Introduction: How to Make an X-Men: "Wolverine" Costume
Wolverine is the best there is at what he does, and what he does isn't very nice. This hairy little Canadian mutant has a healing factor, adamantium laced bones, 6 adamantium claws that come out of both hands, enhanced strength/ speed/ reflexes/ senses, and specialized combat training. He's basically a killing machine. Fortunately, he typically sides with the good guys such as the X-Men so most people are in the clear.
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 Cyclops costume, so I thought I would create a costume so we could have a couples motif happen for the 2019 Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2).
I have seen SO many Hugh Jackman version's of wolverine with the white undershirt/jeans/claws, BUT I wanted to challenge myself with the classic yellow and blue suit. It's a very difficult suit to pull off because many people go with the spandex/ fabric costume.. and let's face it, it's super difficult to have a body builder's physique to fill out the costume well.
I did however make a commitment to lose 30lbs to make sure i wasn't a chubby wolverine. Ready to build it? Let's get started!!
- EVA foam (both thin and thick)- IF you foam has a tread on the back, take it to the belt sander and sand it off.
- Black Eye make up
- Fake fangs
- denture glue
- contact cement
- hot glue
- DAP silicone caulk
- acrylic paint
- clear coat paint
- belt sander
- Sewing machine
- exacto knives
- cutting mat
- drawing paper
- 2 yard sticks
- blue stretch fabric
- yellow stretch fabric
- craft foam
- soldering iron
- hole punch
- plastic buckles
- old dress shoes
- plastic gator clips
- hole punch
- Duct tape
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.
Look up: 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 wanted to make a more tactical suit that had armor pieces that had different layers and designs. i know i didn't want a fabric spandex suit. I also know i wanted a more modern contemporary take on the character.
Step 2: Fabric Suit
1. I first went to my local fabric outlet store and found a deep mustard yellow. I wanted a 4-way stretch fabric that wasn't a lemon color. Remember you will need tough material for a cowl and a Body suit (chest, arms, legs)
2. I also bought a 4 way stretch royal blue fabric for the gloves i would need.
3. I had some spare cowls from other costumes, so i used it as a template to create a paper template. Don't forget to add a little bit of seam allowance
4. Use your chalk and draw it directly onto the fabric (pic 2)
5. Cut out your cowl from your fabric. Remember you need to two pieces (pic 3)
6.You can pin both sides together if needed. (pic 4). You can see the template in this picture,
7. Sew both pieces and try it on (pic 5)
8. Also make sure it fits well once you make your mask (Pic 6-8)
9. You can use fitted long sleeve tshirt to create your paper template. Draw on the vest piece, and then draw out seperate arm pieces.
10. Sew the front and back of your shirt together. (pic 9)
11. I also cut the shirt down the back and put in a zipper. This is because i wanted to sew the legs into the shirt. (pic 10)
12. You can sew your arm sleeves on now.
13. Now use a pair of fitted pants to create a paper template for your Legs. Sew your pants together (pic 11)
14. Sew your pants to your shirt. (pic 12)
15. Try on everything to make sure it all fits well. It should be snug and now loose (pic 13 +14)
16. For your gloves, spread your hand as wide as it can go on a piece of paper (pic 15)
17. Outline your whole hand with some of your wrist (pic 16)
18. Cut out your paper template (pic 17)
19. Transfer your paper template to your fabric and draw with chalk (pic 18 -19)
20. Pin your fabric together(pic 20)
21. Sew and try on (pic 21)
22. Using EVA foam, design some finger segment. I beveled off the edges with a dremel. I then sealed all the pieces with plastidip, painted them with an off black, and sealed them with a clear coat. Then, i glued them onto my hand while the glue was on. (pic 22)
Step 3: Mask
1. Take your measurement, transfer it to paper and draw out your design. (pic 1)
2. Cut out your design. This will be one side of the mask (pic 2)
3. I also drew out a plate that would go from the bridge of my nose to the back of my head (pic 3)
4. Transfer all those pieces to EVA foam (pic 4)
5. Now i draw in my details on the paper template (pic 5)
6. I cut into the paper so that i can mark it on the mask (pic 6)
7.So this is where it gets tricky. You will cut along those lines in different angles. Then, you will push certain pieces to be the top layer and some will be the under layer. Look to picture for more detailed explanation (pic 7)
8. Take a scrap piece of EVA foam and make a strip around your forehead. (pic 8)
9. Bend the mask into shape and lightly glue into the band for step 8. This is to hold the mask in it's desired shape until you get the rest of it assembled. You can see i started to create a nose piece. (pic 9)
10. I started creating the jaw pieces. create paper template (pic 10) and transfer to EVA foam (pic 11)
