Costume Musings

An Insider look into Star Trek: Discovery‘s Alien Prosthetics

It was the last hour of the last day of IMATS Toronto and while things were winding down on the exhibit hall side, seats of the Open Forum stage were filling up for Star Trek: Discovery; one of the most anticipated panels of the weekend. Make-Up Artist magazine’s publisher, Michael Key, sat down with  prosthetic and special effects make-up department head, James MacKinnon; key make-up artist, Hugo Villasenor; and actor, Doug Jones.


Discovery is the newest installment in the Star Trek universe set to premiere September 24, 2017. The narrative takes place ten years before Star Trek (TOS) so it was of particular interest to us to see how the special effects make-up would bring something new to the table while staying true to the continuity of the universe established by Kirk and his crew. Early preview images show the Klingons in particular looking drastically different from their TOS counterpart. When asked if this was a stylistic decision or plot-driven change, MacKinnon claimed it was purely an artistic choice. We’ll have to wait to watch the series to see if his words hold any weight since the entire panel had to be very careful to not spoil any narrative elements.

To keep things focused on the technical aspects of make-up, the panel brought on actor Doug Jones and centred around the development of his character, Lt. Saru the Kelpien. Kelpiens are a new alien species to the franchise. As seen in the teaser pilot, Kelpiens were biologically determined to sense the coming of death as they are characterized as the “prey” species on their planet. Lt. Saru subverts the cowardly stereotype of his species, and becomes the first Kelpien to join Starfleet. Saru’s look had to convey a character that was distinctly memorable and lovable. It seems like he is positioned to be the Data or Spock of the series, so his ability to connect with audiences was important.

That need for connection between Jones’s performance and audiences was the basis for finalizing a design that could be executed using prosthetics instead of relying on CG. Everything from the actor’s natural height to the way he had to move on hoofed platform shoes (putting him at a towering 6’8”) contributes to the physicality of the character. Everything you see on screen is 100% the actor’s performance through the prosthetics. There was one exception for digital enhancement regarding the Kelpien ears, but since that was a narrative-based detail the panel couldn’t reveal too much other than to say “something cool happens”.

Before Jones can saunter around on set like a graceful gazelle, he has to sit in the make-up chair for around 2 hours while MacKinnon meticulously works on painting his prosthetics. Lt. Saru is comprised of 5 pieces: cowl, face, chin, bottom lip, and sclera contact lenses. Most of the prosthetics on the show are prepainted during production to provide the base coloring but the rest is done by make-up artists on set. Using a combination of 6 colors, MacKinnon creates the textures and realism of Kelpien skin (for those curious, the brand of paint he uses is Skin Illustrator).

Fresh prosthetics are used every day as they found it more efficient to cut the actor out at the end of shooting and repaint another set. The prosthetics for Saru are created from a 2 part silicon called Smooth-On Skin Tite, so once all the pieces are attached in the morning it becomes one continuous skin around the actor. In the above picture, you can see what Jones looks like after the back of his prosthetics are sliced down the center back and peeled forward. To date, Mackinnon has done the Kelpien make-up about 70 times.

While the panel was quite hush hush on what other jaw-dropping looks they created (as to not spoil any upcoming alien encounters), they did touch on a few other characters who were revealed in the pilot. Sarek (Spock’s dad) played by James Frain is not as heavy on the prosthetics but he sits in the make-up chair just as long as Jones does while the make-up and hair department painstakingly apply facial hair, lace, and skin blockers to create the iconic Vulcan look. You wouldn’t know it just by looking at Frain’s normal photos, but his real hair is actually used and styled into the Vulcan fringe.

Mackinnon and Villasenor both stressed the importance of creating depth and texture when doing body painting work as one solid color never looks good. That’s a tip cosplayers should certainly keep in mind when doing characters with full body paint. Be sure to accentuate your features with shading and don’t be afraid to texturize a bit to make it more realistic.

For any Star Trek fans in the Greater Toronto Area, the panel did reveal that the bulk of filming is done inside Pinewood Studios, but they have shot on location in a forest and quarry near Mississauga. Should any of you aspiring Discovery cosplayers be looking for screen accurate shoot locations, there’s a neat tidbit for you!

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Interview with Jacqueline Goehner from Cosplay Melee!

We had the chance to interview Jacqueline Goehneron her experience with Cosplay Melee and her work as a Cosplayer!

First of all, congrats on your episode and being chosen for Cosplay Melee! Your work is always wonderful and it was a treat to see you work ‘live’.
Awe!!! Thank you so much! It was such an incredible experience!

So first question: I know what Moe is, but I never remember the rest of the random titles for characteristics. Did they explain those to you off screen if you didn’t know/offer to explain, or was there the assumption you all knew the terms?
There was an assumption that we knew all the terms, but I’ve been explained before that “Moe” was a cute, feminine, innocent person or rather something or being precious. I’ve also heard of different sub-variations of Moe, like being submissive or shy or coy.

