Halloween Costume Projects: How To Make A Star Wars Light Saber

No Jedi costume is complete without a lightsaber, but these can be costly and difficult to find. Use this guide to create your own!

Out of the many Star Wars characters available to dress up as for Halloween, the most popular are always the Jedi Knights. No Jedi costume is complete without a lightsaber, but these can be costly as well as difficult to find. They were once regular stock at toy stores, but in the past several years, official lightsaber toys are seldom in production, and they can be unwieldy if you are looking for a prop rather than a useable weapon. Around Halloween, cheap lightsabers are usually available, but these are just as clumsy and are generally bought up quickly.

Making a homemade lightsaber can be quick and easy, depending on how realistic you want it to be and what you intend to use it for. An extendable lightsaber, unfortunately, is difficult and time-consuming to craft (not to mention difficult to handle, since the blade will fall out if you try to hang it upside-down) and you may be better off here purchasing an official toy. A prop to hang on your belt on the other hand can be crafted with as much care as a real Jedi might put into his lightsaber, and look just as good.

If you are going for the simple approach, start with whatever tube-type object you may have lying around the house. A paper towel roll is sufficient, but a piece of hard rubber or plastic piping will work far better. (A saw can be used to cut piping down to an appropriate size. Be sure to have someone experienced with tools take care of this part.)

Next, a craft or hardware store will yield many small additions to build your lightsaber. Depending on the character you are dressing as, you may need such items as rubber rings (Luke), large screws (Vader) or circular pieces of plastic to fit around the handle (Anakin and others). If you are designing your own saber, pick out whatever accessories you like to customize the hilt. For those looking to create a more lifelike design, stick to materials you will not need to alter later--if your saber requires silver screws, go ahead and purchase them, as opposed to buying wooden pieces and painting them. A rectangular doorbell makes an excellent 'on' button. (The electronic-savvy may even be able to fashion a sound system inside their lightsaber like this!) A ring or other mechanism you might use to clip one end to your belt loop is also advisable, and you may want to try a bathroom sink plug with a loop already attached. Don't forget to have some black and/or silver paint!

It is important to have a color picture from as many angles available and, if possible, clear line art of the saber you are creating. Such images can easily be located on the Internet; resize them if needed and print them out for reference. Refer to these pictures often, and study what they look like before you begin.

For a simple lightsaber, begin affixing your customizing pieces using krazy or hot glue. Remember to think about where you will be putting your hands on the hilt; do not put additions so close together that you cannot fit your fingers around the handle.

For a more complicated saber, sheets of thin metal can be fitted around the hilt for a genuine metallic look before you begin to customize. Be extremely careful if you intend to work with metals, and consult someone who knows what they're doing!

Once your add-ons are secure, affix the ends of the saber. As suggested before, a sink plug with a ring attached is simple and convenient for this. Fit it onto the end of the saber (trim with an x-acto knife and slide into the hilt if you judged the size wrong) and secure it with glue. Ensure the ring and the glue holding it there can support the saber's weight.

The opposite end is where the blade would go. Since an extendable blade isn't feasible for a homemade lightsaber, simply cap this end off with the pieces of translucent colored plastic or a similar material. For some sabers, such as Luke's, this colored area will be quite visible, where others' (such as Vader's) may require the hilting to go past the color point. Do whatever best suits your costume and preference.

Once you are done, it's time to paint! Using a paintbrush is the recommended method; however, if spray paint is all you have available, cover the parts of the saber you do not want to paint with masking tape, and do so in a well-ventilated area. Spray painting should not be done in cold temperatures and has a higher risk of bleeding onto areas you didn't want painted, so stick to a bottled paint if possible. If you created your saber out of aluminum or another metal, skip this step, or carefully paint only required areas, such as black screws or ridges.

When the paint is dry, your lightsaber should be ready for your costume!

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