11. Attache the jaw pieces to the mask now. You can also see that i completed the rest of the nose area. (pic 12)
12. Create the rest of your templates. Detailed explanation on picture (pic 13)
13. You can see the side skull cover. However, you can also see that there is still a open gap (pic 14)
14. Draw out this shape and glue into place to close off gap. Once it is closed, you can remove the band. (pic 15)
15. Add in your jaw details (pic 16)
16. I created a chin strap and add the detail. (pic 17)
17. i glued in elastic on either side of the chin and glued it into the mask. This allows the mask to have ae little stretch when im trying to fit my head in it (pic 18)
18. use your paper template for your eye cover to cut this out of craft foam. glue in place (pic 19)
19. Try on the mask with your cowl. the cowl should not be that loose but a comfortable fit. (pic 20-26)
Step 4: Neck
Now that you have a mask, it's time to create the neck piece
1. Take a plastic bag and wrap it around your neck like a bib. (pic 1)
2. Take strips of duct tape and tape the entire thing (pic 2 + 3)
3.Have someone cut it directly down the nape of the neck to take it off and then retape it back together (pic 4)
4 .You can start drawing in your designs on one half of the neck guard. After all, the neck guard will probably be symmetrical anyways. (pic 5)
6. Cut the template into 3 parts (each side) and then transferred them to EVA foam (pic 6 + 7)
7. Glue your 6 pieces together. I put a maybe underneath and scored it for the throat part. (pic 8)
8. Add a zipper to the back of the neck guard to reattach it all together when wearing it.
9. Try it on with the cowl and also the Mask to make sure everything fits (pic 9)
Step 5: Make Up and Teeth
I think the fangs and the black eye make up add to the feral-ness of the costume. (pic 1+2) You can use fabric or something to white out the eyes, but I couldn't get it to look the way i wanted to.
Eye Make Up
1. I use Mehron Makeup Starblend cake for my eyes. (pic 3)
2. I apply a generous amount around my eyes and eye lids using a small makeup brush. I'm sure you could use a q-tip in a pinch. (pic 4)
3. I ordered 2 sets of fake fangs online. I used denture glue to keep them in place.(pic 5)
4. For a tip, I put on my top fangs first and hold them in place with my tongue, While i am waiting for them to set, i apply my eye make up. Then i apply the bottom fangs and hold them with my tongue as well til they set.
5. You should grow out your goatee area a little bit. If you need more filling, i would suggest using some black eye mascara to darken up areas
Step 6: Chest Piece
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. 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)
2. once you unfold the paper, you should have a symmetrical paper template . Transfer that to EVA foam and cut out. This is your "base". (pic 2)
3. Disassemble your paper template (pic 3)
4. Use the template pieces to draw in your design (pic 4)
5. Use your templates to draw and cut out the pieces from EVA foam. Here is the base of the abdomen (pic 5)
6. For the individual ab pieces, disassemble the template and use each piece to transfer and cut out pieces of EVA foam (pic 6)
7. Glue pieces onto the chest base. More detailed explanation found in picture (pic 7)
At this time, attach shoulders of chest and back pieces
8. Draw your side stripes on a paper template (pic 8)
9. Transfer the template on to EVA foam and then glue in place (pic 9)
10. Create a template for the shoulder stripes, transfer to EVA foam (pic 10)
11. Glue the shoulder stripes in place (pic 11)
12. Try out the chest armor on with your neck piece (pic 12-13)
13. Use your hole punch and glue in the little dots to resemble rivets (pic 14)
14. Use plastic buckles and glue in to the sides of the chest place to close (pic 15)
Step 7: Back Piece
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. It's actually better to give yourself a little slack on each end, as you can always cut it down to fit the front piece. Draw the measurements and design onto paper (pic 1)
2. Use paper template and transfer to EVA foam (pic 2)
3. Use your design to etch in the grooves. Also, glue in your side stripes (pic 3)
4. Once everything fits well together, glue the shoulders togethers
5. Use your template to create the shoulder blade plates (pic 4)
6. glue in the shoulder blades into the vest. Also, i used a slim strip of rounded EVA foam for a spinal column. And then two more plates around the core. Lastly, glue in your shoulder stripes (pic 5)
7. Try on the vest with the neck piece (pic 6)
8. Use your hole punch to glue in rivets (pic 7)
9. As i was still working out a lot, i lost so much weight that the stomach area was not fitted. I had to cut up the spinal chord and cut out a triangle piece from the middle of the back. Then i re-glued the spinal column down. (pic 8-10)
Step 8: Shoulder Fins
1. Use your measuring tape and measure out the shoulder fins. Transfer the measurement to paper and then to thick EVA foam (pic 1).
