Making The Photo Booth Costume

We wanted to go with another electrified vending or arcade theme as we’ve done in the past, but we were running out of workable ideas. We kept kicking around themes that would have been mere derivatives of our past successes. A coffee machine? Nah. My husband was thinking about a cigarette machine filled with defunct brands like Fatima, Chesterfield, and Phillip Morris but we were both convinced only he would think it was funny. So debate continued, and we finally settled on the Photo-Booth.


One thing I’ll say about my son – he’s a trouper! There aren’t many kids who would walk around with a 30″ wide box strapped to their body and not complain. What made this costume so funny was that it was ridiculously big! Fortunately some adolescent growth spurts made him capable of carrying this monstrosity around the neighborhood.

This thing started as many of these things start — as a sketch in Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator has very precise tools where I can create a scaled, mechanical drawing of what I hope to finally achieve in three dimensional reality.

The final varied from this, but the sketch above was the basis. From here I created my “grocery list” of needed items to pick up at the art supply store and elsewhere.

The booth consisted of two large U-Haul moving boxes glued and taped together.

The boxes were decorated with colored paper as well as adhesive contact paper and whatever else we had lying around that may push the design a little further.

Battery powered lights were added here and there to add the effect of electrified reality and to give it that Gee-Whiz effect. Without the lights, it’s just a cardboard box with stuff glued to it.


The graphics were a combination of Illustrator and Photoshop elements which involved a backyard photo shoot in front of a tablecloth pinned to the clothesline to create the photo strips. I thought it would be fun to mix in a few photos of Lloyd when he was younger for the box graphic.


For the floor – I scanned linoleum tiles and printed them out on an Epson R1800 printer.


We used two U-Haul sports equipment boxes that were covered with green paper. For the interior, we went with a wood grain contact paper leftover from last year’s vintage TV set. The stool was a Frisbee covered in black vinyl perched on top of a wrapping paper roll covered in metallic paper.


The finishing touches were adding a red, pinch pleat curtain, some lights, including a strobe light for a “flash” effect, and this photo strip on the outside of the box.

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5 Responses to Making The Photo Booth Costume

  1. Old NFO says:

    That is a great one! Now what are you going to do NEXT year??? LOL

  2. Tina says:

    No pressure there! I usually set a deadline of September 1st, so we have a little time to relax.

  3. alix says:

    This one is insane! So fabulous! You guys could go into set decoration for theater productions!!!!

  4. Joe_Williams says:

    Thanks! I think when they do Shakespeare in the Park as performed by Mid-Century Vending Machines, we’ll be all set!:)

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