Costume Musings

Fake Boobs with Varaform

Tutorial by Vickybunnyangel


If you need to make fake boobs for whatever reason, we wrote up a tutorial using Varaform. You can alter the length/shape of the breast form to suit your costuming needs. I settled on an open chest with a high neck for costumes like Dragon Sorceress Zyra (League of Legends) and Night Elves (World of Warcraft).

Varaform takes complex shapes and curves very well which has made it popular for creating large-scale hollow shapes for theater and movies. Are you familiar with that trapped heat/sweaty feeling from wearing Worbla armor all day? The Varaform mesh allows for better air circulation and lets your skin breathe more. I wanted to showcase how Varaform can be used to duplicate a form, and we happened to have a mannequin around, so I made fake boobs!

Materials

1x 13″ x 19″ sheet of Varaform
Heat Gun
Bowl of water
Parchment Paper
Felt
4-way stretch Spandex close to the skin color you want
Hot glue
Fabric-Tac/Spray Adhesive/Rubber cement
Paint

Preparing your Positive Mold

Wrap your mannequin with cling wrap with tape to hold it in place. Varaform is covered in sticky glue, and this makes it easy to take off of the mannequin once cooled. Use tape strategically to get the cling wrap to stick to the curves and crevices as close as possible.

Forming the boobs

Heat the sheet of Varaform on parchment paper. It will stick to the paper initially but you can peel it off easily. While it’s still on the parchment paper you can press it onto the mannequin just to get it to stick. Loosely stick the Varaform to the mannequin and peel off the paper. Then use your hands to carefully stretch it over the form. Make sure you wet your hands before touching the Varaform directly!

Take your time to stretch or compress the mesh as needed to get it to take on the shape of the boobs. You can always reheat areas with a heat gun if it cools before you can finetune the fit. Varaform is very forgiving. If you accidentally bunch up too much you can squish and flatten it down. No need to cut darts. Let that cool completely before removing it from the mannequin.

Draw your cutting lines while it is still on the mannequin. Think about what makes sense in terms of hiding the seam lines with your costume. When you’re happy with the shape, you can take it off the mannequin and cut away the excess Varaform.

Covering the Varaform

Carefully cover the Varaform frame with 2 layers of felt. I used a hot glue gun because it was quick. Felt can stretch over curves to some degree, but you will need to dart it at the side to get it completely smooth. With a single layer of felt the mesh texture was still visible underneath, but a second layer of felt covered it completely. The felt will also give your boobs a soft plush texture like skin.

Estimate how much spandex you will need to stretch over the boobs and use a good adhesive to bond the spandex to the felt. I use Fabri-Tac because it stretches well and can be spread thinly. You don’t want to use a hot glue gun because the hard glue trail it leaves behind can be seen under the spandex. If you have rubber cement, or want to to use tacky spray adhesive that will probably work well too. Starting from the middle, carefully stretch and pull the spandex to cover the boobs. Make sure you cover every inch in glue to keep the stretch fabric down!

Painting the Boobs

If you have an airbrush, this part will go by much smoother! You can get an even coverage and do subtle shading without any visible brushstrokes. The nude spandex was no where near my actual skin color so I had to get creative with the acrylic paints I had to make something close to my skintone. You can also buy airbrush paint that’s already a match for your skin, but I was on a budget so I used regular acrylic paint and Airbrush Medium to create my airbrush paint.

Mixing tips: You can see from the swatches that I struggled a bit before I got a color I was happy with. Everyone’s skintone is different so I can’t tell you how to mix for your skin but I used a combination of cream, brown, red, peach, and green to achieve mine. Green neutralizes the redness in paint very well and actually was the secret ingredient to getting something close enough to my skin. Make sure you mix up a lighter shade and a darker shade for contouring/highlighting as well.

Painting tip: airbrush different layers. I started with a more pinkish base because my skin has a slight pinkish undertone to it, and then I layered the more tannish cream color on top. This variation in color makes it look more skin like.

The finished boobs above! You can see that I added highlight and shadows to exaggerate the shape more and give them dimension.

P.S. I am very small chested so this is all held up entirely by the rigid under-structure of the Varaform.

Attaching the Boobs

Depending on your needs you can sew shoulder straps, or create a halter neck strap to hold the boobs in place. You can also cut up an old bra band and use that to attach the boobs around the back.

I hope you found this tutorial useful! There’s many other ways of course to create a breast form but we thought it would be fun to try it with Varaform.
If you have more questions or like seeing more cosplay tips and tricks! Follow my page on Facebook [Vickybunnyangel Cosplay] or Twitter [@Vickybunnyangel]

Category: Cosplay, Tutorial, Varaform | Tags: | leave comment |

Using ‘Metal Complex’ punches and blanks

By Carmi Cimicata

If you’d like to personalize metal blanks, Metal Complex offers a great series of tools and materials to help you do so.

