I consider myself a very crafty person! The internet can be pretty big and confusing, especially when you're trying to find a tutorial that is concise and/or easy and/or has affordable materials, so here's a guide/tutorial to how my friend Stella and I make some of our costumery.
NOTE #1: I've bought Kamui Cosplay's The Costume Making Guide as well as their digital book bundle. They're useful but not necessary-- I made plenty of things
NOTE #2: When I say affordable, I mean you can spend $100 or less for a whole ensemble. Costumes just aren't meant to be done with only pennies in your pocket.
If it helps, my pinterest is HERE.
These are useful for all sorts of projects, big and small. Having them beforehand is very helpful.
- LOTS of craft foam (thin!)
- Sewing pins
- Bobby/hair pins
- Your measurements
- Duct tape
- Scissors and/or an exacto knife
- Paintbrushes of various sizes
- Acrylic paint
- Hot glue gun + glue wands
- Pens/marking pencils
- Normal pencils
- Plain printer paper
- Stuff you need every time:
- A crafting space (a hard surface you don't mind getting dirty, or an old tablecloth you can put over a table)
- A waste basket and a recycling bin nearby
- Some sort of project guide-- going totally from scratch is risky. Have a plan, however vague, even if you make it up yourself. Make a pattern, write an outline, whatever works for you!
Currently, I only have one corset (homemade for halloween, steampunk style). I'll be making or buying another one-- or two, depending on how willing to destroy my wallet I am-- before the end of the year. Here's the tutorial for making your own! It's pretty comfortable, and if you have most of the supplies already it's not very expensive.
SUPPLIES: Duct tape, craft foam, an old (but intact and fitting) shirt, acrylic paint of your chosen colors, scissors, a nail and hammer, something for the lacing (I used a thick brown shoelace), a hot glue gun, an assistant (someone you're okay with seeing you shirtless/in a bra-- in my case Stella), and whatever you want to decorate with.
Step 1: Put on the old shirt and take out your duct tape. Other than underthings, the shirt should be the only clothing on your upper body.
Step 2: Start having your assistant wrap you in duct tape. I started at the top, but you can probably go from the bottom too. Expand your lungs as far as you can, so that the wrapping (which should squeeze when you're fully expanded) doesn't hurt you. Try and keep everything as flat as possible-- it won't be, but smooth is easier to work with. I did it so that it looked shaped and was breathable in even when laced as tight as possible.
Step 3: When you've made as much of the base as you want, finish off the tape and roughly cut away the excess of the shirt (careful not to cut anything else, like I did!). Then cut as straight of a line as you can down the front, side, or back-- wherever you want the lacing to be.
Step 4: Cut away the excess shirt fabric and even out all the edges. I put an strip of duct tape down the lacing gap, but I don't recommend it. Complications arose...
Step 5: I had Stella do this part too: take your craft foam and (carefully) pin it over your duct tape corset. You're probably going to have to cut some pieces to have the right amount and cover everything right. Heat up your glue gun for the next step.
Step 6: Go around the top and bottom edges of the foam and glue the panels to the corset (taking out the pins). You want to glue the sides to each other, not the corset. Let it dry.
Step 7: Using the nail/hammer, pierce three (or more) holes on either side of the lacing gap, evenly spaced and matching on both sides. Note: this is very difficult and may result in achy fingers. Sorry.
Step 8: Begin painting! I painted one layer, then brushed up little bits while the rest dried. I ended with around six layers of paint-- but don't be alarmed, it didn't look like it. This process will take a while, so if you have to take several snack breaks, no one's judging.
Step 9: Decorate! I painted a (sadly rather messy) gold line along the edges, added some gears at the top center, and added hot glue rivets and a gold line along the foam segments. I also added gears over the lacing holes.
Step 10: Wear it and bedazzle all who look upon your greatness! Have fun!
Foam Fascinator (mini top hat)
Like my corset, I made mine for Halloween and only have one-- steampunk themed. This works only for people with hair, as that's what it clips to to stay fastened. Here's how to make your own!
NOTE: the clipping method is a little flimsy. If you have any suggestions, email me, because I could use the tip!
SUPPLIES: Craft foam, acrylic paint of your chosen colors, scissors, a hot glue gun, paper, a pencil/pen (marking or not), bobby/hair pins, a plate or bowl with the desired diameter of your fascinator, a ruler, and whatever you want to decorate with.
Step 1: Trace your bowl in the corner of your foam, then cut it out. This is the base. Draw or trace a smaller circle inside-- that's the line your panels will follow.
Step 2: Decide on your panels' dimensions; how wide, curved, and tall they are is up to you. The only requirement is that the bottom edges must all fit perfectly around the base's inner circle. Use paper first! Make all your panels on paper, then tape them together so you can modify them accordingly.
Step 3: Warm up your glue gun. Once you have your panels on paper, find out the circumference of the top and trace it onto paper. Trace your final panel design onto the foam as many times as necessary, then cut them out.
