Introduction: Viking Batman Mashup Costume "Bat-king"
One of my all-time favorite creations is my custom batman costume. I created this fantasy/ medieval/ viking costume so I could justify a bearded batman when my family took me to comic-con for my birthday and we all created bat-family mash-ups. So I really love this costume.
I have uploaded the patterns that I used to create this exact costume, but I've also attempted to describe how you can modify or create your own templates and designs to create your own mash-up.
Techniques I used:
(I used some fancy-schmancy cutting tools, but everything can be cut by hand)
- Pepakura foam and cardboard templates.
- Pepakura is not for everybody and it takes some patience. I like using this method because I can find templates online, modify and easily cut them with CNC cutters or scissors. Sometime finding pepakura files online can be tough, as pepakura websites seem to go up and down. Currently, Pepakura.eu seems to have a decent collection.
- I would recommend trying out my Cardboard Batman Helmet Instructable first to see if creating with Pepakura is for you before attempting a whole suit.
- I have created most of my templates at 12" x 12" for convenience for those who use Cricut or Silhouette cutting machines. The torso armor template is 18" x 24" because I cut that on a machine with a large bed, and the parts are large, so I left that at full size and you can edit the parts in Inkscape to fit on multiple sheets if you need that.
- Laser-cut EVA foam, cardboard and chipboard
- Also not for everybody, as a laser cutter can be hard to come by. Heavy-duty angled cardboard scissors work great for these parts if you don't have access to a CNC cutter.
- Freehand template making and cutting for adding details and modifications to the Pepakura template designs
- Hand-painted "weathering" and details
I'm having difficulty attaching the pepakura files to this instructable, but all of the .DXF templates are here, but it really helps to compare them to the 3D pepakura model. I have them all in one .zip file, but cannot attach here. I will try to find another solution, in the meantime message me if you need these files.
Ok, let's get started with Step #1 -the helmet. Good luck, I hope you will share what you create!
- Pepakura free viewer( for opening and viewing 3D ".pdo" files linked to this instructable. (I highly recommend the paid "Pepakura designer" or viewer for the Cameo CNC cutter if you have that machine.)
- DXF template files made from Pepakura unfolds - also linked to this instructable
- I have provided my DXF files that I customized and cut to make the helmet and armor for you to download from this instructable.
- Also, check out JF custom's foam template post at the RPF, I started with his templates.
- Mens Costume boots
- Army Surplus store loose knit cotton undershirt
- Thrift store heavy cotton of denim brown pants
- Wood glue
- Magic Smooth and Magic Sculpt from Tap Plastics
- Spray Paint
- Acrylic paint
- Assorted brushes, rags & sponges
- Plastic Pop-rivets (~12 needed)
- Hot Glue
- Contact Cement for bonding EVA foam
- Heavy-duty tape for paper or cardboard
- 24" x 24" x .75" EVA foam tiles
- 1 mm craft foam sheets
- Cardboard, heavy poser board, or chipboard
- A long length of 1/4" gauge nylon rope
- Black faux fur rug from Ikea
- Fur scraps from Etsy
- Bat belt items- plastic bottles, caps, different sized corks, and do-dads from an upcycle store
- Heavy-duty cardboard scissors (or a laser cutter or CNC cutter. Assuming most folks don't have those tools, so these scissors are the next best thing. They go through EVA tile foam, thick cardboard, and ABS plastic)
- Plastic department store mannequin - $5 at an upcycle store - to wear the suit as I build. Not essential, but helpful.
Step 1: Helmet
To make the helmet, I started with the same template I used for my Cardboard Batman Cowl Instructable. The same files are linked here as DXF instead of PDF, so start by building the helmet following those directions up to about step #4.
For this build, I used chipboard from an upcycle store and a 24" x 18" laser cutter, but cardboard or anything will work for the base, I planned to cover it with Magic Smooth later, so I just used a material that was reasonably sturdy. After cutting out the parts, I assembled them, taping the sides together on the INSIDE of the part with masking tape or packing tape. I often use hot glue to attach the sides of cardboard parts, but I knew I would be applying magic smooth later, and that would add strength and hold so I didn't use glue.
I build the Cardboard Batman Cowl up to about step #4 which should look something like image #1 here. From here, I finished the back of the helmet but left the front mostly open. (Image 2)
Helmet version 01: (Image 3)
Ultimately I made two versions of the helmet. The first was intended to make the bat "ears" look like a viking horned helmet with leather and foam panels and little "rivet" details I made from painted googley eyes or brass brads. I left the "nose" part of the template to hang in front of the face with just a simple bend down the middle. I used a small amount of Magic Smooth from Tap Plastics.
