Introduction: How to Make a Marvel: "Black Panther" Costume
It's good to be king. Even better when you are the King of Wakanda, your wife is storm of the men, and your nation has mounds and mounds of Vibranium!!!
For the most recent Comic convention, a friend asked to take on the mantle of the Black Panther. Well, you ask and Spicy Panda Creations delivers. Let's get started!
- EVA foam
-Black metallic paint
- craft store mask
-Large roll of scratch paper
-Black acrylic paint
-yellow tint sunglass lenses
- Zentai black cloth suit
- Gold teeth/ spike jewelry
- Gold acrylic paint pen
- Hot Glue
-silver spray paint
-red rhinestone jewels
- Black fabric
-black bag clips
-black metal rings for clips
-2 PVC connectors
Step 1: Chest and Back
Chest and back
1) For the Chest, Take your tape measure and measure from the shoulder to the bottom of your rib cage. Now add on 1 more inch to the width. From there, cut out that measured rectangle out of the scratch paper.
2) fold it in half, draw in your template and then start cutting out the general shape from the folded paper (pic 1). When you unfold it, you should have the front piece (pic 2). (these are two different chest pieces, the technique is the same though)
3) do the same process for the back. (pic 2)
4) Cut these out from the EVA foam. However, get the back piece of paper cut it where the crease is, and mark where the crease is on the back foam piece. Save the paper pieces (pic 3)
5). From there, press the chest AND back foam pieces onto the person. The reason you added an extra inch to the width is so that you can make the fitting flush. Overlap the side flaps of the chest over the side flaps of the back piece. Mark off the excess foam and cut them off. (pic 4)
6). Glue your plastic buckles onto both sides and clip them in. (pic 4)
7). From there, cut the back piece in half where the crease is. The reason for this is that your back is not perfectly flat. It will look nicer if the armor is more contoured to your body.
8) Just as you overlapped the side pieces, overlap the two back pieces till they are nice and contoured to the shape of your body. Mark and cut them to the correct shape. Now glue them together.(pic 5)
9) now get more foam and put it into the shoulder sections. I just took some extra foam, placed it in the vacant gap where the shoulder strap would be, mark it, and then cut it. Glue in place once completed.
9) From there, grab your paper templates and draw in your extra details, such as extra plating, pectoral pieces, etc.. Basically anything that you want elevated.. You can use either craft foam or EVA foam, depending how thick you want it to be. (pic 5) (different build, same technique)
Step 2: Abs, Belt
- draw out your template on paper and cut out of EVA foam.
- I like to take a dremel and dremel the edges down.
- I just used a bottle cap as a template for the belt segments.cut enough circles to go around your waist
- I drew out the front pieces on paper, cut them out of EVA, and then covered them in worbla to give them more of an armored feel.
1) measure the area of the crotch and cut out the rectangle from the scratch paper
2) fold the paper in half vertically and draw your shape.
3) cut out of EVA foam, heat foam and bend it to your desired shape, and set aside.
Step 3: Necklace, Claws, and Gauntlet Jewels and Teeth
1) The necklace can take different forms. We went with an all tooth design. We took some thermoplastic (pic 1) and shaped them into tusks. When cool, we drilled a hole through the top of each tooth
2) Im sure you can find beads at a store. If not, make your own. We used clay and molded our own. we baked the clay and then drilled a hole through each.
3) The claws are done the exact same way wit the thermoplastic (pic 3). just heat up the thermoplastic beads and shape away. I actually wanted to be pretty uniform, so once i got one hand completed, i used a weighing scale to measure out the same amount of beads that would be needed for the matching finger on the other hand.
4) do this too with the gauntlet accents
Step 4: Arms: Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps, Forearms, and Hand Plates
1) To make your shoulders, you want to cut out a giant tear drop shape from your scratch paper
2) use that template and cut it out of foam. save that paper template though (pic 1)
3) grab your heating gun and heat both sides of the shoulder.
4) while hot, press the teach drop shaped eva foam into a ceramic bowl to get a nice dome shape.
5) From the paper template, we cut out a panther head design from craft foam. (pic 3)
6) Glue that in place.
Biceps and Triceps
1) just like you are doing with all these pieces, start with a paper template. We went with an octagon shape that measured the space needed for a bicep piece. We did the same for a tricep piece.
2) cut the pieces out of EVA foam
Forearms (pic 3)
1) Get your scratch paper and cut out a rectangle that will be the length of inseam of your elbow to your wrist.. the width would be enough that it can overlap.
2) wrap the paper around your forearm. Adjust as needed for the length. You want a good ranger of motion here.
3) Since the paper is around your forearm, you can cut it to fit your arm pretty snug. This is the exact thing you did with the sides of the chest and back. you want a nice clean seam.
4)Glue in your buckles. I went with 5.
1) Cut out your paper template.
2) transfer to EVA and cut out
You should now be at this stage where the upper body is constructed. (pic 4)
Step 5: Thighs, Shins, Knee Caps
The thighs were a two part piece. (font and back) (pic 1)
1) measure the space needed with your measuring tape.
2) cut out the rectangle from your spare paper.
3) trace onto your eva foam and cut out
4) heat with heating gun and bend to desired shape.
- The shins are made the exact was as the forearm gauntlets. make sure the are the length from the bottom of the knee to the ankle. It is best to measure this on with the shoe/ boot you are going to be wearing.
- For ours, we made somewhat of a panther head. I took a soldering iron and indented the "eyes" in the knee caps.
-Glue them onto the shin guards once completed
Step 6: Details: Indentations, Elevations, Painting, Rhinestones and Jewels,
Now that everything is constructed, you can put in your grooves/ indentations.. This help create accepts in your costume.. after all, the entire suit is black.. it will look a whole lot better with some trim.
