Quick Treebeard
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Treebeard  - Halloween shortcuts

Here we present some shortcuts from our members.

Firstly, whatever you do - you have to be able to take it off easily and quickly. Movie aside, there's also answering the call of nature, and getting to and from work.

From what I remember of Treebeard, the Hobbit's impression of him is that he's wearing some form of tunic but they aren't quite sure where the tunic ends and he begins. So you have a great deal of leeway with him.  He has a tall head, with the deep green eyes that at times glow, and a very full beard that is twiggy near his face and like moss at the ends.

Okay, my suggestion would be to make a mid-thigh length or knee length tunic out of some heavy fabric like an old mattress cover. (You know the quilted ones that you put over a mattress to keep the buttons from poking you..) I'd use snap tape for the opening - probably in front. Dye the thing brown - Rit if you can find it, if not just use a heavy concentration of tea.

Then take strips of various brown or brown green fabrics and sew them on vertically to the tunic. They can be old sewing scraps, scraps from old dresses and such that are no longer good, remnants - whatever is cheap, richley colored and textured. Let the strips hang down beyond the bottom of the tunic. It will make the costume look taller but still allow you to sit down and move. You don't have to sew the fabric strips up and down both sides - rather just sew down the middle - leaving the sides to flop and adding to the effect. You can use any kind of fabric - felts, burlap, homespun, velvets or velveteen. Vary the width of the strips but cover the tunic, and keep layering - you're trying for a bark effect.. You could also get very thin foam rubber (from an upholstery place) and glue (hot melt glue is okay but may pop open in the heat.) thin strips to the tunic.

Then spray paint the foam and the tunic, then glue strips of fabric on over and around the strips. But put dark strips or paint in between the strips of foam to make the bark look deep and craggy.

As for arms and legs - check the book for colors but try to find tights and leotard (or tights and an old nylon turtleneck) in a brown green or brown grey color. You can make them look more "treeey" by taking Sharpies (laundry markers) in brown, black and green and giving them bark patterning.

You'll need to color your hands to match the color of the leotard or top you're wearing. Using make-up pencils make your hands look again treeish. Some long, fake fingernails will help. Do them up in a brownish green color.

The head Piece (it must be removable or the people behind you in the movie will hate your guts and hire some orcs to take you out) can be made a couple of different ways. The fancy, more expensive way is to use sheet foam. (I'd advise quarter and half inch thick myself) Again available from Upholstery shops.

You also have to decide whether you want a hat or something that is more a full headpiece - IE - it fits over the head and comes down to the shoulders. (In the book - it says that Treebeard doesn't have much of a neck.)

Going the less expensive way, using the same material as the tunic - create a hood that comes down to your shoulders. It should cover the ears but leaves the face clear. Mark where your ears are and cut and sew a slit or small opening there so that you can hear for safety's sake. The hood should snap or hook onto the tunic to help support the weight of the branches and stuff. Dye the hood brown like the tunic and get some thin twiggy branches and sew or glue them to the hood at about forehead level - putting on enough of them to create a crown effect. Using the fabric strips cover the lower part of the hood - running the strips up into the branches and letting the bottom of the strips trail down past the shoulders - they'll help hide the junction between hood and tunic. Get some moss (as Judy suggested) at the Crafts store and twine it in and about the branches - you can also use it to pack into the center of the twigs at the top and hide the hood fabric. If you can't find moss - get some rafia or brownish colored excelsior (long shreds of paper) and do the same thing. Green and/or brown spray paint (the kind for Styrofoam) will blend everything together.

You might have to put a buckram hat form underneath the hood to help it hold its shape under the weight of the twigs. Or, if you can't find a hat form, get an old baseball cap and cut the brim pretty much off and use it underneath the hood. You can baste the hat to the underside of the hood. If you leave just a tiny rim of a brim - you can cover it with fabric strips and attach moss or some other treey stuff to twine down around the sides of your face - again hiding the hood.

Using the makeup from your hands - do up your face. Make it look very old - deep, deep set eye sockets. Use a shiny green eye shadow on the eyelids to approximate the green glow. Attach moss to your hood at the chin level to recreate the beard. A few tiny twigs right at the chin to recreate the description in the book. You can create a lip piece (like a moustache) of spray painted excelsior to blend into the beard so you don't end up with a nose full of moss.

     === Fran E

Disclaimer:  Everything here is just provided to help you out as a suggestion.  .

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This page was last updated 04/22/08