Helmet version 02: (Images 4-6)
For the second, gold version of the helmet, I was going for something that looked like a bat head with it's mouth open. I gave it a coat of Magic Smooth and used a sculpting tool with a ball-shaped end to create little divots in the uncured magic smooth. After the Magic Smooth cured, I painted it gold and attached some scrap fur I found on etsy around the neck.
I cut off the sharply angled pieces that complete the nose of the batman cowl and attached them to the sides to look like upper teeth. I hand made a small part from craft foam that looked like a bat claw or lower jaw with a fang jaw and attached it to the side as well (Image 7). I added a wire paperclip inside of the nose guard piece and a hole at the bridge of the nose on the helmet so I can take the nose guard on and off.
Step 2: Torso Armor
For the torso armor, I started with a pattern from the Skyrim "Ebony Armor" set that I found on the internet created by Foam Armory. (Image #1)
The torso templates are 18" x 24" and the chest symbol template is 12" x 12"
I have uploaded the pepakura file and DXF templates that I used, and as you can see, I made some huge changes. I added a large batman symbol right in the middle of the chest, and I did not build the collar. I moved the back umm... butt guard I guess, to the front as a codpiece. I also subtracted a part from this model to use to create the bat-belt.
Use the pepakura 3D model (Image #1) to see what each part is and where it goes. Note that many parts are symetrical and need to be printed twice, but are only included in the template once.
I used tape- overlapping two parts on the INSIDE of each part to attach the parts, and I decided to leave out quite a few parts and rearrange a few, so I used hot glue or wood glue and clamps wherever I (Image #2) If you open the template in Pepakura, you can see the original model in 3D and use it as a guide to build this armor that way, or you can follow along with my images and build my way. Or- you can go your own way.
I coated the chipboard with a few heavy coats of wood glue applied with a brush. This helped to hold everything together and gave an even textured finish across the parts made with chipboard and the parts made with foam.
I left the back very open and unfinished to make wearing and getting in and out of the costume easier, as the back will be covered by a cape. I made three or four holes along the strap-like parts that cover the shoulder blades and lower back and then laced nylon rope through the holes like I was lacing up my shoe. This way I can slip the whole torso armor over my head, slip my arms into the arm areas and have a friend tighten or lace it up in the back. (Image #4)
I made two holes on each shoulder strap to attach the shoulder pauldrons. Each shoulder pauldron has two corresponding nylon straps with holes poked through them. I put snap rivets through the nylon strap and then through the holes in the shoulder strap before attaching the other end of the pop rivet.
I found a loosely knit shirt at an army supply store and painted it blue/black with spray paint to look maybe like chain armor under the suit.
Step 3: Arms and Shoulders
I used a template for these shoulder pauldrons from the Skyrim Daedric Armor set. I cut out the basic rounded shoulder pattern, glued it together with hot glue (But now I use contact cement - much cleaner and more solid.)
Use the pepakura 3D model to see what each part is and where it goes. Note that both parts are symmetrical and need to be printed twice in order to have two shoulders, but are only included in the template once.
I then designed a little bat claw shape similar to the shapes jutting out on batman's iconic gloves or gauntlets. (image #3) I cut those from 3/4" thick EVA foam and hot glued them around the edges of the shoulder pauldron. Again, contact cement would have been a better choice here. I also should have remembered that my EVA foam tiles are not the same texture on both sides, so I should have created left and right claws.
I sealed the shoulder pauldrons with wood glue and added Magic smooth to create dings and scratches from "battle damage". Then I sanded the whole thing and sprayed it with coats of blue and black matte spray paint. I added a few painted details with silver acrylic paint (not great on top of spray paint, but as long as they are small details, I didn't worry about the acrylic paint not adhering to the spry- but beware- spray paint and most water-based paints will not last long together.
Finally, I put a coat or five of modge podge over everything to give the shoulders an even look.
The arms were created from yet another Skyrim template. This one is nice and simple. I overlaid the sharp angular parts going up the arm for a little extra detail. I modified the "lumpy trapeziod" shape and cut it from a piece of 3/4" thick EVA foam that was the length of my forearm. The widest end of the trapezoid was roughly the circumference of my forearm near the elbow and the short end was the same length as the circumference of my wrist. curl that into a cylinder and attach the sharper armor parts with glue that will work for your materials.
