Sunday, May 24, 2015

How to Make a Neo Queen or Princess Serenity Cosplay from Sailor Moon

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

Photo by EGP Photography

Many girls dream of becoming a beautiful princess complete with crown, dress and glittering jewels. Here is how I made a Neo Queen Serenity cosplay from scratch. I hope this can help give you ideas on how to transform yourself from gorgeous gal to full-on Moon Goddess!


sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

Neo Queen Serenity's dress is an empire waisted sleeveless gown with a large butterfly-like bow attached in the back and gold details on the top. It seems pretty Grecian in design (but I'm no fashion expert). It looks like a soft flowy material that may possibly be stretchy as it clings to her legs, then flows outward at the bottom. She also has a beautiful jeweled gold crown, a crescent moon on her forehead and swirly gold earrings. The whole design is simple yet extremely elegant and regal.

Dress

The pattern I used was the Kwik Sew 3400. It is a nice basic empire waisted dress with a train on the back, meant for wedding and formal gowns. The chest area fit me a little weird though so I suggest making a prototype from muslin and trying it on before you cut into your good fabric. This way you can adjust the pattern to fit you better.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to



I used a shiny satin for the chest area, then a bit more matte satin for the rest of the gown. My good friend Garnet Runestar suggested I use netting as a layer between the lining and the outer dress for shaping. It adds a little stiffness and wards off wrinkles. Look her up, seriously. She is my local expert for epic gown cosplays. She will be at Anime Expo as a guest this year!

The gown pattern has a simple A-line flow to the skirt but I wanted it to be a mermaid line skirt to more closely match the references. I put on my muslin mockup of the original pattern, inside-out, and pinned the dress down the sides and brought it in close to my knees. I cut off the excess fabric and picked apart the muslin pieces so that I now had a mermaid gown pattern. You can see in the below pictures how the final gown looked with the alterations.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

I was going to try putting a see through chiffon layer on top of the satin layer to create the gathers that are in the reference photos, but it just ended up looking really bad so I took that layer back out. If I ever make this dress again, I'm going to try a stretchy white pleated plisse fabric that is used in dance costumes.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

Not as elegant as I was hoping. Plus I just have no idea what I'm doing XD

For the gold circles, I made a paper template using one of those compass/pencil things. Just a short chain of circles was all I needed.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

Hurry, pattern while the baby sleeps!

Next I measured how many circles I would need to encircle my chest. I added a couple extra too, just in case. I traced the circles onto iron-on interfacing, then ironed that to my gold crepe back satin. It made it much easier to cut the shapes in the fabric!

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

After cutting all the inner circles out from the gold piece, I pinned a long strip of white satin behind the holes. Then I satin stitched the edges of the holes. My machine doesn't have a nice close satin stitch, so I just used a the tighest zigzag stitch I could manage and went around the holes 3-4 times each. It was really annoying to have to do so many, haha.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

After that step, I turned the fabric right side down onto the shiny side of a slightly larger strip of satin and stitched the edges of the big circles down. I cut off the excess fabric on the outside and turned the whole thing inside out. Now it has clean edges and can be sewn onto the gown.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

There she is, Miss America!

To further embellish the dress I added two rows of gold plastic beads from Hancock fabrics both right under the gold rings and at the waistline seam. I simply hand-sewed them on.

Accessories

Crown

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

For the crown I used a material called Worbla's Finest Art. It is well known on the cosplay scene nowadays. It comes in sheets and can be re-shaped using a heat gun. First I patterned out all the layers and details I would need, then transferred the patterns onto the Worbla.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

To shape the crown I used a bucket as a template for the curve. I then heated and added the different Worbla bits on. I also used Apoxie Sculpt to add some dimension to a few parts (the white parts in the photo). When that was cured I used several layers of white Gesso to prime the whole piece and sanded it as best I could. The texture of the Worbla unfortunately is very hard to cover up with Gesso but there may be other alternatives that work better.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

The next part was painting the crown with gold acrylic paint. The red parts are painted with nail polish, one of my favorite cheap ways to add accent colors. I also sprayed the whole thing in a clear gloss. I glued on jewels and added a little comb on the back with some Worbla so that it would slip into my wig or hair and could be secured.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

The first comb was this one, an actual comb with a handle that I cut off. I later switched to a few smaller combs with gripping tines that actually grab the hair. A couple bobby pins helped secure it even further.

