Thursday, January 19, 2012

Let's Make Cosplay: Transformation Wand

Ever wanted to make a transformation wand? A friend requested this prop and bam, here it is! You can find the video for it here!

The materials I used were wood rod balls and hearts, friendly plastic, four 1" Philips head wood screws, 1mm. and 3 mm. PCV sheeting, gray paint, sliver paint, purple paint, nail decorations (rhinestones), and gloss varnish.

The tools I used were a saw, a heat gun, a file, a hot knife, a box cutter, a marker, a circle template, some super glue, some paint brushes, and sponge brushes.

I’ve never made a prop like this before so I tried my best. Instead of crafting a lot of the parts by hand I opted to use a lot of wood bits that were already carved. I purchased some wooden balls and a wooden heart piece for the prop.

Since the balls came with holes already drilled into a section of it, I figured I would use those holes to mount them into the handle. I expanded the holes at the bottom of the balls and then mounted a screw into holes. What I basically did was put a screw into the bottom of the hole before I filled the hole with friendly plastic to hold the screws in place so they wouldn’t move. After that, I drilled holes into the dowel rod and twisted the knobs into the dowel rods to get them on and secure.

At the base of the handle, I used the rasp and file to carve a groove into the dowel rod right above where the ball attaches. I cut and sanded it out as best I could. After that small step, I got a whole mess of friendly plastic and the two wooden hearts I purchased. I started by sticking one heart in place with the friendly plastic and tried to center it as best as I could before I did the same with the other side with the wood heart. I tried to make it parallel as best as I could and left a tiny bit above the sphere to do details.

As a note, it stinks to use filler to do shaping work because it is hard to see. When you paint it filler shows all the problems that you made so you need to make sure you do a perfect job when shaping filler.
After that, I progressed to the ring around Saturn. I used a circle template and figured out how big the size of the ball was and how big I wanted the ring to be. The ring’s total diameter was 3 inches. I took the circle template and drew a circle for the sphere.

On the template it shows how to do a cross and extend it past the circle. You can draw your inner circle and then you can draw an outer circle that lines up correctly with the inner circle and keeps it centered. I cut the circle out of 1 millimeter PVC Sheeting. You can cut this material with scissors. I opted to cut the material with scissors for the outside but I used the hot knife for the inside to make it smoother so it would fit well around the ball it was going around. It is best to use hot knife to cut curves or execute precision work.
When he cut out the circle I cut the inside a little smaller than what I drew it as so that it would be slightly smaller than the ball. This was to ensure a snug fit against the ball. After this was done, I cut a six sided star out of 3 millimeter PVC sheeting. It is hard to shape small pieces of PVC because if you are not careful it can look bad and not uniform. You need to control your cuts because of how the material goes. To counter this, I took the rasp to even it out as best as I could.

The ring was snugly put in place and superglued down to the ball before I stuck the star into place. In After that, I put a glob of friendly plastic into the small hole I drilled and pushed the star in. After that, I made some small putty like balls and stuck them right onto the prop before I painted it purple.

Since I was rushing, I tried to use fabric paint. That was the worst mistake because it gets really blotchy. I ended up sanding it all off and redoing it in acrylic. I based the silver bits with grey paint before I painted the metallic paint on. After that was done, I bought some nail jewels for the rhinestone gems and stuck those onto the heart. The last thing that needed to be done was the small detail on the small star, which I marked with a marker before I varnished the entire thing with a gloss varnish.

That explains this prop! As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email us at

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Let's Make Cosplay: Golem Cosplay

This was an interesting costume that I chose to start on four days before Youmacon. It’s from one of my favorite games, the Legend of Mana. Thankfully I already had schematics ready for this costume, The only reason that I was able to finish this cosplay in time for the con was because I had plans already in place and I knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted to execute the cosplay. If you are interested in looking at the videos corresponding to the creation of this prop, please go to the following link. This link is to the first video. The other ones following it will be in the section to the right of the video.

