This year my family dressed up as the Teen Titans for Halloween. We went with the style from Teen Titans Go rather than the original since it was a little more light and simple. I was in charge of the vast majority of all the costumes. It was a lot of work and a race against time to get it all together but it got done in time.
Dad (Kevin) went as Cyborg for us. We couldn't convince him to shave his beard or wear a bald cap. Which didn't matter in the end anyway because I ran out of time to figure out the head piece which sucks. I'll cover what I tried and failed though.
Most of this costume is made from foam. I used anti fatigue floor mats from harbor freight. They come in a roll and in a 4 pack of 2ft square pieces. I bought both. I discovered the roll form does not heat form very well and is thinner than the mats, but it is much longer. I used the roll for the main torso pieces so I could keep them attached at the shoulders. I used super glue to stick it all together. LOTS of super glue. The youtube peeps listed below say to use Barge contact cement. But I didn't have the time or money to get it. It isn't sold locally.
I am by no means an expert on working with foam. This was my first attempt. I am a newb. So I recommend learning how I did by watching you tube. My favorites are the Evil Ted Channel and the Punished Props Channel.
Step 1: Making the Model
So first thing you need is a cast of the person to make the costume for. You need the torso, forearms, and calves. I also did the top of his head. I didn't want to figure out and then convince him to hold still and endure a live cast session so I made packaging tape sculpture models instead.
To do this, cover the body part you are casting in Seran wrap. Then carefully and neatly cover that with packaging tape. Do several layers if you can. The thicker it os, the less floppy it will be.
When you have finished, very very carefully cut it up the middle with scissors and remove it from your person.
Align the seam and tape it back together. Then stuff it. We used newspaper, tissue paper, regular paper, and even ripped all the pages out of several old school work books.
Tape the ends closed over the stuffing
Now you have a cheap cast of the person to work with so your person can go about their business and you can get work done too.
It took alot of paper to stuff the torso. We made it into a game and threw balls of paper at it from across the room.
Step 2: Prepare the Pattern
To make your patterns, you first need to prepare the cast.
Once again cover the cast in Seran wrap. Then cover that in duck tape.
This is what you can draw your pattern on.
For the body, draw a seam line down the middle in the front and in the back and down both sides under the arm. Don't forget your registration marks so you can align it again later.
Sketch out the design. Remember we really only need one half of the design because it's symmetrical. It's easier for me to get the drawing right if I draw the whole thing, but then I could pick the best side for my pattern.
Then cut along the seam line under one of the arms to get the pattern off the cast. Set it aside.
The arm works the same way. Prepare the cast and draw the pattern and cut it off.
Step 3: The Leg
The Leg is a little different because cyborg's legs are really wide at the bottom and narrow at the top near the knee.
First I used balled up tin foil and tape and Seran wrap to beef up the cast the get the shape I wanted and the. made the pattern on that.
Looking at the pattern after, I thought it would be too small. So I ended up free handing a pattern for it. There is a photo in the next step.
Step 4: Patterns
Now that you have your duck tape patterns, it's time to trace them on poster board.
Lay out the arm pattern and trace it.
I just took the pattern I had, laid it out and enlarged the sides and bottom to make it bigger. It ended up being just the right size to fit on a foam mat.
This one is more complicated because the torso has many parts that you need patterns for.
Draw a seam line on top of the shoulders from the neck to the end of the shoulder. Then cut on the line to seperate the front and back.
The back is simple, just cut the pattern on the center seam and choose the side that is best. Lay that out and trace it on the poster board. You only need the main back design, the bottom part that goes just above the butt will be made as a belt.
The front has many parts: The main part, the shape at the chest, the shape at the stomach, and the belt shape at the bottom.
I cut it apart and traced in pieces to get all the patterns. I can't remember the exact steps I went in to get it all. Remeber, you only need half of the patterns.
When you trace the 2 smaller shapes for the torso on the poster board, do so with enough space on the other side of the pattern so you can fold your poster in half when you cut and end up with the whole pattern.
The patterns are pictured here.
I had to make alterations to my patterns for the main torso pieces. They ended up a bit to small around the neck and shoulders. I added a couple inches of pattern there and Attached the front half to the back half.
Cut all the pattern out and trace them on the foam.
Cut your piece out with an exacto knife or something similar. Make sure the blade is sharp for clean cuts. It dulls quickly so be be aware.
Step 5: The Arms
Trial and error here guys for me. I took the foam pieces I made from my patterns in the last step, heat formed them to curve and glued the seam.
Then I tried them on my person... and no good. They don't fit. Too small.
I ended up cutting a new seam on the back of the piece and adding a couple inch wide strip of foam there to make it bigger. This made me have 3 seams instead of 1, but at least he could wear it.
