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This article first appeared in Make: Volume 41.

This article first appeared in Make: Volume 41.

At 2012’s East Bay Mini Maker Faire at Park Day School in Oakland, one room became resplendent. Silvery, shimmery sheets of mylar draped over its doors and all its surfaces. Kids and adults alike crafted the mylar into hats, gowns, spacesuits, and robot costumes. Stepping into the room transported me to some campy sci-fi classic (Barbarella? Saturn 3?). Later, I spotted brilliant fashionistas bouncing around the event wearing the products of their intergalactic sculpting.

For my eldest’s fifth birthday party, we set up a sparkly “Cosmic Couture” fashion studio inspired by the mylar room. (It was a standout among several space-themed activities, including compressed air rocket launches in the front yard and a moon bounce in the backyard.) I bought 20 space blankets for about a buck each and watched the mylar metamorphosis unfold.

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To make a costume, start by cutting a hole in the middle for your head, and snipping and tucking in loose pieces and excess with tape until you get a base shape. Tape long tubes for sleeves. Or use flexible aluminum duct: Snip to length with a wire cutter and old scissors, then cover the ends with silver duct tape to stave off scratches. We found 3″ duct worked well as robot arms for our 3-year-old son’s costume. Add flourishes with other pieces. We recommend using tape rather than hot glue, as mylar is very flammable.

We’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of the mylar. We reused the pieces from the Cosmic Couture activity to create a 15-foot-long “wormhole” tunnel for our space-themed Apollo-ween display last October. Mylar can also be used to project fantastic light displays on a ceiling. It’s both translucent and reflective.

Mylar’s magnificent. To get shiny, crafty kids often use aluminum foil, but mylar comes in much larger and lighter sheets, and it’s more robust than that ol’ kitchen standby.

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