Introduction: Lucy's Retro Robot Costume...Made With Household Items!

About: I'm the father of 4 great kids, a drummer, a toy collector, and a super proud Hufflepuff. I'm also a habitual crafter, tinkerer and a huge nerd!

Maker Camp is a big part of the summer in our house (we don't live near an official camp so we have ours at home). My girls love it and we always have a blast making things together, trying new projects, and for me it's a great way to help get them involved in the maker community.

That said, during this summers Maker Camp, for week 6 (Far Out Future Week) my 8 year old daughter Lucy decided to make a robot costume. It really started out as a pair of Boots, a pair of Arm Bands, and a Jet Pack, however once she finished those, she was hooked. So, through out the week, during camp, she continued to build her robot costume (with a small bit of help from dad when needed).

As her luck would have it, she ended up winning "Most Active Camper" that week and was one of the winners of the "Maker Camp Wearable Wonderland!". She was SOOOOO excited, not to mention the fact she now has a really cool robot outfit!!

So, with Halloween around the corner, I figured why not share (plus she really wanted me to post it too). It was a really simple DIY costume and it's held up great...PLUS, it was blast to build (for her and I both).

We hope you like it!

***This Instructable spans about 4 days, but this could easily be built in a day or two.

Step 1: Tin Foil. Spray Glue, and a Lot of Cardboard...

For her robot costume Lucy used a bunch of random items we had around the house and things she could raid from my junk box of odd computer bits and miscellaneous "stuff". Here's the parts list...


Cardboard (and lots of it....Thanks Amazon!!!)

Spray Glue (we used Elmer's, Craft, and 3M Spray Adhesives...changing when we ran out of each)

Tin Foil (we normally use heavy duty for cooking which worked great and has held up nicely)

Spokes from and old bike tire

Bit's of odd computer parts (one board, one case fan, a battery compartment, one fan grill...etc)

Old LED Christmas Lights

Wire from an old CPU case

Exacto Knife


Hole Punch

Duct Tape

Additional Parts:

3 AAA Batteries

1 Coin Cell Battery

Electrical Tape

Brown Packing Tape

Aluminum Tape (perfect for repairs)

**For most of the cutting, I would start the hole for my daughter with the Exacto blade and she would finish cutting with the scissors (for safety reasons).

Step 2: Day 1 Week 6...Trashion!

On Day 1 of Week Six, the feature was "Trashion" (fashion made with trash) and one of the featured projects for the day was "Mylar Moon Boots". Being that we didn't have any Mylar blankets on hand, she had to improvise. We grabbed a fresh roll of tin foil, a few cans of spray glue and she went to task.

For the Boots, she cut out 2 14" x 16" (foot) and 2 8" x 12" (ankle) pieces of cardboard. Close to one end, she then cut a 4" x 3" hole in each of the 14" x 16" pieces for her feet to go through. Because she essentially used the side of a box for the feet, there were already nice bends allowing them to easily be folded into shape. Lastly, they were all given a coat of spray glue and then tin foil was applied (she used a piece of wood shelving to push down on) .

Next, for the Arm Bands, she cut 2 4" x 12" pieces of cardboard. Next she gave them a good solid coat of spray glue and finally pressed them on to a piece of tin foil that she prepared.

The last piece needing tin foil, was the base for her Jet Pack. This ended up being a 12" x 7.5" piece of cardboard, which she gave a good coat of spray glue before applying the tin foil.

Now, with all of the pieces cut and tin foiled, She was ready to start assembling her parts.

To make the Boots, she simply cut a a small slit down both sides of the top of the feet and folded it down slightly. She then folded the side of each boot down and then folded the triangle ends down over the slightly bend top...creating the front the boot. She then used a small bit of brown packing tape and black gaffers tape, to hold them firmly together. She then folded and taped two folds (one left and one right) on the back of the boots (she decided not to close them completely so she could get to her shoe if needed).

She then folded the ankle sections around her leg to shape them, followed by punching 4 holes in each side using a hole punch. They were then tied together using pink yarn. Finally, she punched a hold in the top of her boot, on either side of the ankle, and then also on either side of the actual ankles bottom. They were then tied together using pink yarn.

For the Arm Bands, she folded each of them around her wrists to shape them. Then punched 4 holes in each side using a hole punch and tied them together using pink yarn. She attached a little LED flash light on to one and the other cut out a section of the arm band so she can swap pictures of the earth and her house (both hand drawn)

Finally for the Jet Pack, she picked through a box of old computer parts and other miscellaneous stuff that I keep around, and found an old CPU fan, some old LED Christmas lights, a couple plastic gumball machine toy containers, and a power switch. I soldered on a few leads and stripped a few wires, then helped her wire them up and attach them to her Jet Pack.

*To power the Jet Pack, we simply joined all of the + leads and the - leads. We then connected the + leads to the battery pack and ran the - lead from the battery pack to the one of the leads on the power switch. The negative lead on the lights/fan was then connected to the other lead on the battery pack.