I cleaned up and smoothed out the edges with a rotatary tool.
Step 6: The Circuit
Take you arms pieces and spray paint them white. Allow them to dry.
I lost my pattern for the circuit shape, but it's easy to make.
Place a piece of paper on the arm piece where the circuit goes and sketch out the shape. Cut it out and lay it on the arm to see if you got it right. Keep fiddling with it until you get the shape right.
Print out the circuit picture here full size. Lay the pattern you made on it and trace it. Cut out the shape. Make 2.
Use super glue to adhere the circuit in place.
For the clear casing, I used thermoplastic sheets. Originally, I wanted to vacuum form the pieces but my attempt at a vacuum forming machine was a failure so I had to do it myself.
I traced the circuit pattern on the plastic sheet and added a little board around it. Cut out the plastic on the new line.
Wear some working gloves to protect you from the heat and use the heat gun to warm up the plastic and shape it while it's warm.
At first I laid the warm plastic on the arm pieces and pressed it into it to shape it so it had the same curves.
Not a good idea to put warm plastic on spray paint, it pulled up the paint and got paint all over the plastic. Another fail.
With the second try, I laid paper towels over the arm piece and then shaped the plastic on that. This worked much better.
Then use super glue to stick the plastic pieces on. Mine didn't lay flat on the tops and bottoms but it works enough.
*Not pictured* Outline everything in sharpie and draw the detail lines around the wrist like in the reference photos of cyborg.
Step 7: Making the Leg
More trial and error again. This costume is full of error.
I started with the large pretty rectangular piece in the first picture and cut off the sides at an angle like in the second photo. Then heat formed it and glued the edge together. This ended in the piece you see in the 3rd and 4th pictures. Not at all like cyborgs leg, it's way to narrow and uniform. It needs to be much wider at the bottom. That and it didn't fit him anyway. I had to do something similar to what I did with the arms.
I cut the seam back open.
Drew out and cut a piece of foam to add to it. As you see in the last photo. I think it was like 12 inches on the bottom and about 5 at the top. I cut out 2 of these.
Glue the new piece in to the leg piece. You will end with 2 seams but it will be much closer to the right shape.
Step 8: Adding the Toe
This is the one I lost the pattern for.
Basically, I took his shoe and built up the toe and top area of the shoe with balled up tin foil (on top of the shoe) and masking tape until I got the shape I wanted. Then cover it in seran wrap.
Then cover that in strips of tape. I used duck tape.
When you have the thing covered in tape draw a line down the center with a sharpie.
Then make registrations marks. This is just several short lines through the center line that will help you line it up later. Find the high point and draw a line from the bottom of the shape to the high point. Add registration marks. I had 2 of these on mine. You only need to worry about doing this for one half of the shape. It is symmetrical so we will just use one half of the pattern.
Once you have this, carefully cut the pattern off the form.
Cut on the lines you made and cut the registrations lines out. Cut them about the width of the sharpie line.
Lay out the pattern flat and trace it on a piece of poster board.
Cut it out and don't forget to cut the registration lines.
Label one side A and the other B.
Trace the pattern on the foam. Flip it and trace the other side on the foam. Do this twice. You should have 2 As and 2 Bs. Your mom would be proud. :p
Cut the foam pieces out. Do NOT cut the registrations lines this time. Use a heat gun to heat up the foam and then bend it to get a curve.
Starting with one piece, carefully align the registration marks and glue. When each piece has been shaped and the cuts glued, Its time to put them together. Align and glue a part A to a Part B. Repeat with the other set.
For clarification and visuals and much better explanations watch this awesome video I watched to help me(the second half):
The tread like design that runs along the bottom was easy. I just used the puzzle piece like edge of the foam mat and glued it on to the toe of the boot.
I then sat the boot toe up against the leg and drew an arch where it met. Then cut out the arch from the leg, insert the toe and glue in place.
Step 9: Paint
I spray painted the whole thing white.
Then spray painted the knee cap piece metallic silver.
Glue on the knee cap piece.
I hand painted the tread of the boot with silver acrylic paint, as well as the bottom boarder all he way around.
I drew the shape of the black section on the back and painted that in. Silver for the 2 circles. I outlined everything with sharpie. More cartoony and poppy.
Step 10: The Shoulder Protrusions
I have no idea what these are called. They are the thingies that stick up off the shoulders that are pentagonal shaped.
I apologize for the lack of precise instructions here, I had to make it up as I went.
I started with a strip of foam. Folded it back and forth like in the 3rd photo to have 5 sides, used the blade to cut a mark at each bend and opened it up like in photo 4.
