Thursday, September 24, 2015

Time to get Marked!!

   Evening!! Mark of Cain, that is. When my friendie Shaun was going to come to Pasadena I was going to apply it to him, but since he's not coming and I have bought everything for our cosplay, I don't feel too bad going ahead with Marking Huz, instead. Just a little snag, though...

   He already has a tattoo on the spot on is arm, and it isn't the Mark. I might be able to cover it with make up, but because he's in a wheelchair I'm afraid it's not going to adhere well through the day of pushing, pulling, service dog controlling, selling, setting up, taking down and more. It will be avery long day (I'm guessing if we're lucky it will be 6:30am to 12-1am every day for three days in a row.) So we decided I will just apply it to the top of his tattoo and just have ot deal. It may ever be cool since his tattoo is fairly dark and may stand out more brightly. 

   I watched a couple of YouTube videos of different techniques for applying liquid latex to make a scar or brand because that's really what the Mark looks like, it has a 3D bump to it like a brand. After a couple of less successful ideas, I decided to look for the Mark tutorial. There were two that I saw, one where you paint it on a flat surface and peel it off to apply, and one where they apply directly to the skin. 

   It looked much easier this way, so that's what I"m doing. After I found where I stashed the make up I bought a couple of weeks ago I am able to try it out. I'm a little less than halfway through, but I wanted a moment to get my YouTube music channel back up and running and comment here. 

   Okay, so I got all of the layers of latex on, about 5 before I decided to call it quits. Not because I felt that was plenty, I'd like to do 10-12, but I felt like I don't want to waste the latex. I do think for Friday and Sunday I might well do the Mark on myself just because I love it. I wanted a tattoo, but my job is really conservative so I'd have to cover it. Waiting for the latex to dry so I can paint it. I'm hoping Huz will still be up so he can tell me what he thinks. (He was awake, surprising at 2am) and he approved of my Mark. Other than I did the wrong arm. But that was because it's a test and I'm mostly right-handed. I'll learn to do it with my left by the time the Con rolls around.

The bottle of liquid latex I got at the costume shop. Kind of small, but I'm not sure how often I'll use it so I guess it won't matter for now. Maybe invest in a bigger one for less if I feel like I want to keep doing this.

They drew the mark on the skin first with a lipliner, so this is an old one I had hanging around. I don't use lip liner anymore so I had to dig for it, but it worked.

The color of the liner, in case you care.

The bruise wheel I bought from  the costume shop. The colors didn't represent well. There's a yellow, chocolate brown, bright red and eggplant purple. I used brown as the base and then added red. I just used my fingers because this is only a test, but I would use a brush if I had one hanging around.

The (mostly) blank canvas. I have a tattoo on my arm too, but it's down by my wrist so I have this nice, white canvas of skin to work on.

I sat and looked at some images of the Mark to get an idea of how it looks. Most people move the "teeth" further away from the curve, but I think they're actually supposed to be closer. Not the greatest, my liner pencil needed sharpened but I was being lazy. Some people also draw the Mark more straight lines, but I think it's more curved, like the Nike Swoosh. So that's what I went with.

The first layer of latex is down. I used a q-tip to apply it, but it left little stipple marks. I should get a brush to use, since it will hopefully give me the smooth look I'm wanting. I just have to find some I don't care about because it will die.

About 5 layers. I stopped here because it's a test, but I will keep going when it's time to actually do it to about 10-12 layers.

Painted and sealed!! The sealer is to protect the color on top from getting smudged, which is a good idea when you're wearing something in a spot like that you're going to be hitting constantly. Especially since we're going to have so much going on with the Con.

   Alright, so I'm quite happy with that. Another one or two practices and get a few more materials I need to really do it right and I should be all good!! Okay, it's late so I"m gong to go to bed. I'll keep posting pictures as I improve my Marking ability.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Make up; Second post.

   Hello!! I'm not exactly sure what I should be doing, but I'm going to see if I'm going in the right direction. I'm waiting for Huz to go to bed because I don't want him to ask questions about the make up as he might realize why I was at the costume shop. (The answer is, I'm making him something for christmas!!) So I don;t want him to ask and start to put together my recent errands. 

   Once I have the kitchen to myself I can find out if the sponges I bought today at Target will work. I couldn't find quite what I was looking for, so I grabbed these, that actually might work better than I had anticipated. My biggest problem with the types of sponges they usually use to apply for scrapes (like what would be on Dean's arm in Yellow Fever) or road rash if you're not familiar with the show, is that the pattern of the typical sponge is like a honey comb, so it's very repetitive and leaves a predictable mark on the skin. 

