Introduction: DIY Star Wars Millennium Falcon Cockpit Playhouse

Picture of DIY Star Wars Millennium Falcon Cockpit Playhouse

Before I begin this very long Instructable, I'd like to mention that if you like this project, I'd appreciate your likes and votes. Thanks for being so supportive!

My kids love Star Wars, and pretty much every day they end up walking around the house with blasters and lightsabers as they fight off the bad guys. Since I was ready for a new project and because the new Star Wars movie is getting closer every day, I decided it would be fun to build the kids a Millennium Falcon Playhouse. What you see here I managed to build in ten days, working on it until very late at night and over the weekends.

Like the Boba Fett Jetpack that I built last year, the main material is PVC board which I love because you can shape it with heat, bond it with PVC glue, sand it nicely, cut it with a box cutter, and it takes spray paint really well.

And by the way, this build isn't intended for outdoors. We just took it outside to take these few photos. It's now located in my son's bedroom, and he's pretty happy about that. In fact, I found him asleep inside of it a couple of days ago.

A few of the materials that were needed.

  • PVC board - I used 2 sheets at 4" x 8" plus some additional smaller pieces that I had from other projects.
  • MDF - a small sheet of half inch.
  • PVC glue, super glue, and Gorilla glue
  • Bondo
  • A few wooden odds and ends that are shown in the instructions.

As far as tools go, I used quite a few different tools, but the main tools were: metal cutters, a box cutter, a heat gun, and an electric sander. My table saw was also helpful at one point.

But enough of that, let's start planning!

Step 1: Planning Things Out

Picture of Planning Things Out

I began with a very rough sketch of how things might work. Just getting an idea of how I would use my materials. Basically, I spent one evening looking at all the reference photos I could find

Right off the bat, I knew that I needed to cut off the bottom part of the cockpit to keep the thing from getting too large and my wife calling off the project. :) I also knew that because of scale, there would be some things on the instrument panel that I would leave out and simplify.

From there, I did a rough drawing in Adobe Illustrator so that I could begin to work on the dimensions and angles, including where my cutoff area would be at the bottom. I needed to make sure to accommodate for the height of my kids as well as providing enough width that two children could sit side by side.

Since I drew things in actual size, this file was a helpful reference through the project.

Step 2: Starting With the Epic Front Window

Picture of Starting With the Epic Front Window

It's sometimes difficult to know where to begin. For me, since I was waiting to pick up some PVC board, I kicked things off building the front window out of MDF for stability. Once I had the basic shape built out, I covered the front edges with PVC board using this awesome cone calculator and this quick method of drawing large circles.

Then I used Bondo to fill in the gaps. I sanded this off with a disc sander and then, to the horror of my children, I cut off the bottom of the window where I planned the bottom of the cockpit to be.

Ok, that turned out pretty good. Let's keep on going.

Step 3: Amass the Greebles!

Picture of Amass the Greebles!

Have you ever notices that Star Wars ships are covered with weird little shapes on the inside and outside? These little shapes build interest and a sense of realness to the objects. These little pieces of junk have been given the made-up word, greeble.

Well, it's time to start rummaging through some of your old junk to find some greebles.

One of the best things I came across was a bunch of old plastic casters that I'd never used. I pried the wheels off, and these worked great on the instrument panel. I also cut out some pieces of PVC board and glued them together to install my first greebles on the inside of the front window.

Time for something new! Let's start on the dashboard!

Step 4: Let's Make That Dashboard!

Picture of Let's Make That Dashboard!

Using my box cutter, I cut out of the shape of the upper and lower dashboard out of some 1/4" PVC board that I had lying around.

If you've never cut PVC board before, use the box cutter to make a shallow-but-accurate cut. Then, apply more pressure on the following passes until you've cut through the board. Or, if you're more fortunate than me, just use your bansaw.

To get a rough idea of how all the pieces would work, I sketched this out on the surface of the PVC.

Step 5: Building Out the Controls

Picture of Building Out the Controls

This part felt pretty intimidating, so I just jumped right in cutting out pieces and thinking through how I would make the lever mechanisms move. In the end, I decided to go with a Tinkertoy-looking setup with some dowels and large wooden wheels I found at a craft store.

To space things out to fit the cover I had made out PVC board, I used some drilled through dowels to shim out the space between the wheels. Because it was only a guess, I ended up using some washers I quickly made out of PVC board to help increase the spacing between some wheels.

To create some friction on the wheels so that the levers would stay in place and not lamely fall to the bottom like a broken thing, I took an old sock (wish I was kidding) and wrapped it around a board and attached it firmly against the wheels.

