From Boy to Raccoon: How I Turned J into Rocket

Building a costume for your children can be tough work. It can be more economical than purchasing an outfit, but it is harder. Especially if you have never sewed in your life. I had the idea to build a Rocket Raccoon outfit for my son when a local convention said that there would be a Guardians of the Galaxy photo booth at the con.

photo op

When you build a comic book character costume for your child, you have to decide which version to use. Many characters have multiple comic versions plus there’s movie and television versions as well. Once I figured out which version looked easiest for my skill level, I started looking for the separate pieces at all the surrounding thrift shops.

The first thing I needed was a jacket, and after searching for a navy colored peacoat for half a day, I decided to just make something that looked like Rocket’s coat. I bought a navy colored turtleneck, some red t-shirts, and some gold buttons.

My first step was to cut out a square outline. I used Heat ‘n Bond to attach the square outline to the turtleneck, and after it was secure I sewed around the edges to keep it secure. The next step was sewing the buttons onto the turtleneck. After the buttons, I had to cut into the trim of the shirt to make it look more like a jacket. I saw that Rocket had red trim around the bottom of his coat, so I had to cut the trim off of a red t-shirt and sew it onto the trim of the turtleneck to give it that Rocket look.

Rocket Shirt

Next on my list was the pants. Simple enough all I had to do was find a pair of 3T navy colored sweat pants. I found a pair at the first store I went to. After purchasing the pants J and I went out to a local frontier shop and bought a raccoon tail. Once we got home I sewed the tail to the butt of J’s pants.  I tried to make it look lively by gluing a wire into the tail, but the glue wouldn’t stick. I eventually sewed the tail in a way that made it look lively. For shoes he just wore a pair of sandals, and we were done with our first attempt at Rocket.

pants with tail

The day before the convention J and I were in the kid’s section at Barnes and Nobel and I saw a Guardians of the Galaxy book that came with a Rocket Raccoon paper mask and I thought it would be perfect for the con. All together our first attempt at Rocket had only cost me $9.

Rocket 1

We went to the con and people loved J’s little outfit. We got our GotG picture and met some amazing people. While at the con we ran into a guy dressed as Deadpool (J loves Deadpool) and we got a picture with him too. Fast forward a few month and we run into this guy again except he is dressed as Spider-Man for a video shoot. After the video shoot we finally introduced ourselves and we talked about J’s outfit. He said that he wanted to add onto what I had started.

Rocket and Deadpool

A few weeks later Kannon (Deadpool/Spiderman) and I started messaging each other about the outfit. We talked about getting the new Rocket mask that Hasbro released and furring it up, about making little furry feet and getting some red gloves. We met in person so Kannon could get measurements, and then I handed over J’s costume pants so Kannon could match fur and we went our separate ways so he could work on J’s outfit. A few weeks later, Kannon and I met up at a pre registration event for Salt Lake Comic Con and he showed us what he had been up to with J’s outfit. He furred up the mask and made it more of a helmet, made a bigger more lively tail, brought some red gloves, and made some furry shoes. And for that he only charged me $30 so in all I spent under $40 for an amazing Rocket Raccoon outfit.

Here is Kannon’s account of everything he did to help make J’s costume one of the best Rocket costumes I have ever seen:

I started by buying the Rocket Raccoon mask from Toys-R-Us. I then looked up all the reference photos of Rocket that I could for the pattern of the fur. I went with a blend of the movie Rocket, and the classic comic one. I then got some white and brown faux fur pieces from Joann’s. Using scissors, hot glue, and the reference photos, I cut and glued the fur onto the face, making sure the mouth and ears still moved. I added a flap under the chin and on the back of the head, to cover the whole head. The feet were a child’s pair of dress shoes, with a Velcro strap. I cut and glued the fur onto them, keeping the strap free to make them easy to put on. The tail was a wire coat hanger, bent into a curl, then covered in a full piece of the fabric. I then used fabric paint to do the black stripes, then sewed it onto the pants. The gloves were a kid’s pair I found at [the local thrift shop], turned inside out.”

Rocket 2

I am so happy with how everything turned out. People were stopping J every 5 to 10 feet at Salt Lake Comic Con to ask for his picture and he was loving the attention. It’s hard to believe that something that started as a 7 day project turned into something this amazing, and for so little money. So before you go and buy your child a costume for Halloween or comic book conventions, why not look into making the costume yourself?

J in costume


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