Introduction: How to Make an X-Men: "Cyclops" Costume
As the mutant field leader of the X-Men, Cyclops blasts his way through adversity to get the job done. Yes, I made an awful pun. Many people have mixed feelings about Cyclops, but no one can argue that his optic blast is awesome. He is an expert tactician, has a blast of concussive force that can destroy a mountain, and is caught in this vicious love triangle with Jean Grey and Wolverine.
I grew up in the 80s as an X-Men fan and I fell in love with Jim Lee's renditions of the characters. I had previously made my wife a female Cable costume and Rachel Summers (Aka Phoenix) costume, so I thought I would continue creating characters from this family tree for the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2). A female version of Jim Lee's Cyclops was decided and it is awesome. Ready to build it? Let's get started!!
- Blue full body lycra suit
- yellow gloves
- EVA foam
- craft foam
- plastic buckles
- hot glue
- contact cement
- brown leather jacket
- DAP silicone caulk
- wood glue
- comic book cardboard
- Red LED lights
- red lens sunglasses
Step 1: Reference Pictures
Before I ever start ANY costume, I look up a ton of reference photos from various sources and put it in a folder. The more pictures from different angles, the better.
1. Actual photos of the character from its source (movies, comics, action figure, etc)
2. Cosplay pictures. You can see what has been done, what you like, what you don't like, how to improve on a design. You can also start getting an idea of different poses you think you'd like to do.
3. I start looking at art work. I usually look up things via google images, deviant art, tumblr, etc. This way, you can see different renditions of a character through a new perspective and once again, start thinking about what you like, don't like, etc.
4. Use your own imagination. Think about what you want, how to make it your own original design, what are some tricks you think you'd like to incorporate.. perhaps you want to try out a new technique with this build, etc
5. If you can draw, I sometimes will take all my reference sources and start drawing out my own design. I originally thought i wanted to make a more tactical suit for a female Cyclops. My wife is one who wishes to be more of an empowered badass, so i was thinking things that said armor, pockets, and battle ready.
HOWEVER.. i later realized that the armor made her way too androgynous and i still wanted her to be feminine. So eventually we ditched the thigh guards.. I also ditched the shoulder pieces and forearms in replacement of a jacket.
Step 2: Clothes
1. Get yourself a full body blue lycra suit. (pic 1)
2. You will chop off the glove parts of the suits at the wrist
3. Cut off the feet at the ankles and set material to the side
4. Lower the zipper all the way down and start unraveling the zipper at the head area. Once you unravel the zipper down to the neck area, cut off the head piece. Set the head piece aside
5. Take the fabric that you got from the feet and dismantle them. You want to get a strip of material to create a collar. Use that strip and sew the strip into the neckline of the suit to create a collar.
6. Re-sew the zipper into the new collar.
7. Lower the zipper, cut off the excess, put a dab of hot glue at the corners of the zipper teeth so the actual zipper won't pull off. (pic 2)
8. You will have to make some straps out of EVA foam and glue them directly to the suit. Just measure out some strips, seal with plastidip and paint them, and then glue them on the thigh areas. You can use chalk to mark where to attach the straps.
8. Grab a pair of leather boots. Comfort is the key here since you will usually be walking around a lot.
9. You can put some soft insoles inside the boots to help with comfort.
10. It's best to pic a short boot with a little heel (to make the suit more feminine)(pic 3)
11. I purchased some yellow short gloves at a halloween store. The main thing is making sure you have the right color. (pic 4)
12. I wanted to customize the glove a bit to make them more tactical so i wanted knuckle guards.
13. I used a coin as a template to cut out tiny circles from craft foam (pic 5)
14. I headed the craft foam up and pushed them in my palm to make them concave.
15. I covered each coin in worbla so it they were hard. Worbla is a thermo plastic that softens when heated. You can buy a roll of it online.