   I wanted to either rough up the sponge, or find something to apply the make up that isn't so patterned. These have pattern, but they'e more random, like just fibers thrown together. And this isn't. See?

Here's a more side view so you can see the fluffy texture a bit better. They're disposable, which is nice, so hopefully this will be my winner!!

Front. It's very soft, too. That's better than those more aggressive sponges they sell for this purpose elsewhere. Once Huz will get his cute ass to bed I can try it out!!

   Yay!! He's gone to bed finally!! I'm going to get my work started and then take a moment to try out the makeup and see what we think. I do now realize I will need fake blood, but only when my friend is going to Cosplay with me. I won't need it for my other make up uses if Huz and I are the only ones, since he'll be wearing a shirt that covers the arm.

So here's the early part on the show, when he's first experiencing the symptoms, but it gets worse through the episode.

Here's my stage one, the three lines from Dean scratching at it. Pretty good. Probably make the lines a little narrower, and cut the giant sponge thing in half because I really didn't need much.

For fun, I expanded upon what it would like once he had really been digging at it, like he does in the show. This looks more bruise, though, without the blood to make it good and gory. So I'll have to get blood to make it look more like road rash and less like a bruise. But, for the days when we will need bruising I will have that down. Now I just need my friendie to come so this can be necessary!! And, with a bit of a disappointment from the night's work, I'm off to bed. Night!!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Supernatural: make up trial part one.

   Hello and welcome!! I'm still learning, and I've never done stage make up in my life. The only time I've tried it, it actually didn't work out, so I'm hoping I have better success with this!! My intent is to put the Mark of Cain on someone's arm. Either mine, Huz's, or my Cosplay buddy Shaun. (I'm the Sam to his Dean.) I'm just not sure if he's coming to the Convention in California, but he will hopefully be there in Phoenix at least so we can finally do what we've been dreaming. I'm still really hoping he can come to California in November, but I guess we'll see. 

   So, the Mark of Cain is actually a curse, but it presents in the show like a brand that glows when it asserts its power on the bearer. I can't really make it glow, but I can make it look like it's raised, I hope. At Bubbles of Joy, Chad told me how to use something fibrous, like cotton from cotton balls, to give the Mark some good thickness, and it will stay put for the whole day, since it will be a very long day. I'm going to make a few ahead of time so we can just apply them and remove them and do a bit of paint the day of. And bloody us up a bit, too. It should be easy, in theory. I'm also hoping to take the time to bloody us up more as the day progresses. 

The Mark when Dean is receiving it from Cain. Note the glowing quality.

The Mark just sitting. It has a thick appearance, like a brand. But it's so much more than just skin deep, it causes a lot of problems with the accompanying curse.

   Shaun and I wanted to dress like Sam and Dean from three episodes, and one of them would involve Dean being a Demon, as Shaun really wants to wear the black sclera contacts, and it's my favorite. We would both be bloody, since they had a fight the episode before. We also wanted to dress like one where Dean's injuries get worse through the day. And the plan was for another particular episode where no one would be bloody, so I might have the day off of make up. But, since Huz might be my Dean instead, I'd have to limit us to just the day where Dean is wearing the Mark, simply because I want to do it on someone!! I would only do it on him that day while we're dressed as the characters form the episode where Dean is Marked. Then I think Huz would wear his ties the rest of the weekend and I would wear plaid without any further interest. Except for the Cosplay contest, where I'm entering (and expecting to not win) as Lucifer!Sam in the white suit. We'll see how all of this goes. 

   Having Shaun go along would not only be super fun, but it would also be more memorable for people to come by and see we're Cosplaying as these characters. I think it would be unique, since the booths don't generally get run by Cosplayers actively Cosplaying unless that's what they sell. (Like Hilly Hindy, who is a professional Cosplayer and Parody Goddess.) I'm going to see how we go. I'll be practicing as soon as possible, and I'm going to put the Mark on Huz for Halloween or on myself, if he won't dress as Dean. We'll see.

   So here's my make ups:

Bruise color wheel, which has some great colors for the Mark as well, and liquid latex, prose-aide, to help the liquid latex-made Mark stick to someone's arm, and this gel to seal the top of it. And, lurking in the background, a remover to take it off, as I'm sure he would like to not wear it, at some point in the evening.

   I'm a bit tired tonight to try taking that on in addition to everything else I have to do, but I will be getting it going as soon as I can. I'm so excited!! Night night!!

