How to Make a Latex Batman Costume

Written by melissa j. bell
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Some costumes never go out of style. Such is the case with Batman costumes, which have evolved from the days of spandex and tights into the more professional-looking latex and rubber styles used in the films. Designed to hug the body and show off the shape of the wearer while adding extraneous armour detail, latex bodysuits are a favourite solution to the problem of skintight armoured superhero costumes like Batman's. Not a task for the easily discouraged, making your own latex Batman costume requires some skill in latex manipulation and craft moulding. To make your own latex Batman costume, follow these guidelines.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Reference pictures
  • A full fabric superhero suit with a black back zipper in your size
  • Fabric cape and cowl
  • Duct tape
  • PVC pipes
  • Spare shirt and trousers
  • Cotton batting
  • 1 gallon liquid latex
  • Craft foam
  • Foam-carving tools
  • Craft glue
  • Table covered in plastic
  • Sponge, roller or paintbrush applicator
  • Latex paints
  • Airbrushing machine

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Gather as many reference pictures as possible of the Batman costume version you would like to make. Get whole body as well as detail views of the front, back and sides. You may wish to make sketches of each part of the costume and decide if you would like to make the costume as one full latex bodysuit, or separate pieces that operate together. A full bodysuit will be easier to make but may not be as comfortable to wear.

  2. 2

    Create a dummy of your body out of duct tape and PVC piping. Put on an oversized long-sleeved shirt and trousers and get some friends to help you cover both articles of clothing in duct tape. Have them follow the natural curves of the body and apply the tape snugly. Once you are covered in about two layers of tape, carefully cut yourself out of the tape, up the center back. Re-tape the cuts once you have removed the taped shirt and trousers, and stuff the form with cotton batting. Run the PVC pipes up through the centre and arms of the dummy so that it will hold the shape while you work on it.

  3. 3

    Put a store-bought or homemade fabric superhero bodysuit in your size over the dummy. This will be the base of your costume. Lay the dummy down on the plastic-protected table. Apply the first layer of liquid latex to the suit using the applicator of your choice. Be sure not to cover the zipper. Let it air-dry completely.

  4. 4

    Create raised sections such as abdominal muscles out of craft foam. Use your references to determine exactly the size and shape of each detail, and do not be afraid to carve into the craft foam for groove details. Stick each piece of craft foam to the first latex layer. Make sure that you are happy with the arrangement before moving on.

  5. 5

    Cover the bodysuit and craft foam in at least four more layers of latex, allowing for drying time between each layer. You can add more details to the suit between layers. Make sure that the latex fully covers any fabric ripples or bumps. When you are happy with the way that the suit looks, let it dry fully.

  6. 6

    Cover the suit with black latex paint, using an airbrushing machine. You may need to do several coats in order to fully cover the latex colour. Let it dry completely.

  7. 7

    Cover the cowl in latex in the same way you did the bodysuit. On the cowl, attach craft foam ears to mimic Batman's. Paint it with black latex paint. For the cape, you may wish to purchase a fabric cape instead of a latex cape due to weight issues. Purchase black vinyl or PVC boots and gloves to finish off the costume.

Tips and warnings

  • When being taped into your dummy form, you may wish to bend your arms and legs a bit so that the final product is easier to move in.
  • Remember that latex shrinks when it dries, so you want your dummy to be strong enough to withstand this.
  • Mix latex with water for a smoother finish.
  • Depending on the finish you would like on the latex, you will need different applicators. Sponges will create a more stippled look, and paintbrushes and rollers a more smooth look. You can also spray latex on the suit.
  • Some make their Batman suit out of latex and any armour bits, such as those used in the more recent Batman movies, out of craft foam.
  • The more ambitious Batman costume maker may want to look into bodycasting, in which the costume details are sculpted directly onto an armature of the person's body, and then the whole thing is cast in latex or another sturdy material.

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