Introduction: IRON MAN Costume

Picture of IRON MAN Costume

A year ago I decided that I wanted to make the ultimate Halloween costume, so I decided to make an IRON MAN costume. I had no idea at the time how involved fabricating the suit would be. It was a challenge, but a lot of fun. If you are thinking about making a costume like this, you need to plan on spending 6 months to a year in order to achieve the desired results. Have fun with the whole process, you will learn a lot and have fun making a unique costume. 
Materials I used:

1. Foam EVA, Sheets from Sears
2. Hot glue gun, gluesticks
3. X-acto knife, replacement blades
4. Card Stock for patterns
5. L.E.D. pre wired lights from Radioshack
6. Two 9-volt batteries and battery clips
7. Old pair of shoes, and gloves
8. Foamies from Joann Fabrics for the hands and neck parts
9. Jewelry casting plastic bracelet mold form hobby lobby, and plastic resin
10. Copper wire for Arc reactor
11. Old water faucet head
12. Modge Podge
13. Plasti Dip
14. Red and gold spray paint
15. Velcro
16. Iron Man free downloadable costume patterns, Google pepakura files Iron Man
17. Permanent Markers

Step 1: Step 1

Picture of Step 1

I started with the Arc Reactor, I used a jewelry mold and plastic resin from Joann Fabrics for the body of the device, then I drilled holes and inserted pre-wired l.e.d.'s into it. I wrapped the ring in black foam and copper wire, used an old mason jar lid to hold it, and then attached a cardboard backing and glued an old faucet head in the center. I added large industrial staples for effect. I wired the lights to a 9 volt battery clip for power.

Step 2: Step 2

Picture of Step 2

I downloaded the patterns from an online program called pepakura. The files and patterns are free and can be found on google. Just type in Iron man pepakura files. I printed the patterns off and traced them onto EVA foam which I purchased in big sheets at Sears. The foam is very lightweight. The entire costume weighs less than 6 pounds. I attached the pieces using a hot glue gun.

Step 3: Step 3...The Helmet

Picture of Step 3...The Helmet

The helmet was challenging because of the shape. It needed to be round enough to be a helmet, and because of all of the gluing required I needed to cover up the small attachment areas that had gaps. To solve this I used car body filler and sanded it down until smooth, once painted the entire helmet appeared smooth. Oh...I still needed to be able to see out of the helmet. More on that later.

Step 4: Step 4...The Eyes

Picture of Step 4...The Eyes

Making the eyes glow like they do in the movies was difficult. I used L.E.D.'s with a foil backing and blocked the area behind the l.e.d.'s so I wouldn't be blinded. I used white moldable plastic for the eye piece and had to experiment with the placement of the lights to achieve the desired effect. Once I positioned the lights in the proper place, I hot glued them to the plastic and inserted them onto the helmet. I had to make an eye slit underneath the plastic so I could see out of the helmet. My field of vision isn't great, but enough to walk around with the helmet on, see people, and avoid obstacles.

Step 5: Step 5...The Boots

Picture of Step 5...The Boots

The boots were easy. I connected all of the pieces and hot glued it to an old pair of shoes. I  divided the boot into 2 main sections and and connected the 2 main pieces with a threaded post with screw so the 2 pieces could move when I walk.  

Step 6: Step 7...Prepping, Priming, and Painting

Picture of Step 7...Prepping, Priming, and Painting

This step was the easiest part of the entire process. To allow paint to stick to EVA foam, the surface has to be prepared with a mixture of Elmers school glue and water, 50/50 mixture...also called modge podge. The entire surface needs 5-6 coatings of mode podge. Approximately 2.5 days to allow for dry time. You can put the modge podge on as sloppy as you want because the foam will soak it up and the surface will remain smooth. After some trial and error, I found that using Plasti-Dip was the next best method to prime the surface. For some reason, spray paint primer would cause the surface of the foam to bubble up. Probably because the propellant in the spray can was eating away at the foam. So I used Plasti-Dip, applied a layer to all the surfaces, and the problem was solved. After prepping, you are now ready to prime the surface. I used 2-3 cans of spray paint primer. After the surface has been primed, it is time for paint. I used Krylon Gloss Cherry Red and was happy with the result.

Step 7: Done!

Picture of Done!

I was really impressed with the final result!


LachtanBeda (author)2017-08-30

How thick have you got the foam?


tonystark124770 (author)2016-08-30

that look's very rad don't you think so?

PrachiA6 (author)tonystark1247702016-10-03


SaifA10 (author)2015-12-05

i cannot get the pdf

ElsaK (author)2015-08-26

AND how do you size it?

ElsaK (author)2015-08-25

ALSO do you need the IM support files?

