Costume Musings

Snow Fawn Poppy Bell Hammer Tutorial using L200 and LED Foam

Tutorial by: Puppichu Cosplay

In this tutorial I will go over how to make Snow Fawn Poppy’s “bell” hammer. This will include making a foam sphere bell, a disassemblable hammer shaft for travel, and animated LED lighting.

Remember to always use proper safety equipment such as safety glasses, respirators, gloves, ear protection, ventilation, and cutting mats while following this tutorial. Also remember to ask for supervision if you are a younger reader. Cosplay can be a fun hobby, but make sure you are safe first!

Pattern:

Download all the patterns you need for the Bell Hammer here: LINK
Print these patterns on a 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper

Bell Hammer Materials
½” L200 foam
¼” L200 foam
¼” LED foam
2” diameter ABS pipe ***will cut 3 pieces at 21” each (63” total) for my height of 5’5”***
2 – 2” diameter ABS male adapters
2 – 2” diameter ABS female adapters
Pipe cutting saw
ABS Glue
2 –  12” diameter styrofoam half balls
Velcro
Transparency Film
Packing Tape
Sandpaper (60 grit, 220 grit, 500 grit)
Rotary tool
Heat gun
Hot knife
Contact cement
Popsicle stick (spreading contact cement)
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
Box Cutter
Scissors or exacto knife
Marker or pen
Primer paint, acrylic paint/spray paint (gold), and paint brushes
Red satin fabric

Electronics Materials:
Neopixel strip lighting (79 LEDs total in my setup)
18-24 gauge wire (Red, Green, Black)
5V DC supply
470 ohm resistor
Solder, solder iron
Heat shrink
3 pin JST connectors (male and female)
Microcontroller (arduino)
Patterns – Animation code.txt

Creating the Foam Bell:

Trace the eight “sphere” pattern pieces onto your ½” L200 Foam and cut them out with your exacto knife or scissors. Remember to draw out your guide lines and mark the number of the piece with a directional arrow to the next piece(1 –> 2 –> ). Repeat this again to make another eight sphere pieces for a second dome.

Apply a thin layer of contact cement on two opposite edges of the half sphere piece. Follow the drying time directions for your contact cement, but typically the drying is done when the contact cement becomes “dull” and not sticky to the touch. Once this occurs, stick the two pieces together. Repeat this step with all eight pieces until a half dome is formed. Repeat again with the other eight pieces to make a second half dome.

Use your heat gun to heat up the L200 foam ball. While warm, stretch the foam half over the styrofoam half ball to give it a nice round shape. Make sure the foam has been stretched enough that the edges of the foam meet the edge of the styrofoam half. Repeat for the other dome.

 

Trace the eight “bell decoration” pattern pieces onto your ¼” L200 Foam and cut around the outside (not the “snowflake arms”) with your exacto knife or scissors. These pieces will be for the top of the bell. Apply your contact cement to the bottom of the decoration and to the top of the sphere. Don’t apply contact cement past the bottom of the “snowflake arm” or the bottom inch of the sphere edge. We want this portion not stuck together to place the edge on later.

Take the top foam sphere off of the styrofoam ball and cut the snowflake design out with a box cutter. Take an exacto knife and add a bevel (45 degree cut) around the outside of each of the decoration pieces. This will give a more defined edge between each panel of the decor. You can also add this bevel around the edge of the snowflake design too.

Place the top decoration piece back on the styrofoam half ball. Use your pen to trace or outline the snowflake decoration onto the styrofoam. Make a guide or line on the edge of both the styrofoam and foam. This is so you know which way to place them back together after cutting the styrofoam. Remove the foam top piece again and heat up your hot knife. Use your hot knife to cut out the snowflake design from your styrofoam half ball. Apply contact cement to the bottom edge of both the styrofoam ball and the inside of the foam sphere (be careful to line up your guidelines on the edge for the snowflake design!). Once dry, attach these together. Next apply your contact cement to attach the decoration pieces, being careful to line up the snowflake design’s edge evenly. Take the bottom piece of your sphere and apply contact cement to the bottom edge of both the styrofoam ball and the inside of the foam sphere. Once dry also attach the two together. You should now have two foam half balls attached to the styrofoam.

