Rock'em Sock'em Robot Costumes




Introduction: Rock'em Sock'em Robot Costumes

About: I can't wait for Halloween!

Hello Instructoids. I am happy to finally share a costume build that I completed in 2012. I used as many recycled materials that I could and I spent about $150 total, mostly on duct tape, batteries, and hot glue. A lot of this costume was guesswork, and will probably be a little bit of trial and error for you too. It was a blast wearing them around, and still is.

I am 6' 5", so these measurements apply to us giants. I'm sure you can make a smaller version if need be. I have friends from 5' to 6' that could wear these costumes just fine.


-Cardboard (lots)
-Hot Glue gun
-Spray Adhesive (optional)
-Packing/painters Tape (whichever works for you)
-Duct tape Red & Blue approx 7 rolls each
-Exacto knife / razor blades
-Ruler/measuring tape (optional)
-Approx 48 Ping Pong Balls
-Expanding Foam
-Red and blue (spray) paint 1 can ea
-2 red & 2 blue Led lights & appropriate resistors
-8 AA Batteries & 2 holders
-2-4 Pipe cleaners for mouth (optional)
-8 Nuts & Bolts (for Elbow Pieces)
-Fabric (Blue/Red/ and See through black)
-Momentary Switch (optional)
-Red and Blue Clothes to wear under

Step 1: Arms & Trim!

(I am going to cover a lot of my own experience building. Please read carefully.)

The first thing I did was trace my arm onto a piece of cardboard. I then added about an inch or two to the lines drawn and cut out a bunch of arm sized rectangles to build the forearm pieces. Cutting the upper end of the forearm round helped me achieve the ability to move them freely. I also cut into the forearm piece right where my biceps went for even more mobility. I used packaging tape to hold the pieces together to mock them up. This allowed to me to make changes as needed. I did the same thing for the upper arm constantly trying the arm on to make sure it was comfortable and was able to move. After making the upper arm I cut a large oval out so I could put my arm in.  As you can see in this picture I cut out a strip of cardboard approx 6"x 48" and used it as the runner (or "elbow") behind my arm to keep the whole thing together and also make the arm able to "hinge". BUT I ended up removing the connection between the forearm and the upper arm and eventually attached them with bolts, two bolts for each arm (see pics). The hands are made buy using two half circles for the sides, and just a strip of cardboard bent around them. Fill arms as desied with any kind of foam you'd like. This will help the robot arms cling to your puny human arms without the use of elastic.(<-- top of shoulders, all sides of forearms, inner upper arm, etc)

       After you have created on arm that works really well for you, cut all the packaging tape with an exacto knife. Now you have just created the TEMPLATES needed to make the other three arms!!! Now just trace, flip, trace, Cut, tape, and repeat.

TRIM: Using the TEMPLATES you just made, you can trace them again to then create the trim pieces. The quickest way I accomplished this was to cut out 2-3 trim pieces and gluing them together for each individual body part. Just like cutting out the "side" of an arm, but you also cut out the center at about 1" in from the outer radius. (See pics.) At this time you can also cut out the circles need for the elbows and hips. (It's easiest to take a piece of cardboard over to your arms, after gluing on the trim pieces and eyeballing how big you need them.) Then using whatever method of cutting circles you want (a cup, a string and pencil, a compass etc.) Cut-Trace-Glue-Cut-Trace-Glue-Cut-Trace-Glue- etc. If you are like me, I learn well from pictures, so definitely look at my pics for reference, I barley measured anything while I was building...MY apologies. The trim pieces are tedious yes, but it works well for those raised edges on the costume. Don't forget about the outer trim pieces, and also the "cross" looking strips that go on the arm, inside the "trim" pieces. These are just 1" thick strips of cardboard (see pics)

We will cover the "Bolt" looking accents a little later.

     (if you would like to see what my final arms looked like, check out the pictures in the next few steps.)

Step 2: Legs & Support!