To lay the groundwork for this costume, I started with circles of foam stacked on top of each other. Think of how onion rings are stacked up when they’re brought out to you at a restaurant and you’ll get the idea. The trick with foam is to use it as effectively as you can with circles and compound tape. When you remove cavities from the foam, keep them and use that foam for other exposed sections. If you were to make a circle, you could cut a run and then stack another ring on top of the ring before it to make layers stack together.
You’ll want to start with two circles. One will need to be smaller than the other so that you can stagger then properly. Think about how you give a baby a bunch of different sized circles and then teach them to stack them into a cone shape. When you cut your circles, make sure you are CAREFUL about the THICKNESS of the circle. If you cut your circles too thin from the foam it will make one side either weaker or make it weird when gluing. If you cut it too thick it will be too hard for you to move in the actual costume. I usually say that you need a 2 inch minimum for EPS foam. If you opt to use another kind of foam you will need to mess around with what thickness will be the most ideal.

There’s a variety of ways I chose to draw my circles. If the circles are going to be relatively small, I’ll use plates. Since I needed really large circles for this prop since it was going to be going around my body, I constructed a compass. Basically, you’ll need to create an axis and then create a method to be able to pivot around that axis. I took a ruler and measured out what I wanted the diameter and the radius of the circle to be.  After I determined where I wanted the center of the circle to be and how big the radius and diameter was and marked those, I took the compass and stuck the pointy end in the foam where the center of the circle would be and took a marker and spun it around to hit all the points I made measuring out the radius from the center of the circle. If you cut out a center piece you can take that piece and use that hole for the center of the next layer so it makes the same circle every time. This is extremely important when you’re doing multiple circles. If your circles are off center you can have lots of missed spots and it becomes problematic.
Before you glue these layers together with these hard edges you will want to cut the basic shape of the prop. Instead of cutting out the big edges after you glue everything together you will have the basic shape. I like to stack the layers all together, draw where I will need to cut, then cut out the foam so it will be in the shape I need it for after it’s glued together. It’s easier to cut a two inch wedge than huge chunks of foam glued together. However, doing this can lead to some issues, so make sure you don’t cut too deeply in case something goes wrong during gluing. 

As a side note, it is not good to combine different kinds of foam. Spray foam will eat EPS foam. DO NOT try to patch holes in EPS foam with spray foam. I choose to use EPS foam because it’s way cheaper by volume. Spray foam is usually full of cavities and useless. It’s good for putting things together fast but you often lose time by filling all the holes that spray foam has. Finishing spray foam also takes  lot longer because of how coarse it is. Whatever you do, if you choose one kind of foam stick with it.

Once you had your basic shape cut out and glued together you can get a decent sanding tool and go in to start shaping. Since foam is really soft you don’t need a super hard tool. When you’re sanding you need to be careful of the layer lines. Unless you’re using  a huge block of foam you will getting stuck with sanding many layers. You’ll need to mask them as well as you can otherwise you’ll be able to see the rings when you paint. The spray adhesive is denser than the foam itself so lines can be evident even if you sand everything smoothly. You need to get the rings out later, so you don’t have to get it perfect for now. You can sand it again after you use the plaster of paris.

After that, you’ll need to start working with the PVC pipes to work in the arms. I created a PVC pipe bearing. You can easily make your own with two pieces of pipe that fit together well. You will want to cut a small piece of the 1.25 inch PVC to protect the costume. After that, cut the 1 inch PVC pipe so that it can rotate in the 1.25 inch pipe. You need to be careful with this because if you just used plain pvc pipe you could wear away the joint very easily. Even if you use plaster of paris to reinforce the joint it will still crack away over time and it won’t last very long.

