Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Rachet Peacock: How I made a feathered headdress from a golf visor

This is a post I updated and moved from an old blog I had. It had a decent amount of views so I updated it with more details as well as photos from when I actually wore it plus some new cosplay photos I took in it.  The headdress is really hard to store and some of the feathers got damaged. Otherwise this was really hardy. Super glue really does the job. I made this for the electric run not a con but I still liked the end result. It was actually comfortable to jog in.

I wanted to share how I made my awesome peacock feather headdress out of a visor. It was actually really easy and only took me about 30 minutes to put together. It cost me about $100 all together. Which sounds like a lot but it has 100 feathers on it, lights, and some gems. I could have probably gotten the gems cheaper on line but I was in a crunch so got them from the craft store. Here is what I used.

white golf visor
40 10-12" peacock feathers
10 6-8" white Ostrich Feathers
50 20" peacock feathers (pointy kind)
hot glue
30 ct mini lights battery powered
blue ribbon
blue rhinestones
5 pre-made headband feather attachments (to cover the front)

So I started by laying out all my feathers to see what it could look like. Here is what I got.
Don't mind the dirty table haha. 
So I started with the ostrich feathers and glued them on the bottom of the visor. 
I used hot glue in a line and pressed the stems of the feathers onto the hat. I burned myself many times. 

The next step was to glue the shorter peacock feathers on. I started in the middle and worked my way out. I had 50 feathers to use but only used 40. 

Next I added the long peacock feathers. I had to cut them down a few inches each because they were just too long. I started on one end and actually put a few too many on the ends and not as many on the top but I think it still looked ok. 

So the back looks horrific ....
Next I glued the premade feather things on the front. 2 pink, 2 blue, and 1 white with a little gem. 

I thought it looked plain with the white band so I went back to the craft store to get blue ombre ribbon and some blue rhinestones. I had to glue 2 strips of ribbon and about 20 gems. 

Next I just laced the lights inbetween the feathers gently. The battery back is duct taped to the back of the hat by the base of the feathers. 

And it's all done!!

Good luck and don't burn yourself on the glue!! The best place to get supplies is ebay or online. I got all the feathers for about 20 to 30 dollars where at the craft store they want a dollar a feather or even more. It's ridiculous. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Harley's Hammer: How to make a huge hammer in less than half a day

Here is a how to guide on how I made this pretty awesome hammer. What it lacks in novice build work it makes up for in sheer size. It was incredibly light and easy to carry around the whole day at a con. I build this over 2 days but combined only took about 8 hours of actual build time to make. You could easily make this in a day if you had the whole day to do it. I finished it at 2:00am the day before I wanted to use it. Luckily the paint dried.

The biggest wooden dowel rod I could find at Home Depot
The biggest concrete tube I could find at Home Depot
Floor Mat foam (L200) from amazon
Hot Glue (No like a whole bag of it)
Contact Adhesive DAP brand
A weird little plumbing piece to hold the dowel rod and concrete tube together
hole saw
drywall saw
wood burning kit
wood pattern printed from online
exact o knife
spray paint primer
brown spray paint in 2 shades
brown and black acrylic paint in 4 shades
paint brushes
foam brushes
craft foam
googly eyes
heat gun
zip ties
some belts to hold things together because I ran out of everything else

I don't have step by step pictures but some in progress pics.

I started by deciding how big I wanted the hammer to be. I cut the cement tube exactly in half with a drywall saw. This stuff was surprisingly hard to cut and needed a serrated blade. I then used a hole saw the same size as my dowel rod and cut 2 holes directly in the middle of the cement tube. I made sure the one on top was larger to accommodate the plumbing part I used to hold the dowel rod to the cement tube. The fit wasn't perfect so I used a shit ton of hot glue to make up the difference. I also hot glued the plumbing part to the tube, and the wood dowel rod to the bottom portion. This makes my hammer one piece that won't be able to disassemble. That is as far as I got on day 1. Here is the picture of it at this point. This only took about an hour and a half.

The next part was to attach the L200 floor mat foam to the cement tube. I had to use a bunch of sheets because I bought floor tiles because they were cheap. They are 1/2" thickness. I measured out what I needed and glued them all together in one big sheet. I also cut circles for the ends I made sure to cut my holes for the dowel rod to fit through. Next step I used a wood burner to burn a wood grain pattern into the foam. I thought my pattern turned out awesome for never having done it before. This is one aspect of the hammer I was really happy with. 

Now I needed to glue these sheets to the actual hammer. I used a ton of contact cement. I ended up buying it in a pint sized can and using a disposable paint brush to apply it. It just took way too long to use the little bottles they sell at most hardware stores. I did get overzealous and apply it way too thick because it took forever to dry and because I was in a rush I applied it to the cement tube too soon. I used stretchy belts and zip ties to hold it all together for about 2 hours to dry. I did all this in my garage and make sure you have adequate ventilation. Contact cement stinks. This is an aspect of the project I feel could have gone better. I wasn't happy with my seams. If I do this again, I will buy a large sheet of foam to minimize the seam lines. 

After it dried I had to use some hot glue to keep it from moving. I made a hot glue ring around the outsides of the circles to make sure they were adequately attached. The whole hammer is hollow so I was afraid of it being delicate. I added craft foam to make the bands around the hammer. The googly eyes are the rivets on the bands. After you paint you would never know what they are. 

