Introduction: Creating a Transformer Costume
This costume may look like it was made by a professional working for Universial Studios but believe me I'm just an ordinary guy with artistic talent. To build this replica of the amazing bumblebee character was a big challenge i was willing to take on.This transformer costume is mostly made out of eva foam floor mats, wood, and plastics. I will provide you with a few brief steps I took to create this ten foot life size costume.
Materials needed for this project:
• Lots of eva foam mats 1/2"
• 2mm foam sheets( 10 min)
• 5mm foam sheets( 10 min)
• Glue guns
• Loads of glue sticks
• Box cutters and blades
• Heat gun
• Wood burner
• Cutting mat
• 1/2" PVC pipes
• Several different size bolts and nuts
• Thin planks of wood
• 8 plastic bins
• LED lights
• Hand and electric saw
• Minimum 1/2 yard grey see through fabric
• 3 belts
• 1" webbing ( 5 yards min.)
• 1" clips and buckles( 6 total)
• 2" thick Upholstery foam
• Industrial Velcro
• Different sized tubing hoses
Step 1: Step 1: Build a Chest Base
Start off by building yourself a base for the chest. Measure and cut a 20"x20" one inch thick eva foam mats. You will need to 2 of these. Then measure and cut four 5"x12" one inch thick eva foam peices. You will then trace and cut four of those 5"x12" peices unto thin lightweight sheets of wood and cut them out with a hand saw or jigsaw. Then use 4 door hinges to hold everything together using machine screws, washers, and bolts using the thin sheets of wood as support.
Step 2: Step 2: Measure,draw, Cut and Glue
You can now begin to draw shapes you see on the pictures or images of your characters chest unto eva foam and cut them out using a box cutter and gluing them together with hot glue or contact cement. You can keep it simple or go all out with the detail if you have the time and patience. A dremel can be used to smooth out edges and/or make carved circle details that look like screws. Always trace the same shapes before gluing them together if you are going to need it on the other side as well so you can have a proportioned suit. The eva foam peices can be heated up with a heat gun to make them bend in case they need it. You can score lines with a blade or use a wood burner for thicker lines when working on details. Once you're done with each part of the chest and back you can begin to hot glue everything to the base. Reinforce everything using loads of hot glue to make sure it wont come apart so easily. You might have to improvise by cutting eva foam peices to help certain parts pop out more than others. I then put a total of 4 clips on the sides of the abdomen area to close it in and wont be wobbling because of the weight. Once the chest peice is done you can work on the shoulders and using webbing to attach them to the base part that will sit on your trap area. Make sure and try to keep every part proportionate to the chest and height of the costume you plan on acheiving. You can use 1/2 " PVC pipes about 8"long on both arms in order to be able to hold on to them with your hands. I used several different sized tubing for details that look like gas hoses and electrical wires that transformer images have. Then you can move on to the thighs. Leave a gap on the inner part of the thigh area so you wont struggle walking with it later when you have to put it on. Hot glue some velcro on the inside part of the thigh so it wraps around your leg. Hot glue the desired size webbing and a clip that goes up and wraps around the belt you will be wearing when you suit up. Make sure to build wooden out of 2x4's to hold up the chest and back peice to allow you to measure a bit easier.
Step 3: Step 3: Test Fit
Test fit your progress so far to see how your work is coming along. You might have to make some adjustments such as cutting out some areas and/or making additions to it. Have someone that can help you try it on and help you measure if adjustments need to be made.
Step 4: Step 4: Build a Base for Your Legs
Figure out what size of plastic bins will do to acheive the height that you want for the transformer costume. You want to use thinner ones as they wont be bumping too much when you start trying to walk with the entire suit. Make sure it will support your weight. You will most likely have to stack 3-5 of them together for more height and support. Then cut out a a rectangular peice of wood that is about the size of the bottom of the bin. This is where you will screw the shoes to and bolt on the wooden peice to the bins. Use 2 long enough bolts with washers and nuts and tighten it to the bins. Run a belt under the wood plank to help ensure the shoes stay in place. Use to wood screws and 2 washers to hold each shoe to the wood plank. Then you can begin to add eva foam around it to cover the bins and begin adding the detail. Now its time to build your mask by creating your own stencil that will make a ball shape and begin adding small details using 2mm foam and 5mm foam. Burn 2 small holes on the eyes and make sure there is foam behind them to hold 2 blue floral led lights. You will than need to hot glue velcro all around the inside bottom part of the mask. This is where you will use the see through fabric to give it a little more height. Use the desired amount of upholstery 2" foam to ensure you can see and that the mask sits on your head comfortably.
Step 5: Step 5: Sealing, Priming, and Painting
You can now begin sealing every part of the suit using a heat gun. This ensures that the pores on the eva foam close and will hold the primer and paint well. Once you're done with this process you can now prime the entire suit. You can use pvc glue which is the most inexpensive way to go or you can use plasti-dip. Either way, you will have to do at least 3 layers of this on the entire suit(note: make sure to let every coat dry before moving on to the next). For the paint job, you can use spray paint, acrylic paints, or exterior paints. Whichever method will work and once it is painted you may weather the costume by using brushes and acrylic paints.
Step 6: Step 6: You're All Done
Now that you're done its time to suit up, transform and roll out your costume. All that hard work will sure pay off when you see people's reaction.
Participated in the
Halloween Contest 2019