LEGS & FEET: For the legs and feet it's the same idea but even easier, you will simply need rectangular boxes that fit over your legs/shoes and bend at the knee and ankle. The back of the knees will need to be cut at an angle so they can bend freely. The part inside the groin area it fairly short, and the part on the hip is much longer and rounded. Use your body for measurement/reference. Glue in padding where desired, this will help the robot legs cling to your wicked hairy people legs. This is key to making sure you aren't dragging your feet all night. (All sides of lower leg, I used nothing in the upper leg. See pics)

  SUPPORT: After each body part was created, I cut and stacked cardboard triangles, Glued them (3-4) together, and glued them into the corners of the body parts. If I were to go back and change one thing, I would have made these thicker and put more of them into the costume   After having these costumes for a year, and partying in them, and having friends wear them, they got a little bent up. I spent some time recently gluing in more cardboard squares to the feet, and making thicker supports and gluing them in.(See pics...My old supports were painted red, and my newer supports are not painted.)

"The choice is yours and yours alone" -Omec

Step 3: The Body!

   For the body I used a tape measure to get the width of my shoulders (not shown on diagram approx 19"), length of my torso, width of my hips, etc. I made these the same way as everything else, just measuring my body and mocking up what I thought would work. The main part for the body I made much like a poncho. I used a fat piece of cardboard with a hole for my head, then trimmed it. I'm a professional. The shoulders are wider than the hip section, so it gets a little slimmer near the bottom. That jagged part on the chest is hollow. I recently measured all of the parts and made a diagram- See below. My dimensions are going to be large unless you are also tall, so I would definitely suggest you measuring your body type before going to this step, it will save you a lot of time. Or you can use my exact measurements and then trim them down to fit you, that might work perfectly. I was able to slip this on and off like a shirt, but it is a tight fit.

Step 4: The Helmets!!

    I wrapped cardboard around my head and stapled it. Then took a pencil where I thought my eyes were (while wearing the cardboard I just stapled) and drew a small box.  Like I said, I am super professional. According to my pic it was about 10" tall, and 27" inches around.  I stapled a square piece of cardboard to the back of that. Then I grabbed another piece of cardboard about the same size as the piece I wrapped around my head and attached it to the square backing and started just freehand drawing where I was going to cut everything out.  I made a diagram for y'all to use as a reference.

   I cut and folded some edges about an inch wide to make a 3-D appearance (if you have ever made a box, you can complete this step). I filled in the space between the "cheek bone" and the "ear piece" with a strip of cardboard about 1"  thick.   I then made some "cheek bone" pieces but just eyeballing the helmet and cutting to scale. Remember trial and error, Learn from mistakes!! It does not have to be exact, people at your costume party won't be carrying an action figure of the robots and critiquing you. If so, knock their blocks off, and leave party.

     I stuffed the the walls of the helmet with newspaper to build up strength. Then simply put a flat piece of cardboard on top and folded it over in the front to create the rounded look; cut it, and taped it. All of the nose pieces were created the same way as the hands. Cut out a circle, cut the circle in half, and connect rounded parts of both half circles with a strip of cardboard-Very simple. The mouth piece was flat, nothing special there. I end up making about 2 of the same cut outs and gluing them together, I then cut out a small frowny slit with an exacto knife and stuffed it with a black pipe cleaner.

   After all of that was completed, I glued my black see-through fabric into the helmet to hide my eyes.

*TRICK: To easily make rounded cardboard- with lots of pressure, use your hands to move the cardboard over a counter or table edge. Just inch it along over the edge (it helps to do this with the cardboard diagonally because of the vertical ridges inside the cardboard- so start with the corner)

Step 5: Accent Bolts, Tape, and Fabric!

       After every body part is made it needs to be carefully taped. I went to my local hardware store and literally bought out the red and blue duct tape. I believe I used about 15 rolls total. Before I did any taping I would spray the body part with spray adhesive (Used for photos and can be acquired at your local craft store) to promote adhesion. Then started the tedious process of putting tape down. I would start on all the rounded pieces, trim pieces, and corners by using small strips of duct tape that I cut. Same thing with the accent pieces. I then filled in the larger areas with full strips. I think I lost a few fingerprints in this step.

      I like to hide as much of the human body as possible when creating a costume. Any body parts showing take away for the "Wow" factor for the on-lookers in the crowd. You will need to go to the local thrift store, with a piece of tape from each color, and find the appropriate clothing (t-shirt & shorts) to match the costumes. I really wanted to conceal the open area of the costume like the elbows and behind the knees, feet, etc. To do this I was going to use 4" dryer hose vent like every other robot costume I've seen, but I really wanted to make these costumes genuine. I went to the fabric store and got a few yards of a blue and red that matched exactly. I glued those into all of the open hinged parts of the costume.

