December 21, 2016

Star Guardian Lux cosplay WIP part 2

A few months back I wrote about my cosplay costume making process which you can read here. The first part was focused on sewing the costume and making the accessories, but this second part focuses on making the prop. I had been working on the prop back then but I decided to split it into another post because I want to talk through it from beginning to end. This is also my first time installing LED lights into my prop.

Here's my image reference. For my version I made it unexpectedly longer than the illustration's proportion to the person's height by half a feet, but overall I tried to stay as close to the design as possible.

I managed to find a clear acrylic star at Art Friend in Singapore in the exact size and shape I wanted. I chose to use a clear one because I wanted this part to glow up and the led light to shine through after I got them installed. You can always craft your own star out of acrylic sheets, refer to the previous post where I have talked about it.

I first cut out the rim of the star and the wings with a thin sheet of craft foam/ eva foam. Glueing foam is easy, just a hot glue gun would do. For the pattern of the wings, I sketched them out on paper then trace onto the foam so that it is the same size throughout. Notice how there's excess foam for the wings, I left excess on purpose so I can slowly figure out the angle of the wings and later trim them off to fit the sides of the acrylic star.

For the arch on the top I used 100mm foam and the bottom 'V' was crafted with 2 pieces of 50mm foam, reason to be explained later. As for the diamond at the bottom, they are made out of 2 100mm foam glued together.

Fold a piece of paper into half and sketch out the pattern of the arch. Sizing wise I always judge it by sight in relation to the proportions of each part. When cutting thick foam like this, be very sure that you are holding the blade straight. Any curve would cause it to look unbalance. Don't worry if there are little bumps, you can always use a sand paper to smooth it out. But by bumps I mean really minor issues, so try to get the shape right as you cut it out!

For the diamond shape, the 2 parts were cut diagonally at the edge then glued together. Try to get the angle the same to match them as perfectly as possible, and excess will be trimmed later on. The glue I used for this was contact glue instead of hot glue gun. I find that it works better to use contact glue if you plan to layer foam to create thickness.

As for the V part, although it wasn't the best decision to use foam to craft this, my prop still managed to stay together. This part holds the star to the handle so if you can have a stronger material, perhaps that would be a better choice.

For the handle I got a plastic water pipe that was 1m long, then cut out the middle part for the battery and switch to fit. For the installation of the LED, I got help with that because it needed to be soldered but it was just a simple circuit of strip light LED on 2 ends, switch and a 9V battery.

The LED lights were sticked facing inwards on the inner rim of the star so that light shines inwards. For the rim of the star I used 50mm foam, slowly cut them to fit and glue with hot glue gun.

So here's why I cut 2 50mm foam for the V shape. It is to fit the wires from the LED strip lighting down into the handle. I cut a valley on both sides of the foam, large enough to fit the wire but not too large or else the structure will be too weak to support the star structure above. Also, using the solder iron, I melted a hole at the bottom of the acrylic star and the diamond so the wire can fit through.

The 2 pieces were glued together with contact glue. The top and bottom where the V connects to the star and the diamond were also glued together using contact glue first, then hot glued around the edges to ensure that it will not fall off. Try to keep it as neat as possible. Everything should fit snugly.

Glueing the entire structure to the pipe I use lots of hot glue to make sure it sticks well. Just be generous here as it will be concealed later on.

For various thickness of the handle, I always like to buy the size according to the thinnest diameter or the entire thing. The thicker parts can be layered with foam. Slowly build up the thickness using various thickness of foam. To glue this part, here I did experiment a little, one side was glued with hot glue and the other was contact glue. Both method works, but I prefer to use contact glue as it provides a smoother finishing.

Before you get excited to spray paint, ALWAYS SEAL YOUR FOAM! Foam is like a sponge, if you don't seal it you will be wasting so much paint, time and effort to get the colours on. There are various methods to seal foam. I heard Mod Podge works very well but it's quite costly to buy a tub. For me I used the cheapest method which was using PVA or white glue, dilute it with a little water and paint 4-5 layers onto the foam. This method is pretty time consuming as you have to wait for each layer to dry off first before you can start on the next. I used a hair dryer to help me out.

Althouth I'm not the best at paint jobs, but for whatever I do, I always spray a layer of white first so that any colour would show up better later. Wrap up and spray by parts. Try spraying in thin layers so it dries quicker and also the colours would be more even and not dripping here and there. Only wrap and tape when the layer of paint has dried or you will end up ripping the paint off. If any mishaps happens, I usually will touch up with acrylic paint later.

And it's done! I know the battery part looks really funny but I am really looking for advice on how I can improve that. For the event I ended up wrapping it up with a white ribbon as my gloves are white too so it won't be very obvious when I hold on to it. I tried coming up with poses which lets me hides that part and showcase the nice looking parts haha!

I hope this was easy enough to understand the making process of my Star Guardian Lux's wand. I did a mini shoot with Chai at Comic Fiesta and will blog about both the shoot and the event soon. Thank you for reading and DEMACIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

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