Introduction: Cheap Child's Sith Trooper Costume
With Coronavirus lockdown in full swing, do you need to do something with all those cardboard boxes? Well, I have just the project for you. In this Instructable, I will show you step by step how to build a Sith Trooper costume made entirely out of cardboard, and craft foam! In fact, the materials cost less than 30 dollars! (Not including the shirt and pants)
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
The supplies needed are as follows:
- REFERENCE PICTURES (These will help you so much. It almost doesn't matter how much you love whatever character you're building. There are SO MANY details.)
- Scrap paper to draw the pattern onto.
- Cardboard (Lots. I'm honestly not sure how much I used)
- Glue (I used hot glue for most of the costume, but I also used super glue to attach the tinier details)
- Sealer/Primer (I used PlastiDip)
- Red Spray Paint
- Black Acrylic Paint
- Black Longsleeve Shirt
- Black Pants
- Black Gloves (I forgot to purchase these)
Step 2: Making the Pattern: Part 1a
The first step of making the pattern is wrapping the limb or body of the "client" (little brother). Most experts on the internet such as Evil Ted, and Odin Makes use aluminum foil, but paper works ok for this project. Just keep in mind that the foil will work better for tighter curves, such as the head or chest. The hardest limb was the thigh. You can see above how I wrapped the lower thigh, then taped more paper on top to cover the upper thigh.
Step 3: Making the Pattern: Part 1b
The one piece of the pattern that I did not use the wrapping technique was the chest. I laid out my brother's shirt and drew the shape of the chest piece on paper. Please note that the pattern did not give enough length for the shoulders. I added an extra piece of cardboard on each side to bridge the gap.
Step 4: Making the Pattern: Part 2
Next, you want to draw the shape of the armor onto the paper. This is where reference pictures will come in handy! You may want to also draw large details or ideal locations for seams during this step as well. When considering seams, also think about any sharp corners that are included in the design. For example, the shins square out at the front, but it will be difficult to remember exactly where this detail is when the pattern is flat. (Don't worry about getting the lines perfectly straight. This will be fixed later!)
Step 5: Making the Pattern: Part 3
Now you will cut the pattern off the subject, and attempt to lay the pattern down flat. Some pieces, such as the bicep will lay down flat, no problem. Other pieces, such as the calf piece (pictured above) will need to be cut further.
1. Locate where the pattern is resisting and rising up off the table.
2. Draw a line from the edge of the pattern, to about the center of the problem area.
3. Draw registration marks. They are the lines that are perpendicular to the cut line. These will help you line up the pattern later.
4. Cut the line.
5. Try to lay the pattern down flat. If the previous steps did not completely solve the problem, go back to step 1.
Step 6: Making the Pattern: Part 4
For the shins, you will need to make extra cuts to create the sharp corners seen on the front of the shin. Take a ruler and redraw the lines that you made while the pattern was still on the limb. You can see where I drew my lines. Once you draw the lines, label the lines so that you remember which ones connect where. I forgot to do this, and it makes later steps harder.
Example: If you draw a line, you will label each side of the line the same letter A | A B | B etc
(This step isn't too complicated, and it barely warranted a step. However, these cuts are necessary to make the nice sharp angles seen on the shin.)
Step 7: Tracing the Pattern
Now you will trace the pattern onto cardboard. Once you trace one side, label it either left or right, then flip the paper and trace the pattern for the opposite side. You can see in the picture above that I used the left back pattern to create one piece so that there wouldn't be any ugly seams on the back. This is done by tracing the pattern once, then flipping it and tracing the opposite side right next to the initial tracing.
When tracing, be aware of any creases or shipping stickers that may be on the cardboard. You will want to avoid these sections if possible. The creases will not look smooth, and the stickers can cause weakness in the costume later on. (This happened to me, and I ended up needing to reinforce the seams on the shoulder.)
Step 8: Cut Material
Next, you will cut out the pattern on the cardboard. I used scissors for this because all my craft knives are as dull as my humor. Knives will work much better for small details, but this project did not necessitate the purchase of new knives.
If you decided to use EVA foam for this project, I highly recommend getting nice sharp knives so the angels of the cuts are uniform.
Step 9: Glue the Pieces Together
This step is where the registration marks and labels will come in handy. In general, you are just connecting the sides together with hot glue. On the shins glue the special front pieces together at about a 45-degree angle. It is helpful to compare the approximate angle to your model's shin before gluing.