Step 6: Detailing Out the Dashboard

Picture of Detailing Out the Dashboard

When I'm spray painting small parts, I sometimes use tape to securely wrap the piece on one end. I leave a few inches of extra tape that I use to hold the piece by as I spray it. Then, I use this extra tape to hang the piece while it dries. I used this technique with the dowel rods.

I ordered some switches on the cheap via Amazon, and I cut the holes. for the switches. This took a painfully long time, and since it was about 3:00 am at the time, I thought I would never finish. But persistence prevailed in the end.

Once those were done, I spray painted the dashboard and painted some little wooden squares that I bought at a craft store. These would be the buttons.

When the paint was dry, I installed all the switches, levers, and buttons. Looking nice! But something's still missing.

Step 7: Break Out the Pinstripe

Picture of Break Out the Pinstripe

The finishing touch was to install some white and red pinstripe to the surface of the dashboard. I quickly discovered that these little rolls kept wanting to unroll themselves and make a huge mess, so I used a bread tie to keep the roll secure while I was working.

Included with the pinstripe was a small rectangle of the same material. I used a hole punch to make some small circles of the stuff for some of the details.

This is slow work, but the payoff was huge. The addition of the pinstripes really made things look great.

Step 8: Finished Dashboard Cover

Picture of Finished Dashboard Cover

Getting this part done was a huge encouragement, and it really helped me to push forward with the rest of the project. I've often found that it's the moments like this that give me the energy to press on with a big project. Especially when there's a lot of work ahead.

And speaking of which, let's get back to work!

Step 9: Starting on the Cockpit

Picture of Starting on the Cockpit

There are times when you have everything you need on hand, and there are times when you have to improvise. This was one of the second situations. Since I didn't have enough wood to create a nice brace for the shape of the cockpit, I cut out several pieces and glued them together to form a skeleton. Then, I installed the inner piece of the cockpit.

I decided to create and outer and inner layer for the cockpit so that I could run lights in between the two. Nothing fancy - I just picked up a strand of LED Christmas lights.

It was around this time that my wife mentioned that I'd better build the thing in two pieces or it would be too large to ever leave the garage. It was certainly good advice and helped me to avoid a bit of heartache, but it was hard to picture how to make the front and back of the cockpit fit snugly together without using glue. As I worked on this part and started into the next, that was the main thing that I had on my mind.

Step 10: Building Out the Nose

Picture of Building Out the Nose

Using the table saw, I cut some MDF board to serve as the window frames, and as I taped everything together, I began to get a feel for where everything should go. Once I felt pretty good about the placement, I installed PVC board across the top of the window to hold things in place - careful not to glue this down to the back section.

Next, I glued down the outer shell. Since it was difficult to get a good glue seal against the brace I had made, I used a heat gun on some small PVC board pieces to create brackets. I glued these to the skeleton so that I'd have better surfaces for attaching the outer piece.

Everything looked pretty good, but there was a weird overhang at the top. It was time to make a decision of how things would fit together. As I was using my heat gun to fold down the outer piece, it hit me. I could build on this area to mimic the underlying piece. This would allow the overhang to keep the window section snug. It was at least worth a try.

And what do you know? It actually worked.

Step 11: Building the Attachment

Picture of Building the Attachment

Here you can clearly see the two pieces, as well as the outer piece I built to overhang the window and keep the two parts fitted together.

After some Bondo and sanding, things were starting to look pretty great.

Step 12: Another Encouraging Moment

Picture of Another Encouraging Moment

Looking from the inside, this thing was finally starting to look like the Millennium Falcon! Maybe all my hard work was not in vain! Hurray!

This was the end of the hard dreary work. From here on out it would be all paint and details - the fun stuff. Bring it on!

Step 13: Painting the Interior

Picture of Painting the Interior

Now that the outside was mostly done, I decided to focus on the interior. I started with spray painting the inside and then collecting the greebles for the inside windows.

I forgot to take a photo of the inside of the larger section, but I just spray painted the inside black.

With that done, it was time to paint the outside.

Step 14: Painting the Exterior

Picture of Painting the Exterior

I used a light gray paint for the exterior. And since I couldn't find a roller, I used a brush. After doing a pretty horrible job painting the outside, I touched up the interior where the paint had dripped. I was running out of time, and I was feeling the pressure to get things wrapped up.

Once the base color had dried, I took a piece of wood and used it to block the spray as I misted areas with a darker gray. This part is a little nerve wracking, but it can be pretty fun.

Step 15: Adding Final Details

Picture of Adding Final Details

To finish up the project, I added some additional greebles to the interior. I also ran a string of LED Christmas lights between the outer and inner shell.