Since the cosplay allows for a lot of space I was able to make the body huge and cavernous. As such, I was able to keep my arms inside the costume and didn’t have to have them coming out of it. Since that was the case, I put in puppet arms to make the costume look more in character. It was pretty easy to do. All you need is a pipe with decorative bits with foam decorative bits and some PVC bearings. I decided that heat shaping the PVC pipe for the arms was the best because it was cheaper and was easier to do since you wouldn’t need to install a bunch of joints. For this type of bend you want to heat it evenly and completely over the entire outside surface of the pipe. You want to get it right the first time. If you have to do it multiple times you make the bend in the PVC weaker every time. Heat up the PVC and then press the inner edge in to how much you want it bent. Then you will need to wait for it to cool. The outer edge will solidify and be a bit stronger than the inside edge. If you don’t do it right, the inside will start to crack, especially if you keep on bending it in and out.

If you look at the videos, I would actually cover the feet now. However, I have chosen to finish the arms first in the blog post. In order to start with the fist, I cut the basic shape out of foam then glued the layers together like how we did the main body part. I drew the idea of what I wanted the fist to look like onto the surface of the foam with marker. Since you’re carving out something out of a block you need to envision what’s inside and slowly work your way in. The best way is to start with the most exposed parts of the glove and then keep on working in. I found that it was the best to find was the thumb and the knuckle before I started to work in other details after that very slowly, sanding and shaping the foam to get the hand that I wanted.

In order to support all the foam that was glued together to make the hand I used huge foot long shish kabab skewers to laterally link all the foam together. That way, if the glue isn’t gluing properly together, all the skewers are going to be holding it together. It provides additional support and ensures that everything will stay together. I put a shish kebab skewer every three inches. One of the hands required a curve and for that one I inserted even more skewers to make sure the prop stayed together. The hands didn’t need crossbracing. Just inserting the skewers were enough.

In order to put the fist on, you will need to create a hole to jam over the pipe. If you jam just the foam on over the pipe you will be dependent on just friction to hold the foam over the pipe. I took plaster of paris and threw it into the hole that was in the foam before I sprayed insulation 78 on the pipe and jammed it all together to make sure that it stuck and held well.

I also had to make the small elbow pieces out of foam. I screwed a PVC disk onto the elbow and then glued the foam to the PVC Disk (PVC will take screws but foam will not).  As such, I used the small PVC disk as a transfer to hold the foam in place.

Now I progressed to the feet. One of my hard rules is to make sure you wear comfortable shoes! You’ll be walking a lot in these cosplays and it does your body no good to be walking in uncomfortable shoes for long periods of time. Also, for these shoes, I needed to do some foam parts. These big foam parts are prone to snapping off if you don’t reinforce them.

To start these I made a shoe print out of wood. After that, I took a pair of my comfortable shoes and screwed the shoe into the wood at the toe and the heel. Note that if you use wood, it can be really hard to walk around on concrete, tile, or other hard surfaces since the wood is so smooth. To give the shoes some friction, I chose to layer the very bottom of the wooden shoe portion in cardboard since it is easily replaceable, cheap, and would provide some kind of friction. You can also use foamies or other soft and pliable materials for the shoe. Having friction really helps you to get around, especially if you’re walking in clunky shoes.

Note, foam doesn’t glue well to wood. To make it stronger on the foot I put wonderflex around the bottom edge of the shoe (since wonderflex sticks to most stuff). You will want to stick the wonderflex on before the plaster of paris. Wonderflex sticks better to porus surfaces and it sticks onto wood because of the grain. If you have a nicely waxed wood it won’t stick as well.

After you put on the wondrflex and the foam, you will want to use a lot of plaster of paris to cover of the shoe and to fill in the holes of the foam before you start sanding. Now you can get rid of the layer rings. You can plaster of paris the entire surface before sand down the rings that you can see so that you will be able to hide the pieces. When you’re using plaster of paris you need to store it well when you are not using it. I like keeping it in a water container. If the brush hits the air it hardens and then you need a new brush. I use my hand, brush, and a spackle tool. There are a number of ways to get it on. After you finish sanding it, you’ll want to coat it to make it stronger.

