They Might Be Giants - Birdhouse In Your Soul - William Allen White Glasses (REPLICA)


New Member
Howdy, all! I've been lurking and commenting on this site for about a year or two now, so I'm happy to finally have something to give back, even if its something small and simple like this.

The band They Might Be Giants are coming to my city this weekend after being rescheduled about three times due to covid-19 concerns. I'm very excited, as they announced via email that they would be performing my favorite album of theirs in its entirety: Flood. The song Birdhouse in Your Soul comes from this album, and it is from that song's video that I have taken inspiration.

I've seen these weird mask/goggle/glasses for years now, but it was only tonight that I thought, I could make that, and better, I could wear it at the venue. Is it a fancy venue? Perhaps. Are They Might Be Giants fans weirdos? Absolutely. Surely I won't be the only one who dresses up.

these might be reference photos.png

The YouTube video I referenced is of poor quality. If you're looking to make a more accurate replica, I'd encourage you to seek out a remastered copy. Personally, I took what I could, and made broad strokes. As you can see from my reference images, the "eyes" sit a bit far from the face, appearing to have a foam spacer between the "eyes" and the actor's forehead.

Materials you will need:
  • 1 pair of Buddy Holly glasses
  • A printer + greyscale ink
  • Black cardstock
  • 3/4 or 1/2 inch foam
  • hot glue gun + hot glue
  • scissors
  • glue stick
First off, finding the dude. It was actually not as difficult a task as you might think, since the band has adopted the guy as their unofficial mascot. William Allen White, may god rest his soul. The only challenge here was that I needed to find the original image source, as a low quality video just wasn't gonna cut it. I actually ended up finding a picture of his autobiography for sale on eBay, with his mug plastered on the front cover. Once it was resized and color corrected, I overlaid the image on top of stills from the music video, and created a guideline to follow later with scissors.

they might be in concert.pngthey might be in concert2.png

You'll want to print him out to where those guidelines, at their widest, are about six inches apart. Cut him out, but don't worry about following the guidelines just yet. Use your glue stick to paste him down onto the black cardstock, give him a minute or so to dry, and then cut along those guidelines.

For the next part, you're gonna have to make a pattern. Please refer to my diagram below, and once you're done laughing at my art skills, utilize my technique. Use Will Allen to determine the height, and then place your buddy holly glasses on their sides with the arms unfolded. The green in my diagram represents the lenses, the pink represents the arm. Leave about half an inch of cardstock to act as a tab we can glue, and then trace along the underside of the arm. Cut these pieces out, tapering off from the height that William Allen White set.


I know that these above appear to have more than half an inch of tab. It doesn't really matter how long of a tab you leave, as long as you fold at the pencil line near the beginning of the taper. After you cut out your patterns, you can go ahead and fold the tabs, using hot glue to secure them to the rear side of our WAW cutout.


Now, this next part is a little jank. Hot glue isn't the type of glue to use on foam, because heat and foam don't like each other. Use the foam-safe glue of your choice. If you're like me, and hot glue is your only option, follow my lead: To avoid melting the foam more than it needs to be, hot glue was applied to the cardstock first, and then the foam was stuck to it. Then, I hot glued my buddy holly glasses frames, and stuck them onto the foam. Make sure to leave a little space for your nose!


Finally, put a dab of hot glue at the ends of the glasses arms, and then stick the end of the cardstock arms to them.


And with that, your weirdo mask is done!


If I were building this to survive the years, I'd probably make a few better choices regarding longevity, primarily in the glue department. A better quality print would also be nice. As it stands though, it'll survive an evening with They Might Be Giants, and that's all I'm really asking of it. It was a fun build, and if you decide to build one for yourself, I'd love to hear about any upgrades or choices you made. I've seen some absolutely phenomenal costumes and props in my time on this site, and I like to think I'm gaining a little bit of that knowledge, even if I don't always get the chance to put it to use.

Anyway, hope y'all enjoy!
I have just seen that They Might Be Giants will be playing near me in the UK, at the end of the year. I might end up making a pair of these crazy glasses myself. :D

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