Tools: Alphabet punches, chasing hammer, bench block, metal hole punch
Materials: Metal Complex blanks, Gilders Paste , jump rings




Alphabet punches are getting more and more popular. They allow you to create your own names, sentiments or patterns on what would ordinarily be a blank piece of metal. For this project I used a strip of metal to practice on and then three Metal Complex blanks. The blanks are 24 gauge brass. They are also available in copper and German silver. The chasing hammer does all the work. One strike with the hammer on the bench block and you get a very deep impression.



I used a charcoal pencil to write my sentiment on the blank. It made it easier to see where I would be punching and I knew that the words would fit.



The metal hole punch made my holes for me. Just a few twists with the tool and a perfect hole can be had!


Then the fun began. I pulled out my Gilders Paste and choose a group of colours I wanted to work with.

I added dark colour into the letter impressions and then lighter colours around them.

I let these dry for 12 hours and then I applies a matte lacquer coating.

Here we have the butterfly motif, with Iris Blue Gilders Paste as a first layer and then Inca Gold as a second layer.

Experiment with different stamps, blanks and colours of Gilders Paste for your own unique creations!

Category: Crafts, Tutorial | Tags: | leave comment |

TILA 2-hole Beads Wreath Pendant Tutorial


Source: Miyuki Co. Ltd.
Finished Size: About 47cm-52cm including clasp

MaterialsMiyuki Tila 2-hole beads, Delica beads, 3mm pearls, 3mm rondelle crystals, nylon beading thread, suede cord, cord ends, clasp

Tools:  Scissors, Pliers, Ruler, Toothpick, Beading Needles

1. Use six 15cm (5.91") lengths of nylon thread to make 3 pieces each of [A] and [B]:

String Tila bead, crystal cut beads (pink for [A] and green for [B]. and Delica beads from star symbol to the end as shown.  Tighten the thread and knot twice.  Pass the excess thread through the nearest crystal bead, then cut off.

2. Use two 30cm (11.81") lengths of nylon thread to make 1 piece of [C]:

String Tila beads, pearls and Delica beads on two lengths of nylon thread. Tighten the thread and knot twice.  Pass the excess ends through the nearest Tila bead, then cut off.

3. Use new 30cm (11.81") length of nylon thread to make 1 piece of [D]:

String Tila beads, Delica beads and components [A] and [B] as shown, then finish the thread ends the same as [C].

4. Use 60cm (1.95 feet) of nylon thread to assemble the pendant:

String pearls and components [A] to [D] while weaving from star symbol to the end. 

String beads, pearls and Delica beads along with 1 each of [A] and [B] to create the pendant bail as shown. Tighten thread and knot twice.  Pass the excess thread through 2 or 3 pearls, then cut off.


5. Cut a 45cm length of suede cord (length can be adjusted as you wish), then pass through the loop of the pendant.  Attach the cord end, then connect clasp to the cord end.


Looking to purchase Tila 2-Hole by Miyuki? See our line of Tila 2-hole beads here.

Category: Crafts, Tutorial | Tags: | leave comment |

Tila 2-Hole Beads Strand Necklace


Source: Miyuki Co. Ltd.

Finished Size:  About 95cm

MaterialsCoated flexible beading wire, beading thread, bugle beads, 11/0 seed beads, Miyuki Tila beads, 14mm clear faceted plexi (acrylic) or other faceted beads, 10-12mm black faceted beads, bead tips, bead crimps, clasp, jump rings

Tools:  Scissors, ruler, pliers, 2 beading needles

1. To make the beaded balls:



Use three 60cm lengths of nylon beading thread to make the beaded balls.  Starting from the center of each piece of thread and using two needles, weave 11/0 seed beads and Tila beads as in the picture until you reach the bead marked by the black star symbol (you should have completed half the beaded ball. Slide on the clear plexi cut bead and weave the beads until the plexi bead is covered.  Pull end threads tight, then knot twice.  Pass the excess thread ends through 2 or 3 beads, then cut off.

2. Stringing

Cut nylon coated wire 140cm long.  Then string bugle beads, 11/0 seed beads, plexi cut beads, the beaded balls from step 1, bead tips and bead crimps to assemble the necklace as shown.

3. Finish off

Connect the findings and bead tips to finish the necklace.

Looking to purchase Tila 2-Hole by Miyuki? See our line of Tila 2-hole beads here.

