How to Make LEGO Costumes Yourself

LEGO costumes

If you’re feeling crafty at Mardi Gras and want to create an easily recognizable costume, then a life-size LEGO figure is a great costume option. To transform yourself into a LEGO character, all you have to do is make the head and torso out of cardboard and styrofoam. Once you’ve put the pieces together, you can paint them with any design you like. Once you’re done, you’ll have a LEGO costume that’s sure to impress your friends.

Tinker the head

Measure the length and diameter of your head.

Hold the end of a flexible tape measure to the tip of your nose and pull it up to the back of your head so that your costume head doesn’t get too small. Then measure from the bottom of the neck to the top of the head so you know how long the LEGO head needs to be. Write down your measurements so you don’t forget them later. Have someone help you measure when making your costume. This way, your measurements will be more accurate. If you can’t find anyone to help you, take your measurements in front of a mirror so you can better see what you’re doing.

Cut a shawl tube to match the height of your head.

Formwork tubes are sturdy cardboard cylinders typically used to make concrete pillars, so the formwork tube should be strong enough for your LEGO head. Get a tube that is at least 4-5 inches wider than your head in diameter. Trace the length of your head onto the pipe and carefully push a box cutter through the material. Follow the mark you made until you have cut the pipe. You can buy formwork tubes at a hardware store or online. Don’t use a pipe that’s too narrow or your LEGO head will look too small or your head won’t be able to fit through the pipe properly. Before you buy the shell tube, check its inner diameter carefully as it may differ from the outer diameter.

From 1/2 inch thick Styrofoam, cut four discs that are the same diameter as the formwork tube.

Use styrofoam that is 1/2 inch high to make your discs. Trace the outer outline of your pipe four times on the styrofoam and then cut out your four discs. Hold the material firmly while you use your other hand to hold a serrated bread knife and carefully cut along the outlines. Follow your mark as closely as possible so the slices are all alike. You can buy Styrofoam online or at a craft store. Be careful when cutting the material as Styrofoam can break easily.

Make the bottom and top headers by gluing two styrofoam discs together.

Check that the slices lie well together and cut off excess material with your knife. Apply a thin coat of spray adhesive to the flat side of one disc and press a second discover it. Make quick adjustments so the edges line up evenly. Repeat the process for the other two discs. Allow the spray adhesive to dry for 10-15 minutes before proceeding with the parts. Work in a well-ventilated area, as harmful fumes can be produced when using spray adhesive. Avoid using a glue gun or rubber putty, as these materials can melt Styrofoam. Don’t cut too much styrofoam or the slices will fall into your bowl tube.

Glue the top and bottom styrofoam pieces to the shell tube.

Place a styrofoam disc on the top of your pipe. Make sure the edges line up evenly. Slowly wrap a layer of painter’s tape around the seam. Make sure there are no wrinkles. Go around the seam with the crepe 3-4 times to secure the disk to the tube. Repeat the process for the bottom part of the tube. If the top and bottom Styrofoam pieces don’t feel quite tight, try wrapping more painter’s tape around the seam. Tear or cut the crepe into smaller pieces so you don’t have trouble wrapping and the tape puckers.

Remove part of the bottom piece of styrofoam so that you can put the made head over it.

Draw a circle in the middle of the bottom piece of styrofoam. The diameter of the circle should be 5 cm wider than your head. Carefully poke through the center of the circle, then cut to the outline you drew. Now slowly cut out the circle so that you can put the tube over your head. You can also trace the outline of a bowl or plate if you don’t want to draw a circle freehand. Don’t try to force your head into the tube, as you could damage the styrofoam and then have to redo the bottom headpiece.

Sand the edges of the Styrofoam discs to curve them.

LEGO figures have smooth, rounded heads, so sand down any sharp edges with 180 grit sandpaper. Work around the top and bottom edges of the Styrofoam pieces until they have a gentle curve. Make sure the curve around the styrofoam pieces looks even. You can also use 220 grit sandpaper if you want more control over how much styrofoam you sand off. When you sand Styrofoam, fine Styrofoam particles are released, so wear a protective mask and safety glasses when working.

Glue a smaller styrofoam disc to the top header.

Cut out another styrofoam disc that is about 2-3 inches in diameter. Sand the edges so they are slightly rounded. Spray a little glue on one side of the disk and press it onto the center of the top header. Hold the disc in place for at least five seconds until the glue dries. The smaller disc on top of the head is the “plug” that LEGO figures have so you can clip more clamps onto them. Be careful not to press too hard on the pane or you may puncture the top piece of styrofoam.

Cut out holes for the eyes so you can see when you put your head down.

Draw the face on the side of the pipe large enough so you can see through the eye holes. Use a box cutter to carefully cut through the material. Try on the head to see if your eye holes are at the right height and how restricted your field of vision is. You can also cut out the mouth if you want to breathe and speak more easily.

Warning: The LEGO head can limit your peripheral vision, so you should be careful of your surroundings so you don’t injure yourself.

Paint the head with a brush.

Since spray paint can eat through the foam, use oil- or water-based paint with a foam brush to paint your head. Paint a thin coat of yellow paint on the LEGO head as a primer. Then allow the paint to dry completely before painting additional layers until the paint is opaque. Then use black color to add details like eyes, mouth, glasses or freckles. You may be able to find a spray paint that is safe to use with foam at hardware stores.

Make the body part

Take your body measurements so you know how big the LEGO body part needs to be.