Photo by Paul Tien

For your staff, you put that together so fast and so *large* it was really impressive! When working with expanding foam and caulk, are there any general pointers you’d give cosplayers who want to emulate that effect?
Thank you! Actually, it’s important to know your materials and how well they work. The expanding foam can cure pretty quickly if you don’t overdo it. So do thinner layers if you’re in a time crunch! And caulk is very much like working with frosting! (It looks like frosting too!) It can be smoothed down, but It can also take on some really amazing texture without going overboard on work. Again, you have to make sure you get the kind that cures faster and can be painted, or you’ll end up with some big problems!

Your final costume had so many parts! Could you breakdown the whole thing? I feel like they didn’t show enough of your construction to really give us a sense of your underpinnings and layers.
Haha! There was so much to ALL of our costumes that they didn’t cover, but it’s an hour long show! So from head to boot: lavender and silver streaked wig, flower hair pieces connect with chain (shown in the back), elf ears, purple breastplate accented with gold also with iridescent fairy wings attached, white bodice, cincher (unseen), pink and magenta floral lacing and embroidery fabric, multi-colored pick-up pleated skirt with train, stripped gold tulle petticoat, six floating elongated purple faulds (skirt armor), and gold with purple lace painted boots. I think that’s it lol!

I loved the way your Worbla breastplate framed your chest! It was super flattering. What other projects have you used Worbla in? Do you have any you are especially proud of?
Thank you! I was already in love with Worbla, but I had only used it on smaller pieces or smaller parts if armor. I’ve used Worbla for my Zelda armor, for my upcoming Samus Varia suit (and I just ran out of Worbla *cries*), I’ve used a good chunk of it for my Borg cosplay (the breastplate and stabilizing other parts of the costume), Ganondorf’s headpiece, Vampirella’s armband, and other characters…too many to list!

Speaking of your chest- I mean, if I may – you do a lot of revealing costumes and photosets, and part of your introduction was about being confident in yourself – which you absolutely rock! That said – did SyFy tell you that they wanted a certain amount of skin covered for TV? Were there any guidelines everyone was expected to follow?
haha, thank you girl!!! Confidence is a big important factor in cosplay. SyFy was well aware of my revealing costumes, but they never ever told me what I couldn’t design. They were equally supportive with all of us of what we wanted to do. It’s funny though, I’m known for the more revealing characters, but I’ve done more conservative cosplays than revealing! Maybe 5 or 6 revealing cosplays out of 80+ costumes. So being covered up wasn’t out of the norm for me LOL!

Photo by William D Lee Photography

Your profile says you’ve done work for different productions – anything we might recognize that has your name attached? Any productions you are especially proud of being a part of (besides Melee of course!)
Yes! The last film I costume designed for was The Curse of Sleeping Beauty which came out last year I believe, I’m very proud of my work there! I’ve also made costumes for SMOSH, Anovos, Disney, and many others.

Do you have a dream costume still on your bucket list?
actually I’m working on TWO dream costumes! My Samus varia suit and my Angelus costume (animatronic WINGS!!!!!!!!!), one of which involves a LOT of Worbla!

The shop had so many tools and supplies – was there anything you wished you could take home with you?
OMG yes! If I could’ve, I would’ve taken ALL the Worbla and L200, the cutting mats (I go through those quick), drawing table, work table, I have a vacuform, but the one they had there was much bigger, I’d also take the ENTIRE electronics section (SO many goodies in there that I wanted!)….and yeah, basically the whole space! Paul and I talked that if either of us ever won the lottery, we would recreate that space! I’m sure Meesha and Jessie are in the same boat!

Photo by Eurobeat Kasumi Photography

Lastly: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to compete in Cosplay Melee season 2?
Have fun! This competition is a boat load of work, but if you have fun with it, it’ll be rewarding no matter what the outcome! Also, practice with your materials and tools prior. It helps cut out the stress if something doesn’t go right and it’ll really help!


You can see more of Jacqueline’s work on her facebook!

Category: Costumes, Worbla | Tags: | 1 comment |

Just in Time for the Holidays: The Costume Making Guide

Looking for a great gift for the cosplayer in your life? Kamui’s written a whole new guide, a fantastic step-by-step book introducing the fun and fantastic world of cosplay. It covers multiple techniques and tutorials for armor and props.

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Bring your cosplay dreams to life with your own two hands. The Costume Maker’s Guide is a beginner’s guide to armor and prop making so that anyone – no matter their background knowledge – can make their costume dreams a reality.

Internationally known cosplayer Kamui Cosplay (a.k.a. Svetlana Quindt) shows you how to easily create elaborate costume armor and successful props out of items available at your local arts and craft or hardware stores: turn foam into a realistic axe, create a breastplate from scratch and use a glue gun to modify just about anything. Also includes the basic process of building and working with Worbla!