2. Cut out the piece and bevel it with the dremel (pic 2)
3. Use the heat gun to heat the entire shoulder fin. Curve into shape (pic 3)
4. Glue into the chest piece (pic 4)
5. Try on the chest piece with the fins (pic 5 + 6)
Step 9: Claws
I wanted to be able to take of the claws if i needed to. I also wanted to make sure that the claws gave the appearance that they came from the nodules on my knuckles, instead of in between my fingers.
1. While wearing my glues, I measured the area on the back of my hand for a plate. Transfer to the template to EVA foam (pic 1)
2. Dremel edges off and then use a heat gun bend into shape (pic 2)
3. For the actual claws, I used a yardstick and whittled it to size using my belt sander. Then i used my dremel to curve the end that would fit over my knuckles (pic 3)
4. I contact cemented the claws into place and then used EVA foam to create little knuckle nodules (pic 4)
5. I used velcro around the palm of the hand and also the wrist area (pic 5)
Step 10: Gauntlets
1. Use your paper to wrap around your forearm in order to get the correct measurement (pic 1)
2. Unfold the paper (pic 2)
3. transfer to EVA foam, cut out, heat and the curve (pic 3)
4. Dismantle the paper template and get the back forearm plate. (pic 4)
5. Transfer to EVA foam (pic 5)
6. cut out (pic 6)
7. Dremel off edges (pic 7)
8. Add craft foam for top plates (pic 8)
9. Glue forearm plate to gauntlet and add your hole punched craft foam rivets (pic 9)
10. Add your straps around the forearm (pic 10)
11. Try on with your claws and gloves (pic 11-12)
Step 11: Shoes
1. For the feet, grab your shoes and masking tape the entire thing. (pic 1)
2. Draw your design directly onto the masking tape. (pic 2)
3. Carefully cut and peel off each piece. (pic 3)
4. Transfer each tape template and stick directly onto paper (pic 4).
5.Transfer to EVA foam. Dremel off the edges and heat using heating gun. Use contact cement to glue directly onto your shoe. (pic 5).
6. these are my shoes (pic 6)
Step 12: Shins and Knees
1. Take your measurement and transfer to a folded piece of paper. Cut out the template. Transfer to and cut out of EVA foam (pic 1)
2. Remember that Wolverine has these weird fin things on his boots, so i had to create another template so that it measured in comparison (pic 2)
3. Transfer the fins to EVA foam and cut out (pic 3)
4. Flip the fin over and use a soldering iron to heat a line down the middle (pic 4)
5. Apply glue to the canal and squeeze together to create an edges. Bevel all the edges as well (pic 5)
6. Glue the fin in place.
7. Use your paper template to create your side panels from EVA foam (pic 6)
8. Glue in your plates on either side of fin (pic 7)
9. Etch in your designs from the plates (pic 8)
10. 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
11. I used EVA foam for a border and then used craft foam for a plate. (pic 9)
12. I attached the knee piece fo the shin with a piece of fabric, and then used a piece of elastic to wrap around my actual knee.
Step 13: Pelvis
1. Start out by making a strip from EVA foam. I believe ours was 2 inches wide. we used two black plastic buckles to attach both ends together. We hid the buckles in the back.
