Sunday, March 29, 2015

Light-Up Butterfly Wing Tutorial, Part 1

This tutorial walks you through how I made my butterfly wings for my Marianne cosplay.  I believe it could be easily altered to meet multiple wing needs.  Part 1 focuses on the wings, part 2 on the harness.

  • 8 poster boards, in color of your choice (I chose black)
  • Thick gauge wire that is sturdy, but bendable
  • Glue of some sort (I used E6000 for most of my project and 7800 Adhesive for the rest)
  • LED light string in color of your choice (might need 2 depending on size of wings.  I needed two)
  • Connecter piece for LED string to battery pack
  • Battery pack (1 per LED string)
  • Shimmery fabric, or fabric of your choice
  • Paint in the color of your poster board
  • Some form of right angle support (I used copper pipe)
  • Dowel rod
First, you need to decide how large your want your wings, and the basic shape.  Reference images!  I decided to use the following image to my basic shape, and decided to make the top and bottom a separate full poster board sheet.

Sketch out your idea onto your poster board.  For me, I needed 4 copies of the top drawing, and 4 of the bottom.  Be mindful of any price tag stickers.  Reverse your pattern if needed so these stickers are on the inside.

Cut out.  I sketched one top and one bottom, then used the cut out as a pattern for the rest of the pieces.

Using the E6000, glue your wire to the entire outer edge of 2 tops and 2 bottoms.  Make sure they are mirror image tops and bottoms!  Glue top and bottom together at center piece.  You should have two wings that look like the following (and one should be a mirror image of the other).

Now, using your string of LED lights, glue (using E6000) to the inner edge of your wire.  This is a slow process.  You need to do a small section, clamp, let dry, and repeat.  If your lights have a peel off sticky back, be sure to peel off the paper, but do not use the sticker to attach lights to your wings.  It's not strong enough. Now, your LED string has loose wires, which should be at your center near the pipe.  You need to attach these to your connector.  I recommend soldering these, but it's your call.  Do this at this point and test the lights to make sure everything works properly.

You will need some sort of right angle support in the center.  I used copper plumbing pipe because I couldn't find PVC in the size I needed and I don't have a work space capable of making something out of wood.  Use whatever you like.  Glue, using 7800 adhesive, to inner center piece.  Make sure the right angle points down.  It is going to be used to attach your wings to your harness.

Repeat on other wing.  Once both are done, put a string of glue on the LED light and place the other top and bottom pieces on to hide your LED string.

Using the fabric of your choice, place over your wings, rough measure and cut.  Iron!!!  Do not skip this part.  Also, test a scrap so you don't melt the fabric and ruin an entire piece (like I did).  Glue in place.

Once glue dries, trim fabric.

Repeat on other side and other wing.  Now, my wings were so heavy with the LED lights that the wire was not strong enough to keep my top half of the wing from flopping over.  To rectify this, I used a dowel rod with a groove for the copper pipe.  Make sure it is painted the color of your poster board so it blends in.  Also, I found that adding at this point as opposed to earlier was easiest.

Make sure the long end of your dowel rod is pointing up.  This will give it the support needed so it doesn't flop over.  Repeat on other wing.  Now, paint the entire edge of both wings (both sides) black (or whatever color you want it to be).

Congrats!  Your wings are done!  In part two, I will show you how I built my harness.

Until next time, keep cosplaying!  Any questions, comments, or requests, leave them below!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

DIY Styling a Coronation Elsa Wig

This is the first wig I have ever styled.  Therefore, there may be easier ways to go about some of the things I did.  But here is my walk through.

As always, make sure you have plenty of reference images.

Get yourself a wig.  I used Majo (long) in Platinum Blonde

You are also going to need:
  • white bobby pins
  • clear elastics
  • backer rods, or some other small round tube foam
  • paint
First, pin bangs.  Then, measure out and cut the backer rod.

Paint the backer rod to match hair color.

Comb front section forward.

