Costume Musings

Cosplay armor with Worbla by Electric Alivia

Cosplay armor with Worbla by *Electricalivia on deviantART

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

“Moondragon” tutorial with Worbla, by Sarcasm-hime

Sarcasm-hime‘s beautiful “Moondragon” costume won Best in Show recently at Costume-Con 31 in Denver.  She has shared her tutorial with us detailing how she made the headdress and spine out of Worbla.


Hi, Sarcasm-hime here.

This is an illustrated description of how I made my headdress and spine; it was an experiment since I’d never worked with Worbla before, and I wasn’t disappointed!

I chose Worbla because I wanted to do a lot of cutouts, and its lack of an internal mesh (unlike Wonderflex) made it ideal.

Tools and materials used:

  • hard insulation foam
  • Wonderflex & Worbla
  • heat gun
  • hot-knife
  • utility knife
  • hot-glue gun
  • respirator mask
  • sandpaper
  • mold release
  • aluminum tape
  • cellophane & organza

First I sketched out my horn shape and glued several layers of hard pink insulation foam together, then carved it to the right shape. You need a very sharp x-acto knife for this or the foam will shred. For finishing the surface, use sandpaper (outdoors, and wear a dust mask!).

Once I had the shape smooth and finished, I covered it in aluminum tape to protect it from the heat necessary to shape the Worbla. This step may not be necessary (I didn’t test it without the aluminum) but I didn’t want to take the chance. I tried aluminum foil at first, but it didn’t stay put.


Then I sprayed the form liberally with mold release, just in case the Worbla decided to stick.

Once the mold release had dried, I started covering the horn in Worbla. I knew I would be cutting a lot of holes and wanted them to be sturdy despite that, so I used two layers of Worbla. I used a paper pattern to get the general shape, and spliced in extra bits where necessary. Worbla can be stretched a bit when hot, so I was able to get a fairly smooth surface.

I completely covered the horn in one layer, then added the second layer. I did this to minimize any lumps where edges joined.

Here’s the horn covered in 2 layers of Worbla.


Once I had the surface finished, it was time to get the foam horn out. Since I was using the same mold for both horns (you don’t have to do this, I just chose to), I needed to get it out with a minimum of damage to the original sculpt. I used a regular utility knife to cut all along the bottom edge of the horn in order to free the foam inside. It took some yanking (because of the curve involved) but it did eventually come out intact.

I repeated the process for the second horn, and sealed up the cut using some hot-glue and patching from the back using scraps of Worbla.  Now it was time for cutting the holes!

For this, I used a hot-knife. I had a hot-knife attachment on my woodburning tool, but you can also buy hot-knife tools or even hot-knife attachments on mini-irons.

I first drew the pattern out on the Worbla using a permanent marker. I wanted a sort of random, organic pattern so wasn’t too fussy about this part. The hot-knife made cutting through the 2 layers of Worbla fairly easy; it didn’t take as much brute strength as it otherwise would with an x-acto knife. The hot-knife slides through the Worbla fairly smoothly with a little pressure. However, because the hot-knife is actually burning some of the Worbla as it cuts, I strongly recommend doing this outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. I had to work indoors as it was too cold outside, so I bought a respirator mask designed for use with paint fumes.

Please note that I don’t mean just a dust mask, I mean a proper respirator mask of the type with filters on each side, designed to protect you against paint and other fumes.


The cutting process left the edges of my holes kind of rough, probably because I was working with 2 layers. So to smooth the edges once I’d finished cutting, I swapped out the point of my woodburning tool to a rounded point and used that to soften the edges, which I then smoothed with my fingers while they were still warm. I also tried using my mini-iron, and that also worked well for heating and smoothing the edges.

You want to do only spot-heating in this kind of situation, because the form is hollow and you don’t want to heat enough of it that the whole thing can deform.  Here the smoothing process is half-finished:


Once my horns were cut out and smoothed, it was time to make the mask and attach them.

I had a mold of my forehead from a previous project (**for info on how to make one, see below), so I used that to shape the base mask out of Wonderflex. Either Worbla or Wonderflex would have worked fine, it didn’t really matter. I just needed something that would fit flush against my face.

