Introduction: How to Make a Darth Vader Costume Out of Cardboard Boxes

Star wars costumes hard to find or just too expensive? Then Box Vader might be the way to go!

After searching high & low for  a cheap Star Wars costume and having no luck I decided to make a comical version using cardboard boxes.

Step 1: Materials

You will need:

1 Large cardboard box - Big enough to fit yourself in
1 Small box  - The head
Black paint - I used a cheap small tube of acrylic paint
Grey or silver paint
Scrap cardboard
Silver colored material - I used an old silver shopping bag that I cut up
Hot glue gun
Red / Blue paper or painted cardboard - For voice box buttons
Exacto/ craft knife
Paint brush & or sponge roller
Ruler, pens ect

Step 2: The Body

The body outline:

The First thing I did was I took my ruler and a pen and I drew an outline to what I thought would look like Darth Vaders cape.

I came up with this simple shape as shown.

Once the front outline is drawn on the larger box the next step is to paint.

Painting a majority of the box black and inside lining silver.

Also go ahead and paint the smaller box black & set both aside to dry.

Step 3: The Details / Body Part 1

The cape and body:

The next step was making a silver lining for the cape.

I wanted Box Vader to look as though he was wearing a cape so I took my silver material and cut strips to make an outline.

Measure along your front outline to determine how long you need the strips to be, decide how thick you want them then cut and hot glue to front of the box.

The belt:

Then taking a scrap piece of cardboard  draw a circle large enough for a belt buckle & paint black.

While the belt buckle is drying cut yourself an extra piece of silver material like you did for the cape outline & hot glue that piece to the center of the belt buckle once dry.

Hot glue belt buckle to the center of the bottom piece of your pattern like shown in picture.

Step 4: Body Part 2

The next step was:

Box Vaders voice box

- This is a decoration voice box only

For this you could take a thin box & paint black or make one using scrap cardboard.

Make sure measure the front of the body box near the cape to determine how long you need the voice box to be.

I made this simple pattern and using my craft knife and ruler. 

Cut along the outline WITHOUT CUTTING RIGHT THROUGH to make flaps.

My voice box was 17cm length ways with 3 cm wide flaps, all round.

Once your voice box flaps are cut , fold inwards & secure corners with tape.

With the top extra flap, fold in and secure sides with tape.

Paint black & let dry.

Using your colored paper or painted cardboard scraps, decorate according to how you want your voice box to look.

Then take your glue gun and place glue on the back fold and secure to front of the box.

Step 5: Box Vaders Head

The Face:

After googling for a few mins I came up with a simple & what I thought looked like a good enough pattern for Box Vaders face.

I took my left over silver material and cut a series of shapes.

1 large circle -

I took the circle and cut in half. Using one half of the cut circle I then cut that in half to make the helmet

With the other half of the circle, I cut  that into 2 pieces  & cut out two inserts to make eye holes.

2 triangles -

Cut to the same size to make cheeks

1 small circle for a nose

1 large triangle -

This one was a little more difficult. To make the mouth I folded the triangle in half and using a pen drew on the silver material to make a grate then carefully cut out the insert to make mouth.

Once you're happy with your face simply position and glue.

Step 6: Finishing Touchings & Fitting.


Now take your exacto knife and carefully cut out your eye holes, cutting around the inside of your eye shapes. This was really easy to do.

And if you want on the corners of the mouth cut out two small triangle shaped holes.

Now you need to make a comfortable head hole. If your box has a closed bottom, go ahead and glue it shut.

Take a bowl that fits around your head and place it on the bottom of  box. Draw around and cut out head hole with your exacto knife. - This will make it fit much more comfortably and stop it from moving around or falling to one side.


Take the same bowl and repeat step to the top of the body box. Make sure the bowl is in the center, mark with a pen & cut with exacto knife.

Then using your ruler measure from your armpit to elbow. This will work out how large you need your arm holes to be.

Then on the side of your box (Allow 1-2cm from the top) in the center, mark the length of your arm  with a pen and ruler for the arm holes. Repeat on other side & using your exacto knife carefully cut your arm holes.

Now try that baby on!

Step 7: And Your Done!

and your done!

Congrats, You have made your very on Box Vader!

Now all you have to do is rock out \m/

I had A LOT of fun making this costume & it was an absolute hit at the Star wars theme party I went to even though I wasn't able to wear it!

My bf gladly took the honor as I had to work on the door but I did manage to make myself a quick Ewok costume so it wasn't all in vain.

I hope you have fun making this costume, good luck!

If you noticed I left out the shoulders and back cape its because after the first 5 mins of trying to put the box on they fell off and even though I re attached them they kept falling off and ruined the paint where I had to go over again so I left that step out.