Scottish TARDIS

iaian7 » blog » projects   John Einselen, 8.11.15 (updated 29.06.19)    


How could I not be inspired by Doctor Who? I enjoyed watching the series for many years, and The Doctor’s Wife episode was a lot of fun. And why couldn’t the TARDIS be a man? And Scottish? In the words of the 9th Doctor himself, “Lot’s of planets have a north!”

Clothing Design

Using the X-Kilt documentation as a starting point, I drafted my own kilt pattern. This took me a year to finish, as I kept getting overwhelmed and ignoring it. I think most people, with a bit of courage, could pull it off in a weekend. In the end, it was totally worth it! The magnetic buckles were all purchased on eBay, the chain purchased from Joann Fabrics, the brown sporran from a seller online, and the “Police Box” ribbon was found in an Etsy shop. I used alcohol dyes to match the bright white and purple of the ribbon to the aged cream and blue of the outfit, then added the ribbon to both the flashes and the belt.

Tracing the general pieces off an existing vest, I also created my own waistcoat design. Lengthened, fitted, and then panelled with pockets. I couldn’t quite fit two columns of 4, but figured a total of 6 would still sell the idea. A handkerchief with the police notice printed on it would be a good touch, but I couldn’t find a good source, and didn’t feel like making it myself…guess we all have our limits.

The stockings, boots, and shirt were all items I already owned.

The heart of the TARDIS

This is what, in my opinion, really completes the costume. A brass-coloured lantern with the iconic pillars of light, slowly pulsing in cyan to match the 9th and 10th Doctors’ interior design.

Starting with a round lantern I found on eBay, I matched the colour of the aged brass clothing elements with a combination of metallic spray paints and black acrylic. The core was formed using an RGB LED strip, a cheap LED driver, and a pack of AA batteries (this was before I started using rechargeable lithium polymer batteries as my standard electrical basis, and the AA pack still fit nicely within the lantern core).

By figuring out the correct combination of lantern diameter and LED spacing, I was able to wrap the LED strip in a spiral that created columns of LEDs. Then I just had to diffuse them. After finding thick plastic drinking straws at Meijer, I wrapped each of them in 15 pound monofilament fishing line. Funny thing about clear fishing line; it’s often used by photographers to simulate streaked lens flares by stringing it in front of a lens. Wrapped tightly around a clear tube, it diffuses light linearly quite well, blending the individual LEDs into columns of light. It’s always fun to find creative solutions to problems like this.


I may not have won the company halloween costume contest back in 2015 (am I bitter that Marty McFly won? sure…though at least I lost to another time traveler!), but I did take a prize at the Michigan Renaissance festival on Doctor Who day, and I’ve loved wearing this to multiple cons over the years. The best is when I get to go alongside a friend dressed as an equally gender-bent 11th Doctor!