As a kid who always loved Halloween, I was fortunate enough to grow up with a Maker father who humored my every creative thought. Not only has he always been good at electronics (he worked at Bell Labs), but he is also skilled at carpentry, mechanics, and metal work. I really put my dad’s awesome set of tools to the test in 1978 when I insisted on being R2D2 for Halloween. He fashioned the body out of chicken wire and tin foil, made the arms out of cardboard, and filled it with breath-taking (for 1978) electronic effects like blinking dome lights and an LCD screen that flashed “R2D2.” Sure, it wasn’t an exact replica of R2D2, but I won several Halloween costume contests that year and set the bar high for future costumes.
I have been continuing the tradition of making Halloween costumes with my own son since he was young. This year he turned nine and finally insisted on *gasp* a store bought Boba Fett costume. I know there are some good instructions out there on how to make your own Boba Fett costumer, but I still broke down and spent the $50. My son tried to console me by telling me to make a Han Solo costume and wear that. That is when inspiration hit - to truly compliment a Boba Fett costume, I can be Han Solo in Carbonite.
While researching the costume, I found many people out there that have built spectacular life sized models of Han Solo in Carbonite (HIC as the hobbyists say). A lot of the truly dedicated have built some detailed and faithful replicas. This is not one of them. For instance, I did not track down any Volvo parts to build my control panels; I just ripped apart a bunch of old computer parts and glued them on a painted piece of wood. I took a few other liberties, but I think the costume is still recognizable for what it is, even if my wife thinks only “geeks” will get it.
Step 1: Building the frame
Here is a list of the materials I used to build Han Solo in Carbonite:
8’ X 4’ piece of 1/8” thick plywood
Two 10-foot long 1” X 2” stud
One 10-foot long 1” X 4” stud
Plaster of Paris
12 gauge copper wire
Rustoleum metallic spray paint (gray)
Random computer parts, VCR/ LCD displays, mint tins
I started off building frame of the costume using a 4’ X 2.5’ piece of plywood. I used 1/8’ thick plywood in order to keep the weight down. It is pretty flimsy wood so you need to be careful not to bang it around too much. To support the frame I nailed two 4 foot long pieces of 1” X 2” studs to the sides and one 2.5 foot long stud to the top and one 2.5 foot piece to the bottom. I used roofing nails with a wide head to give it a riveted look (not authentic, but cool). Since the wood is so thin, I first drilled pilot holes before hammering any of the nails. Next, I nailed a 4’ X 6” piece of plywood to each side and a 2.5’ X 6” piece to the top. I left the bottom open since I’ll be wearing the costume and my feet need to stick out. Once the frame was built, I cut an oval for my head to fit through. The oval is about 10 inches long , 7 inches at its widest, and the top of the oval is about 9 inches from the top of the frame. I sanded the inside of the oval pretty well since I didn’t want to get splinters every time I stuck my head in. Finally, I painted the whole thing with some white primer.