Introduction: Minecraft Steve Costume

For years we have been trying to convince our kids that Halloween is all about making your costumes, not buying them. Sadly, this has fallen on deaf ears year after year after year. Our vision of what would be awesome and their vision of what would be awesome has never aligned... until now! Thank you Minecraft!

Our kids, like millions of others around the world, are obsessed with all things Minecraft. While I'm not much into gaming myself, I can definitely appreciate the virtues of this game - namely the simplicity and  open-ended creativity that it offers. The simplicity in particular is what made this a logical choice for this year's costumes. The pixelized, blocky look of all of the characters make them perfect for construction out of cardboard - which happens to be free and plentiful. 

After careful consideration of all the possible characters and skins, my son settled on 'Minecraft Steve'. He wanted to make it as recognizable as possible to the most number of people.  Our primary goals for the costume were (1) to make it as close to the actual game character as possible and (2) allow for the mobility that will be required during Trick-or-Treating.  After 2 weeks, 10 sheets of cardboard, and many late nights, it's safe to say that the results exceeded our  expectations.


Materials you will need:

* cardboard sheets
* Photoshop - or similar photo editing software
* sheetrock screws
* liquid nails
* tape - masking and scotch
* 3M spray adhesive
* Velcro
* Gorilla Glue
* scrap foam (like the kind used to package computers or appliances)

Tools you will need:

* color printer
* straight edge
* utility knife and Exacto knife (with lots of replacement blades)
* screw gun/cordless drill

Step 1: Gather Your Source Images

I've found that one of the keys to making a great costume is to have it scaled correctly. I've seen lots of pictures of Minecraft costumes where the head is too small compared to the body, or the arms are too large compared to the body and head. These were most likely made with pre-existing cardboard boxes. To make ours truly to scale, we were going to need to make our own boxes. And to do that required a complete set of dimensions.

The problem with Minecraft Steve is that there really aren't any action figures to measure (at least not in my house). There are, however, hundreds of papercraft templates out there on the web. Step one is to search for a high resolution template. This will give you every dimension you will need for every component to the body. It will also serve to provide the 'skins' for your boxes... but more about that later.

Once you've gathered the dimensions, you will need to then determine your scale factor.  Since this costume is for my son, we took our key scaling dimension off of him. Our scaling dimension was measured from his shoulders to the ground. The thought is that the body portion of the costume is supported by his shoulders, and as a result the shoulders of Minecraft Steve need to match this height. 

The scale factor can then be applied to all of the dimensions from the papercraft template. You are now ready to start cutting cardboard.


Step 2: Make the Body

The rectangular box-shape of the body was constructed from three separate pieces. The front surface and side surfaces were made from a single piece of cardboard with two small flanges - one on each side - for easy attachment of the back surface. We attached the pieces together using liquid nails. Sheet metal screws were used to cinch the pieces together and hold them in place while the glue cured. This provides the added benefit of allowing the partially assembled box to be handled before the glue is dry.

Next the end cap was added. This too had flanges that were used for gluing to the body section. A square shaped hole was later cut into this end cap to allow my son's head to fit through.

Arm holes then need to be added on the side surfaces. Make these oversized to facilitate the process of putting the costume on and taking it off.

Tip: score the cardboard before bending to allow for much cleaner folds.
 

Step 3: Make the Head

The head, which is essentially a cube, was constructed three separate pieces. The first piece makes up the top of the head and three sides. The three sides fold down from the top surface, which starts to make up the shape of the cube. The edges are secured together with cardboard angles and liquid nails. Sheet metal screws are again used to hold everything together while the glue dries.

The fourth side surface is added and again attached with cardboard angles. If my cardboard sheet were large enough, I would have made this just fold down from the top surface.

Lastly, the bottom surface needs to be added. It has a square hole for a head to poke through. This is attached with cardboard angles.

Step 4: Make the Arms

The arms are essentially rectangular boxes that are capped on one end. Measure, cut and fold your cardboard to form the box section. The cap piece is made from a flat piece with two flanges. We experimented with some different ways to configure the end where your arm fits into and found the most comfortable design was to leave that end open and add a large "D" shaped cutout.  A round hole was then added at the "hand" end to allow for holding a pickaxe or sword.