2. We cut a piece of non stretch fabric and glued it to the inside of the strip. EVA foam can stretch, so the non-stretch fabric ensures that the belt will always stay the same size
3. Now, measure how long and wide you want the groin piece to be. Transfer on to paper, and draw out your design. Cut out the paper design, unfold, and you should have a symmetrical template.
4. Use the paper template and transfer to EVA foam. (pic 1)
5. Now heat the entire groin piece and either use your fingers or something like a golf ball to curve/ shape it.
6. Glue to your belt strip
7. We took a thin piece of black elastic and glue it to the tip of the groin piece and the other end to the lower center of the butt piece. This turns it into basically a thong, But it prevents the groin piece from lifting up when you are walking around.
8. Now, measure how long and wide you want the butt piece to be. Transfer on to paper, and draw out your design. Cut out the paper design, unfold, and you should have a symmetrical template. (pic 2)
9. Use the paper template and transfer to EVA foam. I used my exacto knife to score horizontal lines across. I also flipped the butt piece over and soldered a line down the middle and filled the canal with glue. Then i used a heat gun to curve the butt piece over a bowl to give it shape (pic 3)
Pockets and Buckle
10. 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 button 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)
11. Use your template to create a buckle (pic 6)
12. Glue your pockets and your buckle in place (pic 7 + 8)
Step 14: Thighs
1. I made these thigh pieces in the same way i made the shins (a front plate and a back plate).
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.
4. On the inner side of the front thigh piece, i soldered lines in the shape of a "Y". (pic 2)
5. I filled these channels with hot glue (pic 3). When flipped over, it creates the muscle designs i wanted. (pic 4)
6. Glue the thigh pieces together and make sure they fit comfortably around your thigh.
5. cut your border in using your exacto knife and heat them with the heat gun to accentuate the lines
Step 15: Optional: Shoulders
Wolverine is a beast of a dude who has super pronounced arms. I would have to body build for a good 2 years before my shoulders would get chiseled. So my alternative is to create shoulder armor.
1. I took my measurement and drew my pattern out on a piece of folded paper (pic 1)
2. I unfolded the paper and transferred it onto a thick piece of EVA foam. (pic 2)
3. i then heated the foam up and pushed it into a deep bowl to have it curve (pic 3, not of this build, but same concept)
4. take out and start adding your layers. More detailed explanation within pictures (pic 4 +5)
Step 16: Optional: Biceps
As i stated, Wolverine is a beast of a dude who has super pronounced arms. I would have to body build for a good 2 years before my biceps would get chiseled. So my alternative is to create bicep armor.
1. Draw out your design and transfer onto EVA foam (pic 1)
2. I realized i was going to need the bicep to be more square shaped, so i divided them into 3 parts (pic 2)
3. I then beveled the edges using a dremel (pic 3)
4. I then glued all the pies together with contact cement (pic 4)
5. i repeat the process but with a larger template so this would be my tricep cover .
6. i glued both halves together and then added my details. More detailed explanation within pictures (pic 5 + 6)
Step 17: 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. Once dry, I begin with painting all my pieces. As my foam and craft foam were sometimes different bright colors, I started by painting all my pieces black so everything had an even base coat (pic 1)
4. Then, I started painting the yellow pieces with a bright yellow color. Once dry, i applied more for an orange yellow.
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 deep blue for the foundation and mixed in my own blue to lighten it to the color of the blue lycra gloves.
7. I then used an airbrush to add some shadowing around certain areas.
8. Once everything is painted, i seal with a clear coat.
Step 18: Finished!
1. I glued in a layer of fabric underneath the shoulder of the chest piece.
2. I then glued gator clips to the shoulders that can clip into those shoulder pieces of fabric.
3. I used elastic to join the shoulders and the bicep pieces together.
4. i used elastic to glue the thigh pieces to the pelvis piece
1. Try out different poses. I personally am a fan of the crossed claws, and also of the one arm across the body.
2. Don't get too reckless with the claws when you play with them. They are only attached to the foam with contact cement and can still tear out of you are hitting things with them.
3. Go find other X-Men and Marvel Characters.
Other costumes featured in this instructable:
Third Prize in the
Halloween Contest 2019