How to make a believable Astronaut costume for under $230
Costumes are a big part of making your film or video believable. I recently wrapped up a short film about Mars travel so having a realistic astronaut costume to go with our awesome Mars location was really important. This was a small budget (ok let’s be honest, a no budget) production so what we purchased had to be inexpensive but look good.
I’m no seamstress so I immediately searched for pre-made astronaut costumes. What I found was disappointing to say the least. I had the option of the super sexy astronaut or a costume so well worn and ill-fitting it was comical. So it was on to the DIY costume! As I cannot sew to save my life nor was there the time to construct something from scratch for this project, the director and I searched for other pre-made options that we could embellish later. The solution? A long-sleeved white body leotard for dancers. At a retail price of $30, we couldn’t go wrong.
The body suit by itself looked, well, like a body suit. So we added printed out patches of the American flag, NASA logo, the Orion spaceship, and an eagle. I’m not too sure about why the eagle but it seemed to work out. If we had more of a budget & time and/or were going to be showing body closeups in good lighting we would have done embroidered patches. But as our production was going to be showing full body shots from far away against the “Mars” backdrop, we were safe with this no-cost option of printed patches where the detail would not be seen.
We also took some inspiration from those sexy costumes we passed on earlier and added colored bands to the legs to break up the body suit look below the waist. This was a 2-person production so the director and I were running around like crazy trying to make things work with the production’s schedule. Which means that some things were done last minute, like adding these embellishments to the costume. We didn’t measure the actor’s legs in advance before hot gluing the ribbons to the body suit. The result? The actor could barely get the body suit on and I had to cut the ribbons off of the body suit so that she could get into the costume!
Now that the body suit was all sorted out, it was onto the helmet. I quickly learned that finding believable space helmets on a budget take a lot of creativity and patience. I found some cheap-y astronaut costume helmets which just didn’t pop like I was hoping so I got the idea for a motorcycle helmet. The director found all sorts of helmets which just looked like awesome motorcycle helmets and nothing space like. Until we found it- a round shaped, white helmet with glass face. The only problem? It was too small for the actor’s head! If you’re going the motorcycle helmet route, buy the largest size possible.
With the helmet and body costume squared away it was onto the final accessories of an oxygen tank, gloves and boots. We bought the oxygen tank tube at Home Depot- I’m not sure what it’s actual purpose is, a white backpack and black gardening gloves from Target, and the actor had black military styled boots. Again, these were not going to be seen close up in very bright lighting so although they weren’t the most realistic, they helped to complete the look.
You’ll also notice that this astronaut is wearing a scarf. This was a last minute coverup for the body suit which had a scoop neck. I would have liked to have used a turtleneck but they’re really hard to find in the summer in Texas. I’m also not convinced that would have looked better. As we spent more on the costume than initially planned, we went with a large white scarf that I own.
In the end, I think this costume came out pretty good for a little less than $230. Here’s quick breakdown of the cost:
- Backpack $30
Body Suit $30
Are you working on a space project and need to create an astronaut costume? Let me know what you plan to use below!