My seven year old son and I saw Ironman shortly after it came out. At some point after that the thought came up that it would be cool and fun to build our own suit for Halloween. I mulled the idea over for some time but only started on it in late September. The first thing I had a solid idea on the building of the suit were the gauntlet pieces. I had a large plastic cup that I though would be ideal for making a gauntlet sleeve. This led me to a store to pick up a couple more. While at this store (a local overstock reseller) I found a pair of children's red gardening boots made of foam. These came home with me and began the process.
The suit would turn out to be a crafter's fun project. Bits came from Goodwill, craft stores and found around the house. Hot glue and duct tape were also in high demand. The finished product was unveiled on the 31st of October to much hoopla. The costume went to school on Nov. 3rd for show and tell.
All in all it was a fun project and has inspired us for future Halloween fun.
Step 1: Gauntlets
The gauntlet sleeves were made from large plastic cups cut and taped to fit.
I cut out the bottoms and a strip up the side to size them to his arms then cut them to length at their wider end. I cut the wrist end to allow his hand to flex properly.
As I had some red duct tape (Heaven knows why) around the house, I decided to cover the gauntlet sleeves in this. It made for a fairly cool and impressive look in a short amount of time. The slit along the side was simply butted together and taped into place before covering with the red tape.
Red, child sized gloves were used for his hands. We originally thought of making small finger and back of hand plates out of plastic but opted for the simple gloves in the end.
The repulsor emitters were the paint cups cut out of a plastic paint palette and hot-glued into place. On the finished version these were covered in thin aluminum sheet (slightly thicker than aluminum foil).
Step 2: Boots
The red gardening boots needed no real changes themselves. I just needed to add the boot uppers which were made to resemble the film version.
I considered using sheet plastic (more on that later) but in the end went with cardboard and duct tape. I made my version of a rapid prototype (poster-board and masking tape), then made refinements in the actual pieces.
These came along pretty quickly. I looked at photos from the film for a long time in constructing the prototype and the final versions. Once again, the openings between parts were simply butted and duct taped.
The uppers are made in three basic pieces. The shin, the calf and the knee. I did make templates for the full size pieces in poster-board so I could duplicate them accurately. The knee pieces were canted inward for the legs to look correct.
It was at this stage that I realized going with red duct tape would not work as I had a limited supply and it didn't look as nice as I wanted.
Step 3: Chest
While at Goodwill, idea-shopping, I found several plastic place mats. Having had some limited experience with plastics I knew I would be able to use heat to deform these particular items. On the same trip I found a foam rubber kneeling or exercise pad.
I knew I would need some thickness to the chest as I wanted to add a tap light for the "Arc reactor." The foam pad was for this purpose.
I made a poster-board pattern of the chest then reproduced it in the foam. I also then cut one of the place mats into the same pattern. Based on the proportions of it all I came up with a hole size for the chest light. I found tap lights at the store which by serendipity were exactly that size. These came in a pack of three.
I trimmed the foam into shape using a craft knife, cutting into the foam to allow for the highs and lows of the chest itself.
The plastic chestplate was painted and held in place by doubled-over duct tape. The back of the chest light opening was covered with a piece of plastic (from a piece of vertical blind) and the tap light dropped into place. The tap light stayed in place by virtue of the opening in the chest face-plastic being slightly smaller than the light itself.
Step 4: Arms and Upper Legs
The forearms and several ancillary parts were made from vertical blinds. These were also found on a trip to Goodwill. They are about 4 inches wide by 8 feet long.
I cut a length that would wrap around my son's forearm with about an inch or two extra. I overlapped them and allowed a little extra overlap at the wrist end. This created a slight taper to the piece. I trimmed the extra from the elbow end and hot-glued the end over one another.
I learned by experience here that my hot melt glue temperature was quite high. The initial gluing nearly melted through the vertical blind plastic. A little trial and error found that holding the glue gun off the work surface several inches allowed the glue to hit the plastic at a slightly lower temperature (or so I believe).
The upper arms and the lower legs were constructed in the same manner as each other.
I purchased a closed cell foam under-pad for sleeping bags. I cut this to form tubes around my son's thighs and upper arms. I butted them then hot glued and duct taped them closed. I cut out the tops and bottoms to allow for free movement of his legs and arms at the shoulder, elbow, hip, buttock, groin and knee.
Once shaping was done I covered them all in duct tape. On the arm pieces (both upper and lower) I added tabs of the vertical blind material to create a hinged joint. These were punched through and connected using chicago screws.
Wooden wheels from the craft store were used for the hinge joint appearance at the elbow and at the hip. These were simply hot glued in place.
Loops of an old boot lace were used at the top of the hip to help hold the thigh pieces in place by passing the chest closure belt through these loops.
The arms stayed on by virtue of the upper portion of the arm being snug fitting.
Step 5: Back
I originally thought I would make the backplate in a very similar manner to the chestplate. Then I discovered yet another item on one of those Goodwill trips which changed my mind.
I discovered a water gun (cannon?) that had an attached shield which happened be almost the exact shape and size as my son's back. It also had a cool molded design which I thought would save me several steps. I figured on only painting and attaching this perfect piece.
Well, I did attach it but discovered that the piece was entirely too stiff for easy movement and as I did not have the tools readily available to cut it into segments and articulate it, I did go back to the original plan of creating the backplate as I had the chest plate.
The Backplate was first cut out in the sleeping bag pad foam and then in the plastic place mat material. For the upper central three plates of the back I added a second layer of the sleeping bag pad foam to give it depth. I then cut out the place mat material to the shape of the individual plates and hot glued them all onto the foam.
I attached the front and back with two strips of vertical blind material over the shoulders so the whole unit went on like a poncho notice this being held in place by duct tape. I then attached hook and loop strips to the chestplate wings. These were passed through "belt loops" on the inside of the backplate wings allowing the front and back to be closed up. As I said, the upper thighs had boot lace loops which these belt pieces were passed through. Therefore the upper closure belts held up the legs.
Step 6: Helmet
The helmet is an instructable unto itself. I will add it at another time but here are a couple of photos for your perusal.
Yes, it has a movable faceplate.
Step 7: Ironboy
Here are a few finished project photos. The undersuit was an old Power Rangers costume.
A few passing notes.
LEDs were added to the hands but because I have little experience with wiring such things I was nervous about the heat created in the electrics so I removed them.
The costume was intended to last for one night. So far it's still holding up but showing wear.
Hope you enjoy. Glad to be able to share this with the world.