HARPY: Classical Mythology . a ravenous, filthy monster having a woman’s head and a bird’s body.
Below are some instructions on what I did to accomplish this harpy costume for Halloween 2011.
Step 1: Plan It Out
I first started out with a sketch based on some good ol’ Googling of harpies. I particularly liked the ones in World of Warcraft. As you can see, my final product evolved a bit differently from the sketch (colored wings became a bit too time consuming):
Step 2: Make Giant Wings
The frame is the most critical part to having awesome wings. I commissioned the help of an expert in wing-making, Danielle Hurley. Her craftsmanship is top-notch and the frame fit me perfectly. I’d highly recommend contacting her if you’d like some wings. Check out more of her work on her website or her blog.
To support the feathers, I made a frame from chicken wire and glued it onto some black canvas.
I used black turkey quills and started applying from the bottom up. I ordered 500 feathers (250 of each wing side) and probably used about 300-350. I also used bits of black down from a feather boa to mask the transition of quills at the top of the wings.
Step 3: Make Bird Feet
I built my bird feet on top of an existing pair of boots that I knew were comfortable. It helped that they already had pointed toes. I used green craft foam to shape the toes and hot-glued them on. The talons are fake bear claws. The bear claws were more proportional to my body than fake eagle talons.
I painted the green foam with brown paint so it would all match. Then I covered the boots in tan liquid latex. In hindsight, this may not have been the best material, but it gave it the rubbery skin-like texture I wanted.
I painted the final boots with acrylic paints (again, maybe not the best type of paint since it kept cracking).
Step 4: Paint Yourself
I painted myself with professional grade body paint using a sponge and brush. I usually use the water activated cakes from the Paradise line by Mehron since I can buy them locally at Norcosto in Dallas. I also order online from Silly Farm when I have more time to spare.
The fangs were from a Halloween shop. I recommend going for the most realistic ones, even if they cost more. The nails were also from the costume shop and glued on with nail glue.