Picture of Alien Xenomorph Costume
There comes a time in a man's life when he has to put aside his childhood dream of having an Alien costume and actually decides to do something about it.
Ever since I was a kid I wanted an Alien costume, and after my experience carving foam into the masks of the stretched faced Maitlands from Beetlejuice for Halloween 2011, I decided to try my luck. I told myself if I could carve the head and make it look cool, I would consider making the entire costume. And hey, if you don't have time for an entire costume, you have an alien head to hang over your mantle.

It all starts with a block of foam...

Step 1: Before you Begin: Key Tools and Ingrediants

Fabric Scissors
Low temp glue gun
High Temp Glue Gun
Dremel drill with assorted bits
Caulk Gun
Mannequin Bust
Heat Gun

Foam board Insulation (Carving head, back pipes and back spine)
Liquid nails for foam board (Back pipes)
Fleece vest (chest)
Backer rods, assorted sizes (Pipes on chest, neck, legs, feet)
Vacuum Cleaner hoses (details on shoulders, chest, tail)
Foam insulation tubing (Shoulders, ribs, details throughout)
Rubber insulation tubing(tail base)
A Bicycle helmet (Head)
Black fabric (neck)
Industrial strength Velcro (Grion, sternum, back pine, neck piece)
Upholstery sheet foam (details on tail, legs, chest)
One pair of pants or leggings (legs)
Fleece gloves (for hands)
Black cord (Details on hand, chest and legs)
Masonite board (Tail base
Flag mount (tail)
A black military belt (tail)
PVC pipe that fits into Flag mount. (Tail)
2 wooden dowels (Back pipes)
Assorted screws and washers (Back pipes)
Black nylon straps (feet)
Epifoam (tail spike, shoulder shape, various supports)
1very understanding girlfriend ( to go as Ripley)
pokiespout2 years ago
This is absolutely beautiful. I love to see a great piece like this that is truly made from easy-to-find, over-the-counter materials. When the most important ingredient is ingenuity and not specialized materials, the outcome is that much more impressive! Kudos, sir.
About how much did this cost?
qbtx20012 months ago
I think if you add, slashed glow-in the dark green paint in randome places, it whould look cool. The pait will look like the acid blood.
MRMOODS2 months ago

I originally started out looking to buy a xenomorph costume but as you soon learn this is near on impossible (certainly being in the UK)!! I then thought maybe I could make one and was lucky enough to find your thread.

Firstly can I just say what an amazing piece - this does look fantastic. Secondly thank you for sharing all your tips, do's and don'ts - they have been invaluable.

Despite not being a particularly arty type, after reading your thread I was inspired to have a go! After a lot of reading, research and mess I am now onto the final stages of the head - see attached. I still need to complete the final paint work to give some grey depth effect and the teeth but as you know this is a slow process!

I am now starting to source the materials for the rest of the costume and wondered if you would mind answering a few questions?

1) Did you use spray paint of the head to get the grey effect or just dry brush it? Also is this the same for the rest of the costume? Only you mentioned both at various times.

2) Is the shirt (worn under the vest) for the sleeves and stomach attachments just a long sleeve cotton shirt or a fleece material?

3) You mentioned rubber insulating tube for the base of the tail but I can't see what this is used for? Is it essential to the construction of the tail?

Thanks in advance.


Mostlymade (author)  MRMOODS2 months ago
Looking good! I'm so glad I was able to help other people realize their Alien costume dreams, but I should warn you...grown men will hug you, college girls will molest you and kids will follow you. :) As for your questions:
1: I spray painted a line of metallic silver/ gunmetal along the top of the dome to give it that slight silver tint. It really helps define the edge, even in the dark. This was the only place on the costume that I used the silver. I did use just a simple grey primer on other parts though. However, be careful if you carve out of foam. Spray paint can dissolve it. I Put a layer or two of matte black enamel paint on my foam pieces before I sprayed them. I ALSO dry brushed medium grey on some of the parts. Either way works, but if you are worried, use the second method to be safe.
2: The shirt is not fleece. Man, you would be boiling!, However, that could work as well. Same with a cotton shirt. Mine was a moisture whicking shirt because I knew I would get hot. I chose this because with all the foam and details glued to it it would be nearly impossible to wash it without destroying the work. So, wear an under shirt or get ready so run only parts of it under water to wash it as needed.
3: The rubber tubing in the tail was to bulk up the tail and give it girth. It was also easy to glue to and more importantly, easy to cut so I could get that tapered look to the tail. It was also flexible and already black, saving me worry about painting it and chipping if I knocked into things.

