Bumblebee Transformer Costume Tutorial
Today we are going to create an elaborate but simple Bumblebee Transformer Costume that your child is sure to love! My little man played dress up in this costume for several years before it got so worn that we had to give it up. I’m sure any little boy would be proud to run around flashing the working headlights!
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What You May Need
Foam Core Board or Heavy Card Board
1 foam bowl
3 puck lights
Silver Spray Paint
Yellow Spray Paint
Recycled Training wheels
This costume was designed from the Bumblebee toys circa 2007 and The Transformers movie. It was my first attempt at a costume that was not sewn. OMG- I was in over my head quickly as I wanted to give my little guy the best Bumblebee costume ever and hoped to allow him to transform in the sweet automobile form on a whim.
Well, transforming -that didn’t happen. LOL.
But- we did have working headlights and won “Best Costume” at our Halloween parade!
Bumblebee Costume Front and Grill
With all my box costumes, I generally like to start with the body first. When making a box costume, I highly recommend using sweatpants and sweatshirts as the base under your design. It’s generally easier to layer depending on weather and quite comfortable for the kiddos.
I started Bumblebee by saving shipping boxes until we were ready to start designing. For the body, I chose a box that had approximately the same width as my son’s chest. Bumblebee’s chest sticks out when he is in transformer mode, so I also wanted to make sure the chest piece was at about 6-8 inches deep.
If you look closely at the pictures, you may be able to see that to achieve the proper size, I had to cut down the box.
Since each child is different, I can’t tell you the exact measurements to use. You may have some trial and error during the sizing process.
Once you have your approximate size for the chest, you will need to cut from your spare cardboard- 2 sections for the grill cover, 1 brand logo, and 1 belt buckle. The brand logo will be centered on the grill. So you want to cut the grill templates so that you have enough space to leave about ½-1 inch on the sides of the logo.
Next, cut out a hole on each grill template so that you can see your puck lights once you have assembled the grill.
For the grill, I recommend using sturdy but thin cardboard. An empty cereal box works great for this! Simply, draw some straight lines and begin folding back and forth on the lines. The width of the fold should be approximately the same as the thickness of your puck light.
Once all your cardboard pieces are cut and size, you will paint the appropriate color. Let dry. Then, begin the assembly process.
The front of your box (what will be the grill) should be facing up when you start assembly. Lay your folded grill in the center of the box, and then, glue the grill in place.
I have included a sample image of the grill assembly. Once you have established your positioning, look at trimming down your grill to fit within the dimensions of the box.
Lay your puck lights on each side of the front of the box being sure to line up with your grill cover template before you secure in place with glue. Also, don’t forget to put in batteries and test that you can push the lights on once the template is in place.
Place the painted grill cover templates on each side making sure to line up the edges. You may need to trim the holes for the snuggest fit. Depending on the fit, you may find it necessary to add a little cardboard behind the edges of the templates on the outsides of the box to get the best results.
Secure the entire width and length with yellow duct tape. Carefully, glue the brand logo to the center of your cardstock grill.
I added Bumblebee’s signature hood strip down the center of the box that would become the hood by using black Duct Tape.
Let’s continue to the back of the costume and I’ll explain how to “wear” the hood and grill shortly.
Bumblebee Costume Back
Bumblebee’s automobile doors transform to his back when in Autobot mode. The overall appearance is similar to angel wings.
This was one of the most difficult things to recreate as the wings were quite heavy.
Below you will see the approximate shape for the doors. Cut 2 doors from your cardboard boxes or foam board. Keep in mind that one will be a mirror of the other. So, if you are using cardboard shipping boxes and trying to avoid the writing on the outside, make sure to cut the boxes with like sides together.
The extra area (the flap on the left of the photo) can be overlapped to concentrate the weight on the center of the piece. To hide the bulkiness and create a little more mechanical effect, I spray painted a plastic dinner tray to mimic chrome. The plastic tray was then glued to the center of the “wings”.
Once the glue dried on the wings and mechanics, I then glued the entire piece onto a larger square piece of cardboard to use as the base for the wheels. Bumblebee’s front tires transform onto his center back when in Autobot mode, and I was lucky enough to find a set of training wheels at a local garage sale.
I simply punched a hole in the base. Then, I inserted a screw through the wheel and base, and I secured with a nut on the back. Just be sure that you don’t have too much length poking through the back as this could be quite uncomfortable for your youngster.
