Things You'll Need
- Body suit
- Various lengths of fabric (based on your core design and accent colors)
- Thin foam sheets
- Spray adhesive
- Needle and thread (all colors)
- Accessories (as determined)
Making a super hero suit is as easy or difficult as the standards you have for what the finished product will look like. Parents creating a fun costume for their kids to play in should approach this task differently than an individual who is trying to win a costume contest. Whatever your approach or budget is, the components you use will reflect the personality or identity you hope to convey through your super hero design.
Determine the type of super hero you are creating, whether you are modifying a well-known super hero or creating an original concept. Draw a sketch of your costume ideas on paper, or use HeroMachine 2.5 or Rainbow Dressup (see Resources). Start with a core design that considers your body shape and height. Add accessories, such as a mask, cape, gloves and boots, to accent your character's personality. Consider whether your hero would have a weapon, and whether you would carry it by hand or in a storage device.
Create a color scheme based on your super hero identity and powers, keeping in mind that the simpler you keep things the easier your shopping will be. Establish a primary color for the majority of the suit and complementary accent colors for your accessories. Keep your footwear simple, as it is difficult to find vinyl boots that fit the look and design scheme of most colorful costumes. Design a symbol or chest emblem for your super hero.
Create a shopping list based on your budget and design. Use spandex or Zentai materials to cover the body of your suit, or buy wrestling tights or leggings. Substitute sweat pants or athletic gear if this is a costume that will be played in. Identify which materials can be bought at a department store, as well as other supplies that will require a specialty store.
Purchase your core body suit materials in order to compare these colors to the others you buy. Visit a craft store for your specific fabric needs and colors, or purchase a dye kit with white clothing materials to make any hues that are not available for immediate purchase. Buy other core building materials at a hardware store, such as items that will be constructed to represent your weapons or a shield. Utilize a local costume store for professional-looking accessories as your budget allows.
Measure your body frame, and begin to assemble the materials to fit your dimensions. Trace a capital "T" shape on the fabric that reflects the length of your outstretched arms and full torso, and cut out two versions of it. Have a friend wrap fabric around your arms and body, and secure the two pieces together using safety pins. Move around, making sure you've provided enough room to raise your arms and walk. Carefully take the material off and begin to sew it together from the inside of the costume until there is a tight stitch that holds your material together. Trim off any extra fabric with scissors.
Repeat this procedure with any other areas of the costume, such as legs or areas for accent colors.
Drop a tape measure from the lower portion of your neck to the floor to determine how long your cape should be. Cut out the needed portion of fabric, leaving strips at each end to tie around your neck.
Trace an outline of your hand or foot for any gloves or boots that you are making yourself. Cut two of the same shape each time in order to sew them together when you're done. Decide if you will keep these as separate items you put on, or if they will be permanently sewn into your costume so you can put everything on at once.
Draw your superhero emblem on a thin foam sheet and cut out the design. Cover the backside with spray adhesive and mount it where you want it on your body suit. Allow the emblem to fully dry before putting on your costume.
Try your super hero outfit on and ask a friend to look you over for any design flaws.
Use a professional costume company for specific items that may be too time consuming to make at home.
Maintain safety in your design, making sure you can see through any masks or headgear you will be wearing.
Tony Myles is a pastor and national speaker on youth culture. He has been writing professionally since 2000, has a weekly health and fitness newspaper column in the Cleveland suburbs, reviews for "YouthWorker Journal" and was a featured reporter for the "Kalamazoo Gazette." He holds a Master of Business Administration in adolescent development from Indiana Wesleyan University.