Create a Homemade R2D2 Costume

Making your own R2D2 can be inexpensive and lots of fun! Photo: Patricia Vollmer

Do you have a Geekling who wants to be R2D2 for Halloween?  Is your Geekling older than a toddler and therefore can’t really fit the commercially-available costumes?  In 2008, right on the heels of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in theaters, my 3 1/2 year old son wanted to be R2D2.

With just a trash can from our local home improvement center, spray paint, a few Sharpie pens, and some materials on hand, we made our 3 1/2 year old an unforgettable costume!

Disclaimer: I know it isn’t a spitting image.  My sons didn’t care that it wasn’t a spitting image.  I have been so proud of their imaginations and creativity every Halloween season.  I’m sad that a lot of that is starting to fall by the wayside as they get older and merely want to be like their friends, but it was fun while it lasted!

Do you want to make an R2D2 costume for your 3-7 year old?  All you need is one of these (and a few other materials):

Photo by

But then what?  I’ll show you!  In addition to the Rubbermaid bullet trash can, gather these additional materials:

  1. White Plastic-friendly spray paint
  2. Deep blue metallic spray paint
  3. Silver spray paint
  4. Black and blue Sharpie pens
  5. Anything else you want to make it look like R2D2
  6. White duct tape
  7. An old baseball cap

First you have to remove the bottom of the can. Use a saw or perhaps something that can melt the plastic? Photo: Patricia Vollmer

Next, use Rust-oleum for Plastic to paint over both the top and the bottom. Even though you’ll be painting the helmet silver, prime it with this plastic-friendly paint. Photo: Patricia Vollmer

The painted top and bottom. Note that we popped the swinging cover out of the top. Photo: Patricia Vollmer

Paint the helmet silver. Then after the silver paint COMPLETELY dries (we gave it 24 hours), mask the helmet for the blue areas. We used metallic blue paint for this part. Photo: Patricia Vollmer

The completed helmet. My father-in-law gives the boys these blinky red safety lights all the time, so it made a great red light for this. Photo: Patricia Vollmer

For the torso, we used white duct tape to make straps, and Sharpie pens to replicate R2’s panels and vents. I used this picture as a guide: Photo: Patricia Vollmer

Here’s my little guy headed to a preschool Halloween party. He loved this costume! Photo: Patricia Vollmer

A few notes about this costume:

  • We put my son in a white t-shirt and white sweatpants.
  • To make the helmet stay on my son’s head, I hot-glued an old baseball cap to the inside.  I secured the baseball cap backwards and the helmet stayed on very nicely.
  • You can’t sit in this outfit.  When it comes to trick or treating, this wasn’t a problem.  My little guy trucked all through the neighborhood with no complaint.  At the preschool Halloween party, he had to step out of the cylinder to sit down for crafts and snacks.  With the white duct tape straps, this was easy to do.

My girlfriend made a similar costume for her 6-year-old son, using a slightly bigger bullet trash can.

The TorWars blog posted in September about some great (and not-so-great) R2D2 costumes.

Happy Halloween, Geek Mom friends!

Patricia Vollmer

Patricia Vollmer

Patricia Vollmer is a geeky meteorologist mother of two emerging geek sons, ages 10 & 12. She is currently teaching mathematics at the United States Air Force Academy. Patricia blogs about her family's military life at Ground Control to Major Mom. Home is always where the Air Force sends her family, which for now is in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Hobbies include running, playing her violin, needlecrafts and exploring the world with her boys. Ask her why the sky is blue at your own risk.
Patricia Vollmer
  • Jenn

    My 2 year old wants to be a robot for halloween, I tried pushing for R2D2 but as she explained to me “no mama R2D2 is a droid not a robot”. I love this idea i hope i can persuade her next year. Thanks

  • Maryann Goldman

    Such fond memories and great costumes!