Cut 4 even strips of velcro about 2” (5 cm) long. Use hot glue to apply one side of the velcro to the bottom half of the sphere, on the styrofoam edge, at each of the four sides (equal distance apart). Stick the other half of the velcro to the portion glued on the half sphere. Apply glue to this half and attach the top half to make a ball. This method will ensure that you velcro is in the right spot on the other half, but make sure your hot glue has dried completely before attempting to take apart.

To make the edge piece, use a measuring tape to find the circumference of your sphere. Cut a strip of ¼” L200 foam that is 1.5” wide (~4cm) and your circumference long. Velcro your foam ball together and hold up your foam edge to the center of the ball. This piece will be used to hide the seam. Draw a line onto each of the decoration pieces and number each leaf with each point. This will be used for when you attach the points back onto the bottom half of the sphere. Cut each point off with your exacto knife and set them aside in a safe area (you’ll need them in the next step).

Use contact cement on the bottom portion of the decoration piece that was left unglued and attach it to the sphere. Then use contact cement to attach the edge piece to the bottom of the top half sphere (this will be easiest to do with the foam ball split in half). Reattach your sphere if needed after all this is glued. Then match your numbered points back up and draw the outlines onto the bottom of the sphere. Apply your contact cement to this and glue down your points to the bottom half.

Lastly, as a final decoration I cut two 1” (2.5 cm) wide by circumference long pieces. Using a rotary tool I sanded down the edges to make a point, mountain shape, or “V”. This piece then was glued to the edge that was used to hide the same. This gives that pointed edge Poppy has on her bell hamer.

 

Creating the Hammer Shaft:

Cut your ABS pipe into three equal 21” (~51 cm) lengths using your pipe cutting hand saw. Use a piece of sandpaper to clean up the edges of the pipe. Also, make sure your pipe is free from any debris before gluing.

Layout your three pipe sections and place your adapters (male and female ends) where they need to go so that they will all link together. Take the time to have this all placed out before you start gluing! This is to ensure you don’t make mistakes in pairing the male and female connectors. Read your gluing instructions for your ABS glue and apply it to the end of the pipes and attach the adapters. Let the glue try the recommended about of time. Now you should have a three pipe section that can attach into a large hammer shaft!.

 

Hammer Pommel:

The pommel of the hammer will take quite a beating on the convention floors all day. To help keep it undamaged I decided to 3D print mine out of ABS plastic. I have provided the .stl file if you wish to print it yourself, or get someone to print it for you. If you don’t have access to a 3D printer, you can also create this piece out of L200 foam. Epoxy glue the pommel to the end (of the opposite end pipe piece) of the hammer shaft. Lastly, paint the pommel gold.

Attaching the Bell and Shaft:

Using one of the end pipe pieces (only has 1 adapter on the end) trace the outline onto the bottom bell sphere. Use your box cutter and hot knife to cut this hole that the pipe will feed into. After cutting, test that your pipe will feed through the hole.

 

Now we will need to make the flange/decoration that holds the two together. Cut out the pattern piece for the bell flange with ¼” L200 foam. Use contact cement to attach both edges into a “cylinder” shape. Then use your heat gun to flair out the larger end (kinda like a trumpet horn). This piece should also be able to slide over your ABS pipe. Cut a strip of ¼” L200 foam that is 1” wide (~2.5cm) and the circumference of your flange piece long. Glue this decoration edge piece to the bottom (small end) of your flange piece.

 

Slide your finished flange piece onto your pipe end. Then attach your bell onto the end of the pipe (make sure the pipe is pushed all the way up to the top of the bell for better support later). Cut four small pieces of velcro and attach them similarly to how you did the foam sphere. You should now have the flange piece attached to the bottom of the bell.