Next I progressed to the horns that jolt out from the side of the head. They are very easily broken and are very important to the costume. I had to do a lot of crossbracing in these horns to make sure that they didn’t go anywhere since they were so easily broken. The glue wasn’t going to hold well to the horns either, given how pointed and narrow they were. I used approximately 5 skewers in each horn to ensure that they weren’t going to break and worked primarily with foam because it is good at giving textures and gives a different feel to the final product.

In order to shape the foam for the horns, I opted to use a hot knives. AS A NOTE, HOT KNIVES ARE VERY DANGEROUS. BE VERY CAREFUL. A handy tool to have around for foam is a pumpkin carving tool. There are saws called foam saws and they come to a really sharp point. They allow you to puncture through the foam without killing a huge surface area. Pumpkin carving knives are smaller than foam saws and do the same thing. They are great for precision cuts and are pretty cheap, especially after Halloween.
We ran into an issue with transporting it so we cut it in half. However, cutting it straight in half would be bad for holding it together so I cut it in a zig zag pattern so there would be more surface area. In addition, I could add a skewer to the cosplay straight through the zigzags to hold it in place at the con.  

With this all being done, it was time to paint the piece. Since I only did it a few days before the convention there was no time to nitpick on details. I opted for this cosplay because it is steampunk based and the genre allows you to kind of mess around with how smooth and polished it looks. Steampunk is basically just metal all around so I chose to use a metallic paint. In order to paint with a metallic paint you will need a base. The fists were green so I started with a green base before I painted with a metallic green. I used around three bottles of brown paint to cover the main part of the cosplay before I started to work on the gold metallic color. I wanted to have a non-uniform tone so I used three different kinds of gold and copper metallic and worked them in layer by layer. While this sounds like a lot of work it really isn’t. You’ll mainly be plopping it on and mixing it with your hand to get the creases in. After you complete the metallic coating you will want to get the colors you want for oil and strategically degrade the paint job. If you have cracks in places that you want to emphasize, get a wash and cover that section in it so that it will bring out the imperfections. The flaw is built into the character of the costume.

Note, when you are painting the PVC Pipe be sure to sand it before you paint or the paint will come right of.
I also did some bits of decorative wonderflex work before I painted. You would typically put wonderflex on before plaster of paris but since it is decorative the detail has to be undamaged so it needs to go after the plaster of paris. Since it is only decorative it isn’t holding any weight so it doesn’t matter if it isn’t as strongly structured.

I totally didn’t treat this costume well at all. It needs to be repaired. For the damaged wonderflex,  I I have to do is just heat it back up and put it back on. Since it is a steampunk costume, all I did was just took dirty colors and made it part of the character. There is some thought you need to put into mud and oil. If you blotch it on it can look ok but if you put it on like how it might have happened in real life (like how oil might leak from a crack) it looks more realistic. I had layers that I sheared apart just enough to damage the paint job. To hide that you need to take a heavier paint and work it in there or else it will just look like rings.

That’s the Golem cosplay tutorial! As always, please feel free to email us at if you have any questions or check out our Youtube at

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let's Make Cosplay: Lightweight Horns for Head

In this tutorial I will cover how to make a set of lightweight horns for your head. When making horns for your head you want to make sure they are light. If you make heavy horns for your head it will drag on your head and put pressure on your neck and spine. They can also fall off and move around, which is less than ideal. Making them lighter will make it easier to mount, and for horns like these you will want them mounted fairly well. 

I chose to use the following materials: EPS foam, shish-kabob skewers, plaster of paris, gesso, wonderflex, yellow and papaya acrylic paint, head band, cement glue, and varnish.
I used the following tools: hand saw, wasp, paint brush, sponge brush, 60 and 180 sanding sponge, and yanky push drill. 

