Wow!!!!!!! & I Need your Help!

1. Cardboard Contest 2012, 2. IMG_7213, 3. Cardboard, 4. Accessory 1 ~ Photo 7 (made from cardboard cereal boxes), 5. Cardboard gargoyle mask, 6. Skull Mask, 7. African buffalo mask, painted, 8. Supernatural Habitat, 9. Made in Cardboardia. Workshop in Moscow., 10. Made in Cardboardia. Workshop in Moscow., 11. Minister of Culture, 12. Day of Giant Tyran’s Creatures, 13. Sea creatures, 14. Costume, 15. Cardboard Ishkabibble costume by Anandamayi Arnold, 16. картонная маска Бкнганга3

Wow!!!! I am in awe of the fantastic costumes that have been entered so far………… but I know we can get more people involved!

We want as many people to enter the Cardboard Costume Challenge and show their creations as possible! This is our chance to inspire a movement of incredible cardboard costumes full of creativity and craftsmanship!

Maybe you weren’t able to enter the contest but you have a friend that made an incredible costume out of cardboard, or another student at your child’s school? Help them to enter! I’m extending the submission deadline to Nov. 2 to allow for entries from various time zones.


You can copy and paste this message into your email or smart phone:

I saw your amazing cardboard Halloween costume today, and wanted to tell you that you should enter this cardboard costume challenge online There are prizes from Make-Do (a cardboard construction kit) and several different categories to enter. Check it out and hey, great job on your costume!


MakeDo Japan kindly donated the best prizes ever! One of the most imagination-inducing, creativity-boosting, cardboard-affirming toys on the planet! Thanks so much MakeDo Japan!

Live in Japan and want to buy MakeDo so you can tinker with cardboard throughout the year? click here. If you are an English speaker and need language help to purchase MakeDo, email me at

If you live elsewhere, MakeDo is available via Amazon.

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Cardboard Wolf

I finished the wolf mask!

Just in time for some shopping and a little adventure to the Kawasaki Halloween event!

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Sadly, we had to come home early and didn’t get to see the parade, just the costume contest. We thought our costumes were pretty clever until we saw the Rocky Horror Christmas group costume. Amazing!

Halloween may be a relatively new holiday in Japan, but in the land of anime and cosplay, dressing up is taken pretty seriously.

5 minute Cardboard Petticoat

While I realize not every costume can be best created out of cardboard, I wanted to inspire you with a little idea for some covert cardboard.

At one point I tried to construct a full blown petticoat out of cardboard, but after more than one failure, I thought there must be a better way…..

Surely this is a trick that every mother should have up their sleeve? A kind of Julie Andrews move akin to pulling the drapes off the wall and stitching up a dress, except you’ll pull a strip of cardboard out of your recycling and make an ever-puffy twirly skirt…..hopefully while singing?

Just staples and a long strip of cardboard is all you need. Make sure that the corrugations in the cardboard run parallel to the skirt’s hem and you’ll get a smoother contour.


Cardboard Karma Chameleon

A few more tweaks and this guy’s ready to dance!

How are your costumes coming?

We have a little less than a week left!

Can’t wait to see YOUR creation! Upload to Flickr or just shoot me an email with your costume photo attached to

Wolf Mask: Sneak Peak

Happily, all the different kinds of cardboard I’ve been saving have been put to use in the making of this mask.

Especially exciting is the bag of torn-up egg cartons that works as wolf fur.

For more inspiration:

Check out this Flickr photo set from a participant in the Cardboard Costume Challenge named wrnking. T-Rex head under construction.

Cardboard Mermaid Costume: Sneak Peak

I finally started my daughter’s mermaid costume after lots of mental gymnastics thinking about how to get started. I’m not going to give it all away, but you can see the beginning here:

And a little of the inspiration here:


I’m also thinking about how I can keep a mermaid warm during colder Halloween temperatures. Hmm….

Adapting a sewing pattern for cardboard

It’s often handy to work from a pattern if you’re feeling squeamish about designing a headpiece for your costume from scratch. Sewing patterns are a great option if you can get your hands on an appropriate pattern for the costume you’re making. Here I’ve adapted a simple child’s hood pattern into a headpiece that is big enough to fit an adult.

1. Trace your pattern pieces onto cardboard and cut them out.

2. Texturize your cardboard by crumpling it up and twisting it, this will give your cardboard a more leather-like texture and make it easier to work with.

3. Cut thin flexible strips of strips of cardboard about 1.5 to 2 in. wide by whatever length you will need (I like boxes that are similar in weight to pizza boxes) and glue these strips one side at a time to the two pieces that you are trying to join. Regular white glue and clamps or clothespins work great for this.

4. Continue adding your cardboard seams as you put all your pattern pieces together. trim as needed.

5. Now you can begin to modify your piece for your individual costume. Here I added more pieces with the same technique by gluing thin strips of cardboard for the seam and then attaching a forehead and jaw piece.

Links to a few handy patterns suitable for costume making:

Vest pattern by the Mother Huddle

Hood pattern by Fabric link

Children’s fitted hood/hat pattern by Martha Stewart Living

Baby cowboy boots pattern by Nap Time Crafters (You could adapt this pattern for making any kind of boot-like shoe covers.)


Meet the judges: Octodrone

Meet cardboard artist John Daniel who goes by the Flickr name Octodrone and the moniker jD. He’s made cardboard  masks, costume elements, and props professionally for productions by the Presidio Trust, and  Word For Word’s workshop performance of “Stories From Sonoma Mountain” in Wheeler Hall at UC Berkeley.

When I was looking for inspiration for the Cardboard Costume Challenge I came across jD’s work on Flickr and was instantly drawn to his striking cardboard masks and props. When I read about how many of these masks and props were used; to act out plays about nature and environmentally conscious personalities like Ansel Adams, I was even more intrigued. What a fitting use of recycled cardboard!

jD is busy preparing for an exhibition of some of his cardboard works in SanFrancisco right now, so we’re really lucky he’s agreed to help out with the judging for the costume challenge. Thanks again jD, and best of luck with your opening!

Some cardboard texture ideas for you…

1. Cardboard spirals are great for cardboard wigs, antennas, or scary egg carton eyeballs that fall out of your glasses.

2. Egg cartons and crates make great bumps, horns, tentacles and nostrils for animal costumes.

3. Braided cardboard, Rapunzel or Boy George are just a few options to get you started.

4. Picket fences can create bones, gladiator bracelets, etc.

5. Corrugated strands separated reveal those cool crimpy parts if you’re trying to add new textures.

6. Fan folded cardboard holds it’s shape well for bows, fins and wings.

Meet the judges: LiEr of Ikat Bag

If you’ve poked around on the internet anywhere googling the words “cardboard” and “kids” chances are you’ve come across LiEr’s blog Ikat Bag and her fantastic cardboard creations. She’s made everything from telephones to fruit and vegetable stands, light up trains, Barbie carriages, pinatas, dollhouses that have indoor plumbing and heating (well, almost!), tiffin boxes and granny purses all out of cardboard.

Did I mention that she is also a seamstress/tailor, a former physics teacher and school counselor, pattern designer, mother of 3 children and creative genius? Lover of Nutella?

I’m so excited to have LiEr on board judging the costume contest as well as spreading her enthusiasm for all things cardboard! I hope you stop by her blog to check out her amazing collection of projects and great tips for working with cardboard.

Yokoso LiEr!