I cut a rectangle into each side and covered it with a piece of acrylic that I backed with a piece of copy paper (no fancy window frosting here).

Like the dashboard, I used pinstripe to detail the interior, and to complete the project, I simply drilled holes through the interior shell to let light shine through.

I had met my deadline of ten days. I was exhausted, and I was finally done.

Step 16: Enjoying the Fruit of Our Labor

Picture of Enjoying the Fruit of Our Labor

It was time to drag the Millennium Falcon out of the darkness in my garage and into the sunshine for my kids to check out the finished project and to get a few photos. They loved it, and they can't wait to take it to their play room once the paint has had time to fully cure.

And speaking of love, if you like this Instructable, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. And I'd also appreciate your vote in the two contests that I've entered. Thanks so much!

Step 17: Final Details

Picture of Final Details

Since I originally posted this, we moved the Falcon into my son's room and added some details to the interior. Those lights are looking pretty sweet!

Again, thanks for checking out this project. I hope you're inspired to create something fun as a result.

Comments

hayloft13 made it! (author)2017-07-04

Here are some pictures of the finished toddler bed with crib size mattress to be added. The overall concept is like a twin size bed that Pottery Barn Kids sells for $4000.00! First is the overall shot from the foot of the bed. Next is a closeup of the control panel. This is where you really inspired me because I was not sure how I was going to approach this. You will notice that I wasn't trying to replicate the exact cockpit but rather give a two and a half year old something to play with. I added night lights on either side that will be at the foot of the mattress. The right hand side of the control panel has two items taken from an old helicopter controller from the Goodwill that are still spring loaded and functional. In the middle are knobs that rotate below the screen with a Star Wars key that also rotates. On the left hand side are toggle switches that light up from power provided by a 9 volt battery. Above that is the throttle complete with an old sock to keep it from free falling. The joystick also came from the Goodwill just for added effect. Again realizing a lot of this is not in the actual Millennium Falcon. All in all it was very challenging at times but it will be well worth it when I see the expression on his face and his parents when we deliver it this weekend. Thanks again.

kylegilbert (author)hayloft132017-07-04

That looks fantastic! I'm sure he loves it! Love the details on the controls.

hayloft13 (author)2017-07-03

I saw your project awhile back and your detail on your control panel really inspired me to build mine for the millennium falcon toddler bed that I just completed for my grandson. I work in wood but your ideas were terrific. Thanks so much.

kylegilbert (author)hayloft132017-07-03

That's great! Would love to see some pics of how it turned out!

kdewitt made it! (author)2017-02-06

Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I mention your Instructable in my Instructable. I wanted to give you credit for some of the great ideas you had for making the desk. Below are pictures of the playhouse I created for my son. I also created a Google Cardboard VR experience that the children could watch while they were sitting in it at his birthday party. Check out my Instructable: Star Wars Millennium Falcon Cockpit Playhouse That Can Fly! It is in the Outside/Backyard category. Thanks so much.

StarWarsLiz made it! (author)2016-07-31

I was inspired by this Millennium Falcon so I sort of followed your steps but had to change things a bit as I made mine a bit bigger for older kids, my lack of skills and tools, and had a shorter timeframe. This was a decoration for an 8th grade dance. I put mine on platforms so 8th graders could sit on a chair. It was a huge hit! Thank you for the inspiration and instructions! If this middle age mom can do it, anyone can!

kdewitt (author)StarWarsLiz2016-09-10

Hi, I'm working on this for my son's 5th birthday party. Could you share the dimensions of the console? Did you set this on a table or create a stand for it? Did you make your console light up? Or is it basically the same as what is posted in this instructable. Thanks.

kylegilbert (author)StarWarsLiz2016-07-31

That's amazing! Love it!

StarWarsLiz (author)kylegilbert2016-07-31

Thanks for inspiring and putting your instructions out there for me to work from. Not as good as yours but I am pretty proud of it. It was a fun add to the 8th grade dance. Wish I had a place to store it but putting it on Craigslist.

kdewitt (author)2016-09-09

Hi, I was wondering what the dimensions are for the console? Did you set this on something too? Or did it rest on the floor? Did you build seats? Thanks so much, Keri

smileydude3 (author)2016-06-22

If I ever get around to actually putting the thought into making this I'll stick with cardboard, PVC board just isn't gonna work.

kylegilbert (author)smileydude32016-06-24

Really? Why would you choose cardboard over PVC board?

smileydude3 (author)kylegilbert2016-06-24

Well, it's free and readily available in huge amounts at my local recycling center and even though it isn't nearly as stable as PVC board, I have a makedo set so I can add hinges and stuff like that. It's mainly a personal preference: cardboard is my favorite material to work with.

