Ben’s Superhero Birthday Part 2 – The Comic Book (how I crafted this work of…art?)

10 Sep

ImageAhh the comic book.  This was meant to be a simple craft for a party favor.  It turned into 20 plus hours of intensive crafting and labor.  The finished product – so awesome!  But yes, it took a long time to make.

First of all, I created a story line.  My story was about Superman and Batman saving the “Superbabies.”  The story was pretty basic, but the intended audience was a bunch of four year old kiddies, so it worked well (when you use words like “goober-head”, they eat it up!).  I used a program called GIMP.  You can download it for free here:  I was used to using paint, so it took quite a bit of playing around before I got the hang of using it.  Actually the last several pages of my comic book looked much better than the first few since I got better at using the program as I went along.

To make the pages:  Once I had my story line, I gathered a bunch of background images from the internet.  Google images helps greatly with this task, just put in whatever you are looking for such as “office,” or “sewer”.  I created a folder just for Ben’s party and saved the images in there.  I also rummaged up other images with search words like “comic background” and “superhero comic words”.  I cut and paste and manipulated the images to arrange them onto each comic page.  Next I gathered images of word bubbles and I added in all of the text.


Okay, so now that all of the pages are finished, they need some characters.  My son, Ben, already had a Batman costume that worked.  My other son, Sam, had a Superman costume.  I needed some Superbaby costumes…oh dear, here comes a great excuse for a sewing project!!  I wanted to make the girls some totally over-the-top superhero costumes.  I rationed that they could use them again, maybe for Hallowe’en or playing dress up with their brothers. First came the pettiskirts.   These things are so time consuming!!  I chose some pink and blue tulle to make them, but I made each skirt a little different. One skirt had a blue layer on the bottom, and the second layer was pink. The other skirt was reversed.  You will see the difference in my pictures at the end.  I used a great tutorial for the pettiskirts, which you can find here:  I have to say that having my kitchen covered in tulle makes me a pretty happy girl!


My kitchen covered in tulle

I then designed a dress to go over top of the pettiskirts.  I used my go-to basic bodice that I use for a lot of my dress projects.  If you don’t know how to do draft your own bodice pattern, take a t-shirt with a good fit (not too tight!).  Fold the t-shirt, and tuck the sleeve inside the armhole. Trace around the t-shirt about 1/2 inch from the edge for a seam allowance. For more on making your own bodice pattern visit this link:  I also cut a piece of fabric into the shape of a cape, and folded over the raw edge to hem them.  Then I made some appliques for the front of the dress and the cape.  I wanted to do the superman symbol, but with my daughter Anna’s initial (A) and her friend Calleigh’s initial (C) instead of the S in the centre.  To make this applique, I found a superman symbol online and printed it.  I put the printed symbol under another piece of paper and traced the outline of the symbol, but left out the letter.  I then drew their initials into the design instead.  I cut the design out and there was my template for my applique.

Here is Calleigh’s applique already applied to the dress:

Another idea I had for these costumes was to sew the cape into the shoulders of the dress.  Having two boys, I have a lot of experience with capes!  The ones that attach to the shoulders of costumes with velcro always come off easily.  The other kind that attach around the neck never seem comfortable.  When I cut out the cape, I left a little scoop, or half circle, at the top.  I made sure that it would be big enough that the girls head’s could still get through.  When I sewed the front and the back of the bodice together at the shoulders, I also sewed the cape in with it.  It worked!  A costume with the cape permanently attached.

I wanted to add a skirt to the dress that had a little peek-a-boo in the front, as I was also making a little tulle pettiskirt to go underneath.  I cut a rectangular piece of fabric, a few times wider than the bodice.  I folded it, right sides facing out.  Then I cut the ends on an angle slanting backwards.  When I sewed it all together it gave a nice little peek at the pettiskirt underneath.

Here is my little Anna in her finished costume:

What a sweet little doll!

