Thrifty Crafting: DIY NASA JPL Costume

NASA’s Curiosity Mission to Mars? Success! Our NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mission Specialist Halloween costumes? Success! These costumes were very cheap and relatively easy to put together, provided you look smokin’ hot in a Mohawk. Fortunately it was not hard to convince my husband to go as Bob Ferdowski, the NASA Mohawk Guy of internet fame. I went as his non-Mohawked collegue.

Since the signature blue JPL poloshirts the team wore were specially made just for them they were not available for purchase. Which is sad and seems like a missed opportunity for NASA to cash in on the public enthusiasm and support for the mission. I would have happily coughed up $25 for t-shirt that simoltaneously made my costume and supported a cause I believe in, but that was not to be. Once I found out the JPL shirt was off the table I started looking for patches. Which were also not available. Dammit, NASA, I want to give you my money! It’s okay, though, because I had a backup backup plan: I’d make the patches myself out of felt.

The patches were a bit tricky to put together. I traced circles out of blue and stiff white felt using a vintage souvenir plate and then I glued them together to create a stable base. I cut the red swooshes out of felt freehand, and it took several tries to get it right. I drew the background designs on the patches using a white paint pen. It took several applications of paint to get it dark enough to look right and required time to let it dry in between. Lastly, I cut the letters out of felt (I also just freehanded it) and that took several tries as well. Actually, that part was kind of a bitch. I tried tracing out the shapes and letters using a pencil first, but that ended up looking terrible, so I just cut out letters over and over until I was satisfied with how they looked. I found it helped if I cut rectangles in the size of the letters that I wanted and then subtracted bits away until it resembled a letter. The Ns and As were easy. It was the letter S that was hard.

I glued it all together in stages using a hot glue gun.

We drove around a bit looking for a place that specialized in shaving shapes into people’s heads. We found a place that did nicely and although we ended up waiting forever (did you know that head-shaving was such a meticulous and time-consuming art? I did not) but it was worth it. I wish Anthony could keep the ‘hawk but he’s shaving his whole head come Sunday so he’s work-ready on Monday. I know. It makes me sad in the ladyparts just thinking about it.

Anthony had a baby blue work polo shirt that was the right shade of blue already. I found a similar one in the boys’ section while thrifting. I attached the patches to our shirt with safety pins. A jar of peanuts will complete our look.

Go Team Science!

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    • Carrie Anne says

      I love these costumes, but I don’t think my husband will do the mohawk again this year. We’ll probably dress as Starfleet officers again.

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