1) Use your exacto knife and CAREFULLY cut a line into the armor pieces. the goal is to only cut a line into it, BUT NOT completely through it.. think of your exacto knife as a pencil that you are now use to sketch with.
2) Once you get your lines cut in, take your heating gun and heat all the cuts. The heat expands the cuts and creates your indentation. ta da!
3) if you want to add holes instead of lines, use a soldering iron.
- If you want to add any other elevations to your suit, now is the time to do it. I added shoulder strap elevations to the chest piece (pic 2)
-Anything that is made of foam should be plastidipped first.. The plastids create a thin rubberized layer that is less absorbent of paint.. basically it creates a shell for you so that the foam doesn't soak up the paint too much.
- We chose to use a metallic black instead of straight opaque black.. however, we had to use an acrylic plain black as a base, and then painted over that with the metallic black paint
- Anything thermo plastic should be painted with gesso or primer first. If you paint it straight on with acrylic, the paint is likely to chip off easily. (pic 3)
-if you want a silver metallic color that isn't super bright, spray the silver on first and let dry. Once dry, paint over the piece with watered-down black acrylic paint and wipe off within 5-10 seconds. Do this til you get the desired effect. This was done on the mask accents and the gauntlets.
- You can use your gold paint pen and paint inside the indentations to accent the trims. paint in the gold trim BEFORE the black paint.
- Clear spray everything with a matte spray. that should help with protecting your piece, especially from mild moisture or water.
Rhinestone and jewels
-Everything should be painted before you add any rhinestones or jewels. Just glue them on if possible. If helpful, use your soldering to create a divot into the foam for gluing
-we put red rhinestones into these circular jewels we made out of thermoplastic for the gauntlets.
Step 7: Assembling Suit
you need a hot glue pad. it's like a silicone baking sheet. (pic 1) if not, then definitely wear a pair of clothes underneath the zetai suit.
- you will be gluing each piece (Aside from the gauntlets, the chest piece, and the shins) directly to the sent suit.
- This is particularly challenging on the fingers and hands since you can't fit the pad inside.. If you can handle the heat, then go for it. if you can't, then take some duct or masking tape and tape up your fingers and hands under the suit. (pic 3)
For the shoulders, use some elastic and glue them in to the inside of the shoulder piece and the inside of the shoulder area.
Zentai suit mask
You need to cut the face portion of the suit so that you can see once the actual mask is complete. if you are concerned with the suit fraying, then glue down the borders.
Step 8: Mask
1) You need to make a crown for your mask.. I typically do this with cardboard, but it can be done with foam as well. My in-depth construct of a crow is here: Follow the steps, but instead of using cardboard, use craft foam
2). Then make the mouth/ face piece.. (pic 1-3)
3) Lastly, add your details and elevations. (pic 4)
4) Once everything is set, i worbla'ed the entire head.
5) Create your ears by making triangles out of foam. worbla those and then add them onto the helmet
6). Paint the entire helmet and spray it with matte.
7. Once painted and sprayed, put in your sunglass lenses. If they are too big, use a dremel to trim them down.
Step 9: Optional: Cape
1) Cut out a foam template for the collar of the cape.
2) I wanted it to stay up so worbla strips were put with it to provide support.
3) Cover the entire cape collar with fabric
4) since you have the cape collar, you can now sew it onto the cape itself.. just find the midpoint of the cape base
5) now, attach the cape clips to the cape itself.. around the neck area.. We made it so that these clips could clip into rings that we installed onto the shoulders of the chest armor.
Step 10: Optional: Spear
I like props, so i thought a spear would be fitting.
1) measure out how long you want your spear to be in total.
2) for your spear head, cut a piece of paper into a rectangle that will be the width and height of the spear
3) fold in half and draw the shape.
4) cut out the shape, trace it onto craft foam, and then worbla the entire thing (pic 3)
5. Add any elevated details or ridges.
6) i took some scrap worbla and mushed it into the PVC adapter to connect it inside.
7) for the panther head, i first made an aluminum ball.
8) i covered the aluminum ball with worbla and then just started adding, heating, and sculpting details.
9) same with the spear, i mushed scraps of worbla into the PVC connector and onto the panther head..
10) attach both the spear head and the panther head to the PVC pipe. I just added a few more details and that it.
Step 11: Finished!!
That should be it. if you are lucky, find yourself a storm to go with you. Finding some Avengers would work as well. The storm tutorial will be coming soon
That should be it! Have fun, King T'challa.
More geeky goodness at my art site on Facebook and Instagram.
Photo credit: Instagram- Darthbx, beatdownboogie, alexander_edo
4 years ago
Nice work. I love this.
Reply 4 years ago
6 years ago
Reply 6 years ago
6 years ago
You could totally wear this and go to the Captain America: Civil War movie premiere!
Reply 6 years ago
lol. true story!
7 years ago
say, how did you glue the EVA foam to the cloth, from what i heard hot glue dosent stick to EVA
Reply 6 years ago
i haven't had any problems sticking EVA to lycra. If you want to try something else, you can use contact cement such as Barge.. or, you can score the backside of the EVA foam prior to hot glue, so the glue has more area to grab onto.
7 years ago
Great job man! I'm making this for Halloween...but what is worbla and where do I get it?
Reply 7 years ago
gah! so sorry i missed this message. Worbla is a thermo plastic.. it is basically a sheet of plastic that softens when you apply heat to it (heating gun) and then rehardens when its cool. I get mine on-line
7 years ago
This turned out great. Looks like it was a fun build.
Reply 7 years ago on Introduction
thanks for the support! definitely a fun build! learned a lot too!
7 years ago on Introduction
Great foam under construction on the mask and I love the claws!
Reply 7 years ago on Introduction
thanks! it was definitely a learning experience for us all =)