Supernatural: Dean's Gun. (#1)

   Hello, and welcome!! I'm an amateur Cosplayer who has recently decided to start making my own props. I've always wanted to, so I guess with my decision to start this business at Conventions, the time has come. I'm rally glad to be doing this, and I hope I don't screw anything up!! I've never tried this before, so if you're following along at home and I goof, try to make sure you wait until I finish a project before you follow in my steps so I know I don't send you off of a preverbal cliff!!

   So, the piece I want to make is Dean's regular gun. Huz could tell you exactly what it is and all that, but I'm not that talented. So, after checking out some pictures on Pinterest, I'm thinking I can mechanically turn the gun from point A to point B with a minimum amount of fuss. We'll see, as there are one or two parts I'm not sure if they will go as simply as I'm thinking they will, or if I will have to rethink it a few times. Fingers crossed!!

   Here is the original.

He has this really nice, fairly fancy (and, as a Fan, I have always kind of wondered about the origins of this gun. It doesn't seem like something he would pick. Is it sentimental? Was it John's? Or Henry's?) Anyway... Really pretty, with the engraving detail and the really bright mother-of-pearl handles. And it's seriously bright and shiny.

And then, there's mine, that I bought today at a local costume shop. (Thanks, Bubbles of Joy!!) It's getting hard to find toy guns, since I guess people consider them "unsafe" or something. Lame. Anyway, this one is the base I bought with the lovely camo and orange nose that they put on for safety, so you know it's not a real gun. 

   This one happens to be a water pistol, so it has a trigger that actually moves. My plan is going to involve, first and fore-most, using sand paper to knock off the icky mold seams, and some lightly- engraved words on the side about the type of "gun" this is. I'm also going to try to get some of that orange paint off of the nose.

   My next concern is that the grips of this one are finished like a knurled finish (meaning the cross-hatching pattern frequently found in metal objects like tools and Firearms so they are more easy to grip.) That doesn't work well for the smooth grips of the original. I'm hoping I can use a combination of clay, yes no, maybe so, and sand paper to knock it down enough that you won't be able to see that texture anymore. I guess we'll see how it goes. That's the part I'm most worried about. If I can do enough to soften the grips, then I'll paint them like mother of pearl. And the rest of the gun in silvery colors, of course.

Supernatural: Samuel Colt's Colt. (#1).

   Hello again, and welcome!! I'm so excited to be doing this!! I need better pictures, though. I'll get them once I'm sure my Huz is in bed. 

   My Huz bought himself a "replica gun" of the Colt from the Convention we went to in February, which is (in my opinion, and I'll never tell him this) not exactly great. It's just not my taste, but he was very happy and even bought it for himself since I was kind of at a loss as far as what to get him for such a major date. But, I must admit, I'm not into it. I just don't think it looks very good. I feel I could do better. So, for Christmas I'm going to make him my version, and he can have both. And since the gun came in a pack of two, I'm going to sell one either at the Convention, or on Etsy. We'll see where the other one ends up. ;)

The original, which is GORGEOUS. It's got that wonderful engraving throughout, and the gold accents on the barrel and the cylinder. It's also this beautiful dark silver color that makes it look black, most of which Huz's current replica is missing.

Here's the beginning of the replica I'm going to make him. I'm going to try to knick the big blunt thing off the nose, add something to make the barrel the right hexagonal shape and give it more significance. I didn't notice how ill-proportioned the grip is compared to the barrel. Hopefully I can fix it. Also, it hasn't got a trigger that you can actually pull. And, of course, it is HIDEOUSLY orange!!

   So, first thing to do is going to be knock off the icky seams around these too, like with the other, get better pictures of the swirls on the orange one, and get it as ready as I can for changing the barrel shape, length and size. Hmm... That might take a bit of thinking, to overcome the barrel issue. Maybe a combo of some narrow popsicle sticks and clay? I'm not sure. And, maybe cut off the trigger guard? I'm not sure what it will look like without it. If the trigger guard is solid plastic I'll be okay, but I'm not sure it is. I'll get some better pictures soon, before I do anything else to the gun. Of the engraving detail and the icky seams and stuff. Kind of excited. I really love doing this stuff. !!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Supernatural: Ruby's knife. (Finished previously.)

   Hello again!! I'm starting to really love this prop-making stuff!! This is one I actually already made and am throwing on the blog, so this one is going from step one straight to the end!! In it's completed form, it's very comfy on top of my TV where I can bask in it's knife-y glory. :) This project cost us not very much, as it is basically just paint, clay and a paint stick. It's mostly the tie it took me to make it, probably at least 2-3 hours. If I started making lots, I might get that time cut down, but for now while I sorted out what to do, it took me a little longer. 

