from an online leather supply.

Then I used my Dremel tool to carve rough shapes of goblin faces into chunks of wood. The wooden faces don’t need to be perfect- they’re just basic forms that will help mold the leather into the 3-d shapes you want.

For this part, it’s helpful to find pieces of wood that already somewhat resemble the shape of the body part you want to armor. You can also add on more wood pieces with wood screws if you want a certain feature (like a nose) to be especially prominent.

Once you’re happy with shape of your wooden form, you can move on to your leather (this step is where my video starts). First, cut a piece of leather that’s slightly bigger than what you will need to fit on your form. Then, soak it in water. Once it’s soaked, you can stretch the leather across your wooden form.

If your monster face is somewhat cone-shaped & you cut a circular piece of leather, you will likely need to pinch a wedge out of the circle, cut it off, punch a few holes on each side, & sew the leather together to make a seam, in order to make the leather more like a cone.

You can also pinch parts of the leather together & hammer them down, to make ear-like shapes, & you can use the rounded end of a paint brush, or even your fingers, to work the leather into all the nooks & crannies you created on your wooden form. This process works better once the leather starts to dry a little bit. When the leather has been shaped to your satisfaction, let it dry the rest of the way until it’s only a tiny bit damp.

The next step is heating the leather. I bake mine in a toaster oven that I dedicate to craft use only. Leather should be baked at no more than 200 degrees F, & usually for no longer than half an hour. Another thing to watch out for is excess steam in the oven, which can cause the leather to “shrivel.” This is why you want to cook it when it’s nearly dry- shriveled leather tends to look bad, even on goblins.

When cooking the leather still on the form, the leather may try to shrink & pull away from the areas where you’ve sewn it together, so you might get a gap there if your stitches are too far apart, but that’s okay, it can be filled in later. If you choose to take your goblin face off its form to bake (which might be a good option if you’ve used a lot of screws making the form, since they will heat up more quickly & may burn the leather in places) the leather may shrink in a more uniform manner, but you risk unsupported areas collapsing. So if you’re going to bake without the form, it’s a good idea to wait until the leather is very dry.

Once your leather faces are baked, they’ll be hard, & won’t lose their shapes even when wet. You can cut the stitches of your seam to remove the face from the form, but you’ll need to glue the seam together later. You can fill the crack with a combination of glue & leather shavings. Once that dries, you can s& it down with the Dremel.

For decoration, I painted my armor with acrylic paints, & sealed them with a clear topcoat. I also used studs, spikes, faux animal fur, teeth & horns to give each face a unique look. You can create teeth & horns using white polymer clay. If you insert wires into the clay before you cook them, they’ll have a way to attach to your monster face.

When the faces have been decorated, then they’re ready to be attached to stretchy fabric so they can be worn. To do this, I used a leather punch & punched holes all the way around the back edge of each face. I then h&-sewed a ring of cloth around each face, filled the faces with squishy foam, & then sewed the cloth ring to a rectangle of the same stretchy fabric.

I then sewed the rectangles together at the back to create tubes with goblin faces on them, & added elastic at the top & bottom of each cloth tube, thus giving me wearable knee-pads & elbow-pads that stay in place. For the goblin on my shoulder, I only added a b& of stretchy material to go around my upper arm, & then I sewed the top of the face directly to the right armhole in my vest to hold it up. I also didn’t fill in that face with foam, but instead lined it with sticky-backed felt.

“Night-Vision” Goblin Goggles: The goblin goggles I created using a wooden form as described above to make two little nearly-identical goblin faces out of leather. I used short lengths of copper pipe for the eyepieces, drilled holes & attached cheap plastic pipe fittings painted black with screws & end-nuts to one end of each copper pipe, creating two eyepieces.

Inside each eyepiece, I glued a red 2” lens. These can be purchased on-line. I also used super-glue on the nuts & screws, to keep them from deciding to unscrew themselves on their own. I attached an arched piece of copper hardware along the midpoint of each pipe section, for the nose-piece.

Then I took my leather goblin faces, which I had already decorated, & sewed a long, red tongue of leather into the underside of each face, to use as the fastening strap. To the back, I attached a buckle, to buckle the two goblin tongues together. I then wrapped the goggles around a plain beige workman’s hat, so I could wear them on top of my head.

