The Snail Shells – Making them wearable

The only detailed tutorial that I found online for making a snail costume showed a belt being used to wear the shell.   But the shell was smaller than these, and she wore it much lower on her back than I wanted to.  Plus, she had cut through the shell to thread the belt onto the shell.  Not something that I felt comfortable doing.

I went to my trusty thrift shop and bought two small (cheap) backpacks, making sure that at least the back part and the straps were black.   These were just children’s backpacks – nothing very durable or special, and I think I paid $3 each for them.

I cut the front part of the backpack – the pouch part, basically – away from the back and straps, and then used a hot glue gun to secure it to the shells.   Before actually gluing it, though, I:

  • Tested out a small strip of each backpack material – cut from the unused part of the packs – by hot gluing it to my little mock-up shell.   I just wanted to make sure that the backpack material didn’t melt, and that it would nicely adhere to the painted paper mache.
  • Tore a strip of the test material off of the mock-up, to see how much damage it did.  If I glued the shells on, and wanted to re-position them later, I wanted to know how much re-work would need to be done.
  • Painted any trim, straps or edges of the backpacks black – just using regular black wall paint – so that the whole piece was black.
  • Positioned the shell on a friend’s back, so that I could see where on the shell I wanted to glue the straps.
  • Tried on the backpacks, to make sure that they would fit securely, and that I could tighten and loosen the straps to get the packs on and off.
  • Used as little glue as possible to try to secure ONE of the packs to a shell, just enough so that I could try it on and make double-triple sure that I liked the positioning.

Here are the two shells with the back packs attached.











In case you missed them, my previous posts show how I made and painted the shells.   This was the last step before they were, effectively, a final snail costume.




  1. Pingback: Snails – Final Costume | Casual Costuming
  2. Pingback: The Snail Shells – Construction | Casual Costuming
  3. Pingback: The Snail Shells – Painting | Casual Costuming

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