 

Painting:

Start sanding your bell with 60 grit and 200 grit sandpaper. Remove large uneven spots or connecting pieces. Then prep your foam bell for painting by wet sanding it with some water and your 500 grit paper. Smooth down any seams and rough edges. Use your heat gun between layers of sanding to dry up the foam and remove and fuzzy sanded spots. Then apply a few layers of primer spray paint and give it another wet sand. Lastly, apply a thin layer of gold spray paint, or use your acrylic paint to give your bell the right color!

Electronics:

In this tutorial I will not be going over the basic theory behind Ohm’s law. If you want to learn this information yourself I suggest you check out Kamui Cosplay’s books on LED lights or head over to the Adafruit webpage. You will need a firm grasp of these concepts before starting this project. You can use whatever different lighting and resistor combinations you can find available to you, this is just what I used for my setup.

 

Here is a diagram of my circuit for the bell and pommel lights. When you create your circuit, use your JST connectors where you need to be able to disconnect your lights easily. The only JST that is mandatory is for disconnecting the Pommel. This is so you will still be able to take apart the shaft into 3 pieces for travel/storage.

Heat some LED foam and stretch it over a sphere to stretch it into a dome. Then place your pommel over top of it and trace the middle circle out. Cut this piece to make the center “gem” of the pommel. Take the Strip lighting for the pommel and use super glue to the inside of the pommel. Be careful to have the wire go down through the hammer shaft to the top of the bell. Make sure the lights are pointing to the inside of the circle. Use a bit of packing tape to ensure the lights stay in place. Lastly, hot glue your LED foam to the pommel, covering the lights.

Cut the “snowflake” design out of LED foam. Set this LED foam in ¼” deep into the hole and hot glue it in place. For the lights to be an even diffusion of light they will need to be set about an inch from the LED foam. To do this, take your three pieces of strip lights and tape them to strips of overhead transparencies. Then tape this overhead transparency to the inside of the bell so the lights will point down and be suspended over each arm of the snowflake design. Repeat this for the three lights.

 

Finishing Details:

Use your red satin to make a large bow and hot glue/hand stitch it to the “flange” part of the hammer. Don’t know how to make a bow? Try looking for “fabric bow tutorial” online, there are many great options out there!

Take your red satin again and cut it into large strips. Using hot glue, wrap these strips around the bottom pommel shaft and the middle pole section. Be careful not to wrap over your pipe adapters!! Cut another smaller piece of satin to wrap around these sections. Instead of gluing them down, use some velcro to make this piece removable . This way you can pull this piece off so that you disassemble the pole sections for travel or storage.

Lastly, make a painted gold 1” (2.5 cm) by circumference wide, rectangle piece of ¼” L200 foam. Glue this piece to were the pommel and shaft connect to make a clean transition.

Finally, use your ¼” L200 foam to make a tube a bit larger than the 2” abs pipe. The tube should be about 1” (2.5 cm) tall. Hot glue this tube to the inside of the top of the bell. This will make a slot that the tube can slid into to keep it attached at the top. This will help it from shifting around as you move it!

That’s it you’re done! Enjoy your new hammer and “go find that hero!”

 

 

Category: Cosplay, L200, LED Foam, Tutorial | Tags: | leave comment |

Giant Fawn Ears from L200 Foam Tutorial

Tutorial by: Puppichu Cosplay

In this tutorial I have broken up the ears and antlers for those who may only need one or the other. This tutorial was designed to create my Snow Fawn Poppy character from League of Legends, but the same principles can be applied for many different kinds of ears and antlers. First up… Making the ears!

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

Deer Ears Tutorial using L200 Foam

Tutorial by: Puppichu Cosplay

In this tutorial I have broken up the ears and antlers for those who may only need one or the other. This tutorial was designed to create my Snow Fawn Poppy character from League of Legends, but the same principles can be applied for many different kinds of ears and antlers. First up… Making the ears! (If you want to skip to just the antlers, go here)

Remember to always use proper safety equipment such as safety glasses, respirators, gloves, ear protection, ventilation, and cutting matts while following this tutorial. Also remember to ask for supervision if you are a younger reader. Cosplay can be a fun hobby, but make sure you are safe first!