To begin with, I opted to use a headband to stabilize the horns. They would provide the best method of securing and stabilizing the long horns to your head. DO NOT use spirit gum or prosthetic adhesive. Those kind of materials are dangerous to use with horns that are as big as the ones we are making in this tutorial because they can damage your skin when they fall off and they won’t last that long. It’s best and easier to use a headband. Many artists chose to use prosthetic glue to fasten the horns onto their heads because they see actors use it for their props. However, actors don’t wear horns for extended periods of time and prosthetic glue is not a good idea if you want to use it to keep your horns on all day long during a convention. The easiest way to do this is to put a headband underneath the wig and attach the horns to the headband through the wig.

To start the prop I decided to begin with foam. Take your saw and you can begin to cut the basic shape out of the foam with the saw. After you cut the basic shape you can use the rasp to give it a basic round form. Since foam needs to be smoothed out I chose to use a rough sanding sponge (60) to smooth out the foam and to get the large pink pieces out of the horns.

Once you’re done shaping and smoothing your horns out of the foam you will want to reinforce the horns internally so that they have more rigidity and stability. I took skewers and pushed them into the horns so they would be more stable. I also used the skewers to mount the horns to the headband by drilling holes into the headband and then gluing them into place. After that, you will need to take some wonderflex and use it to cover over the foam. This will act as a coating over the foam because you will need to cover the horns with some plaster of paris. The plaster of paris will peel off the foam so the wonderflex will act as a base for the plaster of paris to stick to. Apply the wonderflex to the skewer portion in the headband as well.

However, as you put the wonderflex around the side of the horns you need to be careful so they don’t show around the side of the horns. In order to make sure the wonderflex doesn’t mold in an odd way around the edge of the horns I chose to stop the wonderflex about an inch or so above the end of the horn. This way, the edge would not fold funny and it would be hidden with the wig.

Now it’s time to coat the horns in plaster of paris. I chose to start with a plaster of paris mix mixed with water because this creates a smoother application. I also expected that the horns wouldn’t be worn for long lengths of time, given that the horns were much bigger than the six inch rule that most conventions have in place. After the plaster of paris fully dried, I took a sanding sponge and sanded down the plaster of paris to go with the brush strokes that I would use when I painted the horns. Then, I opted to use a traditional brush instead of a sponge brush to give the horns stream marks from the tip to the base so that they looked like horns.

Now, I’ve noticed that most people choose to paint the horns in yellow, orange, and red. However, these aren’t the correct colors. The colors tends to be a medium color between yellow and orange, which tends to be a difficult color to paint since you need a really dense pigment paint to paint yellow. Artist paints are usually the best pigmented paint but it is usually  extremely expensive. You’ll need to put in multiple layers. I opted to coat three thin layers of yellow on the entire horn as a base coat. Once I was happy with the color I mixed a papaya orange (which is a red orange ish color) with yellow to get the medium color I was looking for. In order to get a straight, crisp line, get some painters tape and wrap it around the section that you want to protect from paint. Start on top of the painter’s tape and brush away from it to get a nice line. I did two more layers of the mixed color paint over the initial coat and then did the same thing with the straight papaya paint on the last section of the horns.

These horns ended up light and durable enough that the headband wasn’t needed. The person I made these for ended up reshaping the wonderflex at the base of the horns into a bunch of tabs before he punched some holes into it so that he could sew the horns into the wefts of the wig. He painted the tabs and the bottom of the horns black before he varnished it with three layers of glossy varnish.
That’s our tutorial on these fun horns! If you have any questions, please feel free to check us out on Facebook or email us at!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Let's Make Cosplay: Mini Post: Specialty Edges for Blades

This is a mini blog post where I wanted to talk about how you could create a specialty edge on a blade. This is an extension off of the sheathed sword blog post and in this post I’ll walk you through how to do a wavy edge on a blade with aluminum tape.

This is tricky because you need a light tape so that it doesn’t rip the aluminum tape. Painter’s tape sticks too much and would be too hard to remove. Tape like masking tape, which doesn’t have as much adhesive, would be ideal.

