About ten days back, I received a phone call from my daughter Anjana’s school. The teacher told me that Anjana will need to be dressed up as “<I-couldn’t-hear-what-the-teacher-was-saying>” , that she has written a note in the diary and that I had to meet her at 9 am the next day. It was school dispersal time, so you can imagine the decibel levels in a kindergarten classroom. Making sure that each kid is picked up by the designated pick up person is an essential duty of the teachers and I did not want to take more of her time.
The note said that Anjana will be on stage as a pencil for the Science Day Celebration at school. Wow, pencil! Images of all kinds of cute and colourful pencils went through my head, I was elated. Unfortunately, Google let me down this down. No proper tutorial on pencil costume – at least, not the kind that I was looking for. Most of the images were kids wearing tshirts and leggings with pencil-tip hat on their heads. Not good, not at all. Others were costumes which I could buy online but they looked horrible. No words to describe the horror of some of the images that I wish I could unsee some of the images.
In the meanwhile, fancy dress competition came up and I spent my energy and time of those costumes plus my elder daughter’s theatre showcase for which we had to spend considerable time and effort on hiring the costume and taking her for the rehearsals and the show. All of these pretty much ate up most of the weekend space that I had. Now, with one weekend left, I had to make a pencil and I was still clueless.
Cursing my stars, I tried to mentally visualise what kind of thing would be easy to buy, easy to work with, light enough to be worn on stage and yet be sturdy enough to be withstand the handling of a 4-year old. Bending a sheet of store-bought cardboard will be disastrous because they are not meant to be bent. I used to be a hoarder of cartons until recently. After renovating the house, I felt the need to throw out useless (but sturdy and perfect-sized) cartons (mostly Amazon pantry delivery boxes – though their packing tape stinks – literally stinks – the boxes are unmatched in quality). So, now I was left with nothing.
Luckily, I acquired a JK Copier Paper box which had to do the trick. The box was about 12 inches in width – an inch more than Anjana’s width, lol!
Apart from the box, I used the following:
- Fevicol (glue) and Fevikwik (superglue)
- scissors and box-cutter
- bright colour paper (neon pink and neon yellow) – OR newspaper, paint and brush
- gold and beige colour gift wrapper
- black chart paper
- brown tape
- a circular plate for outlining
- strings / ribbons
I did not click a lot of pics during the process because unlike the other costumes, I did not have the finished image in mind while doing this. So, I was doing my signature thing – making up as I go. I have included pictures below to explain how this was done.
The box will be covering the torso while the lid will be mounted on the box for the head and above. Let’s start with the box first.
With the base (or bottom) facing up, leave the left side (flaps attached the to side of the box) intact. Open up the flaps on the right side of the box. It will look like this:
Now, the left side of the box (left intact) will be placed on the child’s shoulders. So, cut out holes on the sides on the box:
The step above is for the right arm. Now, repeat it for the left arm.
Armholes done, it is done to cut the box for the neck part.
Keep the box aside and take the lid and reorient it:
We will be cutting out a circle for the face. Make sure that you leave a couple of inches gap for the neck:
I do have a pic at this point – when I first drew the circle for the face, I forgot to leave some space for the neck. Thankfully, I remembered before cutting it – that’s why you see multiple circles. After cutting the circle out, just below the circle, cut open the flap – this will ensure that the flap does not scrape against the child’s neck. It also helps in gluing the lid to the box.
Now, mount the lid on the box. The lid is (obviously) a bit wider than the box. So, fold the lid a bit at the sides to match the width of the box. Secure this assembly using superglue or regular glue and tape. Or, heavy duty stapler, if you have one.
At this point, I started covering this thing with bright coloured paper. Be sure to cover the sides too. I had bought 4-sized colour paper and it took a lot of effort to the paste them on to the pencil. When I was almost done, I realized that I could have pasted old newspaper all over and painted it with whatever colours I wanted. It would have had lesser joints than what the pencil currently had!
Now, the tip of the pencil. The box was fully used up for the above. So, I used an Amazon delivery carton for the tip. My first attempt in attaching the tip to the top of the pencil failed miserably (not pictured here). So, I made the tip using this shape:
Before sticking the tip to the pencil, cover the tip also with the colour paper. I use a beige colour paper for the entire tip, then stuck black to the pointy end on top (sharpened graphite lead) and a wavy-edged pink (sale colour as the pencil) for the rectangular part.
Using superglue, stick the tip to the pencil. Since I am unable to explain using words, please see the pics below: Place the tip on the pencil aligning rectangle A over rectangle B – bring green rectangle denotes the overlap. This way, the tip will start to taper from the top of the pencil.
Well, almost done now.
Since the colour paper joints were showing up, I used strips of gold paper as accents to cover up the mess. With that done, using a ruler and a pencil (or a stencil if you have one), cut out “HB” in the black paper and stick them sideways towards the bottom end of the pencil.
One last step and we have it ready: tie one end of each ribbon to the armhole so that the loose ends of the ribbons can be wrapped and knotted behind your child’s back.
With Anjana inside:
Yup, you guessed it right! She does not like the costume. But, this is what she will have to wear for the show.
Thanks for reading this long post. Bye!