I LOVE making my own costumes and I have created a few that I still have to this day. This is by far my favorite and most elaborate: Bender from Futurama.
More details on all the pieces. But the Q&D is:
Head: main part part (cylindrical) cement post mold (for cement posts, Home Depot) and round top is Styrofoam from Micheals. Foam inside to hug my head and forces costume head to turn as I turn my head left/right.
Body: got a larger cardboard cylinder container from work and was allowed to take home as scrap. Cut “V’s” out to left and right sides of the main body to make the body more of a “V” shape, rather than just a cylinder shape. Styrofoam again used to make the shoulders less flat and more inclined.
Legs & Arms: air ducting
Feet: inverted/upside down oval cardboard boxes (Michael’s or some other hobby shop) and cut holes in them to allow foot to pass through. I put my shoes on AFTER I put my feet through the cut holes. I wear casual shoes under upside down box.
All the silver (minus air duct legs) is created by wrapping everything with true metallic reflective duct tape, not the dull grey utility kind, the real metal looking duct tape.
Door (belly) opens and closes and I mounted a narrow shoe box (colored black) inside and used foam to create 2 koozies for beer…verages. I used a long tube inside the suit that runs down from my mouth to the beverages. There is not way I can drink anything without tubes or loooong straws.
I was going to make a super generic “old school” robot costume. Just like my parents made us where back when we were poor and never knew it. I was going to find something that I could wear that looked like I was wearing a paper grocery bag (boxy) and then somehow attach aluminum foil to it and voila…poor kids robot costume from when I was young (Add silver make-up or better yet, put a smaller paper bag over my head with aluminum foil attached again with holes cut out for me to see). That was my original plan, but out of nowhere (forgot what inspired me) I think, if I am going to do this, I’ve got to do it RIGHT. I had created a “Jack in the Box” restaurant costume before (paper mache head) and I had to outdo that one.
So I swing by Shipping/Receiving at work and ask if they have something like a cylindrical drum container but made of cardboard, and they DID. I figured that was going to be the hardest part to create or find and so I set off on building on it. I went by Home Depot one lunch, looking for a smaller cylinder I could use for the head, and I found the cement pillar molds. With no one in eye site, I, one by one, slipped the 5-7ft cylinder molds over my head until i found the right size. Imagine seeing a guy in his 30’s trying on construction molds over his head…if you saw it, it was probably me. I figured air ducting would be perfect legs and arms, and with a little work, they did.
I found the round half sphere Styrofoam at Michael’s and as well as other foam there (eyes and trim). I had to make it as exact as possible and the details make it so. I had to create eyes, the shape around his eyes, the antenna, the shoulders had to be inclined not flat, the arms have a cuff/ridge at the shoulders where arms go in body, the body had to be slightly “V” shapes as that is what Bender has. The hands are silver spray painted rubber kitchen gloves. The head/’helmet’ had to sell it, and I look thought the white meshing that is his “teeth”.
I also put foam inside head, like a helmet, to press against my head so that when I turn my head only the head rotates on top of the body part. I created the door and used a cabinet knob from Home Depot for the knob. I also found that the body swung backward when it was on me, as in, the front bottom of the cylinder body pushed against my legs and moved back and forth when I walked because if rode on my legs. So I put in a shoe box behind the door, and now THAT rested against my stomach and kept the bottom of the body from moving with my legs. I then used foam to make 2 koozies in the box and spray painted everything behind the door black, so when you open it at night you can’t really see anything. I learned from my Jack in the Box costume that I needed a tube to drink and ran one all internally. If you have ever worn a mask or helmet for a costume you probably learned that you are going to sweat and need to drink a LOT to keep from overheating or passing out.
As you can see in the photo, I can remove the head, but when I am in character I don’t like to take it off very often.
This my favorite costume and it is ready for Halloween.