I do burlesque, or "nerdlesque", as I like to call it. I'd been looking into doing a Beholder number for almost a year, and finally had a chance to realize my dream! A Beholder is one of the most famous monsters in Dungeons and Dragons. It has a large central eye, and a collection of ten (usually) smaller eyestalks. Each eye can cast a different spell. It's pretty brutal. I decided to take a few artistic liberties with the traditional Beholder to burlesque it up a bit.
FYI: these tips revolve around being able to remove the costume with as little hassle as possible.
I decided to make the Beholder out of papier mache. I used a medium sized exercise ball (65 inch) and covered it in several layers of papier mache. I like to wait 24 hours between each layer to ensure everything dries. I'm not going to tell you how to make your paste. I know we have preferences. I just add flour to water until it's nice and thick like pancake batter.
Pro Tip: I would highly recommend letting a little air out of your exercise ball between layers. The ball expanded overnight, cracking the papier mache shell. You can see where I patched it up here.
Four layers of papier mache later.....If you are very careful, you can deflate and remove the exercise ball without cutting or popping it. Then you can bounce around your house annoying your cat and call it cardio.
As I needed to remove this quickly and easily, I decided to wear it like a barrel and cut holes large enough for my shoulders and hips to fit through so I could just slide it off.
It's painting time! I drew a rough outline on the shell and just painted from there. I finished the piece with two layers of Mod Podge and a final layer of another sealant, as I find Mod Podge sometimes remains tacky to the touch, especially in the humidity.
I measured where I wanted the piece to fit and cut holes. Then I ran ribbon with snaps attached through. The ribbons sat on my shoulders, and I could just undo the snaps and remove the piece.
Time for eye stalks! I was pretty DIY here, using floral wire, batting, and masking tape. Just tape the batting around the wire until it is the strength and thickness you want. This will not be smooth, but that's what I wanted. If you want a smooth texture, I would recommend you sew the stalks and then stuff them with the batting and wire.
You can bend the eye stalks in any way you choose.
I made a total of eight eye stalks and painted them the same color as the Beholder's main eye.
This next step is really easy. I made a collection of eyes out of felt!
These eyes were then affixed to the ends of the stalks with hot glue!
I wanted the eye stalks to be attached to my bustier, so I could remove the main eye, but still be covered in eyeballs, as you can see here.
I didn't want to ruin the bustier, so I sewed the eye stalks to a ribbon, then tacked the ribbon to the lining of the bustier by hand.
This step was a serious pain. I destroyed a couple of eye stalks, but I ended up sewing those eyes to my knees, so it worked out. I would recommend that you save yourself that grief and just attach them to the Beholder's main eye. I went to this trouble because I was going for a specific look.
I also sewed a felt eye on each glove, so I could use my hands as eye stalks to interact with the audience.
DENTATA!! The Beholder has a pretty gnarly mouth. I cut out individual teeth from felt and tacked them onto a pair of undies by hand.
It's pastie time! To make a basic pastie: cut out a circle of stiff felt or foam. Do whatever size you are comfortable with. Cut a slit to middle.
Overlap the ends of the slit you cut to make a slight cone. You can make this as pointy or as flat as you like.
Glue those ends together, and you have a nice basic pastie that you can decorate any which way you choose! I decided to continue the eyeball theme.
I hot glued a thin feather boa around the edge of the pastie.
Then, I took a tiny rubber ball I had painted similarly to the Beholder's main eye and hot glued that to the middle of the pastie.
Tada! Monster eyeball pasties!
I decided to round out the outfit with some fun shoes! I took regular black pumps and glued googly eyes of different sizes all over them.
I seriously love these shoes, you guys.