The Proton Pack DIY Project

Ghostbusters Proton Pack Build InstructionsWhen my friend told me his 40th birthday bash was going to fancy dress with the theme of "The 80s", I knew it was time to finally fulfil my movie costume fantasies.

I spoke to a few close friends and decided on a group of four who would become the Ghostbusters for the night.

With 4 months to go until the party, I set to work building not one, but four proton packs! My goal was not absolute screen accuracy, but instead to make something that would look, to the untrained eye, like a replica that had been purchased from an online retailer somewhere..

Below is a rough guide to the process used to create these. Please feel free to contact me if you want extra info.

The Core Proton Pack Frame

In order to make the proton packs strong, yet light enough to carry for a whole evening, I decided to construct them from MDF sandwiching big chunks of insulating foam. The 'real' proton packs are thicker than these ones but I didn't need precise accuracy or measurements, just a good representation of the design.

Adding the proton pack details

Once the core structure of each proton pack was assembled, I started work on the finer details. These included black uPVC guttering pipe for the top 'vent tube' and the circular black/red cylinders on the bottom right of the packs.

Many of the circular details were cut from wooden board using circle cutters, which was pretty time consuming!

Building the ‘Neutrino Wands’

The proton guns (known as Neutrino Wands') will be attached to the proton packs with corrugated plastic tubing. I managed to find some 2-part picture wall hooks that allowed me to clip them loosely to the side of each proton pack and allow for quick release whilst wearing.

I had trouble finding something cheap to create the side vents, so instead I took a cardboard box and cut squares from it. Then I carefully peeled the card from one side of these to expose the corrugated inside structure. Then it was a simple case of adding PVA glue for rigidity and sticking them to the sides.

The handle grips were somewhat time-consuming. I hand shaped them with a Dremel from chunks of softwood, with a semi circular section cut from the rears to fit the main doweling that makes up the wand handles.

Painting The Proton Packs

Before applying any paint I made sure to cover the entire surface of each proton pack with a mixture of PVA glue and water. This included the foam sections, which I was worried would start to 'melt' if I applied aerosol paint directly to them!

Once a couple of coats of the PVA/water mixture had fully dried, I grabbed my 6 aerosol cans of matte black paint and applied a coating to every surface. Unfortunately 6 was not enough so I ordered another batch of 6 to finish the job!

I also had a can of silver automotive paint that was used for any metallic detail parts. This also came in handy for the dry-brushing stage, which gave the whole proton packs a solid "weathered black metal" effect.

Extra Details

Iron-on badges and Ghostbuster logos were purchased from Amazon, ready to be applied to the jump suits we bought in our relevant sizes. Also in need of custom sizing were the shoulder straps and belts, which needed adjusting to each person's specifications.

You can see the PCV tubing support frames with some pipe insulation foam held on with zip tiles, for extra comfort. I'd run out of black paint by this point so I wrapped the tubing in black gorilla duct tape instead!

The finishing touches

The final finishing touches really brought the whole proton packs build together. This was obviously the most satisfying part of the pack build!

Brass and silver fittings were 'painted' using metallic Sharpie pens, since I already had these in 3 shades.

The edges of the whole proton pack structures were dry-brushed with left-over silver spray paint (sprayed into a glass jar) to give a weathered metal effect and help highlight the shapes of all the parts.

The decals were downloaded from this site and printed on adhesive colour laser printer paper. The glowing blue 'power level' indicators were also printed in this way, but those were designed by me on Affinity Designer. Download the PDF here.

DIY Proton Packs – The end result!

And here are the final results! Four full Ghostbusters outfits with khaki jumpsuits, black army boots. black chemical-resistant gloves, black t-shirts and, of course, (surprisingly comfortable) proton packs.

Most of us wore them for around 6 hours and there were only a few parts that came unglued or needed quick fixes.

Total cost of materials per proton pack was around £65 each. In total we spent around £100 each including the rest of the kit.