The Making of Mr. Peanut

I have an idea of how to make a Mr. Peanut costume! I'll start with two old t-shirts, some duct tape, and a winter parka. I put the winter parka on, including the hood. I then put the worst, holiest, t-shirt you own on your head, and a bigger t-shirt on your body over the parka.

I trust my wife Kerry to wrap me all the way around in duct tape, making me a virtual prisoner. I sure hope our marriage is going well enough that she wishes me no ill ends.

It's getting hot in this parka. I can't stand it much longer. I want full tape coverage, but I decide it isn't as important as avoiding heat-stroke. I have Kerry focus on covering the critical measurements with tape -- waist, chest, shoulders, neck, head. Boy is it hot in here. I have to get out.

Whew! That's much cooler. While de-sweatifying, I stuff the parka and other winter clothes inside the t-shirt/duct-tape combo. This is working out just like I planned -- I now have a form of my body.

I seal the openings (waist, face, arms) with newspaper to protect the clothes on the inside from the eventual outer coating.

I duct-tape some crumpled newspapers around the head to make it bigger -- more like a symmetrical two-lobed peanut. I also reinforce the body with duct tape.

This is where it gets interesting. Here I am applying insulating foam from a spray can that you can get at the hardware store. The stuff comes out like shaving cream, and if you get the kind that expands (my brand calls it "Big Gap Filler"), then it makes a nice thick, coating that hardens in a couple of hours.

You have to wait until each side hardents, and then rotate the body mold. A couple of coatings might be necessary. I used four cans in the project.

When using the spray, the instructions on the can really stress safety -- goggles, rubber gloves, old clothes. I soon realize there is little reason for these precautions -- all they do is make me look ridiculous -- especially since I'm relying on my wife's swim goggles, and the cleaning lady's rubber gloves.

I decide to stop wearing all this silly safety stuff. The foam never gets anywhere near my eyes. My hands wash off easily enough, and I only managed to ruin one pair of work pants. Just don't sue me if you decide to do the same.

Hey, it fits! And now it's starting to look like Mr. Peanut! I have to wiggle into the shell from the bottom, arms first, until I can get them through the arm holes and pull my upper body up until my head slides into the head cavity. It's a tight fit, but I think I can stand to be in it for a few hours at a time. Boy is it hot, though. Nothing like being inside a 2-inch layer of insulating foam.

One problem: I thought the foam would be more yellow. I guess I'll have to paint it.

Since the hardened foam is so lumpy, I use a steak knife to slice it down to a smooth surface. This is really messy. Good thing the cleaning lady is coming tomorrow. Don't tell her I used her gloves.



After slicing the foam, I realize something didn't work out as planned. The surface looks-like a cross section of a brain. It has lots of air holes between foam bands. This does not look like the surface of a peanut, and it simply won't do. I'll have to cover the surface with something.

I try glueing wet newspaper sheets to the surface. I try wall spakle. I try clear packing tape. I decide the latter works best, and this ends up covering much of the surface.

For a hat, I just make a can out of two sheets of posterboard paper wrapped around a circle cut out of corrugated cardboard. The rim is made of a donut-shaped piece cut from corrugated cardboard. Hot glue, the craft maker's savior, holds everything together.

I bought a monocle from a costume shop, but it is too small to be noticable. I therefore make one out of a cut up and bent coat hanger, hot glue, and black spray paint. I use a shoe lace as the cord, and hot glue holds it on to Mr. Peanut's face. Don't try this on your real face, kids!

Look to the left: It's time to paint! The newsprint takes lots of coats -- what a dumb idea that was. The tape is really easy to cover. Three cans of yellow plastic-surface spray paint are enough to cover the ourside and have some extra left for post-costume party touchups after Mr. Peanut suffers the inevitable late night bumps and bruises.

I make a newspaper stencil to spray paint a few black texture accents on Mr. Peanut's lower body, so he looks just like the logo from the 1960s.



After two weeks of on and off work, Mr. Peanut is finally done! Here I am at right posing with my wife, the beautiful Swiss Miss.