Then I cut wedges out at those marks. The wedges are made by cutting at an angle on each side of the line to make an inverted triangle. You then remove the triangle wedge. When you fill the gap with glue and press the sides together it will make the foam bend to create the angles.
I just bent it shape by hand to see how it looked. I didn't like it. So I used one of the rectangles from the strip to measure a new try as seen in the 7th picture. I finally got something I was happy with.
Lay out the final strip on foam and mark where the wedges should be cut like in the 8th photo.
Cut out 4 of these and glue them into the pentagon shape.
Stand the pentagon shape up on the foam. Trace the inside of the pentagon on the foam. Cut the new pentagon out. see if it fits nicely inside the doodad. If it does, make 4 of them.
Glue the flat pentagons in the doodads so they are a little lower in, not flush with the top. They should be inset a little.
Step 11: The Shoulders
I made the shoulders following the same video as before of how to make a dome.
I did not have an acrylic dome like he did. I used the packaging tape sculpture of Kevin's head I had made. Its not perfectly round but it worked fine.
When you get both shoulders made, we need to mark where to cut away the triangle shape like in the cyborg reference photos. I drew on the shape on one should and cut it out. Then I used that cut off piece as a stencil to draw on and cut off the rest of them.
Then glue on the pentagonal doodads from the last step.
Spray paint the whole thing metallic silver. Then color the inset pentagon black.
Step 12: The Body
The body should be in 2 pieces, the right and the left. Glue the seams together to make a whole piece.
Turn the body upside down to see the underside. Cut an arched wedge in the foam as seen in the photos. This will turn the foam to make the sides and define the chest.
Use the heat gun to heat form the chest a little. Then heat form the back.
I had a lot of trouble with getting the back to shape right. I ended up cutting out most of the back, tracing it on a piece of the floor mat, cutting it out and then glueing it on. I found that the thicker floor mat pieces shaped better than the floor mat roll. I still couldn't get the strong bulge right, it just wouldn't hold that strong bend.
Take the lower stomach shape and turn it to the back side. Cut a wedge down the center, Glue and press the wedge to get a raised line down the center like in the 3rd photo.
I recommend doing the paint now before you glue on the lower stomach piece since it will be silver and the body is white. Paint the body white and the both the smaller pieces silver
Glue the large lower shape on just under the bottom of the chest and the smaller upper shape over the center of the chest. (not pictured)
For the belt, I used the pattern I made in a previous step. I traced the pattern on foam and then cut out another strip of foam of the same width to add to it to make it long enough to go around the torso with a about an inch overlap. Glue the front center of the belt to the torso piece in the front. Use velcro on the ends of the belt to easily put on and take it off. (not pictured here)
Step 13: Details
Draw on the details following the reference photos. Paint the large section around the shoulders and the 2 circles on the back. Use a sharpie to outline everything and draw the two lines down the center of the back
Step 14: Straps
I bought some 1 inch parachute buckles and nylon webbing.
Cut a length of webbing and insert it through the slot in the female half of the parachute clip. Pull it through a little and sew it to the webbing like in the 2nd photo. Do this both of the female sides.
Position it on the inside of the back half of the torso on the side flap as seen in the photos. I used some straight pins to sit it on to hold it up while I worked on applying the glue. Then remove the pins and press firmly.
For the other half of the clips, you don't need to sew the webbing as it needs to be adjustable. Just insert a length of webbing through the slot. Make this strap longer than the strap for the other half was since you need room for adjusting here. Position and glue these straps in the same way as the former ones but to the inside of the front half of the torso. Be sure to glue it on so that the clip is facing the receiving clip so it will clip without being twisted.
Now you can buckle your torso piece on and tighten it to fit.
Step 15: Attach Shoulders
The first time out in the costume we were short on time to get it together so we just used sticky back velcro to attach the shoulders. They fell off after about 30 mins.
After that I attached them using nylon webbing.
Cut a length of webbing, glue one end to the underside of the shoulder and the other end to the top of the torso piece like in the first photo. I added staples for extra hold. This allows for the shoulders to flap giving more range of motion.
Step 16: Finish
Acquire a plain black long sleeve shirt and pants to wear under it all and a pair of gray gloves, and you are complete.
Except for the head piece which I failed to get together
I tried making my own vacuum forming machine and using the head cast to make clear plastic head covering. But as I said before, that was a total failure.
For the red eye piece I tried using casting resin as I did for the jewels for the Raven and Starfire costumes. I tried 5 different times and could not get a usable cast. There was always something wrong with it, bubbles or impressions or something.
I ran out of time to figure it all out. Maybe next time I could just paint a hat or something.
Thanks for reading!