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How to make a Dalek costume

Updated April 17, 2017

Showing up at a costume party as one of Doctor Who's ancient nemeses is sure to impress your fellow sci-fi fans. As you may imagine, constructing the armoured casing for an evil mutant alien is no simple task. Building a wearable Dalek will require a lot of time and experimentation. No two Dalek costumes are the same. Your finished product will depend on the tools and materials you have on hand, your body shape, and of course, which variant of Dalek you wish to emulate.

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  1. Find pictures of Daleks online and in fan magazines. Get a clear idea of the shape and colour you wish to achieve. Print out these pictures and put them up around your workspace in order to give yourself a clear reference point.

  2. Build a frame for the base of your Dalek. This circular frame will need to be wide enough to fit your body comfortably. The height of the frame should reach up to your waist. Once you have your measurements, construct a circular frame using a lightweight material, such as plywood or even extra-thick corrugated cardboard.

  3. Cover the base frame in sheets of posterboard or cardboard. You can attach these sheets using glue or strong tape. Try to use as few pieces as possible, so as to give the appearance of a smooth outer shell.

  4. Create a frame for the section of the Dalek covering your torso. Use the same materials as the base frame. This "shoulder" section will need to rest as seamlessly as possible on top of the base. Measure your shoulders to find the width necessary for you to fit inside. You will need to provide two holes for your arms, directly out the front of the frame. Attach two box-shaped "sleeves" to the front of these holes. These sleeves can also be made with sturdy cardboard or plywood. Over the sleeves, mount tools that can be moved by hand within the costume. As Daleks have a wide variety of tools at their disposal, be creative when finding appropriate objects to use. Possibilities include old broom handles, new toilet plungers, or even your own custom tools made from cardboard.

  5. Build the Dalek's head. There are two different methods for this step. You can build a dome-shaped frame using the same technique from Steps 2 through 4, or you can modify an existing object, such as a large bowl or dustbin lid. Keep in mind that while Daleks do not have eyes, you will need to cut some sort of hole to see through.

  6. Cut a set of foam balls in half. Glue them to the base using hot glue or epoxy. The number of balls you will need will depend on the size of your Dalek costume. You may wish to draw guidelines with a ruler to ensure that the balls are attached in straight lines.

  7. Paint all three parts of your Dalek costume. Spray paint is the quickest way to give your costume a smooth coat of colour. Ideally, paint your Dalek outside over a tarp or several unfolded newspapers. Allow your costume to dry fully before wearing it.

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Things You'll Need

  • Plywood or extra-strong corrugated cardboard
  • Sheets of posterboard or cardboard
  • Hot glue or epoxy
  • Foam balls
  • Tape
  • Spray paint

About the Author

Marie Cartwright began writing in 2010. Her work has appeared on various websites. Having held office jobs in copywriting and editing, Cartwright now works from her home in Northern California. She also maintains an events website geared toward the science and technology community.

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