EARS:

Pattern:

Print this pattern on a 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper
PDF – Poppy Ear and Antler Pattern Sheet

Ear Materials

¼” L200 foam (Get it from Cosplay Supplies here)
Inner ear color fur (white)
Outer ear color fur (brown)
Plastic Headband
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
Heat gun
Scissors or exacto knife
Needle and thread
Marker or pen

First, trace the pattern on your ¼” L200 foam with your pen. If you need your pattern to stay put you can also push some pins through the pattern into the foam. Then cut your ear pattern out with a pair of scissors or an exacto knife. Then flip your pattern and cut out a second ear (1 Left and 1 Right).

Mark on your foam where the fold line will be. This will become the part of the ear that folds over to make the hollow.

Next apply heat with your heat gun to where the fold line is. Be careful not to scorch the foam. Keep the gun moving over the surface and don’t apply it too close. Once the foam is warm bend the foam at your fold line marks and wait for it to cool before releasing.

 

Now you can use your foam as a pattern to cut your fur. Make sure you have the nap (direction) of the fur the right way! You want the direction of the fur to flow from the base of the ear to the tip. Use a pen or marker to trace around your foam ear. Make sure to cut the fur a bit larger so you can wrap it around the foam. Do this for both your outer and inner fur colors and also remembering to flip your foam ears the right directions (1 Left ear and 1 Right ear).

TIP: When you cut fur, flip the fur so that it is fur side down/canvas side up. Use the tip of the scissors to make tiny cuts which only cut the canvas. Try your best to split your scissors through the fur so that you don’t cut it off bluntly.

Use your hot glue to apply a bit of glue to the top of the backside of your foam ear and stick it to the canvas of the outer fur color (brown). Use more glue to stick down the rest of the ear working from the top of the ear to the bottom.

TIP: Cut the tip of the outer fur off. This will make it easier and less bulky  to fold over later.

Apply glue to the edge of the foam ear and start to roll over the fur to the inside of the ear. You can always use a pair of scissors to clean up or even out the fur edge to make it nicer before glueing it down.

Using your glue gun again, apply glue to the tip or the inner fur color (white) and stick it down to the tip of the foam ear. Glue this fur down similar to how you glued the outer ear, starting at the top and down to the base. If you cut this piece larger than your foam ear like me, it will most likely be more fur than you need. As you glue the fur down to the edge, use your scissors to also cut it smaller and clean up this edge.

Now that your ears are all furred the only step left is attaching them to wear on your head. My ears were later attached to another piece of L200 foam inside my hood; however, if you need a simpler system a plastic headband is a great option. Hot glue the base of your ears and stick them to the sides of your headband. To make sure your ears are extra secure, use a needle and thread to hand stitch them in place to the headband.

Enjoy your new pair of ears!

Ready to make the antlers? Check out Puppichu’s tutorial here

 

Interested in more League of Legends themed tutorials? Check out Vickybunnyangel‘s guide to creating Star Guardian Soraka Wings Using Varaform.

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

Making Light Up Deer Antlers Tutorial Using LED Foam

Tutorial by: Puppichu Cosplay

This tutorial was designed to create my Snow Fawn Poppy character from League of Legends, but the same principles can be applied for many different antlers or horns. 

Remember to always use proper safety equipment such as safety glasses, respirators, gloves, ear protection, ventilation, and cutting mats while following this tutorial. Also remember to ask for supervision if you are a younger reader. Cosplay can be a fun hobby, but make sure you are safe first!

