On Tuesday, I shared the final photos of the DIY Mad Max: Fury Road costume that Noah and I have been working on for this Halloween! If you haven't seen them, here's one of my favorites:
By far the most difficult piece of the actual costume (not the gun!) was making the shoulder pad. And as I was mostly in charge of the wearable portion of this costume, I had to figure out a way to make it look as close to Tom Hardy's movie costume as possible. It turned out to be easier then I thought! Today, I'm going to show you how I made my own Mad Max shoulder pad to attach to the jacket.
(By the way, the jacket was even easier, if you want to see how we made that you can check out how we made the jacket here!)
Are you ready? Click for the full tutorial!
We started with a thrifted set of football shoulder pads. This ended up being around $8 from a local thrift store. You'll want to cut out the fabric pad from the chest piece, and cut the largest shoulder pad off, leaving as much strapping as you can. You'll need that later, to attache the plastic pad to the fabric pad.
Tom Hardy's fabric pad had a line of stitching all the way around the edge, so to replicate it I used my machine to sew a line of stitching about 1/2 inch from the edge of the pad all around. I needed to use a heavy duty denim needle for this, these pads are intense!
For some more detail, I added some zig zag stitching with black thread in a couple of places on the very edge. This was purely for aesthetics, so don't worry about it if you don't like the look.
I also used an embroidery needle and some thread to sew big, obvious stitches over my machine stitches. I added a few decorative 'cross hatched' stitches to look like someone with no sewing skills had tried to repair the pad. Do not feel like you need hand sewing skills for this step, in fact it's totally optional. And the messier it looks the better. It also doesn't matter really what color of thread you use for this part, it'll get painted over later.
Next, I started the painting. I decided to use spray paint to make this fabric pad look like weathered leather, because fabric paint doesn't adhere very well to this kind of synthetic fabric. It was also easier and quicker to get the effects I wanted using spray paint! I used five main colors for this whole project; a dark, dark matte brown, a lighter reddish brown, matte black, a bronze metallic and a matte clear coat. I highly recommend that if you intend to wear this costume more then once, you spring for the more expensive, quality spray paint. Trust me!
The first part I painted was the inner curve, which would be the most blackened and weathered part of the under pad. I started by taping it off and spraying it down with the dark brown.
After dark brown, I spritzed it lightly with the black, trying to get the very inner edge the most as this is where a leather pad would get very worn:
The effect, once dried, is very much like that of sweat and dirt stained leather, as you can see above. The trick to getting those big, splotchy black spots instead of the nice even coat the can is supposed to deliver is apparently to just barely tap the nozzle when you spray, it works like a charm. Once I figured this out I used it on a lot of the pieces of this costume.
Once the inner curve was dry, I took off the tape.
For the rest of the fabric pad, I started with a light base coat of the dark brown, and followed it up with the light brown over the whole thing. I then used the same spritzing technique to give the edges a slightly blackened, weathered look with the black.
Next I started on the plastic pad. I sanded it down (really good), and gave it a coat of black paint back and front. Then I used the same spritzing technique in dark brown, bronze and black to get the mottled, pitted look I was going for. For the final touch, I used a paint pen in silver to make the grommets stand out, and look like weathered metal. By far the best way I found to do this was to draw along a tiny portion of the edge of the grommet with the paint pen, then quickly smudge it with my finger. Worked like a charm!
The last step for painting was making it look like both pieces had been worn together. For this, I used the bronze paint, because it looked the most like dirt and dust. And if you've seen the movie, you know Tom Hardy was covered in dust!
I placed the plastic pad on top of the fabric one, about where it will sit on the jacket, then sprayed the entire thing lightly from the front, to get the effect of the two pieces being dusty and worn together. This also gave it more depth and color and lightened the contrast between the brown and the black a bit.
The final step was to attache the new shoulder pads to the jacket itself. I agonized about this one for a while, because while I wanted to be able to sew it on, this this is THICK. Really thick. And with leather under that, there was no possible way I could hand stitch it on. I ended up going with super glue! After trying three different kinds, we settled on gorilla glue.
After I tried the shoulder pads on Noah and measured where they would need to fall, I used straps of the plastic pad and glued underneath the rounded edge of the fabric pad. When that was thoroughly dry, I laid the entire pad over the jacket and glued it the heck on, with as much glue as I could. It worked like a charm!
There you have it, our adventure in making Mad Max's shoulder pad. I hope this was informative, but if you have any questions please feel free to email me or comment below and ask!