Forehead Moon

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

I used Fimo bakeable clay to create the forehead moon. To make it that perfect, circular crescent shape I used a small circular cookie cutter. I painted it gold with acrylic paint and added clear gloss. To attach it to my forehead I applied a little spirit gum.

Earrings

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

I created the earrings from Fimo clay and some jewelry findings. I made a shape that looks like two leaves joined together and twisted it in the middle narrow part and curled the end. I also made the beads from Fimo. I painted them with gold acrylic paint and added clear gloss.

Wings

I had some see through pink material that I added wire to and created a fastening with snaps in the back of the dress so the wings would be removable. I also had the lower part of a back bow for Super Sailor Moon that I recycled to use with the wings.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

Bolero/Sleeves

I made the bolero as a fun new take on the puff sleeves that Serenity has in princess form. I thought it would add a regal touch to the whole ensemble. I found this amazing silver brocade at Hancock Fabrics that I felt was just perfect for my vision.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

Patterning out the puffy sleeves took forever because I didn't quite understand how to make the round 3D shape into a 2D one on paper. I tried several things and finally figured out something that would work.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

The patterning process...bleh.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

The brocade was very thin and frayed a lot so I had to be careful with it. I also lined it with quilt batting to help it stay puffier. The base bolero pattern came with the gown pattern so the torso part was easy. I also added a queenly collar accent by taking two long pieces of brocade and sewing them together with some batting in between. Then I sewed horizontal lines to create a quilted effect and sewed the collar onto the jacket.


sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to


Shoes

I found some really cool clear shoes with rhinestone accents at DWS, but white or silver and maybe even gold or pink shoes would go just as well. It's really up to you since the artwork never really shows her feet. Make sure they're comfy is all I ask!

Wig

Here's a video on the process of making the wig. It's very visual and should help you understand how to put everything together. For the verbal process, read below.



I pieced together the wig from a couple Arda Wig products. The base wig is a Chibi in 081 Platinum Blonde, but you can use any color you like. I bought two of their buns and one ponytail clip in the same color.

I styled the bangs first by cutting them, then separating them into 3 layers and curling each one, then blending them together. I also added a couple strands to the sides that are longer.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how tosailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

Original Chibi bangs, before and after. Derp!

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

Bangs curling process.

I stubbed the pigtails on the Chibi and glued them so they would stay together.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how tosailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

Stubbing, before and after.

I cut the ponytail clip in half after taking out the clip and then tied one half around each stub.

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

This is what a disassembled ponytail clip looks like. It's basically a mini wig! I cut it in half, between the wefts, and preserved the elastic for each half so I could tie it around the stubs.

Then I took the buns and tightened them to be a little smaller and pinned them over the stubs using bobby pins. Bobby pins do get pushed out easily so I suggest hand sewing the buns on for a much more secure grip. It's a very easy process and looks very clean when all finished!

Here is the whole ensemble put together!

sailor moon neo queen princess serenity cosplay costume how to

Photo by EGP Photography

Have fun transforming yourself or your friend into the magical Moon Princess or Queen!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to Make a Volvagia Dragon Cosplay From Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Ho man this project. Creature cosplays are my passion for sure, but this one was extra challenging! So let's just jump right in!

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume


Volvagia is a long skinny dragon that lives in a volcano and eats rock people called Gorons. If you've ever played Ocarina of Time, you will be familiar with this Fire Temple boss whose battle is basically a much more dangerous version of Whack-A-Mole, where if you don't whack it, it will spew fire in your face and drop red-hot boulders on you. Also, he has a fabulous mane of hair made of flames. You do not want him to swish it into your cute little Hylian face.


Snake-y, firey goodness. This is the official character art for him. Finding good in-game reference photos was really tough. I had to screenshot videos of OoT:3D since the graphics are quite a bit better than the original N64 version, but still really tough to see the details.





There were a couple ways I thought about approaching this project, and my end product was much different than my original vision, but I am happy with how comfortable and wearable it was. Here are some photos so you can visualize it while we're talking about the process it took to get here.
legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume
legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

HAHAHA THE LEGS ARE THE MOST GLORIOUS PART.
People would say "nice job, bro" because the legs are pretty ambiguous as to my gender.

