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How to Make an R2-D2 Costume (for Running or Fun!)

r2-d2 costume instructions

Whether you’re dressing up for a Star Wars race, Halloween or just feeling particularly festive on May the 4th, you might find yourself in need of a costume. And if a DIY R2D2 costume is your jam, then I’m here for you!

I made my own DIY R2-D2 costume for a Disney Star Wars race last spring — in fact, I made two of them because I was running two races that weekend and, well, once I got started, I found it was pretty easy and having a clean shirt to wear on the second day seemed like a smart move.

And this is where I should mention the fact that I am not crafty. At all. Like, my Martha Stewart gene is full-on missing. I like the idea of being crafty so I try every now and again, but about 80 percent of the time, I give up somewhere around the halfway point. So if I’m telling you this is pretty darn doable, you can trust me. Plus, if you already have a shirt to use, you can probably do this for right around $20 — not bad, right?

The best part of me making — and wearing — two of them is that I learned a few important lessons that I can now pass along to you.

How to Make a DIY R2-D2 Costume

What you’ll need: 

diy r2d2 costume materials

  • Blue sparkly duct tape and silver sparkly duct tape — get the kind with backing. You won’t need more than a roll of each. I found mine at Michael’s.
  • A red, sparkly circle, approximately two inches in diameter. You can make it yourself using rhinestones or sequins, or find something pre-made in your local craft store. I’ve done it both ways, and found that reworking a red, rhinestone heart from the craft store was much easier.
  • A white shirt made of a dry wicking material. Do not use a cotton shirt unless you’re planning to use additional adhesive materials to apply the duct tape or you’re going to stitch things in place. Duct tape does not stick well to damp cotton (and yes, I found this out a couple miles into a 10k). A slightly loose shirt with a more fitted hem at the bottom is ideal, shape-wise, but any white athletic shirt should work, really.
  • A black permanent marker.
  • A straight-edge ruler.


r2d2 costume top

  1. Find an R2-D2 pattern that you like — a quick search for “R2-D2 pattern” comes up with a ton of free options. Either print it or save it somewhere on a mobile device for quick and easy reference as you go. I opted to leave off the very top section of the design because that seems like R2’s face, and, I don’t know. I didn’t want his face on my body, I guess? Also, it seemed hard to do.
  2. Measure the width of your shirt. You want your widest piece — which is the long, thin blue stripe that’s the second row from the top — to be no wider than the chest area of your shirt. Once you have that measurement, you can use that to decide how long each piece should be. (This is part of why a looser shirt is ideal — more space for the design!)
  3. Begin cutting! If you’re concerned about keeping your pieces organized, you might consider numbering each piece on the pattern and labeling those pieces of duct tape as you cut them out. It can become difficult to figure out what pieces are scraps and what pieces are part of the design as you get farther along.
    • Tip: For pieces that need to be similar (like those three weirdos in the middle), I find it’s easiest to freehand the first one — just draw it out using a straightedge on the backing of the tape — cut it, then use that one as a pattern to sketch out the others.
  4. Once you have at least the basic shapes/sizes cut, lay them all out on your shirt to make sure everything will fit, both in terms of width and length.
  5. Use your marker to color a circle in the middle of your silver dot. You can also use markers to draw any of those trickier, smaller bits at the bottom if you don’t feel like cutting them out.
  6. Remove the backing from your duct and start sticking! Be careful to only apply once — if you have to remove and try to re-stick it, it’s less likely to stay put.
  7. Go get your geek on! Beep bop boop, and may the force be with you!

Do you ever wear costumes for races or group runs? I remember running a half marathon just behind a guy wearing a full, old school butler’s get-up — complete with a serving tray that had a champagne bottle and a couple of glasses glued to it. He carried it the whole way. I was impressed … and disappointed at the fact that there was no actual champagne in there. I was thirsty! Kristen

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