This is an Instructable on how to make your own Star Wars BB-8 droid prop. The design is very simple yet convincing and made with only a few main items: an exercise ball, foam half ball, and paper cutouts created using Visio. It was a very nice accessory for my daughter’s Halloween costume. To give it some ‘pop’, I added EL wire which made BB-8 really stand out in the evening.
Parts and Materials Required
· Exercise ball (12” diameter)
· White spray paint
· Styrofoam half ball (7.5” diameter)
· Elmers glue
· Googly eyes (2” & 1” diameter)
· Black paint or marker
· Mini red LED
· CR2032 3V battery
· Orange EL wire and battery pack
· 2AA batteries
· Small pieces of Velcro
· Glue gun
· LEGO stick or similar
Step 1: Creating BB-8's Body
I wanted to keep the design as simple as possible. A seldom used exercise ball was just the right size for BB-8’s body. I sprayed painted it with 2 coats of white paint and let it dry.
I created BB-8’s signature body panels on my computer using Microsoft Visio and printed them out. It took several trial and error attempts to get the right size on the body. I've attached a pdf of the patterns for people to use.
From there I had to figure out how to attach flat sheets of paper onto a round surface. I tried making extra folds in the paper or wetting the paper to soften and stretch it but neither turned out very well. I finally came up with the idea to cut the pattern into circular strips which minimized the creases. Only the center piece had a few visible creases but they weren't bad at all. I then used Elmer’s glue to attach patterns to the body.
Step 2: Creating BB-8's Head
For the head I used a Styrofoam half ball that I bought at a crafts store. I tried to spray paint the head to match the body but the paint dissolved the foam so I had to leave the surface as is. I then created Visio patterns for the head and glued it on similar to the body.
For the main eye I cut out the plastic portion of a googly eye and painted it with black paint (black marker would work ok too). I left a small round circle in the middle unpainted for the optional LED in the next section. I used small pieces of Velcro to attach eye to the head so I could more easily remove the battery for the LED. For the second smaller eye I just painted it and glued it to the head. Lastly for the antenna I used a LEGO stick and pressed it into the foam.
Step 3: Putting It Together
To attach the head to the body I used Velcro which made the head easier to reposition and remove.
Step 4: Lighting It Up (Optional)
To add some 'pop' to my prop, I added a mini red LED power by a 3V CR2032 battery in the eye. I taped the LED directly to the battery and placed it inside the eye. For the body I used a glue gun to attach orange EL wire around the edges of the panels. Each panel required its own circuit and were connected to the battery pack I hid in BB-8's bottom (2 AA batteries were needed for the EL wire). In addition to powering the EL wire, the battery pack served as a nice balance weight to help keep him upright.
Step 5: Enjoy
Here’s the final product, my daughter in full Rey costume and with her ‘bouncing’ BB-8 prop for Halloween.
Thanks for viewing my Instructable.