Introduction: DIY Back to the Future Delorean

Firstly, Happy Halloween everyone!

For this year, my boyfriend and I decided to do a Back to the Future theme. Instead of just dressing up as Doc Brown and Marty McFly, we wanted to go the extra mile and build a Delorean. Now it doesn't actually take us back to the future BUT it was quite a hit.

Hopefully this instructable at least helps you in understanding the steps I took to make the costume and puts you in a position to create your own version. Enjoy and have a great Halloween!

Step 1: Step 1: What the Heck Do You Need?

First off, congratulations on tackling this project or any costume project for that matter. It takes time, patience, money, and more patience to put anything together worth wearing on Halloween.

Here are the products I used to build my Delorean:

Rope Lights (battery operated) - Check Amazon, I found the cheapest on there

Wood - I'd suggest any lightweight wood that doesn't have a bend to it. I used Common Board.

Duct Tape - Maybe take stock in the company, because that's how much I used.

Hot Glue Sticks - Again, get stock in the company.

Hot Glue Gun - A large hot glue gun is preferred

Electrical Tape - 1 roll will do

Posterboard - I used about 15 large sheets of posterboard to construct my version. The quantity you'll need will depend on how large you're making this. I'd suggest purchasing 6-7 and buying more as you need it.

Push Lights - I found 4 push lights (battery operated) at Home Depot for $10.


Spray paint - I'd suggest Krylon Silver Metallic and Black Metallic

Plasti Dip - Black, optional

Floral Styrofoam circle


Utility Belt

Red, Black, White wire - I used this for detailing the costume (optional)

Vacuum hose - Again, used for detailing (optional)

Back to the Future Items Pics - This includes downloading and printing pictures of the brake lights, license plate, grill, time clock, keypad, flux capacitor, Mr. Fusion logo, etc. Any items you're not building to function, I'd suggest googling them and printing out a copy. You can easily fake it without spending more time and money on building items from scratch.

Now that you have everything you need, let's get started!

Step 2: Step 2: the Frame

Now before I explain the logic behind this, I'd like to advise a disclaimer: I am NOT an engineer. I built this based on my own ideas and needs for the costume. You may come up with a better support structure than I and if you do, great! If not, feel free to use this idea.

I went to Home Depot and purchased the Common Board wood. This wood was cut in the dimensions shown. If you don't want your costume this wide or long, then feel free to alter these as needed. As you can see in the picture, the frame of the costume was built with two long pieces of wood and four cross sections. I hot glued these sections together and then duct taped the wood together for extra support. This is the bottom of the delorean.

Once this frame is built, you're ready to attach it to your first poster board and begin building the costume.

Step 3: Step 3: Building the Structure

On top of the frame should be a poster hot glued and duct taped down. There should be a circle or square cutout in the center for you to get inside. Be sure to measure and test the cutout by placing it over your head and getting in that way. Remember, this design is for you to enter from the bottom so don't build the cutout based on pulling on the costume.

Once you have the cutout measured, cut and tested you can move on to building the actual structure. For this, I referenced multiple photos online of the Delorean. All pieces of the posterboard were cut using an Exacto knife, hot glued to the base posterboard/frame and duct taped (for extra support).

I first started with the front building the grill area and headlight holders. Next, I moved on to the hood and sides of the front. The sizes and dimensions for building this will heavily depend on what your preference for how large/small you want this costume to be. After the front end has been built, glued, and taped down then you can move on to the backend.

I built out the trunk ensuring that I provided extra support for underneath the trunk. If you're planning to have anything sit on the trunk, like I did, you'll want to either stick a small box under the trunk top to sit in between the top of the trunk and the main frame posterboard OR reinforce it with extra posterboard. Either way, be sure you can put a little pressure on the trunk top without it bowing or collapsing. After the trunk and backend sides are built, you can now begin on the center.

With a friend (or two's) help, get inside of the hole you cut out and stand with the costume at your waist. Measure from your waist to a few inches above your head. This will give you an idea of how high to building the windshield and roof of the car. Be sure to add some inches to the measurement so that you'll confidently fit into the car once it's built. This costume is going to be supported by your waist via a belt and rope, so if the belt sits lower that might cause your head to hit the roof. So be sure to add those extra inches as a buffer!

Once you have your measurements, cut out the pieces of posterboard you'll need to build the center of the costumes. Hot glue and duct tape them to the frontend and backend you've already built. Take another look at your car structure and be sure all pieces are sturdy from the hot glue and duct tape. If any pieces seem shaky, be sure to reinforce them with more hot glue and duct tape.

