Step 1: Grow a Beard
Step 2: Painting the Jacket
For the front design I borrowed most heavily from the first movie, with this page as my main template. Starting with the second movie Wolverine loses the spiky design (which was a nod to his original comics costume) and gets a big X on his chest that I don't like as much. The more angular design on the arms I stole more from the third movie. All three movies have a really dorky back design, so I just made up my own for that. Don't forget the little "x"s on the collar and the bigger one in back.
For the belt buckle I just used a button maker and yellow and black construction paper, and attached it to the belt that came with the jacket using a strong rare-earth magnet. The color was a little cheesy looking in good light, but it worked fine in the dark.
Step 3: Retractable Claws (equipment)
For each hand you'll need:
- three tubes, about the length of your forearm. I used the plastic handles from some cheap pitchforks they were selling at the local Halloween store.
- three metal-looking end tubes that are slightly smaller diameter than your main tubes. I used metal joiners from an old tent I had salvaged for last year's costume.
- three wooden dowels that will fit into the main tubes
- a Dremel tool or the like to shape your dowels to look like claws
- metal foil tape or silver or chrome paint
- three end plugs to close off the backs of your main tubes (I used a quarter-inch piece of PVC tubing)
- two spacers to keep your claws separated (more pieces of PVC tubing)
- black leather gloves
- a piece of black leather (I salvaged some from a leather backpack that had finally fallen apart)
- an old sock (any color)
- and of course, duct tape
Step 4: Retractable Claws (claws)
As for technical details, you want the claw to just fit inside your arm tubes after you've added the stoppers to the back and the metal end tubes to the front. That will allow the claw to slide freely without having the front of the claw catch on the metal end tube, which is a smaller diameter and thus creates a slight ridge. Make sure the claw slides freely through the tube and end tube up until the last couple inches (you may have to sand it down so it will slide freely, and don't forget to account for any paint or foil you'll be adding). You'll want the last inch-and-a-half to two inches of the claw to be of larger diameter, big enough to pass through the main tube freely but too small to fit through the end tube. The transition should be abrupt, with a lip that will strike the inner tube head on. You can wrap electrical tape around the end of the claw until you get the necessary thickness.
Finally, make the claws silver. I used metal foil tape, which is kind of a pain to work with but makes for a great shiny finish. You can also use silver spray paint, though that doesn't give as nice a metallic look. (There's probably a good chrome paint out there that would also work, though I didn't look.)
Step 5: Retractable Claws (putting It Together)
Step 6: Retractable Claws (wearing Them)
Depending on your jacket you might find the claws make odd bulges at your elbow. If so, just tell people they're muscles ;-).
Step 7: Beard and Hair
His hairstyle was also toned down for the first movie and got progressively more and more styled (see here for where it's gotten to now). For hair, I used serious "hair spike" gel and lots and lots of hairspray while my wife helped brush the sides of my hair into curls with a cylindrical brush. As you can see even then one of the curls didn't hold, but it still worked pretty well. The general cut is apparently called a "duck" cut, and was popular back in the 50s -- check out this page for detailed instructions on how to cut and/or style Wolverine hair.
Step 8: Resources
Here are some pages that might give you ideas or inspiration: