Not sure why I’ve never mentioned it here, but for the past year, during the evenings and the weekends, I’ve been selling Star Wars props online. What began with working with sheet plastic and foam and cobbling together found objects to make various props has transitioned into learning 3D design, silicone molding, and resin casting. It’s required a ton of problem solving and learning new skills, but it’s also been the fulfillment of a dream that I’ve had for several years.
Early version of the Rey Staff
Designing an updated Rey Staff
Working on details for the Rey Staff
Second Version of the Rey Staff
Staff splits into multiple pieces
Final version of the Rey Staff
Final version of the Rey Staff
Bouschh (Leia) staff design
A customer sent me this photo which includes my Boushh staff prop.
Desiging Chirrut's chest box
After 3D printing, sanding, and filling, prep for molding
Design for Chirrut's gauntlet
Chirrut's chest box and gauntlet casting
Detail of gauntlet casting
Tall mold for bottom half of Chirrut's staff
Finished Chirrut staff
Chirrut staff detail
I don’t plan on overtaking this blog with prop designs that I’ve made, but it might happen. Until then, for those who are interested, you can get updates on my Facebook page.
Once again, my wife, kids, and I dressed up in new homemade Star Wars costumes that I created over the last few weeks. Like before, it was a ton of work and a ton of fun.
From left to right: Ahsoka Tano (from the animated Clone Wars series), young Jedi, Rey (from upcoming Star Wars movie), another young Jedi, Sith Acolyte Eradicator (from a Star Wars video game that I’ve never played), and Luke Skywalker
Dang, my costume looks tough! Fierce, even.
And a huge dose of adorable cuteness.
For photos of our last family-wide Star Wars costume fun, go here.
For photos of my Sith Acolyte costume build, go here.
For several years, since I first started working on my Boba Fett costume, I’ve thought it would be fun to build a costume that would be worthy of joining the 501st. If you’re not familiar with the 501st, it’s a international volunteer Star Wars costuming organization. It’s the organization that provides characters to zoos, events, hospital visits to sick kids, and even the characters at Disney’s Star Wars Weekends.
The only problem is that the 501st are very picky about costume details, and I knew that I would have to spend several hundred dollars to finish out my Boba Fett costume. Instead, I decided to sell off the parts and use the money I made to build a new costume. The character I picked was the Sith Acolyte Eradictor from one of the Star Wars video games (that I’ve never played).
Basically, I wanted to carry a lightsaber and wear a mask. And this guy looks awesome. In fact, I think he might be able to take Boba.
Well, after many hours of work, I’ve finally completed my costume, and this afternoon we did a little photo shoot. This evening I submitted my application for the 501st. :)
I made everything except for the mask and the lightsaber. Below, I’ve posted a bunch of photos that I took during the build. As you hover over these images, you should see some notes related to each.
[update 11/2/15: My costume didn’t get 501st approval. Plan on working on an updated set of armor over the next few months.]
I started by cutting out the chest piece from 1/2" foam.
Adding details with a Dremel tool
Using a heat gun to shape the piece and seal the foam a bit.
Painting the armor with black plasti-dip to finish the seal on the foam.
Cutting the thigh armor.
Thigh armor detailed out
Armor has been fitted to my legs and connected on the back side.
Preparing the elbow armor.
I used a second piece of foam glued to the back to give these pieces some dimension.
Cutting out the robe fabric.
Cutting the hood material.
Beginning work on the top half of the gauntlets.
Using the heat gun to shape the piece and tape to hold the shape.
Adding details to the gauntlets - thin craft foam is perfect for this.
Upper gauntlets sprayed with plasti-dip
Working on the hand armor.
So happy with the way these turned out. Once they're painted, they look vicious!
Trying things on.
Trying out the silver Rub n' Buff
Working on the harness for the chest piece.
Cutting the belt buckle.
Cutting out the pouches.
Making bottom halves for the gauntlets.
Connecting up the gauntlets.
Gluing all the foam details to my tactical gloves.