Step 4: Step 4: Paint

I had some spray paint around the house from other projects I had going on so I ended up using that. I first sprayed the entire car with Plasti Dip in black. This gives a nice texture to the poster board. After this was completely dry, I began the silver painting of the outside of the vehicle. I did about 4 coats of paint over the car in silver before applying one coat of a clear gloss sealer. Any brands of paint are fine to use, but I went with Krylon metallics and their sealer. The inside of the Delorean I kept black (like the posterboard I used).

Step 5: Step 5: Lights

I purchased battery operated rope lights from amazon. These lights were used to decorate the Delorean as it was in Back to the Future. Using reference photos, I roped the lights around the vehicle securing them with black strips of duct tape.

For the headlights, I took battery operated push lights and covered their casing in black electrical tape. This way all that could be seen was the light itself. I hot glued velcro to the backs of the lights and the front of the costume. I did this so that I could take them off easily and replace batteries if needed.

Step 6: Step 6: Mr. Fusion and the Trunk

As seen in reference photos, the back of the Delorean is quite complex. There's Mr. Fusion, the white upside down cup looking device and the back black fins.

For Mr. Fusion, I took a large soft drink cup and covered it in white paper. I printed out a copy of the Mr. Fusion logo and taped it on the cup. To build up it's height, I covered a small box in black duct tape and glued the cup on.

For the fins, I cut out pieces of black posterboard and glued them together eyeballing the size and dimensions based on reference photos from Back to the Future.

For other details. you can glue a vacuum hose on top of the trunk, painted upside down soda cans with wires connected to them, rope lights, etc. I glued on the license plate an break lights for added fun. The more detail the better the outcome! Be sure to keep referencing photos from the movie for more inspiration.

Step 7: Step 7: Inside the Vehicle

The inside of the vehicle can be as simple or complex as you'd like. I chose simple due to time constraints. Therefore I didn't build actual working time clocks or flux capacitors. Instead, I googled images of these items and printed them out. Using painted black boxes, I glued these images on and glued/duct tape them to the inside of the vehicle.

For the steering wheel, I painted a circular floral Styrofoam ring. A toy wheel could easily work too, this turned out to be cheaper so I went that route. I attached it to the vehicle via posterboard, hot glue, and duct tape. See, I told you to take stock in glue and duct tape.

Step 8: Step 8: Frontend Details

Besides adding the lights, I also added random red, black, and white wires. I cut them in various lengths running them around the car. They serve no actual function and aren't connected to anything - they're instead used for their look. If you reference photos of the Delorean in the movie, you'll see a load of wires - so feel free to use them as much or little as you'd like!

Step 9: Step 9: Rope and Utility Belt

Now that the costume is put together, you're going to want to test it all out.

First step is to attach ropes from the front end cross section of wood to where the cutout is. So you'll take the rope and tie it around the first cross section on the right and left sides, then rut it to the cutout. You'll do the same process on the backend cross section. This will give you a total of four ropes, two upfront and two in back, leading to the cutout. You'll tie these ropes securely to a utility belt.

Once tied, enter the cutout and attach the utility belt to your waist. Taking your time, walk forward with the costume and come to a standing position. I'd suggest having one or two people helping you get in this costume and then testing out the ropes. They can support the costume until you're able to walk forward away from any tables or other items. Once you're in the open, have your helpers slowly stop supporting the costume and see how it sits on you. The costume should be balanced and the belt, with the ropes, should be securely snug at your waist. If the costume isn't balanced, you can always add weight to the front or back if needed OR tighten the ropes if there's slack. If the costume is balanced but your head is hitting the roof, then tighten the belt and pull it up higher on your waist.

Once the balancing and height adjustments have been made, you should be all set!

Step 10: Step 10: Rock It!

All the hard work, time, patience, money, and patience has paid off. Your Delorean is now complete!

If you want to add anything at this point, you can always tape or staple (to the wood) a black table cloth below the Delorean for added illusion it's flying. Otherwise, you're done - Enjoy the costume!

(This was my first instructable and I apologize I didn't' have progress photos for the whole process but I'll certainly answer any questions you might have! Hope it was helpful and at least gets you started in the right direction. Have a great Halloween!)

Back to the Future Contest

Runner Up in the
Back to the Future Contest

Halloween Costume Contest 2015

Participated in the
Halloween Costume Contest 2015