Packed with more than 30 step-by-step demonstrations that teach the skills you need to bring all your favorite characters to life no matter the genre, Kamui Cosplay deconstructs the work that goes into making a complete costume, from the first thought to the final photo. Tutorials cover design planning, fabricating body armor, 3D painting techniques and more.


How to choose a costume and find good reference art
Patterning and Construction advice
A short shopping list of necessary materials and tools for beginning cosplayers
Basic safety tips
How to create realistic paint jobs with simple acrylics.
A beautiful photo gallery featuring inspiring images from other cosplayers
How to grow your workshop, take professional photos, participate in contests and join the cosplay community

128 full color pages.

Available for purchase here!

Category: Cosplay, Costumes | Tags: | 2 comments |

Holtzmann’s Iconic Screw U Necklace

The summer movie hit Ghostbusters has already inspired cosplay based on the new characters and designs, and the fan favorite has to be Holtzmann – played by the fantastic Kate McKinnon – who has several iconic looks throughout the movie.

One piece of official Ghostbusters merchandise we’ve brought in for cosplayers is Holtzmann’s iconic necklace – a pewter toned ‘U’ with a screw drilled through it on an 18″ chain. It’s sold out almost everywhere – and we have limited stock ourselves! Once it’s gone, we have no idea when a second batch will be made.
The necklace is available while supplies last for $25 including shipping and you can see the product listing on our site here.

We have the stock on hand which means I was able to get a close look at the piece: it’s solid metal and a fun piece to wear normally if you want to show your fandom. The chain is just long enough that the pendant sits about 2 inches below my collarbone – but the pendant can easily be switched to a different chain.

Need a refresher on how awesome Holtzmann was? Here’s an official feature on her. And if you haven’t seen the gag reel on the DVD and Blue-Ray? I highly suggest you check those out.

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All that Glitters! Cinderella Shoes and Frozen Accessories to make your costume shine!

Halloween is coming and thanks to Disney’s new remake of Cinderella, everyone’s added the belle of the ball to their costume list. If you’re looking to complete the look, you of course are going to need glass slippers that won’t break the bank. (The new movie’s glass slippers were actually Swarvoski crystal and couldn’t be worn – and came in at £160,000 a pair!)

Of course, if Cinderella isn’t your dream princess and you’re looking for some Frozen Inspired footwear, all of these work as great shoes to compliment Elsa’s beautiful icy-blue gown.

Here are a few options for footwear you can dance the night away in!

CRYSTAL-103 Clear
Low, comfortable heel and enclosed heel and toe and subtle butterfly detail. Sizes 6,7,9,10,11.

CRYSTAL-100 Clear/Rhinestone
2″ heel, clear lucite with peep toe and rhinestones. Sizes 6-12.

Ariel Clear Adult Shoes
Low 2” heel and enclosed toe with heart detail. Sizes 6-10.

BELLE-301RS Clear/Rhinestone
3” heel with open toe and rhinestone detail. Sizes 5-8, 10-14.

CLEARLY-430RS Clear/Rhinestone
4 1/2″ heel open toe d’orsay-style sandal with rhinestones and ankle strap. Sizes 5-12.

CLEARLY-420 Clear/Rhinestone
4 1/2″ heel, peep toe pump with rhinestone detail. Sizes 5-12.

But it’s not just the shoes that make a Princess Costume come to life! Cinderella and Elsa both shimmer and glitter in the light. If you need to add a bit more shine to your costume, consider adding rhinestones to your dress, makeup and hair!

You can glue your own rhinestones using Beacon’s Gem Tac onto fabric and shoes, and you can use skin safe adhesive (I suggest eyelash glue) to add rhinestones to your face.
Stones like the Preciosa Aqua Bohemica Aurora Borealis are a stunning light blue with a pink shimmer when turned in the light. Flat back rhinestones can be bought in almost any colour and size here.

If you’re working on a budget and want some sparkle, check out these low cost Czech rhinestones. Only available in clear crystal and AB and two sizes, but a great price for adding some glam to a corset or tulle petticoat.

Of course if you want to attach a lot of rhinestones, you may want to use a hotfix applicator and a selection of hotfix stones. These have their own glue the applicator activates – so simply pick up the rhinestone and set it where you want!
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Last – but not least – is adding a bit of sparkle and shine to your makeup. These glitter options will give you the perfect Ballroom Look.

Graftobian’s Liquid Sparkle is a clear base you can use to turn any glitter into a liquid makeup that dries durable and long-lasting! Mix with your own glitter, makeup pigments, or either of the products below!

Glitter Dust! A polyester glitter that adds shimmer and sparkle to any look.

Shimmer and Glitz powders! Buildable colour to go from light shimmer to high-impact colour.