   Here we go!!

Here we have the original I wanted to create. I like this picture the best because you can really see the varied tones in the handle. I'm still not sure if it's wood or horn for the original, but I decided to go for a wood look. If you're going to try doing one, do whatever strikes you as easier or whatever you think it might be, if you're a more serious Cosplayer.

So, first thing I got was a paint stick because I felt it looked good as far as the length, width and thickness. And, of course, they don't cost much. We already had this one in the garage. I also liked that it has the pinched spot where you stir from, because that created an instant hand-guard for me, and it was much easier to measure out.

I put the image up on the computer screen, sizing the hand gripping it in the picture I used to give me some proportion (as I am not as big as the guys holding the knife, and neither is my Cosplay buddy or my Huz, so smaller was good!!) I traced out the outline of the shape of the handle and the blade on some index cards. I always have index cards hanging around. No end of uses for them. 

Here we have the blade after I cut out the rough outline, and before I sanded it and shaped the blade's edge. I had used the index cards to make the outline to follow, leaving what you call a "tang" to fit into the handle to give the knife blade stability. I used the index cards like carbon paper, putting extra pencil on the back of the lines and then tracing the original on top so the pencil line showed right where I needed to cut. I don't have pictures, but look up carbon copying if you find my directions clear as mud. ;)

After I shaped the edge and got the outline right, I used a bur in my flex shaft (you could use a dremil, too.) I followed the outline of the knife and made the etch mark around the outside of the blade. this is really important to do before you do the center etching detail. I just eyeballed it, but you could use something like a compass to mark it out for you. The bur skipped a lot, trying to fly off and mar places I didn't intend. Go slowly and don't press super hard, just in case!!

A close-up detail of the etched outline. Like I said, I eyeballed it, but you could mark it out with something like a compass. That would be too time-consuming for me. If I make them to sell, I will probably make the time for it. I simply don't care. It'll look nice when I hold it. I also sanded both sides a little bit to give them a bit more tooth for the coming treatments.

The etched design in the center I created by tracing the design off my computer screen (make sure to keep the proportion the same so you can end up with the same size, not bigger or smaller) and I used anther couple if index cards to trace them on. (Really, 1000 uses for those!!) Make sure to make 2, there is no removing one and using it for the other side. They get completely destroyed and tore when I pulled them off.

Check the fit using the shadow, to make sure you aren't sliding off the knife blade or getting too close to your outline anywhere you  don't want to. Again, you could probably be more mathematical, but I'm not worried about it for myself. I just wanted it to look good when viewed. I'm not a perfectionist.

Here, I started the etching design. I'm using the same bur (typically used for my jewelry work) that I used to make the outline, since I don't know how to use other tools. The bur essentially works like a fountain-tipped pen, with what is basically either a think side or a thin one. I just very carefully copied what I saw using the best fit of either thick or thin, or sometimes a transition. Again, go slow because the tendency for skipping is very real. On the bright side, with the cards as buffers, they kept the bur from doing much damage I didn't mean it to because it sort of cushioned the edge if I slipped. Don't rush and make thoughtful marks. This took about 15 minutes per side. Follow up with a light sanding afterward.

The knife blade, etched around the edge and in the center. After sanding.

Close-up detail. I'm really proud. Again, I'm not a perfectionist, so I don't mind that they don't look identical, they look good and I'm happy with that. It's a little hard to see the etching detail, though in the picture.

Around this time it dawned on me I needed to make the hand-guard to go between the blade and the handle, and I realized the handle of the paint stick I had cut off previously worked perfectly for this purpose. It already had those nice, notched corners on two sides. I used another paint stick to put the notched corner shape on the other side, cut it off with my jeweler's saw, and traced the bottom of the tang from the blade. I made the mistake of making it the size of the paint stick, but then it will slip off the edge and fall off. So I made it approximately the size of the current tang, drilled a couple of holes where the edged of the mark are and used my jeweler's saw to cut the inside. Again, there may have been different tools I could use or a more mathematical way, but I used what I know and I got pretty dang close with what I had.

The hand guard on the tang, stopping just before it gets too far up the blade. I did notch one side of the hand-guard a little so it would fit better one way, and kind of lock itself onto the blade. I also curved it, because the original is curved so it's thinner at the outer edges. I didn't go as thin as they did, since mine is wood and I didn't want to sacrifice the integrity, but I think it looks nice. The etching design stops well before the hand-guard, too, which is nice. 