Pattern:

Print this pattern on a 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper

PDF – Poppy Ear and Antler Pattern Sheet

 

Antler Materials

¼” thick LED foam (from CosplaySupplies. Get it here)
Contact cement
Rotary tool with drum sander
Heat gun
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
Acrylic paint (brown/white) and paint brushes
Popsicle stick (spreading contact cement)
Scissors
Marker or pen

Electronics (optional):

4 LED lights (5mm, 3.0-3.4V, 20mA)
Electronic wire
4 Resistors (110-150 ohm)
9v attachment and battery
Heat shrink
Solder and solder iron

Trace the patterns on your ¼” LED foam with your pen. If you need your pattern to stay put you can also push some pins through the pattern into the foam. Then cut your antler patterns out with a pair of scissors or an exacto knife. You will need four pieces of “large” and  four pieces of “small” antler patterns. Don’t forget to flip your pattern and cut this all again for one left and one right antler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next step is to laminate the four pieces of foam together to make a larger/thicker antler chunk. Apply a thin layer of contact cement on two opposite sides. Follow the drying time directions for your contact cement, but typically the drying is done when the contact cement becomes “dull” and not sticky to the touch. Once this occurs, stick the two pieces together. Repeat this step again with the foam pieces you just glued to get all four pieces glued together. Do this for each of the antlers and for both the left and right sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grab your rotary tool with a sanding barrel and remove the sharp edges. You want to try and sculpt it into a more round/tube like shape. Remember the tips of the antlers would be thinner and rounder, while the base would closer to a rounded box shape. After sanding, use your heat gun to put a small bend into both the “large” and “small” antlers. This will make them look a bit more dynamic and not as flat/2D looking.

Apply more contact cement to the bottom of each of the “large” and “small” antler points. You want to glue a “small” antler to the front of a “large” antler. Once the glue has dried stick them together. Again, be careful you glue one left and one right direction.

 

Electrical components (optional):

In this tutorial I will not be going over the basic theory behind Ohm’s law. If you want to learn this information yourself I suggest you check out Kamui Cosplay’s books on LED lights or head over to the Adafruit webpage. You can use whatever different lighting and resistor combinations you can find available to you, this is just what I used for my set up.

Here is a diagram of my circuit and how they are wired in the antlers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First prepare your antlers for installing the LEDs. Use an exacto knife to cut open the top of each of the antler points

Use your rotary tool to sand out a pocket for your led to rest in. This will also make the walls of the LED foam thinner to make your LEDs shine even brighter through the foam. Be careful not to sand all the way through! You don’t want a hole in your antlers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After soldering your circuit together (connect it to test that it works!), install it into the antlers by cutting a small channel halfway through the foam and stuffing in the wires. Give your circuit an extra test to make sure all wire are still connected and working!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that your LEDs are working, seal up the channels and top of the antlers with some hot glue. Make sure you are using a low setting on your hot glue gun and try not to apply the tip of the glue gun directly onto the foam. This is to ensure the foam does not shrink/melt from high heat application.

With you antlers constructed and LEDs installed, it’s time to paint! I used an acrylic brown paint for the base of the antler, but be careful not to apply it to the tips of the antlers where you want your light to shine through. I used a very watered down white acrylic paint over the tips of the antlers to make sure the light won’t be obscured.

TIP: paint your antlers with the lights turned on to make sure you don’t cover up too much light with your paint.

Now your antlers are complete! The only step left is attaching them to wear on your head. My antlers were later attached to another piece of L200 foam inside my hood; however, if you need a simpler system a plastic headband is a great option. Hot glue the base of your antlers and stick them to the top of your headband. To make sure your antlers are extra secure, use a needle and thread to hand stitch them in place to the headband.

Enjoy your new pair of antlers!

 

Want to know how Puppichu made her adorable Fawn ears out of L200 foam? We will be posting that tutorial in the next few days so keep an eye out on our blog!

Interested in more League of Legends themed tutorials? Check out Vickybunnyangel‘s guide to creating Star Guardian Soraka Wings Using Varaform.

Category: Christmas, Cosplay, L200, LED Foam | Tags: , , , , , , , | leave comment |

A New Book from Kamui: Advanced Lights – Animated LEDs


Kamui Cosplay has written many books teaching various tips and tricks and foundation skills for cosplay, and her book Advanced Lights – Animated LEDs is her most recent entry!

