/ / / / DIY Light-Up Robot Costume

DIY Light-Up Robot Costume

Halloween | Halloween Costumes | Sewing

Check out how I created a colorful DIY Light Up Robot Costume using felt, buttons and EL-Wire. A fun, quirky Halloween Costume!

This site contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. [Learn more]

DIY Light-Up Robot Costume

For Halloween this year, my son asked to go as a robot! I immediately started thinking silver robot, but he specifically asked for a “colorful robot with lots of dials and buttons”. We went to the library and checked out a few books on robots, including the book “Robots, Robots Everywhere! ” by Sue Fliess. This book was full of colorful, fun robots that were exactly what he had in mind. I used this book and all of its bright and quirky robots as inspiration for our DIY Light Up Robot Costume.

I thought I’d share my process for making this costume, as I didn’t find a lot of “colorful robots” on Pinterest.

The base of the costume is actually pretty simple – it’s just a rectangular piece of fabric with a hole cut for the head. This type of garment is called a tabard and was popular in the Middle Ages. I decorated the front of the tabard like crazy with buttons, fabric, felt and even lights! I chose to sew my decorations on, but you could also easily use fabric glue instead if you are more comfortable with that. 

A colorful robot costume made from buttons and felt next to a picture of it lit up at night from El-Wire!

Lighting Up the Costume

The most exciting part of this costume is that it lights up!! A few years ago I needed a costume to light up on stage with the press of a button. I purchased EL-Wire (electroluminescent wire) from Ellumiglow and it worked out so well! It came with a battery pack and three light modes (Quick Flash, Medium Flash and Constant ON). The great thing about this wire is that it is super flexible and easy to sew with. You can manipulate it in all different ways and hand-stitch it down.

I was so happy I still had these two EL-Wire kits in my costume stash because they were perfect for this robot costume! You can kind of see in some of the pictures the EL-Wire has spots of paint on it from their last use, but they still worked really well. I created little pockets on the inside of the tabard to hold the battery packs. My son has been wearing this costume in his room with the lights out just to look at it all lit up! I think it will be perfect for trick-or-treating at night!

The front of the robot costume with arrow buttons and felt shapes.

Colorful and striped knit cap with antennae and large felt eyes.

How to Make a Light-Up Robot Costume

Supplies Needed

Making the Tabard

(sleeveless garment with open sides and a hole for the head)

The first thing I did to make this robot costume was to make the base that everything would be applied to. I decided to keep it simple and make a tabard my son could wear over a shirt and pants – or a fleece coat if it is cold! Measure your child to see how wide and long the tabard should be. For my son, I cut a piece of fabric 30″ x 44″. I folded it in half lengthwise with right sides together and stitched it into a tube using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Blue corduroy folded and pinned on a table.

I turned it right side out and pressed. To make the head opening, I folded my tabard in half and traced the head opening using one of my son’s t-shirts as a guide. I cut the hole out and also added an opening along center back, about 8″ so he would be able to easily get in and out of the costume. To make sure the opening didn’t fray, I added a stay stitch by stitching along the edges of the opening at 1/4″. (Some of the stay stitch I ended up removing to add the shoulder pads).

A kids t-shirt is placed on the folded edge of the tabard and the head opening is marked.

An opening is cut in the center of the tabard for the head and a slit cut from it towards the back.

Pins follow the new head opening.

The neck opening is stitched to keep it from fraying.

To give the robot a boxy shape ( I wanted the shoulders to be square), I marked where my son’s shoulders would go and stitched lines that were 3″ apart. After removing the stay stitch between the lines I just made, I ended up with two channels that I could slide cardboard squares into. I made sure my squares were cut just a little smaller than 3″ and that they wouldn’t get in the way of the neckline.

Pink lines are drawn on a picture, they run horizontal in front and back of the head opening and it is labeled that they are three inches apart.

Small cardboard squares are added to make shoulder pads for the robot.

I added extra fabric to the bottom of the tabard to make it a little longer. First, I stitched the bands together with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Then I folded the bands, right sides together, so the yellow fabrics were touching. I stitched along the sides with a 1/2″ seam allowance. After clipping the corners, I flipped it inside out, pressed it and then attached it to the blue corduroy. I did this for the front and back of the tabard.

A rectangular piece of red fabric with two yellow bands added to the longer sides.

Red and yellow fabric is folded in half and stitched along the sides.

Red and yellow fabric is pinned to the bottom of the blue tabard edges.

Creating the Robot Gear Panel

Creating the gear panel was my favorite part! I printed off my robot layout so it was the size I wanted the panel to be. Then it was easy to take the fusible interfacing and lay it over the gear panel printout. I traced the gears onto the paper side of the interfacing with pencil. Next, I cut out the gears leaving about 1/4″ around each piece. The pieces were then ironed onto felt and cut out along the pencil lines.