16. To remove the texture of the worbla, cover the worbla in wood glue.
17. Paint the hardened knuckle pieces, put on the glove, and glue in place. (pic 6)
18. I used a thin piece of EVA foam and craft foam to create a cover for the back of the hands. I sealed them with plastidip, painted them, and glued them directly on the gloves. (pic 6)
19. I spent some time looking for some red sunglass lenses. I found a decent pair in a walmart. Having sunglasses are a nice alternative in case you want to take a break from wearing the visor. (pic 6)
Make up and Earrings(pic 6)
20. Cyclops doesn't strike me as someone who wears a lot of make up. Just a regular base foundation.
21. I think cyclops would wear a red or nude lipstick.
22. Maybe some red earrings.
1. Take your measurement from the top of your shoulder to a little above your waistline. The reason the measurement is NOT to your waistline is to compensate for how wide the belt is. Then you need to take the measurement for your width which is about one side of rib to the other. Once you have your measurements, transfer those measurements to paper and fold in half. Draw your design out on the half sheet and then cut out. (pic 1, not from this build, but same concept)
2. Once you unfold the paper, you should have a symmetrical paper template .
3. I cut the abdomen section from the bust section. You can actually see the design of the armor at this time (pic 2)
4. Transfer that paper template to EVA foam and cut out. (pic 3)
5. I used craft foam to create a few layers on the abdomen piece. (pic 4)
6. I used my exacto knife and carefully cut in some lines around the base of the abdomen. I the use the heat gun to expand the lines
7. To create the breast plate, Transfer that paper template to EVA foam and cut out.
8. I used a bowl to try and round out the breast pads. In hindsight, i probably would have made the breast plates out of separate pieces to create a more rounded shape, but i was trying to get it in one piece of foam. Lesson learned for next time! (pic 5)
9. I added separate shoulder piece underneath the tops of the breast plate.
10. Attach the breast plate to the abdomen. I also added a little diamond design in the middle of the chest armor. (pic 6)
1.The back process is the same as the front process. You measure from the shoulder to the small of the back and from rib to rib. I didn't go all the way from rib to rib because i was going to use side straps to close it off. Use the template to cut out the back piece from EVA foam (pic 7)
2. Once you get the back piece cut out, create some shoulder straps to connect the back piece to the front. (pic 8 + 9)
3. I used straps on the sides to connect the front and back. I used plastic buckles to clasp them together. (pic 10)
Step 4: Vest Details
1.I stared out by making the square that the "X" emblem sits on. I used two thick pieces of EVA foam and glued them together. Then i took them over to my belt sander and beveled the edges and corners off.
2. I then added the circular "X' emblem by using craft foam.
3. Create wide strips to go vertically from the waist line, over the left shoulder, and onto the left back side of the vest.
4. Create a strap that goes from the square and crosses over across the right shoulder and intersects with the vertical strap around the left shoulder blade area
5. Add different layers of craft foam to the front to create extra details. Look at pic 1 for more detailed explanations.
6.The premise is the same as the front. Create strips from craft foam and glue over straps
7. i created a buckle in the back that is the point of intersection between the vertical strap and the over-shoulder strap
8. Look to pictures 2 for a more detailed explanation.
Step 5: Pelvis Piece
1. Create strip around the waistline. I believe the strip was about 2 inches wide. I glued a plastic buckle to the ends of the belt to connect it.
2. Take a measurement of the groin piece area and transfer to paper. Fold the paper in half, draw in the design, cut out, and unfold for a symmetrical paper piece (pic 1)
3. Transfer to EVA foam and glue groin piece to belt strap. I usually do it so that the plastic belt buckle will be in the back of the costume. (pic 2)
4, Creat you butt piece by measuring the area and transferring to paper. Fold the paper in half, draw in the design, cut out, and unfold for a symmetrical paper piece. I used an exacto knife to score in horizontal lines and used the heat gun to expand those lines into grooves (pic 3)
5.I also used a soldering iron to burn a vertical channel down the inner center of the butt piece. I then use hot glue to fill in that line to hold the shape. I then heated the entire butt piece and pressed it over a bowl to give it a more rounded shape. Glue it into the belt(pic 4)
6. I also glued a piece of elastic from the groin to the butt piece. This ensures that the groin piece stays down when you are walking around.
7. I also created "pockets" for the suit. It's essentially a thick rectangular piece of EVA foam that has a thinner EVA foam lip.. and the clasp is a piece of craft foam. I just score in the lines with my exacto for added details. I glued several pockets around the groin area (pic 4 +5)
8. I also had two extra plate details on the groin piece. These were made from craft foam. (pic 5)
9. Your buckle is a square piece of EVA foam and a craft foam accent on top of that. Draw it out on paper first and then transfer to foam. Glue everything together and then glue to the from of the pelvis. (pic 6)
10. Your pelvis piece should be done. (pic 7)
Step 6: Boots
1. Use your YELLOW foam and glue it directly onto the boot. Heat the foam with your heat gun to give it a little stretch so that it can cover the boot well. Cut off the excess (pic 1) It's in your favor to use Yellow craft foam because it will be more difficult to paint a different color of foam to yellow.