Position your backer rod.  Now, starting with small sections, wrap hair around the backer rod.  Continue until all the hair is wrapped.  Secure with elastic.  My pictures for this are with a gray backer rod, because I wanted to make sure you could see what I was doing.  My final product uses the painted backer rod.

Tie blue ribbon around secured end of backer rod.  This will be twisted up into her 'bun' later.

Be sure to tuck your loose end in so it's not sticking out.  Gather hair into a low pony tail.  Twist, including the ribbon.

Twist against back of head in low bun.

Bobby pin like crazy, doing your best to hide all the pins.  This is why white bobby pins are important.  Basically, that's it.  I recommend wearing it around the house one day before your convention to make sure the style stays put.  Also, some hairspray to tame any fly aways.

Until next time, keep cosplaying!  Any questions, comments, or requests, leave them below!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Walk Through: Predator Biohelmet

This is not a tutorial, because I used a tutorial to make this.  Therefore, this is a walk through of how I went about making it, with links to the tutorial I used.

The first thing I did was sculpt my bio helmet.  I took a foam head you buy at any craft store, a party mask, and some sculpting wire, to fashion a base.  It wasn't perfect by any means.  I'm sure there are better ways to go about it than how I did.

Now that you have your base, you need to sculpt.  Use oil based clay, that way it doesn't dry and you can work on it for as long as you need.  Start off with a base, then start carving into it.  I highly recommend watching some videos on youtube to get you started.  Also, have plenty of reference images nearby.

Continue to refine and sculpt until you are happy with it, or you run out of time (like me!).

From here on out, I used this video to make my mold.  He has a series of videos for making a bio helmet, including sculpting.  Unfortunately, I didn't find his stuff until after I was ready to mold.  When molding, I recommend you pay close attention to the ratios you need to use for the silicone.  I messed mine up the first time so my first layer didn't cure.  I was able to mix the second layer into the first and get it to cure the second time around, though.  I used this silicone for my mold.

Make sure you make your silicone thick enough.  I did not.  Therefore, my final mold didn't cast as nicely.  Also, let it cure completely before moving on to the next step.  Watch the video and follow his instructions.  After the silicone, you need to make a plaster case around it.  I mixed my plaster according to the directions on the bag and it was too thick.  It wanted a 2:1 ratio plaster to water.  I recommend starting with a 1:1 ratio, and adding more plaster if needed.  It worked, but wasn't very easy to work with.  Also, don't forget the burlap pieces for stability.

Let this dry completely.  Now, you are ready to cast.  Because my silicone wasn't thick enough, it pulled away from the sides and I had to clip it in place.  This caused a few minor deformities in my final pull.  I'm lucky it worked.  To cast, you need resin.  I used casting resin, but the video used regular resin.  I bought my resin before watching the video.  Rookie mistake.  If you go his route (which I recommend), ignore the following paragraph.

If you went my route: It was a bit difficult getting the resin right.  First, the resin and the catalyst are sold separately if you buy them at Michaels, so don't forget your catalyst.  Second, I recommend working in small batches, because it gels, it does not thicken.  So you have to spread it around while it's smooth, and therefore you have a lot of pooling.  I worked in 1 ounce batches (my face is small, therefore my helmet is small) and used 15-20 drops of catalyst per ounce.  I also leaned my mold all around so the pooling would happen all over the place, and I wouldn't have thin spots.

Make sure you do plenty of coats, so it's thick enough that it won't break.  Also, do not up your catalyst too much or it will crack as it dries.

Now, to pull the cast, be very careful.  Work in small steps.  Loosen the resin from the silicone all around your mold.  Eventually, the silicone/resin will pop out (or at least it did on mine).  Then, simply peel the silicone off the resin.  I did not use mold release, and had no problem getting my mold out of the cast.

I highly recommend tinting your resin.  I had to paint mine black to be able to see what needs sanded.

I'm going to finish the tutorial here.  All that is left is sanding and painting.  Also, mine luckily fits snugly on my head.  If yours doesn't, you will need to devise a way of keeping it on.  I recommend a headband and magnets.  Good luck!

Until next time, keep cosplaying!  Any questions, comments, or requests, leave them below!