Vest & tool belt: The vest I made from green upholstery fabric & brown lining fabric. I used a gypsy vest pattern that was designed not to close in the front, so the vest would not obscure the company logo on my t-shirt. The tool belt was just two lined cloth rectangles, cut to the right size for my hip measurement, with sturdy ribbon sewn on for the belt-loops & side-ties, & hung from a regular belt.

I also cut out three rectangular pockets (bottoms & flaps) & another long rectangle from the green fabric, to create a row of fabric loops on the back to hold my “goblin-catching net” (actually a fishing net) & any other monster-killing tools I might need.

Once I had the basic parts cut out, but before I sewed everything together, I designed monster faces to decorate the vest & tool belt. Again, I tried to get as many monster faces onto the vest & tool belt as possible.

To create these faces, I experimented with cutting out & arranging colored paper shapes. Once I had the faces planned out using paper, I cut the same shapes out of leather scraps. This leather doesn’t have to be vegetable tanned, since you’re basically using it just like any stiff fabric (just be sure that if you use leather, you also have leather-weight sewing machine needles & a sewing machine that has a tough motor).

Finally, I appliqued the leather shapes onto the vest using a sewing machine with a zigzag stitch, sewing down the different shapes on top of each other. Once the decorations were on, I sewed the rest of the vest & tool belt together.

Goblin Fumigation Gun & Poison Tank: To create the fumigation gun, I glued together & painted some relics from my basement: a large plastic Christmas ball, the top of a squirt-bottle, a wooden c&le stick, a disk with oblong holes in it (I think it was once the screen from the back of a computer fan,) a cone-shaped part of a ceiling fan that we did not need, a brass washer, & a television tube that once belonged to my gr&father.

The “poison tank” was originally just a small rubber container, but I wrapped the clear plastic section between the black rubber top & bottom pieces in a thin sheet of brass & used some old metal cinching b&s that were lying around my basement to hold it in place.

I attached a brass plumbing fastener to the top of the tank, & the piece of black aquarium tubing to the brass fastener. I attached the other end of the tubing to the base of the gun h&le. I added metal loops to gun & tank, to hang them from my tool belt.

Mini clipboard with survey & business cards: I figured a good monster exterminator would begin every job with a free in-home estimate, so I added a mini clipboard to my tool-belt, loaded with Gorkin business cards & a survey for potential clients to fill out. The business cards & survey were created as regular documents, but I adjusted the printer settings so that the survey would print half-sized to fit on a small-sized clipboard.

Exterminator logo t-shirt: The “Gorkin” logo was created on the computer. Printing & ironing on the transfer was done following the directions on the package, using a “dark” t-shirt transfer since my shirt was beige, & I wanted the writing to appear white.

Goblin lures: Since goblins love to grab things & shove them into their gaping maws as soon as possible, the goblin lures I created involved attaching fishhooks to different kinds of “monster bait”—shiny coins, a small rodent, & the face of a rival goblin. I ground the sharp edges of the fishhooks off with my Dremel, so they would not poke anyone I bumped into.

Goblin hair ties: To create these, I rolled some polymer clay into four large marble-sized balls, then sculpted little goblin faces onto them, baked them, let them cool, painted & glazed them, & strung them on elastic.

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3 thoughts on “Coolest Monster Exterminator Costume”

  1. Absolutely love how detailed and business-like this costume is–clipboard? Business cards? And all the little trophy touches– easy to see why this costume was a multi-year assemblage. Also love the notion of needing an exterminator for things that fall between rats and ghosts– do the enormous cockroaches that we have in my part of the world count as goblins? LOL, because “regular” exterminators sure can’t get rid of them.

    I’m just blown away by the completeness of this get-up. You’re hired!

  2. I actually made seven leather trophy armor pieces, one goblin face on each knee, one on each elbow, one really small one on each side of my goggles, and one on my shoulder. Then I also had two large monster faces on my vest and three smaller ones on my tool belt pockets. I had two monster faces on each of my hair ties, and a monster face on a goblin lure. So altogether, 17 monster faces could be seen on this costume. ;)


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