After some work, I decided to connect an abdomen/codpiece component directly to the chest piece.
After a test fit, I determined that my chest piece was too wide and too tall. Here are the pieces that I cut off.
Building pauldrons for my shoulders.
Without a doubt, the hardest part of the costume were the lower leg pieces.
After a couple of failed attempts, I decided to go with a solid piece that would open up with a zipper.
Wish that I had installed this zipper higher on the leg or the zipper was longer. It's very difficult to get these on, but they work. :)
Adding details to the leg pieces
Additional parts for the lower legs.
Adding Rub n' Buff
Finished legs! Finally!
Rough cutting some three-layered foam for the belt canister.
Got a tip to use cheap concrete boots. Ended up cutting off the uppers and leaving them like a slip-on shoe.
Covering the shoe with craft foam.
Using fabric paint to paint the sleeves.
Thanks for checking things out! Hopefully I get some good news on my costume approval soon!
If you’re interested in seeing more things like this that I’ve built, check out the category here.
And here’s all the parts bagged up into two large suitcases for the photo shoot:
After a bit of an intervention from my wife a few days ago, I have come to realize that I’m a bit of a project junkie. And especially if that project has to do with cosplay, prop making, Star Wars, or Lord of the Ring, I’m hooked. I mean, really. I have almost zero resistance to such urges.
Though I’m an addict, I find a huge amount of creative joy when working on projects of this sort. So when I decided to use my free time over a week to put together a Millennium Falcon cockpit playhouse for my children, I had a blast. And if my son sleeping inside of it whenever he gets a chance is any indication of how much he likes it, then I think it was well worth the effort.
Someone also recently showed me an inexpensive way to tie audio to multiple buttons, so that’s probably an addition that’s happening in the near future as well. How fun!
For a full writeup of the instructions I made and photos I took while putting the thing together, go here.
In addition, this project has been featured in several blogs, including:
Since I’ve been pretty useless with the kids the past two years at Halloween, dressed up like Boba Fett, my wife asked me to do something different this year. I figured I wouldn’t dress up at all until I saw this amazing paper skull mask template on one of my favorite blogs. Like the instructions say, it took about 3 hours to complete, and it’s wonderful.
I didn’t intend this to be a creepy mask, but in the dark, it’s a little terrifying. I think that I’ll probably end up making paper fox masks for Keri and I instead.
Laying out the supplies. Giddy with excitement.
Pieces rough cut.
Arranging the pieces. I used spray adhesive to stick them down to my poster board.
It’s been a couple of years since I built my Boba Fett suit, but over the last few weeks I’ve been working on a jetpack. There’s a reason that I put this part off – it’s an incredibly difficult part to build from scratch. But since the unpainted resin kit costs $350, I chose to make the pack out of sintra and upholstery tubing which I managed to pick up for free. Other than that, it was just the cost of Bondo, spray paint, some wooden balls, liquid mask, and a few wooden dowels.
This was my first time to do something so elaborate, but I’m very pleased with the results.
Cutting out the bottom from 1/4" sintra. First time to work with this material, and I love it.
Back of jetpack also cut from 1/4" sintra
I decided the easiest way to make these was to heat a 1/8" piece of sintra and press it down on a small piece of tubing (shown on the right).
Finished fuel canister ends
Cardboard tubes (from tapestry shop) cut to length and bottoms capped
Carefully cutting out the vent slots
The bottom exhaust vent applied with spacers.
Attaching the bottom to the back using pvc glue. The small piece of pipe was my first attempt, but then I decided to cut some small pieces of sintra, heat them, and form them to a 90 degree angle then use them as brackets.
I used another piece of sintra to thicken this area at the top of the pack.
Checking the fit. Getting ready to trim off the edge of the sintra to match the back.
Attaching the fuel caps with Gorilla Glue.
Fuel caps with the ends attached using pvc.
Holding pieces in place while they dry.
This piece is way oversized. Allowed me to cut this flush.
This is a happy moment. It's really starting to come together.