Once I had the base mask, I positioned the horns, trimmed where necessary to make them sit correctly, and attached them to the base mask using Worbla scraps. I had to be a bit careful here to only heat the very bottom of the horns where they would be attaching, so as to keep the overall horn from deforming and slumping. I added some hot glue at the attachment points just for security.

At this point it didn’t really matter what the attachment part looked like, as it would be all covered with the main mask layer.


For the main mask, I made a paper pattern and transferred it to craft foam, making sure that the placement of the holes lined up with the eye-holes of the under-mask enough to allow me to see. Again, I wanted an asymmetric, organic pattern so drew out my holes and cut them out using a craft knife.


I then lay warm Worbla over the craft foam, cut a slice in the centre of each hole, and wrapped the Worbla over the foam to enclose the foam edges. Covering craft foam with Worbla is great for when you want a very smooth surface on your finished piece, such as for armour. I also used this technique to make my spine (see below).

I then used hot-glue to adhere a sheet of iridescent cellophane and iridescent organza to the back of the mask. This allowed for visibility but offered enough opacity to hide my eyes.

Here’s the outer mask, in the process of being attached to the horns and understructure:


And here’s the outer mask firmly attached. I’ve started embellishing by sculpting some details on the forehead and adding spikes on the side.


For the spikes, all those cut-out scraps of Worbla came in handy. One of the great things about Worbla is that the leftovers can be heated up, mashed together and reused. So my scraps got heated, mashed together, rolled out flat again and shaped by hand into the spiky protrusions on the side of the mask. I didn’t want them super smooth as I wanted an organic look, so I just shaped them with my fingers.

Once all the sculpting was done, it was time for paint. Here’s the base layer of black acrylic (over a layer of gesso, not shown):


I had to paint carefully by hand to avoid the cutouts on the face.

And here’s a layer of “Black Mica” paint which creates a cool texture, with added black glitter for extra sparkle:


I cut slits in the base Wonderflex mask directly under each horn to make flaps to which I could attach my LEDs. They shine upwards and illuminate the iridescent organza I stuffed up inside the horns.

Sturdy elastic is glued to the inside of the mask, and secures behind the neck with snaps.

The finished product:



For the spine, I made a cardboard template and cut out the pieces from craft foam. I cut out pieces of Worbla a bit bigger than the craft foam.

I then heated the Worbla using a heat gun and shaped it by hand over the foam, pressing the edges over the foam to cover it.


When making structural pieces like armour, people usually prefer to sandwich the foam between two layers of Worbla for stability. My spine wasn’t going to be under any stress, so I decided I didn’t need the extra layer and left the back of the foam uncovered.

Once the individual pieces were covered, I re-heated them and pinched them, shaping with fingers to get the right angle.

They were then painted and glued to a ribbon which attaches to my costume using Velcro.


And that’s it!



**Want to know how to make a cast of your head/face? Look up ‘life casting’, there are tons of tutorials.

You basically need alginate (a seaweed-based casting material used by dentists to take molds of your teeth) which will exactly replicate your features and is totally skin-safe, and then plaster bandages to put on top of the alginate as a rigid shell so the mold will keep its shape.

Once your alginate and plaster bandages have set, you remove the negative mold and immediately fill it with plaster of Paris or Ultracal. You must do it right away because the alginate doesn’t keep, it will dry out and shrink.

You then have an exact replica of your face/head, which you can then use to sculpt custom prosthetics and all sorts of stuff 😀

PLEASE NOTE this process is not something you can do yourself; you need a friend to apply the materials to your face, and you must be careful to leave breathing holes if you’re covering the nose/mouth.  Your friend must also be ready to remove the casting materials if you start to freak out (some people do).

Category: Cosplay, Costumes | Tags: | 5 comments |

Star Trek – Into Darkness

Star Trek has longStarTrek_Logo_2007 been a popular franchise with a huge fan following. This is likely because it presents a positive outlook for the future. It says this is what we could be. This is our potential.

