How to make a calculator costume

Written by martin malcolm Google
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How to make a calculator costume
There's a humble calculator in millions of schoolbags. (amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images)

Pocket calculators caused a sensation when they first appeared back in the 1970s. Today, a calculator is just a regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill item in millions of schoolbags and briefcases. It's the useful, slightly clunky drone of the gadget world, its glory long since eclipsed by more hi-tech devices. Get your family and friends to take another look at the humble calculator, by using it as the inspiration for a costume. It's a cheap and easy outfit to make, but this is one costume you can count on to make a big impression.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Large, rectangular cardboard box
  • Craft knife
  • White household emulsion paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Pocket calculator
  • Acrylic paints
  • Glue
  • Black duct tape
  • Long-sleeved black T-shirt
  • White gloves
  • Long, stripy tights
  • Big, clumpy boots

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    Measuring and cutting

  1. 1

    Measure the distance from the crown of your head to your eyebrows with a ruler. Measuring from the top, mark this distance with an 'x' in pencil on the front panel of the cardboard box. Use a craft knife to cut off the flaps at the bottom of the box.

  2. 2

    Starting in line with the 'x,' draw a rectangle 30cm (12 inches) long and 10cm (4 inches) wide on the front panel. This will be the calculator's screen. Cut out the screen with a craft knife, to leave a neat rectangular hole. You'll look out through the screen when you're wearing the costume.

  3. 3

    Measure the distance from the crown of your head to your shoulders. Mark this distance with an 'x' in pencil on the two side panels of your box. Draw a 15cm by 15cm (6 inch by 6 inch) square in line with each 'x.' Cut out the squares with a craft knife, to make arm-holes for your costume.

    Painting and decorating

  1. 1

    Use a paintbrush to give the box a coat of white household emulsion paint. When the paint is dry, apply a second coat. Paint the inside part of the box that can be seen through the screen hole, too.

  2. 2

    Mark the cut-off flaps of the box into 10cm (4-inch) squares. Cut them out with a craft knife. They will be the calculator buttons (see References 2). Check a real pocket calculator to see how many you will need. Make sure you include all the function keys, as well as the numbers.

  3. 3

    Paint the squares with acrylic paint. Choose bright colours that stand out well against the white emulsion. When the squares are dry, use a contrasting colour to paint a number or symbol on each one. Glue the buttons onto the box, following the layout of your pocket calculator.

    Finishing touches

  1. 1

    Stick black duct tape along the edges of the box, to finish them neatly. Frame the edges of your cut-out screen with duct tape, too. Finish the edges of the costume's armholes in a similar way.

  2. 2

    Team your box outfit with a long-sleeved black tee-shirt and white gloves. Wear bright, stripy tights, so the legs that stick out at the bottom of the box are as eye-catching as possible. Complete your outfit with the biggest, clumpiest boots you can find.

  3. 3

    Carry the real pocket calculator in one hand. People will fire plenty of sums at you when you're wearing this outfit. Whenever you're asked for a tricky calculation, make a show of working it out on your own calculator first. Then give the answer.

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