Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Steampunked Comic Character Decor

Let's just do it. Why not? Let's just mix my two nerd-ons. Steampunk AND Comics. Better yet...steampunk and Batman. I know...it's been done, but not quite like this. As an artist who can't draw humans very well...I had to think of a way to steampunk Batman for decor purposes (and technically gifting purposes, you know who you are, and the mask better not be damaged) All that came to mind was a tutorial I found on Steampunking Darth Vader...which was AMAZING. It can be seen here: Steamy Project Reveal at EPBOT (Geeky girls!) In the tutorial this lady takes a Vader mask, trims it down, alters it and presto, it hits me: do the same thing to a bat mask. Which was of course NOTHING to the scale of the Darth Vader Mask (although for about five minutes I had delusions of grandeur, a gas mask function...glowing lights....) mainly because I didn't have all the materials she had, but I made do.
What I used:
A bat mask from Target (or any toy store)
A Dremel Tool (you don't need one, you could punch holes with a punch or a hammer/nail combo)
A thin sheet of craft foam
hot glue/glue gun
Clock pieces and cogs
Spray paint in silver/gold/whatever you want to use
brushes and acrylic paints for details
puffy fabric paint (for the welding dots)
What I didn't, but should have used: Plastic primer paint. I highly recommend starting with this. I bought some for the next project.

I had this mask to start:
I wanted a few breather holes in the ears, so I drilled them with a dremel. You can do this with a wide nail, or a punch if you don't have a Dremel. For welding lines I used thin strips of craft foam cut to the shape I made on one half of the bat mask. You can also achieve this by globbing hot glue in the same lines, the foam is just a cleaner edge. To get the rivets, just dot on the puff paint and let it dry. Make any holes/welding lines/rivets you want now so the primer (or in my case paint) covers everything.

What I should have done next: PRIMER
What I did: weeeeeeee spray paint weeeeeeeee
And I ended up with this:
It doesn't look half bad at this point, but the primer would have ensured maximum sticking ability so the paint wouldn't chip off, bubble up, or peel away. Which it does if you bend the mask. :/
I didn't like the clean edge on the welding lines so I took hot glue and smeared  it along the edges. (do not do this with your finger...) Which means: more spray paint!!!!!! WEEEEEEEE
After the spray paint dried, I took a dry brush and gold paint over it to tarnish it up. I scratched a few places and filled them in with a gun metal paint:
Next I super glued  on some chains, clock pieces, and gears to the welded side of the mask, and I took some honeycomb looking chicken wire and molded it to the opposite eye with hot glue, which also covered any raw edges that may scratch your eye out if you plan on wearing something like this... This is one of those projects like many of the ones I have done that is only limited by your design.
Hang it on the wall....wear it....make a stand for it... or give it away to never see again :(
Keep in mind this was my first attempt. I rushed it, as I do when I am excited about a project, and it could have been sooo much better. But I learned my lesson and as always I will get better if I practice....When I revisit this project, I will share it here with more tips on how to get better details! Wolverine next time? Spider-man? Magneto? The world is mine!
P.S. Wonder Con tickets went on sale...Wonder Con I hope to see you all there. Remember, I will be Viper and you can almost assuredly find me at the Superhero Stuff Booth (I will post the # as soon as they update the exhibitor map) Go team SHS! Can't wait to see all my friends!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cosplay Time 2

Madame Hydra or Viper lips. How does she get that green/black quality? Venom and toxin! We will NOT be using those in our portrayal of Viper! We WILL be using a super cool technique that you will love for future cosplay! All you will need is a sharpened black pencil eyeliner (preferably kohl,) black lipstick, flat black eyeshadow, and a metallic green eyeshadow.

I used the lime green (purple arrow) which is in the ELF $10 palette
They look black but shine green which is hard to capture with my camera! Fear not...I will post the complete Viper look from Wonder Con!!!!

You can choose to use the same fishnet scales technique from the Viper #1 tutorial if you want green scaled lips, you'd need a spare bit of fishnet.
I highly recommend using a lip scrub or exfoliating your lips and moisturizing them at least once  a week, it makes them softer and fuller and provides a better canvas for any lipstick look, this one being no exception. And I use these: Skin Noms they are 100% natural sugar scrubs that come in sinfully delicious flavors...mint chocolate chip, snickerdoodle...even chocolate orange! Also..why not support small businesses? They leave your lips soft and deliciously ripe for this tutorial.
Take whatever foundation or concealer you use and pat it over your lips so you start out with a nice blank canvas. It will also make sure the lips last longer.
Apologies for the darkness.

