Superman Returns Display Suit

Introduction: Superman Returns Display Suit

About: I am a software engineer, addicted to props

I always liked Superman, especially Smallville. I think that the best moment of Smallville is when Martha Kent give a box to Clark. When he opens that ''gift box'', we see the Superman Returns suit (my favorite suit of all Superman movies). I decide do to this suit without spending so much money. Also, I didn't want to do only the suit, because I wouldn't have anywhere to expose it. I wanted to make a mannequin to support the suit, all this with a limited budget of around 100$.

Note : I already had a cheap/old/ugly superman returns costume. It was an XX Large (the only left at Walmart at the time). I put it 1 time I think and then never use it a single time. I used the cape and the "underwear" to do my real suit.

Note : this is not a costume, this is only a display suit

Materials :

  • 3 roll of Duct tape
  • Old foam (0$)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Zentai Body Suit
  • Hot glue (0$)
  • White glue (0$)
  • old boots
  • old Superman Costume (0$)
  • Pipes (0$)
  • Newspaper (0$)

I speak french so there might be english mistakes

Step 1: Make Your Mannequin

To make the mannequin, according to your size, you need :

  • 3 rolls of duct tape
  • Scissor
  • Newspaper/bag/whatever (to fill the mannequin)
  • old clothes

1. With an assistant, wrap yourself with ductape.

2. After that, cut from the leg to the arm to free yourself.

3. Fill the mannequin with newspaper.

4. To stand the mannequin I used pipes.

5. Use the duct tape to get rid off the cuting you've made.

6. To make a real Superman, I added more muscle using newspaper and tape it outside of the mannequin.

To get more information on how to do that, go here or here

Step 2: Belt

In the real Superman Returns suit, the belt is in rubber. I didn't want to spend a lot on the costume doing mold, tryout, color testing, etc. So, I used one of my favorite matierial : foam. The foam cost me nothing because I already had some left.


With the belt from the old costume, I was able to determine the dimensions to cut in the foam (of the ''S'' and the sides). One side is : 2 '' x 15''. The ''S'' shape is 2,5'' x 4,5''.

My foam is 0,5'' thick wich is too big. I had to thinned it with an Xacto and then sand it.

To cut the inside ''S'' shape I use an Xacto.

Sides effect

To make the belt side effect, as you can see in the pictures, I did some modifications. I cut two triangles of different shape and I move them a little bit of their origin points. Difficult to explain but you can see it clearly in the pictures.


All the belt is the same color, so it was another easy task. I know that spray paint would have been better but I didn't want to spend 5$ and never use it again. So, I choose acrylic paint for 99 cents (Bright Yellow). After 4 layers of paint everything was great but the texture was not really smooth. To make the smooth effect, I apply 2 layers of white glue on the belt and "everything was awesome".


To attach the belt around the waist I cut parts of the old costume's belt and I hot glue them on my belt.


On the real suit, the belt is attach at both sides to the underweat. I created that effect cuting small cloth from the old costumes. Then, I glue them on the belt.

Step 3: Chest Emblem

For the chest logo I had to find a material with small "bumps". I was very lucky, the back side of my foam was exactly what I was looking for. I cut the ''S'' shape (6'' x 9,5'') and I thinned it a little with an Xacto. I sand the back (not the bumps side) and I cut the inside ''S'' (you must keep the parts that you cut).

3D effect

When everything is done we have to gave a 3D effect and not keep our ''S'' flat. This part is really difficult to explain but you must cut a line in the middle part of the "S" (at the back). Then, apply hot gue in this line hole and fold it a little. You can use this image as a reference : 3D effect.


To paint my "S" I used the same techniques as my belt. I choose (Red Brick and Yellow Sun for the cuted parts). Then I apply my white glue.


Finally, I restore the new sun-yellow parts that I previously cut on my "S''. I glue them but a little lower than the ''S''. We want a 3D effect. And thats it.

I use hot glue to put on the spandex suit.

Note : During the process I changed my chest emblem to make it larger and more dark. It is now : 11 inches for the width and 7 inches for the height.

Step 4: Underwear

I repeat myself, I am not good at sewing so I cut the underwear of my old suit and I tighten it using safety pins. I know it's chaos there, but I really build that just for displaying, not for wearing...

Step 5: Boots

It was really difficult to find boots similar to the original suit. But, I finally found those ''Superhero boots'' from I only had to paint them with a darker color. For that, I used spray paint.

Step 6: The Body Suit

I have no talent in sewing, so I had to order a morph suit (zentai) for $ 25 with the same color as the real costume. I search everywhere, but the only color that was close to the Superman Returns suit was Royal Blue. It comes with no hand and head so it was perfect. When I received it, it was darker than on the picture but I had to deal with it. I didn't want to spend 25$ again.

Then I only had to put it on my mannequin and glue the chest emblem.

Step 7: Final Result

An easy DIY project for everyone. It didn't cost me a lot (except the boots) but you can take rain boots if you want with some modifications. If you don't have an old costume you can easily find underwear to match with the suiit or some clothes to make the cape. Hope you enjoyed it, any comment is welcome. If you liked it don't forget to vote for the contests!

- John, from Canada

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    6 years ago

    I think I'll do something similar with a batman costume


    7 years ago

    this looks great!!! for the expenses on this costume its truly worth it!!!!! great job