ElsaK (author)2015-08-25

HEY! Okay I really like the way you did your cosplay, but I have a few concerns for when I make it.

In the pepakura files things like the biceps are both left, there isn't a right bicep. there are other ones but I only remember biceps. are you supposed to flip the design?

does printing from pepakura come with valley folds and mountain folds so i can actually make this?

How did you make the suit so you could take it on and off?


kdewitt (author)2015-07-27

Yes, please provide a link or the actual files. I've searched the internet and can find no valid links to any ironman pepakura files.

I would like to build a scaled down suit for my son for Halloween.


armin 7 (author)2015-06-08


clonestranger (author)2014-01-26

How much did it cost?

joetime (author)clonestranger2014-03-18

about $300

A1IT3R (author)joetime2015-02-26

try using card and paper... its so much cheaper and looks just as good when it has car body filler over it... i payed around £80 for mine

blondkid (author)2014-11-04

How many sheets did you use

blondkid (author)2014-11-03

How thick are the foam sheets that you used

DanielHolland (author)2014-07-20

So how do you put it on? Do you just slip each piece on or do they break in half and reattach around your limb or what?

joetime (author)DanielHolland2014-07-31

I slip each piece on individually. There's about 12 or so pieces.

icekingschesthair (author)2014-03-24

If I give you all of my measurements and such could I pay you to make me one??

If you would like to start a conversation about that, please email me at

beastmodecuban (author)2014-01-30

Who's helmet file did you use? Your blueprints look alot different than what I have, alot cleaner actually. I've had issues with mine and have been looking for a smoother template. I can look up the pdo afterwards if you remember the the file name

joetime (author)beastmodecuban2014-03-18

I can't remember, I found it on

itri45 (author)2014-02-22

Very Very Impressive. I'm hoping to start a MK42 version soon. The only thing I have a question about is did you prime with Modge Podge, then PlastiDip and then Paint. Or is it just one or the other?

jackson9882 (author)2013-12-15

it looks so easy and awesome

jjoseph10 (author)2013-11-07

Can you please post the exact pep files you used for the foam build? It would help out a lot for others trying to follow your steps!

sokiboi78 (author)2013-11-07

Nice job.!!.GO IRON MAN!!
check out mine what u think? made out of card boards and tape lol Vote if you like ;-)

jharley (author)2013-11-05

Hey Joe,

I gotta say very very awesome job. Really love the eyes and the helmet. Everything actually. I noticed you don't have the hand plasma lasers..Any reason you left those out?

Thanks so much for sharing this. Amazing job!

joetime (author)jharley2013-11-06

The reason I left those out was due to time...just didn't have enough to make the palm lights, but I will probably add those in the near future.

softblubber (author)2013-11-05

How did you make the angled cuts so nice (for example, when two pieces come together at 90-ish degrees)?

joetime (author)softblubber2013-11-06

When I was making the angled cuts at 90 degrees I used a bevelled x-acto knife ($4 at wal-mart). It makes 45 degree cuts, and I would cut both edges at 45 degrees so when they were joined together, I would have a clean 90 degree edge .

BigStoddy (author)2013-11-05

Nice work. I wonder if a clear coat over your final paint would let you wax and shine it.

joetime (author)BigStoddy2013-11-06

Good Point, I'll consider doing that. Thanks

mommyhen42 (author)2013-11-05

Awesome!! But how do you see out of it?

joetime (author)mommyhen422013-11-05

Check out Step 4!

rsucgang (author)2013-11-05

Fantastic! I'm thinking of doing the same thing for Halloween next year. Thanks for the inspiration and the instructabl. Well done!

sircorvus (author)2013-11-03

Wow, really great!

Andrew Garfield (author)2013-11-02

how much time did it took for it and yeah I voted for it

joetime (author)Andrew Garfield2013-11-02

I took my time with the costume, it was a fun hobby. I probably put in 4-5 hours per week for about 9 months. Whenever I had the time to work on it I took advantage.

boras (author)2013-11-02

Nice work but I still dont get it why to waste time on foam when u can do it hard way with better effect ( paper +fiberglass)

joetime (author)boras2013-11-02

I've never worked with fiberglass before, so cutting out foam and gluing it seemed a lot easier.

boras (author)joetime2013-11-02

Yea i can agree with that foam is much easier. but paper would give you better more detailed results. Myself i made a helmet out of paper+ fiberglass still need to put a bondo filler on it but having to much work not allowing me to do what i enjoy :/ anyway like i said :) well done :)

HrdWodFlor (author)2013-11-01

Very nice! You did a great job on this!

joetime (author)HrdWodFlor2013-11-02


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