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
16. Iron Man free downloadable costume patterns, Google pepakura files Iron Man
17. Permanent Markers
Step 1: 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
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
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
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
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
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!
I was really impressed with the final result!