Here it is after I did the base coat (x2, sanding between each). I'm using a Kilz spray base coat that I got at Walmart upon a suggestion from Mum, who does a lot of painting things. This worked well, but I did it outside, of course. It's kind of hard to see the etching design, and it looks like the woodgrain is showing through, but it looked great once I did the top coat...

Tada!! Here are the pieces of the blade (and the handle that I will get to.) All nice and shiny. Of course, they aren't quite as shiny as the real one, which is mirror-finish, but this spray paint (from Hobby Lobby) is pretty good. I liked the way it came out. This is two coats, light sanding in between.

Detailed view of both. You can see the Hand-guard has got some pretty good shine to it. And you can really see the etched designs.

 The knife blade and the handle were not very good friends at first. I shaped the handle using clay and my grip to get it the right shape and size for a hand like mine, and then forgot to actually stick the knife blade in it, so I ended up mangling it a bit when I fit it just before I tossed it into the oven to bake. The handle is just white scupley clay from Hobby Lobby. Follow package directions for use.

After baking, it was all nice and white. Once it was cool and hard, I had to file out the inside where the knife blade attached to make them fit together. I used my jeweler's file (a big one I use for wax) and it worked. It ended up fitting really tightly, so it's just held in by friction, which is awesome.

Bit of paint- well, I thinned down a medium brown acrylic paint with water to make a glaze so I could apply it little bit by little bit. I wanted to keep the bottom lighter than the rest so it would look like I had cut it from a tree. That light coat is the only one the bottom gets.

Sides got darker with every coat, and while it looks really shiny, it actually dried pretty matte. I also didn't toatlly mix the acrylic paint and water so that there would be spots that would get the paint more solidly than others, and that looked really good.

Finished product, the bottom is lighter by a lot. I'm told it definitely looks like actual wood. I need to put a clear coat over it, though, because the paint is flaking off where I wear rings. I need to fix that.

Side picture so you can see the blade detail. On the original, there's a black antiquing in the etched areas, so I used a fine-point sharpie and touched it lightly to the etched places so they would have that nice darkness. I missed a few times, so it's not perfect either. Again, if I were selling it, I would be more careful, but I'm not so I didn't worry about little mistakes. They're not overly visible and when the knife is held you can't see those little flaws. Besides, what good is life without a few flaws? I know I have plenty!!

   There you have it. I really hope this has been a helpful tutorial for you if you're thinking of making a knife cosplay prop. I guess I did a pretty good job because when I posted it on Facebook, even though I had posted my pictures along the way, when I posted the finished product, my sister-in-law suggested her son might like one for his collection for Christmas or his birthday. I gleefully told her I didn't think it was up his alley, since it's just a paint stick and clay. !! I am obviously really happy with the result!! I hope to make many more. Next will be the Colt (x2), and Dean's gun. We'll see how it goes. I'm really hoping I can make the first blade soon, too. It will take a bit more work.

Introduction to my Cosplay and prop making blog!!

   Hello, and welcome!! I'm really new to this Cosplay stuff, although I've always loved dressing in costumes and wished I could make my own props. I'm not a fancy person, I don't have mad sewing skills. When I was a kid, my Mum used to make us all of our halloween costumes and she was really good at it, making really good ones for us. As we got older, things got more difficult and she wasn't able to keep making us our costumes so we had to make them ourselves or buy them at the store, but I have still always loved halloween.

   Now that we have a kid, I love to go crazy for Halloween!! This year is the first we won't be dressing together as a family because I simply haven't got time to make everyone costumes. We were Doctor Who characters one year, and last year we were Wizard of Oz characters. I'd like to an Alice in Wonderland group soon, since I love that story, but that's going to have to wait for a year. Since kiddo is old enough to have a preference, I want to go with what my kiddo is interested in, and I can be Sam, and Huz can either be Dean, or one of the Doctors. (He's got 3 choices.) 

   This is why I love the idea of Cosplay, even if I'm no where near talented enough to be good at it. I don't sew well, just functionally, basically, but I keep trying to expand my skills. I recently made Ruby's knife and I'm really proud of it, as my first-ever cosplay prop. I cheat, and go to Goodwill for my costume elements. I'm on a pretty short budget, so it's not like I can run out and spend a ton. I will post about the various Cosplays i'm working on and how I"m making my props once I get some time to recopy and find pictures. This way I can keep my jewelry line blog just about my jewelry, and talk over here about the cosplay for the Convention. Yay!!