LEDs can be intimidating, and even once you have the basics of creating a circut down, there’s so much more that you could do if you have the right tools and techniques. Kamui covers everything about working with animated RGB LED strips and how to create mesmerizing light effects for your props and cosplays. She also walks you through choosing the right materials, soldering microcontroller circuits, ‘programming’ your very first LED strip and of course building it into your costume!


It’s a perfect follow up to her original Book of Cosplay Lights and the best part is this book is still for beginners! No programming knowledge required to follow along.

You can find Kamui’s newest book available here for $28 – or $22 when purchased with Worbla!

Category: Cosplay | Tags: | leave comment |

New Pattern from McCalls using Worbla!


The Cosplay by McCall’s line has been creating some fantastic resources for cosplayers looking for patterns that require less modifications to create the outlandish styles found in Anime, Video Games and Manga. Their collection includes lolita inspired school uniforms, video game fighters, bases for your next Sakizo, evil queen gowns, and viking warriors. They recently teamed up with Becka Noel to create an easy to follow armor pattern using EVA foam and Worbla, which is awesome for folks just getting started with their Worbla builds!

This pattern is available in Size S(31 1/2”-32 1/2” Bust) through XL(42”-44” Bust) and the design is selling for $9.95 on McCall’s website.

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

Showgirl Headpiece Tutorial using Varaform and Worbla

Tutorial by Vickybunnyangel

Showgirl headpieces are traditionally created using a custom soldered wire frame to provide the skeletal structure that all those fantastic feathers, rhinestones and fabric attach to. I’m assuming Showgirls must have amazing neck and shoulder muscles, because the weight of these things could get ridiculous the more lavish they are. No wonder feathers are used very prominently since they are visually grand but are also very light. Instead of using a metal frame for my headpiece, I went with a  base of Varaform since it is very lightweight and easy to mold into shape. Plus not having to deal with metal wires, pliers, wire cutters, and soldering stuff was an added bonus.

I wanted to incorporate my love for Final Fantasy into this, so I based my design off of Rydia’s color scheme and look for an original “Showgirl Rydia” costume down the road.

Materials

Varaform – half Sheet
Black Worbla scraps
Headband
Rooster Feathers 14-16″ 8″ strand in lime
Rooster Feathers 8-10″ 1yd in lime
Acrylic Paints
Flexbond
Heat Gun
Scissors
Parchment paper
Hot Glue
Optional:
180 x Preciosa chaton rhinestones SS20 in peridot
70 x Preciosa chaton rhinestones SS16 in peridot
45 x Preciosa chaton rhinestones SS12 in peridot
E6000

Forming the base

I decided that the headpiece will be mounted on a headband so it will stay securely on the head. I’m using a cheap headband I had laying around but you may want to buy one that camouflages better with your hair color or matches your costume. I also wrapped my wig head in cling wrap to protect it from the stickiness of Varaform. I also trimmed my Varaform to clean up the edges. Once cooled those extra bits sticking out could’ve been very prickly!

One thing I like to do with Varaform is to heat it up on parchment paper, then fold the parchment paper with the Varaform still attached to create multiple layers and strengthen the Varaform. I want to minimize how much I touch the Varaform because it is very sticky! Once it has cooled, it is safe to peel the parchment paper off, reheat, and fold the other side. I folded to create a total of 3 layers. It is very durable at this point but still light as air!

My first strip of Varaform was attached directly to the headband. Because it is so sticky you don’t need any glue! This is now my base, and everything else will stick to it nicely.

I made several of these doubled to triple layered strips to build the tiers where my feathers will be attached to to create height. If you want your headpiece to have more height, just add more tiers!

While still flat, I finalized the design of my understructure and attached all the strips together with a bit of heat. You’ll notice I folded the feet up about an inch. This was in preparation to attach to the base headband. Since Varaform gets very floppy when it is warm I immediately put it into the freezer so that it would harden quicker.

