There's no denying it: transforming robots are the coolest things in the universe. Here's how to become your very own robot in disguise.
: Children under 10 should not use a utility knife or sharp scissors, and an adult should help older children.
Step 1: Prepare the torso box Find a tall, rectangular moving box that will fit over your upper body. It should be long enough to reach to your waist and wide enough to go from armpit to armpit. Cut off the open flaps; then, cut circular holes on each side for your arms and a hole on top for head. The armholes should fit snugly around your arms.
TIP: Ask your local grocery store, bike shop, appliance store, or furniture shop for boxes. They're often willing to give them away.
Step 2: Make the arms You'll need two small boxes for each arm: one for the shoulder and bicep, and one for the forearm (use just one box on a small child). Shoe or tissue boxes work well. Cut holes in the tops and bottoms so your arms can fit through. Again, make sure the armholes are snug.
Step 3: Make the leg boxes For the legs, choose two long and narrow boxes – one for each leg. They should cover the distance from your knees to your ankles. Make holes on opposite ends that are just big enough to fit your feet through when you pull them on. The cardboard should sit firmly against your calves and ankles.
Step 4: Construct the headpiece Find a box that is just large enough to fit around your head. Remove the bottom of the box and try it on. The headpiece should almost reach the torso box resting on your shoulders. Take it off and cut out holes for the eyes.
TIP: Paint two ping-pong paddles in a solid color and glue them upside down on each side of the head box. They make great antennae.
Step 5: Decorate your costume Spray paint the cardboard boxes in colors that correspond to your favorite Transformer. Use the tempera paint and duct tape to add patterns and decorations, and glue the plastic wheels from a toy truck to the outside of your leg boxes.
Step 6: Dress in your bot's colors Put on a turtleneck, sweatpants, and gloves that match your character's colors.
Step 7: Put on the costume Put on the costume, starting with the leg pieces while you can still bend down. Then, put on some dark or black shoes. Have a friend lower the torso box onto your upper body, and place the arm boxes over your arms, affixing them firmly into the armholes. Finish by putting the headpiece in place. Now all that's left to do is transform and roll out!
FACT: In 2009, engineers completed the first test flight of the Transition Roadable Aircraft, a two-person plane that can transform into a car in less than 30 seconds.