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
- Large, rectangular cardboard box
- Craft knife
- White household emulsion paint
- Pocket calculator
- Acrylic paints
- Black duct tape
- Long-sleeved black T-shirt
- White gloves
- Long, stripy tights
- Big, clumpy boots
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.
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.
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.
Measuring and cutting
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.
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.
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.
Painting and decorating
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.
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.
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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