Movie Grand Heritage Spock

Movie Grand Heritage Spock

The Star Trek Original Series    was so popular that is has resulted in several spin-off shows: Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise, as well as eleven major motion pictures.

This May the 12th Star Trek film Star Trek – Into Darkness comes out in theatres.

Don’t miss your chance to purchase a lovely, high quality, heritage Star Trek Costume before they are all sold out in the wake of this popular film release.



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

Becoming Alfred Hitchcock: Toby Jones’s four-hour makeup process – timelapse video

For the upcoming TV movie The Girl, actor Toby Jones had to don prosthetics and a fat suit in order to play the British director Alfred Hitchcock in a drama about his troubled relationship with Tippi Hedren, played by Sienna Miller. Here’s some accelerated footage of the four-hour preparation process Jones endured to get in character every day

Toby Jones as Alfred Hitchcock

 The Makeup

A multitude of applications are made throughout the process of transforming Jones to Hitchcock. Silicone, adhesives, tints, cosmetic gels, powders, and so on.

One of the products used in the above video is an alcohol activated makeup. Alcohol activated makeup (or AA makeup for short) is a newer category of makeup that uses a special polymer base which readily dissolves in alcohol, but not in water. AA makeup is an extremely valuable tool in effects cosmetics. It’s staying power is nearly unparallelled on skin. If needed, makeup can remain in tact for days. It is completely waterproof making it ideal for aquatic makeup or scenes shot in the rain. It is highly opaque to the level that it is beginning to see regular use as a concealer; replacing thicker heavier oil-based makeups. It applies very thin. It is flexible, allowing the makeup to resist cracking. It blends simply by redissolving already applied makeup with additional alcohol. A few grams of makeup base can last for years of professional makeup applications.

Alcohol activated makeup is most commonly supplied as a dry cake in a pallet or makeup pan. 99% alcohol must be purchased to activate the product. Lower concentrations of alcohol, such as 93% are ineffective at dissolving the makeup. Though rarely kept in stock, 99% alcohol may be special ordered from a local retail pharmacy. Aditionally, there is exists BIC Activator which is made specifically for use with Alcohol activated makeup and has a reduced odor.

AA makeup may be applied by brush dipped in alcohol, or the product may be entirely dissolved into alcohol and loaded into an airbrush. Urethane foam wedge sponges are not as recommended as a large amount of makeup can go to waste in the center of the sponge.

AA Makeup can be removed with additional alcohol, soap and water, or any of a wide array of makeup removers. Overuse of alcohol as a makeup remover is not particularly recommended, as it can cause excessive drying of the skin.

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I want a Santa Suit ! A guide to buying the perfect Santa Suit.

santa portrait

This is the time of year many people find themselves thinking, “I want a Santa Claus suit!”. Maybe they want to surprise their children. Perhaps they are entertaining at the company Christmas party, or ever working as a professional Santa.

Let this guide help you be the best Santa you can be by buying the Santa suit and accessories that are right for you.



Regency Santa Suit - Red

Regency Santa Suit

Regency Santa Suit – Red

The Regency Santa Suit Costume is a very popular and economical Santa Outfit. Most costume shops use this model for their Santa Suit Rentals. If you plan on wearing a Santa Suit more than just a couple of times or want to fool all of the children, this is the Santa Outfit for you. The jacket, pants and hat are soft  plush, and it has a thick faux rabbit fur trim. The only caveat is that this Santa Suit does not have the expensive silky lining of the Professional and Majestic suits. Someone with sensitive skin may want to wear a long sleeve shirt and pants under their costume to prevent chafing. Nevertheless, considering that you would spend $40 – $60 to rent this Santa Outfit at most costume shops, you’ll save money after just a few Santa Claus appearances


regency xxl

Regency Plush Suit XXL

Regency Plush Santa Suit XXL

Just like the regular Regency Santa suit, the Regency Plush Santa suit in XXL is a very popular model of suit. The jacket, pants and hat are a soft plush, and all white fur is the soft and full faux rabbit trim. The XXL version has plenty of room for a more comfortable wear for jolly old St. Nick! Also excellent if you are wishing to wear a full sized Santa belly under your costume.

