kylo ren costume

Here’s what makes a great Kylo Ren costume 5


So, I’ve been working on a Kylo Ren costume for quite some time now. Since I saw the movie on opening weekend, I knew this was a costume I wanted to try out. It’s also completely different from any of my other superhero costumes which makes it interesting! But to get to the point, here’s what makes this costume great.

If you’ve seen the movie then you know how cool this character is. Mysterious, powerful, unbalanced … a new take on the same ol’ “bad guy” routine. And that lightsaber! How awesome!

kylo ren costume 

Research

Since this is a completely new type of costume for me, I knew I’d need some help. And what better organization for a young apprentice than the Knights of Ren? Yep, the Knights of Ren (KoR) is a Facebook group consisting of a few thousand cosplayers who only talk about dressing up as Kylo Ren (or one of the other Knights). It’s pretty awesome – especially if you need to know where to find (or how to make) the good stuff. I highly recommend you join this group if you’re even reading this post!

The second-best place to go is the Replica Prop Forum, where there is a designated section for those you want to emulate the Knights of Ren … even if in costume only.

Kylo Ren Costume: Bad Version 1

Since I thought this would all be fairly easy and inexpensive, I jumped on the first “for sale” sign I saw on the KoR group – a guy selling what looked like a great costume – from Poland. $300 and a couple weeks later, I had the costume in-hand. It came with an outer robe, an inner tunic, and a belt. At first it seemed awesome and surprisingly fit really well, and I was very happy with the purchase. It really didn’t look too bad!


I decided that if I was going to do this costume, I was going to do it right. Yes, that does mean spending money – but that also means that it’s going to be friggin’ awesome!
But sadly, after a couple weeks with it, I realized it was too tight and didn’t really feel as authentic as I’d like. I learned that it was really a CostumeBase Kylo Ren costume, and it was certainly not worth the price I paid for it. So, I parted it out and sold it off, of course losing money!

Kylo Ren Costume: Awesome Version 2!

So what makes V2 a great Kylo Ren costume? Weeeell, all this freaking awesome stuff! Check it out – and if you have any questions about anything, just post it in the comments.

Helmet

Modifications:

  • Replaced nose piece
  • Replaced visor with cloth mesh
  • Filled speaker holes in front
  • Dremeled cheek holes, weathered, added cloth backing
  • Plastic welded seams, bondo outside to fill gaps
  • Added magnets for hood placement
  • Fiberglass-reinforced interior
  • Added texture, repainted black
  • Added foam to interior
  • Installed cooling fans
  • Installed microphone for external voice changer

The item that started me down this path to the dark side: the Black Series Kylo Ren Helmet, from Target. Yep, we were just cruising the toy aisles as usual, and I saw it. I remembered seeing people talking about it on the KoR group, and I thought ‘Hey, I could probably customize one too … ‘ .  So, I did. Check out the whole super-modified Black Series Kylo Ren helmet post if you’re interested! It was a lot of work but really turned out well.

Inner Pleated Tunic

Modifications:

  • Removed collar
  • Added hook and eyelet
  • Applied Dawn’s coating

When I sold off the V1 Kylo Ren costume, I found that a lot of people in the KoR group were referencing XCoser, which is a China-based company that makes all kinds of different cosplay items. I found they had a Kylo Ren costume with fairly good reviews, and most people seemed to be using the company for the inner pleated tunic especially. So, I bought their whole costume!

While the inner pleated tunic was excellent both in quality and fit, the other pieces (outer robe, gloves, belt, hood, scarf) were just nowhere near the level of accuracy I was going for. So, I kept the belt buckle and sold the rest off.

Then there was some modification to be done to the tunic, of course. I started by removing the collar, as apparently it isn’t on the inner tunic, but on the midcoat. I then added a hook and eyelet to the top of the zipper area just to hold it together at the neck, and took in the sides a bit since they were a bit wider than I am. It gave it a more “fitted” look even though it’s still fairly loose. Some people recommend adding zippers to the sleeves to make them tighter around the arms, but mine fit fairly well around the arms already so I left that.

