Introduction: How to Scratchbuild a Boba Fett Costume- Using Cardboard!

About: I'm a former bicycle industry designer turned professional jeweler. I like working with my hands and am happiest when I'm in the shop building my creations. If you need help with your project just let me know!

This Halloween I wanted to make a really cool costume but I had a very tight budget. So I looked around the garage and I found a couple of sheets of cardboard, some blue foam, plastic sheet, some brown vinyl, lots of various colors of spray paint, etc. I also had a flight suit from a previous costume.

The first thought that came into my mind was Boba Fett- the notorious bounty hunter from Star Wars. In costuming circles, Fett is considered to be one of the most difficult, time consuming and expensive costumes there is for a Star Wars character and a lot of people will say that a decent looking Fett costume can't be made inexpensively. I'd like to thank each and every member of The Dented Helmet- the best Boba Fett costume resource for all their help, advice, templates and reference material! Without these guys this never would have happened.

Here's how I made my Fett costume on a limited budget and in a short period of time.

Step 1: Materials

You'll need:
two to three large sheets of cardboard- the sheets I used are called newspaper board (about 1/16" thick and measure 30" x 40") It's available at craft stores and picture framing shops.
hot glue gun with lots of glue
white glue
blue foam board (a section of 2x4 scrap lumber will also work)
sheet plastic- I used 1/8" thick Sintra for the armor (available from plastics suppliers and sign shops) and regular styrene ( for sale signs) for the jetpack missile
some velcro
cotton/canvas dropcloth- available at Home Depot for $10
cotton clothsline- 40ft. or so, about 1/4" diameter
belt buckle (any kind will do but the plastic click lock kind work pretty well)
flight suit- grey is preferred but I had a tan one on hand
lightweight spackling paste
small can of Minwax Polycrylic sealer
aluminum soda cans (four of them)
dark green fabric dye
dark tinted plastic for the helemt visor
spray paint- one can of the following: white, red, olive green, burgundy, black, blue, silver, yellow

There are also several templates that you'll need. This have been graciously provided by Alan (Wizard of Flight) of The Dented Helmet board. All of these templates can be also be scaled down so that a children's costume can be constructed.

Armor templates are here- they are in zip format and they come in three different sizes:

Knee templates are here:

Jetpack templates are below.

Step 2: Helmet

I just finished a seperate instructable for this- it's a pretty good project all by itself:

This helmet is made entirely from cardboard (except for the visor), is very light when finished and is quite comfortable. It is also suprisingly large- I can barely get most helmets on my head and this one fits with room to spare.

After making my helmet I'll say this- take your time on the paint work as it makes a huge difference in how the costume looks. I printed out a ton of reference photos before painting my helmet. What you see below took about three hours of painting. I ended up drawing all the scratches on the helmet with a pencil first and then painting them in. It could still use a bit more work but for a Halloween costume I'm pretty happy with it.

Step 3: Armor/ Flak Vest

The flak vest was cut from a cotton canvas drop cloth using an old t-shirt as a pattern- the sleeves are shortened and taper to the armpit area.The vest is also shorter than a regular t-shirt: it should only come down to your belly button.The vest opens at the back and has four velcro tabs to close it. The armor can be attached to the vest by hot glue, velcro or by using snaps.

I ended up using snaps because it makes the armor easy to remove. Plus, I already had them! :)
To use snaps, cut out some canvas into squares and attach the male part of the snap. Then using hot glue, glue the canvas square to the backside of the armor. I used three snaps on the chest plates, two on the collar, two on the shoulder bells and four on the back plate. Then what you do is put the vest on and rub some charcoal onto the male snaps on the armor and press the armor to the vest. This leaves an impression where you need to attach the female eend of the snaps to the vest.

I made my armor from Sintra sheet. Sintra is nice because it can be heated (by immersion in hot water or by using a heat gun) and then molded to shape. The back plate is the hardest part to make and having another person to help mold it to your back is a real benefit. All the armor is painted olive green, except for the shoulder bells. I hand painted the logos on the left shoulder bell and right chest plate.

The codpiece is held together by velcro. The front of the codpiece is made of two pieces of Sintra with filler (spackling paste or Bondo) to get the shape.

If you can't get Sintra, plastic from large paint buckets or trash cans will also work but sometimes it can be more difficult to get glue to adhere to it. The armor can also be made from two layers of cardboard (the same kind of cardboard used to make the helmet and jetpack) but it can be tricky to get the all the necessary curves to get the armor to fit right.

Step 4: Jetpack

Like the helmet, the jetpack is a bit of work but it does go together pretty quickly and making it from cardboard makes it very light weight. The missile is the hardest part to make. I made mine from styrene sheet but cardboard will work too. The body of the jetpack is made from cardboard glued together with a glue gun. After it's put together, the seams are smoothed with spackling paste and it gets a coating of polycrylic sealer before priming and painting. The jetpack is screwed to the armor backplate with four wood screws- you'll see in the photos that there are a couple of plastic sheets glued into the jetpack body to accept the screws.

The fuel tanks are made from soda cans and the ends are filled with hot glue and spackling paste.

My jetpack is still missing the thrusters!

Step 5: Belts and Cape

The ammo belt is made by gluing brown vinyl around foam blocks (you can also cut the blocks from a 2x4.) The belt , which is 2.5" wide, attaches together with velcro. I recommend sewing the velcro to the belt as hot glue tends to peel off the velcro and vinyl.

The girth belt is made by cutting a clothsline into equal lengths, gluing the ropes together with a glue gun and then gluing a buckle to the ends. The girth belt then gets a coat of burgundy paint.

The cape is made by cutting a section of the drop cloth to measure around 27" x 36" and dying it green. It is then secured to the top of the armor backplate with a small bolt.

Step 6: Accessories

There are two pouches that measure about 5"x 6" x2" thick that are secured to the ammo belt. I made them by gluing fabric around foam blocks. There should be two similar pouches sewn to the thighs of the flight suit but I haven't done this yet. I still have to make the gauntlets, boots and gloves!