Introduction: Buzz Lightyear

I've seen Toy Story costumes all of the time, but rarely have seen a good Buzz Lightyear costume. This is likely due to the armored nature of his costume. It's a little more complicated than finding jeans at the thrift store. But I really wanted to try it for Halloween this year (as well as the local Comic Con).

For this tutorial I'm not going to go into many details on the foam construction. There are plenty of excellent tutorials out there on how to build with foam. Here are a few resources that I recommend:

I will instead focus on making the templates to make your own Buzz suit, as well as how I made some of the other non-armor pieces. Hope you enjoy!

Step 1: Drafting the Cone Shapes

A lot of the armor is originally based on cone (frustum) shapes. But if you were to draw just a plain trapezoid and connect the edges, your shape wouldn't look smooth or correct. The key to making the cone look nice and round is to make sure that your edges all meet up in 90 degree angles (see the illustrations).

  1. I start by drawing a trapezoid. Measure the center line the height that you want.
  2. Split the upper and lower circumferences in half and make those the top and bottom parts of the trapezoid.
  3. Make points that slip the longer line into quarters.
  4. Using a square, add lines that are 90 deg from the slanted sides that also pass through the points made.
  5. Measure down the sides so that they are the same length as the center height
  6. Mark lines that are square to the sides and go through the bottom line
  7. Smooth the arcs

I found this technique works really well in most cases.

Step 2: Forearm Armor

The forearm is primarily a large cone shape. The measurements you will need will be around the hand (because it needs to slip over the hand), the top of the forearm (near the elbow), and the length of the fore arm from the wrist to however high you want the piece to go. Also, be sure to add a little to the hand measurement and a couple inches to the upper part. Now:

  1. Draft the cone shape based on your measurements. Be sure to try it out with paper/cardstock/etc before you waste any foam.
  2. In the center of the shape, measure down a little and create a scoop.
  3. Draw out the green trimming. Measure on the sides to make sure that it will meet up correctly. Also remember the 90 deg angle rule.

Both forearms have the same basic shape. If you are ambitious, you can figure out how to make the left forearm open. I just added a oval-shape bump on the left arm, and cut a hole in the right for the laser light.

Step 3: Upper Arm Armor

You need to measure around your bicep, and from your shoulder to your elbow. The height will be about half that length (try it out and see what you like).

  1. Draft a rectangle with your bicep measurement (plus a couple inches) and the height.
  2. Find the middle of the length and scoop up from the bottom an inch or two (this needs to match the scoop on the forearm).
  3. At about 3/4 of the length, add the curved 'V' shape for the laser button and logo.

You will again need two of these (flipping over the pattern for opposite sides). On the right arm, cut a circle out of the 'V' shaped detail for the laser button. Be sure to sand down the edges of the V-detail for a rounded, smooth look.

I also hand painted the LASER and Spacer Ranger logo. Try printing off the logos from online at the size you need and trace them on to paint.

Step 4: Lower Leg Armor

Measure around your calf and the length of your leg from the bottom of you knee to the top of your foot.

  1. Draw the cone shape with the calf measurement (plus and inch) as the small side. Add about 50% of that for the large side measurement.
  2. On the sides, measure down a couple inches from the top and add a scoop. This will allow you to bend your leg and avoid having to walk around like Frankenstein's monster.
  3. In the middle of the bottom part, measure up a couple inches and scoop there. That will allow for the foot to move and stick out.
  4. Add the details for the green border on the bottom.
  5. Cut out circles for the ankle piece on both sides.
  6. For the knee cap, measure the length of you kneecap and make some American football shapes that measure that length. You will join two of these together for each knee-cap.

Be sure to try everything out to make sure that things fit ok. Also, feel free to add some curvature to the sides to add some shape if you'd like.

Step 5: Thigh Armor

Measure the top part of the thigh and an inch or so above the top of you kneecap. The measure the length between those two spots.

  1. Draft a cone shape for the thigh.
  2. Divide the cone into fourths.
  3. In the center, go up and inch from the bottom and down an inch on the outsides of that, this will add curves around the knees.
  4. On one of the side fourths on the top, add an inch or two, and on the opposite fourth, go down and inch. Scoop those spots. These will be to give room for the groin and to go up your side a little.

Be sure to mirror (flip over the pattern) as you cut out the pieces so you don't end up making two right thighs on accident.

Step 6: Codpiece

Measure around your belt line. Then measure down the crotch in front and the rear (to where ever you want it to reach). This will be two pieces.

  1. Divide the belt line in two for the front and the back pieces.
  2. For the front, draw out a T shape with half the belt measurement and the crotch length (*immature chuckle*).
  3. The side will be about 2 inches. Draw a rectangle across.
  4. Add a scoop down the middle.
  5. For the back, draw out a similar T shape, but with the height of you rear-end. Draw the sides the same, but for the scoop, make it much wider and square. Cut it out large and try it out in front of the mirror (have you spouse check it out). Then adjust it in until it looks about right.
  6. Add details for the belt

Now you have an awesome space diaper your wife will be sure to love!

Step 7: Chest-piece

Measure across from shoulder to shoulder. This will be the diameter of the chest and back. Also measure how far you want the chest-piece to go down the back as well as in the front (I measured to the rib cage).

