Costume Building Tips

Santacon Costume-Building Tips
from Santa Boston

So! You're trying to work out a Santacon Costume thing – and like every other Santa who has asked in the past, you're on a budget. What do you do? 

Okay – to start, don't wait to the last minute and don't wait for someone to help you with it. Start sooner: youʼll have the better advantage of more free time. Free time costs you nothing. Whether you're out of school ʻtil after the holidays, or a working slob with Sunday afternoons to fill, use the time you have to stretch your money.

If you know other Santas, itʼs super-awesome to team up with them for Costume Building
dates. But again, do not wait to start!

To build a basic Santa costume:

What you want:
  • Pants or overalls, jersey or shirt, jacket.
  • Anything that is trim (pieces of furry fuzzy) or can be turned into trim.
  • Christmas colors are good but almost anything white can be dyed cheaply and easily, especially anything made of natural fibers (cotton, wool, hemp).

Where to find it:
  • Your closet, attic, basement, etc. 
    • This is the cheapest source of material. If you find pants, shirts, jerseys, jackets,etc. that you don't wear anymore you can use them. If they fit, wear them. If they don't fit, cut them up and use them for trim.
  • Used clothing stores, second hand, good will, salvation army, army surplus etc.
    • This is where you buy the cheapest materials. 
    • If you take the time and effort to look (and you will need to), you can probably find pants and a jersey/shirt that fit for $20 total. Add a jacket for another $15.
    • This takes times, probably going to multiple locations, maybe more than once. But stores open at 10:00 AM and if you've got time in your day you can take advantage of it.
    • While you're looking for clothes, look for stuffed animals too. Fur trim costs $15 - $30 a yard at the fabric store. You can often find big stuffed animals at second hand stores for a couple bucks, then take them home and skin them.
    • If you can't find stuff in the right size and color, look for well-fitting light-colored stuff that you can dye, particularly natural fibers. Uniform and work pants are good since they are easily found in white. 
  • Online alternatives to goodwill: 
    • Ebay
    • Google Shopping
    • Amazon
    • In 20 minutes of online searching, I found pants that would make a fine Santa suit for about $15 including shipping.

Putting it together
  • Dying clothing is simple
    • Use RIT dye from the fabric store ($3 per box). Multiple boxes or combined boxes deepen and change the color. I use a huge soup pot that I bought at Goodwill for $3 to keep the dye out of the washer. 
    • After the clothing is dyed and rinsed well, wash it once or twice WITH NOTHING ELSE IN THE WASHER to rinse out the extra dye.
  • Trim 
    • If you have clothes you can cut up or a stuffed animal you can skin for trim, that's great. 
    • Otherwise, get trim from the fabric store. It's not cheap, but you don't need much. 
    • Tassels, fringe, chenille and furry fleeces are sometimes cheaper than faux fur. 
    • Hand sewing trim isn't hard it just takes time. 
    • There are double-sided fabric tapes and glues that you can use for this sort of thing. But I don't know how well they work.

Easy vs. cheap
  • Using your free time is the best way to save money. If you have the luxury of time, you can totally spend that instead of cash. 
  • The biggest thing to consider is the cost of driving. If you spend $40 on gas driving form store to store to get a pair of pants, you could save yourself the trouble by ordering a pair of paintersʼ overalls online.
  • Itʼs not hard to find a new low-quality Santa costume online for $30 - $40. 

No comments: