Introduction: How to Make a Transformers: "Insecticon - Shrapnel" Costume

About: I'm a kid in a candy store when it comes to creating things. I love learning different versions of art, whatever medium it may be. Feel free to like the official site on Facebook to keep up with past, presen…
Mechanized Bugs?! Don’t mind if I do! For C2e2, we decided to go as Transformers.

So this is Shrapnel. He is a decepticon.. He’s an insecticon… and He’s a stag beetle.

*A very special shout-out to instructable members: dannyeurena and Incxtc for their previous Transformers tutorials as theirs were the the foundation for my Transformers creations.

Here are their amazing tutorials:



-Lots of cardboard

-Lots of hot glue

-Old shoes


-thin strips of wood (about the width of a paint stirrer)


-masking tape



-red acetate

-Black gloves

- shoe laces

-comic board/ or poster board

-PVC pipe

-thin PVC pipe

- female three-way T connectors

-double sided velcro

-heavy duty exacto knife

-metal circle Washers

- soda caps

- 2 small toy collide-scopes


-black leggings

-black long sleeve t-shirt

-male connector that screws in for PVC pipe


-electric drill


*This costume takes a lot of time and creates a huge mess from all the debris during preparation.

*This costume works fairly well for individuals who are heavy set. The character seems wide, so a heavier set person should look fine inside..

* You definitely need an extra person to help you get dressed and assist in case of any wardrobe problems.

Step 1: Feet: Wood Construction

1.Take your shoes and remove the laces (save laces for later). it is good to use low tops for these shoes. Cut further along the tongue of the shoe, because you need to be able to get a drill all the way to the toe part of the shoe.  (pic 1)

2. Then, take your exacto knife and cut across the width of foot sole where the ball of your foot is.. The easiest way I found out is to bend your foot forward a bit with the shoe on, and that way you can see where the shoe naturally bends.  This is because when you walk, your shoe needs to “give” a bit so that it can bend while walking. (pic 2)

3. Now, get your 2x4 and use a saw (or get it cut) into the following 2 shapes. (pic 3)

4. Take 4 slender pieces of wood ( about 1 inch thick, and however long your two pieces are)and drill them underneath so that you are even more elevated. (pic 4)

5.Place your shoe on the two pieces so that the “cut” of the shoe sole is right in between the two pieces of wood. (pic 5)

6. Due to the notion that the two pieces of wood are on either side of the cut in the shoe sole, your robot foot should naturally bend when you walk, (pic 6)

7. At this point, take out the pad inside the shoe.  Take your screws and drill inside the shoe directly into the wood. I used 3 screws for the front of the shoe and 4 for the back piece.   Replace pad into your shoe so that your foot is not directly on the screws. replace the shoe laces.

Step 2: Feet : Cardboard Encasing.

  1. Now, start covering the shoe with cardboard.
  2. Start with the front and the back of the shoe (pic 1)
  3. Add the sides of the back portion (pic 2)
  4. Add a little more cardboard to the front flap, and then add the top of the shoe (pic 3)
  5. Add the sides of the front (pic 4)
  6. cover the wood sole
  7. Once assembled, put some foam on the bottom of the shoe to help with traction and also noise.
it’s really just trial and error..

*you can make your own little designs to add different details to the shoes. Since Shrapnel is an insecticon, i added toes.

Step 3: Legs

Now that you have your feet done, you want to be in them to measure where your knees are. You need to be able to bend at the knee when you walk also.. Granted, you wont be able to do jumping jacks, but you should be able to move decently.

1. Basically you are making a rectangle around your calf. make sure it is a little wider than your robot foot.

2. Once done, just start adding little details such as curves, or boxes to give it more detail. remember to put a “lid” on the top of these legs. i just made cut out a trapezoid where your leg can slide in.

3. Now take some of your thin strips of wood and glue them inside the leg piece.. it should be right about where your ankle is and just a little below the top of the shoe. The reason for this is that it will prevent your leg from being super loose inside that big box of a leg. Also, gluing the strip a little lower will allow the leg to be off the floor and not dragging.

Step 4: Thighs

1. The thighs are basically boxes. They are just angled in and there is a little section cut out if you are a dude for your :;ahem:;..

2. Poke a hole on the sides (hip side). Take a metal circle washer and glue it on either side of the hole.  get some string or more shoe lace and thread it through. about 4 -5 inches should do.

- The washer is so that the thread will be supported by the washer, and not the cardboard (which can easily rip through with wear/tear)..

3. To wear the thighs, you need a belt around your waist. put on the thighs and then use the string to tie them to the belt. This way, they do not fall when you are walking around.

Step 5: Waist + Pelvis


For Shrapnel, we started off with a snug box around the waist. we cut out circles on the sides so that the box could slip underneath the armpits. It should end where your waistline does. Fig 6


1. Now that you have your waist and thighs, you can determine how large you need your pelvis to be. It is 4 pieces (2 sides, crotch, and butt).

2. It really just depends on the transformer. I just added some random details based on the pictures i found.

  • If you wanted to make ridges, you have two options. You can stack strips of cardboard on top of each other and then glue it in. (pic 3)
  • or if you want, you can remove the first layer of paper from the cardboard and expose the stripes inside (pic 4)

3. Once completed, you can attach this to the waist through the use of velcro and fabric.

Pic included is not Shrapnel's, but concept is the same

Step 6: Forearm/ Forearm Gun + Bicep

1. For your robot forearm, you are making a box to wrap around your actual forearm. (pic1)

2, Cut the top elbow-side corners off so that you will be able to bend at your elbows

3. Then you make caps (one for your wrist, one for your elbow) for both ends of the box. Cut a square within the elbow lower cap for your arm to fit through. this should be somewhat snug around your forearm. (pic 2)

5. For the cap around your wrist, You need to take a strip of cardboard (about 1 inch wide) and wrap it around the girth of your hand. take the ring and place it on the top cap and cut out the circle. Now take that ring and glue it inside the circle. once complete, glue that wrist cap inside. 

