Introduction: Full-Size Doc Ock Costume

About: I tinker around with technology projects (mainly raspberry pi and arduino) though I take my costumes very seriously.

As always I find it necessary to go way over the top with my Halloween costumes, and I found myself asking, "How can I top the Dalek costume of 2010?" And while getting ideas off of the internet, I came across the idea for a Doc Ock costume. What could be cooler than a life size Doc Ock costume?

So, I set about doing it. This is technically my costume from 2011, but I'm sharing it now. Then entire costume took me about 6 weeks to build completely. The total cost ended up being about $50.

Every costume's measurements will be a little bit different obviously, but mine stretched from 7 feet tall to a good 6 feet wide.

This is an entry in the 2012 Epic Costumes Competition, and if you think that this Instructable is awesome, please vote! Thanks!

So, let's get started!

Step 1: Supplies

You will need:

Trench Coat (light brown or tan)
Black Sunglasses
approx. 20 ft 1/2" PVC Pipe
approx. 17 ft Garden Drainage Pipe (like this)
piece of 1/8" Plywood fit to your back (more on this later)
2 Luggage Straps
16" x 24" (at least) Piece of 1/2" Plywood
VEX Metal Bars (these ones)
Zip Cords
At least 26 #8-32Machine Screws and Nuts
Some Wood Screws (doesn't matter what size)

Tools you need to have:

Big Metal Pot
Band Saw (or a jig saw-
just something that can cut inside corners)
Screw Driver
Hot Glue + Gun
Waterproof Oven Mitts
(like Orcas)
Xacto Knife or Box Cutter
Tin Snips
Printer (just black and white is fine)

Step 2: The Back Plate

The back plate, while not the most complex piece, is probably the most important. It supports all of the arms, but remains concealed underneath the coat. I attached it to myself via the luggage straps.


1. Cut the piece of 1/8th plywood to fit your back. It should fit comfortably in the space between your scapulae, and come down to the bottom of your rib cage. I cannot stress enough that it needs to be comfortable.

2. Take the luggage straps and wrap them around your torso. I wrapped one around my chest, and one around my diaphragm area. Make sure they're snug (but not too tight), then cut off any unnecessary excess.

3. Find the attachment points by marking where the straps hit your spine. The plywood needs to line up in the middle, and this is helpful for making sure that this is the case. I marked mine with white tape, as you can see in the picture.

4. Find the middle of the plywood and mark it with a pencil, and line it up with your strap-middle-markers.

5. Hot glue the straps into place on the plywood. This isn't permanent, but it helps to make sure that everything fits. Try the plate on for size and adjust as necessary.

6. After finding the perfect spot, I put 2 wood screws into the straps, and then cut off the pointy bits. If you want to use a different kind of glue, or another method of permanently attaching the straps, do it now.

That is the first piece of the costume done!

Step 3: Bending the PVC

This is the most important part of the costume: the skeleton. These pipes form the shape of the arms. Obviously, there are two on top, and two on the bottom. I shaped mine so that they came well out in front of me as well. Take careful considerations when planning out the shape of your arms; they are the first thing people will notice. Look at the next step for an example of what it should look like.


1. Plan your skeleton. PLAN IT WELL. Sketch out precisely where you want the arms to come to. I purchased some pipe cleaners and mimicked each arm to determine the length the PVC needed to be.

              a. Make sure to allot about 4 inches of pipe and then a 90° angle, for attaching to the back plate.

2. After determining where the bending points are, mark them on the PVC with Sharpie.

3. Heat a pot of water with a good 6 - 8 inches of water in it till it's boiling.

4. Submerge the pipe enough that the selected bending point is underwater.   NOTE: Do 1 bend at a time! It turns out better.

DANGER NOTICE: Make sure that this is done in a well ventilated area. Some PVC pipes, when heating, can release a poisonous gas.

5. Take the pipe out of the water, when it starts to turn soft and bend easily. Use the Orcas. Bend the pipe at the joint, to the angle you want it. Be careful not to bend any other part of the pipe, when not wanted.

6. Repeat until you have all 4 skeleton arms.

Step 4: Finalizing the Skeleton

Now that we have the arms and the back plate, the next step is obviously to put the two together. While not complex, it's important that this is done very carefully and with precision.


1. Align all 4 arms in their desired places on the back plate. Leave space for the drainage pipe to come down far enough (i.e. about 1/4"). Trace the outline with a pencil.

2. Mark on both the wood where the bolts should go. There should be at least 2 bolts per arm. Do this carefully.

3. Drill a hole through both the PVC pipe and the back plate at your marked spots with a #3-16 drill bit.

4. Attach one arm at a time to the back plate using the bolts. Attach them loosely so that the trench coat can still be put on.

5. After all four arms have been attached, try it on for size. If you like the way everything fits, go ahead and move on to the next step.