Category: Crafts, Tutorial | Tags: | leave comment |

Jewellery with Bezels and Epoxy

Metal Bezels

Great For
High end jewelry creations. Bezels are ideal for filling with Apoxie Clay designs and pointed back chaton stones, image designs with an Epoxy resin coating. Epoxy cement finishing. Resin doming and cabouchons.

Features
-Available in 5 Finishes.
-Textured middle adheres better to materials.
-Can be baked up to 375 F degrees, in an oven.
-Silver Plated has a Brass base and are non-tarnishable.
-Raw Brass and Antique Brass are made of 100% Brass.
-Raw Copper and Antique Copper are made of 100% Copper.
-Silver Plating is hypo allergenic.

Apoxie Sculpt


Apoxie Clay is great for setting materials into bezels and creating shapes and designs for jewerly components. It can be used to fill bezels and frames, or alone to create simple designs. Used for model making, sculptures, restoration, statue work, and many more arts and crafts purposes.

Apoxie Clay has a Putty-like smooth consistency, 2 to 3 hours working time, self-hardenong, no ovens, kilns or fumes, 0% shrinking and cracking, lightweight, semi-gloss finish, permanent, waterproof, freeze-thaw stable, outdoor quality. Shelf life can be maintained or extending by refrigerating or freezing.

Instructions

Step 1

Use equal parts of part A colored clay and part B grey setting compound

Step 2

Mix and knead Part A and B together for about 2 minutes until clay is one solid color with no streaks. Proper mixing ensures the clay will cure.

Step 3

Form the clay into any shape. A ball shape is ideal for creating a cabouchon look. Mold the clay into a bezel setting.

Step 4

Using a toothpick or applicator with a beeswax tip:
Pick up the chaton crystal from the top of the crystal.
Place it into the clay surface.
Make sure the pointed end is fully immersed into the clay.
The chaton should sit slightly below the edge of the clay surface. This will insure the chaton stays securely in the clay when dry.
 

Finished

Create your own unique designs. Clay can be painted when wet or dry, textured or brushed.

See our product list below:
(more…)

Category: Crafts, Tutorial | Tags: | leave comment |

Magnetic Wings Tutorial featuring Varaform

Tutorial by Vickybunnyangel

As someone who travels a lot and works at various events as a cosplayer, it’s important for me to create things to be durable and lightweight. The ability of fitting into a suitcase, and also causing the least amount of strain on my body after a long day of wear, are the main reasons I decided to test out Varaform to create a set of magnetic wings. The particular character these wings are for is Star Guardian Soraka from League of Legends (the most weird part is they attach down by the butt, instead of the back), but you can easily adapt this tutorial to suit your needs!

What is Varaform?

 

Varaform is a lightweight thermoplastic extruded into mesh form. Unlike Wonderflex or Worbla’s Mesh Art, it does not actually have any fabric in it. It is purely plastic. When heated, it becomes soft and pliable like a sticky fabric mesh. To see a full explanation of Varaform, please refer to this post: Potential new product: Varaform.

Wing Base

Materials:
Half sheet of Varaform Heavy
Quarter sheet of Varaform Light (Optional. It can all be made from Varaform Heavy)
Scissors
Heat Gun
Water
Parchment Paper

 

I covered my workspace with parchment paper and had a bowl of water on hand. Varaform is incredibly sticky when heated, and it will stick to almost everything. It can be easily peeled off of parchment paper once cooled, and you will need to constantly wet your fingers while working with it to avoid it sticking to you. An alternative method of heating up Varaform is in a bath of hot water, but I prefer using a heat-gun so my entire workspace doesn’t get wet.

  

I cut my Varaform into 6″ wide strips before rolling it into “bones”. Pro-tip: wear long sleeves when cutting the Varaform because the plastic mesh can be prickly on the skin. It’s not nearly as bad as trying to cut and work with chicken wire though.

Varaform’s lightweight quality is tied to it’s low density compared to other plastics. While this is great for making certain items like masks, for a set of 6 feet wide wings I needed my bone structure to be dense and durable. The middle image above shows a rolled piece of Varaform that has air pockets throughout inside. It felt nearly weightless. That thickness is not strong enough and will snap under pressure. In the third image above you can see my skeletal structure ended up being 4-5x that thickness and I also squeezed the varaform as I rolled it to make it as dense as possible. The trade off of course is weight and my wings ended up weighing about 2lbs, which is still reasonable.

After heating up my thick rolls of Varaform, I shaped them to create the main bone structure of the wing. I recommend looking at diagrams of real wings to get a sense of where the joints should be to make them look more realistic.

