I have to say that the process to make this Lightning McQueen Costume was pretty time-consuming. I'm not even sure how long we spent on it. A full week, for sure - probably at least 4 hours a day. Yeah, we could have just bought the costume for all of the effort we put into it, but we're crazy like that, we like to give things our personal touch. If I had to do it differently, I'd have made the car significantly shorter AND I'd have used a lighter cardboard, although as my husband points out, it wouldn't have held up like it has. It's been a year and the costume is still in perfect condition, despite being played with all the time by a number of kids when in our house. So that's a bonus.
We made this by taking a printout of a paper version of the car - like a fold it into McQueen kind of deal. We blew it up to the size we figured was good for the costume, then traced it onto cardboard and cut it out. Gee, that sounds so simple - in reality it took a LONG time - and you need a LOT of floor space.
Once the car was cut out, we folded and taped it together with red duct tape. We drew the designs on in pencil, then painted them with acrylic. I managed to find images of McQueen's endorsement stickers on the internet, so I enlarged those to the proper size and printed them out, then decoupaged them to the cardboard car. We also braced the car at the axles with cardboard tubes, then taped on large ribbon to hold the car on the child - as straps.
Like I said, in a do-over I'd have made the car shorter and more proportionate to the actual McQueen - I didn't realize that the paper craft we originally used was so disproportionate, and by the time I did, it was too late, so we went ahead with it anyway as it was. It was heavy, but our son managed to carry it and was quite delighted with all of the responses. Since Halloween, he has worn it lots and plays in it like a car he is driving, too, which makes me wish we'd come up with a way to make the wheels actually work, and maybe even get a little seat in there - the cardboard would definitely be strong enough, since we used double thick.
We get LOTS of compliments on it - everyone who has seen it is really impressed with our attention to detail and all of the time we obviously put into it. We're all about the labours of love around here when it comes to kid-centered events.