Hope this helps! If you have any other questions, please ask!
Can't wait to see it completed!

Hi Ian,

Thanks for such a prompt response and again all your help - very much appreciated.

I will post some more pictures as things develop and the costume starts to come together.

Best wishes


Awesome and inspiring! Great read. Loved the chat about pros and cons with the tail. Good work. People like you keep the world right!
Do you know how much the total cost of the make was?

I'm making mine right now.. I'm spending at least close to $500-$600. $300 for fabric, helmet, tools, and additional $200 airbrush paint kit. =(

Mostlymade (author)  bou.roun.14 months ago
Wow! That seems like a lot to me, but then I bought as much of it as I could (like the clothes, helmet, etc) at Salvation Army stores and second hand.
I managed the paint with just a can of glass black and grey spray paint instead of a full airbrush kit.
That being said, I bet your will look AWESOME! Can't wait to see pics!
IAmAllieROAR5 months ago

I love this! I'm going to make this for Halloween (hopefully starting in March will give me enough time to complete it...) and am currently working on the head. I am wondering if you remember the dimensions of the block of foam before you started carving. The one I've made is 8" wide x 12" tall x 36" long. This appears to be large enough to give me a good curve and enough length, though I might make it wider because my head is 6" wide and that only gives me an inch of wiggle room on either side... thoughts?

Mostlymade (author)  IAmAllieROAR5 months ago
I made the block by gluing 2-3 pieces together then carving down. You want the Alien head slightly wider than your head, so your head can fit inside it, so measure accordingly. You can see in the pictures for mine I stacked foam sheet 4 wide to make my head. 3ft for the length of the head was what mine measured and was plenty adequate. I would make your block a little taller than 12" though to be safe. Better too much than too little. You can see I didn't make mine tall enough at first which flattened the head out, which I had to correct later, which was a drag. Do it right from the start. You can get a sheet for relatively cheap at Home Depot/ Lowes.
Hope to see pictures when it is done! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Good luck!

josef.lagl8 months ago

Maybe make a video like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVk6qryB6Z4 including a making of(or somebody else) to make it more comprehensive for non-english readers

That is freaking beautiful! You are talented.

i'd pay for this

steven1219110 months ago

Thanks, after watching the movies a wanted to make the costume so much!!! i just finished making the tail. for the tail i didn't use the vacumehose since theyre expemsive. instead i used foam pipe insulation for 1" pipes!! it doesn't look that cool but it works. i made the tail raised by putting velcro on the tai amd on the head!! it works great and looks amazing!!!

sselby210 months ago

wow - that is impressive. totally awesome.

I so want to make this it just that Halloween is in 6 days and i have none of the supplys!!!! Ill be back next year
becurry11 months ago

The build is impressive. The sculpting job on the head is tremendous and correctly detailed. I am more of a fan of the ALIENS creature because the ribbed head looks so scary.

P.S. Xenomorph is actually the "now" correct designation for the beast. Xeno meaning strange and Morph means to change.

I am going to attempt another sculpt using your wonderful ideas.

Thanks again

jangorenn1 year ago
Thanks for the tutorial. I made one following your guide lines. Turned out pretty good.
You are awesome! Thanks again!
Mostlymade (author)  jangorenn1 year ago
Awesome! Unfortunately your profile pic is cropped. I'd love to see the whole costume. Send me a link or a pic if you can!

Hi Mostlymade. Sorry this is coming a bit late, but here"s some pics of my Alien, Ripley and Colonial Marine. Please let me know if you can view these at normal res? This is actually my first real attempt on an Alien costume. Thanks again.

Mostlymade (author)  jangorenn1 year ago

Wow! That's great! Very clean looking! Any tips or tricks you used that were different that you thought improved upon the idea? Does your tail have pvc in it or did you do something else?

Thanks, I basically followed your Instructables. I painted the whole thing with an airbrush of acrylic paints with a base of Gesso. I had 2 tails. One was pvc but it was to big indoors and a small one out of flexible tubing. Had a blast working on this and my kids loved it!