Hold the end of a flexible tape measure against your shoulder and pull it down to your waist to know how long your torso needs to be. Then measure from one shoulder end to the other so you know the width of your torso. Then measure from your chest to your shoulder blades to determine the depth of the torso section. Ask a friend to help you measure, as it can be quite difficult to do it yourself. Write down your measurements so you don’t forget them.

Draw the front, back and top parts as well as the side parts on cardboard.

LEGO figures have a body that resembles a trapezoidal prism. This geometric shape can easily be made with leftover cardboard. Either get a sheet of construction paper (10×20 cm) or use old cardboard so that you have enough crafting materials for your LEGO body. Transfer your measurements onto the cardboard to draw the following sections: The front and back pieces: Two trapezoids, the upper straight line of which is the length of your shoulder length and the lower straight line is 13 – 15 cm longer. The height of the trapeze corresponds to the shoulder-waist measurement. Two side pieces: Two rectangles whose short sides are 5 cm longer than the depth of your chest. The other two sides should match the length of the angled trapezoid sides. The top piece: A rectangle whose long side is your shoulder length and the short side is 5 cm longer than the depth of your chest.

Tip: You can buy sheets of solid construction paper either at a craft store or online.

Cut out the body parts with a craft knife or box cutter.

Lay the box on a work surface or cutting board so you don’t damage anything. Gently push the knife through the cardboard, following the outline as closely as possible so the pieces hold their shape. Set each section you cut out aside so you don’t accidentally bend or damage it. Stack the cut pieces on top of each other so you can see if they are the same length. Cut off excess material so the pieces look identical.

Poke a hole in the top piece of cardboard large enough for your head to fit through.

Use the same measurements you used earlier for the bottom of the LEGO head. The hole should be in the middle of the piece of cardboard so you can easily poke your head through. Cut the cardboard with your carpet knife and put the cardboard piece on to test. If necessary, adjust the dimensions of the hole so you can easily pull the piece of cardboard over your head. You can try sanding the edges of the cardboard lightly so your head doesn’t catch on a corner when you put it through the hole. The hole shouldn’t be too close to the edges of the top piece of cardboard, otherwise, your LEGO torso won’t hold up well.

Use your knife to cut holes for the arms in each side piece.

Measure 1-2 inches down or up from a shorter side of the side piece. Mark the spot as this will be your starting point for your armhole. Now measure the circumference of your arm at its widest point and cut out the armholes so that you can comfortably put your arms through. Use a box cutter to cleanly cut the cardboard. Don’t make the holes too small or your box will bend when you put your arms through the holes. Be careful not to place the holes too close to the side edges or your construction may fall apart more easily.

Glue the pieces together to make the torso.

Lay the back piece on your work surface and hold a side piece along the vertical back piece edge. Now use your glue gun and go with it along the two pieces of cardboard. Hold the two pieces together until the glue dries. Glue the top piece and the other side piece on as well, then let the torso dry completely. Carefully turn the torso over and place it on the front piece so you can glue it in place too. After the glue dries, stick a piece of painter’s tape (about 1 inch long) in each corner to stabilize the crafted torso.

Paint the torso any color you like in your favorite design.

Place your LEGO body in a well-ventilated area and spray paint the box. Hold the spray can about 6 inches (15 cm) away. Apply a thin layer of paint and let it dry for about 15 minutes. Apply further layers, which you also let dry for 15 minutes each, until the paint application is even and opaque. Use a foam brush to apply acrylic paint to the body for small details like buttons or seams. Check out the designs of real LEGO characters to find ideas for your own design.

Put on the costume

Wear an undershirt that matches the color of the LEGO torso.

Look in your closet for a shirt that is a similar or the same color as your LEGO body. You can wear either a short- or long-sleeved shirt. Put the garment on so that the sleeves come through the holes provided so that your outfit goes well together. If you don’t have a shirt that matches the color of your LEGO body, then you can either buy one or colorize a t-shirt yourself. Even if you want your LEGO costume to look “sleeveless”, wear a yellow shirt since LEGO figures are yellow.

Tip: Wear yellow gloves and keep your fingers in a C-shape as much as possible, as this is what real LEGO hands look like.

Wear solid-colored pants and shoes that are the same color.

Typically, the legs and feet of a LEGO character are the same color, so you should look for pants and shoes that match. Find comfortable clothes and match your outfit to the rest of the LEGO costume. Look for closed-toe shoes, such as boots or sneakers, so they go better with pants. You can also try making LEGO legs out of cardboard. However, it will be difficult to walk in, which is why these tinkered legs are not comfortable to wear.

Slide the torso piece over your arms and head.

Reach your arms overhead and grab the lower part of the LEGO torso. Slip your arms through the armholes and slowly slide the cardboard over your body until you can poke your head through the head hole. Pull the upper body part down so that it sits well on your shoulders and you can move comfortably in it. Do not put your head through the hole just yet, or you may deform the cardboard or break the torso piece. Wait until you’ve slipped your arms through the torso section.

Position the LEGO head so you can see.

Take the LEGO head and rotate it so the eye holes are facing forward, away from you. Then slowly raise your head. Adjust your head until you can look straight ahead without blocking your vision. The LEGO head can wobble while being worn, so you’ll likely need to adjust it throughout the day.

Final Words

Use actual LEGO figures as inspiration for the design you want to paint on the torso and headpieces. You can try making LEGO arms and legs out of cardboard as well, but you won’t be able to move or bend as easily. Work in a well-ventilated area when using spray adhesive or spray paint, as using the sprays can produce harmful gases. The LEGO head can limit your vision, so you may not be able to see as well.


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