I poked holes in the eva foam with a golf tee and laced nylon rope through the long edges of the trapeziod-now cylinder shape it to create a "laced up gauntlet" look. I then used a snap rivet to attach the gauntlet to a black glove with fur trim. I didn't actually need to lace up the gauntlets, I could just slide my arm in and out of the open cone-shaped foam, so I glued the laces in place, and carefully painted them gold (now black). (Image #9)
To make the gloves, I overlapped and glued little freehand shapes that look similar to the shapes on the gauntlet on each of the fingers of the glove. (Image #9)
When I rebuilt the armor later, I added some craft foam "scales" as if this Batman used dragon hide to make his armor. I cut the scale patterns out, overlapped them and glued them on with hot glue, mod podge, and painted them black. (Image #9)
Step 4: Legs and Boots
I also started the thigh parts with a model from Skyrim. Use the pepakura 3D model and click on each each part to see where it goes and how it folds. Note that many parts are symmetrical and need to be printed twice, but are only included in the template once.
I assembled the leg parts included in the downloadable DXF files here. Then I added a few details with Magic Sculpt. I rolled out long rough cylinders of Magic Sculpt (after mixing resing and hardener) and laid the thin cylinders of Magic Sculpt along the seams of the thigh. I wet my fingers with a little water and pinched the tubes of plastic clay while sliding my fingers along the seams. This created a raised bevel look that I liked as a detail. I also cut some shapes from craft foam and glued them onto the leg parts to create extra detail. and hide the seams of the pepakura unfold.
I built the shins and added a little bat-symbol knee guard using a shape from the torso model. (Included on the DXF files here.) I cut it from 3/4" foam and then glued another bath sybol on top of that cut from 1mm craft foam. I painted the larger foam pience blue/ black and the smaller bat symnbo gold. I hot glued the knee protector to the boot and wrapped the boots with nylon rope that I had spray painted black.
Step 5: Fur Cape
Game of Thrones was pretty popular while I was making this (Season 8 hadn't happened yet) and I found a lot of inspiration from those costumes, so I started reading the blogs of the propmakers and found that they were using the fake fur rugs from Ikea to make the huge fir collars, capes, and cloaks on the show. The propmakers also described weathering the fur with coffee and a little dirt. I also added a little whiskey to the mix for flavor.
The Ikea rugs have a somewhat triangular/ trapezoid shape with a wide end and a short end. I cut a semi-circle shape out of the wide end (this is where your head goes) and folded the edges of the fur rug under and hot glued the rubber-like bottom of the rug back onto itself to hide the edges and create a little trim. I poked two holes on either side of the edge with the semi-circle cut out and made corresponding holes on the shoulder straps of the torso armor in between the two holes that were made for the shoulder armor pop rivets.
Step 6: Bat Belt, Bat-grapple, Batarangs and Pouches
This DXF File is 19"x 6" . You may need to print it across multiple pages if you have a smaller printer.
To make the belt template, I cut one of the parts from the torso armor, reversed it, cut it again, and glued the two symmetrical halves to create the bat belt. Then I cut out a smaller version of the same bat-symbol I used for the chest. I glued the symbol to the belt and sealed everything with a few coats of mod podge. Light thin coats of gold spray paint finished the belt off.
I found some little capsules and cut v-shaped wedged vertically into the belt and glued the tubes into the grooves. then I tied the tubes to the belt with nylon rope using an X pattern. I coated the tubes, rope, and all with mod podge. I painted the ropes with gold acrylic paint, and painted the tubes brown, and then finished with my friend mod podge.
I repeated the same technique on the other side of the belt, cutting vertical v-shaped grooves and the glued different sized corks to the belt, and sealed it up with mod-to-the-podge. I painted the corks brown and gold to look like primitive bat-bombs and then more mod podge.
I laser cut the same bat insignia from 1/4" wood and sanded and sealed them. I also made a little bat-grapple shape, laser cut it with a hole at one end and ran nylon string through the hole and wrapped it around the bat grapple to create a small handle. I then wrapped up the rest of the rope into a little coil and tied the coiled rope up to the belt. Cutting these from foam would be an easier alternative.
I laser etched the same bat-symbol into a black felt drawstring pouch. Cutting the symbol from fabric and gluing or sewing it on would be easier. I use the pouch to hold my wallet and keys sometimes when I'm wearing this outfit and I tie a string through the drawstring and loop it to the belt
I found a discarded belt cellphone holder with a clip and added magic sculpt to the surfaces. I painted it brown with acrylic paint and glued a scrap of fur trim around the opening. I use the clip to attach it to the belt in the way that it was intended to be used. I actually use this to hold my cellphone when I wear the costume and it is pretty handy.
Step 7: Finishing
I coat almost everything in a heavy coat of mod podge after painting, as the paint will wear and chip as you take your costume out to wear. Modge podge is pretty flexible and adds a nice matte or gloss finish.
I did a lot of painting, and I have repainted the whole costume several times to add or change things. I used layers of black and dark blue spray paint for most of the base and hand paint smaller details or weathering.
After a lot of work building gluing and painting, we're done! Get out there and win a few costume contests, and don't forget to drop a photo here if you used this instructable to create something.
Runner Up in the