Guest Post - How to Build a Dalek in 183 Easy Steps!

Welcome back to Doctor Who Week! Today we have a fabulous guest post about building a Dalek costume. I got hooked up with Shannon via another Facebook friend, who thought we’d be instant soul mates. I think you’ll agree that this fellow Geek Mom is a true treasure.

How to Build a Dalek in 183 Easy Steps!

August, 2013.
Me: Hey Vin, what are you going to be for Halloween this year?
Vin: A Dalek.
Me: Oh?
Vin: Yeah. We have all these boxes, right? So I figure we can just make the Dalek out of the boxes.
IMG_1179Me: Your breezy sense of optimism is amusing. Ok then, go get your alarm clock.

Me: Good, now you need to scale UP.
Vin: Just like on Mythbusters?
Me: Er, yes. Just like on Mythbusters. Where do you want your head, in relation to the Dalek parts?
Vin: I want to look out through the grids, right above the weapons.
Me: Ok, you need to measure the Dalek from base to that point. And then measure all the bits and pieces.

Vin took excellent notes in his sketchbook:

Me: Ok, so how are we going to relate your height to the Dalek?
Vin: ????? ...... crickets ......????????
Me: You are 46” from your feet to your neck; how many inches is the Dalek from bottom to where you want your neck?
Vin: 6 inches.
Me: So, you are how many times bigger than that Dalek?
Vin: scribble scribble scribble I'm 7.6 times bigger than the Dalek.
Me: Right, so now you need to scale up, multiply all those other measurements by 7.6.
Vin: sigh Ok.

Cue the Math Olympics and Keystone Cops soundtrack!

First, we made the skirt, then we built the “ball panels” (for lack of a better word).

and taped everything together like so...

Then, the weapons deck:


The plunger is comprised of a rubber kitchen sink plug inserted into a paper towel tube.

IMG_1153The gun is another paper towel tube with vertical slits to accept cardboard flaps, held together with that most Magic of Adhesives, Hot Glue.

Then we added another deck, with grids separated by triangular supports, and the dome:


The dome is a circular piece of cardboard, with straps of cardboard wrapped from the bottom to meet at the apex, covered in plastic wrap. That blue and white dish sponge in the cardboard tube poking out the front? Future Eyestalk.

Next step: BALLS. Because if the scariest monster in Doctor Who has anything, it's plenty of BALLS. (Yes, I have the sense of humor of your average 12 year old.)


IMG_1157We cut 30 balls out of styrofoam panels to the diameter of my trusty 1C measuring cup. Then we used a kitchen knife to carve them into hemispheres. The remaining balls we made by sculpting aluminum foil over the same measuring cup.

Time for PAINT!



No better feeling in the world, than teaching your 4th grader how to Banksy in your spare time.

We painted the eyestalk black and hot glued a blue marble to the end of it. It's inserted through the plastic wrap and taped to the frame underneath.

The lights are flameless LED candles, topped with snapware plastic cups – hot glued to the dome frame. The light switches are accessed through small holes in the plastic wrap.


IMG_1165Allllllllmost done! After painting the rest of the Dalek and hot gluing the balls to the panels, we had an ENORMOUS yet menacing Dalek!

Dad rigged up some rope around the bottom and through the deck, so Vin could carry the costume via suspenders. Stairs are not a problem for this monster!


To be fair, a Dalek which must depend upon its little brother - The Weeping Cherub - for its share of candy on Trick or Treat is perhaps not so menacing. But seeing this ginormous robot trucking up your front stairs guarantees MORE than enough candy for two little monsters.


Happy WHO-lloween! Don't blink, or you may be EXTERMINATED!

About our Guest Author:

The Babu family motto is "Anything worth doing, is worth overdoing." When not building a mix of useful and impractical projects, they enjoy reading, music, and camping. Shannon's extended ramblings can be found on zee blog at Or, check out her knee-jerk responses to social issues du jour @Shansmasala on Twitter.

This post is part of TWO marvelous blogging events!

Sci-Fi Month is brought to you by Rinn Reads. Check out the full schedule of Sci-Fi Month posts! There are reviews, discussions, giveaways, and more!

Doctor Who Week is a joint venture between my blog and Teen Librarian Toolbox. We have a full week of fun posts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.


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