Holding the fuel canisters in place while the glue dries.
Creating an ugly shim to hold up this strip.
I hated the thought of the thrusters being misaligned from one another, so I drilled a small hole through the whole pack and threaded a small piece of dowel through there. The other end of this pvc pipe has a flat end that I capped, and I also put the dowel through there and glued it.
Bottom caps in place and drying.
Drawing out the cones. I used an online tool to get the correct angle and radius lengths.
All the cone pieces have been cut out and are ready to form.
In the process of cutting out vents.
This is probably the most difficult piece in the whole suit. Pretty happy it turned out so well.
Whether dumb luck or brilliance, I decided to glue a fitting into this cardboard tube. Since I didn't glue this piece, it allows me to remove the missile thruster for easier transport.
Additional box areas have been roughed out.
I used a clamp to hold this piece in place while I was drilling the attachment location.
I decided to make these buttons out of four stacked washers of identical size with one small washer in the middle.
Trusters are ready to glue.
Gluing the thrusters.
Gluing the shaped cones.
Gluing the top vent.
Not too bad. :)
Fitting my missile for the first time. I was so happy until I realized that the bottom cone of the missile wasn't really the right shape.
Mixing the Bondo.
Applying automotive filler - Bondo.
Missile fitted with fins.
After applying primer to the missile booster.
I really needed to do another coat of Bondo, but I couldn't help myself - I went ahead and sprayed it with primer.
I nearly gave up and started painting everything until I read an article about getting everything smooth beforehand. Though I had already painted a silver coat, I sanded everything smooth. The process left a lot of texture and metal-looking colors, so I was happy to use this as a base.
Masking off to prepare for painting the orange areas.
Masking off to paint the blue areas. I also used some liquid mask to paint over the areas where the metal should show through.
If you look closely, you can see some of the rough areas in the blue. These are the places where I applied liquid mask.
Masking off the area around a stripe.
While the blue was drying, I decided to paint this black stripe
Making corrections to the missile to extend the bottom cone.
I used my fingers to find the masked areas and remove them. So happy with the results!
Masking off the whole jetpack so that I can paint the top vents. I also applied liquid mask here.
The accumulating mess and debris of my work bench. This was a clean piece of MDF board when I started on the jetpack.
Masking in preparation for painting the red side areas.
This is the part referred to as the stabilizing gyro. I made mine out of a dry-erase marker that I emptied and cut in half.
Painting the gyro.
Painting the top sections of the fuel canisters.
Painting the final light gray sections.
This was another one of those moments when I thought, "maybe I will finish this some day."
Painting the top of the fuel canisters. The caps have been masked off.
Masking off the bottom of the fuel canisters.
Adding a black stripe to the main tube.
Gluing on the new bottom portion of the missile.
Here, I've added stripes and symbol details to the fuel canisters.
Painting the base coat on the missile.
Adding additional color to the missile. You can see the uneven areas where liquid mask was applied before painting.
Detail after additional weathering has been applied.
Everything finally assembled together!
For a full writeup, see my full list of instructions on Instructables.
Both my daughter and oldest son decided that they wanted to dress up as Lord of the Rings characters for their birthdays. My son’s costume (Frodo) was easy to pull together using a costume and elements I bought online, but when my daughter decided she wanted to dress up as Tauriel, the fighting elf lady from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit movies*, I discovered that there aren’t great costumes for that character.
So, I made it myself using some wood, an old green shirt, some fake vinyl leather (on hand from my Boba Fett costume), and a store-bought leggings and boots (both on clearance).
This gray sparkly boot was pretty far from what we needed, but some brown spray paint did the trick nicely.
Masking off the soles and insides of the boot – to get them ready to paint.
I used one of my daughter’s shirts as a starting point for the dress. We were very limited on fabric, so I ended up using pretty much every bit of my old shirt.
Spray painting the black leggings with brown spray paint.
Preparing the “leather” parts. Here I’m making the upper part of the boots.
Drawing out the first dagger.
