Introduction: Iron Man Costume

For those of us who do not have a Stark-load of money or time, I've designed the poor man's Iron Man Costume. I know I promised this a long time ago but I do have other priorities. I never expected this costume to create such a fuss and was going to create a simple album online of my progress. Instead, I've made you an instructable of the most badass costume I'll ever wear.

My friend decided to be Capitan America for Halloween but didn't want to look stupid an he decided that we should all look stupid and nerdy and delegated Avenger characters for each of the crew. I got stuck with Iron Man and though I should at least take a shot at it. What you are about to see is how I spent my reading week (coincidentally the las week of October) building Iron Man Mark 6.

Any questions or comments are greatly appreciated.

Step 1: Materials and Design

First off, my goal was to spend as little as possible. If you really wanna go cheap, MAKE YOUR OWN MASK! That bugger cost me a pretty penny and I ended up modifying it anyways. Dollarama and Goodwill were a godsend and people who buy cardboard are plain stupid.

Velcro ($2)
25 Glue Sticks ($3)
Shirt ($1)
Shorts ($2)
Bristol Board ($5)
Paint ($16)

Shoulder Pads
Multitude of Snaps
Rubber Glove
Kitchen Light
Old Shoes
Hockey tape
Old Dish cloth

Mask and Gloves ($42)

I really had no idea where to start so I took a picture of the movie suit and divided it up into workable sections (See the photos). I've attached a bunch of rough sketches I made ahead of time to use as a rough guide. I ended up using the general idea from the sketches but the building of the leg and arm pieces became more guess work than anything. It's hard to tell exactly how the parts will fit until you try them.

Step 2: Chest Piece

This part is basically the most important piece of the whole costume. I used old hockey pads (several sizes too small) as the base of the costume. I had an old set at home but you can easily dig up a pair at a garage sale or used clothing store. The two sides were connected with string like football pads but when all stung up correctly it was far too small. 
  1. Removed the string between the two sides
  2. Inserted a cardboard expander with lots and lots of hot glue
  3. Made a large cardboard chest piece with the general shape of the Iron Man armour.
  4. Added in cardboard strap covers that go under the arms
  5. Trimmed it up with some old black hockey tape
I'll cover the paint job and the Arc Reactor later.

Step 3: Abs and Back

The piece of the suit I am most proud of is the abs. I made them to be retractable so that when I sat down, the pieces would collapse into eachother. It's sort of hard to explain but if you look at the photos, you get the idea.
  1. Cut four slightly curved slats of cardboard for the abs
  2. Overlapped them slightly and attached them all using glue and strips of cloth.
  3. Cut the back panels of the armour and attached them in the same manner. 
  4. The two parts were attached with simple snaps.
  5. Two snaps were also attached to the top of the abs so they could be attached to the base of the chest piece.
(Some of the pictures are of when I made it with three strips but later I added one more to make the torso longer)

Step 4: Upper Body

The assmebly of the upper body was simply just a connection of the chest piece and the abs/back piece. There are two snaps that are at the base of the chest piece that connect to the snaps on the top of the abs. I also added in a 'belt' to support the back piece because it did not have any snaps holding it to the chest piece. (On a side note, the belt was awesome when I had a few and managed to tear the velcro off the sides. It kept the whole piece from falling apart)

I used an old kitchen light for the arc reactor and built up a cardboard structure around it so it didn't look like it was sticking out. It was one of the ones which would turn off and on when you press it.

Step 5: Arms and Legs

The arms were only bristol board forearm wraps that were attached to sleeves. I put snaps at the top of the sleeves so they could attach to the shoulders of the chest piece (See picture)
  1. Cut out forearm wraps and trimmed them with black tape
  2. Cut the sleeves off a cheap long sleeved shirt. 
  3. Cut the sleeves lengthwise and resized them so they fit snug.
  4. Attached the forearm wraps to the sleeves.
Legs were pretty simple: cut, try on, mark, repeat. This was done until properly fitting pieces were made for both the thighs and the calves. Also, knee caps were made, split in half and one piece was attached to the calf and the other the the thigh pieces. The parts were all held on with velcro. The thigh pieces were attached to the shorts using snaps because they kept sliding down.

Finally, a nice little jock piece was made which snapped on to the shorts as well; the shorts were fairly small and tight. 

Step 6: Finishing Up

After several coats of paint on the chest piece, I added in a triangular cover to give it a Mark 6 look. I stretched an rubber lab glove over a triangle of plexiglass and fixed it over the light. If you pressed on the triangle, the light would turn on/off.

The mask was a nice little custom job which I added in a swing point and a lock so I could swing the mask up and lock it in place. Never got around to taking photos of it but I may if people are that curious.

As you can see from the photos, we made one awesome Avengers crew. (Hope you all don't mind I used your pictures) Anyone who thinks they can do better, bring it on! I threw in a pic of me as Tony Stark from the night before, didn't want to ruin the suit before the big debut.

So there you have it, my Iron Man costume for those of us who don't want to drop $600 on a formed sheet metal costume that'll make you sweat and take year to make. If you're going to try and make this yourself, give me a shout and I'll give you some tips. Happy building.

Halloween Easy Costumes Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Easy Costumes Contest