Mask-Making Workshop


Cardboard Collective mask-making workshop in Tokyo, October 24, 2014

In cooperation with Play Park Kujira Yama ( a weekly pop-up adventure playground in Tokyo) I’ll be leading a Halloween mask-making workshop culminating with a cardboard pinata we’ll decorate the day of the event. Oide!

Who: preschool and elementary aged children and their parents

What: recyclable Halloween hat and mask making

Where: Koganei Musashino Park next to Kujira Yama

When: Friday, October 24th, 2014 from 2pm – 4:30pm

Please bring some light weight cardboard, a stapler and scissors (with your name on them) and okashi/snacks to fill  our pinata!

The Cardboard Collective


Cardboard Costume Challenge 2014

Although it’s already Mid November, I just wanted to say thanks again to all of you who took the Cardboard Costume Challenge this year.

Whether you sent in pictures or just got thinking about the idea for the future, thanks for following us on this year’s Halloween adventure. I had so much fun working on our insect family costumes as well as the other costume tutorials.

I hope to see you again next year, and please visit the Pinterest Board now and then as you start scheming and dreaming for 2014. (I already have a request for a Humback Whale costume from the littlest one and a year might be just enough time to figure it out!)

How to Start a Cardboard Knight (or grasshopper) Costume


Cardboard Grasshopper Costume by Amber

How to Start a Cardboard Knight Costume Costume by Amber cardboard costumes tutorial by Amber

In case you are just starting your costume, (like me) I wanted to show you that you can still get started with a cool cardboard costume and finish before Halloween (you will have to hustle). Although I’m going as a grasshopper, most elements are the same, I’ll just be dealing with extra legs and antennae…

Just start with long cardboard strips, (mine are a rulers width), and drape them over the shoulders attaching horizontal strips as needed.

You can build a structure pretty quickly on which to start gluing cardboard skirt pieces and armor layers.

The rounded layers on the shoulders above are made by tracing a variety of bowls and plates, cutting them in half, then folding them and gluing them into place.

Really, it’s not about the cardboard though, is it? It’s about trying something new that you have never done before….it can make you sheepish. Well, I’m here to say: You can do this!

My inspiration: these incredible costumes from last year’s challenge:

Archery Knight by Rachel and Tom Morgan

Archery Knight by Rachel and Tom Morgan

Cardboard Knight Costume by wrnking via Flickr

Cardboard Knight Costume by Warren King wrnking via Flickr

More Inspiration:

A Great Cardboard Helmet Tutorial via Instructables

A Great Cardboard Armor Tutorial via Instructables

Gathering Inspiration & Making a Plan


Costume Planning at The Cardboard Collective OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When my daughter decided that she was going to be a butterfly this year, we thought, hey why not be a whole family of insects?

Then the real thinking began and we each had to commit to our insect of choice… My husband chose early and is following an entirely logical, and proper plan for attacking his costume, bit by bit. Although it’s not typically my style ( I wish it was), I’m going to try following his approach this year too.

Here’s what we’ve done so far:

1. Create an inspiration board. I like to use Pinterest. Here’s a link to the board I’m using for my Grasshopper costume. I usually try to gather examples from the following categories to get a well rounded amount of inspiration and produce a unique and creative costume.

  • realistic images (many views)
  • inspirational costumes
  • images that address problems or difficult parts
  • images that inspire shapes or moods

2. Create a detailed sketch of your costume. I like my husband’s approach of folding a regular piece of white paper in half vertically and drawing the costume from the front and back. It keeps it simple. After drawing, he began to add measurements.

3. Collect materials and prototype. I like to try smaller versions of some costume parts first to see if my ideas will work, then I know if I have to keep trouble shooting any parts of the costume.

How about you? Are you well on your way, or just getting started?

More Cardboard Heads



We’ve already gotten our first photos for the Cardboard Costume Challenge!

Christine Scheer made this incredible Pavlov’s Dog head entirely from cardboard for a cardboard costume charity event she attended in late September.

You can see how Christine started her head by making the upper and lower cardboard jawbone pieces and then used strips to connect the pieces.

This a truly original costume idea! Thanks for sending your awesome pictures Christine!

Cardboard Costume by Christine Scheer

Cardboard Mermaid Costume

There wasn’t much time during the frenetic week leading up to Halloween to share the details of the cardboard mermaid costume with you, so those of you who have been wondering what happened to the pile of brown cardboard fish scales, well here they are in technicolor:

The mermaid costume was my favorite of the cardboard costumes I made for my family and myself because it involved a whole different approach to working with cardboard- threading together many cardboard pieces to create a kind of flexible cardboard skin. The costume is very securely held together, so one of the problems, in fact, was that is was a little hard for my daughter to move around in.

Remember the sage advice I passed on to you at the beginning of the challenge about creating a costume that you could sit down in? Well, we had a few problems in that department….

You can see the back of the costume here, which was covered with a cape for warmth, as well as to hide the paper cords. It’s possible to create a costume that is seamless, but because we had to take my daughter in and out of the costume a lot, I didn’t work too hard to make it all fit together perfectly. I’m thinking of adapting this costume into a downloadable PDF someday, so I’m going to keep expanding on some of the new ideas I tried while making the cardboard mermaid gown.

We painted the scales with regular watercolors, which worked beautifully and gave the costume soft, romantic coloring. I loved the fact that every scale was a little bit different because of the blending of the blues,  greens and yellows.

The great thing was that the costume was well loved, and my daughter just beamed on Halloween night, scooting carefully around from house to house with her sister Little Red Riding Hood.

Cardboard Costume Challenge Results

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(Notes: Because all of the costumes were essentially made of cardboard elements mixed with other media, I eliminated the “hybrid” category. There were no bicycle costume entries.)


Edward Westerhuis: I am the Ram!
Cardboardia: Cardboard Jack-o-lantern
(Special Mention) Leelada via Flickr: Cardboard Cowboys


wrnking via Flickr: Cardboard Knight
Rachel and Tom Morgan: Archery Knight

Kid Made:

Leo: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
Sid: Star Wars Storm Trooper
(Special Mention) Lego Block


You all have me pondering the many new ideas you put out there with your incredible costumes!
I’m thinking about metallic cardboard, felt on cardboard, fringed cardboard, cardboard horns, and wearable cardboard houses and cars.

So much inspiration! I hope you feel the same way! The level of creativity that turned out for the challenge was so overwhelming, I hope everyone feels a great sense of accomplishment from the costumes they created. Tomorrow I’ll be posting some reflections about the challenge and welcome your suggestions for next year.

Deep bows to all our judges and to MakeDo Japan for donating MakeDo kits to all the winners of the contest!