Tag Archives: tutorial

Pixie Wings Tutorial

There are a lot of fantastic tutorials out there for creating fairy/pixie wings- this is just the way that I chose to do it for my Pixie costume.

I started out by figuring out how large I wanted the wings to be (HCC cosplay has a wonderful write up here on learning to scale things for yourself in cosplay which is definitely worth a read- that’s pretty much how I scale things for myself, so I’m not going to re-write what they’ve already explained beautifully there).  Once size was figured out, I grabbed my reference photos of the wings I wanted to make and painted the general shape onto some pieces of cardstock.  To start out with, I only made one side of the pair of wings (one upper wing and one lower wing).

The lines aren’t the cleanest, but that’s fine- the next step is to cut out the white parts with an x-acto knife and that gives me a chance to clean up the edges of the black lines.

Once all of the white parts have been cut out of the wings, I lay them down on more cardstock and traced their outline to make the other two wings (actually, technically I went the super lazy route and just spray painted them over the other cardstock to create the outline for the other two wings).  Since I was using white cardstock and I needed the wing veins to be black I ended up spray painting the cardstock black after it was all cut out.

I used iridescent cellophane (you can buy it online in rolls- I think they also sell it at Michael’s craft stores- it seems to be used for wrapping gift baskets generally) for the shimmery wing membranes.  You can get some neat effects by crinkling it up, heating it, burning it, etc- it’s fun to experiment with.  For my Pixie wings, I crinkled up a bunch of it to give it some texture, then lay it flat on the floor (or whatever your workspace is- I always work on the floor because I’m amazingly clumsy and always manage to knock things off tables…).  I sprayed one side of my painted cardstock wing vein pieces with spray adhesive and then set them down on the cellophane to attach them.  Once all of my wing vein pieces were attached to the big sheet of cellophane, I cut them out (be careful, the cellophane tears really easily!).

To stabilize the wings, I glued (E-6000) a single piece of aluminum wire along the top of the wing and then let it trail off at the base of the wing.  The extra bit of wire is what I would later use to attach the wings to my little harness that went under my Pixie bodysuit.

That’s pretty much it.  You can use a hair dryer or heat gun to tighten up the cellophane if it’s too flimsy between your wing veins- be careful not to melt it though.  These wings have actually held up surprisingly well considering what they’re made of.  If you were feeling ambitious and wanted to spend significantly more money, making the wing veins out of thin metal produces beautiful and far more durable results.  For my project I was leaning towards spending as little as possible- all of the materials cost less than $20 for these wings.

During a shoot, photo by Nicole Ciaramella. Wings held into a specific pose for the shoot with gaffer’s tape.

As a final note, the harness that I made for these wings had little channels in it that the pieces of wire for the wings fit into.  I wore it underneath my costume and the channels on the harness had to be accessed through grommets in the back of my costume.  I couldn’t put the wings on without help, but it made for a nearly seamless attachment which made me really happy- and since there are pretty much no photos of the back of my costume you would probably never know that I spent the time to do that…   C’est la vie.

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Shiny Wig Fiber Tutorial

Making Wigs (and wig fibers) Less Shiny Tutorial!  I’m not sure how useful people will find this, but I’ve used it a lot so I may as well share in the hopes that it’s useful to someone else!
Sometimes you buy wigs and extensions and they’re lovely and nothing needs to be done to them – places like Arda Wigs already have fantastic fibers on their wigs.  However, I like to get a lot of my wig supplies from my local Beauty Supply Store (er, that’s actually the name of it) downtown.  It’s just so convenient, inexpensive, and I don’t have to wait for stuff to arrive in the mail.  The downside to this is that a lot of their extensions are really obnoxiously shiny and plastic-y looking.  They have that undeniable PARTY WIG look about them.  And that is an awful thing.
So here’s how I take care of it!  First, brush out your wig or extensions to get rid of tangles- then fill a bowl or bucket (I think I used a vase in these photos) with liquid fabric softener.  You don’t need any sort of fancy fabric softener- just pick some up from the dollar store and you’ll be fine.  Submerge your wig/extensions in the fabric softener and swish them around a bit to make sure that they’re fully coated in the stuff – then leave them to stew in that for about a week.

When the week is up, rinse your wig/extensions in cold/lukewarm water (don’t use soap!).  Hang them up to dry.  Once dry, shake baby powder/talcum powder onto the wig/extensions and brush through- applying more powder as you feel necessary.  The fabric softener takes away a bit of the shine and also helps the powder to stick to the wig fibers and mute the obnoxious shine.  Style however you want, applying more powder if you feel it’s needed.

I did this on my Leia extensions so that they matched my own hair better (since… my real hair is not QUITE as shiny as a party wig), and also on my Sailor Moon ponytails since they were originally very very shiny!  I’ve used it on a few other wigs and sets of extensions and like the way it makes the fibers look more natural and less shiny.

(download the image to view properly- it’s a bit large…)


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Colored Shoes Tutorial

Maybe not so much of a tutorial, but details on how I put together a lot of my shoes for costumes.

I usually use pleather shoes for most costumes because I love the way they look!  Also, they accept paint easily.  So that helps.

There are some awesome options available for painting leather (and faux leather/pleather), but for the longest time I didn’t know about them and I just used acrylic paint and mod podge to color shoes.  It’s cheap, readily available, and I could mix pretty much any color I needed so that the shoes would match my costume.  Generally two-three coats of paint and one coat of mod podge is enough to cover the whole shoe.
The downside to using acrylic is that it can crack (particularly if you use it on tall boots, or anything which needs to flex a lot when you wear it).

For shoes that have extra straps (like Neptune’s and Uranus’s) I cut pieces of pleather, painted them, and sewed them to the shoes.  For Neptune’s I sewed a loop  of elastic to one end of the ankle strap and a button to the inside of the shoe that the loop hooks over.

I hope that helps someone!  I promise, having the strap on Neptune’s shoe match the rest of the shoe looks a lot nicer than using ribbon, and only takes a little bit more time to add on.

As a final note- there are paints made specifically for changing the color of shoes.  Angelus leather paint and Meltonian Nu-Life spray are two that I would absolutely recommend!  For any sort of boots, or shoe with a lot of movement the result is going to last longer using those paints rather than acrylic.

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Quick Fuku Sleeves Tutorial

I’ve made and looked at a lot of fukus over the years and the question I get the most is about the sleeves.  I thought I’d type up some basic info on how I make mine in the hopes that it helps someone further on down the road!  This isn’t really a step-by-step tutorial since… I don’t really think it needs to be.

For fuku sleeves use white foam sandwiched between layers of fabric.  Since the bodysuit part of the fuku is white, the foam you use should really be white as well- the green and tan foam will show through most white fabrics and won’t look right.

I cut a sort of pointed oval shape out of foam and fabric.  Place the fabric on top of the foam and fold from point to point- sandwiching the foam in between the fabric.  The folded edge is the outer part of your sleeve.  Pin and baste the foam-and-fabric-sandwich together along the raw edge.  Then simply top stitch with white thread and you’ve got some swanky outer-space-y looking sleeves for your fuku.

That’s it!

If you have trouble finding the foam, I sell it here.

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