I clamped the boards together and used a reciprocating saw to cut them out. (One day I’ll have a ban saw.)
Shaping out the top dagger using a sander.
Cutting notches using a box cutter.
Finishing out the details of the dagger.
After applying spray paint.
The finished costume!
*My kids have never seen any of the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings movies. They’re still pretty terrified to even watch Disney movies right now. But we have read all the books together.
As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been building a Boba Fett costume for Halloween. It began with my wife’s innocent comment that it would be fun to dress up as Star Wars characters as a family, and when the costume I bought online didn’t live up to my expectations, I began to research how I might build my own costume. Fortunately, there’s a ton of great tips online, and I quickly found myself totally hooked. I love a good project, and without a doubt, this has been the best project I’ve ever attempted.
Below are photos of my costume through the process. I’ll continue to update this post as I add new components.
Rather than just serving as an example of my compulsiveness, I hope that others attempting to build a Boba Fett costume might find some ideas here and avoid some problems I encountered.
I started off by trying to paint the toy blaster to look more realistic.
First coat of paint.
Finished Boba Fett blaster.
Cutting my torso armor from and old box.
Front armor cut out of cardboard.
This is the flight suit that I purchased from an military surplus store. Wrong color and wrong pockets but a nice fit.
Cutting out sheet aluminum and wrapping the cardboard. I took a break to get some gloves after cutting myself.
First piece wrapped. Nice start.
My wife took this pic with my son right before I was banished from the living room, never to return with this project again.
Covering the sharp back edges of the aluminum with duct tape.
Spray painting the finished armor.
Armor after battle scarring.
Starting work on the knee armor.
I learned that PVC can be heated and shaped using a heat gun.
With the pieces shaped, I marked up each piece for my trim lines.
Using a dremel to cut the PVC. This is a very messy process. PVC dust everywhere.
Knee armor is completely cut out.
Side pieces cut from wood and screwed to the PVC using a countersink from the inside.
Beginning the shoulder armor.
Wrapping the shoulder armor in sheet aluminum.
Both shoulders cut and wrapped.
Both pieces shaped by hand.
First layer of paint for the knee and shoulder armor. This is the point at which I knew there was no going back. I was completely hooked.
The only canvas I could find for the cape was the wrong color, but through experimentation I discovered that I could bleach it to the army green color I was looking for.
By this time, I realized that there were too many fabric components in the suit to continue without learning to sew.
Next up were the side belt pockets. I had no pattern, but I figured out how I wanted to try piecing it together.
Nearly finished side pocket turned inside out for sewing.
Finished belt pockets! I left the belt loop material unattached until I had the belt created and knew how big the loops needed to be.
Side view of the completed pockets. This was a proud moment. :)
Distressed and finished knee armor. Though the side blasters aren't exactly the right size, I love how these turned out.
Masking off the left shoulder for the Mandalorian insignia.
Beginning work on the neck piece. I just zigzagged the material back and forth and taped it down as I went along.
Side view of the neck seal in progress.
I attached a round piece of cloth at the bottom so that I'd have something to tuck into my shirt and keep there from being any gaps.
Neck seal laid out flat.
Using one of my daugher's markers to rough in the design. I should have checked to make sure I could wipe it off before doing this. Ended up being a pain.
Design painted onto the shoulder armor.
After painting over all the marker.
After failed attempts to bleach and dye the flight suit, I resorted to trying spray paint. This was a pretty miserable start, and I wasn't sure how to proceed.
Beginning work on the ammo belt.
Cutting out the ammo belt.
Finished shoulder armor.
My wife helped me to finally come up with a solid solution for attaching the knee armor.
This rope belt is worn under the ammo belt. I didn't have to make it since it's a horse belt (not kidding), but here I spray painted the belt.
Velcro sewn to the back of the belt to match the look of the movie and eyelets installed. This was another very happy moment.
Rope belt dry and ready to go!
Since all the pockets on the flight suit were the wrong size and in the wrong places, I ripped out all the existing pockets. I would salvage this material for the new pockets I would make.
