Introduction: Steampunk Dr. Horrible (Victorian Mad Scientist) Costume

About: Electrical engineer. Techie. Geek.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Horrible's Single Along Blog, or the Steampunk subculture, please visit:

Once you are familiar with both things, please read on:

The instructable is my entry into the 2011 Halloween contest.  I wanted to make a simple yet cool costume that most people would "get", at least at a superficial level ("oh, cool, you're a mad scientist!"), but would be awesome for anyone familiar with either Steampunk or Dr. Horrible.

The idea is to go as an alternate-history version of Neil Patrick Harris' character, with an alternate version of how his relationship with Felicia Day's character pans out.  In this version, when Penelope was wounded fatally by Admiral Malleus, Dr. Ominous knew that the only way to save the woman he loved was to infect her with serum extracted from specimens of the undead outbreak of 1782, in the hopes of one day curing her zombification and be reunited in true love.  Whether that happens, is still to be seen.

My costume consists of:
 - Steampunk-styled goggles
 - Steampunk-styled Prosthetic (left) Hand
 - Store-bought tunic / "leather" chest covering
 - Store-bought "leather" gauntlet (right)
 - Leather boots
 - Various straps from old costumes

My girlfriend's costume consists of (shown here):
 - Black evening gown
 - Hand-made bustle skirt
 - Waist cincher with "steampunk-inpisired" embellishments
 - Hand-crocheted hat
 - Store-bought lacy gloves

Step 1: The Goggles! They Do Nothing!

Actually, they do do something.  They look REALLY COOL.

Starting with:

Step 1:
I first removed the hard plastic (black) bits from the soft plastic (green) bits.
Don't forget to remove the ventilator pieces (x4).

Step 2:
 Unscrewed the lenses from the inside, there's a ring that holds them in.

Step 3:
I used some sandpaper to roughen up all the surfaces, so the paint sticks better and gives it a nice weathered texture.

Step 4:
I sprayed the green soft bits with Black Krylon Fusion, which sticks to plastic well.
The other hard plastic bits were sprayed with Copper Krylon Fusion, which gave it a nice finish.

Step 5:
Wait.  Really.  Wait until it's completely dry

Step 6:
After everything dried, the black was drybrushed with some metallic bronze paint.

Step 7:
Cut out some fake leather and put it on the back to detract from the modern-elastic-strap look.

Step 2: Clockwork Prosthetics - Phase 1

Despite my hand being now encased in what looks like a clockwork device, I no longer have access to my watch.  How ironic.

A pair of nitrile-coated work gloves from Walmart.  (Wells Lamont brand)
Zip ties
Old plastic bottles
Krylon Fusion Copper spray paint

Step 1:
Cut out bits from the plastic you've collected.  Make sure your thumb and back of your hand can be covered.

Step 2:
Sand them so the paint sticks better, and makes them look textured.

Step 3:
Make little loops with the zip ties, put them on your fingers.  Use two if some fingers are too thick.  Slide the plastic bits underneath.  Hot glue to tack in place.

Step 3: Clockwork Prosthetics - Phase 2

Step 4:
Mix up some Plastic Repair Epoxy. Glue the plastic pieces to the zip ties well.

Step 5:
Wait until it cures. Ventilate room. Apologize to roommates.

Step 6:
Spray with Krylon Fusion Copper

Step 7:
Wait for it to dry.  Reassemble on your hand.

Step 4: Clockwork Prosthetics - Phase 3

Step 8:
Get an old container that will go around your wrist and cut a hole in it to fit your hand.

Step 9:
Roughen the plastic, spray with Krylon Fusion Black

Step 10:
Drybrush with bronze paint

Step 11:
Attach any steampunk-y things you can find.  I used some old copper tubing I found, and some spray-painted bottle caps.

Step 12:
Make it even MORE ornate.  I found a pendant from Joanns crafts, which was perfect on the back of my hand.  A green marble finishes it off.

Step 5: Assemble the Costume

With this storebought costume as the base, I attempted to make myself look as Steampunk-y and Dr. Horrible-sque as possible.

Do not buy it if you think the costume will come looking like the picture. It does not. I'm not even going to post pictures of the gloves and goggles here. They are NOTHING like the picture suggests. Even so, I'm glad I have the other materials lying around to make it look good.

I used this as the glove for the other hand.  I got it on sale, so I don't mind that it's not that well made, and a little too big.  The fact that it's too big means I can quickly slip it on and off when I need more dexterity.

I reused straps and belts from a previous costume (Squall Leonhard - FFVIII).  Can you spot them in the last picture?

Step 1:
Wear costume

Step 2:
Use various straps and belts to make the HUGE costume look good on a thinner frame.

Step 3:
Put on goggles, clockwork hand and glove, as well as boots.

Step 4:
Hope that everything is cool enough that nobody notices that my khakis don't match the tunic.

Step 6: Brains Are in Friends! Not in Food!


Get dressed up and creep out strangers.

We had a cute skit where she would speak in a high voice: "Braaains?  Brains?  Brains?"  And generally be really cute yet bloodthirsty.  People would wonder what's going on and come close to her, at which point she will attempt to eat their brains.  I would have to pull her off and apologize, saying that since her resurrection, we've been having relationship issues.

Sometimes I would take out a syringe of "Zombie Suppressant" and inject her with it, at which point she becomes normal for a few minutes.  That was when she would tell me that she loved me.  And then proceed to try to eat my brains.  It was quite a heart-wrenching peformance, really.

Halloween Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Contest