What you should do is attach this tape to the blade’s edge and then draw out whatever wavy edge design that you want to have on the blade. Use an exacto knife and run it along the wavy lines you drew carefully so that you can pull off a piece to expose the first edge. Sand that one way. After you sand it, put the tape back over that section and peel off the tape from the other section. Sand that in a direction different to how you sanded the first section and you’ve got a specialty edge! 

Let's Make Cosplay: Sheathed Sword

The sheathed sword prop was a prop that was a Youtube watcher suggested. It was a really interesting prop that I wanted to make so I chose to create it and gift it to the viewer, especially because I wanted to create a set of videos that also covered how to make a sheath that would comfortably hold a sword properly without denting the tip of the blade (which is a common problem with many sheathes). Most sheathes have a flat bottom and causes the tip of the blade to wedge flat onto the bottom which damages the tip. Interested in seeing how this prop was made? Check out our videos at

The materials I used were as follows: lambent flooring, 1/8 inch medium density fiber board (MDF), #4 half inch Philips flat head wood screws, 1/2 inch PCV pipe, 1/2 inch wood dowel rod, aluminum tape, a wood ring, friendly plastic, poster board, white glue, cement glue, red pleather, and acrylic paint (tan,gold and mango colors).

The tools that I used were as follows: a hand saw, an exacto knife, a heat gun, a yanky push drill, a Philips screwdriver, a rasp, a file, a pair of scissors, some sponge brushes, a 80 and 150 grit sanding sponge, a fine tip marker, and some rulers.

Before we start I want to cover some issues with aluminum coating. Before you coat anything in aluminum coating you need to make sure you start with a firm and ridged material. Aluminum coating wrinkles really easily. If you start with a flexible or flimsy material the sword will bend and the coating will wrinkle. In order to combat that the sword needs to be strong, firm, and sturdy so it doesn’t bend and the sheath also protects the sword and keeps the sword straight while it’s sheathed so it bends less and thus lasts longer.

In order to make the sheath you will want to cut it out of the same wood as the blade and at the same size so that it will fit snugly. After that, the other portions of the sheath can be made out of whatever wood you want. I made the sheath with three layers. There is a top layer, the middle layer, and the inside layer. The middle layer of the sides of the sheath are the wood that is made from the same material as the blade. I glued some poster board to give some more wiggle room on the inside of the sheath so it would help protect the blade. You need to be able to gauge the friction that will happen when pulling the sword out of the sheath or sliding it back in and the poster board helps decrease the friction.

After I get all those portions cut out (the sides and the insert at the bottom of the sheath to protect the bottom of the blade) and the poster board glued in I took a wood planer and rounded the edges of the sheath, making sure that everything lined up before I finished rounding the edges of the sword and sheath. If you find any holes in the sheath after you’re done rounding off edges and you put the sheath together you can use friendly plastic to fill them.

After you’re done with that portion of the sheath you can move to the handle of the blade. I chose to use a piece of ½ inch pvc pipe. I cut a slit down one side of it so that I could heat up the pipe and wrap it around the nub I made on the blade to insert it into the handle. You can heat up the pipe with a heat gun. After you’re done wrapping the PVC over the nub you need to put screws through the PVC and into the nub potion to keep the handle firmly onto the sword. You’ll want to do 4 to 6 screws (2-3 on each side of the handle). If your sword weighs more, you’ll want to put in more screws for support.

In order to make the ring portion of the handle I decided to take a wood ring. The problem with using wood is that you always have to be careful in regards to the grain. If you screw against the grain in the wood it will cause the wood to splinter. Since wood rings have grains that go in every direction it is impossible to put in a screw in a wooden ring because it would splinter. Since I couldn’t screw it in to mount the ring into the handle I chose to use friendly plastic because it is extremely hard and durable after it’s dried. I put a small slit in the ring so that it would mount a little better to the PVC pipe before I globbed on friendly plastic to make sure that the ring sticks extremely well and firmly to the PVC handle. Friendly plastic sticks quite well to things that are rough in texture and this helped to anchor the ring and the PVC together.