That's sick… I'll never do it but still cool

This is BEAST! Great job on the detail!!

This is BEAST! Great job on the detail!!

mugget1 year ago
Epic!! Looks great!

I hope you're gonna cover it with a bit of KY Jelly or similar to give it that slimy shine... you could seriously scare someone!
syates3 mugget1 year ago
I agree, maybe something like a slime mixture (probably gelatin) pouring out the mouth I know there are a lot of variations of that kind of stuff you can probably even find some on here, Just attach a pump to your hand or something to force it out and let it drip. If you could do a smoke that would be killer, but probably asking a bit too much, the mouth could be done much the same way. but that aside it really reminds me so much of the original costume from Alien. It's an amazing job. I would love to do something like this myself some day.
mugget syates31 year ago
The reason I suggested KY is because that's exactly what was used in the original Alien movie for the shiny look and for the saliva dripping from the mouth. ;)
They actually used standard lubricant ( "lube", whatever you what to call it) for the saliva ;D
Mostlymade (author)  mugget1 year ago
Yeah, and the transparent pulling sinewy looking sides of the mouth were made out of condoms!
Haha, I did not know that! I'll have to look a bit more closely the next time I watch Alien!

All that seems fitting though, given the subject matter or Giger's art...
jangorenn1 year ago
Thanks for your tutorial. I made one using your guide lines. May not be as good, but turned out pretty good. Thanks again for the idea. You are awesome!
Such an awesome instructable!!! Love it!
Puuurfect !!!!

Now it's tim!e to say goodnight to the kids !…
Mostlymade (author)  vincent75201 year ago
It is a little hard to fit under the bed. I guess I'll head for the closet...or hang from the ceiling...
Don't go into so much trouble : just go and say your kids good night. No matter which door you open, I'm sure the effect will be great ("we want more" ;))

No need to hurt yourself by hanging on the ceiling, especially if it's mad of light sheetrock, or coming from the window, particularly if you live on the 40th story of a high rise !… 

Congrats again !…
nliwilson1 year ago
Impressive costume but you do realise that "Alien Xenomorph" means "Alien Alien" don't you?
"Xenomorph" is a made up word that means "form from outside our territory" it's not the name for the Aliens in the Alien films. :)
Mostlymade (author)  nliwilson1 year ago
I do realize that. The organism is referred to by both names throughout the movie series. Ultimatly I put both names to increase the possibility of people finding it because when you type in simply "Alien Costume" into Instructables you get a LOT of results and I didn't want to get lost in the shuffle. However, I also knew that not everyone refers to it as 'Xenomorph' and may not know that is what it is called and would thereby not look for it by that name. This way is refers people specifically to this type of Alien and my costume. And I guess with 53,000 views and counting it worked!
NoseyNick1 year ago
H.R.Giger would be proud. Bravo!
Mostlymade (author)  NoseyNick1 year ago
Thanks, I sent a picture of it to the guys who built the Alien suits for the last several movies and they loved it!
msolano11 year ago
I am such a fan!
ToolboxGuy1 year ago
Now I want one! In fact, I want to have it adapt "post human DNA" versus Biological Merge in IV.

