Buzz Lightyear Costume

Introduction: Buzz Lightyear Costume

I built my firts Buzz Lightyear costume,  back when Toy Story 2 came out, for my neice and nephuew's birthdays.  Now that I have two boys of my own I decided to revamp my Buzz for the re-release of 1 and 2 in theaters. 
Buzz 2.0 took a total of 14 day from start to finish.  I hope this instructable helps  you with your Buzz project.

Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed

Materials list:
Cardboard barrel 55gallon
foam board (foam core) qty will vary based on your size

Foam Pipe insulators(4-5)

Cod piece:
Cardboard Barrel 5 gallon
foam core 1 sheet

2 Large construction cones

Old Pair of shoes(slip on shoes will work best)
Foam sheet
Foam core

Two mini basket balls(shoulders)
Cardboard tube(biceps)
two mini gym ball (elbows)
Small construction cones (fore arms)
rubber gloves

Paint : White, Green, Purple, Gray, red, dark green, blue
old desk calendar 2'x3' paper
painters caulk

Razor, Hot glue gun, Caulk gun

Step 2: Sizeing Buzz' Chest Piece

Starting with the chest Barrel upside down you will draw out the areas you will cut. There will be some guess work on sizing since everybody is different. Remember that parts of this costume will not match up to your anatomy, (i.e. Buzz's shoulders will be at the top of your biceps.)

With your barrel upside down cut a hole in the top make it just big enough to comfortably fit your head through. (You can always cut the hole bigger later. You can't ever cut it smaller). This will give you a feel for where you will need to cut the arm holes. For my costume the holes are not in the 3 and 9 o'clock position. They are in-between the 2 and 3 o’clock position on the right side and between the 9 and 10 o'clock position for the left. Again, cut your holes just big enough to comfortably get your arms in and out. You may need to have some body help you when doing this. On my first Buzz I got stuck in the costume for about 15 minutes before I could get my self out. (Funny side note with how your arms fit in this you can not hold a phone up to your face. I could not call anyone for help.)

Once the head and arm holes are cut out you will start shaping the curves on the chest. You will want to have a Buzz toy handy for this entire project.

I measured from the top of my collar bone to the bottom of my rib cage in front. This gave me the dimensions for the front and back of the barrel. For the sides I went from the top of my shoulder to the bottom of my ribcage on the side. I marked these dimensions on the barrel.

Measure the distance from the front of your right and left arm holes. This will help you find the center of the front of your costume. I taped a piece of 2'x3' paper on the front right half and then drew free hand the desired curves matching the front dimension to the side dimension. Mark where your paper is located. Remove the paper and them cut out the line you drew on it. Line the paper back up and draw your line on the barrel. Now flip this template over to trace your curve line on the left side. This will help give your Buzz a symmetrical look.

Step 3: Buzz's Breast Plate

Once you have the chest piece to its desired shape, you will start adding the breast plate.

I sketched out where the decals, buttons, and backpack would be at this point. Once I determined the size of these pieces I taped 2' x 3' paper to the barrel and drew them on the paper. I recommend sizing the whole thing on the barrel to get an estimate of where things will go, but once you start cutting foam pieces do these one at a time.

Make a paper template of the front right breast plate. Cut this template out in your foam. You will need to score vertical lines (1/4" apart) on the side of your foam that will attach to the barrel. This will help your foam core bend with out breaking as you wrap it around your barrel. /bend this piece around the barrel to make sure your vertical lines made it pliable enough. (You can always add more vertical lines if desired). Now that this piece is ready hot glue it into place. You can now flip the template over to do the left side.

I used 3 layers of foam for the breast plate. On the top layer I cut out a spot for the buttons and name plate. I used 3 wooden building blocks for the buttons. I rounded down the edges of the blocks to make them oval shape and painted them the appropriate colors. I used the icing cup from refridgerated cinnamon rolls for the big red button. The ranger decal in the center of his chest gets attached to the barrel after all the painting is done.

The steps for the back pack are very similar except I tried to use a solid piece of foam since there are no breaks dividing the back pack in half. Again I made a paper template of half the backpack. I then drew it out on a full piece of foam core. I then flipped the template to do the other side of the back pack. This really helps keep your dimensions looking even. There are several fun shapes that give this back pack a lot of character. Again keeping everything centered will give you the best end result.

When you start hot gluing the back pack you will need to move quickly since this piece is 3 times the size of the individual breast pieces. Make sure you have your vertical lines cut and put it in place before gluing to make sure this piece is pliable. You will do your self a favor by tracing this out to help you place it. You will be surprised at how quickly the hot glue will set up on this, so move quickly in this step.

Next you need to draw a 2 “strap from the breast plate to back pack on both left and right side. Again I recommend using and flipping the same template. I only used 1 layer of foam for the straps.

Once I had all my foam pieces in place I used painters caulk to smooth out any rough edges.

Step 4: Torso Hoops

I used the foam pipe insulation tubes for this step.
I used 4" to 5" pieces of pvc hose. I hot glued half of the hose and stuck it in a tube. Let it cool and then check to make sure the tube will fit snugly around your body . I this fits comfortably hot glue the other half and stick it in the other end of the tube. If your tube is too short you can add a small piece to make up the difference. If you add more make sure this goes in the back when wearing the costume.

