A Special Birthday Video for My Wife

My wife was having dinner with a friend, and while the kids and I ate supper without her, I had an idea for a birthday video for my wife. The only problem: her birthday was the next day.

I explained the premise to my children, and once we cleaned the table, my two oldest kids began illustrating the characters, and I sat down to formulate a script. 15 minutes later, the script was finished. Ten minutes after that, the illustrations were complete. Next, we recorded the vocals on my iPhone (mostly in the utility room – lots of sound dampening clothes hanging up to block the noise of the twins). Everything was going exceptionally well – my six year old’s monster drawing was a perfect fit, my nine year old daughter nailed the script after just one read through, and the twins were contentedly coloring.

After just a few minutes, we had all the major pieces we need to pull the video together.

We took a break to play before putting the twins in bed, and afterwards I started “cutting out” each of the illustrations in Photoshop. Another break to tuck in the big kids, then I took a minute to do vocal sound effects. I wasn’t sure how the sound effects would work, but I think they add a lot of fun to the piece. I have exactly zero experience with layering sounds, but the audio came together nicely.

After that, hours of animating video in After Effects. By 5:45 am, I was ready to render the video and pick up some milk for breakfast.

I love how the project turned out – almost exactly like what I had in my mind.

But the best part was Keri and the kids’ laughter when they saw the the video later that morning.

Boba Fett Scratchbuilt Jetpack

It’s been a couple of years since I built my Boba Fett suit, but over the last few weeks I’ve been working on a jetpack. There’s a reason that I put this part off – it’s an incredibly difficult part to build from scratch. But since the unpainted resin kit costs $350, I chose to make the pack out of sintra and upholstery tubing which I managed to pick up for free. Other than that, it was just the cost of Bondo, spray paint, some wooden balls, liquid mask, and a few wooden dowels.

This was my first time to do something so elaborate, but I’m very pleased with the results.

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For a full writeup, see my full list of instructions on Instructables.

This project has been featured on:

instructables laughing-squidfashionably-geekmakeadafruittechnobob

Tauriel – Fighting Elf Lady Costume Instructions

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Both my daughter and oldest son decided that they wanted to dress up as Lord of the Rings characters for their birthdays. My son’s costume (Frodo) was easy to pull together using a costume and elements I bought online, but when my daughter decided she wanted to dress up as Tauriel, the fighting elf lady from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit movies*, I discovered that there aren’t great costumes for that character.

So, I made it myself using some wood, an old green shirt, some fake vinyl leather (on hand from my Boba Fett costume), and a store-bought leggings and boots (both on clearance).

 

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This gray sparkly boot was pretty far from what we needed, but some brown spray paint did the trick nicely.

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Masking off the soles and insides of the boot – to get them ready to paint.

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I used one of my daughter’s shirts as a starting point for the dress. We were very limited on fabric, so I ended up using pretty much every bit of my old shirt.

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Spray painting the black leggings with brown spray paint.

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Preparing the “leather” parts. Here I’m making the upper part of the boots.

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Drawing out the first dagger.

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I clamped the boards together and used a reciprocating saw to cut them out. (One day I’ll have a ban saw.)

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Shaping out the top dagger using a sander.

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Cutting notches using a box cutter.

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Finishing out the details of the dagger.

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After applying spray paint.

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The finished costume!

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*My kids have never seen any of the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings movies. They’re still pretty terrified to even watch Disney movies right now. But we have read all the books together.

Here’s some additional pics of my son’s Frodo costume.

Star Wars Costumes

For photos of the work in progress, go here.

Completed Boba Fett Costume!

Finally, after months of building my Halloween costume, it’s finally finished. :)

For photos of the work in progress, go here.

Boba Fett Costume Build

As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been building a Boba Fett costume for Halloween. It began with my wife’s innocent comment that it would be fun to dress up as Star Wars characters as a family, and when the costume I bought online didn’t live up to my expectations, I began to research how I might build my own costume. Fortunately, there’s a ton of great tips online, and I quickly found myself totally hooked. I love a good project, and without a doubt, this has been the best project I’ve ever attempted.

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Below are photos of my costume through the process. I’ll continue to update this post as I add new components.

Rather than just serving as an example of my compulsiveness, I hope that others attempting to build a Boba Fett costume might find some ideas here and avoid some problems I encountered.

Pics of completed costume here.