Interfacing is laid over a printed picture of gears and traced with pencil.

A gear drawn on interfacing is ironed to a piece of red felt.

A huge assortment of shapes are ironed to colorful pieces of felt.

The cut out gears and circles lay together on a table.

Below you can see I have all of my gears laid out where I want them to go. It ended up being a little different than the plan I had made. I added a few buttons to fill in any gaps. Once everything was where I wanted it, I peeled the paper off the interfacing and ironed the pieces in place.

Felt gears are arranged on a robot gear panel.

I used matching embroidery floss to hand stitch the gears down using a running stitch. I added some decorative stitching to the top of the gears, too. It was easiest to do all this hand sewing with the gear panel not attached to the tabard yet. I mounted the light blue felt onto a large piece of black felt and added polka-dot fabric scraps to the sides. I machine stitched the black felt and polk- dot fabric to the tabard and then used a running stitch to hand sew the blue gear panel down. **TIP: You could do all of this without sewing by using fabric glue and HeatnBond Ultra Hold. This stronger interfacing acts like a glue and doesn’t require any stitching to keep it in place.

A piece of blue felt with colorful felt gears hand stitched to it.

Felt gear panel with felt gears and colorful shape buttons stitched on it.

Control Panel, Gauges, Oscillosope

The gauges are a lot of fun and the arrow buttons were perfect for this! I stitched the arrows to white and black felt circles and then machine stitched them down.

Black and white felt circles with colorful arrow buttons look like dials and gauges.

The control panel is made with lots of rectangle and square buttons. I added scraps of stripe and polka dot fabric. My son has uses for each button – one makes him run, one makes him jump and the striped part is a speaker!

A long piece of felt with lots of square and rectangle buttons and pieces of colorful fabric added.

I knew I wanted to create the oscillator using the EL-Wire, so I created a base for it with yellow and red felt. I eventually hand stitched the felt down to the tabard but after I punched holes for the El-Wire! Below is a picture of it with the holes already punched.

A felt semi-circle with diamond buttons on either end; there are two holes made with eyelets.

Adding the El-Wire to the DIY Light-Up Robot Costume 

Once I had all of the felt pieces and buttons attached to the front of the robot tabard, I added the EL-Wire. I decided on where I wanted the wire to go and then created holes for it to pass through. I used an eyelet setter set I normally use for paper crafting. It worked well to punch through the fabric and create nice clean holes that won’t fray.

For the oscillator, I punched two sets of holes – one set through the felt pieces and one set through the blue fabric. It would have been too thick to go through all of those layers together. I made sure the holes lined up and hand-sewed the felt pieces down after all of the holes were created.

Holes are punched in the corduroy fabric using an eyelet setter.

A hammer and two eyelet tools lay next to three eyelets added to the blue tabard.

Stitching on the El-Wire was very simple. I just laid it out where I wanted it and hand-sewed it down with small stitches that were close together. Before starting, I decided where my pockets would go to hold the battery packs so I knew where to start the wire.

El-wire is added to the felt using small stitches.

Light up wire is added to the costume with small stitches.

Light up wire goes around the should pads which are covered in colorful buttons and striped fabric.The front of the light-up robot costume.

The El-Wire looks awesome all lit up!!

The El-Wire in the dark is lit up and glowing!

A colorful robot costume made from buttons and felt next to a picture of it lit up at night from El-Wire!

The last thing I did to finish the tabard, was to add two pieces of ribbon on the sides to keep the tabard in place. I used pieces of Velcro so they would be easy to open. I also added a Velcro closure to the back opening and finished off the neckline using bias tape :)

Robot Hat

To finish off the costume I added a robot hat. I found the hat at Target and thought it had the perfect colors! I created felt eyes and hand-stitched them onto the hat. To create the robot antennas, I used felt, pipe cleaners and huge Pom-Poms!

Colorful and striped knit cap with antennae and large felt eyes.

DIY Kid's Halloween Costume - Light Up Robot

I love how quirky this costume turned out! There is a ton to look at and it’s so fun when it lights up! My son has already had so much fun coming up with uses and names for all of the different gauges and buttons. He is excited to wear it at night trick-or-treating!

Check out my other fun Halloween crafts, including more fun Halloween costumes :)

Happy Crafting! -Kim

A bright and colorful DIY Light Up Robot Costume

Similar Posts


  1. What a great idea!! Love the costume and the the EL-wire is an awesome addition to this costume!! So cool!

    Thanks for sharing Kim!

    1. Thank you! Yes my kiddos think the EL-Wire is pretty much the coolest thing ever! They are totally mesmerized! Trick-or-treating should be lots of fun :)

I'd love to hear from you! Thank you for taking the time to comment and thank you for visiting Crafting Cheerfully!!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.