Our family loves the Back to the Future films, and chose to be the characters from the film this Halloween. We decided to get our family car in on the fun as well, and the result was magical!
Whether you want to be the best dressed Car at Trunk or Treat, or have the seriously BEST Halloween decoration ever parked out from of your home, This tutorial will show you how to turn your small to midsize car into the Back to the Future Delorean for Halloween!
Step 1: You Will Need
Depending on the size and make of your car, your needs may vary. But here is what I used for my small MG Midget.
- 5 silver backed Styrofoam sheets (standard 4ft X 8ft)
- Duct Tape 1 roll
- Silver foil tape 1 large roll
- Hot Glue
- Hot glue gun (extension cord)
- 2 packages of Blue mini rope LED lighting (the LED lighting is what makes this project come to life!)
- Dollar store round laundry basket
- Black spray paint 1 can
- Silver spray paint 1 can
- Clear fishing line
- Dollar Store black plastic table cloth (3)
- Yellow and red free paint swatch samples
- Good sharp sissors
- Cord ties
- Red green and blue foam sheets (11X14) 2 of each
- Grease cutting soap
- Wash cloth
- Wrapping paper
- Marking pencil
- Painters tape
- Foam tubing (6) They are generally 6 ft each
- 6-8 LED tea lights
- Strong sissors
- Red and white yarn
- Yellow felt (one small sheet)
- 2 sheets of plain white paper
- Masking tape
Step 2: Take Some Measurements
Take some basic measurements of the paint covered areas, doors, windows and the roof. You're looking for a ball park square footage of these areas, so you can know how much Styrofoam you need to purchase. You also need roughly 20 square feet to make the boosters. (if you have a silver car, you could by -pass this step, and would only need enough Styrofoam to make the lifting doors and boosters)
I came to the conclusion that I needed roughly 120 square feet to cover the car,
and 20 for my boosters. 140 total
So I purchased 5 sheets of Styrofoam, each 32 square ft. (4 ft X 8 ft)
Giving me 160 square feet to play with.
Step 3: GET INSPIRED!
I highly recommend watching the movie before or while you do this project! Not only will it give you visual inspiration, but it will get you pumped up! Best movie ever! You can also print out images of the car, to reference, and throw on the soundtrack!
Step 4: Make Your Patterns
Use wrapping paper to make your patterns! It's cheap, you probably already have some, and the lines on the reverse side make it great for this kind of project!
- Using painters tape, tape up sections of wrapping paper
- Then with a crayon or pencil, mark the outline of each section.
- Remember, you only need to do this once for the sides of the car, the reverse side will be it's pattern!
- Cut out your patterns
Step 5: Cut Your Pieces (leave Roof and Doors for Last)
I highly recommend cutting the Styrofoam in a room that can be easily vacuumed. Styrofoam is awesome to work with, but messy!
- Trace your patterns onto Styrofoam (use the lines on the Styrofoam to guide you)
- Using sharp scissors, cut out your peices
Step 6: Cut Roof and Doors
The roof and doors section is a little tricky, because we need the doors to bend and lift. There are 2 pieces to each door, so when tracing patterns, use the photos above as your guide.
- You need a mid section to hold each door
- You also need to anchor that mid section to the back and front pieces with duct tape.
- Once you have a strong roof mid section, you can cut the two pieces needed for the doors
- Be sure to trace out the window, and remove it as well.
(I ran out of wrapping paper, and used plastic drop cloths for the door patterns)
Step 7: Attach Pieces (leave Roof and Doors for Last)
Start fitting your pieces onto your car. The pieces should not ever be attached directly to the car, instead they are all attached to each-other tightly over the car. Think of it like a giant model car shell.
- cut out spots for lights
- attach pieces with duct tape (it will be covered later with silver tape so color doesn't matter)
- Start with the hood, and work your way back. This will give your roof sections something to hold onto.
Step 8: Cut and Place Cardboard
Now it's time to place your black cardboard on the front and rear of your car.
- Place a black dollar store table cloth over the back top portion of the car
- secure with tape to edges (delorean sides)
- Cut and place black cardboard to fit snugly on the front and rear of your car
- Be sure to cut around lights and gas cap
- Secure by duct taping the undersides to each-other, and then the sides to the frame of the car
Step 9: Cover Real Doors (unless You Car Happens to Be Black)
The objective is to create the illusion that the fake doors are actually the real doors.To do this we need to cover the existing doors with something black. If you are lucky enough to be using a black car, you can skip this step all together, if not:
- Using a black plastic table cloth, tape around the existing door
- Painters tape is best, so as not to leave a residue on your car
- Remember you need to be able to open the car doors, so tape around the whole door, while it's open, then close the door.
- Be careful not to tape over mechinisms
Step 10: Tape Pieces Under Car
In order to get your shell to lay flat against your vehicle, you will need to duct tape the pieces underneath the car.