The other costume I made for this project was a felt hat and bow tie for “The Penguin”  The bow tie was easy.  I followed this pattern here,  I englarged the pattern to get it to the size that I wanted, and I also left off the back “ribbon” piece to make it look more like a bow tie.  I then sewed it to a piece of elastic.  The Penguin hat was  a little more difficult, plus I probably made it a little too tall.  Materials used were: purple and black felt, cardboard (two kinds, regular cardboard from a box and lighter cardboard from a wrapping paper roll), glue gun, and elastic.  I cut the cardboard from the wrapping paper roll to the length that I wanted it to be.  I then put it around my son’s head as a guide for how wide it should be.  You want it to be just a tiny bit bigger than the circumference of the head.  I used my glue gun and glued it back into a circular tube.  Then I cut out a circle of cardboard that would fit just inside the top of the hat.  I covered both the circular tube and the circle for the top with felt, using my hot glue.  Then I glued the circular piece on the top of the tube.  Next I cut two of the same size oval pieces out of the regular cardboard for the brim of the hat.  To get the size I wanted, I just sat the circular tube (or the top piece of the hat) on top of the cardboard and traced around a few inches out.  Then I placed the top of the hat onto one of the pieces of oval cardboard.  I traced around the base to get a circular shape.  Then I cut out the circle (so now it kind of looks like a donut)  I placed this piece on top of the second oval piece.  I traced the circle, but when I cut the second piece, I cut the circle 1/2 an inch smaller.  These two pieces will be glued together, and cutting it smaller will leave a bit of a lip so that the top of the hat can be glued on.  At this stage, it’s very important to make sure that the oval piece of cardboard with the slightly smaller hole will still fit on the head.  Okay, so then I glued the two oval pieces of cardboard together.  I cut two pieces of purple felt to match the ovals and glued them on.  Then I glued a strip of purple fabric around the edge so that no cardboard showed through.  Then I put some hot glue on the lip on the inside of the oval and stuck the top of the hat on.  I glued a black strip of fabric around the base of the hat.  If the hat does end up being a little small, you can glue a piece of elastic on the inside to go under the chin.  Mine wasn’t too small; rather it was too tall and wobbly!

My friend’s son, Joshua, as “The Penguin”

The Photo Shoot

This next part was a lot of fun!  My friend came over with her two beautiful children, Calleigh and Josh.  My friend is kind of crazy like me.  If she didn’t work 80 plus hours a week outside the home, I’m sure she would be doing all kinds of projects too.  Lucky for me she loves photography and agreed to take some pictures of the kids for the comic book.  Calleigh and Anna were “The Superbabies”, Josh was “The Penguin”.  My son Ben was Batman, and my other son, Sam, was Superman.  To make sure I got the shots that I wanted, I went through each saved page of my comic book and wrote down what I needed for each one (for example, Batman and Superman walking, facing right…).  I was a little worried about cooperation, but all of the kids did really well! Here are some pictures from the shoot:

Phew, almost done (or not!).  The last part of the project was to get all of these great images into the comic book.  I opened up my comic book pages and used the free select tool to cut out each image and then paste them into the comic.  Of course I had to play around with the sizes and make sure they lined up with the word bubbles, and edit as needed.  I then had to print out 20 copies of each page! (This takes a lot of ink, I may have had a certain someone do this at work instead of using my own ink)  You could also print out one copy and then take it to a copy store for the rest.  Okay, so now I am sure you are dying to see the finished project.  Here it is, all ten pages!

Thanks for reading!  If you liked this idea, you may also want to read about the rest of this Superhero Party:

Superhero InvitationBen’s Superhero Party Part 1: The Invitation


blog4Ben’s Superhero Party Part 3: Super Activities and a Hulk Smash Cake



4 Responses to “Ben’s Superhero Birthday Part 2 – The Comic Book (how I crafted this work of…art?)”

  1. Leisa Shaske September 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    You’re so cool! I don’t believe I’ve read through something like that before. So great to discover somebody with a few unique thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is something that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!

  2. blog September 21, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    I don’t even know how I stopped up here, but I believed this submit was great. I don’t know who you’re but certainly you’re going to a well-known blogger should you are not already. Cheers!

  3. Miss Kitty January 22, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    Girl, I cannot believe that you only have two comments on this FABULOUS project. I found this post due to CSI blog bragging on you. This is one of the most amazing projects I have seen done by a “normal” person (one without a staff of folks doing a lot of the work). Your son is one lucky boy to have such a great mom that would go to all the work to make this comic for his birthday party. What a great keepsake! Thanks for sharing how you did all the projects to make the comic so great.

I love to hear your sweet comments!

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