Then, while I was coating the other items, I mixed up Dawn Bright’s shiny coating (watch the video) and applied it to the whole inner tunic. I really wanted that shine! While I may have overdone it, the shine really shows up nicely for pictures and I wouldn’t change it.

Here’s the finished inner pleated tunic:

Belt

Modifications:

  • Painted, affixed XCoser belt buckle to “Poland” belt
  • Cut to size and added velcro
  • Added lining to top and bottom from XCoser belt

There’s not too much else to say about this! I had a couple of belts, one from Poland with great material but a bad buckle and no lining, and a bad one from XCoser with a great buckle! So I just combined the two.

kylo ren costume build

Pants

Modifications:

  • Applied Dawn’s coating

For pants, most people like some sort of shiny black jeans or cheap jeggings (apparently found at Wal-Mart). I’m not down with jeggings – not because I’m insecure in my manhood, but rather because of the lack of pockets! I need a place to carry my phone, wallet, and keys even in costume!

So, I found some waxed denim Akademics jeans in black on Amazon. These are great on their own, but I decided I’d shine them up as well with Dawn’s coating! Why not? The extra coating actually helps them blend in to the rest of the suit as well as the boots:

Midcoat

Modifications:

  • Added foam as interfacing as collar
  • Used light cotton material
  • Made from loose measurements

After watching Dawn Bright’s quick video tutorial on the subject, I decided that I could probably make a good-enough midcoat myself! Even though it’s not 501st-acceptable, it was very cheap and serves my purposes for now.

I just used some very cheap black cotton fabric, and cut a very loose pattern and sewed it all together. I used some craft foam as interfacing for the military-style collar, then attached that. Not 100% accurate, but nice and cheap and the collar looks great!

Neck Seal

Modifications:

  • Used black vinyl material
  • Made from SMP Designs pattern

As you can see in the above pictures, I also needed a neck seal to complete the costume. Based on what I’ve seen in the KoR group, there are a lot of makers of this particular neck seal, as well as the different styles for stormtroopers and certain Mandalorians. However, everything I saw that was any good – as far as a Kylo Ren costume version – was $50 or above.

So, off to Joann Fabrics to buy some vinyl. I found a pattern graciously uploaded by SMP Designs (an extraordinarily-talented seamster) and used that as a base. It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, and ended up taking a whole afternoon. I got hungry.

Then I cut and sewed as best I could, until I ended up with this:

Gloves

Modifications: NONE

I think the gloves are the only piece I didn’t have to chance one bit! They are the John Fuqua gloves, and they are just perfect. And the best part is that they are the older version, so only cost $35! The quality of the stitching and the leather are worthy of the First Order – and I love them.

Boots

Modifications:

  • Sewed front piece down

The boots were ordered from Imperial Boots for Wave 04, on May 4 – I received them on May 26. Not bad! And they really are great boots, even if they are a little squeaky. One thing I noticed was that the top “flap” really turned upward at the top of the foot whenever I walked, and I didn’t like that – so I sewed it down by hand. Other than that, these boots are highly accurate, and look and feel great.

Outer Robe / Hood / Scarf / Cape

Modifications:

  • Applied Dawn’s shiny coating
  • Sewed a line around the edge of the scarf to limit fraying
  • Pinned scarf in place
  • Added magnets to hood for helmet placement

I ended up purchasing the Kylo Ren costume robe, hood and cape from Hampton’s Jedi Outfitters. I wanted to make sure that I was getting a great robe, hood, and scarf because these are pretty important pieces! It was also necessary that everything fit well for me, both in height and width. The pieces were a great price – $125 each – and both arrived in only 4 weeks!

First, I tried on the hood and cape. WHOA. That’s a big hood – and it was absolutely perfect for Kylo Ren! The cape/scarf just had to be wrapped around a certain way to be right, and there was plenty of material to do just that.

