I loved bserinese's and 1_Steve_Jobs's simple Han-Solo-in-Carbonite costumes, so when I came across a weird live-action glucometer costume(?) that I could use as an easy base for my own Carbonite chamber, I got to work...
This costume is a pretty fast fix except for the spray-paint, for which I recommend two coats. Have fun!
- Carbdoard box (or in my case foam box)
- Old shirt, pants, gloves
- Wire hangers (2)
- Safety pins
- Bubble wrap or other stuffing
- Spray paint
- Han Solo belt & other accessories as desired
- Fittings for sides of chamber if you like
- Some cutting tool if you need to cut arm & face holes
- Face paint if you're into it
- A Princess Leia to walk around with you saying she loves you so you can say "I know."
Step 1: 1. Acquire Box
I was lucky enough to come upon this foam box as a base for the costume. It appears to have begun life as a costume for a promotional piece for some glucometer(?)... (Who dresses up as a glucometer?)
Benefits of such a base:
- Pre-positioned arm and face holes
- Head straps to keep the costume comfortably in place at all times
- Fabric to attach other elements of costume to
- Mesh top to vent body heat (I wore this costume at a crowded party...)
Step 2: 2. Cut, Position, and Attach Han's Clothing
Since this is all going to be spray-painted in the end, color doesn't matter much, but I went with some silver&gray clothes anyway, just in case. You can probably do a better job than I did modeling Han Solo's outfit & his clothing's position if you watch the film while doing this, but I just went with what I remembered. A few wrinkles are not a bad thing as they give surprising textural credibility to the "carbonite."
Note that where Han's leg goes "beneath" the surface of the carbonite, the clothing has to vanish from the surface, meaning cutting your clothing along that very margin. But don't try to do this ahead of time; do it as you're laying the clothes on the box, so as to get the most realistic end-result. Arms too. Make sure to leave room for Han's hands to surface somewhere -- they're a key element and need to be in the right place. You might even want to position the gloves there right now to see what this whole thing is going to look like later.
In order to get the full picture, you're going to need to stuff the shirt and pants with something at this point. I just used bubble wrap, but anything light will work. Get it out of sight and get it looking good. This is Han Solo we're talking about, after all.
The trickiest part was getting the collar right. I ended up having to cut out the back and do some pretty awkward adjustments in front, and it still didn't come out exactly the way I'd have liked. Play around with it, get a head inside there while you're doing it, and once it's perfect, cut it and pin it.
Oh right! I just used a bunch of safety pins to attach the clothing, and they were more than sufficient given my fabric/foam box. But feel free to use whatever attachment method you prefer, and get everything tucked away and tacked on. Next come the gloves.
Step 3: 3. the Gloves
Now that the clothes are ready, prepare the gloves. That's what I used for Han's hands, since it seemed easy and convincing. Note that these gloves are *not* where your hands are going to go, they're just the frozen Han's hands.
First: Decide exactly where you want the hands to "surface" and exactly how you want them to lay. Cut the backs of the gloves to meet these demands. Get it exactly right.
Next: Take a couple of wire hangers and bend them into armatures for the two gloves. Leave a length of straightened armature sticking out of the end of each glove, but let no other part of the armature be visible.
Then: Skillfully select where the glove armature will penetrate the box, make a small hole for it, and insert it. In my case the costume's fabric/foam secured the glove armature with no further effort, but if you're working with cardboard you may need to tape or bend the armature to further secure it. Even threading it through the cardboard a second time may not be a bad idea.
Repeat with other glove & armature.
Step 4: 4. Painting It All
* Make sure to follow all instructions on the spray paint as far as drying times etc. Avoid inhaling fumes from spray paint and make sure you have a well-ventilated area for it to dry before you even begin. Keep all open flames away from the area where you'll be spray-painting. Follow all local laws regarding the use of spray paint. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball. *
The fun part. You'll want enough spray paint to cover the front for sure, and possibly the entire rest of the box. For me, on fabric, this was 2 cans (or 4?) of Krylon spray paint, in order to give two full coats to the front and sides. Yes, dark gray should be the actual color of the paint pigment, but I'd suggest something with a shimmer or other texture in that dark gray. Otherwise the costume's form may be difficult to make out and may not catch attention in a dark and/or crowded room.
Don't try to get the color even -- it's more convincing if it's slightly uneven here and there. The coats of paint also have a satisfying stiffening effect on the clothing, which actually takes some of the load off the safety pins. On the minus side, you can no longer do much to adjust the position of Han's clothes if you don't like the way he's looking at you.
Step 5: 5. Work on Your Frozen Han Solo Face.
This is the toughest part of all. How does Harrison Ford hold those lips so pouty yet so firm? Only Boba Fett knows. And maybe Leia. And maybe Chewbacca. And maybe Lando.
Anyway, it's tough. Luckily, the Han face involves keeping your eyes closed, so you can't see other's reactions to your strange facial expressions, and you can imagine that you're doing a perfect Han.
You can keep your arms inside the costume most of the time, or use the arm holes to grab a drink every now and then.
Btw, if someone dressed as Carrie Fisher shows up with a blowtorch, you're not looking at a romantic Return of the Jedi scenario. You're looking at a Blues Brothers scenario. Run.