 I know...this is a scary look! Don't worry it gets scarier!
Line your lips with the eyeliner pencil. then take a flat liner brush and pat on the black eye shadow over the liner, this ensures that no feathering or crazy bleeding lines will occur later on.
Notice it's semi thick? I lined my lips in a thin line then with the liner brush and eye shadow, pulled it in towards my mouth to fade it in.

 Now fill in your lips with black lipstick. Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect quite yet, the next step will smooth out and fix any spots or smudges.

 If you want the scaled look lay the fishnets over your lips, and pat on green eye shadow. If you just want the green sheen over black, pat the green eye shadow directly on the black lipstick.

 Use the black pencil to touch up any areas that may have been smudged, or a concealer pencil to touch up your skin, and voila! Pucker up ladies, your lips are now dangerous weapons of doom. Next on the Viper list: facial scars using eyelash glue. See you next time. Hail Hydra!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Steampunk Keyboard Mod

Here at last....the much anticipated Holy Grail of my projects thus far....how I turned my run of the mill Dell keyboard into a sassy, steamy, typewriter looking, fully functional, keyboard supreme mother clucker.
This tutorial is NOT easy, in fact if you do not have patience turn away now, or just admire the pictures. Here is a picture for your viewing pleasure:

I have to say had I not known people in the machine shop field...those keys would not look that good...having said that I want you to know you can totally do this without a cnc lathe. You can easily make the keys out of the existing key board keys, a torch, a steel tube, and a drill press. I even saw a tutorial on heating up an Xacto knife....on second thought....do not attempt that. I nearly lost digits that way.
Ok let's start this project up!
Get a keyboard with easily pop-off-able keys, use a flat head screw driver or some pliers to just pop them off super quick. Take a picture or keep the keys in order, as some of them have different size bases, just for faster assembly.

Unscrew the face plate from the keyboard! Be sure you save all the screws and keep the underside of the keyboard safe, as you want to be able to use the keyboard when finished. If you want to keep anything the way it is (the little window for the Caps Lock/Num Lock etc,) tape it off with some painters tape. Spray paint the face plate whichever metal color your prefer. I always like the silver/gold tarnishy combo, so that took a few layers to accomplish. I can not stress proper spray paint technique enough. It's the key to a smooth finish, and you want that. If you let the paint gunk up, the keys may not fit back on. Hold the can of spray paint at least 8 inches away from the face plate and lightly/evenly coat the face plate, let it dry and go back in with the next or same color, always letting it dry in between. After you let it completely dry, screw it back into place on the keyboard.
Ok...now for the hard part. Those pesky keys! You can make then whatever shape your heart desires, so long as you keep the post that pops into the keyboard the way it is. I wanted typewriter round keys. To achieve this, you could do something like this: Make keys round with a drill press
I know people at a machine shop, so they took the keys and cut them on a CNC lathe. Then you have something that looks like this:
Next: to paint the keys. You can totally skip this step if you want, if you will be covering them with a sticker or decal. I wanted them to be sassy and brassy, so I had to paint them. If you choose to paint them DO NOT PAINT THE LOWER 1/4 inch OF THE "STEM". You don't want to paint the part of the key that pops back in to the keyboard. Paint layers make it too thick to smoothly pop up and down, it will get stuck and be hard to pop back out,which is also not exactly suitable for a working keyboard! Two ways I thought of to do this, you could tape off each key bottom, or you could take a cardboard box, and stick the keys into it, up to the part you want to be painted. This way you can paint more/all at one time.
The bouquet holder option: DO NOT use styrofoam to hold your keys, it will melt onto the plastic key when spray paint hits it.
So...two-three layers of spray paint later, pop your fully dried keys back onto your keyboard. Do not worry if at first they stick, just pup them up and down a bunch of times and they will work again. You can choose to stop at this step:
But why stop? Take some antique finish paper ( I will show you how to make your own in a later tutorial with just white paper and tea) and print out typewriter style key covers, like these:
Cut out carefully with a detail cutting tool.
It was semi time consuming to make the new keys on Publisher, but if you'd like a copy of my PDF which has all the standard keys and a few blank ones leave a comment here or go to my Facebook and message me, and I can send you the file. Apply them with glue + a clear coat or Gloss Finish ModPodge. SHAZAM! You can also stop here...but again, why? I had some metal embellishments that were rather Victorian left over from my Halloween projects. Using super glue I attached them around the window for the lights and covered the Dell logo:
This thing is a beauty. It even sounds a bit more like a typewriter than it used to. And for inquiring minds...YES!!! I will be doing the rest of the desktop step by slow step. I will share my progress (however slow) here with you all!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cosplay Time!