Now was time to prime and paint! I painted every 20 - 30 minutes to keep the process moving. I started painting by about 9 pm. I applied 1 coat of primer, 2 coats of brown, and a 3rd coat of a different brown in a splotchy pattern. I wanted it to look like real wood so I switched to acrylic paint after this and applied 4 different browns and black in alternating patterns mimicking the organic lines of the woodgrain. I just kind of had at it. I threw paint all over the thing. I am surprised how good it looks and accurate to real wood. I am not a painter by any means so I have no techniques to give you advice on this part. I then used black to paint the bands and dry brushed black along the bands to make the wood look worn in those areas. This took until about 2 am. I let it dry over night and it was dry by 9 am the next day. It still stunk like paint but otherwise looked great. 

Here is the finished piece with my costume!

For my first prop I made with foam I am pretty happy with it. Again, always room for improvement but not bad for a first attempt. The things I liked the most were the wood grain and paint. The things I like the least are how bad my seams are in areas. This was a really light prop and really stood out at the con because of it's size. Overall I give myself an 8/10. Let me know your thoughts! I will answer any questions you have relating to this build to the best of my abilities. 

- Basic B

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Going to a Comic Convention Alone:JFDI (Just F**king do it)

So this past week I had the opportunity to go to Wizard World Comic Con  Chicago. A friend had planned to go with me but at the last minute had to work. I was pretty bummed out as this would be my 2nd convention ever. I was incredibly  nervous to go alone but decided why the hell not. I planned to dress as Dreamfinder and wouldn't really be recognizable anyway. So I decided to write a quick reflection piece on my experience of going to a convention alone as a noob.

I went on Friday so I figured it wouldn't be quite as busy and I hopefully wouldn't feel quite as alienated and well, alone. I dressed in as little of my costume as possible since I would be driving myself there. I have driven in full costumes before... not fun. I arrived at the convention parking lot and preceded to get dressed in the parking garage. I got at least 4 different people to stop and stare at me for a few seconds because I am standing in a garage with no shoes on and putting on quite an elaborate costume. My car is not large enough to even try to have gotten dressed in my car. It felt a bit awkward but I didn't really have access to a bathroom nearby that would have been convenient for changing. 

I got all ready and started working my way to the convention. The garage had a nice walkway to the convention center so I didn't have to go outside and walk by a bunch of people who weren't part of the convention. At first glance I felt that almost no one else had dressed up. I felt slightly uncomfortable but decided I needed to just get over it. As I got the the main hall after what seemed like a mile walk I started to see much more cosplay and felt a little better. I got my ticket and started by going into one of the two vendor areas. I wasn't quite sure what to do and the panels I wanted to attend weren't until a few hours later. This is probably when I felt the most alienated and began to question why I even went in the first place. I didn't have anyone to talk to and wasn't meeting up with anyone. I decided to just start walking around and looking at vendors. I had no intention of buying anything because I was a bit strapped for cash that day. I started in the artist alley and just slowly started weaving my way from aisle to aisle. I tried to focus on looking at art and other people's works and creations to get my mind off of going to the convention alone. 

This was pretty successful. I started to dive more into taking in the event its self as opposed to being so concerned with interacting with people. Very slowly people started to ask me about my costume. Most people had no idea who I was and I did my best to explain I was Dreamfinder from Disney's Epcot resort. Figment was my pal. It was a very old and obscure Disney character that had recently been made into a Marvel Comic. Some people would remember and others just appreciated the detail and work I put into the costume. 

My day really started to turn around. I found someone dressed in an official Pikachu mascot costume and I remembered that I have a camera on my phone... Duh. I am really bad at taking pictures when I am doing things so I decided to start taking pictures with other cosplayers. 

Now that my mood had brightened I was able to walk around with more confidence. I really think it showed because more and more people would stop to talk to me, ask me about my character, and ask to take pictures. I really feel confidence is key to portraying your character. It may have taken me a few hours to feel comfortable but once I just let go I started having as much fun as I did at the last convention I went to. 

My convention highlight was being asked by Terry and Oliver Holler of to take pictures with their recreated movie accurate DeLorean from Back to the Future. They really appreciated my costume and wanted to feature me on their website to promote the Fox Foundation which they were collecting donations for. The pictures turned out absolutely amazing and I really enjoyed meeting them. I didn't remember until after I was home that they were also featured in the documentary I had watched titled "Back in Time" I felt like a moron for not remembering that. 

After walking the whole convention floor, I decided to go to a few panels. I really wanted to learn about thermoplastics so I sat in on a thermoplastics panel with Mogchelle. I actually ended up winning a piece of worbla for knowing that EVA stood for ethylene vinyl acetate... Yea go 3 years of chemistry in college FTW. Glad it was good for something. I also sat in on a photography panel because I am starting to get to a point that I want to start having professional photos taken to feature on this blog as well as potentially building a portfolio of prints to sell in the future. I am not looking to make cosplay my day job but being able to recoup some of the cost associated with this very expensive hobby would be nice. 

Other than walking the floor and attending panels I also sat and talked at length with a few people. It felt really good to be able to go to an event alone and still end up making friends with common interests and viewpoints. I was really refreshed and rejuvenated after this convention. I started off the day feeling pessimistic and anxious but ended the day with a post con euphoria. I stayed until almost 9 pm well after the floor had closed. I was very pleased to have closed my 2nd convention on such a high note. 

My experience may not be typical but I highly recommend attending conventions even if you are alone. You may feel uneasy at first but if you open yourself up and put yourself out there you could have a really great time and meet some cool people. I will probably attend quite a few more cons alone until I start making more friends that travel to cons as I would like to. 

**Also side note: If you are driving yourself always bring sweats and comfy shoes to change into before you go home. Nothing feels worse then having to drive home in a corset and stiletto shoes after walking in them 8 hours. 

Hope you enjoyed this insight into my experiences at this con!!

- Basic B