Step 5: Add Your Skins

The first step is to make your skins. As previously mentioned, we used a high resolution papercraft template as the sorce image for our Minecraft Steve. It took some time to find one that had a high enough resolution to not lose its definition when blown up to 18x its size.

Once you settle on your image, open it in Photoshop. Next open up a blank Photoshop file and set the canvas size to exactly match the dimensions of your surface of interest on the costume. For instance, each side of our head measured 16.25 x 16.25 so we set the canvas size to that for all surfaces on the head.

Back in the papercraft image, select the surface you wish to enlarge and paste it in the new canvas. Perform a free-transform to stretch it to completely fill the canvas. The file can then be saved to a .pdf. I have attached my .pdfs to this step. Keep in mind, these were sized to fit a 10 year old. They are of a high resolution, so  you could stretch them to whatever scale you need.

The file can then be opened in Adobe and printed to a color printer. Be sure to print it with no scaling (100% size).  To do this, select: Page Scaling>Tile Large Pages. You will have to trim the resulting prints and tape them together. The easiest way to trim the prints is with a sharp Exacto knife and a straight edge.

Before attaching your skins, tape all exposed seams on the cardboard with masking tape. This smoothes the transitions and covers the cut edges. 

Use 3M spray adhesive to attach the skins to your cardboard. Again tape all of the exposed seams - but do so with scotch tape this time so that is not noticeable. As much as I love the 3M adhesive, it does tend to peel back at the edges over time. The tape prevents this.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

With the heavy construction done, its time for some final details...

Velcro the head: The head, which ends up being pretty large relative to the body, needs to be secured in place to prevent it from inadvertently flopping off. We used some strips of 2" Velcro and Gorilla glued them to the body and underside of the head.
 
Eye-hole: Next, cut a hole in the head so that the wearer can see out of it.  We cut along the pixel borders to keep it as clean as possible.

Hand grips: Since the costume arm is much larger than the wearer's arm, we needed to add a feature that could be grabbed with your hand to  keep the arm from falling off.   We cut a U shape piece of styrofoam and glued it near the circular hole with liquid nails.  This worked really well, and allows for maximum flexibility when defending yourself against creepers or mining for cobblestone.

Shoulder pads: Foam was also added under the top surface of the body to prevent the cardboard from digging into my son's shoulders. This significantly improved the comfort of the costume. 

Other additions and ideas: 

* Pickaxe: How can you dress up as Minecraft Steve and not have a pickaxe?  Click here for some quick and easy instructions--> https://www.instructables.com/id/Minecraft-Pickaxe-5-and-45-minutes/

* Arch-nemesis: Does your Minecraft Steve need a motral enemy? Build a Creeper Costume --> https://www.instructables.com/id/Telescoping-Minecraft-Creeper-Costume/

* Legs: We discussed adding legs to the costume, but ultimately decided that it would making climbing stairs nearly impossible. This would have put a serious damper on trick-or-treating.

Comments

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renana02 made it! (author)2017-03-10

hey I made it with every step u wrote. My son was soo exited. Thank u

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pjkumpon (author)renana022017-03-10

Wow that looks amazing! Great job! Thanks for posting... it made my day!

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J.T.M2 (author)2017-03-05

can someone please make a video tutorial on how to make it because my dad refuses to help. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

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Joseph Nosef (author)2017-02-20

May I ask, Is there a template to print for the legs? Thanks

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Joseph Nosef (author)2017-02-20

I hope your kids enjoyed making this project! Thanks for the tutorial and kind description.

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Micah421 made it! (author)2016-10-31

Just wanted to say thanks for the instructions! I ended up finding coardboard sheets at Uline. We made arm holes on the side of the arms complete with foam padding to make it comfy! It's been a big hit this year!! Also a tip for everyone. Our son is small and 7 years old. We scaled down the images to %87 after measuring his arm length compared to this 10 year old size. Worked out perfect!! We put all the images on "poster sheets" At Walgreens! Two 2' x 8' poster sheets with two extra arms (10 total) for front/back of arms. Of course everyone gets a kick out of the torch that lights up(toy from target). THANK YOU FOR POSTING INSTRUCTIONS!

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pjkumpon (author)Micah4212016-11-01

Fabulous! Love the torch, and the ankle boxes. Looks amazing. Thanks for sharing this!

