The Mysterious Stranger Costume Build; Part 8: Shoulder guards

In honor of Halloween…This is the final piece of your costume!!  Yay!



  • package of small balloons (can be purchased at dollar store, walgreens, etc.
  • tons of newspaper or brown paper bags
  • white glue or wood glue (sturdier)
  • 2 small bowls
  • resin
  • two heavy duty lengths of cord about three inches in length (this can be substituted for a metal or plastic ring.  we use this as a attachment device to attache these to the costume)
  • red string or cording less than 1/4 inch wide (about 6 inches long)
  • red paint
  • sculpey clay (any variety will do)
  • sand paper
This piece has two fazes: constructing the base and embellishing it.
  1. blow up a balloown until it is the correct size.  The size is determined by your shoulder width.  one balloon makes BOTH shoulder panels, so one half of the balloon should look like it might fit over your shoulder
  2. tear piece of newspaper or brown paper bags into strips and set aside
  3. in a small bowl, mix equal parts glue and water.
  4. set the knot of the balloon down into the other bowl.  This bowl will act as a stand to hold your paper mache as it dries.  You might want to put it on top of some newspaper to catch drips, and you might also want to tape the balloon to the bowl with masking tape to prevent it from tipping out of the bowl
  5. begin soaking the strips of paper in the glue mixture.  Make sure to squish of the excess before applying to your balloon.  You want to completely coat the entire surface of visible balloon.  You can trim the pieces one they are dry, so it is best to have more paper mache than less.
  6. do each layer individually.  Once you have covered the entire surace, let dry and then cover again, until you eel that the structure is sturdy enough to be handled, cut, etc.
  7. once this is dry, cut in half  This will give you your two shoulder pieces.  Trim as needed, trying them OVER YOUR ARMOR to see that they fit
  8. At this point, I embelished mine a bit.  I want to have a thick, upturned edge on mine, so I took some clay, and using the foil molding technique, baked the edges and applied them on with glue.  It is a simple process of making little clay snakes.  You may want to work in segments rather than baking the whole edge at once.
  9. once you have the edges done, which is of course optional, you’ll want to resin coat the OUTSIDE of the shoulder pieces.  This process can take up to two days.
  10. Once the outside is dry, you’ll want to either sand and do repeat coats, or you’ll want to coat the inside.
  11. Make sure you have created your attachment BFORE YOU COAT INSIDE WITH RESIN  To do this, make a loop out of your strong cording (or using a metal or plastic ring) and sink it into the resin as it sets.  I had to rig a system to keep it upright.  I just strung some string from one side to the other, and taped it into place.  The loop hung over that with its ends sitting in the resin.
  12. Once this hardens, you may wish to repeat the process.
  13. Sand the entire thing and repeat coats in order to attain the desired texture on the outside.  Also be sure to sand the edges, because they can be quite sharp and catch on your costume
  14. Once everything is dry, you can make your embellishments.  I sort of had to make it up, based on a hybrid of multiple screen shots rom the movie.  It generally looks like there are some swirls and scales that sort of jut out.  This part is up to you, but again, lay foil over the shoulder piece, form the clay on it, then carefully slide the foil off so that it retains the shape of the shoulder piece.  Bake, then glue in place on your piece.  You can resin coat over it, if you wish, but it isn’t necessary
  15. After this is finished, paint!  I also chose to fabric line mine, in an effort to keep the smooth surface against the costume.
feed the thin red cording or string through the fastening loop at the top of the shoulder plate and feed this through the holes drilled into your gorget skirt.  The velcro on the gorget should be heavy duty enough to make certain that the shoulder pieces stay in place.  They will swivel over your arms allowing free movement.  They can also be quickly and easily removed if you need to eat or strip.
I hope that this all makes sense.  If you have any questions regarding this build, just email me and I’ll be happy to help you fix it, or adapt it to another costume.

2 comments on “The Mysterious Stranger Costume Build; Part 8: Shoulder guards

  1. Where are the photos of the complete costume? I so badly want to be the mysterious stranger for Halloween! Please let us know how this turned out! 😀

    • The pictures are on the first entry in the series. I have a thread link set up to link all the costume build entries together. Go to the sidebar on the right, scroll down to the area that says “categories” and click on costume . Scroll through to the beginning and you’ll see one photo. I’ve added a bunch more scales to the skirt since that photo was taken, but the costume is as it should be.

      Huge success. Got a lot of “oh mu god you’re that guy from the thing!” or “that’s creepy” wore it on Halloween and got my picture in the paper. Nice costume for scaring kids or for getting recognized in a cos-play convention. Plus, if you follow my steps closely, you’ll still be able to move, see, speak, and hold things, which is even creepier. I even bought a cheap voice modulator and scares the bujeezes outta some poor mother with her kids.

      Huge success, but gotta warn you, it took me 2 months of solid 8 hour a day work and though I kept costs low and gave ideas for keeping them even lower, it sill cost about $500 all told.

      If you need help or brain storming on any one pure, just drop me a line. Since building it, I’ve had loads of ideas about improving the process, so you might be able to make it even easier

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