Using Varaform Light, I cut out rough feather shapes to create a base to glue my feathers on. I heat the feathers with a heat gun and stuck them onto the skeleton. Unlike Worbla, Varaform only requires one surface to be heated to stick. During this step I also shaped the 3D curvature of the wings. The curvature is much more noticeable in pictures later on after I’ve covered the mesh with feathers.

Residue from the glue in Varaform is to be expected. It looks kind of gross but once it is dried you can just rub it off your hands into a trashcan.

Covering the Wings & Harness

Materials:
5x 8×11 sheets of White Felt
36x packs of White Turkey Feathers
12x packs of White Goose Feathers
20x 1″ diameter Rare Earth Magnets (magnetic strength of 30lbs)
Scissors
Hot Glue
Medium sheet of Worbla’s Mesh Art
2x D Rings
Waistband Elastic
Velcro (optional)

 

I used 2 layers of Worbla’s Mesh Art to create a rigid base board the magnets would adhere to. Worbla adheres really well to the Varaform! This is great to know so you can get the best of both worlds by combining the materials together in a single build. I chose Mesh Art specifically because it is the strongest of the Worbla products and is very resistant to tearing thanks to the mesh embedded inside.

Then I covered the wings in felt to mask the texture of the Varaform mesh. Why? Because feathers (especially white) are actually a bit translucent when held up against light. The felt acts as a diffuser and prevents you from seeing that grid texture. I also made sure my lines were jagged and feathery looking because it blends better rather than looking like a solid straight line. If you ever buy those mass produced Halloween wings that are made with a base of cardboard or foam, you will notice the solid opaque outline of the base when you hold it up to light.

 

The most time consuming part of this build was hands down prepping the turkey feathers. After separating out feathers into left and right curvatures (this matters!), I shaped each one individually. This improves the overall look of the feathers and makes them look more like anime/fantasy wings.

It’s also advisable to categorize your feathers according to length as you tip them. It will make placing them much more efficient later on.

 

Cover the wings with feathers front and back. I did 2 rows of turkey feathers on each side.

 

This part is optional. To make the wings more compact for travel, the tips containing the longest feathers are removable. I glued these feathers to a scrap piece of white plastic (you can use Worbla, Sintra, styrene, piece of a plastic bucket etc.), then attached it to the wings with velcro. I slip it in under the feathers so it hides the separation point and looks blended. These feathers are generally the most fragile on wings because they stick out the most, so doing it this way allows me to continually replace them if needed.

 

Depending on how lazy or on a budget you are, this next part is also optional if you think the turkey feathers alone look good, but for me I like to cover my wings in a layer of goose plummage to soften the edges and hide where the turkey feathers are glued. It makes the wings look more polished and luxurious. Layer them front and back, and on the top. The felt should not be visible after you are done. You can see what this looks like in the photos at the end of the finished wings.

To attach the wings magnetically I used 1″ diameter rare earth magnets that have a rated pull strength of 30lbs. I had used smaller magnets previously with a strength of 9lbs, but found they were too weak to keep the wings up. Since the wings are not attached at their natural center of balance, and 3 feet of wing span has to be supported on such a small point, I decided the larger magnets were best. I would rather overkill with strength and know that the wings won’t fall off my back board.

I glued the magnets to the wings first, then used a slow drying paint to mark off their position. I pressed my backpiece into the paint so I had a perfect transfer of each magnet’s position to attach to the other side (as you can see in the picture above). The magnets are strong enough to rip each other off of the glue, so on my backpiece the magnets are then encased in a layer of Mesh Art.

The backboard is made from craft foam encased in 4 sheets of Worbla’s Mesh Art. I needed it to be rigid and hard as wood, because this piece is what supports the wings and holds them out at a 90 degree angle. Warping or breaking would be bad. You don’t have to do what I did. I just used what I had on hand, but wood or something that is rigid and strong will do the trick too.

I’m holding it up by gripping the back piece alone to show how strong the magnets are.

 

The magnetic back board is then attached to a curved piece so it sits on the contours of my bum better. The curved back piece if made from craft foam sandwiched between 2 pieces of Mesh Art. I attached D-Rings on either side with pieces of Mesh Art then tied elastic to it since we don’t have a sewing machine at the studio or else I would’ve sewn it properly to make it look cleaner. I heated the curved piece and the magnetic back board and attached them together. Mesh Art is very adhesive so no glue was required.

Finished!

Category: Cosplay, Tutorial, Varaform | Tags: | leave comment |

Fosshape Tutorial Videos

The following three videos showcase Costume and Prop building with Fosshape.

Category: Fosshape, Tutorial | Tags: | leave comment |