Bumblebee Costume Accessories
We happened to have a black belt with a plastic buckle already in our stockpile. So, I went with it! I simply made a 5 sided polygon from my cardboard and added a triangular piece of cardboard as trim. Then, glued the polygon to the belt buckle. I made a sticker from an Autobot image I had found online, and of course, used a black marker to write Bumblebee across the top.
For the back, I created a small cardboard piece to cover the buttocks. We also had some usual shaped soft foam that we attached to give the appearance of wires and more mechanics. They were a bit wild and random looking.
Since comfort is always an issue, this particular year I chose to go with your standard black athletic shoes and crafted what you might call boot cuffs.
From our remaining cardboard stash, I selected 2 pieces that were about 8 inches tall and cut them to the width of my son’s calves. If you opt to do this, make sure you measure with multiple layers of clothing underneath before cutting.
Of course, you will need to paint these pieces yellow.
I then used a hand awl to poke about 4 holes on both vertical sides of each piece. I then weaved a 45-inch shoelace through the holes. This made it easier to put the cuffs on when it was showtime as I could loosen the laces but not have to thread them each time.
I threaded a bike reflector onto the shoelaces to mimic Bumblebee’s taillights.
Then, I also poked a hole through what would become the outside of the cuff. In other words, one piece will have the hole on the right where the other piece will have the hold on the left.
Then, I attached a screw through the cardboard, a training wheel, and secured with a nut on the outside of the cuff.
This was the only part of the costume that I had any trouble with while trick or treating. With the pouring rain, the cuffs got soggy quite fast, and we lost a wheel somewhere in town.
Bumblebee Plasma Cannon
For Bumblebee’s iconic plasma cannon, I changed up a blaster design I’d see on Pinterest. I started by spray painting both a 2-liter cola bottle and a 20-ounce cola bottle. Note to self: Don’t forget to paint the caps! I did.
So I secured the painted bottles together with silver duct tape so that the larger bottle was just slightly longer. Then, glued a Styrofoam bowl (also painted silver) onto the cap.
Then, I glued a puck light onto the bottom of the Styrofoam bowl.
Next, I needed a way for my little man to carry his plasma cannon! For this, we just cut another piece of cardboard large enough to slide up his forearm while leaving his hand and elbow free to move. This cardboard piece was painted yellow and secured to the 2-liter bottle with gray and black duct tape.
For the other arm, we carefully sliced a 20 ounce Styrofoam cup from top to bottom and removed the circular bottom to become an armband.
I found a used helmet at a thrift store for our Bumblebee costume and spray painted it yellow. To give the impression of a faceplate, my little man just wore the helmet – well- backward! We attached an Autobot sticker to the helmet and covered the plastic support with silver pipe-cleaners.
Putting on your Bumblebee Costume
While most box costumes simply go over the child’s head, this one is still just as easy to wear but will take more preparation. The key to the best fit is elastic.
I had more than plenty of white elastic in my stash so we used that, but black would have been a better choice. You want the elastic to be snug enough to hold the costume in place but not too snug as to make it uncomfortable.
So, have your child or a helper hold the front of the costume in place while you run the elastic from the box over the shoulder. Keep going under the armpit and back to your starting point. Add about 1 ½ inches to this but be careful not to pull the elastic tight while you are measuring. You want it to fit loosely so that it’s easy to slide in and out of.
I, of course, would recommend using your sewing machine to secure the ends together. Simply sew a seam about ¾ inch from where the ends meet. You can certainly stitch this by hand or not.
Once you have stitched your ends together, simply place the straps on opposite ends of the inside of your box and secure with duct tape. Make sure to use plenty of tape as your child’s movement will cause the tape to fail if you don’t have enough holding it in place.
For the back, you will use the same method. Measure your elastic from the cardboard base over the shoulder, under the arm, and back to your starting point. Sew the ends, and then duct tape to the back of the cardboard base.
Your child should easily be able to slide in and out of the elastic armbands on both the front and back of the costume provided you did not stretch the elastic during the measuring.
As the evening progresses, your child will just love turning on his headlights and his plasma blaster!
I hope you enjoyed this Bumblebee Transformer costume tutorial and find it helpful! Bumblebee has been a favorite of my son for years. If your little one loves all Transformers, please check out my Optimus Prime Tutorial here.