My first approach to the design of this costume was to do the entire tail. A few options I considered were wrapping it around my body or magically making the tail hold up behind my back in an up and down serpentine pattern, or perhaps making it a two person costume. See the following illustration for an idea.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Pretty ambitious, complete with sound effects and lighting. I haven't figured that stuff out quite yet, but my husband did get an Arduino set up with all the sound effects from the game!

I played around with the math for proportions and came up with a 22 foot long dragon...pretty dang big to drag around at a convention. I even made an Astrofoam skeleton of rings to see just what that would look like. It took up the whole length of my living room!

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Satisfied that that was definitely not going to work for a one-person costume (though a Chinese dragon style, multi-person puppet would have been pretty cool!), I re-designed it to just look like the dragon was popping up out of the ground whack-a-mole style like in the game. Tons easier and would take less time and fabric.

The Head

Designing the head was my absolute favorite part. First I drew a side profile and a top-down view of the head to scale. I cut out the two drawings from foamcore board and crossed them with each other to make a kind of guide.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Initial design drawing to figure out proportions and where scales should be.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Side profile of the head.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Top-down view of the head.

 I then filled up the foamcore with two $3 cans of Great Stuff Foam Spray to test out the carving method I've seen other cosplayers use for props. That stuff is crazy. It expands a ton.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Oodles of noodles?

Next I took a box cutter and started carving down to my guidelines and shaping out the big, bulbous eyes on top. I kept shaving away a little at a time to produce the skull of the dragon. When I was done, I noticed there were a lot of bubbles and gaps and it didn't have the amount of detail I was hoping for. I'm not sure what the plan was after that. Perhaps fill in the rough spots with Bondo? It would probably make it too heavy.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume


My next approach was to use the foam head as a base for a different material to be sculpted over it to create a hollow head. I tried out Worbla, but wasn't satisfied with the look of that either. I wanted to get all the nuances of scales and bumps but Worbla is just flat and really hard for me to shape and figure out.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Decided to use styrofoam balls for the eye shape.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Patterning fabric over the foam.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Final shape to transfer to Worbla.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

What a dragon head looks like when it's flattened.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Hmmm...well, let's see what it looks like when scales are added...

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

While it looks cool, it doesn't quite have the dimension I was hoping for.

Finally, I decided to visit Special Effect Supply in North Salt Lake, Utah. Here is their website. I knew if I just picked the brain of a professional I would get great ideas. I had thought about molding and casting but the guy said it would be pretty expensive in materials at the size I was planning to do. He suggested I sculpt the head from clay, then do a fiberglass shell coat over that and sand it. It made sense since the details I wanted to do were not very small or complicated. I bought a 45 lb box of Permaplast from them. My wallet said ouch...it was about $180. Still, I only used a couple pieces of it and there is tons left that I can use for other projects.

I again used the foam head for a base and cut a styrofoam ball in half to replace the original spray foam eyes. I laid a layer of clay over it and went to work. It was extremely therapeutic and I can't wait to sculpt again. It took about 4-5 hours and I was very pleased with how it turned out.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Initial marking to see where scales would go.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Lots of dimension added! I love it!

The fiberglass shell was the most time consuming and difficult part of the process. It was gooey, smelly, and you had to work very fast to get each layer on before it hardened. There were some gaps between layers and drips and just all kinds of craziness when it was done. I sanded for hours and hours to get it to a satisfactory smoothness. Thank goodness dragons are supposed to be rough and rugged anyway.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Post-sanding. Soooo much sanding...

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Also, cleaning out all the clay was a pain.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

I put Apoxie Sculpt in the thin places and smoothed out the sharp edges of the head.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Apoxie Sculpt filled in any imperfections or weak spots.


I spray painted a base coat of black, then added some gold and gray highlights to achieve more dimension. I really enjoyed figuring out how to highlight it so it looked cool.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Final product!

For the horns I used Astrofoam and cardboard to achieve the shape. Then I used a fun, easy technique to create the ridges. I merely took some rough ugly fabric with texture in it and made pleats in it and glued it onto the foam, smoothing down the raw edges with medical tape. Voila! Scaled horns. I spray painted them black and painted details on with acrylics.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

I primed the whole thing with Gesso since spray paint would just soak through the fabric. It still took several coats of spray paint to achieve desired results.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

The horns are attached to the head using metal ribbon called hanger tape, some wire and Apoxie Sculpt to hold it all together.

