Introduction: How to Make a Child's Clone Trooper Costume From Cardboard
Probably one of the more challenging craft projects I've undertaken with the kids, to fabricate a childs full Clone Trooper costume (including helmet) from rigid boxboard sheets. Below is the end result and a bit about how it was done.
The model is my ten year old son.
Step 1: The Breastplate
This sort of project takes planning. I started by viewing a lot of Clone Trooper outfits online, downloading detailed images for reference and working out measurements.
These measurements I then scaled down to my sons size.
2mm wire is a useful way to capture the unique contours of the wearer
Using those measurements, I fabricated basic frameworks around which to build the armour. Some pieces didn't require this, however, pieces that encircled a part of the body were best assembled around a frame; this helps maintain symmetry. All framework was fabricated from the same cardboard as the costume.
Step 2: The Helmet
The Helmet easily takes the longest to fabricate; especially when it's a first attempt.
As a prototype, this finished helmet consists of approximately eighty individual parts; many of them could be consolidated together.
Again, the first step is to transpose the wearers measurement into a framework upon which to attach the basic shell of the helmet. Getting the helmet dimensions is a challenge. I started by taking key measurements of my sons head: circumference from above the eyebrows, distance from eye to bottom of chin, distance from eye to top of head etc. I used number 2 wire to capture his head shape. From these I created a frame upon which to temporarily position the key parts and create the dome.
TIP - Once you have the circumference, cut the wire to that length, then bend the wire around head to capture basic shape, lay the wire flat on cardboard and mark around shape adding a further 5-10mm all around so helmet doesn't end up too tight.
Many of the parts were created by simply snipping away at a piece of cardboard until I'd found the right size and shape.
For the dome I used a combination of Honus's method and papermache; using a blender to pulp the papermache to a very smooth consistency. The dome consists of a base layer of cardboard, upon which paper mache was used to get a more accurate shape and a thin layer of Super Filler to smooth off.
A blue LED light was installed at the end; this shone from the back of the 'Mohawk'.
Step 3: All the Other Bits
Including the pistol and rifle, there were 23 parts in all.
It's best if templates are first created on cheap paper, test fitted and adjusted as necessary. this will save wasting the more expensive cardboard on mistakes... not that we make any of those :)
Velcro was used throughout to fix all the parts onto the wearer, and foam was used to pad out the suit for comfort and best fit.
Step 4: Tools and Materials
The finished outfit took a pile of pasted boxboard (cardboard) that reached my waist. I think that's over 200 sheets; each sheet 200x280mm. The boxboard came in two grades, 1800 and 1400 gsm.
Other materials included:
Glue (heaps of it); including craft and PVA glue, hot glue and super glue
Super fine filler (I used Nordsjo Super Filler)
White and black fabric (stolen from my wife's sewing basket); used mainly as a backing to give strength to cardboard
Velcro; for connecting and holding all the parts in place
Misc: rivets, clear plastic for helmet, LED lights for helmet, various plastics bits, vinyl.
Lots of white spray paint!
Any job is made easier when using the right tools, and I would go as far as to say that with projects such as this, they are a necessity.
For this project I used the following tools:
Razor knife (absolutely essential), with lots of spare blades; you'll need them.
High revolution rotary multi-tool (these things are a godsend)
Quality craft shears and a range of scissors
Range of paint brushes from fine to 25mm
Sharp pencils and a few dark felt tip pens
Range of sand paper grits
Self healing cutting board
Putty knife or equivalent
Craft clips and/or pegs
Stainless steel rule