Introduction: Costume Your Car!

About: I love creating value, and discovering new things! I take things apart to see how they work, spend too much time learning about irrelevant things, and love making cool stuff, like Robots, electronic projects i…

Every Halloween, one of two things happen: I forget until the day of Halloween, and then come up with a really good (but impossible to accomplish) costume idea, or I can't think of anything, and then I'm one of those people that dress up as themselves...

This year, inspiration struck the night before Halloween: Why not dress up my car? I originally decided to go with a cat, but it ended up looking way more like a bat (plus I didn't want to bother making a tail), so I went with that.

In this 'ible, I'll show you how I did it. Unless you have my exact car (Think City), these exact steps won't work for you--but I hope they'll provide inspiration and techniques for when you costume your car.

Step 1: Stuff You Might Need

Here's what I used for my car:

  • Cardboard. The more, the better!
  • Box cutter
  • Heavy duty scissors
  • Spray paint
  • Masking tape (any tape will do)
  • Double-sided foam tape

You might include other materials based on your costume idea and your car, but the idea is to have lots of cardboard, and tools to shape it with.

Step 2: Make Template(s)

The only pieces of my costume that really needed a template were the ears. They had to fit pretty well to the contours of the car just below the windshield.

I started with a piece cut out of a box, and just eyeballed where I might need to cut to make it contour to the car. If we were using gold-plated titanium, we'd do a lot of math and modeling before we cut stuff--but cardboard is free, so we can make as many mistakes as we have cardboard for.

Luckily, it was a pretty close fit. After a bit more eyeballing, cutting, and test fits, I attached tabs that would fold out and stick (with foam tape) to the body of the car.

The template was ready to use!

Step 3: Cut Final Pieces

Now, use your template(s) to trace, then cut final versions out of cardboard. Not a lot to say here, but, unless you care intensely about the finest of details, you don't have to be very careful cutting or tracing these.

One neat thing about the ears is that I could use the same template for both sides--they're exactly the same, just one ear piece is flipped around. Any piece that's symmetrical on your costume should work this way too!

Step 4: Spraypaint

Now that you've cut out all the pieces, it's time to spraypaint.

Since I was tight for time, I flipped the pieces over while the first side was still wet, sprayed the other side, and then left them overnight to dry. It worked fine, but if you wanted a really nice finish, you'd have to expose both sides while drying.

Step 5: Extra Details + Last Minute Changes

There may be some details on your costume that don't really need templates--for the fangs and eye pupils, I just free-handed the shapes, cut them out, and painted them.

I was originally going for a cat--but I hadn't made the tail and was running out of time, and when I attached the ears and eyes, I realized that it looked way more like a bat--so I went with that. The fangs, then, were a natural addition.

Step 6: Attach Everything!

I began by attaching everything with masking tape, rolled on itself so it was sticky on both sides. You shouldn't use the masking tape for anything but the flat pieces, but I didn't know that yet.

As soon as I got up to 20MPH on the street, the ears (which couldn't have been shaped better to catch the air), went FLOOMP and flattened. Luckily, I'd brought double-sided foam tape, so I just used that instead and they held great the rest of the day.

The flat pieces (eyes and fangs) were fine the whole time with the masking tape. If you want to drive on the freeway with ears or something similar, you might want to find a more secure way of attaching them, or some way to make them more aerodynamic. For 25-35 MPH though, double-sided foam tape worked great for me.

Anyways, use pieces of double-sided foam tape on the tabs you design into your templates to attach them to the car.

Unfortunately, I didn't think to get a close-up of how the tabs attached to the car. Duh! To get an idea what I'm talking about when I say "tabs" though, search online images for "cardboard attachments."

Step 7: Finished!

Well, I hope this was inspirational, or interesting, or helpful, or all of the above.

If you've got any questions, please leave a comment! I get notified and I do respond.

Curious about the car? It's an electric car called a Think City from a (now bankrupt) Norwegian company. I have an instagram account that's about my experiences using it as my only car, which you can find @th1nkagain.

Halloween Contest 2019

Participated in the
Halloween Contest 2019