Electronic Halloween Twenty Fourteen! I've admired the comic character Tank Girl for ages, and this year I wanted to update her post apocolyptic Outback look for the 21st century.

This guide covers the different elements I used to make this costume, linking to relevent tutorials where applicable.

Portraits by Andrew Baker.

Let's start at the noggin-- if you can't find a round army helmet, grab an aviator cap. It'll be easier to stuff in your bag if you get too warm anyway.

Add NeoPixel ring goggles atop your hat and you're good to go. Make your own pair with Phil B's guide and use the included sample animations or write your own colorful patterns.

NeoPixel punk collar

Make a studded choker with color changing LED NeoPixels. Follow our guide for this fun and easy soldering project using through-hole NeoPixels and GEMMA. The circuit is powered by a tiny lipoly battery at the buckle.

Pile on the necklaces

Plunder your necklace collection for long chains with symbolic pendants, layers of small beads, a studded leather choker, as well as asymetrical dangling earrings.

Pro tip! After you've put on all the jewelry you think you need, check yourself out in the mirror and chose one item to remove.

Bandolier of light

Make this electronic accessory by 3D printing flexible bullets to layer over NeoPixel LED strip. This illuminated sash lights up in any color or pattern you can dream up and it's lightweight, flexible, and comfortable to wear.

Make your own with the complete tutorial right here on the Adafruit Learning Sysem.

Tactical utiliy belt

I found my utility belt on Amazon, but you could also look for one at military surplus stores, thrift stores, or your grandpa's attic.

You could also substitute the belt for a tactical harness or suspenders. The belt you choose should be comfortable and fit you well, since you'll use it to attach pouches containing your batteries, cell phone, and other essentials.

Cutoffs, stockings, socks

Tank Girl's pants and legwear are pretty open to interpretation. We've often seen her with tall socks and ripped stockings, workout shorts, cutoff jeans, baseball pants, and chunky lettered belt buckles.

Use what you can find and try to anticipate the weather for your occasion. You can also add details like dirt, bandages, knee pads, garters, etc.

Use a pair of faded blue or grey jeans to make a pair of cutoffs. Put the jeans on and draw a line with pen or marking chalk about 1/4" lower than where you want your cutoffs to end.


Continue your line around the back of the jeans. Take the jeans off and cut around the lines. The front and back will not be symmetrical, so don't try to cut straight across the whole pant leg at once or you'll end up showing more cheek than you intended.


Use sandpaper to rough up the edge of the cutoffs or, if you have time, run them through the washer and dryer to fray the edge.

Combat boots

The right boots are essential for this costome. A lot of other features can withstand plenty of artistic license, a pair of iconic combat boots are mandatory for Tank Girl. Pictured above are the Kathleena Strap Calf Boot by Dr. Martens.

Tank Girl's mutant kangaroo boyfriend, Booga, is easy to pull off if you're a red-nosed pitbull! My dog Olive is a good sport about the laser dog goggles and GPS backpack I've got her wearing.

Utility belt add-ons

It's easy to find or make pouches to attached to your utility belt for holding backup batteries, dog treats, and your essentials for the evening.

Missle dog backpack

Instead of Tank Girl's missle bra, I chose to put the graphically bold twin missles on my sidekick's backpack.

Save two 2L soda bottles and remove their labels.


Pour a small amount of white paint into each bottle and replace the cap.


Rotate and move the bottle to distribute the paint evenly inside each bottle.

Remove caps and allow painted bottles to dry upside down before replaceing the caps and drawing on the checkerboard pattern with a permanent marker.


Make simple paper fins and use packing tape to secure them to the missles.


Secure bottles to your sidekick's backpack with zipties and bungee cords.

Authentic dirt

Use fabric or t-shirt scraps to make bandages. Take them outside and rub them in the dirt, or open your window and wipe the fabric on the sill. Mmm, authentic grime!

Other grimey places to to rub your costume include metal shops, mud puddles, salt flats, and car tires.

This guide was first published on Oct 14, 2014. It was last updated on Oct 14, 2014.