Deathstroke: The Terminator


I wanted to do Deathstroke as my very first comic book villain, debuted at DragonCon 2011 in Atlanta GA. Here’s my step-by-step process:

  1. Concept art
  2. Patterns and fabric
  3. “Found” pieces
  4. Making and customizing pieces
  5. Props
  6. Putting it all together

1. Concept art. I never start a costuming project without concept art. That way, I always have something to look at when I’m getting frustrated with a small detail.

Concept sketch


2. Patterns and fabric.With some help from Brian, it was decided to do this costume in three pieces – an overshirt (the navy blue), a leotard made of light blue and orange, and navy blue leggings.

I used the Green Pepper pattern (the far right without attaching the skirt) for the leotard after a lot of research and consideration. The pattern allowed me to use multiple colors for the leotard, since the construction was in two pieces – a top and bottom. I also selected a glove pattern from Butterick(the middle on the left side) mostly for the gauntlet portion of the glove.
I purchased all the spandex I needed from SpandexWorld. Their shipping was fast and the customer service was great. Because no comic book character is complete without spandex. I purchased some orange pleather from


3. “Found” pieces. Some of the costume pieces, I “found” rather than made.

I found a navy Underarmour shirt in the men’s section of the local sporting goods store. I went with the Heat Gear version because it had the collar that I wanted, and the added benefit of helping me stay cool in the Atlanta heat.
I found a pair of navy leggings at Forever 21for about $5. I couldn’t pass up that great deal!
I found a pair of white gloves at Party City after a failed attempt to make gloves of my own.
I found a pair of orange go-go boots on Amazon. I ordered the Funtasma brand, which come in an array of colors and leather styles. The sizes tend to run about a half-size small, which worked out great for me, since I wear a 7 1/2 US.


4. Making and customizing pieces. After collecting all I could that was “found”, the next step is to modify what I “found” so it fits what I want, and make whatever I couldn’t find.

After cropping the Underarmour shirt, I put a band of thin elastic along the bottom to keep it down and flat.
I made the leotard out of light blue and orange spandex. I modified the bottom of the pattern to make “shorts” by changing the slope of the front, as pictured below. Other than this modification and not adding the skirt, I followed the pattern exactly.
After the leotard was put together, before sleeves were added.
I added about two inches to the glove pattern to make the longer gauntlets I desired. I used a stiff interfacing and put the same shape of white broadcloth on top and stitched the two together.
I attached the gauntlet to the pre-bought gloves
To make buccaneer-style boots, I made “boot toppers” loosely based on the gauntlet pattern. I measured the width of my calf where the top of the boot comes to, and measured how long I wanted the “fold-over” to be. From the top to the bottom, I cut a slanted line that mimics the slanted line of the gauntlet. When I wore the boots, I put the seam to the inside, where the zipper would normally be, and tucked the top of the “topper” into the top of the boot, which gave a great illusion of it all being one piece without seams showing.
The mask was the biggest challenge for me. I wanted the mask to be smooth, with no crazy wavy action or bumps. I ended up using a pattern for a bondage mask, simply because it had the perfect shape. I took the measurements of my head and drew the pattern on a piece of spandex using chalk.
Once I got the shape that matched the front, I cut out two sides, one orange and one blue. Using a zigzag stitch and slightly stretching the fabric as I ran it through the sewing machine (this prevents a lot of the bunching that spandex likes to do), I made the front half and stuck it on a Styrofoam wig head.
I then cut out the back of the mask pattern and attached it the same way. Because the original pattern is for leather, I opted to leave out the tongue, since spandex has more give in it. I also didn’t include the grommets. With help from Brian, I put the mask on and he helped me draw eyeholes.
I cut eyeholes out and secured the edges with clear nail polish, to prevent unraveling. I then cut out pieces of white interfacing with a wide weave, so I could see through it. Using a blue acrylic paint, I painted the eye cover on the blue side. Using fabric glue, I attached both eye covers. On the white side, I used white acrylic paint to continue with the design past where I needed to see, and then used black acrylic to provide the “comic” outline on the eye. On the blue side, I used a little more blue acrylic paint to sort of cement the eye cover.

I made some ties of matching spandex and attached them at the side seams. They weren’t terribly functional, but helped to make the back of the mask look pretty good.

I added a collar to the navy Underamour shirt, using a slight variation on this pattern.


5. Props

We found an unpainted wooden sword on Amazon. I knew I wasn’t going to be drawing the sword, so I wanted something that was lightweight and was going to look good
We found a Batman-style ammo belt on Amazon as well.
I went with a desert camouflage-colored gun holster since I was trying to go for orange
I took the wooden sword and used black acrylic paint, silver craft paint, copper craft paint and leather strappings glued on. I knew I wasn’t going to be pulling the sword out, so I painted a scabbard on.
I attempted to dye to ammo belt, gun holster and gloves using RIT Sunshine Orange. I discovered the ammo belt was more fabric than I realized, the gun holster was waterproof and the gloves were made of polyester. All of that means that the dye didn’t take hold quite the way I wanted. I ended up using an orange fabric paint for everything, and a silver craft paint for buckles and snaps.

I ordered the bandolier from Amazon and filled it with plastic bullets from Party City.


6. Putting it together

  • Finishing touches – adding bands of orange spandex to the ends of the sleeves of the Underarmour shirt and a band of orange spandex to the leg of the leggings (attaching the top only)