Sul Sul! [Hello!] DIY Sims 3 Plumbob

For a quick and easy costume


DIY Plumbob for a quick Halloween costume.

In 2011 I had found myself in a sticky Halloween situation. I was in the middle of my term at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (distance ed), and I was preparing to go to Champaign, IL for a four-day required trip to campus one week prior to Halloween. Thinking that I was not going to be celebrating Halloween  because of my workload, the trip, and no party plans, I had not prepared a costume, although Stefan had been preparing to go to work as an Aperature Scientist for quite some time. So, when the invitation to a Halloween party came from some friends, I was torn as to whether to attend. On the one hand I wanted a break from school and a chance to socialize, but on the other hand, I was not prepared, and I had no clue what I should dress as being that my preparation time was limited. Giving the thought some consideration prior to my trip, I came up with the ingenious plan of going as a character from my all time favorite video game (at least the one I play most frequently, and I’m pretty sure I was playing it at the time I thought of my costume), the Sims (at the time it was 3), which would be not only incredibly easy to construct, but would also tie into Stefan’s video game themed costume.

The premise of the costume was quite simple, as I was going to go as myself just as a Sim. So the most essential part of the cThe_Sims_Plumbob_Papercraft_by_killero94 (545x800)ostume would have to be the iconic Plumbob that glows over the Sims heads. Originally I was planning on creating one myself with just green paper, but while searching around on the internet I actually found an amazing rendition of the Plumbob by Deviant Artist Killero94, who had created one and allowed users to download the image for their own use. Having this design, I was able to get more creative, and I decided that I would try to take my costume one step further and get the plumbob to glow.

Initially I had tried experimenting with random construction material around the house, first I tried using a regular piece of printer paper, but found that the paper had no structural support and became easily damaged. From there I tried a piece of manga paper, but it was easy to tell before the construction that light would have difficulty penetrating the paper itself, let alone with additional ink on it. Through this process, it occurred to me that Shrinkydink might be  the best solution, but when I tried regular Shrinkydink (not made for printers), the ink ran excessively. So I decided to make a trip to Michael’s, the craft store, to grab some printer friendly Shrinkydink. While there, I searched for a more possible mediums, and through exploration I also found the Liquid Leading window Cling sheets that, for some reason, I convinced myself into trying but with horrible results. Luckily, my initial hunch was right, and I found that the Shrinkydink paper not only held the ink without smearing greatly, but it also held its structure well, and was overall resistant to denting.

DSC_0177 (800x530)
Although taken at a much later date, you can see that even with normal window light that the Shrinkydink is relatively translucent.

For the purposes of the project, I removed the two bases (the parts that would hold the top and bottom together) of the Plumbob  in order to create a larger to make a hallow core. I did this because I wanted a to make the Plumbob glow and having multiple parts would have been more difficult to work with. In addition, I also separated the single sheet download into two in order to create a larger Plumbob, and made it so that the top and bottom of the plumbob would take up its own sheet of paper. It actually took some trial and error to make sure that they matched in size, and that they would meet at the edges when combined. While there was still surface not covered in ink to touch, I used a ruler (at that time I did not have a boning tool), to gently bend the plumbob at all the angles, more so on the notches where the two plumbob parts would be connected. Carefully striving not to touch the ink as I found that fingerprints would show in the ink, I cut out the Plumbob out, but only with the bottom did I keep the notches, as I figured I would just tape the notches to the inside of the top of the Plumbob (but I’m pretty sure it would work either way).

Barely noticeable fingerprint
Barely noticeable fingerprint

From here I had to figure out how the Plumbob was going to float above my head, and how I was going to light it. The first part was easier for Stefan to address, as he easily determined that, with just a simple head band from Target, we could screw a small rod (which was later covered by a piece of felt for comfort) into the band that we could then either glue, or attach the Plumbob to. The light source was not much more difficult to think of, as we had several glowsticks from our summer camping around the house, and after some informal testing, we found that a large glowstick would illuminate the Plumbob adequately. IngeniouslyDSC_0175 (800x530), Stefan found that we could suspend the glowstick in the Plumbob without much affect on the light output if we used a clear, green, plastic gift wrap paper (I think it is for gift wrap).

To bring the Plumbob together, I first started by taping the long open edge of the bottom portion with Scotch tape. From there, I carefully taped all the notches to the inside of the top portion (later I found this prevented too much slipping and overhang). I left one panel open until the day of the party, where I inserted the green gift wrap and broke a glowstick. Thereafter, I sealed up the last panel. Seeing that the top half of the Plumbob slid down slightly, creating a slight overhang of material, I aligned the top and bottom half together, and taped around the two pieces with clear Scotch Tape, creating my very own glowing Plumbob {1st picture}.

Llama Art by thebobguy

Through my research into Sim costumes, which was fairly scarce at that time, I came across this hilarious llama art collection by Deviant Artist thebobguy. For those not familiar with the Sims universe (which includes SimCity games), Llama’s are a reoccurring theme (to say it lightly). In the Sims, they have appeared as university mascots, tattoos, TV station icons, and more frequently, topics of conversation, among other things.  Those familiar with the Sims universe would actually recognize any incorporation of a Llama as a staple to any Sim costume. So once I found this lama collection, I could not resist. Taking a simple speech bubble template from Microsoft Word, I removed all of the names of the Llama, and transposed the Llamas on to my speech bubbles. I actually did two mirroring views so that I could glue the bubbles together, and I would not have to worry about which side I had my bubble on. Then, using several long crafting sticks, I simply glued the pieces of paper to the stick, and had my very own Llama conversations {seen in first picture}.  Ultimately, many people recognized the Sim, but very few got the entire costume.

This costume was tremendously easy to put together, it was inexpensive (shrinkydink, tape, translucent gift wrap, glow stick & attachments), and very fun. To many, it was a reminder of hours spent simply refurnishing houses, attempting careers, and rearing children (although many did not make it to the time where children grew up).





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