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Chasco2x2 (author)2016-10-25

what are the measurements for arms and body ? please

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MommyOfThree (author)Chasco2x22016-10-29

how big is your head?

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Chasco2x2 (author)Chasco2x22016-10-27

Anyone ?

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pjkumpon (author)Chasco2x22016-10-29

Hi. Sorry for the delayed response. The dimensions will be dependent on the size of the person who will be wearing it. You will need to measure and scale the papercraft template to get the dimensions. Hope this helps!

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MommyOfThree (author)2016-10-29

will a hot glue gun work well with cardboard??

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KatieW91 made it! (author)2016-10-23

I used your instructions to make my son's Halloween Costume! Thank you so much. We don't have a color printer, so I painted everything by hand. And he insisted on being "Steve with Diamond Armor" so that is what he got!

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pjkumpon (author)KatieW912016-10-24

Wow, this is one of the better ones I've seen! That paint job looks amazing - I'm sure it was tedius! Thanks so much for posting. This made my day!

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travelingpugs made it! (author)2016-10-16

We used your tutorial as a guideline when making this minecraft pig costume! He absolutely loves it. In the end we decided to paint it instead of using printouts. It's awesome! Thanks so much for sharing all of your hard work!!!

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pjkumpon (author)travelingpugs2016-10-24

Awesome job! That turned out great! Thanks so much for taking the time to post it!

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Danastark (author)2016-09-26

Stupid question , but how do you print the templates that big? Is it taped together?

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MauriceC17 (author)Danastark2016-10-14

I would take it to a print shop like staples and they can print the panels.

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travelingpugs (author)2016-10-10

We are excitedly using this tutorial to make a minecraft pig!! We have the basic structure completed and now need to add the color. I will post a photo once it's completed. Thanks so much!

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TeriH5 made it! (author)2015-10-31

My daughter wanted to be "Alex" for Halloween. I searched high and low and found nothing. So I got to work....Here is the Alex to your Steve =)

Thanks so much for the tutorial! I had to make a few adjustments in size (she is 5) but I think it went well! I couldn't get her to hold long enough for more pictures, she wanted some candy!

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pjkumpon (author)TeriH52015-11-01

Wow, that turned out great! I love you you tailored the character to her. That is the first Alex I've seen.

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RoseE12 (author)pjkumpon2016-09-18

Hi Teri, my son is 5 yo, can I get an idea on the adjustments that you made to make it fit her?

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jokerswild01 made it! (author)2016-09-01

I couldn't figure out the whole papercraft thing so I just got out my ruler and made a grid on the box so I could paint to proportion. Also, I found that 12 pack soda boxes worked surprisingly well for the arms - I glued toilet paper rolls into the ends so my son had a handle to hold on to inside the arm. Thanks for the great idea!

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pjkumpon (author)jokerswild012016-09-02

Awesome! thanks for posting. It turned out great... I like the use of the soda boxes for arms.

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CamillaK made it! (author)2015-11-01

Thank you for these instructions! My sons wanted to be Steve and Spawning Blaze for Halloween. This was a fun project, and the results turned out great. Steve got an iron armor, and short sleeves, as he wanted his hands free.

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TeriH5 made it! (author)2015-10-31

My daughter wanted to be "Alex" for Halloween. I searched high and low and found nothing. So I got to work....Here is the Alex to your Steve =)

Thanks so much for the tutorial! I had to make a few adjustments in size (she is 5) but I think it went well! I couldn't get her to hold long enough for more pictures, she wanted some candy!

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amd816 made it! (author)2015-10-31

Many thanks for the instructions and downloads for the Minecraft Steve costume! We bought the head, but the body and arms turned out great with your pdfs. The costume was huge hit!

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JasmineS9 made it! (author)2015-10-29

I am almost done making my sons Minecraft Steve costume just have to finish up the arms! Thank you so much for posting these instructions he absolutely loves his costume!!!

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DiamantesR (author)2015-09-12

Id personally like to thank you for posting your step by step instructions on how to build and get the proportions of minecraft steve.

After long preparation and hardly no time to build I decided to build one for myself, yes that correct, myself haha.... I made it to use as a surprise mascot at my sons 5th birthday party.

Please do take a look at the video :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm3svxW0Gso

And thank you once again!