The harness was an interesting part to figure out. I had heard of the movie effects industry using something called a "corset harness" to attach things to. I made one and it's just a tank top that laces up at the sides and has sewn in channels to stick the PVC pipe rigging into. I crossed my fingers that it would all work out and I'm pleased to say that it did. I made sure to add foam padding to the shoulders to help me last longer while carrying the weight of the head.


legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

The channels haven't been sewn on yet, but they are just open-top rectangular pockets sewn to the outside of the tank top in four places.

 The PVC rigging in the harness was shaped using a heat gun, another cool technique I had heard about from other cosplayers. There were four pieces total, attached with L connectors and then taped together at the top. The PVC slips into channels in my corset harness so I can carry the weight of the head with my torso as well as my shoulders.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

You can see the blue foam pad for my head in the rig. Below that is the chin strap used to pull down the jaw. To the right is the inside of the corset harness opened up  with the shoulder pads added.

Inside the top of the head I put a huge wad of Apoxie Sculpt and placed 4 bolts into it before it cured. I drilled corresponding holes into the PVC and attached the head, then screwed nuts onto the bolts. For added strength I just placed even more Apoxie Sculpt over the PVC pipe and into the top of the head. I wasn't sure if it would work but it fortunately did.

The lower jaw of the dragon is made with a Worbla base covered in fabric. I wanted to try doing a moving jaw like I had in Lugia. I made hinges with hanger tape from the plumbing aisle. It's a metal ribbon with holes in it, super cheap and VERY useful for all kinds of stuff and comes in copper plated and steel. I used Apoxie sculpt to mount the hinges in the sides of the head, then put a bolt through the hinge and mounted it into the jaw.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume


The mechanism for moving the jaw is pretty simple, but didn't move it very far for the amount of effort I had to use in pulling it down. I put some foam on a rigid piece of plastic and drilled holes in the plastic for some wire. I mounted the wire to this and then the jaw. I used some elastic to make sure the jaw would return to the closed position when I relaxed. To move the jaw down I placed the foam/plastic piece under my chin and pulled down hard in a nodding motion.

The arms were made with two sleeves and some upholstery foam "muscles" sewn in and covered with some fun lava fabric. I scoured the internet for lava fabric for a time and turned up empty. One day I went to Hancock Fabric and there it was in the cotton quilting section! It was magnificent!

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Dragon muscles. Hawt.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Trilobites? Nope, just muslin patterning to figure out the scale spacing.

The hands are some homemade gloves with foam sewn in for the big dragon fingers and vinyl stuffed claws. It was fun play-fighting with them!

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Inner workings of the puffy fingers. 

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Plushie dragon claw will squeesh you!!

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

Luna, you just had to ruin my post-workout selfie! GOSH!!

The fabulous fire-hair is just tons of strips of different scrap fabrics cut in a jagged triangle chain pattern like you see in the game. I attached them to a piece of mesh that is attached with magnets to the back of the head.

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume


I had to really rush the neck and body covering process because I wanted to be ready for Salt Lake Comic Con. I did try to enter the cosplay contest too but their online system never confirmed my entry. Then I was just one person off in the standby line where I waited for hours just to be told I couldn't get in. It's the last contest I will attempt to be in for a while I think. It's just so much stress to compete. It's way more fun to travel the halls and play with other cosplayers!

I used some velcro to attach the red lava fabric and the yellow belly fabric up the sides so I could get in and out easily. It worked pretty well. The bottom of the costume is just some brown craft paper glued on hastily in the morning of the con. I think I will make more of a "dress" in the future to cover my pastey legs haha. I added a couple slits in the chest for visibility. Since the yellow fabric is a little see through, my visibility was actually really good! I was able to last 4 hours in the costume as the weight distribution was pretty even. As long as I didn't lean to any one side for two long, I was easily able to balance the whole rig.

Here are some fun photos of me messing around with some Link cosplayers! It was so fun to interact with them!

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume link

I boop...

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume link

YOUR NOSE!!!

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume link

Oh snap, I'm outnumbered now...

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume link

Found a red tunic Link! SO PERF!

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume link

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume link

Such a sweet Link cosplayer!

And here is my official Salt Lake Comic Con portrait <3

legend of zelda ocarina of time volvagia dragon fire temple boss cosplay costume

THOSE LEGGGGGS.

Can't wait to get some awesome Zelda shoots in with my friends, hopefully this summer!!!