After the friendly plastic dried and fully hardened I took some red pleather and began to wrap it around the handle. I mounted the pleather to the PVC pipe with a screw before I glued around it to make sure that it stayed firmly and didn’t get pulled off. After that, you need to wrap up the handle, overlapping the pleather halfway over the piece before it so you get a thick double layer grip and a nice crease. After you wrap it fully from the top of the handle to the bottom you need to put a screw in the other end through the pleather and into the PVC. Make sure the wrapping around the PVC pipe is tight so that it doesn’t slip so that you lose your grip.

After you’ve got these parts all assembled and ready to go you can get ready to paint. You should sand all the edges of the sheath to make sure that all of them are smooth and you should also lightly sand the ring so that it will take well to the pain and not have weird textures across the wood.

Since there are holes where screws are on the sheath I used friendly plastic to hide the holes.
As a note, I choose to use friendly plastic as a patcher because I use my heat gun for a lot of crafting and the friendly plastic works well with that. It’s not an end all patcher. You could also use resin. I just prefer friendly plastic because it’s more convenient for me.

To start painting, you will need to put a base coat on the prop of whatever color you want the prop to be.  With dark gold I use a brown base coat. If it’s a light gold I use a tan or a grey depending on what color the gold is. Metallic paints don’t take to whatever you’re painting the first time so you need a base coat. The primer you choose changes up how the metallic color will show later.

After you paint and varnish the sword and sheath it’s time to bring out the aluminum tape. For this, patience is the most necessary thing you need. You have to be VERY careful because this material is VERY easy to wrinkle or to misalign. Also, if you don’t have a big piece of aluminum tape to cover an area, take advantage of existing lines and edges to hide the creases. You’ll need about one foot wide aluminum facing tape. Contact paper brushed nickel also exists so you could use that as an alternative. Note, you don’t want to layer aluminum tape over itself because you can see the edges come through and it look like cracks. Also, make sure that you use a very stable and unmoving material as a base.

While you’re attaching the aluminum tape you need to peel away the adhesive protection slowly and work with it. Take a straightedge (I used a putty tool) to push it down. As you go make sure there are no air bubbles or cracks. Get it done. At some point you might have to layer over a piece of aluminum. Try to get it to stick as little as possible over the edge. Cut the edge with the exacto knife to pull the piece of aluminum tape away and you have a clean edge from piece to piece with no overlap.

The trick to making it look realistic is to sand it. For this, you’ll need some sanding sponges. You’ll want a rougher sanding sponge for the side of the blade that needs to look like it is being used. Just use it a little bit to give some direction and nick so that it looks like it’s being sanded against a stone. Use a lighter sanding sponge for the side that isn’t being used to remove the shine.

If you want to bring out the grooves you can also go in with a wash to bring out the scratches that you put in with the #35 sanding sponge and it will create more detail work. If you do it right you’ll have enough grit to distinguish it from the sword without it looking super old.

That’s the tutorial for this weapon! I did have some tips about how you could do a custom specialty edge on your blade and we’ll have that up in another blog post following this one titled specialty blade edges. As always, if you have any questions please check out our youtube or email us at

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mini Post: Technique: Base Painting

Base painting is EXTREMELY important when you go to paint a prop. Coating a prop with a base coat of paint ensures that later layers will stay on the prop and that it all paints evenly. It also smooths out the surfaces and makes sure the paint will go on more evenly. It is a good idea to coat with a base color similar to the color the prop will be. However, altering the color of the base coat will alter the color of the top coat overall.

Do note: you ALWAYS need to make a base coat for metallic paints. :)

Mini Post: Technique: Dry Brushing

Dry brushing is a nice way to put on some detail onto a prop. They can give an allusion of lines or shadows. The key to dry brushing is that you take as much paint off the brush as possible. Brush specific areas and then go into deeper areas to pound the pigment in. You should stay with blacks or dark browns when dry brushing to get the best effect. Also, you should also make sure to do a wash prior to dry brushing.