Professional santa suit (50-56)

Professional Santa Suit

Professional Santa Suit

The Professional Santa Suit . This suit is made of a bright red deluxe pile plush with luxurious, white long fake fur plush trim and completely satin lined. Includes: Zipper coat with inside pocket, pants with side pocket, hat with large tassel style pom-pom, naugahyde boot tops with long  white plush fur trim, wide naugahyde belt with eyelets, gilt buckle with prong and belt loop and white nylon stretch gloves. Keep in mind that the Professional Santa Suit is designed with ample room so that the jacket will drape well in photos and not be confining or uncomfortable when sitting with children. The Professional Beard and Wig is commonly bought with this Santa Outfit.


The Blue Santa Suit

Blue Santa

“Ho ho ho! The New York Yankees never get coal in their stockings!”

Yes, you read that right, the Blue Santa Suit! This Santa suit although highly unusual is very popular. Blue Santa suits are often used by families who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. Other reasons  for Santa having a suit of blue is to tie into corporate colours, or the colours of themed events such as Christmas cruises. One of the most popular reasons people order the blue Santa suit is to tie into their passion for sports teams. If your Santa is a fan of the New York Yankees or the Dallas Cowboys, he might really like to show his team support by wearing the Blue Santa Suit.

This Plush Blue Holiday Suit includes: Jacket, elastic waist pants, black boot covers, wig and beard set, matching hat, and white knit gloves.  Santa glasses sold separately. This suit is proudly made in United States.

Wigs and Beards

Santa Suits most often do not include beards or wigs. Why? Some Santa Claus have natural beards and others already own a Santa Beard or Wig. If beards and wigs were included with Santa Suits, folks might be paying for something that they didn’t need. People have different preferences for beards and wigs and it would be unfair to stick them with one style or colour when they may prefer another.

Deluxe Santa Beard & Wig

Deluxe Santa Beard & Wig

The characteristics that determine the appearance of the Santa Beard and Wig are the strength, color and texture of the fibers or hair. The good Santa Beard and Wigs have strong fibers that allow for multiple washings while retaining their shape and appearance. The next consideration in choosing a Santa Beard and Wig is the color. The less expensive models are bright white – a color easily created by adding bleach in the manufacturing process – while the ones with natural colors are more realistic but expensive to produce. The last consideration is the texture of the fibers. For something truly lifelike, the fibers must be soft, supple and silky – like real hair. This quality is only achieved with the Kanekalon fibers.

If you’re thinking of dressing as Santa but do not need a wig and beard that is going to get much use, you might wish to try an economical model such as a Cotton Wig and Beard Set or and Economy Wig and Beard Set. They are not washable and may only hold up to half a dozen uses or so.

A mid range quality White Santa Wig and Beard Set  is a basic white but nicely styled.

If  you need a wig and beard set that is going to fool all the kiddies, the Deluxe Santa Wig and Beard Set is recommended. This is a very full wig and beard with natural colour. It can be washed and styled, and holds it shape excellently. Perfect for professional and very serious Santa Claus players.

Other important Santa accessories

There are many details that are easy to forget. When we see Santa at the mall or on parade we often don’t even realize what we are looking at. Santa often wears wire framed glasses, and of course that big belt he’s always wearing. Mall Santas and generally Santas that work with the public wear white gloves, much the way professional clowns do. It lends to a more clean and polished appearance. Last but not least, don’t forget Santa’s toy sack, ready to fill with holiday surprises!


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Sailor Moon Obsession

Accessories to help you cosplay one of the most beloved magical girls of all time.

Sailor Moon in her classic costume

If you grew up in the 90’s, you are probably familiar with he cartoon heroine known as Sailor Moon Her iconic costume, odango, and fighting stances are immediately recognizable and she is one of the most well known anime characters worldwide.

In addition to her cartoon series Sailor Moon has appeared in, manga, musicals, movies, and a live action television series. She has been immortalized in toys, t-shirts, household items, food items, and a plethora of other merchandise. Her popularity is so immense that there are innumerable websites and fan clubs dedicated to her and her sailor scout friends in all their incarnations.