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jafanaro (author)DiamantesR2015-10-28

What were your dimensions for the costume? I'm trying to make a full sized one myself!

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pjkumpon (author)DiamantesR2015-09-14

Wow! Thanks for posting this! you made my week! It turned out great! That is definitely the biggest Minecraft Steve I've ever seen!

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tribecababy made it! (author)2015-10-25

Thank you pjkumpon for the incredible details. My son's costume was a huge hit with many photo requests -- and he keeps raving about how it's his best costume to date! Happy Halloween!

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author

i have been trying to figure out how to print on a regular printer. Do I need to send this to staples?

author

hi, i opened the pdf files in photoshop and just printed them (in pieces) on my regular printer at home and cut and taped the pieces together.

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pjkumpon (author)tribecababy2015-10-25

That turned out amazing! And the sword, too! well done! Thank you so much for posting

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amj0517 (author)2015-10-27

I made the head and arms so far, but am having trouble with the body. I think the templates will fit my son as-is, but The UPS Store wanted close to $50 to print them at the actual size. I asked if they could just print them on multiple sheets of 11x17 (at $2 per sheet). They said that I need to bring the .pdf files in already cropped to that size. I have limited software on my computer and have been able to crop files and save as Front top, front bottom, etc. These are now saved as .jpegs and I cannot see what the actual dimensions are of the new files. I'm starting to panic with Halloween just a few days away. ;)

Has anyone else had luck doing this? Any suggestions?

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kmdg767809 (author)2015-10-27

ughhhh i hate that i have to pay for this site it's ridiculous!!! i don't have much to buy so I'm trying to make it myself...I found a head template for free online, why are you charging? It's really annoying!!!! Btw sorry If you think I'm being mean but I'm being honest and I can't help but express how I feel about you charging for a template.

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amj0517 (author)kmdg7678092015-10-27

The .pdf files can be downloaded for free from Step 5.

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xxlauraxx (author)2015-10-26

I love seeing all the "I Made It" photos. You've inspired so many people, pjkumpon!

What are you guys dressing up as for Halloween this year?

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couchgirl13 (author)2015-10-24

HELP! I am trying to resize the head pictures to fit a box that is 9.3" x 9.3" for my 4 year old son's head. The 15" x 15" is way to big. I can't get it resized. I am having a hell of a time with this and there's a week left. I really don't want to break down and have to try and find a Steve head somewhere at the end of the week. I downloaded photoshop but I must be doing something wrong, because when I went to print it out it was smaller than the 9.3" x 9.3" size I specified. HELP!

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couchgirl13 (author)couchgirl132015-10-24

I also had problems converting the files. Used an online converter and converted them to jpegs. Maybe I am doing to many steps? Is there anyone who took the files as they are above, and printed them at Walmart or somwhere like that? I am in Ontario, Canada, and not quite sure of where I can take them to print.

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kabilanMom made it! (author)2015-10-24

Thanks for your detailed post. I made this for my son. It took me 4 days. I used my sons leftover science experiment cardboard and amazon boxes. My son is having a blast with his costume.

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pjkumpon (author)kabilanMom2015-10-24

Wow it turned out awesome! Thanks for posting this! Happy Halloween!

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XxDerpH (author)2015-10-22

Thank you so much! I am making one currently with my mom and i am trying to use boxes we already have. They turned out to be the perfect size with some of the dimensions posted bellow. I would like to thank you for your instructions! Will post final product

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Owensmom512 (author)2015-10-22

Hello!! Love this idea why was the name of the paint you used?

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JosieM4 made it! (author)2015-10-09

Thank you so much for the inspiration to make this. Took me two days about 6-8 hours each day. I painted the boxes and loved how it turned out. Thank you, I have one very very happy boy :)

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MichelleM96 (author)JosieM42015-10-15

How tall is your son?

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JosieM4 (author)MichelleM962015-10-15

He is 4 feet 10.5 inches

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LorieG2 (author)JosieM42015-10-21

What kind if paint did u use

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KeithN8 (author)JosieM42015-10-12

Hey JosieM4, love your finished costume! Any chance you could post the dimensions to all the cardboard shapes? I hope to make the same thing.

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Bio: A mechanical engineer by training, but often seek out fun projects at home to satisfy my need to create stuff. I love halloween, cardboard projects ... More »
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