(Today’s guest post is by Petrai of Petrai Cosplay! She did an amazing Tyrande cosplay for Blizzcon 2011 that we just loved so much that we asked her to do a guest post for us! You all should definitely go check out her page! As usual, you can click on the photos to see the larger version!)
Hey all! I’m happy to be writing a guide for Arms, Armor, and Awesome! Tyrande was definitely a big undertaking but so rewarding. It was a huge learning process as my first cosplay ever and after 6 months, turned out just how I wanted it!
So here I’ll basically just focus on the sculpting aspect of the costume, rather than the sewing. This includes all of the silvery dress detailing, as well as armbands and other bits. It was difficult to decide what material I wanted to use, since I knew I needed it to be strong, but also flexible enough to bend with my body, and around my arms with negative space between details. I ended up choosing semi rigid latex, which has basically the consistency of dry hot glue. Clean pulls, no mess, semi rigid and easy to use!
I started off by drawing a to scale blue print of the central detailing on the dress, as well as the bracelets, and then sculpting it in plastalina modeling clay.
Plastalina clay is the non-hardening clay that they use in Claymation, which is what I needed for the plaster mold. I chose this type of clay so that picking all of the bits out of the mold wouldn’t be overly taxing, plus I could leave my sculpts for days on end and come back to them when I wanted to continue working. The reason I needed a plaster mold vs. a silicone mold is because the final positive would be made of semi-rigid latex, which cannot harden in a silicone mold. I ended up gluing all of the clay parts together with super glue, just to keep it all from rolling around when I moved it or poured plaster. The plaster was very easy, I used normal cardboard boxes as mold boxes and hot glued them to make sure they wouldn’t leak, and poured the liquid plaster over the clay. When my plaster was hard, I removed the mold from the box, let it fully dry for 24/hrs, and poured my latex. The trick with the latex was to make sure it was 100% hard, which took a lot of patience (Days, with multiple pours as it slightly shrinks when it hardens). When it was ready, I pulled it and it was exactly what I wanted! Of course, the first pull was the best, and over time my plaster mold would break down, but I only needed it for essentially 6-8 pulls.This image shows a good progress; from the mold to the painted product. I ended up having to cut off a lot of excess with an exact-o knife, as well as air bubbles. I painted it with metallic acrylic paint, weathered it, and then it was sewed onto the dress (or attached around my arms).
For the eyebrows, I wanted them to look as naturally night elfish as possible, without looking too glued together. I ended up opting for pheasant feathers which turned out to be pre-dyed the perfect shade of teal. I gently cut the majority of the feather base off, and then on the ends below the wick I cut off the small fibery parts but was careful to keep them clumped together and available for re-use. The hardest part was gluing these cut pieces and a small jewelry wire along the wick, to give them shape and a fuller look. This took a lot of patience, gluey fingers, and frustration, but it ended up coming together in the end.
For the wig, I had to do seriously no styling beyond sewing in little pearl beads to simulate the dew drops in the reference image. For the leaves I picked real ones, scanned them, printed, decoupaged, cut, and folded them, then sewed them into the wig. Easy!
The gems were sculpted out of extra clay, then I made a silicone mold and casted them out of clear resin (I picked it up from Micheals arts and crafts), and when they were dry I painted the bottoms with varying shades of blue nail polish, and sealed it with the reflective side of tinfoil. Voila!
A full album of photos can be seen on my cosplay page here!
I hope that was helpful! Feel free to message me on my cosplay page if you have any questions, I’d be happy to help. Thanks!