Great fun!
billbillt1 year ago
great...right out of the movie
plotqueen1 year ago
This looks fabulous! I'm going to be attempting to make this for my son's Halloween costume this year and was wondering if you had anything else to add? And how long did it take you to make this? I swear I only just realized today is already several into September...
Mostlymade (author)  plotqueen1 year ago
This took 6-7 months off an on. But then I was working at adult size. Maybe a kid sized one would take less time...
Mostlymade (author)  plotqueen1 year ago
This costume took me 6 months, but you could do something similar in less time by cutting corners on the details.
There is nothing else to add.
There are some other kids Alien costumes here on Instructables, maybe combine some of their designs with this to make one for your kid? Best of luck, send me a pic when done!
Sevrdhed1 year ago
I'm currently taking this project on! Thanks for a great starting off point!
Mostlymade (author)  Sevrdhed1 year ago
Can't wait to see!
XenoPaul2 years ago
Hi MostlyMade I own an original Xenomorph cast from the Stan Winston moulds from Aliens and have also met and worked with most of the cast on a few projects and I have to say Job Well Done. I can't believe the ingenuity of all the store bought items, Stan would be proud. If you want to check out the build I did from raw latex to the one in my profile, click on my site in the description ;)
spyderskiss2 years ago
I really want to try this for a Werewolf/Lycan head...This looks very light and you acheived alot of detail...any iidea how many blocks of foam are needed for a head alone? And is it possible to make the lower jaw moveable using the foam?
Mostlymade (author)  spyderskiss2 years ago
This is incredibly light. Before I added bondo to fix the shape of the dome (detailed in the steps) the whole head maybe weighed 2lbs at most. Carving a Lycan head would be a breeze out of this stuff. you could get all the shapes of the hear carved and glue fur on top. A movable jaw should be very easy, just make two holes for hinge points and attache a small spring inside to help pull it shut.
The foam comes in sheets, I think they are about 7-8 feet long, and they come in two widths. I usually get the smaller sheet so it fits in my car (you ca cut it to fit in the store too) and it is usually around $15.
A tube of Liquid Nails for foam board is another couple bucks.
I have a big head and I usually stack 4-5 boards next to each other to make the block. I don't mean FULL boards. I figure out the size I want it and cut a piece and cut the following pieces traced from that one.
TIP: The two center boards, cut out out an upside-down "U" shape for your head. This will save a lot of time carving out later.
Please also see my INstructable on The Maitlands masks, you will be able to see good preliminary pics of the boards glued together.
Hope this help, feel free to ask if you have more questions.
spyderskiss2 years ago
Amzingly well done and thought out. I love some of you tips...did you do any detailing on your hood to help it blend into your costume and suit more? Can't really tell from the pictures. All of which are incredible.
Mostlymade (author)  spyderskiss2 years ago
Actually you can see the detail on the hood in the picture! just under the back of the jaw on the neck, see those horizontal lines? That's the sport where I see out!
The hood is under the neck flaps on either side of the head and the only part that shows is the front. I sprayed some horizontal lines on this for detailing so it blended in with the other details with no loss of vision.
zoo2boy2 years ago
amazing costume idea and extra advice for the shoulders if epifoam isnt available any substitues recomended?
Mostlymade (author)  zoo2boy2 years ago
Find some thick cardboard. Not regular cardboard box stuff, like1" thick stuff. Try looking in the dumpsters by a SEARS or someplace that ships/sells large appliances. OR, use the insulation foam board that I used for the head. You can carve it to fit, it it rigid and light weight.
thanks for the advice ive modded the design to the card board idea and it turned out great thnks again
GaGaOhLALA2 years ago
Please, can you tell me the mensurations or dimensions of the Head ?! It's for carnival, it's urgent ^^. Thank you for your help ! Your costume is juste awsome ! :D
Mostlymade (author)  GaGaOhLALA2 years ago
The head is 3ft long. But use your judgement in comparing it to your own proportions.
you can add hot glue to the sides of the mouth for a saliva look, but be sure to practise with it first( i have a sculpture with predator stabbing alien in the gut with his forarm spikes, and hot glue is how they made the saliva look on it)
poofrabbit2 years ago
Congratulations on being a finalist in the Halloween contest!!! Can’t wait to see if you win! Good luck!
omg i hope you win LOL my new bff, an alien. <3
bcbreakaway2 years ago
Great job. Looks very convincing!
nicolekrobb2 years ago
This is fantastic, great work!!
Wow, great job, man!

Had to post a comment, with all that work and time you put in your costume!
You have my vote!

5 Stars!

Foam is your friend!
Aoibhiel2 years ago
That is...amazing. Well done!
Honus2 years ago
Outstanding! You should send pictures of this to the folks at ADI- they would probably get a big kick out of this.

that is absolutely fantastic I am a HR Giger fan and a lover of alien you have done a brilliant job, :)
rachel2 years ago
Fantastic work! A friend pointed this out to me saying "This guy just won Halloween, by a long shot." Well done sir.
Tatterhood2 years ago
This is *beautiful* (as only Xenomorphs can be) and a fantastic Instructable. I can only hope to one day make one as awesome as yours!
Partybot2 years ago
Wow. That is extremely good! I'm really impressed with your foam work and airbrushing finishes. The tail sub-structure is really well setup also. You may already have it, but did you consider doing cable work for the extra long fingers?

Awesome! The detail in the head is amazing!