Unfortunately, when I tried on the robe it was just WAY too big. It seemed as if it was made for someone much bigger than myself, but it also could have been that the measurements that I sent in were just plain wrong. I contacted Hampton’s Jedi Outfitters via Etsy, and we communicated back and forth for a bit, and finally decided that I would send it back (with new measurements) so they could alter it.

They ended up making a brand new robe for me and sending it back at no expense to me! The new robe fit great, and I’m very pleased with both the craftsmanship as well as the level of customer service I received. It’s really a great shop, and these are great pieces.

kylo ren costume build

Great fabric!

I then pinned the scarf in place so I wouldn’t have to wrap it around me every time I put it on. Luckily, Hampton’s Jedi Outfitters put together this video to show us all how to do it! I tried sewing it at first, but that didn’t turn out because I ended up having to change it later – and taking out thread isn’t too easy. I settled on safety pins to hold it all together in the end, and it worked out well.

After I got everything back, I coated it all in Dawn’s shiny coating (make sure to check out that video). The robe and hood/cape took a LOT of this stuff, so make sure to buy extra if you’re going to do it! It was basically a gloppy mess that you paint on to the fabric to give it the shiny – yet still black – effect.

Check out the final result, and take a close look at how great this material is with the shiny coat:

Lightsaber

Modifications:

  • Added hot glue for unstable effect
  • Applied transparent red spray paint

I started off with the Disney Store toy lightsaber, but quickly determined that wasn’t gonna do it. As soon as I saw a sale for the Force FX Kylo Ren Lightsaber, I bought it! It was about $167 with shipping – not bad! If you don’t know what it looks like stock, just Google it. The hilt itself looks and feels great, as it’s heavy and metal with a great amount of detail. But the blades are white for crying-out-loud and they definitely don’t have that unstable look.

A quick Google search showed me just what to do: apply some hot glue to the blades in a very random manner! That definitely helps disperse the light in that unstable way, but I found it still needed to be red. I went with VHT transparent red spray paint which I found at O’Reilly Auto Parts and it really worked well. I’m usually heavy-handed when it comes to paint, and that was exactly what was needed here.

Take a look at the video to see it in action:

Voice changer

Yes, I tried modifying the original voice changer that came in the Black Series helmet. Sorry, but it was just garbage. Next, based on recommendations from the KoR group, I tried Luke Daley’s setup. I even bought a new iPhone 4 to run the Voice FX app! Nope, didn’t work – it just never sounded right.

After tons of frustration, I just ended up with a $37 solution from Amazon that sounds perfect! Check out the video to judge for yourself:

Instead of carrying around the speaker or trying to mount it in my helmet, I affixed some wire to it and just hang it around my neck. The speaker then just tucks under my robe, and I throw the scarf over it.

 The microphone itself is actually hot-glued to the underside of the nose piece in the helmet. It doesn’t move or come out – but it is perfectly positioned to catch my voice:

Kylo Ren Black Series Helmet

Looking at the upside-down helmet.

Finished Costume

And here it is in all it’s finished glory! Check out the video (where the wife laughs at me …), and stay for the pics !

And maybe Kylo and Rey will see you at Denver Comic Con 2016!


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5 thoughts on “Here’s what makes a great Kylo Ren costume

  • Danny

    Great work! Im using a lot of your ideas for mine. I plan on wearing mine to Honolulu Comic Con 2017. Just one other idea, I would wear a baklava when you have the hood down. It would be a little hot but you wouldn’t be able to see parts of your face when you turn your head.

    • Super J Post author

      Yep when I actually suit up I definitely wear a black balaclava to hide the rest! So isn’t Honolulu Comic-Con SUPER hot!? Isn’t it normally 50+% humidity there?

    • Super J Post author

      The hood and scarf are actually one piece! It’s basically a long rectangle, with a hood sticking out in the middle of the piece. Then you just wrap the length around to make it look like that.