Have you come across a cosplayer who is super tall and has very long legs? You’ve probably wondered how they achieved those towering heights. Well, they didn’t magically grow their long legs, that’s for sure. The most logical answer would be they wore stilts.
Whether you plan on becoming Daddy Long Legs or a large monster at your next cosplay or costume party, wearing stilts is the way to go. While it may seem complicated to make a pair, it’s fairly easy as long you have the right materials. So, here’s a complete guide on how to make stilts for your next event.
Guide To Making Stilts
Plan And Prepare The Materials
The first thing that you must do is to plan what character you want to portray to know what sizes of stilts you want. Try to look for some basic designs of drywall stilts to ensure that the stilts would be safe and durable. Knowing how drywall stilts work will make it easier for you to plan and design the stilts that you want to make.
Next is to prepare the materials that you will be using which include PVC pipe coupling, PVC cap, nuts and bolts and washers, screws, old tires, nylon strap and buckle, metal supports, foam padding, a pair of old shoes, and some wooden planks. You will also be needing tools like a glue gun, Dremel, heat gun, hack saw, table saw, and drill. If you think it would help, have a picture of stilts beside you for reference.
Cut The Foot Stand And Bottom Pieces
Trace the shape of your foot while wearing the shoe on the planks for the foot stand. Cut the planks of wood according to your measurements and try to interlock the material a bit to make the stilts sturdy. Use a table saw to notch out the wood where the support would go.
Make the bottom pieces smooth-edged so that walking will be much easier. Use a Dremel and sand out the wooden cuts to make them rounder.
Add The Tire
Cutting the tires is not an easy task so you must use your wood saw and hack saw for cutting them. Cut two strips to the right measure and place them on the wood. Attach them by using screws and make sure that you get the rounded edge spot on. After you have screwed everything on, use a hacksaw to cut out the leftover tire around the sides.
Attach The Supports To The Stand And Bottom Pieces
It’s now time to connect the supports on the footstand and bottom pieces. Measure and cut the supports on the right length and then attach all the pieces together and screw them in. Ensure that everything is well placed on each stilt.
Attach The Metal For Support On The Drilled Holes
Use a 90°-angle metal strip to make sure that your pair of stilts won’t be unsteady. Then cut in half a 4″ PVC coupling that you would connect to your leg. Mold it to the shape of your calf by using a heat gun. After you get the right form, drill some holes in the PVC and affix it to the metal sheet with bolt and nuts. You need to place it right below your knee calf to create firmness and strength while walking.
Add The Straps For The Toes
Use the extra pieces of tire tread for the toes. You need to place them perfectly before you try to screw them in. Your feet must be safely attached to the stilts so that you can balance properly.
You need the belts for the strap that you will put above the foot by the ankle. Cut the buckle end and screw it to a suitable angle. Place the other end in the angle and gauge where to cut it precisely. After that cut and screw it in.
Add The Heel Stop Made Of PVC Pipe
A heel stop is very vital to keep you from slipping out. Make a heel stop by cutting a 4″ PVC cap in half. Screw the PVC in a position where the back of your foot is rested when your feet are strapped in. This will make you walk and move smoothly.
Affix The Padding And Leg Straps
Cut a 2-inch slot in the PVC coupling where you’ll put the nylon strap. Get the holes sanded so that the straps will run effortlessly. Use Eva foam to hide the bolts and to make the surface even and smooth. Use hot-glue when doing this.
Try Them On
It’s now time to try your stilts on with your costume! Make sure you can walk comfortably with them before the event. If it’s uncomfortable, you may need to do some adjustments then try them on again.
Tips For Walking Comfortably On Drywall Stilts
To ensure you can walk with confidence while wearing stilts, here are some helpful tips:
- Make sure the straps are secured on both feet and legs. Never use stilts with broken and missing strap parts. If they are damaged, find a replacement before putting them on.
- Use appropriate footwear. It is recommended to use work boots or shoes so the foot straps will attach better.
- When attaching the leg straps make sure they are strapped over the pants. Wearing comfortable pants will help as well.
- Find a raised surface where you can sit when you finally wear the stilts. The ideal height would be when you can bend your knees at a 90 degrees while your foot is resting on the stilts.
- Ensure that your heel is placed firmly against the heel cup and the foot straps are tight and will not slide nor slip in different directions.
- Only attach the leg straps after you’ve secured the foot straps. The knee brace should always be positioned below the knees. The tightness should still be comfortable.
- When standing up, it’s best if you’re sitting on an elevated chair to make it easier to stand up. If that’s the case, you can simply lean forward and try to stand.
- Ask a friend to help you stand if you’re having a hard time. Your friend can also spot you while you practice walking with your new stilts.
- When walking with stilts, it’s important that your legs are bent more and you lift your knees higher than normal.
- Take slower steps while on stilts, since the length and weight will also slow you down.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do cosplayers make themselves taller?
Cosplayers make themselves look taller by altering their costumes. One of the tricks they can do to look like they have a longer torso is by dropping the waistline of their costume. This will make them appear taller than they really are. They also make sure that their costume sleeves are long enough so that their arms will look longer. Most cosplayers also wear platforms, heels, or lifts to add some inches to their shoes. Some even walk on stilts underneath their costumes to make them look long and tall.
How do beginners walk on stilts?
Walking on stilts may seem quite difficult but it can be pretty simple. The first thing that you should do is to put the wood poles right under your armpits or behind your arms. Then step into the treads and you can now go for a walk. Putting the poles right under your armpits makes it easier to move around. It can be difficult at first for beginners but with constant practice, you will get the hang of it in no time!
How do you make bucket stilts?
To make bucket stilts, you may need the following materials which are a drill, safety goggles, rope, scissors, buckets, or any metal cans or plastic containers where your feet can fit. Once you have everything, you need to drill two holes on the top of your buckets. Make sure that you are wearing safety goggles while drilling. Next is to cut the rope about a meter and a half or according to the length that you want. Then, push one end of the rope through the first hole and tie it. Make a double knot to ensure that it is not going to pull through. Do the same with the second side and once you have tied the knots on both the drilled holes, you now have the first bucket stilt. Just repeat the process with your second bucket to create a pair of bucket stilts.
Are you ready to take the first step with your new stilts? No matter what type of material you use for your stilts, make sure they are sturdy and comfortable. Remember that you’ll be wearing them for hours so comfort is a priority. Also, don’t forget to practice walking with them. Once you’ve figured out a way to move your stilts without wobbling, strut your way into the next cosplay event and people will surely look up to you.