Step 10: Making the Line Details
The Sith Trooper has tiny, tiny raised lines all over the armor. Maybe this is Disney's idea of a prank on cosplayers, or maybe it just looks cool. Either way, we need to include them.
How to make uniform lines:
1. Make dashes one centimeter apart on both sides of the craft foam.
2. Next you will connect these dashes using the ruler
3. Now you will carefully cut out these lines. (A craft knife would probably be better here to prevent warping, but the scissors worked fine.)
4. Tape them somewhere so that you don't lose them, and they don't get damaged.
Step 11: Gluing the Line Details
Look back to the reference pictures and determine where you need to attach them. You will probably need to zoom in.
Make dashes a centimeter apart where you want the lines. As you go through the project, you will get a good idea of how far apart they need to be, and you might be able to eyeball it.
Now take the lines that you meticulously cut out and superglue them where they need to go. Once the glue has dried, trim the excess.
Step 12: Pieces So Far
Here are the pieces that should be made so far. You may notice that the helmet, codpiece, and butt piece are missing. The helmet was based on someone else's pattern, so I was not able to use it for this Instructable if I was to enter the Halloween contest. I just skipped the other two pieces. Terrible, I know.
Step 13: Fill Seams
I have heard of a couple of different materials that are used to fill seams. The most popular of these seems to be Bondo, but caulk was available at the local hardware store, and I didn't want to order online. If you have the choice, Bondo would be preferred because it is apparently easy to sand.
My first strategy for applying the caulk to fill the seams was to apply it with my finger. However, as the glue dried on the glove, and the seams and corners got narrower, I switched to using a scrap piece of weed wacker wire. (A popsicle stick would work much better, but that was what I had on hand.) The caulk I used was not sandable, so making a smooth application was critical.
Step 14: Seal the Foam
Foam acts like a sponge, so paint gets sucked up really quickly, and it will look like matt foam, instead of a cool set of armor. Spraying the pieces with Plasti Dip will seal the foam and give you fantastic results. This was the first time I used Plasti Dip, and I was blown away. I wish I had used this product earlier. It really takes the armor to the next level. Ok, rave over. Back to the serious stuff.
I only applied one layer of Plasti Dip, but most crafters use 3-4 layers. The hardware store only had one can of red, so I had to conserve my supply. I recommend buying at least two cans, maybe three if you can afford it.
IMPORTANT: After I finished this project, I was researching online, and I saw that Plasti Dip is plastic in a can (Wow. Who knew?) and that it is really bad if you breathe it. I did not have a ventilator mask, but it is HIGHLY recommended. Don't be like me. Please wear a ventilator.
Step 15: Paint the Pieces
Now spray paint the pieces. If you spray from multiple angles, and you don't hover over one spot, then you'll be good. This is a very easy step.
Step 16: Attach Velcro and Straps
Here is a list of how I attached the armor to my brother:
- The shoulders were strapped to the top of the chest piece
- The chest piece opens and closes in the front, like a traditional vest
- The chest piece and ab plate are attached via velcro on one spot on the front
- The ab piece closes on the side (I should have used velcro, but I ran out of time and had to use a safety pin. This did not last long 😕)
- The thighs are one cylinder that is attached to the outer pant leg with velcro about an inch from the top of the piece
- The shins are velcroed in four places to the pant leg, one on each corner
- The calves are velcroed to the pant leg in four places, one on each corner
- Both the bicep pieces and forearms can just slide onto the arms
Step 17: Eliminate the Rebel Scum!
Now you can show off all your hard work and destroy all the First Order's opposition!
Thank you for reading all the way through. I hope you enjoyed this Instructable and maybe you even learned something new! If you have any suggestions for improvements, or maybe even future project ideas, I would love it if you left them below.
(I forgot to take a picture of the back. My apologies)
This project was entered into the Halloween Contest. If you enjoyed the Instructable, I would be honored if you were to vote for me.
Participated in the
2 years ago
I love the detail in this project!
2 years ago
Thank you Quadrat! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
2 years ago
Really nice job drafting the pattern and making this :)
Reply 2 years ago
Thank you for checking out my Instructable Penelopy! Drafting the pattern was definitely the part that took the longest!
2 years ago
Super Awsome !!!!