Step 4: Carefully glue the panels together, one at a time, making sure their tops are all at the same end and that there are no cracks.
Step 5: Once the panels' glue has dried, carefully glue their bottoms to the base. Follow the inner line carefully, or else the top won't go on right. Once the glue's dry, add the top.
Step 6: Begin painting! I painted one layer, then had dinner while it dried. Like with my corset, I ended with around six layers of paint-- but again, it didn't look like it. This process can be annoying because you run out of places to put your fingers, so be ready to get dirty.
Step 7: Decorate! Originally I just had some gears and a silver foam lock, but then I added a bit of lace, a gold border, and bronze hot glue rivets.
Step 8: Wear it and bedazzle all who look upon your greatness! Have fun!
Foam Dragon-Scale Gauntlets
This tutorial is from Halloween 2017. The first 3 steps can be used to make any kind of gauntlets, but the rest are exclusively for dragon-scale ones.
NOTE: Not included in supplies, I had the use of a packet of eyelets and a tool that could insert them, but I know that's not a common thing. I hate to say it, but you'll have to figure out a way to keep the foam from ripping yourself. See Step __ for possiblities.
SUPPLIES: Craft foam, spray-paint of a chosen base color, rub-n-buff, one or more latex gloves (or any rubber gloves you can dispose of easily), scissors, a hot glue gun, saran wrap (or something similar), a pencil/pen (marking or not), masking tape, a nail (see note. use anything small and sharp as a substitute), a length of durable ribbon 1 cm wide or less, and a clean shoelace for the laces (or a material of your choice. Ribbon might work).
Step 1: Wrap your forearm with saran wrap, from elbow to wrist. Then do the same with masking tape-- as many layers as necessary for the arm to be fully covered. Cut it apart with a single straight line from elbow to wrist; this will be where the laces go, so cut carefully.
Step 2: Congrats! You've made the base of your pattern! Now,you might notice it will not lay flat. To fix this, cut a second line opposite your first (lace line). I suggest making some sort of mark so you can tell apart the two big lines. A simple dash will suffice. At this point you should have 2 pieces of pattern. They should STILL not lay flat; that's okay. Draw a line in the middle of each, from the elbow end to 1/3 of the way up. Cut along it. If it doesn't lay flat now, extend the line further up (but try to keep it as short as possible).
Step 3: Trace your patterns onto foam. Cut out and mark which sides go together, the same way you did on the tape. Heat up your glue gun and glue the sides of your 1/3 slits together, as well as the marked edges of the two pieces. When the glue is dry, I suggest holding the gauntlet base around your arm and bending your elbow. If it doesn't fit comfortably-- rides up your wrist or is simply too big-- trim it down. Also trim any parts that are uneven.
Step 4: This is the most time-consuming part of the process. I had Stella to help me, but it still took over an hour, so I highly suggest having 1 or more helpers for this stage. You must cut scales out of your foam-- as many as it takes to cover your gauntlet. Big, small, medium, round, square, diamond (the shape I used), whatever you want. Just be sure to make enough, and to have enough foam on hand.
Step 5a: Here's where you have 2 options. If you've substituted acrylic paint for spray paint, I suggest painting the gauntlet base and one side of each scale. Yes, it's messy and boring, but it's better than trying to reach every little crack post-gluing. (If you do step 5a, do step 5b next and skip step 6.)
Step 5b: Begin gluing the scales on, overlapping each other in rows. There should be minimal space showing, unless cracked/cobbled together armor is what you're going for. Additionally, keep in mind any scales poking over the top of the wrist of the gauntlet will change its size compared to your arm, so account for that however you want. (If you're doing 5b instead of 5a, do step 6).
Step 6: You need to spray paint your gauntlet and its scales. Stella did this for me while I wasn't there, so I can't tell you the exact process, but bear with me. Find somewhere safe to spray paint, somewhere that's not tightly enclosed. Outside is best, but an empty garage with the door up is fine. Put down a surface you can get dirty and prop your gauntlet up on it. Spray until there is no hint of the foam's original color. Wait for it to dry and do the part it was resting on before.
Step 7: Put on a latex glove and tap the top of your rub n buff tube with your finger. A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY. Rub the paint where you want it; for me, that was on every scale and in as many gaps as I could get my finger in. When you're done, you should have hints of the base color but no large patches of it. This makes it look fancy.
Step 8: Glue your ribbon to the inside of the gauntlet, close to the edge of either side of the laces cut. If your ribbon is very thin, do two lines of it on each side, overlapping slightly. This is to keep the laces from tearing the foam (if you don't have eyelets. If you do, put them in and disregard the next step).
Step 9: Work a nail through the ribbon and the foam where you want a hole for your laces. Do this up and down the lace cut as many times as you want. I did 4 on each side, but if you want ultra-laced guantlets you do you.
Step 10: Lace the gauntlet and try it on.
Step 11: You're done! Have fun wowing your friends and terrifying your enemies!