Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Horns, Rings, Pants, Boots, Hooves, oh my!

I've been slacking on posting because most of my attention has been split between my time at work, keeping up with homework (midterm season), and trying to actually finish the costume ... heh. I've been working on it sporadically, simply trying to get pieces done whenever I could fit in the time. Things have become jumbled and I'm not longer limiting my working days to one piece at a time. Especially given the mechanics of some of these pieces ... needing to let things dry or set, etc. That gives me time to change gears and focus on something else.

The horns were covered with two layers of paiper mache. That was a fantastic, messy process. It was also hindered by a certain small wiener dog with his heart set on eating the floury paste -- even if it was already soaking strips of newspaper. I felt like a kid, I haven't done mache crafts since ... I don't know how long. But it was awesome. After the first layer dried (let to sit overnight), the second coat was applied then also let to dry. We threw together a quick little hammock to hang the horns on while they dried, since the mache was wrapped around all sides.

I took some of the leftover foam and constructed some rings to adorn my tail. They're bulky, but that's okay. It's sort of a cartoonish character anyway.

The less circular one fits at the base of the tail, where it "attaches" to my spine. It keeps the tail from falling to the side and laying limp once I'm wearing it, since the tail's construction leaves it narrow and prone to such flopping. These were also covered in paper and flourgoo and let dry.

The next day, I sanded the horns to get rid of as much obvious creasing from the mache as I could. It's not perfect, but I'm telling myself that horns are never perfectly smooth anyway ... I'm really just making excuses for my small failures in order to try and make myself believe it's okay. Once they were sanded, painting began. First, a layer of white spray paint. Layer upon layer until the newspaper articles were no longer visible. I'll be going to finalize this part later tonight.

The brown leggings I have for my pants were hacked at to make them shorter.

With the default length they had, they came down to barely a few inches above the cut of my boots. This was an accidental look and would have been an undesired length of exposed leg. Instead, I chopped them up good and short and plan to show off some "skin." Beautiful albino skin. >_> It's a good thing I like my legs, else this costume would be very uncomfortable to wear in public.

Using the excess from the base of my leggings, I pinned out the shape for some little gloves. They will be sewn together in to some thing, fingerless gauntlets. That way I'll have less skin to try and pale out (more than it already is).

To put some acceptable touches on my hooves (I won't call them totally finished because, ideally, I'd like to spend more time on making them just perfect with detail and whatnot ... but my current goal at the present is to get everything finished enough to be worn out ... so for now, the touches are merely satisfactory), my friend helped me sand the fiberglass smooth.

I then used a sharpie to draw out a general idea for where I wanted to have 'hoof' and where it would stop being 'fur.'

We then started using scraps of paper to make a pattern for where the black part would be.

For this, we bought tablecloth material ... the kind with a little bit of white foam on the underside, y'know? It was cheap and suits well enough.

Once that was adhered to the base of my hooves, we used pieces of the white fabric in an overlap of the black to create my little bit of ankle fur -- so scandalous!

In order to make my little 'boots,' I bought another pair of leggings -- this time from the children's department! They're sparkly, hah.

I cut the legs off as high up as I could, creating two tubes of fabric and one pair of purple underpants. I also removed the bedazzled cuff because it was A) too tight to be comfortable, and B) bedazzled. Inverting the leg pieces, so that the piece that normally encircles the thigh is closest to the ground, I stretched the tubes over the boots. Using more glue, the boot covers were adhered to the little white strip of 'fur' on my hoof. The (former ankle part of the legging) top is loose. The nature of the fabric lets me roll down the legging, put my foot in my shoe, zip the boot, then unroll the legging. I then can tuck in the excess fabric so that it hides inside the calf part of my boot. And, ta-da! Hooves fit for a draenei. The image is still rough. Since then, we've readjusted the fabrics and used a better adhesive. The first round was a bit ... fail.