After heating up just the feet of my vertical frame, I attached it to the headband. Unpainted it kind of looks like a very nice white lace!

Even though this will all be covered by feathers I still painted the Varaform green in case any of it accidentally peeks through. I didn’t have green spray paint or else that would’ve coated it more effectively, but do not spend too much time worrying about how perfect your base color is since it is getting covered up anyways.

Adding Feathers

Next I placed my feathers and glued them down. I put the long 14-16″ feathers in the front, and backed it with 2 tiers of shorter feathers to cheat the look of volume and length. Feathers get more expensive the larger you need them, so doing it this way instead of using all 14-16″ feathers saves a bit of money. I had enough feathers to completely conceal the Varaform base from behind too.

Creating the Crown

At this point I’ve shown you how to make a basic lightweight feathered headdress, and this next part is all up to personal design but this took up a lot more time than creating the headdress itself (That was about an hour’s worth of work). You can simplify things by gluing sequined fabric or foam shapes to decorate your headband. But we want to be fancy right? Yeah! Go big or go home.

The crown is formed out of Black Worbla. I made symmetrical earpieces that would attach to the headband on either side, and built sculpted details off of that by heating up scraps of Worbla and rolling them into noodles. Worbla sticks to itself when warm so again, no glue was needed here. When the Worbla crown pieces cooled and hardened, I heated up only the points that would come into contact with the Varaform base. I also applied a bit of heat to the Varaform as well to make it sticky and everything stuck together very well!

Decorating

I carefully wrapped the feathers in cling wrap first before coating the crown in paint so I wouldn’t accidentally get it on the feathers. I primed the crown with one coat of Flexbond to make it just a bit smoother before dry-brushing with antique gold paint. The advantages of using Black Worbla is that it’s already black! Which makes dry-brushing metallic colors very easy for those of us who are lazy since we don’t have to worry about shading in the crevices with black paint. I only had to dry-brush the areas that would be highlighted.

After the paint dried I went to town with a ton of rhinestones. E6000 is my preferred adhesive since it is viscous enough to hold the stones in place and I can still shift the placement and adjust things if necessary for a few seconds before letting it dry. I did wear a mask while using it though because it is a toxic substance with plenty of warning labels on it. If you are sensitive to the fumes of E6000 I recommend going with a glue like Gem-Tac. Don’t use hot glue for small rhinestones. You’ll just have a miserable time full of regret.

Additional tip: I did half of these by hand and it took forever, and then my Crystal Katana arrived and enabled me to do the rest of it in a fraction of the time! I definitely recommend a tool like that if you plan on doing a lot of rhinestone work. It has a pointed end made from wax that picks up the rhinestones, and adjustable tips for positioning stones.

Completed Piece

If you have any questions, or need something clarified please leave a comment below! Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Category: Cosplay, Tutorial, Varaform, Worbla | Tags: | 5 comments |

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 |

Vegan Costuming

We are often asked if our products are suitable for use by Vegans, so we’ve done a bit of research to help you navigate through these concerns. Keep in mind that Cosplay Supplies carries a wide range of products from numerous manufacturers, and it’s not always evident to us if something is 100% Vegan or cruelty free. If we haven’t included something in this list then the answer is probably “we don’t know” and it is up to you to decide if it’s appropriate. With that said, here’s a helpful guide to our most popular products.

Make-Up

We carry the top brands for professional/theatrical grade make-up and many of these companies have published their position when it comes to cruelty-free/vegan products.

Ben Nye
Ben Nye is cruelty free but not vegan. Their products are manufactured in the US. Unfortunately information on ingredients is not readily available on their website or catalog. To contact Ben Nye directly to inquire about products, call 310-839-1984.

Graftobian
Graftobian products are cruelty-free however they do not list ingredients on their website. A Graftobian representative sent a listing of their vegan products to the Cruelty Free Make-Up Artist blog. Their products are manufactured in the US. To contact Graftobian directly you can use their contact form on their website.