This is very easy, but you must make sure the surface is clean or the tape will not stick. Use a grease cutting liquid soap, and clean and fully dry each spot before adhering the tape.
Step 11: Make Roof (Lifting Doors)
This is the trickiest part, but the biggest payoff!
I struggled to figure this out, first trying to use wire to raise and lower the doors, but when that failed, I tried fishing line, and lo and behold it worked! The video will make the most sense, but I will try to explain how it works as best I can:
- Make your roof structure above
- Attach Doors with Duct tape
- On the under middle part of the door hinge, add a metal angel bracket
- Tape over bracket with duct tape
- Feed Fishing line through and around the bracket to the other side.
- This will be where your door will lift from
- On the opposite side of the car, place another metal angel bracket on the car, and secure with duct tape
- This will serve as the anchor, for raising and lowering the fishing line.
- Repeat this process on the opposite side of the car.
Step 12: Silver Tape Finish
Cover all exposed duct tape and edges with silver tape, to give a finished look.
Step 13: Tubes for Trim and Blue LED Lighting
You will now want to cut your foam tubing to make your trim for the car, as well as the light/wire details. (the lengths needed may very if you are using a larger car)
- Cut 2 tubes straight down the middle (these will serve as your light/wire details)
- Cut an additional 4 tubes into 8ths, giving you roughly 1 inch thick foam trim peices
- Add the thin trim along the mid section of the car,and along the hood section with hot glue
- Tape blue rope LED light to the half sections
- Attach the lighting to the car with hot glue
- Secure the on-off switch somewhere accessible and safe.
- Set aside some of the thin trim for later use
The LED lights really are the magic makers in this project, so be sure to use them well. I used one package on the outside of the car, and one on the inside as well. It gave a wonderful effect!
Step 14: Make Front Tubing
Using the remaining half tube pieces, wrap red and white yarn around them to give the illusion of wires, attach them to the front section of the car with hot glue.
Step 15: Make Thrusters!
These two pieces will change the shape of the car, and give it that unmistakable Back to the Future look!
- Use the above diagram, and cut the 4 pieces of Styrofoam for each thruster, 8 total
- Assemble the thrusters and tape them together with duct tape and masking tape as shown
- Cut and fir black poster paper to make the look of vents
- Tape the poster paper in place with duct tape
- Spray paint black, first the interior of the thrusters, and then the exterior
- Set aside, and allow to dry fully
Step 16: Place Thrusters
Using card ties, adhere the thrusters to back facade of the car. Make sure everything is extremely secure.
Step 17: LED Light Up Printables and Details
The details are the best part! There is really no limit to what you can do! All the printables can be found online for FREE! Just be sure they are listed as a free printable, so you aren't stealing someone's work. Print off the Out of Time licence plate, Flux Capacitor and time travel dashboard, all in size 8X10. Print the Delorean symbols as well.
- Print out everything
- Create box shells for the dashboard and flux capacitor, using half pieces of foam tubing
- Poke holes through the back of the flux capacitor as well as the dash
- Put tea lights through the holes
- Adhere LED tea lights with duct tape
- Now these pieces can light up and flicker, adding magic to the car!
- Place them in your car, using tape or string, wherever you want them.
- Cut out the Delorean symbols and place then on the Grill and back left bumper with hot glue
- Hot glue licence plate on the back of the car ( I printed 2 but only used 1)
Step 18: Plutonium Reactor
For this piece I just used a dollar store laundry basket spray painted black. I added some yellow felt on the inside, and adhered it to the thrusters on either side using cord ties.
Step 19: Front Details
- Create a grill by hot glueing small strips of the foam tubing to the front facade.
- Add additional headlights by cutting 2 white squares out of regular paper and gluing them next to real head- lights
- Cover the DMC symbols in silver foil tape
- Glue DMC symbols to the middle of the grill
Step 20: Back Details
- Fold and roll 2 sheets of green foam
- Hot glue shut
- Stack on top of eachother
- Adhere to side of facade with cord ties
- Create three cylinders out of one sheet of red foam
- Roll and close them with hot glue
- Cut out 3 circles and adhere them to the top with hot glue
- Hot glue the cylinders to the facade with hot glue
Blue and silver accents
- Spray paint a foam tube silver
- Hot glue one blue foam sheet to the middle
- Adhere it to the back faced with cord ties
Paint Swatch Lights
- Use 4 red and 4 yellow paint swatches on either side of the rear bumper
- Use hot glue to adhere them
Step 21: Be the Hit of the Party!
This Car made everyone's night! We took it to Trunk or Treat as well as around our neighborhood on Halloween night. We blasted the Back to the Future soundtrack and everyone LOVED it! We had people coming out of their homes, taking photos and just going nuts! This project is a lot of work. BUT if you LOVE back to the Future, and you LOVE Halloween....it is a match made in heaven.
Thank you for reading! Please vote for me in the Halloween Challenge!