Still using the purple children's leggings, I cut the center seam of the leftover waist. Now instead of superhero underpants, I had a tube. Trimming evenly, I created what I considered to be a wide enough belt to adorn over my leggings. Spandexy goodness of a belt, but it works, I think. For this reason, I bought the only pair of XL leggings in the children's department. Somewhere, some poor fat little girl is going without purple pants. I'm sorry, little girl, but they went to a good cause. Because I'm lazy and trying not to break out the sewing machine ever five minutes, the belt was attached to the pants with durable fabric glue, to create the illusion of a seamless change between garment pieces. I also put on my pants and had my friend glue a little decorative seam of ribbon to the end of the pant legs, giving them a finished look and saving m the hassle of trying to hem stretchy fabric - which I hate. (pictures to come)

I also took out the wig for a test run. My original plan was to curl it, thereby shortening the length it hangs and making it easier to deal with. However, I soon discovered that even with curls, it would drive me nuts. The wig is magic. It tangles itself without being touched. I don't want to know how much fun it would have wrapping around itself once the fibers were in a curly state. Instead, I plan to clip it up in a way that lets it stay straight (not going to lie, the idea of styling a wig terrifies me), gets it comfortably out of my face (I pranced around the house for at least an hour with it done up like this and never felt hindered or annoyed by it), and also manages to cover my neck tattoo (an issue that I always want to cover when I want my costumes to be somewhat accurate).


Tonight I aim to complete painting on my horns, put together my gloves, perhaps adorn my garments with the little shinies I bought at the craft store (yey shinies!) and if I'm lucky, make my tentacles ... which is just weird. Tentacles ... -shudder-

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Horns - Day One!

My work time was restricted for a while ... had to break for a surgery and recovery time, then started classes at the university. Let me tell you, THAT is a wake up call. Hello Quarter System, good by Breathing Time. Anyway. I've decided I've invested too much in this project to give up, so my goal to finish by Halloween still stands -- I'm just at a scramble and will be marathoning between homework (English Majors have lots of reading to do) and costuming. I've enlisted help for next week, so hopefully I get the hooves completed, the horns covered, and perhaps some pants ...

I spent eleven hours doing homework today and was given a sign to stop. Kind of. My internet connect was on the fritz and put my research project for school at a dead halt. I took that as a sign. Clearly, I was supposed to go rewatch parts of Glee season one and make the horns I've been trying to figure out how to construct since I started this thing! So I did.

I took some huge shipping foam boards from work a while back, thinking I might be able to make use of them for this particular aspect of the costume. So far, that's the only real up side to working in retail I've found. I handle freight and they don't care if I want to take their garbage home at the end of the day.

First, I made myself a stencil on cardboard. I actually made this weeks ago, thinking maybe I could use it as a base somehow before tossing that idea entirely and resigning myself to trying to find another way. Using that stencil, I traced out. the flat general shape I wanted for my horns. I've always been a fan of the swept-back horn look they have. Not the straight upright ones or the giant curved ones. Those are too goat-ish. These are more feminine, to me. 

I used a serrated knife (shh; don't tell Mom!) to cut out the horn. When I was done with that, I had a flat base!

The next step was to curve out the space where the horn will be against my head, otherwise they bow out at an odd angle over my ears. 

I plan on using a headband to attach them, so my curving is place specifically for that. Then it was time to start shaving down those right angle edges down! I did this to all four corners. Who's ever heard of a horn with corners like that? Pfft.

Now, shaving the edges down makes the horns veeeery thin. Also still rather flat. So using shavings and extra pieces of foam, I cut out pieces to start building on the flat sides of my original base, like this:

It takes a while, because all of those corners must also be smoothed into a curve, then more pieces have to be added to fill the gaps and make the overall curvature smooth and natural and scaled properly ... blah blah blah. But with a little TLC, I ended up with a horn I was very proud of.

It ended up quite nicely rounded on both sides, I think; overall, one the inside by my head, and on the outside.

I felt the scale was nice too.

Making the second horn using the same process yielded a construct that wasn't quite the same ... but close enough I think that once they are covered over, it won't be a problem. The differences are minor and I think they look pretty good yet. 

That band was just a test run to see how they looked without my hands getting in the way.

I think it's progress in the right direction! Can't wait to finish 'em. Especially after dreading them for so long!