This Pierrot Grenade design reflects the history of using rags attached to a sack to create the robe, alongside modern fringing techniques, accessories and sparkle. Everything you need comes from the kitchen.
Traditionally, Pierrot Grenade costumes had small tins containing stones attached to make them rattle. In this Kitchen Carnival design, the sound is made by the kitchen foil and paper moving. The costume also has more structure than a modern satin outfit – the materials are all very flexible and forgiving, so experiment until you are happy with the result. You can reattach torn foil with sellotape or stick more foil over the top, and shape the shoulders and sleeves with your fingers until they fit your body. But remember not to be too self-critical – as with stage costumes, Carnival costumes aren’t designed to be seen close-up, and are intended to be new each year.
To make this Pierrot Grenade costume, you need:
Your mask and gloves:
Any PPE mask and gloves you have at home. (Everyone needs these now we are ‘living with Covid’.)
Simply wrap a piece of foil loosely around your head and shape it to fit.
To make your robe you need:
- A black plastic wheelie bin liner OR 2+ smaller black plastic bin liners OR a plastic garment cover from the dry cleaners.
- A roll of silver foil (I used a 30cm wide roll).
- A roll of baking or greaseproof paper (I used a 30cm wide roll).
- Some card or cardboard – a large cereal packet or an old delivery box are ideal.
- An unwanted magazine.
- A glue stick or glue pot and brush.
- (optional) Sellotape.
- (optional) some kitchen weights and pegs.
- (optional) felt pens and/or acrylic paints.
- Cut off the bottom of the wheelie bin liner – the top of my bin liner was straight, so I turned it the other way up afterwards so that the straightest edge forms the bottom of the robe. OR cut off the bottoms of two ordinary black bin liners and join them together with glue and/or sellotape to double their length (if the bags are narrow, you may need to join two at the top and two at the bottom). OR if you are using a garment cover, open up the hanger hole. This is your basic robe, so make sure the length is right for you, and shorten it if necessary.
- Lay your robe flat on a worktop, table or floor and smooth it out (you can use kitchen weights or other objects to hold it down).
- Put a line of glue along about 20cm from the bottom edge. Please note all measurements are approximate, and there is no need to use formal measurements to create this costume.
- Unroll the silver foil over the glue so that one side is stuck down along the glue line. Smooth down the foil with your hands, and wipe off any excess glue with a bit of kitchen towel or toilet paper. Don’t cut off the end of the foil, as it is going to wrap around the other side.
- Use the scissors to fringe the foil, cutting strips about 4-5cm wide and leaving about 10-12cm at the top.
- Turn the robe over and continue on the other side.
- Put another line of glue about 15cm above the first row of fringing. Repeat steps 3-4, cutting the fringing so that it overlaps the row underneath.
- Now repeat steps 3-6 using kitchen paper.You can add colour to the costume by decorating the paper first with pens or paint. You can also substitute recycled gift wrap for kitchen paper if you have some gift wrap available.
- You can continue to add rows of fringing as needed to fit.
To make the neck piece:
- Unglue a cereal packet and cut off both ends and one side (leaving one side to sit on your shoulders). OR fold a piece of cardboard or card into two equal pieces.
- Cut the cereal packet across the side and then cut a triangular shape from the front and back OR cut out a triangular shape from the centre of the folded cardboard or card to create space for your head.
- Cover the outside of the neck piece with foil, using glue to secure it into place.
- Experiment until you are satisfied with the comfort and fit of your neck piece. Don’t be reluctant to start again if necessary.
To make the sleeves:
- Over-open your unwanted magazine it to break its spine.
- Take the magazine apart and select 12 x A4 pages of text – these represent the words used by the Pierrot Grenade.
- Divide your pages into four sets of three pages each. Each set of pages will make one side of a sleeve. (If you have long arms, you may want to use sets of four pages instead.)
- Put a line of glue across the top of your first page.
- Glue your second page on top of it, overlapping the page underneath by about two-thirds.
- Put a line of glue across the top of your second page.
- Glue your third page on top of it, overlapping your second page by about two-thirds.
- Optional You can strengthen your sleeves by adding one or two staples at the side of each glue line as you go.
- Cut each loose layer of paper into six strips.
- Repeat steps 4-9 for each of your other sets of pages.
- Carefully staple each sleeve together.
Putting it all together:
- Staple the top of the robe around under the neck piece, making sure you have left enough space at the sides for your arms.
- Glue more fringed foil across the top of the neck piece to disguise the join.
- There are two options for the sleeves. EITHER staple the sleeves to the neck piece and sides of the robe, opening up the sleeves again as necessary to join them. OR wear the sleeves separately on your arms – this makes the costume easier to put on and is also cooler to wear, but you may need to add ribbon or string around the top to keep them on your arms.
This costume is designed to go over your head, but it’s also possible to cut it carefully down the back so it goes over your arms. Use sellotape to strengthen the edges, and then staple on strips of plastic to use like ribbons tie it at the back.
Carnival costumes are designed to be worn once, and this costume is quite fragile. If you’d like to wear your costume over and over again, then consider making Design 2 (coming soon) instead.
When you’ve finished with this costume, don’t forget to recycle what you can, or better still, keep it to re-use. For example, foil scraps can be rolled into balls to stick onto the surface of a new creation.