Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chay-Ara Hol (Hawkgirl) Cosplay Build Part 1

Hey everyone! I know you're all (or the lucky ones at least) are getting ready for Comic Con, or various other conventions, and I wanted to share my exciting news.
I didn't feel like the list of ongoing projects was quite long enough, so I decided to go ahead with making a cosplay I have wanted to do for quite some time. Not to mention it will make for VERY good tutorials (combined with the New 52 Green Arrow Cosplay build posts)  for anyone trying to build armor using craft foam & EVA foam (exercise mat foam sheets).
This post serves as post 1 of however-many-posts-it-takes-to-complete-this-costume, and will show how I made Chay-Ara's belt and started her collar. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Hawkgirl, go...frolic in the land of Thanagar. I am particularly enthralled in the ancient Egyptian version of her so I went for a part comic, part Justice League Unlimited animated series costume idea. Here is a picture of the JLU version:
Chay-Ara Hol DC
Why have I never acted upon this urge to don ancient Egyptian garb and golden wings? I was intimidated. I just started cosplaying earlier this year, to think of constructing wings? *Scoff* Helmet? *Scoff* But you know what? I'm going to do it. I've got brains and can pick up crafts relatively easily.
So far I'm proud of the pattern making skills I seem to pick up, however, I'm going to have to learn to have a little more patience. I guess I will also admit (albeit grudgingly) I can't magically learn to do new crafts without trial and error. there is this crazy stuff known as craft foam. When you heat it up it can be molded into whatever you need which is super useful in the land of cosplay. I have done a tutorial on how to make it into a  Form Fitting Mask using the over/hair dryer as a heat source. The collar tutorial will build onto that foundation. For right now I will just show you my progress, and how I got there.

The belt was made from craft foam, hot glue, mod podge, (or elmers glue) paint and velcro.
I used the "Ancient History" episode of JLU as length reference for the belt. I sketched out the pattern onto some newsprint so I didn't end up wasting craft foam again *sigh*. It was a good thing because I ended up playing around with the angles of the lines about three times before deciding on the end result. This is what it looked like:

I colored in the original messy one for fun

I traced them onto sheets of scrap foam, color doesn't matter as you'll be painting over it, and cut them out.
Keep in mind there are 2 pieces. There is a large green piece underneath which gives the belt a little movement and play.
 I then cut out a strap long enough to go around my waist plus extra for velcro closure, glued the strap on using hot glue t ONE side of the center piece, painted all of them with two-three coats of mod podge (you can use Elmer's glue!) and then painted them gold with the turquoise accent piece. Let them dry!!!!!!!!!! Add a piece of velcro to the open side of the belt to be able to open/close it.

Boom! Egyptian belt for any costume, and added bonus!!! Chay-Ara Hol.
The collar is a little more difficult. I started by measuring my neck (circumference) to get the center circle of the collar (diameter). I then measured from mid neck to place on chest where I wanted the collar to fall, and then doubled it to get the overall diameter of the collar. I also used newsprint to sketch out a pattern. I then drew out two inner circles for guides for the accent pieces.

To save myself from disaster, after cutting out the pattern, I cut the whole thing in half, and drew 2 halves onto a sheet of black craft foam. I deconstructed it a bit further, by cutting out the 1st inner circle (closest to the neck) out of one half, and then broke down the outer circle into 1/4's, drew those on yellow craft foam (I wanted a raised border) and cut it all out, and glued it all together (except 1 side, really really important to leave one line open to be able to get it on/off) with hot glue. 

You can use velcro to attach,  which I will be doing towards the end of the collar. After you get everything you want to be on the collar, but before painting or mod podging, you'll want to shape it to your neck/shoulders. I highly recommend getting help for this step. Please don't be like me and have a huge burn on your neck because you tried to do it yourself. The photo can be seen on our Facebook page: Collar Burn Your arms just DON'T bend that way...unless you are a contortionist. And before we get any further, the burn is not from the foam. The burn is in fact from the genius idea to heat the collar while on my neck since I was doing this project alone.Yeah...I know...genius. So you'd heat it up either in the oven or with a hair dryer until it's flimsy, and then have someone squish it down on your shoulders, neck, chest until it's cool and molded to you. You may end up heating it up several times. I am going to put some aloe on this burn and hopefully retry this tomorrow with the use of a handy dandy assistant. I am trying really hard not to just rush right into the wings and helmet here....I have some more research to do in both those areas. :)


  1. This is so good! I have just started cosplaying myself and my gosh it looks as if you have been doing this for years! I love Hawkgirl and one of my goals is to cosplay as her but I was discouraged about the helmet. But it seems as if you mainly used craft foam so I may try that myself! Can't wait to see how this costume turns out! :)

  2. Thank you very much! I started cosplaying at this year's WonderCon....and I've got the bug. Believe it or not, the helmet discouraged me as well. My love for ancient Egyptian / birds of prey (actual raptors, not the DC series) pushed me into finally figuring out how to piece one together. Obviously I don't have a clue how to use molds/plastic/resin or however those really awesome prop makers do it, but I'd like to think my little foam and papermache helmet does the trick and doesn't look too tacky! I wish you best of luck on your cosplays, be sure to share them with me via photos here or on facebook!