2. Glue the foam around the zipper so that you can still get around it and zip up the boot. Also, remember to foam the heal and also the trim (pic 2)
3. I use strips to cover the seams. You do not need to foam the entire boot, just enough that the visible part will be covered. (pic 3)
Step 7: Shins and Kneepads
1. I crated a cylinder from a face plate and a back plate. Take your measurement of the front of your shin and the width you would like. Transfer to folded paper, draw out your design, cut out, and unfold to get your symmetrical paper template. Transfer to EVA foam.
2. Use the same method and create the back plate of EVA foam.
3. use your Heat gun to curve the pieces around the shin. Then, mark where you want them and glue together (pic 1). look to picture for explained details.
4. Add you details. I created straps around the top of the shins by using a layer of EVA foam. I made "X" designs on the front of the shin with craft foam. More details are explained in the picture (pic 2 +3)
5. I cut a vertical line down the back side along the achilles heel to allow for easier entry. I used plastic buckles to close it together. (pic 4)
6. take your measurements, draw design on folded paper, cut, and unfold for symmetrical design. I used EVA foam for the base. I headed the foam and pressed into into a bowl to give it a concave shape
7. I used EVA foam for a border and then used craft foam for a plate. (pic 5)
8. I attached the knee piece fo the shin with a piece of fabric, and then used a piece of elastic to wrap around my wife's actual knee. (pic 6)
Step 8: Optional: Thigh Armor
1. I made these thigh pieces in the same way i made the shins (a front plate and a back plate). I liked the concept, but later realized it created a pretty boxy look to my feminine rendition of our character. If i went back to the armor idea, then i would consider making these thigh pieces more form fitting.
2. Measure the front of your thigh and the width you would like. Transfer to folded paper, draw out your design, cut out, and unfold to get your symmetrical paper template. Transfer to EVA foam. (pic 1)
3. Use the same method and create the back plate of EVA foam. (pic 1)
4. Glue the thigh pieces together and make sure they fit comfortably around your thigh.
5. I then used EVA foam to create a double set of straps that wrap around the thigh. Heat the straps with your heat gun to make the straps more malleable (pic 2)
6. cut your border in using your exacto knife and heat them with the heat gun to accentuate the lines (pic 3)
7. don't forget to add the strap tabs (pic 4).
Step 9: Optional: Forearm Armor
1. I made these forearm pieces with the idea to make a tactical armored suit..I liked the concept, but later realized it was adding to the boxy look of my feminine rendition of Cyclops. I have never tried the forearms with the jacket, but maybe thats something to consider for next time. It seemed odd to keep forearm armor if i ditched thigh armor.
2. to get your paper template, i take a piece of paper and wrap it around the forearm. I cut it to size and keep reshaping in order to get the write dimensions. I then draw out my design, and Transfer to EVA foam. (pic 1)
3, I just use a combination of layers and lines etching to create the details. The main thing i wanted was to create the yellow wrist bands on the forearms. I used a strip of EVA foam and glued them in place (pic 2 )
4. I used black plastic buckles and glued them along the seam in order to get in and out of the gauntlets (pic 3)
If you do not want to use armor, Just create your wrist straps with a strip of EVA foam.
Step 10: Optional: Shoulder Armor
1. made these shoulder pieces with the idea to make a tactical armored suit..I liked the concept, but again later realized it was adding to the boxy look of my feminine rendition of Cyclops. I need to play around with what armor pieces look good together without compromising femininity .
2. Measure your shoulder for height and width, Transfer to folded paper, draw out your design, and cut out (pic 1)
3. Unfold your template to get your symmetrical paper template (pic 2)
4.. Transfer to EVA foam and curve the heated coat to make it more concave.
5. Add your details. look to the picture for a more detailed explanation (pic 3)
Step 11: Visor
1. I used this template to create the visor (pic 1). I used photoshop to edit the size and dimensions of the template. Here is a link to a youtube video i found for assembly
2. I made the entire visor out of comic book cardboard. This is the cardboard that usually comes with comic books so they won't bend. In a pinch, i guess you could use a cereal box or maybe posterboard
3. Once assembled, I coated the entire visor in multiple layers of wood glue. Wood glue has some wood particles in it that allow for a certain type of smoothness. i sanded the rough areas and repeated again until satisfied.
