How to make a Cyclops costume

The Ancient Greeks told of the Cyclops, a gigantic, blood-thirsty, one-eyed menace, who liked nothing better than feasting on the flesh of ship-wrecked sailors. The legendary hero Odysseus famously blinded the Cyclops to escape its greedy clutches. The Cyclops took time off from making thunderbolts for the gods, to star in Ray Harryhausen's 1958 stop-motion classic, "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad." You too can bring the Cyclops to slobbering, growling life, with a costume made from simple household items.


Cut out eight 30cm (12-inch) squares of tin foil, using scissors. Sandwich the squares together and press them over your face to take an impression of it. Trim the foil shape with scissors to make the base for a half-mask that covers your forehead, eyes and nose, but leaves your lower face bare.

Put a handful of plain flour into a bowl. Add water, little by little, mixing it in with your hands, until you have a paste about as thick as runny yoghurt. Dip strips of torn newspaper into the paste and lay them over the foil mask. Cover the mask with three-to-four layers of newspaper.

Mould a big round eye on the mask's forehead, using a wad of paste-and-paper. Mould a bulbous nose with flaring nostrils in the same way. Add paste-and-paper folds to form deep wrinkles over the parts of the mask that cover your eyes. Let your mask dry out thoroughly. This might take a day or two.

Paint your mask in flesh tones, using acrylic paints. With the point of the scissors, punch peepholes through the mask. Hide these peepholes among the paste-and-paper wrinkles. Punch holes on either side of the mask, thread thin elastic through them, and tie the ends. The elastic will hold your mask securely in place.


Roll a newspaper into a tube and fix it securely with masking tape. Tape balls of scrunched-up newspaper to one end of the tube to form a clumsy club shape. Cover your creation with four layers of paste-and-paper. When your club is dry, paint it in woody browns.

Fold a sheet in half along its length. Wrap the sheet once around your waist like a knee-length skirt, fixing it snugly in place with a safety pin. Take the trailing end of the sheet up your back and over your shoulder, so it hangs down onto your chest, completing a simple tunic. Team your tunic with sandals.

Cut lemon peel into a 3cm (1-inch) wide strip, long enough to fit over your top set of teeth. Trim the lower side of the strip into jagged points. Wear the peel like a gum-shield to give your Cyclops yellow, monstrous fangs. Use lime peel, if you prefer grisly green teeth.

Strip your action-figure doll of its outfit. Wrap and pin a white handkerchief around the doll, to make a miniature version of your Cyclops tunic. Hold your club in one hand and dangle the doll in your other, as if it is your tiny human victim. Instantly, you've scaled yourself up to giant size.


Use a cut-up rubber band, if you don't have any thin elastic for the mask. Stick a paste-and-paper horn to your mask, for a Ray Harryhausen-style Cyclops. Practise a jerky stop-motion walk, to complete the impression.

Things You'll Need

  • Tin foil
  • Scissors
  • Plain flour
  • Bowl
  • Newspaper
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Thin elastic
  • Masking tape
  • Sheet
  • 2 safety pins
  • Sandals
  • Lemon peel
  • Handkerchief
  • Action-figure doll
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About the Author

British writer Martin Malcolm specializes in children's nonfiction. His books include "A Giant in Ancient Egypt" and "Poetry By Numbers." His schoolkids' campaign for the Red Cross won the 2008 Charity Award. A qualified teacher, he has written for the BBC and MTV. He holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of London.