Picture of Tron Costume
Halloween 2012 Boys Suiting Up.jpg
After watching the latest Tron movie ... the kids were excited at the idea of being Tron (and so was i).  We set about researching how to make a decent and yet still inexpensive Tron outfit.  Here is how...

Supplies Needed:
1 - 5m roll of LED Lights - $10-15 on ebay
1 - Roll of 22 guage wire (make sure it is not solid) 
1 - Soldering iron
1 - Glue Gun
1 - Battery holder (for 8 AA's)
- Carboard
- Camping foam
Optional: An old Chest protector - motorcross style

Additionally you will need some patience ... soldering those little tiny contacts can take awhile.

As you can see from the photo ... they are very bright.  We actually had troubles taking this picture ... no worries about where the kids were on Halloween night.  Litterally they were stopping traffic.  I have to admit ... the kids got a lot of RAVE reviews from people about their cool Tron costumes.

Note: we were originally going to go out with scuba suits underneath - but it was raining so badly we had to put on jackets!  This weather won't stop us!!   Electricity might ... but not the weather.

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Step 1: Prepare Well in advance

Picture of Prepare Well in advance
Prepare well in advance of Halloween ... these items are long lead - meaning they take about 30 days to arrive.

The LED roll was a good solution for the costume since it was cheap and you could cut it.  Decent ability with a soldering iron comes in handy ... or at least be willing to learn.  The LED roll costs about $10-15 on ebay ... get the 5m roll.  You don't need super bright LED's since these were blinding people as it was.  Ensure you get the self-adhesive LED roll.  Also ... since it is the wet-west coast here ... I also got the waterproof roll.  In hindsight - it was nice since it was pouring rain on halloween.

Yes, the LED's can be cut ... every three lights there is a line to cut at.  Strip the ends with a razor knife to remove the silicon ... ensure you have bare clean metal to solder too.

Battery:  you need 9V or more ... the 9V battery is good for a tester and for the identity disc since it can go on or off.  The suit has a lot of lights - I recommend a battery pack with 8-AA's ... they are 1.5V each ... a good solid 12V.  Lasts for 4-6 hours.
  I picked up 30+ AA's at the dollar store for $3.
While you are ordering the LED strips ... it was much cheaper to buy the other electronics stuff online.  I used connectors for between the legs torso and arms ... so they were removeable.  I also bought some switches (to turn it on and off) and battery packs (8-AA type).  Also get a roll of 22 gauge wire (not solid).

johndoeboy10 months ago
awesome costumes! will be doing this for halloween and i love that you used LED lights instead of EL wire (so expensive so glad i found an instructable that *didnt* use EL). question though, i have seen on other people that used LED wire how there are gaps between the lights (as shown here how come these costumes don't have those gaps? thanks
same as question below! VVVV
smithdw (author)  johndoeboy10 months ago
see above
johndoeboy smithdw10 months ago
ahahahaha very funny. thank you! is there anyway i could make the lights not as bright without sewing them over? i'll be going to a crowded party and i don't want my outfit to be *too* distracting, if i use a battery with less voltage would that help? im worried that even sewing over with an opaque material might still create too much glow
smithdw (author)  johndoeboy10 months ago
They do have small gaps, but the lights are so bright that you don't see them. Originally I had planned to put a opaque material over the lights to diffuse it or spread it out. It ended up not mattering ... it looked just as good either way. The added bonus is the LED strips are reusable for my next project.
jpacquing12 months ago
Didn't the lights leave blank areas? I was planning to use EL wire & outline them on a reflectorized tape. My friend & I are going to use this for our office "Town Hall" party.
on_rz1 year ago
Could you clarify on the 22 gauge wire not being solid. I have not heard of wite bring described as that.
smithdw (author)  Gantman4eva1 year ago
The 1st spool of 22 guage wire I bought was not wire - it was solid inside. Since it is so thin - apparently that is common. Because of the flexing and small contact points - the wire is a better choice. Wire is also easier to 'Tin'.
Can you explain to me what you soldered the LED lights to and how you got the switch in and all the electrical stuff, can you be detailed, I really want to make this, Thanks.
smithdw (author)  Ranger1011 year ago
The strips have little tiny connection points where you cut them. At those points you can solder to power ... or another strip. I actually didn't put a switch on the armor - I simply had one of the connection wire clip/unclip ... turns it into a manual switch.

On the disc - I used a recessed switch I bought off ebay that had a blue led light inside. Wire as usual.
majormaaz1 year ago
Wow! Just what I was looking for. I was planning on doing this Tron costume as well, but I also would like to be able to throw the Identity Disk. How heavy/lopsided was the disk with the EL wires and all? Or how heavy was it in general? I plan on throwing it from a distance from 6-10 feet.
smithdw (author)  majormaaz1 year ago
Mine was simply a hunk of wood routed with a groove for the lights - I am sure it would throw very well. I would feel sorry for the person that got hit by this thing because it would definitely hurt.

I am not certain it would stand up to the abuse of landing (not being designed for that). Wood tends to have a shear aspect with the grains - if it landed wrong it could split. It would be no problem on grass.
rdy4trvl1 year ago
Great project and it includes the kids!
JonnyBGood1 year ago
Really awesome!! I am considering getting a black leather jacket to make it Tron Style. Would it be about the same process?
smithdw (author)  JonnyBGood1 year ago
Yes Basically ... the key thing to consider is how the led strip will stick / stay in position. It is self-adhesive ... but using a hot glue gun is better. Hope you don't mind hot-gluing that leather jacket. ;)

An old set of motorcross armour is cheaper and easier to find ... although not 100% authentic - it looks great.
Okay Thanks
Oh and one more thing.... I was wanting to make it for my every day jacket. =) I love the look of light and dark together. The disc part, eh, not so comfortable when sitting but the jacket, Oh yeah. Can't wait till I get a jacket and some lights!
kretzlord1 year ago
This might be the coolest costume I've seen this year!
aeszok1 year ago
How long did the batteries last?
smithdw (author)  aeszok1 year ago
It is a good question - they never ran out. The kids wore just the chest and shoulder pieces to school and it lasted the day ... they were still on when they got home. Although I am not sure how much of the day they had them on for. I would say they are good for 6-8 hours with diminished brightness in the last 2 hours. The Identity disc on the 9v battery lasts about 3 hours.
PeckLauros1 year ago
Awesome! Added to favorites.
AMAZING. and totally practical for trick-or-treating.
This is great!
Ahhhhhh! Super awesome. :D