Do you know how to make a Star Wars Mandalorian costume? Maybe a better question is what is a Mandalorian? Why would you even want to make a Mandalorian costume? If you know nothing about the Mandalorians, then the whole topic must be boggling your mind, but if you are a Star Wars fan, then POWER TO THE FORCE!
So for everyone who doesn’t know anything about the Mandalorians, we’ll start with a quick history and update, then move onto how to make a Star Wars Mandalorian costume for adults and a kid’s Mandalorian costume as well.
When is the Mandalorian set?
Working out when the Mandalorian is set in the Star Wars timeline can be pretty difficult, simply due to the convoluted timeline of the Star Wars movies; it can be difficult keeping up with what happened and when it happened! So to give you an idea of where the Mandalorian fits into all of this, it’s a Star Wars web TV series (not a movie) that is set five years after the Return of the Jedi and 25 years before The Force Awakens. In other words, Darth Vader is dead and the boy Ben Solo hasn’t yet grown to become the man called Kylo Ren. The powerful grip of the Empire has ended, but the First Order hasn’t yet risen to power.
What is a Mandalorian?
The series is about a bounty hunter/gun fighter, called The Mandalorian, who comes from Mandalor, home planet of the Mandalorians. So to answer the question – what is a Mandalorian – it’s someone from Mandalor in the outer reaches of the galaxy. The Mandalorian is played by Pedro Pascal (who also played Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones), and operates alone in the outer reaches of the galaxy after the fall of the Empire. This series is very different to the usual Star Wars movies, and the executive producer Jon Favreau has been touted as saying that’s because he wanted to produce an old western movie along the lines of Mad Max meets Star Wars!
The Mandalorian wears the traditional armour of his homeland made from the practically indestructible Mandalorian iron, better known as beskar. Since this metal is rare and expensive, other bounty hunters tend to opt for durasteel or duraplast that are more easily available and less expensive.
So whether you are a die-hard Star Wars fan or have now felt the power of the FORCE – let’s take a look at how you can forge your very own Mandalorian armour costume.
How to make a Star Wars Mandalorian costume for adults
There are numerous ways to make your own Mandalorian costume, but we’re going to look at three of the more popular options. The first is a Mandalorian armour costume made of metal and worn fervently by true Star Wars fans and many Cosplayers. These are the type of people who value their individualism and the hyper-realism that they desire in their Star Wars costumes. So if you want tips for making Mandalorian armour that King Arthur’s Knights would be happy to wear, we have the inside track!
Next, there’s the fans that like to get all technical, not with armour plating, but with hard plastic. They create their armour using lightweight options like PVC pipes, cutting and designing their armour to fit. Last, there’s the fans that use a material that’s even easier to work, and that’s foamboard – to make their armour.
Let’s take a look at each of these options for your Mandalorian armour costume, and at the end we’ll talk about making a kid’s Mandalorian costume as well.
Creating a metal Mandalorian armour costume
To create a real armour version of the Mandalorian costume you will need to either learn armour smithing or find someone skilled in these techniques. This isn’t a path for the faint hearted, as you need to be a dedicated fan of the unique to head down this road. The ability to use Mandalorian iron (aka beskar), will be a plus, but since it’s a closely guarded secret on the planet Mandalor and only handed down across the generations, that’s an unlikely outcome!
Building a set of armour can take months of hard work and starts with careful planning. You need to know the exact design of your armour before starting to make it in metal. Often, it’s this initial planning stage that’s the most difficult! Each set of armour needs to be made to fit one person, there’s no one-size-fits-all when you are working with metal armour. For your armour to fit, move and look authentic, you need to take accurate measurements of your body. If you want to make your own armour, you will need to learn how to hammer shapes into the armour plates and this skill can take months to perfect.
Mandalorian armour for a woman is even more difficult to create, because it needs more curves to fit correctly. This can be a problem if you are new to metal smithing because you can overly stretch the metal and cause it to tear. When this happens, you need to start again with a new piece of metal. Knee plates can be another difficult piece to create, but the most difficult are the gauntlets and lower arm armour, because they have so many small pieces that need to be welded together. The helmet is no picnic to make either, but it can be managed!
One of the big problems with wearing a Mandalorian armour costume is the heat that builds up inside the armour, so you need to do something to keep cool. There’s also the problem with not hearing other people talking to you or answering your phone when you are wearing the helmet. If all of this sounds like too much authenticity for your costume, let’s check out how to make your armour out of PVC pipes.
Creating a Mandalorian costume out of PVC pipes
This design process might be easier to handle, because you will be making a helmet, chest plate, arm protectors and knee protectors from PVC pipe. So first of all, you need the largest drain pipe you can find, because it needs to go over your shoulders and around your chest. Here are the remaining steps to create your very own Mandalorian costume.
- Cut the pipe lengthwise and spread it out flat. Heat it up to make it pliable (you need good ventilation at this point), and put a heavy weight on top of it to force it flat as it cools.
- Cut out the upper armour to fit your own body – one for the front and one for the back, down to below your diaphragm. It’s best to make it too big and then trim it, rather than too small. The areas that need to be curved to fit your body need to be reheated, moulded into position and left to cool.
- Drill holes in the shoulders and sides and loosely attach the front and back with zip ties or wire.
- Cut and mould the shoulder pads so they are rounded to fit comfortably and do the same for the upper arm protectors. Attach these together using the same methods as above.
- Cut out the vambraces or lower arm protectors, slightly taper them so that they allow you to bend your arms and protect your elbows. Make these in two pieces so they fit better and join them together as above.
- Cut out the knee pads (you can use a similar pattern as for the shoulder pads), drill holes in the sides and tie them on with cord.
- The helmet takes some imagination, but once you have your design, cut it out of the PVC plastic, mould it to fit and use glue to keep it together.
Creating a foam board Mandalorian set of armour
Pliable foam boards are the easiest way to create your Mandalorian armour. It’s easy to cut and glue and if measured correctly, is also easy to wear. You will need to create your own design for this armour, but a neck and shoulder protector, and a chest piece are a good place to start. Cut these pieces out first and then using a heat gun, mould them into the right shape. Cover all the pieces with silver paint and you are nearly done! The secret to this armour is that you are going to glue it all to a black t-shirt, so it’s easy to get on and off! For the helmet, you can start with a really old motorbike or bicycle helmet (the ones with just a strap around the chin) and then cut out nose guards and cheek guards, using zip ties or wire to pull it all together (not forgetting to paint it silver).
How to make a kid’s Mandalorian costume
A kid’s Mandalorian costume is fairly simple to make, because it’s best made out of foamboard, as in the third method above. Foam Board makes it easy to mould the individual pieces to your child’s body and attaching these to a t-shirt makes it even better!
Now you know how to make a Star Wars Mandalorian costume, check out the Costumebox vaults for even more awesome Star Wars costumes!