The con season is approaching quickly, with WonderCon around the next corner! This year I will be cosplaying as Madame Hydra (Viper.) In case you don't know this Hydra/Serpent Squad femme fatale you can check her out here: Viper She is my super cool villain of the year! What is cosplay? Just think Costume play. Cosplaying as someone who isn't right out there in everyone's face is rather difficult. You can't just go out and buy a costume, you get to either make it yourself, or find something close at a dance warehouse or department store. I found all of Viper's green accessories at Amazon, and her bodysuit at River's Edge Dance Wear. Now for the fun part! Viper's Makeup! This tutorial will be the first of three installments, broken down into eyes, lips, and finally, scars. I wanted to put a little of a snake-like charm onto the eyes, because generally Viper is seen with green eyeshadow and a cat-eye look. So here is my take on Viper:
Scales are super easy!
To achieve this look you just need and old pair of fishnet stockings, eyelid primer, green and black eyeshadow, black liquid eyeliner and mascara! For cons of course, you can always add false eyelashes, which I will be doing for the complete look in March.

You can use any eye shadow, although I have found that the higher end ones last a little longer, you want to use a color that is going to stand out for comics, go big or go home! Here is a collection of colors for any character you choose, the big palette of colors was 5$ on sale at E.L.F. I recommend this if you don't plan on using the color more than one time! If you want something that will last longer without wearing, and plan on using it more than once...you may want to try a higher end eyeshadow like Urban Decay, Make Up Forever, Too Faced, or MAC. The one I used in the photo above was Urban Decay.
Don't worry! You don't need all of this to get the look! I just wanted to show you you can use anything you've got.


Urban Decay
You want to start with your eye primed, and eye brow already on like this:
Smear green eye shadow on your eyelid just to the crease. If you are using cream shadow be sure to pat powder eye shadow on top! It will make it last longer and prevent creasing. Now to get the scales. You can do this all over, or just on a portion of your eye for a subtle look. I got lots of comments on this at Comikaze last year, and I only did the tiny part under the eyebrow, so I went for it again! Cut a square of the fish nets off to use. Take some hair clips and clip one side of the fish net in your hair. I know it sounds confusing but bare with me, there will be a picture below! Take an eyeshadow applicator, or brush and pat black eye shadow onto it, make sure to tap it so none falls off onto the surrounding area (disastrous if you have to start from scratch.) Pull the fishnet down and hold it tight so it doesn't slide around on the area you want the scales, pat the eye shadow straight up and down on it, do not smear the eyeshadow across the fishnet!

Yes! That is a Hydra shirt. Found it at this wonderful place: SuperheroStuff
Too Dark? Use a metallic color instead.

Now to finish your eye, apply your liquid liner in a cat-eye shape. If you don't know how, here is a wonderful tutorial: HollywoodNoir YouTube
Apply mascara and or false eyelashes and boom! Hail Hydra!
Stay tuned for Viper's luscious venomous lips. I will show you how to get black lips that shine green!
Also, the full look will not be seen until WonderCon! I hope to see you there, if not I will take oodles of pictures and have a whole post on the con! Don't forget to like me on facebook for more photos and upcoming projects: Nerd Rendezvous Get Cosplaying!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Resolutions 2013

As the new year starts, how many of you make resolutions? I don't normally, this year I made a few! 1. To get in better shape, which I am doing through a new circus fitness program (yes circus, no, not the Flying Graysons,) 2. To try new things when it comes to Nerd Rendezvous, branch out a little, maybe an Etsy shop, we'll see. Also, check it out, I made a new Facebook page so it is easier to communicate with you all: Nerd Rendezvous on Facebook!!!! And finally,  I want to spend more time with friends, which I did not get to do very often in 2012.
The greatest thing about my  friends is that we can go without seeing each other for a while, but get us together...and it's like amazing awesomeness with a side of ridiculously fun-tastic-ness. Which is why I want to be around them more often...they lift me up! Everyone needs those types of people in their life.
It is hard to work around everyone's schedules, hell, it's hard to find time to sneeze around the holidays. But I have seen a few ideas around the interwebs that I want to get everyone together for...because....you know me....I can't resist themes. I could have a craft day for my craftsters, (which I would totally share here because that's what I do.) I could also have another Game Day which was really awesome and fun. Eat like kids....and play games all day. It would look something like this:
These were my contributions for a friend's Bday game day
Just in case you've never heard of this game from a long....long time ago:
Play it.
And you could even theme your treats:
Some cupcakes hit with batarangs!

Marvel cookies!

Birthday cake for a friend (which was the reason for Game Day)
Regardless, get together with your friends. Be nerdy....be happy.