For the past couple of years my brother and I have been attending a festival held on the Isle of Wight in the UK called Bestival http://www.bestival.net/ . It's a brilliant friendly festival with an emphasis on people going in fancy dress (if they want to) linked to a different theme each year. Last year's theme was 'Fantasy/Fantastic' (or something like that!) which as you can imagine was pretty much the widest theme you can think off and there were a lot of amazing costumes. We went with some EL wired tuxedos and top hats and we were blown away by the interest and attention they received and we got to chat to a lot of really nice people in the process. We even featured on Channel 4's coverage of the event (for about 2 seconds!)
Anyway - in the spirit of bigger and better for this year (theme being 'rock and pop heroes/divas') we toyed with the idea of re-creating the daft punk outfits from Tron Legacy...then we decided it would be too hard and take too long...but decided to do it anyway!
Approx 5 metres of 25mm EL ribbon and associated inverters per outfit
Suitable jacket and trousers
self adhesive mirror sheet
black chrome vinyl sheet
thin acetate sheet for the visor - also car window tinting film
2 strips of 'car sidelight' LED's - the ones that are supposed to make your ride look like an an expensive Audi
LOTS of duct tape
couple of 8x AA battery holders
2 x empty drink cans
plasticard and thin card
bendable metal strip
2 part epoxy resin
thin copper tape
strong black foam double sided tape used for attaching car badges etc.
soldering iron / solder
lots of tea
Step 1: - the Helmet
We decided between us that I would make the Thomas Bangalter helmet - fortunately Zachariah Cruse had already done an excellent job of this https://www.instructables.com/id/DJ-hero-Chrome-Daft-Punk-Helmet/ which made my job a lot simpler!
I made a few adaptations but overall the method is pretty much the same...I cut the bottom from some coke cans to make the ears and covered the coke design up with mirror sheet - I also made a slightly wider rim around the visor as can be seen in the pics - this is to make the visor a little more secure, this needs to stand up to a day at a dance festival! So I'm not going to go in to massive detail on the helmet as it's already been covered - I'll include some details on the pics themselves but if there's anything you want to know - just ask :D
Step 2: - the Jacket
I imported the EL ribbon from China myself as it's still pretty expensive to buy here in the UK - It was made to order in 1m lengths 25mm wide. I needed a way to cut and join the ribbon, something which took me quite a while to work out. In the end my method was:
- attach the end of the strip to a flat surface - like a window, with gaffer tape.
-Use the hairdryer to heat up the strip so you can peel away the backing of the strip to expose the underside - if you try without heating then it will just destroy the electrical tracks as you pull it off. With the backing off you can cut the angles required to get the shape on the front of the suit.
- connect each piece up with some of the foil tape before running it through the laminating machine to seal it back up again - as you look from the rear you can see the two tracks to which you need to make the electrical connections - on these long strips there is one around the outside of the strip and one down the middle - as long as you maintain these tracks with foil tape you can make any shape you like really...
To make the shorter arm and shoulder strips you just cut the strip to the length you want and then before resealing it put in two copper foil tabs one on each track - then when it's laminated cut a small square out from the laminating sheet with a sharp scalpel blade to reveal a patch of the foil tab which you can then carefully solder to, to attach the power.
I used A4 laminating pockets which were cheap but meant doing the chest pieces in sections but you can buy laminating material on a roll which would mean you could do it in one piece. You can't solder directly to the EL strip - anywhere you need to solder to you need a strip of foil tape...
Step 3: - the Trousers
So I decided to make the trousers a little more simple than those you see in the original picture, but I still think the overall effect is pretty good.
I've included a few more detailed pictures concerning how to join the EL strip so check out the picture text for more info.
I've still got a few things to finish off including tidying up all of the internal wiring and routing it all into a bum-bag (not seen in the UK since the 90's, also known as a 'fanny-pack' hehehe) so check back soon...
First Prize in the
Halloween Epic Costumes Challenge