With all this popularity, it’s no wonder that Sailor Moon is a popular choice with cosplayers!

Thinking you might  want to dress up as Sailor Moon yourself? Below are a few accessories to help bring your Sailor Moon cosplay to life.



Do you remember the iconic odango, (those buns with pigtails),  I mentioned earlier? Sailor Moon

Sailor moon inspired wig from
(click here for details)

has  almost inhumanly long hair, so when the cartoon series first aired cosplayers would have to self style wigs, sometimes having to chop up multiple wigs to achieve the look of Sailor Moon’s golden locks. Fortunately as her popularity grew, companies started producing reasonably priced pre-styled wigs such as the one pictured on the right.


We all know that sewing gloves can be a pain. Purchasing a basic pair of white opera gloves and adding to them is an easy way to work toward making Sailor Moon’s gloves. If you’re a thrifty cosplayer, I recommend adding sew on snaps to the top of the gloves so you can add and remove them at will. This way you can utilize your white gloves for other cosplay costumes you may have.


Sailor Moon inspired Boots

Sailor Moon inspired Boots
(click here for details)


Sailor Moon sports a pair of  beautiful, kick your butt, boots that many a fan has dreamt of wearing. Unfortunately custom boots an be very challenging to make for the novice or casual cosplayer.  Fortunately just as with wigs, as Sailor Moon’s popularity grew companies started offering real life versions of boots  resembling  Ms. Moon’s.



Sailor Moon Jewellry

Sailor Moon’s Jewellery

If you’re looking for finishing touches, fashioning Sailor Moon’s iconic moon jewellery from chandelier crystals or golden cubic zirconia crystal pendants is an elegant option. Beautiful glass oval Cabochons can be used to finish her tiara and boot tops.


Those big, blue, anime eyes may seem impossible to attain, but you can create amazing illusions with copious amounts of cleverly placed eyeliner, false eyelashes, and blue anime contact lenses. Sadly makeup is often the most overlooked aspect of costuming. Adding a full makeup can make a good cosplay into a great cosplay!

This is just a taste of what is available to the Sailor Moon Cosplayer and by no means a complete list. There are a wide variety of items available, and each person will have their own preferences when choosing to recreate the look of this magical girl. Perhaps you’d like a wig with longer pigtails and the red odango jewellery already attached? Perhaps you would like your wig to be a more natural blonde instead of a cartoon yellow? Perhaps you would like your boot with a chunky or lower heel?  There are so many choices and it’s up to you which are the right ones for your Sailor Moon obsession.

"Bye for now!"

“Bye for now!”


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What is Cosplay?

Welcome to Dani’s Cosplay Corner!

If you’ve discovered us, you may be interested  in, currently involved in, or at least curious about the hobby of  Costuming and Cosplay.

If you’ve never heard of cosplay, or cosplayers, this is a great time to get to know what it’s all about.

What is Cosplay?

Cosplay (コスプレ kosupure?), short for “costume play”, is a type of performance art in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea. Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture centered on role play. A broader use of the term “cosplay” applies to any costumed role play in venues apart from the stage, regardless of the cultural context.

Favorite sources include manga and anime, comic books, video games and films. Any entity from the real or virtual world that lends itself to dramatic interpretation may be taken up as a subject. Inanimate objects are given anthropomorphic forms and it is not unusual to see genders switched, with women playing male roles and vice versa.

Although it’s often used to solely describe fans who recreate costumes from Japanese media, the term cosplay can be used to describe costumes worn by other hobbyists,. A few examples of this are,the costumes worn by  historical recreation enthusiasts,  sci-fi fans, zombie walk participants, LARPers, and steampunk fans.

The popularity of cosplay in Japan encourages the misconception that cosplay is specifically a Japanese or Asian hobby. The term “cosplay”, though Japanese in origin, was originally an American hobby from North America.

Despite its most popular demographic being that of  teens and young adults, cosplay is a popular hobby that is enjoyed by people of all ages around the globe. The hobby in fact is so immensely popular now, that chances are you yourself either have, or you know someone who has “cosplayed”.

More about cosplay at Wikipedia

More about shopping for cosplay at


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