How We Create a Character Costume

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The design process begins with the sketch. We always ask the client to submit any art work they have on hand. This can be any type of graphic they use as a logo, product identity material, letterhead or advertising art. We also ask for colors and type fonts that are used in the advertising of their company or product.

With these materials from the client in hand we begin. Several rough pencil sketches are used to get the initial concept of the character. These are redrawn to refine the details and finalize the concept. The final pencil sketch is then scanned into the computer where we work on adding color and texture to the design.

While we are working on the sketch and the visual aspects of the character, we are also making decisions on which materials will work best for bringing the sketch to life. (See:Design Features)


Once the concept has been refined and the design work completed, a proposal is written for the client. This proposal consists of the completed character sketch and a written breakdown of the materials and features of each element of the character costume. A cost for each element is also included along with the approximate delivery date, any optional features available such as cooling fans or shipping cases and terms of payment.

The proposal is then sent to the client for final approval. If the design and proposal are approved, we begin building the character. If there are major changes to the design, a new sketch and proposal are worked up and submitted to the client. Work on the character can begin only when the entire proposal is approved by the client.




  • May be made of celastic, EVA foam or fiberglass.
  • May have details scultped in foam, cast in latex or appliqued.
  • Eyes are of 1/16" vaccu-formed plastic.
  • Heads may be mounted on a construction helmet for maximum articulation or an aluminum shoulder harness for maximum support.
  • Optional battery-powered cooling fans can be installed.


  • All bodies are flat-lined with a poly/cotton broadcloth for durability.
  • May be made in a one-piece jumpsuit style or in multiple pieces, depending on the design.
  • Most bodies are machine washable but must be line dried (especially if made of acryllic fur).
  • Bodies may be lightly padded with poly batting and/or shaped with a pod of poly mesh and plastic hooping.
  • Feet are usually separate, built on an EVA foam foundation, have a vinyl shoe line and heavy crepe rubber soles. They may be covered with naugahyde, acryllic fur or heavy spandex depending upon the design.
  • Mitts and hands are usually four-fingered with an opposable thumb. They are lightly padded and lined.


  • Hats are attached, yet easily removable for cleaning and storage.
  • Clothing is usually separate but shaped to fit over the podded body. This adds a touch of realism to the character.
  • Logos can be added to clothing and hats. Simple designs are usually carried out in applique while more complicated designs are transfer printed.


  • Bodies, feet and mitts can be machine washed and line dried.
  • Most clothing can be machine washed and dried.
  • Heads can be hand-cleaned with either an aerosol upholestry cleaner or a steam extractor.
  • We can also set up maintainance, storage and shipping programs for your character.


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©Schenz Theatrical Supply 2001