Most popular vegan Graftobian products:

Liquid Latex
Castor Seal
Pro Adhesive
Magic Blood Powder
Stage Blood
GlamAire Airbrush Makeup
F/X Aire Airbrush Makeup

Kryolan
Kryolan is cruelty free and has complete ingredient listings on their website (https://global.kryolan.com/) that you can reference before making a purchase decision. Their products are manufactured in Germany. Many of their products are vegan with the exception of  oil and wax based products and certain colors that may contain carmine as a color additive. When in doubt, or if it isn’t clear on the website, you can reach out to Kryolan directly at info-usa@kryolan.com.

Kryolan’s famous Aquacolor line has been confirmed to be mostly vegan (with the exception of specific colors that may contain carmine), and the Aquacolor Metallics are vegan.

Mehron
Mehron states that all of their products are cruelty free. All ingredients used in the manufacturing of their products are also guaranteed to be cruelty free and animal safe. However the line is not 100% Vegan as certain products do contain animal-derived ingredients. Mehron’s website labels any vegan products with their vegan stamp to make it easy for you to quickly find suitable products. Complete ingredient listings can also be found on their website (https://www.mehron.com).

Most popular vegan Mehron products:

Barrier Spray
Celebré Pro-HD
Liquid Latex
Paradise Pro Make-up
Paradise AQ Glitter
Professional Modeling Putty/Synthetic Wax 
ProColoRing Neutralizer
Velvet Finish Primer

Thermoplastics

We asked our manufacturers if their products were tested on animals, if third parties test on animals on their behalf, if their products contain ingredients derived from animals, and if anything contains animal by-products. We are still waiting on replies from some manufacturers and will update this section when we hear from them. It’s important to note that petroleum is involved in most manufacturing of modern plastics. Depending on your personal definition of veganism, we thought we would highlight that so you can make your own informed decision.

Fosshape does not test on animals or use animal derived ingredients/by-products.
Sintra does not test on animals or use animal derived ingredients/by-products.
Styrene does not test on animals or use animal derived ingredients/by-products.
Wonderflex does not test on animals or use animal derived ingredients/by-products.
Worbla does not test on animals or use animal derived ingredients/by-products. They also like to emphasize their use of renewable raw materials (i.e. leftover branches from production).

Footwear

Most of the footwear we sell comes from Pleaser USA (which is the parent brand for Demonia, Fabulicious, Funtasma, Pin Up Couture, Devious, and Bordello). In recent years they have really expanded their selection of Vegan footwear, and many popular styles now have a Vegan version. In terms of durability and comfort, Pleaser’s vegan footwear are just as good as their non-vegan counter parts. Use the keyword “Vegan” to search all the vegan options we have available.

Most popular vegan footwear styles:

Abbey – 02 
Aspire – 608 
Aspire – 609
Cramps – 201
Defiant – 100
Emily – 375
Swing – 103

Wigs

Almost all wigs we sell are made with synthetic fibers or human hair and are appropriate for Vegan use. Specific items like Crepe wool (used to create beards), or wigs made from yarn would not be Vegan friendly, and it is noted in the item description if someone thing is made from wool/yarn. Most synthetic compounds used for wig fibers do contain petroleum which depending on your preference and personal definition of veganism, may not be suitable for use. It is unclear if crude oil/fossil fuels/petroleum come entirely from plants or if there are ancient animals mixed in (the composition of petroleum is mostly from fossilized organic plant matter like algae).

Popular wig lines:
Blush Fashion/Cosplay Wigs
New Look Synthetic Wigs
New Look Human Hair Wigs
Sepia Wigs

Craft Supplies

Many of our general crafting products are manufactured in China. We aren’t sure specifically what can be classified as Vegan, so we will link you to the experts at Vegan Womble who have compiled a great list of brands that manufacture Vegan art supplies.

Vegan Art and Craft Supplies

 

Category: Cosplay, Industry News, News | 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: | 7 comments |