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. :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Crocheted Octopus Hair Bauble

Are you a mermaid? Do you often look at the ocean or go to aquariums in hope of seeing an eight-legged wonder? Do you wonder how you could adorn yourself with such a lovely creature?
If you answered yes to any of those questions...or just really like octopi keep reading!
As you may know I have gotten into crochet projects. Don't worry, I'm not switching from nerd projects to just a really very simple crochet blog. I did however want to include this particular project on the blog, as there have been several inquiries as to where I obtained such a fashion accessory.
 What exactly is "it"? Well, as the explanation is rather long, I will just provide you a picture.
You may think...OH MY GOD, THERE IS AN OCTOPUS FUSED TO HER HEAD! I assure you this is the case. His name is Count de Bubbles. I wanted a unique fascinator to go with one of my steampunk corsets, and had recently finished a truly awesome project ( I can't share it here until after someone receives it as their birthday gift) and thought, hey, there must be a way I can make a stuffed octopus using the same principles I had just learned to make aforementioned secret awesome birthday gift. Thanks to a quick foray on google...I learned there's called Amigurumi. and boy is it a clever way to make a awesome gift (and cheap). The only problem is you have to be good at crochet. Which I am it involved cussing out the wazoo, mistakes, and several attempts to make a pattern for you guys, as the only octopi I could find were round (and we all know octopi are not round balls.) So.....get ready for my first crochet pattern:

Round 1: 6 sc in a magic ring (6)
Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch (12)
Round 3: 1 sc in first stitch, 2 sc in 2nd stitch, repeat around to beginning (18)
Round 4: 1 sc in first 2 stitches, 2 sc in 3rd stitch, repeat around to beginning (24)
Round 5: 1 sc in first 3 stitches, 2 sc in 4th stitch, repeat around to beginning (30)
Round 6: 1 sc in first 4 stitches, 2 sc in 5th stitch, repeat around to beginning (36)
Rounds 7-12: sc in every stitch (36)
Round 11: 1 sc in first 4 stitches, decrease in 5th stitch, repeat around to beginning (30)
Round 12: 1 sc in first 3 stitches, decrease in 4th stitch, repeat around to beginning (24)
Round 13: 1 sc in first 2 stitches, decrease in 3rd stitch, repeat around to beginning (18)
Round 14: Sc in first 9 stitches, chain 1 and turn your work
Round 15: Sc 29 stitches (yes you will be going over the 9 stitches you just made), chain 1 turn your work
Round 16  (FINAL STEP!!!!): Sc 9 stitches, slip stitch/tie off (WOOOO!!!!)
Stuff it with cotton, or old pillow fill. Do NOT sew the end together, you will see why later.

NOTE: this is for a little bit smaller octopus than seen in the above picture....I had delusions of grandeur..but for a better hold and better size-to-head ratio I shrunk it down a little.

Stuff it then shape it, I like the side that will lay against my head to be semi flat like a lounging octopus.

Tentacles (Each chain makes 2 so make 4)
Chain 40
In the second chain from hook, 3 sc's.
3 sc's in every stitch back to the end of chain.
Tie off, fold in half.

Alternate Tentacle: bi-colored method (Each chain makes 2 so make 4)
Use 2 colors of yarn at one time side by side. Chain 31
In second chain from hook, 2 sc's in every stitch back to the end of chain. Tie off. Fold in half.

Hair Attachment Piece
Round 1: 6 1/2 dc's into magic ring (6)
Round 2: 2 1/2 dc's in each stitch (12)
Round 3: 1/2 dc's into every other stitch (18)
Round 4: sc all the way around. Tie off.

The side facing the picture is the side you will clip to your head. Glue the tentacles to the opposite side.

One of the tentacles folded in half

You have a stuffed octopus body, tentacles, and an attachment piece. tuck in all the loose pieces of yarn. Now you need a hot glue gun. I'm sure if you really wanted to sew it could...but after hours of just want the dang thing to be assembled and done, thus, hot glue gun. I laid out the tentacles how I wanted them to look on top of the attachment piece and lightly glued them (you don't need gobs of hot glue, just enough to hold it in place) down. next i made sure the body was stuffed into the shape of an octopus...not a round ball, and glued it on top of the tentacles/attachment piece.
Slide your hair comb or clip through the bottom, and voila! If you want it even more secure, bobby pin it around the bottom, and each tentacle how you'd like it to lay.
You can decorate it...put on eyes using buttons or cogs, give him or her a monocle, wings...a smilie face...anything to make it more you!

The completed Green one and almost finished lavender one:

Of course...if you've been reading the facebook page: Nerd Rendezvous you have seen a few mini updates through the last two weeks. I hope to finish a few projects this weekend to have something new for you guys soon. Fingers crossed the Titus (Nova Vol. 5) eye goes smoothly. Also...I am hoping to take pictures in all of my character outfits soon!
I'm seeing Man of Steel tomorrow, and am super excited. Maybe I will start getting organized this weekend and draw up some outlines for here so I can post more consistently! Also...Get your tickets for C4 and Comikaze now...they will sell out just as fast as Wonder Con!