Coolest Homemade R2D2 Costume for Kids

It’s been a few years ago that I made the R2D2 costume for a friend of mines daughter, but it has been by far one of my favorite creations. So many people have loved it I wanted to share for those looking for ideas. The most difficult part was finding the cardboard drum. I probably spent 4 hours or more looking for one, online and in hardware stores.  Finally one day I was driving in downtown OKC and I miraculously spotted a barrel outside of a local business.  The owner was kind enough to let me have it free of charge so I could make this amazing costume.  Enjoy!

Find your supplies:

For the body I used a cardboard barrel (drum), the arms were made from a fence slat, wheels were attached to the bottom using 2 x 4’s and the head was made by paper mache’ on a medicine ball.

Find your supplies and an assistant : )
Find your supplies and an assistant : )


Next I cut the fence slat in half and attached them to the sides of the barrel. I screwed them from the inside of the barrel so not to leave any sharp objects inside. I found a suitable size medicine ball and inflated it to the proper size to create the head.

Oh, did I mention the barrel doesn’t need to have a top or a bottom?  I think I used a jigsaw to remove the bottom and the top had a lid that I disposed of.

Attach the arms and remove the bottom
Attach the arms and remove the bottom

Wheels and Paint:

I added the wheels to the bottom of the barrel using screws, wood blocks on the sides of the barrel to allow walking room. I cut the wood blocks from 2 x4’s and wheels I bought at the hardware store. Then I painted the whole thing other than silver edges white with Kilz primer.

Paint it white and add the wheels
Paint it white and add the wheels

Paper Mache:

I put paper mache on the medicine ball using a mixture I found online. I think it was flour and water. It’s been several years but I’m pretty sure that was it. I added several layers to keep the head nice and strong.

Paper Mache' a medicine ball and plan on several days drying time
Paper Mache’ a medicine ball and plan on several days drying time

Finish painting the body and head:

I found a picture online and stenciled/painted the design on R2D2. Painted the head silver with spray paint and also added details. I cut a shape in the head to allow for walking etc.

Finish the design
Finish the design

Last but not least:

I had to use chicken wire to create a more stable area for the head. That part was a little tricky and I really can’t explain it but it did add some stability. The ultimate goal was to put a screen over the open spot on the head but it made for a claustrophobic child so we left it open. I think you could add speakers and sound effect also to make it a little more fun but I was pressed for time.

This costume still makes random appearances since my friend and her daughter are HUGE Star Wars fans.

Paint, cut, trim, and chicken wire the head
Paint, cut, trim, and chicken wire the head

  • Costume Ideas Brainstormer
    • Missykins

      Hey there, wanted to get some tips about making this costume, can we talk somehow ?? Text message or phone or PM on Facebook or something. I have 2 boys who both want to be R2D2 this year and i like this design but looks it would be hard to walk in, was it ?? They have a school parade with one set of 4 stairs to go up. Thanks :-)

      • Jamie

        Hi there. I am sorry I am not sure my previous reply went through. The costume is heavy so will need adult assistance getting in and out. Also, I would not recommend it for stairs. It will need to be carried up and down without someone inside. It is easy to push around however on a flat surface.


    Child Cost: $20-$50 Editors Picks Individual Woman/Girl Costume More Than a Week Science Fiction