mandag 29. juli 2013

Materials and techniques

I use several materials and techniques which might not always be familiar to everyone. So I will use this post to explain more in depth about the point I usually gets questions about - and I will add stuff to this post when I learn something new. So it will be regularly updated. 

If there is anything I have done that you wish that I could explain better, just send me an email or comment below.

So far this post cover the following topics:
  • Paper Clay
  • Lights
  • Weathering
  • Worbla and gesso
  • Corsets
  • SFX makeup (latex, mastix and gelatin)
Paper clay  
Paper clay is like a mix of clay and paper mache. It is clean, odorless and easy to use. I use it mostly because it air dries, you don't have to bake it in an oven for it to cure/harden. 

It can be shaped, sculpted or molded very easily while it's moist. It adheres easily to wood, canvas, and most surfaces without glue!  When dried, it's similar to a soft wood, it may  be carved or sanded after it has hardened. Paper clay can be painted with any kind of paint; it's just like painting on wood or paper. 
You can buy it in most craft stores (or Clas Ohlson in Norway)

Examples of what I have made with paper clay; Elvish staff, Kraken Staff, Vi goggles

Lighting, soldering and electronics
All cosplays looks 10 000 times better with lights, or that is my opinion at least. But light doesn't have to be complicated, I have a few tips to make it easier. 
  • El wire
This is a glowing wire ready to plug into a suitable or included battery pack. Very easy and fairly cheap, but the effect is not the best especially in daylight. Still no wiring needed, just plug and play. You can get them at e.g ebay in any color. 

  • LED key chain lights.
I love these, one light ready with battery and switch. Just glue/tape it on where you need a single light. I have used these in my Big Sister syringe and arm guard, and for the blue part of the Vi chest piece. In Norway you get these at Biltema in several colors.  

  • Flash lights
If you have room for it why not use a flash light, I did that for my Elvish Staff. The staff is hollow so I placed a flash light under the transparent ball and it gives an extra effect. 

Weathering - adding life to you prop
To create a depht in your props they need to be wathered, hightlighted and shaded. This paint job can really make you prop look realistic, like you have dragged your gun through the mud. 

For weathering you paint your prop in the base color you want and then add a darker wash (runny paint) over the first layer and wipe it off. Then the darker color will set in cracks and lines adding depth. 

This video from Volpin props shows really well how this process is done: 

When done you add ligther paint (silver/white etc) on any high point to create high lights. 

For battle damage you can use a technique called Dry Brushing, where you dip the only the tip of a dry brush in light paint (just a hint of color) and drag it lightly across the area where you want the effect.

Worbla and Gesso
Worbla is a thermoplastic sheet which can be heated with heat gun or warm water. The material then gets flexible and can be shaped, bent or molded in any way, and even better remolded if you need the materials for something else later. You only need scissors to cut it, and all leftovers can be molded together so you don't waste any material. 

You should check out Kamui's video tutorials. She uses a double layer of worbla, but for my VI chest armor I only used one layer.

Gesso is a primer used to smooth out the surface of worbla before paint, usually 10 layers are used. Gesso can me mixed with wood glue to achieve smootheness faster, or wood glue alone can also work. Here are my result from my first test with Gesso.

I actually found this very good tutorial for making corset patterns a while back. And when you have a good pattern to you measurements the sewing is quite easy. Here is a link to my Morrigan (Dragon Age) corset. 

SFX makeup
There are many ways to do something extra with your makeup. I have tried out some of them and will share with you what to do. I have mostly worked with latex og gelatin. They are both cheap and somewhat easy to work with. 



To be covered: 
  • Filler
  • Plaster
  • wig styling 
  • needle felting
  • make up
  • card board and faux leather
  • foam 
  • thermo vaccuuming
Any other methodes you are missing and want me to try, comment below.

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