Henry Jones (author)2015-10-03

imagine if you made it bigger and put flight simulator equipment inside.

kylegilbert (author)Henry Jones2016-06-24

I know. That would be epic.

BrianI6 made it! (author)2015-12-14

We've made a great alternative to this but as a potting shed with removable shelf. You can find more info here: http://www.waltons.co.uk/waltons-space-shed

kylegilbert (author)BrianI62016-06-24

This is seriously cool!

grimdaddy (author)2015-09-27

I am a huge Star Wars fan but having this in a Halloween contest is not right. Perhaps you should remove it from the contest.

jedii72 (author)2015-07-30

That. Is. Freakin. AWESOME!!

kylegilbert (author)jedii722015-08-15

Ha! Thanks! It's been a lot of fun.

nasmis (author)2015-07-14

Absolutely awesome project!!

Two questions on the PVC board you used for the cockpit 'skinn:

1) What is the thickness?

2) Where did you source your boards from?

I have this dream project of building a submarine project for my twins...and this construction style would be perfect!!!

kylegilbert (author)nasmis2015-07-23

I used a local plastics company, and the thickness varies. In some areas I used 1/4", 1/8", or 1/16" depending on the area.

Twins are the best! I have a set myself. They're tons of fun.

alexandraroach1 (author)2015-07-14

Incredible!!!!! <3

Thanks!

cjraabe (author)2015-07-15

Absolutely WONDERFUL project. For the person putting one over his bed, maybe he could make the console do something, like give it a computer keyboard! I want to make this for my nieces and nephews--or maybe my 39-year-old son.

kylegilbert (author)cjraabe2015-07-23

That would be pretty awesome. Still making plans for where this will land in our home. :)

nasmis (author)2015-07-15

What is the thickness of the shell material?

kylegilbert (author)nasmis2015-07-23

I'm traveling and don't remember exactly. It's less than 1/8 inch. Might just be 1/16"

Honus (author)2015-07-15

That is so freaking awesome. If had this when I was a kid I would have had kids lining up at my yard gate to have a turn playing Han Solo.

fixfireleo (author)2015-07-14

you better build those sweet children the rest of their ship!

larrymummey (author)2015-07-14

Love what you did and your patience - you now need costumes and tickets to Comicon in San Diego.

kludge77 (author)2015-07-13

I'm going to need one of these in with a hinge over my bed, so I can lower it each night....

kylegilbert (author)kludge772015-07-14

Yep. That would be awesome!

Treasure Tabby (author)2015-07-13

I totally agree with NuSonic. My neighbors and I had to make those the old fasion way back in the day. With cardboard boxes basement chairs and the occasional basement floor. ;)

I know exactly what you mean. Imagination is key.

Raverx160 (author)2015-07-13

I want to make one! Sooo awesome!

kylegilbert (author)Raverx1602015-07-14

Do it! Would love to see how you could improve on what I've done.

sweeppreferred (author)2015-07-14

Well done! This looks great and I'm sure the kids loved it.

Thanks!

Nirgal38 (author)2015-07-14

Coolest. Parent. Ever.

Seriously, when I was a kid (before Star Wars), my friend and I built our own Star Trek bridge set using cardboard and stuff discarded by our local telephone company. It was nowhere near as cool as this.

Makes me sorry my own kids are grown.

Guess I'll have to make one for myself.

Voted for you in both contests. Good luck!

kylegilbert (author)Nirgal382015-07-14

Yeah, having kids is a fun excuse to play around, but don't let them being grown stop you. Plus, there's always the possibility of grand children. :)

RadioactiveBees (author)2015-07-14

I love the idea of using plastic casters for the control panel! They look great!

Also, your link to the wikipedia page is broken. It should say https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greeble, but instead says http://ttps//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greeble. Just a heads up :)

Fixed it. Thanks for the heads up!

BayRatt (author)2015-07-13

I, too, would have loved this as a kid... and as a very much not a kid anymore, I'd love it now! :-D

NathanSellers (author)2015-07-13

Well done! This looks great and I'm sure the kids loved it.

BKLaRue (author)2015-07-13

Very very cool!! Great work!

kylegilbert (author)BKLaRue2015-07-13

Thanks! It was a lot of fun to make!

redmarkonthewall (author)2015-07-13

So when are you making the rest?! ;)

I'll see if I can talk my wife into converting our whole house. Maybe she'll go for that. ;)