Head in the Clouds
By Kate Turner-Walker, a professional costume designer who has worked at the Folger Theatre, the Theater Alliance and the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. She was nominated for a 2004 Helen Hayes Award for her work in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" at the Folger.
White twin fitted sheet
10 to 20 light-colored hair elastics
Yellow plastic rain hat with straps
Fake butterflies, with pins attached (available at craft stores)
Light blue shirt, pants and shoes, optional
Cut a 10-inch-wide slit for the head in the center of the sheet. Lay the sheet out on a flat surface with the wrong side facing up. Tie off sections of the sheet at random, using the hair elastics and varying the amount of material in each section. Continue tying off until there are very few flat, untied spots on the sheet. Slip over the head with the knotted side toward the body. Adjust sheet into a cloudlike shape on your body. For the sun mask, cut the brim of the rain hat into points and cut out the crown (see diagram). Position on the head running the chin strap around the back of the head. Pin the butterflies to the cloud or to the blue pants.
Other ideas: Wear green shirt, pants and shoes instead of blue ones and attach fake daisies around the pants' hem. For a "Cloud 9" version, cut a "9" out of felt and attach to the cloud (or use makeup to paint a "9" on one cheek). Or be a black cloud: Wear black or gray clothes and use a black sheet.