Forearm Gun

Shrapnel has these little guns underneath his forearms, so i just housed some PVC pipe in a little case. Then i found these little toy collide-scopes that i used for end pieces. i secured it around the pvc by making making a small hole inside a soda cap. (pic 3 + pic 4)

The whole thing should look like Pic 5


for the biceps, cut out the 4 pieces listed below in figure 7. Glue all the portions together and seal them. You can attach the biceps to the inside of the shoulder by adding a little velcro and elastic. (pic 6)

Step 7: Hands

For the hands, get your black glove and the thin comic book cardboard. I meticulously cut out 3 different pieces for the 3 different sections of your finger (2 for the thumb). Then i made a simple cover for the back of your hand (use regular cardboard covered with comic board.. It acts as a sturdy support when you are trying to take off your gloves) , and a few little covers for the palm.

Indymogul does a brief tutorial on how to make them. (link below)

Step 8: Chest + Shoulders


1. For the chest, you are making a box that will fit over the waist box. this box also has two circles cut out on either side for your arms. i also cut out 2 ridges on either side of the head which will serve as platforms for the pinchers. (pic 1)

Once completed, i added a front panel to the chest piece. its just a trapezoid shaped box. and there are smaller trapezoids glued on it. (pic 2)

I added a few details to the chest piece, including two side covers and i used 2 soda bottle tops.

1. from here, i added shoulders DIRECTLY glued onto the sides of the chest. Take a circle and a strip (however wide you’d like) and glue those pieces together. (pic 3)

2. Cut out a small section from the strip and glue the shoulder piece directly where the shoulder would be located. an example is provided below (it is of another robot, but the premise is still the same) (pic 4)

The upper half of your body should look like pic 5

Step 9: Pinchers: Part 1 - Assembly

  1. For the pinchers, i outlined what i wanted them to look like on a large piece of construction paper.
  2. Once done, i cut the outline out of cardboard and inserted thin strips of wood for support. (pic 1)
  3. at the bottom of the pinchers, we took pvc and glued them in place. glue the male adapters onto the bottom of the pvc.  these will screw into the platforms that surround your head in the chest piece. (pic 2)
  4. I then took smaller strips of cardboard and laid them on top of the wood pieces to create a 3D skeleton. (Pic 3)
  5. From here, you can start covering on the pincher skeleton with cardboard. 
*at the first con, we dropped the pinchers and they broke. we took some thin PVC pipe (about the diameter of a pen), bent it into the correct angle, and glued them inside the angle of the pinchers.

I took some PVC pipe, cut them around 4 inches and glued them to the tops of the pinchers. i put PVC caps on both sides and added a few more details to the pinchers. (pic 4)

Step 10: Pinchers: Part 2- Attachment

1. In order to connect them to the shoulder, take your T joint for the pvc and make a little storage casing. (pic 1)

2. Once completed, Glue them into the INSIDE of the platforms within the chest pieces.
-Make sure to cut a hole on the top so that the pinchers can screw inside. (pic 2 is of the t joint casings glued to the inside of the platforms)
3. screw the pinchers in (pic 3)

- Remember to mind your height. you are now quite tall (pic 4)

Step 11: Backpack

1. Once again, i sketched and cut out the size of the backpack out on construction paper. (pic 1)

2. Cut it out of cardboard and start adding sides and a top. As you have figured out, most of this stuff is building oddly shaped boxes. (pic 2 + pic 3)

3. i added a tube down the middle for detail (pic 4)

4. Once completed, attach it with velcro (pic 5)

Step 12: Face

1. The face is comprised of 6 main pieces: 2 cheeks, a mouth, 2 cheek bones, and a forehead (pic 1 + pic 2)

2. Once glued, add a nose. we cut a small slit in the nose to assist with breathing. Also, add a mouth, and add lips (pic 3)

*sometimes it is good to have a open mouth. if this is the case, place some black fabric on the inside of the mouth. this also helps with breathing.

3. Take your red acetate and wrap it around the eyes like a visor.  If you want it a bit more sturdy, grab some clear plastic and glue the acetate to that first, and THEN wrap it around the eyes. 

Step 13: Helmet

1. To do the helmet, begin by making the crown illustrated in my previous tutorial, “how to build a Darkseid costume” (pic 1)

Do this with the mask on because the mask increases the size of your head. (pic 2)

2. Once that is done, start thickening it up by adding the details. 

Step 14: Primer + Paint

  • For every piece of cardboard glued together, you will want to “seal” it by filling the small spaces with glue
  • Use masking tape to cover the seams once they are sealed. 
  • primer the ENTIRE suit. (pic 1)
  • Paint the entire suit its corresponding colors(pic 2)
  • Once dry, print and cut out the decepticon emblem and either glue or modgepodge it to the front.
  • Put on your black clothes and belt. and then put on the components of your suit.


That should be it!

  • Take plenty of pictures,
  • Remember to drink plenty of water as you will sweat a lot
  • Remember to have a handler with you, as you will need help in case something falls off.

Links to other costumes:


Feel free to find me on Spicy Panda Creations for more current projects