Of course you can always add a bit more glitter with hairspray, but some people might think that’s going too far. (I, of course, think the more glitter the better!)

Whether you’re this Halloween is all about Having Courage and Being Kind or learning to Let It Go, I hope these gave you some ideas to add some sparkle and shine to your costume this fall!

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The Book of Advanced Armor Making – Helmets & Pauldrons now available!

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If you know Kamui, you know she’s one of the foremost experts on Worbla – and her books are a great help to anyone looking for how to get started with Worbla and Wonderflex. She’s just added a fifth book to her current lineup of Worbla and Wonderflex Guides: Advanced Armor Making – Helmets & Pauldrons.

If you’ve been looking for great information not just on making awesome helmets and complex pauldrons, but advanced Worbla and EVA foam tips in general, check this book out! With 48 full colour pages it covers:
– Tools and Materials
– Basic helmet and pauldron patterns
– Modifying and understanding patterns
– Working with EVA foam (Skulls)
– Working with insulation foam (Horns)
– Working with clay (Antlers)
– Working with expanding foam (Pauldrons)
– Attaching pauldrons
– Attaching masks
As well as the following work examples:
– Crusader Helmet
– Barbarian Pauldron

The Book of Advanced Armor Making – Helmets & Pauldrons is available for $28, and can be combined for a discount with Kamui’s other books – 2 for $26 each, 3 for $25, and shipping is free. Kamui’s books are a great resource if you’re just starting out with thermoplastics, and have a lot of tips and tricks even for the experienced cosplayer.

Looking for a bigger discount? We offer Kamui’s books for $22 each with any Worbla Jumbo or Combo Jumbo order as well. The discount is applied automatically in your cart.

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The Book of Cosplay Lights Now Available!

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Have you wanted to get into lights for your cosplay and haven’t been sure where to start? Are you looking for a solid, basic primer on LEDs to add to costumes and props? In addition to her excellent books on Worbla and Wonderflex, longtime cosplayer Kamui Cosplay has written a book covering the basic principals of adding lights to your costumes and armor.

The Book of Cosplay Lights is available for $28, and can be combined for a discount with Kamui’s other books – 2 for $26 each, 3 for $25, and shipping is free. Kamui’s books are a great resource if you’re just starting out with thermoplastics, and have a lot of tips and tricks even for the experienced cosplayer.

Looking for a bigger discount? We offer Kamui’s books for $22 each with any Worbla Jumbo or Combo Jumbo order as well. The discount is applied automatically in your cart.

At 48 full colour pages, Kamui gives detailed guides and tutorials on:
– Introduction to LEDs
– Understanding Electricity
– Calculating Resistors
– Serial and Parallel Connections
– Calculating Battery Lifespan
– Required Tools and Materials
– Troubleshooting
– Molding and Casting resin Gemstones with LEDs
– Building glowing Acrylic Spheres
– Lighting up Plexiglas
As well as the following work examples:
– Dani Moonstar (Marvel)
– Druid T9 (World of Warcraft)
– Protoss Wizard (Blizzard Crossover)

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Patternmaking for Worbla Armour

Wondering how to make a custom pattern for your own body?

519 geeks is putting up a great tutorial on creating patterns for Worbla armour!  They show how they made a gorgeous steampunk corset/vest. Some highlights from the first part:

Wrapping the model in plastic film:


Covering the plastic film with painter’s tape:


Marking out the seamlines onto the tape and then cutting it  into a pattern:


Using the pattern to cut out the Worbla:


A teaser of the finished product, demonstrating how the pattern was designed:


The full tutorial (part 2 coming soon) can be seen here.

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Get Kamui’s book for free

NOTE: This promotion is now closed. Thanks for participating.

Are you checking your list and looking for gifts for your friends?

Well… then we have a gift for you!

When you buy a Gift Certificate (min $100) or 2 Jumbo sheets of Wonderflex or Worbla, we’ll give you Kamui’s “The Book of Cosplay Armor Making” for free!



This is how it works:

  1.  Place an order for qualifying items
  2.  Enter the code *book* (including asterisks)  in the comments section of the order form during checkout
  3.  You will receive an email with download instructions
  4.  Download the file and save it carefully (link is only available once per order)

This amazing book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in Cosplay, Armor Making and Thermoplastics.

Gift Certificates have NO expiry date, can be forwarded to anyone, and can be used towards any product in our site.



Category: Christmas, Cosplay, Costumes, Coupons, News, Worbla | Tags: | leave comment |

Cutting, folding and fusing Worbla with a Hot Knife

In this time-lapsed video we show how easy it is to cut Worbla with the sharp edge of a hot knife, how to fold worbla using the dull edge, and how to fuse worbla joints with the side of the blade.

(Recording was sped-up 8 times)

Category: Cosplay, Costumes, Crafts, Worbla | Tags: | leave comment |