Step 3: Day 2 Week 6...Wearables - the Robot's Head

Day 2, the feature was "Wearables" and Lucy learned about soft circuits and how to sculpt and illuminate paper Origami Hats with LED's. So, for her project, Lucy decided to make a head for her robot costume (why not, she had the boots, jet pack, and arm bands).

To build the Head, she started out with a card board box roughly the size of her head, but slightly larger. Prior to splitting the seam on the box she made the internal support by cutting a strip of cardboard that would be smaller than the top of her head when folder in to a circle (crown shaped). Next, she cut 2 6" rectangles and cut 2 1" slits in the middle, on both ends. She then folded them in half and bent back both of the ends and using brown packing tape, she attached them to the front and back of the crown shape. Once she checked the size of the support inside the head, she split the seem on the box, so that it could lay flat. Then it was outside, to add spray glue and tin foil to the cardboard.

Next she cut out rectangles for the eyes and mouth (she was going for a block styled robot) and then a hole was cut into the panel that was to be the back of the head, where the grill was to be mounted. Using the brown packing tape, she taped down a piece of aluminum screen to black out the eyes/mouth and the opening in the back of the head. Finally, she punched 4 holes around the hole in the back of the head and using 4 small nuts and bolts she attached the grill in place.

To help keep the edges clean on the cardboard (and to protect the tin foils edges), she then folded duct tape to along each of the edges to seal the seam (she also went back and did the same on the boots/arm bands & jet pack).

Now, prior to the final assembly of the head, a few spare bit and pieces were attached to add to the robot vibe. From an old bike tire, I helped her remove 2 spokes which I bent loops in to so they could be bolted to sides of the head for the antennas. She also found the inside of a case fan motor, which she bolted to the front of the head (she thought it looked like a flower). Lastly a small circuit board was mounted to the back of the head.

To assemble the head, we simple refolded the box and allowed for a small over lap, where I popped two holes through the box and she attached them using 2 small screws and bolts. I then popped additional holes in the box/head 2 front and 2 in back to mount the head support piece that she made earlier. Finally the top of the head was put into place and it was secured using 4 of the screw and bolt sets already attached to the head.

Lastly, I soldered a couple salvaged LED's together, poked two more holes in the front of the head near the top, mounted the LED's, and ran the wires to the back of the head and out of the way. We powered them by using a single coin cell battery.

Step 4: Day 3 Week 6...Explore Spectroscopes - the Robot's Body

Ok, this is where Lucy had a small departure from the planned camp activities. While she still participated, she was still really focused on now finishing the robot outfit she had started.

So, the next part to the outfit had to be the body. We found a box that was about as long as her torso, opened the box at it's seam, and cut off one end to allow for her legs. Next she cut a hole on the opposite end, for her head. Then we went outside, where she applied an even coat of spray glue to one side of the box and pressed on the tin foil, being sure to not leave any stray bubbles or unwanted creases.

Next using duct tape, she taped up each of the seams to help protect the edges of the tin foil. Once completed, arm holes were cut and then both of the arm holes and the neck hole were also taped to protect the seams.

Once all of the proper holes had been cut, she closed up the box forming the robots torso, I punched a 4 small holes in the front and back of the torso, and using nuts and bolts (again, what else would you use on a robot) she secured each of the flaps.

Lastly, she took the Jet Pack she made on day one and attached it to the back of her robots torso, using 4 small nuts, bolts, and plastic spacers.

Almost done! On to Day 4!

Step 5: Day 4 Week 6...Explore Galaxy Slime - the Robot's Skirt

On Day 4 of Makers Camp, Lucy had finally come to a finishing point on her robot costume. Being that, thus far, the robot has had "no pants" she wanted to work on some form of a bottom to her outfit. Since, she herself has always preferred dresses, she thought it would be fitting to make her robot a nice shiny skirt.

To get started, she split the seam on a 14" x 8" x 4" box and then cut each of the sections away from one another, leaving herself with 2 8" x 18" and 2 14" x 18" panels (including the flaps). She then trimmed one side of the flap off leaving herself with 2 8" x 11" and 2 14" x 11" panels. Next they were taken outside and covered in spray glue, then tin foil. Once the panels had dried, they were separated and then the edges were taped to protect them from damage.

2 holes were then punched into the top of the 4" section on each panel and on either side of each panel (around the edges). Matching holes were then punched into lower section of the robot body, to attach the panels.

Finally, using left over computer wires, Lucy tied the panels on to the robots body and then together on the corners forming the skirt.

***There was a break to participate in the Galaxy Slime Project with Lucy's big sis of course....

Step 6: I Am a Robot...beep...I Am a Robot...beep

She spent 4 long days working really hard to create her perfect robot outfit and let me just say, it's awesome (and her daddy couldn't be more proud of her hard work and commitment to this project).

Lucy came up with this idea and 90% of the design. I helped when asked and where needed. The boot designs and cuff designs came form the fine folks at Maker Camp along with a huge amount of inspiration!!

We really hope you enjoyed this Instructable and Lucy said she hopes it inspires you to build a robot costume too!!

Thanks for reading!

Halloween Costume Contest 2015

Participated in the
Halloween Costume Contest 2015

Papercraft Contest 2015

Participated in the
Papercraft Contest 2015