You will want these snug not tight.  Snug will be comfortable and yet keep them in place.

Step 5: The Cod Piece

Use the 5 gallon card board barrel for this stage. Again you will use this barrel upside down.  Bust out the top part. You will step into this part. you will want to draw out enough material to go between your legs.  You will overlap the parts from the front and back. drill holes all the way through the overlaping pieces and rivet them together.

Remember that comfort is key. You will probably be in this  costume for a while, so make sure it is comfortable on the inside of your legs.  If you figure out a way to do this piece that enables you to sit down, let me know. I could not figure anything out that did not compromise how this part looks.

Use foam core to make the belt. again the belt will be multiple layers. Use painters caulk to smooth out any rough spots.

Step 6: The Legs

In this step you will need 2 large construction cones.
You will cut off the base and top of both cones. You will have to play with this to get a desired shape that is accurate as well as comfortable. I used 2 wooden dowel rods at the base to help hold the shape. I just used drywall screws through the cone into the dowel rods. I then used foam core to make the green pieces at the base of each leg. These were about 2" wide but will vary based on the size of your costume.

Step 7: Buzz's Feet

For the feet I started with an old pair of shoes that can be easily slipped on and off. (With out laces) I hot glued the shoes to a foam floor mat that was a half inch thick. (Smooth side down) I them cut it into the shape of his soles. I them cut out cardboard to make the rest of the shoes. I will have to use pictures for this section because there was a lot of trial and error and it gets very tricky trying to explain this step.

My pictures were taken after they came off .  As you csn see slip on shoes would have worked better.

For the shoes I would also recomend using rubber strips instead of foam.  Foam did not hold up to walking around the neighborhood.

Step 8: Buzz's Arms

This was my favorite part of the  project
For this step you will need :
2 mini basketballs for sholders
2 cardboard tubes (for bicepst)
2 mini kick balls (elbows)
2 small construction cones(fore arms)
rubber gloves (with cuffs that go up past wrists)

Shoulder balls
You will cut a circle  where you inflate the basketball big enough to fit your fist in.  This will be in the 3 o'clock position.  You will then cut a hole in the 6 o'clock position. turn the ball inside out so that you have the smooth side out.  I will recomend buying the same brand ball for both sholuders so that they look the same.

Elbow balls will be the same proceedure as the shoulders except when you cut the fill stem out it will be in the 12 o'clock position and the other hole will be in the 6 o'clock  position.  When cutting the 6 o'clock cut it in a pie pattern so you can hot glue the "pie pieces to the inside of your bicep pieces.

Bicep tubes
You will want to figure out how long to make your biceps based on how much room you have left between your shoulder ball and elbow ball.  You will need to put on the chest piece to find out where you shoulder ball will actually be.  You will also want the elbow ball to actually cover you elbow. If the elbow ball does not cover your actual elbow your arm will be stuck straight while you are in the costume.  It will probably be good to have a helper for this part. 

Fore arm cones
cut off the base and top of your small cones so that your hand  can comfortably fit through the cone . I did hot glue a small piece of foam core to the fore arm above where the lazer light goes.
I used a single level of foam core for the green pieces on the fore arm.  Use painters caulk to smooth out rough spots.

The  gloves
this was the hardest item for me to deside on. I was very close to using dish washing glove(in side out) because i had a very hard time finding white rubber gloves with cuffs.I found the perfect pair at the last minute. I hot glued the cuffs to the inside of the fore arm.

The Gloves and forearm cones,are all hot glued together.
The elbow, bicep, and shoulder are glued together.

Little details like the pads under the laser and ranger decals  take your costume from good to awesome. :)  You will be able to utilize the scraps from your other cuts for most of these.

Step 9: Decals

Here is a picture of my custom decals.  You can save this to print for your own costume.  You should be able to resize these pictures if needed.

Step 10: Buzz's Face

I know people are going to want to know how i made this.... I didn't.  Well kind of.  I had a Buzz candy carrier from 10 years ago.  It was solid purple plastic .  I cut  the face out, cut the eye holes, and painted it up.  I used cloth for the hood  when I wore this.  I do plan on going back and making a helmet out of paper mache and attaching the plastic face to that. 

The eye holes would have been smoother if I had not used a box knife.  Unfortunately my rotary tool had just burned up on another project. I should have bought a Dremel.

Good Luck and Thanks for looking.

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    6 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    you said "Cardboard barrel 55gallon" Where would one find suck a thing?

    Rich Morgan
    Rich Morgan

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I found mine at a local Hardware store. It had a sweeping compound in it . I asked them what they do with the barrels when they are empty and they gave it to me for free. You can also purchase them at stores like Rand supply and u-line. both of these suppliers are on line. You could use a trash can to accheive the same goal. I like the barrels just because they are more durrable than a trash can.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Shane, I've used a black plastic dustbin, seems to be pretty effective.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    It looks awesome, you did a really good job. Anychance you'd be willing to rent it out to me. My son's birthday party is next week and I just don't thing I could do as good a job as you did. I hired someone to play him, but if you live close you can come over in it. I have no problem paying, but don't want to pay the 100 that actors are asking.

    mary candy
    mary candy

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I L-O-V-E it!
    Shame you didn't take all the pic , you making the Buzz.
    But it is really really wonderful.