How to Make a Stormtrooper Costume

Have you ever wanted to take this timeless Star Wars character and become one in real life?  Man or woman. Costume party or the newest Star Wars movie premier, no matter. This getup is sure to impress, and will be a conversation starter wherever the day (or night) takes you.  However, authentic suits are extremely expensive. Building one from scratch can be extremely complex.

Don’t get too discouraged just yet, because we have good news. This post is dedicated to laying out easy-to-follow instructions on how to build your very own, one-of-a-kind Stormtrooper costume that looks great and costs a fraction of the price of the one seen on film!

As an early disclaimer, there are no precise measurements for this DIY.  There are a wide variety of Stormtroopers, and an even wider array of body types.  These instructions are meant to be a guide for your costume. Feel free to add and subtract to it as you see fit.

Additionally, when it comes to making cuts, it’s always better to leave more than to take too much off.  Give yourself some leeway by overestimating the appropriate sizes of your armor, and adjust accordingly.

Lastly, this is a time-consuming project that takes a solid 3-8 hours not including drying time for the paint.  Be prepared and start building your Stormtrooper costume well in advance of whatever event you are planning on wearing it for.  

Alright, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get started!  

What You Will Need to Make a Stormtrooper Costume

Clothing:

  • Black turtleneck
  • Non-baggy black sweat pants or yoga pants
  • Black gloves
  • Black shoes
  • Athletic jock strap with a belt (this is for the groin plate)

Tools and Supplies:

  • Hot glue gun (and glue of course)
  • Pencil
  • String or twine for measurements
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • Scissors
  • Shears
  • Utility knife
  • LOTS of cardboard
  • Luggage straps or some other sturdy clip
  • Grey primer spray paint
  • White spray paint
  • Flat black spray paint
  • Large tarp or painting sheet
  • Safety goggles
  • Bandana (to cover your mouth when spray painting)
  • Toy gun
  • Magic Marker
  • Small plastic containers, bottle caps, etc. (used as accessories to add depth)

Limbs

We begin with the exterior white armor plating on the arms and legs. Use your string or twine to measure the length and circumference* of the following body parts:

  • Forearm
  • Thigh
  • Shin

*Be sure to leave between 3-5 inches extra of cardboard when making your cuts to allow for some wiggle room and fine tuning

Now, draw those dimensions of length and circumference (used here as width) onto the cardboard and cut out the pieces.  

Next, bend the cardboard along the corrugation so that it wraps nicely around the designated body part. Use your cutting tools to adjust sizing as necessary.

Hot glue the edges to seal the armor once it fits appropriately. Set these to the side.

Abdominal Armor

From here we move onto the torso.  First, measure the length of your abdomen from the waist to the bottom of your pectoral. Next, measure the circumference of the widest portion of your abdomen.  

Now, just as we have done previously, draw these measurements onto the cardboard and cut.

Again, bend at the corrugation, and wrap around your body, making additional cuts as necessary.  

Once you’ve found a good fit, cut a seam straight down the middle of the back. Then, take a luggage strap or other clip and cut it down the middle of the strap so you have two pieces to work with (one male and one female).  Hot glue one on each side of the seam. You now have the first removable portion of your suit!

Chest, Back, and Shoulder Plates

Depending on your choice of Stormtrooper, the plates here will vary largely. This portion of this DIY project takes the greatest amount of time and patience.

Begin by measuring the widest parts of your chest, back, and neck.  Using these measurements as a guide, trace this armor in two separate pieces (front and rear-facing), leaving just enough room for your head at the throat and back of the neck.

The best way to envision this portion of the suit is as if it were a tank top.  Leave room at the shoulders and hips for the front and rear-facing pieces to attach.  Super glue these together.

Now, just as we did with the abdominal plate, cut a seam vertically down the middle of the back plate and super glue a luggage strap so that the suit is removable.

Accessories

Here you can get experimental.  Super glue the plastic containers, bottle caps, etc., to the armor that correspond to your particular Stormtrooper.

Next, superglue the Magic Marker to the top of the toy gun to make your scope.

Paint

Now we are ready to paint! Grab the cardboard pieces of armor, athletic jock strap, shoes, and toy gun and place everything on the tarp in an open, outdoor space.*  

*Be sure to wear safety goggles and a bandana to protect yourself when spray painting

Start by spraying everything down with the grey primer spray paint.   Once that has dried, give everything a nice white coat. Once the white paint has dried, apply blue painters tape to everything you would like to remain white (everything else will be black).  Finally, spray with the flat black paint to put the finishing touches on your Stormtrooper costume.

Wearing the Costume

Put on all the black clothing, then put on the rest of the armor in the following order:

  1. Athletic Jock Strap
  2. Thigh
  3. Shin
  4. Abdomen
  5. Chest and Back
  6. Forearm
  7. Shoes

There you have it!  This DIY project is open to much interpretation, and no two suits will be the same.  Remember, don’t be afraid to get creative with it and may the Force be with you!

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