Beginning work on my first thigh cargo pocket.
Thigh pockets installed. It's looking pretty patchy here, but things are starting to come together.
Working on the pocket flap.
Thigh and shin pockets are complete with hardly a scrap of leftover fabric.
Beginning work on the ammo belt. Here I used my chop saw to cut eight identical blocks of wood.
Blocks of wood sanded and ready to go.
Creating a pattern for the material to wrap the block.
Copying and cutting the pattern. Tedious work.
Detailed sewing. Stitching the flap portion for each pocket.
Attaching the pockets to the belt.
This was a mess!
The belt with all the pockets attached.
Now, I began wrapping each block and gluing it together with super glue.
All the sides wrapped.
Completed ammo belt with pouches! Hurray!
Sporting the ammo belt! So happy that it turned out like I was hoping.
Flattening out a section of PVC for the shin tools.
Sketching out the shin tools.
Cutting out the back portion of the armor from my old box.
Cutting the aluminum to wrap the cardboard.
Bad side of the back armor.
Armor shaped by hand and sanded to prep for paint.
Back armor painted.
I laid a tshirt on top of my fabric, lined up the seams, and traced that shape for my armor vest - making adaptations for the vest fit.
Vest in process. I think it was mostly luck that the thing fit. Backwards from what I anticipated. Setting seam marks, and wondering how to get this thing off of myself without waking up my wife for help in the middle of the night.
Vest shoulder pieces cut and stitched.
Using epoxy to attach bolts to the corners of the armor. I never would have thought this would be a good idea, but someone online suggested it.
I started out with the JB Weld steel stick epoxy at first, but I wish I had just used the regular JB Weld.
Fitting paper to the back of the armor and marking the bolt holes to get a good fit when making holes in the vest.
All armor fitted with paper patterns.
Taped the paper patterns in place and marked the bolt locations.
Vest with eyelets installed at each of the bolt locations.
Vest with armor bolted onto the reverse. From here, I attempted cutting off the extra bolt on each one, but that was a miserable failure. Should have cut all the bolts before attaching them to the armor. Had to reattach most of them.
Considering using the pvc for the ground-level buildout of the gauntlets. Not sure if this is a good idea or not.
Cutting out the shin tools from the flattened piece of PVC.
Beginning to shape out the knife.
A lot of imperfections due to the inexact process of shaping with a dremel tool, but still looking close enough that I was happy with the results of these two pieces.
I had to make a new front neck piece in order to make it connect to the back piece.
Drilling holes to connect the front and back.
Underside of connecting slot.
Old keyboard keys used for shoulder studs. Used JB Weld to secure nut to the bottom of each.
Top of the shoulder studs after painting.
Beginning work on the gauntlet missile.
Cutting metal for the cone of the gauntlet missile.
Front cone near completion.
Hoping I can turn these canvas shoes into boots.
Using superglue to affix vinyl to the shoes.
I purchased this piece for the gauntlet on Ebay. It's a resin cast of a calculator that was used for the authentic suit.
Beginning work on the gauntlets.
Cable fittings for the flame thrower.
Starting on the second boot.
First layer of pain on the boot uppers.
Weathering the paint. Here you can see the elastic side of the boot that is stitched in.
Applying piping to the boots. I used painted stereo wire and superglue.
Masking the visor on the toy helmet to apply paint.
Back of the helmet before paint.
Side of the helmet before paint.
Silver and black paint applied.
Helmet pieces glued together and filled with Bondo.
Green paint applied.
Masking off the helmet for red paint.
Ready for red paint application.
Back of the helmet.
All paint applied. Way too clean and neat for Boba Fett.
After distressing and battle scarring.
My garage workspace with several pieces in progress.
Forming aluminum for the front of the shoes.
Metal screwed into the front of the shoes and filled with Bondo. Sharpened wooden dowels added for spikes.
Other than a bit of paint on the front of the shoes, they're pretty much complete here.