PVC Foamboard/Styrene – Bender Costume

16 Aug


Note: the author refers to Sintra which is a particular brand name for foamed PVC. There’s three preferred brands in the marketplace: Sintra, Intecel, & Komatex. For everyday hobby type projects any of the 3 will appear similar. Sintra is recognized as the best for commercial printing because it takes ink better, however die cutters find the edges don’t finish as well as Komatex. Intecel is the middle of the road for both printers and die cutters.


Here are some pictures of the Bender costume I made. I made the costume initially because I was inspired by the large scale costumes I saw in the 2003 Comic-con masquerade. I was able to finish it in time to give him a test run at the Las Vegas Comic-Con on Halloween weekend.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know how it would turn out when I started, and I never took any pictures of the progress. But here are some details on the construction of the costume:

I was originally going with the silver duct material (like on a dryer) for the arms and legs I even had it bought, but when I found this rubber stuff (quite on accident) I took all of the aluminum foil looking stuff back.

For the head I made 2 circles from sintra and made several vertical supports between them to make the basic cylinder shape and covered it with a skin of thin styrene. I then made another circle, cut it in half and notched the 2 haves together to form an X for the basic structure under the dome. Then after some styrene strips over the top, some fiberglass underneath, and lots and lots of Bondo for the gaps and seams I had the head and dome.

The eye socket is heat shaped sintra covered with a skin of thin styrene. The eyeballs are 4″ clear hemispheres from Micheals (fill it yourself Xmas ornaments) I painted them white, but finding the balance of enough paint to cover but not be too opaque was not easy. This was my third attempt.

The antenna is a threaded rod covered with bondo and sanded to the final shape.

For the mouth shape I cut out the basic hole from the styrene skin and then made a sintra framework covered with white fabric and black paint lines for the teeth that velcros in from the inside. This is where I will see out of the costume. I also cutout a portion of the lower jaw in the center and re-glued together to form a slight overbite.

The cigar is a novelty cigar from the Halloween store with some hot glue for ash and an LED and switch inside. There is a magnet on one end and a mating one behind the teeth.

The beer labels I made myself one from a screenshot and the other I just made-up

The body is constructed the same way as the head, styrene wrapped around a sintra framework and the arms and legs were originally painted but it kept flaking off, so I stripped all of the paint off and covered them with smooth gray vinyl tape.

the foot bowls are split up the back and snap back together, and also have a little semicircle in the toe area to hook under my boot to keep them from wobbling.

The shoulders I poured from grey flexible expanding foam into the same bowls I used for the feet, and spray painted the inside of the bowl first to get the grey “skin”.

I also ran nylon webbing up the insides of the legs and arms with a snap on the ends to snap into a belt for the legs support and inside the shoulder area for the arms.

other than that it’s alot of hot-glue, superglue, grey primer, and bondo. I also practiced with poster board before I started cutting shapes out of the styrene since it took almost 2 full sheets of styrene. I got a little bit thicker gauge like the thickness of the ABS armour out there for the body and also a little bit thinner gauge like a for sale sign for some of the outer skins since it is much more flexible.

I shaped most of the parts over the stove burner, but used a heat gun here and there too whenever I was trying to keep something from flexing back from the shape I had glued it into.

Click the thumbnails to see bigger pics.

From Bender’s Scrapbook Bender on TV!

1 Comment

Posted by on August 16, 2007 in DIY, Recreation, Signs


One response to “PVC Foamboard/Styrene – Bender Costume

  1. storydogs

    August 16, 2007 at 10:54 am

    That is soooo cool!


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