I recently got hired by ThemeDream Productions (IG: @themedreamproductions)to create and wear a Tron costume. They specifically wanted the original 80s Tron look, and while there are a lot of Tron Legacy costumes available online, the original 80s themed ones are hard to find.
After a little research, I decided to build this using reflective HTV (heat transfer vinyl). The Tron costumes glow, and I considered using EL panel but with the tight turnaround time and high amount of stretch in this costume, and the fact that I could control the lighting at the DiscGlo 80s themed event, I thought reflective iron-on would be the best option.
I ordered some inexpensive reflective HTV from Amazon, and after a couple tests I was pretty disappointed. I was going for a bright glow, and wanted the costume to really pop. I did a bit more research, and ended up using Stahl’s Reflective II Heat Transfer Vinyl. This stuff is flashy and bright! But also VERY directional: you can only see the glow from one angle. Hm.
Next, I went out on the internet to try and get good source images for the patterns. I’d decided to make Yori’s costume, since it was designed for a female body and would probably look best on me. And wow, did I luck out! I found the ultimate Tron repository: David from Iotower has been going deep into this world, and has created digital files of all the graphics for the 80s Tron characters. Definitely check out his work: https://iotower.com/ His costumes are absolutely amazing and spot-on.
He was gracious enough to let me use his digital files, which saved me HOURS of labor and made this costume incredibly good. It took me not much time to convert the files to .png and upload them to my Cricut Vinyl Cutting software. The Cricut made this project easy. The Stahl’s HTV has a backing and a frisket coating on the front, so applying it to the bodysuit was fairly quick and easy. I did also acquire myself a fancy new toy: a heat-press machine. I could have used an iron, but probably would have burned the fabric (the bodysuit I used was not the highest quality) and the heat-press is fun to use and does a great job of fusing the vinyl.
David’s files also included graphics for the helmet and the gauntlet. I built the gauntlet out of 1/4″ EVA foam, and got the details spot-on. I found that the heat press did work to attach the HTV details to the foam as well, though I had to give it a couple passes to make it stick.
For the helmet, I cheated a little and went to the thrift store to find a bike helmet. I spray-painted it white and then glued the prepared and pressed foam details directly on with contact cement. It looked pretty great, though I’m sure it wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny at a Cosplay convention!
The setup at the event had me in a photo booth where guests could come and take photos with me. This worked out pretty well, except that the flash from the photo booth was white instead of blue, so the photos came out with more of a white glow than a blue glow. If we do this again, I’ll bring a blue photo gel for the flash so the photos come out a little more Tron-like. 🙂
It was a great party and folks really liked the costume! Also I got this photo with Gene Simmons, whom they flew in from Vegas for this event, so, I think that’s a win.
I am available for costume commissions of this type so if you’re looking for a custom costume build for your event, please contact me!