How to make your own Thomas the train costume!

This year I decided to make my son’s Halloween costume. And since he is obsessed with Thomas the train, he just had to be Thomas of course. And lets face it folks, the rather lame looking store bought Thomas costumes are just a waste of creativity. I mean it looks like someone took a big paper bag cut a hole through the top to make it a poncho and added a Thomas face on the front…. I just can’t let my kid rock that totally uncreative outfit. So like most creative parents out there, I designed my own. :) And with a little effort came up with a costume that at least looks like a train. I documented the process of course so you to can make your own Thomas the train costume for your kid (that doesn’t make your kid look like an upside down grocery bag)…. :) No offense if your kid wore the store bought one, I had to carry my screaming 3 year old out of the Halloween store because I wouldn’t buy him the store bought one. An effort that took all my might and probably not worth it for someone trying to avoid this situation.
So here it goes… How to make your own Thomas costume…

Step 1: Find a big box

Find a big box

Thankfully I had one available.

Step 2: Measure and draw your cut marks

draw out your design

This piece will become the right side, top, front bottom piece, and back of the costume.

I measured how tall and wide my son is, and based the dimensions of the costume off of his size. Then I drew my schematic out on paper first making adjustment as I went. I then drew it out directly on the cardboard with dashed lines indicating folding edges that will be scored instead of cut. You can see my dimensions labeled in inches in the photo, but your dimensions will vary depending on the size of your kid. (I ended up making the width of the costume smaller after I cut it out to fit my kid better)

left side

This piece will become the left side and front part of the costume.

Step 3: Cut out your pieces

Using a box cutter, cut out all the pieces and score along the dashed lines for easy folding.

cut and score

make sure your cutting on a surface that you don't mind leaving cut marks on

Step 4: Fold and duct tape together

If you measured correctly and scored your folding edges your costume will fit together like Lego’s.

Fold together

Fold together

Duct tape

Duct tape

Step 5: Make the face

Using a paint can as a template, or something on hand that’s round and about the size you want the face to be. Draw 2 circles and cut them out. Then cut out a long strip of thick 80 to 100 lb paper to wrap around the two cardboard circles forming the width of the face and connecting the 2 circles at each end with duct tape so it looks like a drum. Keep in mind how ever wide you cut the paper will be the distance from the the front of Thomas’ face to where it connects to the body.

Step 6: Attach the face and your ready for paint

Attach the face to the front of the costume, and add the funnel. (I used a toilet paper roll for the funnel and glue gunned it on). TIP: The duct tape tends to peel off in places over time, so I used a glue gun and secured the duct tape down over the entire costume before painting it. Use acrylic paint to paint the costume, it’s important to use a thick non-water based paint so that you can not see through the paint once it dries. Even with the acrylic paint I did a couple coats for each color to make sure you can’t see the cardboard underneath.

The tain costume partially painted

Step 7: Draw on a happy looking Thomas face and make the wheels

For the wheels I used some old CD’s I had no use for and painted them blue leaving the reflective CD to show around the edges. You can paint your wheels how ever you want. I then glued them on with a glue gun. (obviously you can add more detail to the wheels, but I didn’t care to for time reasons) Then draw on your happy Thomas face and paint it. :) If you can’t draw, no worries, measure the diameter of your Thomas face, print one out and glue it on. Don’t forget to paint on the big #1 for Thomas on both sides of the costume.

Drawing on the face

Step 8: Add the straps and your done!

Use some thick ribbon and measure out how much to need so that the straps suspend Thomas on your child’s shoulders without Thomas hitting the ground. Attach the straps to the inside of the costume and your done!! Hooray you made your very own Thomas the train costume! :) TIP: Add a conductor hat and scarf and your costume is complete!

The finished costume!

Afterthoughts: Tips and ideas…

This costume was awesome and I had so much fun making it! However for walking around all night trick or treating it became cumbersome so my son only wore it for a little while, before just wearing the conductor hat and scarf and my husband carrying around Thomas. (it was still worth it because we got photos of him trick or treating in it for a little while at least, and he absolutely loved it, and still plays with it around the house) With that said, if I had more time I would have fashioned some sort of skateboard or scooter hidden under the costume so that he could sit inside the costume rather than carry the weight of it on his shoulders. But that to had challenges because trick or treating to houses with stairs wouldn’t have worked out so well, and will a short amount of time to come up with a better idea, this is what worked. I also considered using another toilet paper roll and hiding a small flashlight inside to attach next to Thomas face so it would light up just like the real Thomas. This would have added more weight to the costume though so I nixed this idea. I also considered putting dry ice in the funnel for a realistic smoke effect, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted my kid breathing dry ice all night, so I nixed that too. You can really get creative when making your own costumes, so I hope this helped someone who wants to make there own, and I’m sure you can always find way’s to improve upon this idea. :)

Cara -

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