Introduction: BB-8 and R2-D2 - Star Wars Toddler Halloween Costumes
Perhaps these are the droids your looking for? We just finished making these for our children (Ages 5 and 3). My daughter is a true princess. I married a tom boy so it is definitely a nature over nurture situation. Everything she owns is pink and sparkly. When we asked her what she wanted to be this year she said that she wanted to be BB-8. We had been so surprised she didn't want to be something frilly and Pink our jaws hit the floor. At that moment we decided we would make her the best damn Star Wars costume she could imagine knowing that we will likely spend the rest of her Halloweens making Disney princess costumes or something else involving copious amounts of glitter. Thankfully her Brother will do anything his sister tells him so he was just as excited to be R-2-D2 or Harbee-Devo as he would say it.
A few weeks ago in a garage not that far away, this is how we made them................................
Step 1: The Frames
For our Driod bodies we used a yoga ball we had lying around to create the frame for BB-8. it took about a week and a half to fully make it happen with paper mache. The cool thing is the Yoga ball already has perfect lines on it so it was easy to leave an opening for the head and feet.
For R2-D2 we used a big box from Amazon that we had in the garage. I cut 2 circles of equal size out of Ply wood and wrapped the cardboard around them. Then I used some 5 minute epoxy and a few clamps to hold it together. (Side note: Measure you kid before doing this. We did not get this right on the first try). Once that was done we added 1 layer of paper mache to the cardboard to give it some strength and removed the plywood.
Step 2: The Helmets
For the Droid helmets we grabbed the 2 largest salad bowls we had on hand. Thankfully my wife collect bowls like some women collects shoes so we had just the right sizes. Most bowls have a flat bottom so for R2-D2's helmet I cut some cardboard out and hot glued it to the bottom of the bowl to give it shape. I put duct tape over it to make sure I had a rounded top.
Then back to paper mache time! After the paper mache is set and you remove it from the bowl we needed to find away to attach them to our kids heads. We bought 2 used skateboard helmets from a second hand store and used Velcro to secure them inside the helmet. Once in place we sprayed in some "spray foam" from the local hardware store.
Step 3: The Body, BB-8 Step 2
Now that we had paper mache for the helmets and both bodies we hit a road block. The card board gave the R2-D2 body a lot of support but the BB-8 body was only paper mache so we needed more support. For that we used paper mache clay to put around both the body and the helmet. When dry it added all of the support we needed. (Tip: It shrinks when it dries so plan accordingly)
Step 4: The Body, R2-D2 Step 2
Ok, with the body mostly done we cut in arm holes and moved on to the legs and accessories. We used got glue and an old shoe box to help make the frame for the legs and then a few parts from the plumbing department of the local hardware store for the vents in the front of the body. I had a broken extension cord laying around so we used that (and a few extra nuts and bolts) to complete the look . We also put some very small pvc pipe in the center of the legs.
Step 5: Making Sure Everything Fits!
While waiting for all of that glue to dry its time to try these things on the kids and make sure they fit.
Step 6: Now We Paint...
We used a few coats of primer as a base and then covered everything in Gesso paint. It is great for painting over paper mache! After that, it was time to sketch our designs and start painting.
Step 7: The Helmets Part 2
For the lenses we went to the craft store and found really inexpensive plastic balls that I think are meant for DIY Christmas ornaments. We used those and a little bit of foam and/or cardboard to complete the look. For the second lens I had a couple of mini camera lenses around the house that I used to use on an old Blackberry phone I had back in the day. We turned them around and glued them to the helmets. I think they turned out pretty well.
R2-D2 has a spay painted PVC end cap that we turned upside down
BB-8 has 2 antennae. For one, we cut a felt tip marker in half and painted it. For the other, I went to Radio Shack. The manager had a broken remote control for an RC car that he let me have. I cut the antenna off and used that. I had 2 rubber earbuds around that we stuck them both through to use as the base
(Pro-Tip: Radio Shack has a garbage bin in the back and if you ask nice they will let you use it for props)
Step 8: The Helmets - Special Effects
Ok, helmets done now is the fun part. I am crafty but not handy. We knew we wanted lights but there was no way I was gong to be able to wire something up (without an emergency room visit). Instead we found very cheap battery powered LED lights on Amazon. I think they are meant to go inside balloons or flower arrangements for weddings and parties. The downside is they only last 4 or 5 hours but that is longer than my toddlers can trick or treat so I think we are good. Also, we now have a million of these little things in case any burn out (or we host a rave in our backyard someday)
Step 9: The Body, BB-8 Part 3
Using the same lights we figured we could add make the BB-8 body light up too. It was a little harder to pull off because we couldn't hide the lights behind the lenses. To make it work we cut up a plastic milk jug and some orange gator-aid tops to glue on top of the ball.
Step 10: All Done
So, we are all set. The kids love them. We still have a week or so to go until Halloween but they will get to try them out at a school carnival this weekend. I am not sure who is more excited about it, the kids or us!
Step 11: And One More Thing..................
After we put this up and had her go to a few early trick or treating events around town we realized we had a problem. With no hands she was going to have a hard time getting any candy. Nothing that hot glue, Velcro, a little foam and an old pillow case can't fix. This was our last minute fix on Halloween day.