Costuming

Costume Sunday: Mark’s Tentacle Rig

Mark with wearable tentaclesMark likes to costume as well, but he tends more towards projects that involve construction than ones that need sewing. One piece he has worked quite hard on is creating a set of tentacles for his Vampire LARP costume. His character has four shadowy black tentacles that come from his back. Getting these to work as a costume piece has been quite a challenge.

This was actually the second try at making a rig for this. The first time, the main back piece was made from wire and the tentacles from foam insulation. The result looked good, but was hard to wear and seriously lacked durability. Second try worked much better.

Amusing part? Nearly all of these supplies came from the hardware store.

To make the rig, Mark used:

  • A black tool belt
  • Black tool belt support suspendors
  • Black tool belt attachable pocket, about 5 x 6 inches
  • Flexible thin PVC pipe
  • Black foam insulation, darker, closed cell type
  • Hanger wire
  • Black duct tape
  • Heavy household glue

First step was to create the center piece that the tentacles were going to attach to. For this, using PVC pipe and connectors Mark made an “H” shaped section. Holes were cut in the bottom corners of the tool pocket for the bottom of the “H” to go through. Thus, all four corners of the “H” stick out of the pocket, but the rest of it is hidden. Plus, the pocket ads greater comfort and stability.

To each of the corners an angled connector was added. Then, long pieces of thin PVC pipe. Each pipe was given a core of hanger wire so it would have a little bit of ability to be posed. Over each pipe, the pipe insulation was slid on. The end at the “H” was secured using black duct tape, which also hides the bit of exposed pipe. This also has the benefit that the least durable part of this construction, the foam, can be replaced.

Then, the far ends of the foam were cut at an angle to give the pointed tentacle look.

The pocket was hooked (by way of a built in bracket it already had) to the back join of the suspendors. This sits pretty high up on the back. The suspendors were then linked to the belt. All this is worn over a thin shirt. Finally, to hide the rig but keep the tentacles showing, we cut slits in the back of an oversized t-shirt. Velcro was added to the bottom of the slits to close them back up under the tentacles.

It worked very well, and transported better than we thought it would. Plus, this style of rig would work very well in the future if we needed to make very large wings for a costume. It was stable and comfortable.

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