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Five Ways to Use a Plastic Trash Can in Cosplay

trash can helmet

Plastic trash cans are affordable and can be found just about anywhere. Even grocery stores usually stock smaller models. They come in various shapes from round domes to standing rectangles, and you can choose from different heights. All of those factors make them an ideal material for cosplay. Whether you leave them as is and paint them or cut them up to utilize the plastic in a different way – there are options. Here are five suggestions on how to use a plastic trash can in a costume:

trash can - r2-d2

Picture from Geek Mom

Astromech droid – When I see a trash can with a flip top dome, I can’t help but think of R2-D2 from Star Wars. And he’s far from the only astromech in the saga. To make the kid-sized costumed, you’d just have to cut out the bottom of the trash can, create armholes, secure the lid (you could wrap the dome part in papier mache), and then paint the trash can to look like Artoo or one of his pals. You can take it to the next level by adding a red LED and sound effects.

Captain America’s shield – Have a round Rubbermaid-style trash can that comes with a lid? That round top is just waiting to become Captain America’s shield. You’d just need to prime it, use a protractor and pencil to sketch out the concentric circles, use a template to outline the star, and carefully paint it. It won’t be as strong as vibranium, but you shouldn’t be trying to stop bullets with it anyway.

trash can - eve costume

EVE from WALL-E – A tiny trash can with a dome is perfect for another kind of robot: EVE from WALL-E. Again, cut out the bottom and make armholes (be sure to cushion them) and add some LED lighting. For the robot’s face, you have to cut a hole in the lid and make a face plate from the plastic, mesh, and black pantyhose. Drwave has a helpful Instructable with all the details.

Helmets – Some office-sized trash cans are smaller at the bottom but flare into a wider opening at the time. Those types of trash cans are wonderfully suited for helmets. You can slide them on without having to worry about it being too tight. Think about where you want the eyes and mouth to be, and once you’ve traced the outlines onto the trash can, use a Dremel or tin snips to cut away. From there you can add additions like craft foam, paint, horns, you name it.

fett armor

Armor – While Worbla, Sintra, and similar materials are wonderful for building armor, so are plastic garbage cans. You can slice and dice Boba Fett armor from 13 and 8 gallon trash cans. The Dented Helmet user AFettFullofDollars simply traced templates onto the trash cans to get the proper curves and cut them apart using tin snips. Not into Fett? You can also build a set of Iron Man Mark V armor.

Top picture from Luis Linares.


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