The skeleton of the costume is now completed. You should have a much better physical representation of what your costume is going to look like now. And so, we begin to make it look like Doc Ock.

Step 5: Adding the Trench Coat

The trench coat is signature of Doc Ock, and it is important that this is done well so that it turns out nicely. This is probably the most difficult part of the costume, just because of the angles that the nuts and bolts have to be attached at. This step is quite difficult to explain with words, so look at the picture for a guide.


1. Take all of the arms off of the back plate, but leave the bolts and back plate in place.

2. Remove any excess layers from the inside of the trench coat. I say this because the one that I got had a warm insulated layer underneath, that would have made things much more difficult.

3. Figure out where the vertical stalks on the arms come together, and cut 4 slits (one per arm), about 3 inches long.

4. One at a time, and I must stress, very carefully, slip the bolting part of the arm from the outside of the coat to the inside. The holes should line up with the bolts on the back plate.

5. Loosely attach the arm to the back plate with the bolts.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all 4 arms have been attached.

7. If you arm comfortable with how the arms and the coats intersect, go ahead and tighten the bolts, and add the locktite.

8. You then have the option to cut off the excess bolt with a hacksaw, or something of the sort. After doing so, make sure to file down the edges so that you don't tear holes in the trench coat. You don't have to do this, as long as you don't mind your back being a bit lumpier, and it will make it slightly harder to get the exterior arms on.

You now have to be a bit more careful when handling your costume, because the coat can tear and ruin the whole effect.

Step 6: Exterior Arms

The skeleton needs to be covered in something resembling the actual arms, and drainage pipe serves as an excellent medium. It may resist being put on the skeleton, but use it's bending ability to your advantage.


1. Place the drainage pipe over one arm of the skeleton. DO NOT CUT ANY LENGTH OFF OF THE PIPE JUST YET. Make sure that it covers the PVC completely, and if you want, has an extra 6 inches or so.

2. Cut off the drainage pipe from the main pipe body, forming an arm exterior section. Take it off of the skeleton and set it aside. It won't hurt to number them to make sure that the exterior matches up with the correct arm if they're different lengths.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have 4 arm exterior sections.

4. Take the exteriors and coat them with a healthy dose of primer, and let dry. Then spray paint it with bright silver spray paint. Allow them to dry.

That is the simple exterior of the arms. Now comes the fun part: the claws!

Step 7: Creating the Claws

This is the part of the costume that will make it clear that you are Doc Ock. If you do it carefully, you could hinge the arms to make a simple grabbing mechanism.


1. Download the picture of the template to cut out the claws. Don't scale it down, when you print it out, each claw should be 4" x 8". Or design your own if you so desire. In any case, print it out for use.

2. Trace 12 copies of the template onto the plywood, and cut them out with the jigsaw.

3. If you used the jigsaw, more than likely, you have spit edges. Take a Dremel, or some sandpaper, and smooth down the edges to make the paint application easier.

4. Apply a healthy dose of primer, and then paint all of the claws bright silver.

5. Take the VEX bands, and use tin snips to cut them into 5 hole segments, cutting along the indents.

6. Pre-drill 2 #3/16 holes into the side of the arms. Attach the VEX segments to the two holes with some wood screws.

7. Cut a small slice in the ends of the exterior arms, just long enough for the VEX segment. Make sure that there's one of the claws per third of the arm exterior.

8. Slip one of the #8-32 bolts through the VEX segment and through the slit. Attach the nut on the inside of the exterior. Use a lot of locktite.

9. Repeat until you have all 4 arms with claws attached.

You're almost done! Only a few more finishing touches and you'll be done. The arms just have to be attached to the skeleton, obviously enough.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

Almost there! The arms need to be attached securely. It would be quite embarrassing if you were walking around and your arms just fell off. Yikes.


1. Place the arms back on to the skeleton one at a time. Shove them down as far as possible so that they're touching the coat as much as possible. The exteriors should be tightly packed together.

2. This is the sketchiest part of the entire build. Slice some small slits (how's that for alliteration?) in the sides of the exteriors. Weave the zip ties in and out of the exteriors, tightening them as you go. The held tension will hold the arms to the back plate.

And so, the steps end here!

Completing the Look:

If you want to look a little bit more like Doc Ock, I suggest wearing a pair of dark sunglasses, and black gloves if you have them. Then wear some dark pants and a dark shirt.

Putting on the Costume:

With the obvious weight and bulk of the costume, it can be a bit hard to put on. Here is the best method that I found: Lean over forwards and have a friend place the costume on your back. Tie on the zip cords, and slip your arms through the trench coat. Stand up slowly and adjust as needed. Voila!

And behold! The costume is as done as it's going to get. I can't count the number of high fives I got while wearing this, mostly because I got one per arm. It's a reasonably easy costume that is very effective at wowing crowds.

Halloween Epic Costumes Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Epic Costumes Contest