Make the base:

  1. Calculate the circumference (diameter x PI) for the upper part. For the lower circumference, I just took off an inch or two.
  2. Divide the circumferences in half to divide into a front and back part for the chest piece. I then took two inches off of the back part and added it to the front part.
  3. Draft two of the cone shapes using the back height as the height for both. You will add a scoop on the front piece that goes up to the chest measurement
  4. Measure around your arm for the arm hole. Add a couple of inches, and add the arm holes to the pattern.
  5. Ensure that these pieces fit you. These will be the basis for the chest-piece
  6. I also curve the top of the front piece down a little to help show your face more.

Start adding details:

I started by drafting the main, green chest part on the front. It's a pain to put together, and there are plenty of ways to do it. I held up the pattern of the chest I made and drew on the basic shape that I liked. I then used other pieces of cardstock to figure out how to build off of the chest piece. It's not easy, but with some work and experimentation, you can find a shape that looks good. For the long buttons on the right side of the chest, I found deodorant caps that were about the right shape. For the big button on the left, a hairspray cap. Things like lids, caps, etc make for good buttons, etc. I hate trying to cut out nice circles.

Step 8: Jetpack

The main measurements here are the height of the back of the chest piece, and your shoulder to shoulder measurement. The width of the jet pack will be a couple of inches smaller than that.

  1. I started by drawing a trapezoid that looks like the main body of the jetpack. The sides can be slightly curved.
  2. Divide it into three sections (the center section is slightly smaller)
  3. Add the center details
  4. I then used these as the patterns to cut out of foam. I cut out the main 'H' Shape, and the smaller areas, and glued those back. I then cut out the other details and added those.
  5. Wrap paper around to draw a pattern for the top curves. Add those to the jetpack.
  6. Add vertical pieces to the sides. I made a curve that went from about 2-3" in thickness.

From here, I just added more details based on pictures I could find. I didn't bother adding wings, since I didn't have time or means to make them open and close, and would rather not have them open all of the time.

Step 9: Back

Attach the jetpack to the center of the back. Then add on what other details you like. I added the green trim to the top, and the purple straps on the side.

Step 10: Shoes

I found an old pair of boots from the thrift store for this one. There's many styles, I'm sure, that would work just fine for this.

  1. Add foam pieces to the toe and heel (if needed)
  2. Paint the boots white (find a paint that's not super cheap and won't crack easily). I didn't bother to paint all of the way up, since the upper part will be hidden underneath my pants and armor in the end.
  3. Paint the toe and heel green and the bottom purple.
  4. Feel free to add 'ANDY' to the bottom of one of the boots.

Step 11: Shirt


  • Black long-sleeve shirt
  • Foam pipe insulation (the tubular kind) . Check out Home Depot. I'm taller, so I went for the 2 inch wide size.
  • Black spandex

To add the stomach tubes:

  1. Cut the black spandex so that it goes all around the shirt and over-laps and inch or two.
  2. Sew the spandex on the bottom.
  3. Cut the foam pipe insulation in half.
  4. Measure the half-circumference of the tube.
  5. Add lines up the shirt spaced by the width of the tubing plus a 1/4 in.
  6. Add lines up the spandex spaced by the half-circuference plus a 1/4 in. Sew the lines together between the shirt and the spandex. This may require some pinning to get the lines to match. It's a pain, but it will look good in the end. Be sure to leave the overlap open so that you can slide in the foam pipe.
  7. Add about 4 layers, then sew up the rest up to under the armpits. Then if you move, people will just see spandex instead of the other shirt.
  8. Slide in the foam pipe. This may take some work, but keep at it. Watch Netflix. It's great.

Step 12: Cowl


  • tinfoil
  • duct-tape
  • purple spandex
  • matching thread

To make the pattern:

  1. Cover your head in tinfoil/plastic wrap/etc in about the shape you want.
  2. Cover this in duct tape to hold the shape. Already you will look awesome, and (if you used tinfoil) will be protected from alien mind-readers. Or your wife will just laugh at you and take pictures to post on facebook.
  3. Add markings down the sides of the head and the center of the neck (under the chin). I also add cross markings on these to know where the pieces meet up.
  4. Add circles around the ears.
  5. Carefully cut the line under the chin and remove the duct-tape cowl. Cut the other pieces out.
  6. Flatten the pieces and be sure the two sides match (I just traced these out on paper and averaged the two together).
  7. An your trace of these patterns, add seam allowances

To make the cowl:

  1. Cut out two of everything. That way you can have the outside of the cowl and the lining (if you choose)
  2. Sew the pieces together. Be sure to use a slight zig-zag with your stitches on spandex so that things will still stretch (I used about a 3 length and 1 width)
  3. Attach the lining to the outside. I chose to close things off with the seam under the chin.
  4. Attach the ear pieces. These were made with the circles being sewn together and lightly stuffed. They were then hand-stitched on onto the cowl, just to ensure that they looked right.

Step 13: Put It All Together

Now that you have all of your pieces, it's time to put it all together. I used lots of Velcro and some elastic straps to help put the costume on. I even sewed Velcro onto the sweats I wear underneath to attach some of the armor pieces too. Find what works for you. And keep some duct-tape handy (in case of emergencies). Now it's time to go out and show off your work. Just beware the claw.

To Infinity and Beyond!

Halloween Costume Contest 2015

Fourth Prize in the
Halloween Costume Contest 2015