4. I then primed the visor and then sprayed it with a gold spray paint (pic 2 +3)
5. I then cut the red acetate film to size (pic 4).
6. One of the things i was adamant on was getting the blue mask part correct on this cyclops. I often see people with no mask and they just wear the visor. Grab your fabric mask from the lyra suit.Put it on and then put the visor on top. Use chalk to mark off the section that you will be cutting off.
7. Once you cut the areas off, glue the mask directly into the visor.
8. I also added a new zipper in the back of the mask so it could be taken easily on and off (5-7)
9. I also made a EVA collar. Ii use it to hide the seal between the fabric collar and the mask itself.
Step 12: Lighting
1. I was able to find a red LED dog collar that had push buttons. I glued the buttons to the inner sides of the visor and drilled side holes within the visor itself so you could access the button with your finger.
2. I like the visor but it also makes it difficult to see when it is on. The button can also be somewhat difficult to press, so i'm still looking fo some alternatives. I spoke to someone and they suggested red reflective time, but i have never tried that.
Step 13: Caulking, Sealing, and Painting
1. Once everything is built, it's time to caulk all the adjoining pieces. Basically, use the caulk to fill in any gaps, unwanted spaces, etc. Also, if you layered any foam on top of each other, you should put caulk around the edges.
2. Next task is to seal it. If it is foam, i recommend plastidip as it allows for flexibility without cracking of paint. However, if you have pieces that will not be moving, bending, or squishing, i recommend modge podge.
3. For the visor, I coated it with several layers of wood glue as it has a thickness and filler to it to make it a solid cohesive structure.
4. Once dry, I begin with painting all my pieces. I start painting the lighter things first such as all the yellow (pic 1).
5. Sometimes, i varied the yellow to add some demension, so i would add a dark yellowish orange to buckles or elevated straps, just so it would catch your eye a little bit due to the color variation.
6. Once all the yellow was painted, i used a used a deep blue for the foundation and mixed in my own blue to lighten it to the color of the blue lycra under suit.
7. For the visor, i ended up using a gold spray paint can. Remember to paint it prior to installing the red visor/ lights.
8. Once everything is painted, i seal with a clear coat.
Step 14: Jacket
1. After some hunting, i found a brown leather jacket at a thrift store for about $5. It was a man's jacket so it was going to need some altering for sure. (pic 1)
2. First, i split the back of the jacket down the middle so that it was more form fitting to my wife's size.
3. Since the sleeves were wide due to being a men's jacket, i took off extra material and made the sleeves more form fitting. This also required me to close up the sides of the jacket about 2 inches higher around the arm pit area.
4. I bought 2 iron on patches and ironed them onto the shoulders (pic 2)
5. This was the final version (pic 3).
Step 15: Finished!
Just a few things to note as you have finished the build:
1. I personally believe the jacket helps complete the suit, so I personally like when the jacket is on. The jacket might also work with the forearm armor. However, i do not think you need the shoulder armor on if you plan on using the jacket.
2. Remember you have the option of using the visor or the sun glasses. if you wear the visor, don't forget to turn on the lights.
3. Don't be afraid to meet up with other X-Men characters. Usually you can find a ton of wolverines.
4. You have the option of trying to armor up if you don't want to use the jacket. However, it may make your character more box-looking, as opposed to feminine. You might want to play around with some of the pieces.. Maybe do not use the thighs, but the shoulders and forearms might be okay.
That should be it. Hope it's been an Optic Blast!
Also special thanks to the amazing photographers to make this suit look fantastic. Please check out Noah Smith Photography, Dettman Photography, and Q101 radio station for their work.
More geeky goodness, artsy projects, and current projects can be found on my FB site, tumblr, Youtube, and Instagram.
Other costumes featured in this instructable:
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Halloween Contest 2019
3 years ago on Step 15
1. Your costume is Amazing!
2. I need Worbla in my life, how did I not hear about this?
3. This site is amazing!
I just started getting into costume making seriously, I love the details you gave! Woodglue, plasdip, Worbla, I would never have thought of those! I just made a Cyclops costume last month, I wish I had seen this first!
Reply 3 years ago
Thank you! I have been cosplaying now for a few years and i just keep leveling up by watching tutorials, following other cosplayers, etc. So when i heard about worbla, i took the plunge and purchased it. It's amazing stuff.. Once you feel comfortable with that, look into thermoplastic because that stuff has saved me a couple of times. Good luck with all your future builds!
Reply 3 years ago
Thanks, I'm going to get some of both to play with!