Costume Musings

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Sisters of Battle Armor – Warhammer

 

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Cosplaying Hobbits

With the recent release of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, there has been an increase in questions about the finer details of transforming oneself into a hobbit….

…so with that in mind, here are some notes about the wig and makeup aspects of dressing up as a hobbit, that can take your hobbit appearance from good to great!

Hobbits

Hobbits

You’ve probably already got the basics of dressing like a hobbit down, (earth toned clothing, including yellows and greens which are a favorite of hobbits, heavy natural fibers, comfortable, vests, cloaks, knee length trousers, suspenders,  and so on), but what are the finer details that will transform your final look into a movie quality hobbit?

Wigs

Unless you are blessed with thick locks of naturally curly hair, you might want to consider investing in a wig. Unless you are trying to emulate a specific hobbit, any natural hair colour should suffice. Wigs such as the Tina , or a trimmed up New Michael  would be good for boys. For girls the Curly Dolly  is an example of a nice basic wig choice.

Ears

“Ears only slightly pointed and ‘elvish” as Tolkin wrote in a letter to his editor. There are several ways to approach how to achieve the look of hobbit ears you would like.

When buying a pre-made ear tip prosthetic you have to keep in mind the size and shape of your own face. Keeping an ear proportional to the size of your own head is highly recommended, this someone with a larger head might need slightly larger ears. If you have a wider face you might want ears that protrude more at the sides, and so on.

Frodo ear

A view of Frodo’s ear.

A really good choice for hobbit makeups in the premade foam ears, for example the  Alien Ears which are smaller than elf ears and come unpainted and can be painted flesh tone to match your skin colour. I paint mine with grease/cream  flesh tone makeups such as those made by Ben Nye and Mehon, and then protect the colour with a castor sealer.

There are also a variety of pre-painted elf  and fantasy ears and of course the officially licences Lord of the Rings eartips which I am less of a fan of because they are hard and made of vinyl.

All of the ears listed above can be affixed to you own ears using either Spirit Gum or Prosthetic Adhesive.

An alternative to using foam, latex, or vinyl ears, is to sculpt on your own with molding wax which you can buy in a cup, stick, or block.

Feet

If you look at the photo at the top of this article you will notice that the Hobbits have furry, (or at least hairy), foot tops. This effect can easily be reproduced by painting the top of your foot with clear  liquid latex and then applying crepe hair. Crepe hair comes in a variety of colours so it will be easy to match the colour of your hair, (or you wig if you choose to wear one). Crepe hair can also be combines to make subtler shades of colour.

Not feeling crafty? There are official Lord of the Rings licensed “hobbit feet” shoes available as too.

Good luck with your hobbit costuming. I’d love to see photos of your results.

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Fabric Rotary Cutters

 

Rotary Cutter

Rotary Cutter

A rotary cutter is a fast way to cut accurate straight lines when used in conjunction with a rotary pad and rotary rulers.

Rotary cutting can be intimidating to the uninitiated but with a few instructions and tips it can be both safe and easy. Rotary cutting is a true time saver and makes such clean and accurate cuts that once you learn how to do it you’ll never look back!

A rotary cutter in its purist form is simply a circular blade, mounted on a handle. The blade stands proud from the handle when ready for cutting, and retracts when not in use. It accurately and quickly cuts both fabric and paper.

It is imperative to use a rotary cutting mat when cutting with a rotary cutter. This helps the cutter make clean cuts and protects the blade. A ruler is also recommended.

It is very important when cutting with a rotary cutter to keep your hand on the ruler but away from the edge as you don’t want the cutting tool to accidentally cut you! The blade is basically a round razor blade so it is VERY sharp.

You can cut thru multiple layers of fabric or a combination of fabric and paper which is very handy!

 

Using a Rotary Cutter – Advantages
replacement blades for rotary cutter

replacement blades for rotary cutters

1 – It can be used left or right handed
2 – You can cut forward AND backwards
3 – Cuts decorative shapes with slightly more control than scissors

4 – Can easily cut through a number of layers of fabric
5 – You can buy a guide arm that can be set for seam allowances

But of course, the rotary cutter is by no means perfect!

Using a Rotary Cutter – Disadvantages

1 – You MUST use a cutting mat
2 – The blades are VERY sharp and can cause injury
3 – Some blades DO NOT retract automatically
4 – It’s hard to ‘nip‘ into those smaller areas.

If blades eventually dull, you do not have to throw out the unit. Replacement blades can be purchased inexpensively.

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Making Cyberlox Hairfalls

cyberlox

cyberlox

You’ve probably seen girls wearing those beautiful Cyberlox hair falls to raves, or anime cons, or online. Making your own Cyberlox hair falls is easy. Here is a quick and easy tutorial on how to make your own.

What you will need:

  • Tubular Crin, (aka Cyberlox)
  • Covered elastic suitable for use in hair, or stretch lace.
  • Additional elements as desired; craft foam, beads, ribbon, wool roving, etc.

 

Measuring and preparing the crin

Tubular crin is springy and is essentially what is nowadays called ‘horsehair braid’ (no longer made of horsehair, it’s a synthetic) woven in a tubular shape.

Measure how long you want your falls to be; each piece of crin should be double this length.  Be careful not to stretch it as you’re cutting so you don’t end up with pieces that are too short!

Tubular crin can fray, so before constructing the falls you should take all your sections and finish the ends by turning the edges to the inside for a few centimeters. On large crin you can use your finger; for this mini crin I used the blunt end of a ballpoint pen to push the edges inside.

cyberlox knot

Cyberlox knot

Knotting the falls

Fold each piece of crin in half and loop it over the elastic, pulling the ends through the loop and tightening.  To avoid stretching the crin, pull tightly only near the elastic rather than from the ends.  If you pull this knot tightly enough it shouldn’t go anywhere. 🙂

Continue until you have a long enough strip to wrap around your bun or ponytail.

Adding additional elements

Craft foam (aka Foamies) is great for adding texture to cyber falls.  Other popular additions are ribbon, wool of different spun and unspun varieties, unstrung, strung and fused bead strands, marabou boas, etc.

 

 

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