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Tardis Halloween costume

Started by wahoonie, Oct 04, 2010, 10:33 pm

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Oct 04, 2010, 10:33 pm Last Edit: Nov 29, 2010, 02:52 pm by Scarfwearer
After getting through the past couple of seasons of Doctor Who, my son decided he wanted to be the Doctor for Halloween, with a Tardis he could travel around in.  I went looking online for Tardis plans when I stumbled across this site, and was really impressed by all the builds.  I don't really have any experience building something like this but thought I would give it a try.

The plan is for him to trick-or-treat by going house to house in the Tardis, going up to the front door as the Doctor, getting back into the Tardis and 'flying' to the next house.  With sound effects of course.

The original idea was he would be able to wear the Tardis like a backpack, but that is looking less likely at this point.  You can see our attempt though.

Using my son's current height I adjusted the Tardis to be 65% of the original size - so it would be proportional for him.  

To try and make it light enough I decided to make it out of foam board and pink insulation foam.

First step was getting all the supplies at Home Depot:


Once I got it home I measured out all the panels, but unfortunately I only had a skil saw to cut everything out.  Ended up not getting the straightest lines:


Here are all the panels cut out, including the base:


I didn't get good pictures of putting the corner posts together, but here's the first test making sure the posts fit into the base with the panels:


Next I started in on the roof.  I had to build it so we could easily take apart and assemble, mainly so I could get it out of the house, and easily transport in the car.

I framed out the roof, and then built tracks on the bottom of the roof that the panels would fit into, I then have velcro straps which secure it together.


Here's a closeup of the tracks:


This is the roof frame once attached to the panels:


It's actually pretty sturdy once all the pieces have been locked together with the tracking and the velcro.

Next up was getting the slant on the roof.  I really wasn't sure how to get the shape of the trapezoids right.  I saw some other posts to calculators and such to figure everything out, but one thing I learned along the way, is my measuring is pretty horrible, so calculating it out was probably going to end up with pieces that really didn't fit.

From my plans I knew the overall height required for the slanted part of the roof, so I got that established with a central post first (it's hollow in case I need to get any lighting equipment for the lantern later).


Once that was in place we measured what the height of the trapezoid should be:


Then it was just a matter of laying the roof piece down and tracing from the corner of the roof to the central post corner:




The final piece was getting the frames built for the police signs:


Now that the major pieces were finished it was on to painting.  I wasn't sure what to paint it out of, but ended up going with a spray paint from Home Depot.  The only draw back was if the paint got to thick it would start melting the insulation.  This actually resulted in a very cool damaged/weathered appearance.




I then started in on the windows.  I made them out of Lexan, and the framing out of craft foam.


I glued the windows into place, and then added the white frame.


Assembly takes about 10 minutes.  This was our first assembly after painting and getting the windows done:


We live on hill, and don't really have any place flat outside, so this is going to look crooked:


Here's where it all went horribly wrong.  He really wanted to carry it around like a backpack.  

I built a harness out of packing tape he could wear, that would also hold a pvc pipe that would then be attached to the roof:


And here's a shot of it with the roof attached:


Everything was going great until we tried it with everything assembled.  It was just too heavy.  He could definitely walk around with it, but it was like he was weight lifting.  After a couple feet he had to take a break.  Definitely not something you want to go trick-or-treating in.  I'm currently thinking I'm going to build some kind of frame on the bottom with wheels so he can push/pull it around.

Next steps are to get the lantern in place, get the handles, and the remaining signs on the front door.

For now it's taken up residence in the family room.


I have these things that will attach to any surface and turn it into a speaker by making it vibrate.  So we wired it up and the whole Tardis is one big speaker now.  I'll see if I can get a video of that up on youtube soon.  The plan is he can hook up an ipod with music from the show that he can play while he is walking around.


That is excellent!  I've always suggested using insulation foam board as a way to make a lightweight TARDIS without going the cardboard route.  Thanks for proving it works (well, not so much for kids to carry).

Definitely look into a wagon-like setup to move the TARDIS.  And don't forget a wheel locking mechanism. If you don't, the TARDIS might roll away or worse.
Bill "the Doctor" Rudloff


That's brilliant! Very impressed indeed.
Farewell Sarah Jane, you will be missed.


What a lovely TARDIS! And a great build diary!
It's also probably one of the lightest TARDISes for its size - any idea what it actually weighs?



A really brilliant looking TARDIS.... congratulations and well done for originality :)


An idea of mad genius befitting of the Doctor.

I don't know what to say, I'm speechless!

wayne venomous


Absolutly brilliant and it turned out great. What a fun costume




Oct 19, 2010, 03:37 am #9 Last Edit: Oct 19, 2010, 03:42 am by type55tardis
Brilliant , just wait till he wants the full size version then your in trouble  :)
so let me get this straight,A thing that looks like a Police box standing in a junkyard,It can move anywhere in Time and space ?


Nov 04, 2010, 01:19 am #10 Last Edit: Nov 04, 2010, 01:20 am by wahoonie
We survived Halloween.  

I was able to get wheels on the bottom, although I would definitely try to go with rubber wheels next time.  I only found hard plastic wheels at Home Depot and they were significantly loud when being pulled on the street.

First we had a Halloween parade at the school.  It was about a half a mile.  We introduced a lot of people to Doctor Who that day.


The TARDIS held up really well, the only damage were cracks to the base.


I was able to repair these with some metal braces and lots of velcro.

You can see the wheels pretty clearly in this shot:


Here are some youtube videos of it in action:

TARDIS in Halloween parade:

TARDIS sound test:

We ended up not doing the sound since the wheels were so loud.

TARDIS smoke test:

We had the TARDIS sit out front for our Halloween party with a smoke machine inside, the kids loved it.

Trick-or-treating with it was a lot of fun.  Our plan worked great.  We would pull the TARDIS along house to house, and then Logan would go up to the door leaving the TARDIS on the street, and trick-or-treat.  He would tell people he was the Doctor, and the ones who knew Doctor Who would always ask, "Where is the TARDIS?", and he would point over to it.  You could see the surprise as they realized he had it.

We had a lot of people come out of their house and come down to take pictures with it.

The total weight of the TARDIS is 24 lbs.


Farewell Sarah Jane, you will be missed.

Organic Mechanic

This is just plain awesome!


I disagree.  There's nothing plain about it - this is like awesome with cream filling and sprinkles!



And possibly the lightest TARDIS on the site that you can actually get into....