How to Make a 12 Foot Inflatable Death Star

How to Make a 12 Foot Inflatable Death Star

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A year or two ago, thinking of May 4th, I got this crazy idea. I was going to make a giant inflatable Deathstar.  I planned it out, I fixed my sewing machine, I purchased materials, and I built the thing. Oh yeah, I also filmed a lot of it.

Then the time came to share my Deathstar with the world, but I just didn’t have anything cool to do with it! I needed a purpose. Frankly, running in circles around it with a TIE fighter and an X-Wing just wasn’t going to be a compelling video. Luckily, people don’t come to make just for cute videos, they come here to see how stuff is made!

To that end, I’d like to share my May 4th project with you and explain how you could build one of your own.

YouTube player

Really, depending on how nuts you want to go with the concept, you could build one of these in a couple days.

Step 1: Buy a Beachball.

diy deathstar
Slightly misleading product picture. It doesn’t seem quite that tall in real life.

You can really get whatever size beach ball you want. I opted for the 12 foot version, but you don’t have to go as crazy as me. You could easily cut the cost of this project in thirds by just going with a smaller beach ball.

Step 2: Make your pattern.

inflatable deathstar diy
Tracing the shape of the beach ball panel. Pugs are always helpful in floor based activities.

Lay your deflated beach ball flat on the ground. You should be able to see clearly where the seams are. Lay your fabric over the top of the beach ball and trace around it. Now you’ve got your patern! Just cut enough of these to cover the entire surface. The fact that these balls are assembled in easy to see panels makes this incredibly simple.

Step 3: Sew it together.

Sew your panels together at the edges. You’re basically making a giant pillowcase for your beach ball. I opted to affix the top and bottom together with Velcro for easy access. This allows me to access the inflation spout on the bottom and easily reach into the top for adjustments as I inflate.

inflatable deathstar instructions
My velcro was an afterthought. I hot glued it in place after the main construction.

Step 4: Paint.

12 foot deathstar
I went with a simple interpretation. You could add as much detail as you want!

After you’ve got your pillowcase built, inflate it. Being inflated will make this so much easier to paint. Just be careful not to roll that fresh wet paint onto your floor, or dog. Just used acrylics. It has held up fine, but depending on your material, you may wish to use fabric paint.

diy death star exhaust port
Don’t forget the exhaust port! I used a dot of red nail polish.

Step 5: Enjoy!

You’ve now got an inflatable Deathstar. Take it to the pool, park, or beach of your choice. Alternatively, you can just fill your entire living room with it like I did!

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I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. find me at

View more articles by Caleb Kraft


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