     Creating the "Bolt" pieces were tricky. Do I use golf balls? Nerf balls? Super balls? ( yes, I priced all these things out. all too expensive or too heavy) Hmm, maybe ping pong balls!.. But how do I make them sturdy and able to attach to the costume without glue showing around the edges?... EXPANDING FOAM!

     I went to a party store and I bought out all their ping pong balls. It bought about 50-60 ping pong balls. I only used about 48 and I think it cost me about $20-$30. I cut each ball in half with a razor blade and filled them with expanding foam. After the foam dried I cut off the excess foam with a razor blade. I then spray painted half of them red and half of them blue. I was then able to hot glue them all over the costume.

Step 6: Lighting & Wiring!!

    When it came to the LEDs I was completely lost. Lucky for me, I found a TUTORIAL that helped me along the way! I have included a picture of my wiring, but I cannot remember the  rating of the capacitors that I used. You need to have one resistor in-line with each LED you use. The guys at my local computer parts store helped me with my set up. That tutorial how-to will also help.

     I split my LED circuit and put two terminals on the underside of my helmet. When I put these terminals together, the lights come on. To make things more interesting, I added about 3' of wire to a momentary switch so I could be holding the momentary switch in my hand. It's like you're spiderman, but instead of shooting webs, you shoot lasers out of your face. I put the wire up my sleeve and through the neck of my shirt and added two more terminals. That way I was able to disconnect my helmet for easy access. I stuffed the battery pack in the wall of the helmet, and glued the LEDs to the upper portion of the eye sockets. That way I could look out the helmet, under the lights. I also added black electrical tape to the back of the LEDs so I wouldn't blind myself all night. Now I could flash my eyes at the people, or to any beat that was playing the clubs. They also double a flashlights. ;)

Step 7: NOW GO PARTY!!!

These costumes were a lot of fun to build and even more fun to wear around. Since Casinos have the biggest parties I could find, I wore them to the casinos in South Lake Tahoe, Ca, and at some in Sonoma County, Ca. In Tahoe I learned what it felt like to be famous. We could barely make it 5 feet without taking ten to twenty pictures with people, it was crazy. Another thing you NEED TO KNOW: If you are planning to be around younger drunk adult males, the ones who have big heads and even bigger egos... They might want to punch you. In the past two years I have had people play fight with me which is fun, but I've had a couple drunk guys punch my helmet at different events, good news is it never hurt because of the padding, but it is still very aggravating. I would avoid them, just keep that in mind.

If you made it this far reading the tutorial, thank you. I know I wrote a lot, but I wanted to be as informative as possible. I only request one thing. If anyone decides to build these costumes, and/or improve them in the process... PLEASE SEND ME PICTURES!! I would LOVE to see someone else have as much fun in these as I have.

You can email me with any questions, critiques, or pictures at

Thank you for reading, and thank you Instructables!!

Halloween Costume Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Costume Contest

2 People Made This Project!


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Question 3 years ago on Step 4

Hi There,

Would i be able to buy these off you. Need them for a youtube shoot so would pay very good money.

My email is


5 years ago

Totally awesome. A friend and I are making it for a work costume... we needed to think of a pair and/or dress in our favorite decade. This works for both. Can't wait to be done.


5 years ago

Hi , this is Sei from Mattel, I love your rockem sockem costume. Do you still have this? Where are you based in? Can I get in contact with you directly?


6 years ago

I am trying to figure out how many rolls of tape to get. Was the 8 rolls of each color based on 20 yard rolls or 60 yard rolls?
The costumes are awesome, you did amazing work!


Reply 6 years ago

Thank you! The rolls I used were fairly small, definitely not like the giant gray rolls of duct tape you would buy at the hardware store. They were much smaller so most likely they were the 20 yard rolls. Hope this helps!! Good luck and don't forget to send pics!!!


Reply 6 years ago

Perfect!! I got the 60 yard rolls on a huge sale but only got 3 of each. So I'm sure I'll be ok. I'll send a picture once we finish! I'm so excited!!!


7 years ago

amazing I want to do that


7 years ago

About how many boxes of cardboard did u use??


8 years ago on Introduction

Next, defintely make the heads pop up!


8 years ago

You should make the heads extend up like the toy. Great job.