How we made the Corporate Person Costume
by Jan Edwards and Leon Schneiderman
- 2 boxes [we bought white ones from the box store]
- 24" X 24" X 32" high [body box] our box was longer, but we cut it down to this size
- 12" cube [head box]
- Blue pin stripe suit from second hand store
- Piece of plastic window screen 12 X 24 inches [ black or sprayed with black paint]
- Glues [we used several kinds including spray glue and hot glue]
- Black paint, Gray spatter trunk paint or other paints as you see fit
- Stiff white paper in big sheets [if you want to use our painting technique]
- Mat knife and cutting board
- Foam rubber
- Something for the top [we used lightweight bundt pans]
For the body: Tuck in the bottom flaps [for strength] and glue them up. Or, they could just be cut off. Close the top flaps and cut hole for head. [We made our box collapsible for traveling. This involved the flaps opening with velcro. This is an extra step and not necessary if you have a car big enough to carry the box opened up.] Try it on and adjust head/neck hole so that box sits on shoulders and rests parallel to the floor. Mark armholes while person is wearing the box. They are slightly to the front, not exactly in the middle front to back. Cut arm holes. We used a mat knife to cut. We slowly enlarged the holes till they were big enough and comfortable for the wearer. Try it on with the suit jacket to make sure holes are big enough. Glue pieces of foam rubber to the inside of the box to pad the shoulders. This also keeps it from slipping front to back. Plan your window design. For the body, each window is 3"wide and 31/2"high. One the sides and back there are 5 windows across and 6 down. On the front there are 5 across and 5 down because, at the top, we left a place for the sign that was one window high. The spaces between the windows are 11/2". You don’t have to follow this design of course.
For the head: The windows on the head are smaller but in the same proportions. They are 21/4" wide X 3" high. The spaces between the windows is 5/8 “ with borders of 2" on the sides and 11/4" top and bottom and 3 rows of 3 windows for the sides and back of the head box. The front of the head box has the same spacing but the top row of windows was left off so there is 2 rows of 3 windows. The first thing to do is make a pattern of the window design for the head [3 rows of 3 windows] and cut it out of stiff white paper.Use a straight edge. This pattern can be part of the costume later, so save it. Trace the windows on the front [face] of the head box [the lower 2 rows of 3] and cut them out. This is easier to do before you close the top of the box and glue it shut, which you can do now. Fold up [inside the box] and glue the bottom flaps. Don’t glue the face side flap yet, but cut the window portion out of the front so you can see and tuck it up inside for now. Using foam rubber, pad the top of head box so that it fits your head snugly. The idea is that when the body box is on and you put the head box on it will rest on the shoulders of the body box the head box will turn when you turn your head. Glue in the foam rubber when the fit is right.
Top of the box: This could be almost anything you want as long as it is light enough. We used 2 lightweight bundt pans topped with a plastic thing we found to which we added an antenna. But we thought of lots of funny things from a helicopter landing port to a satellite dish made from a metal vegetable strainer. Because the pans were metal, we drilled holes thru them and attached them to the head box [we did this before the foam padding was added, so plan ahead for that sort of thing.]
Painting the costume: This could be done many ways, of course, but this is what we did. It was time consuming but came out looking great. The box was used for the windows and we cut the stiff paper to glue onto the box cut in the pattern of the stone window framing. This way we could paint quickly without masking. We sprayed the white boxes lightly with glossy black paint on the areas where the windows would be. We did not cover the white completely with the black. This made it look as though the windows were shiny. Do not spray the face of the head box, but the other 3 sides. Using a straight edge, make a pattern to trace the windows from stiff white paper [or mat board, or foam core]. One pattern for the head [which you already made] and one for the body. Use the pattern to trace the other sides on pieces of stiff paper making the front of the body box with one less row of windows on the top. You do not need a cut out piece for the face of the head box. Cut out all the windows with a mat knife. You then have a big piece of paper with just the window frames. If you lay it over the blackened box side, it looks likes windows. After all the pieces are cut, lightly spray the stiff paper frames with Gray Spatter Trunk Paint. You can get this at a auto supply store and you will need 2 cans. Also spray the face of the head box and the top of the body box and head box and whatever else you want to appear as “stone”. When dry, glue the stone facings over the windows [we used spray glue for this].
Finishing: Untuck the unglued face box flap. Fold the black plastic window screen in half to make it less easy to see through [double thickness] and glue into place inside the head box covering the cut open windows. Now tuck back the face flap and glue in place. It helps hold the screen. The sign on the front of the box is printed on a computer and glued to foam core. Velcro is glued on to make it removable and change the corporate identity. The logo on the forehead of the head box is also on velcro. Wear with suit coat and pants. Someone should be with the corporate person to help guide him as it is difficult to see the ground. We suggest someone dressed as a corporate lawyer.