Posted by Bridget, Citizens’ Advocacy Representative
Here at Tom’s, we love Halloween. And on more than one occasion, Halloween has loved Tom’s. Having received photos over the years from a few different consumers dressed as tubes of our Tom’s of Maine natural toothpaste, I decided to tackle the project myself. I have always loved constructing costumes by hand and avoiding store bought versions of things I can make myself. For this project, I created a Silly Strawberry toothpaste costume for my two-year-old niece and hoped it could live up to her box of existing outfits, all of which pair with tiaras. I had a sneaking suspicion that her love of our strawberry flavor would make her love the outfit, too. I also figured that constructing a human sized toothpaste tube would somewhat validate her belief that I personally make each of her tubes of toothpaste by hand.
1 White Bath Towel
2 pieces thick white paper board
Assorted fabric markers, puffy paints, etc.
Box cutter and scissors
Hot glue gun
Tube of Tom’s of Maine natural toothpaste!
A couple materials I did not use, that would have been very helpful to have include a measuring tape and a drawing compass. I also borrowed a brown crayon from my niece for some detail work on the costume cap, and grabbed a coffee filter at the last minute for a finishing touch.
Iron the bath towel to get rid of any wrinkles. Spread out on workspace. Set out your favorite Tom’s product designs for inspiration. My chosen design for my niece was our natural Children’s Silly Strawberry fluoride toothpaste, but the actual tube and cap design I went for was that of our adult toothpaste varieties, like our natural whitening toothpaste, Simply White.
Using your tube of Silly Strawberry for inspiration, paint the design. I did the towel free-hand, which was challenging, so I would encourage you to lightly plot out your words and images first. Get creative! Choose your favorite parts of tube text to feature, or feel free to add your own. The last Silly Strawberry costume design I saw said “Squeeze Me!” on the front. For my niece, I added some shimmer and glitter to sway her from her regular princess outfits. Our toothpaste is free of artificial dyes, preservatives and flavors, with no sparkles, but I figured that wearing glitter is a different story!
One tip from my experience: Stick with permanent markers, or paints meant specifically for use on fabric. Everything else will bleed and be noticeable on the white towel.
After your design has fully dried, you are ready to assemble the “tube.” The first step is to trace and cut the collar that will rest on the shoulders of your Trick or Treat-er. My Trick or Treat-er… is tiny. So I started with a record for a size guide. I ended up second guessing myself and making the circle larger. This is where a compass and previously recorded measurements of my niece would have been very handy. Once you have your outside circle set, use your box cutter (with caution) to cut the thick paperboard into shape. (I found that balancing the shape on a hollow box helped me to do this safely.)
With the circle complete, I used the box cutter again to cut an inverted gear pattern into the center of the round. This pattern allowed for my niece to easily slide the collar over her head, with it still being small enough to rest on her narrow shoulders. It also made it easier to secure the (now fully dry) towel into place.
I started by (temporarily) stapling the towel into position to get a better feel for how it would need to be secured. I then flipped the costume over so it could rest upside down on my workspace. Using scissors I cut slits in the towel to line up with each space between gear teeth in the design I had previously cut out. Then, tooth by tooth (that seems appropriate!) I wrapped the towel tightly, removed the stabilizing staple, and hot glue gunned the towel into place. When I finished, there was no sharp metal left anywhere on the collar, and the soft towel covered the majority of the paperboard.
Because I was attaching a large rectangular towel to a small round base, I did still end up with some extra material gathered at the back. To solve this issue simply, I used some craft grade adhesive Velcro to create a tab that could be opened for easy dressing, but would stay securely closed during Halloween festivities.
Now that the body of the tube was complete, I started work on the cap, the piece that would go on my niece’s head. I considered converting a lampshade for this piece, but in the end used the same thick paperboard that I used for the tube collar. I started by cutting the board down to the appropriate height, though it could have been even smaller. I forgot how tiny my niece’s head is! Once I had the desired height, I again used the box cutter to cut a hole for her face.
Once everything was cut, I wrapped the piece of paperboard into a cylinder shape, and used tape to secure it. I then added a binder clip for extra security. I used my niece’s crayon to sketch some ridges onto the cap, and attached a flattened coffee filter to the top for the final touch.
With the costume complete, and my niece now more than ready to serve as model, it was time to get dressed. Her little sister even got in on the action, sporting a hand-me-down Strawberry outfit.
A little big? Yes. As thrilling as a princess costume? Apparently, also yes. Just check out that Silly Strawberry smile!
What is the best homemade Halloween costume you ever constructed? Share your pictures on our Facebook page!