Sep 4, 2008, 2:22 PM - Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
This past weekend I went to DragonCon. I wanted to make something nifty, challenging, and Doctor Who. I love the episode Blink, so despite being a little intimidated, I decided to give it a try.
(I don't know why to credit for this picture - my brother-in-law emailed it to me. If you recognize it, please let me know so I can credit!)
The following is a far-too-detailed breakdown of how I made the costume.
Materials: Polyester suiting fabric, acrylic/fabric-medium paint, hula hoop, velcro
The dress is constructed from two layers. The first layer is an underdress that provides structure and support to the overdres. It is basically fitted, with a zip up the back, then flares out towards the bottom in a cone shape. A hula-hoop sewn into the bottom hem provides rigid support.
The fabric I used was a dark grey polyester suiting from the dollar bin. It's got a nice smooth finish (no woven texture) and has enough body to hold the folds well. The overdress is made from two full widths of fabric sewn into a giant tube and draped onto the underdress.
The down-side of sturdy fabric is that it doesn't drape very well. All those folds are held into place with dozens of individual stitches.
The back has a secret panel that will hide the center support of the wings.
And here it is painted. The paint used was basic acrylic craft paint, with fabric medium added to make it flexible and washable. To create the impression of stone, I used the old trick of highlights and lowlights. First the entire dress got a coat of the darkest grey paint. The I went back with the medium grey and painted most of it, leaving dark grey in the shadows and recesses. Finally I used the lightest grey paint to just hit the highlights.
The effect is pretty convincing - people kept coming up and asking to touch the dress so they could feel that it wasn't stone! For all those who asked me how flexible it is: here's a picture of it in a heap:
And on the inside, we have one of the most important parts of any costume - hidden pockets. Wallet and phone go in one, and a bottle of water went in the other.
From the back, you can see how the hidden wing panel blends right in.
And a little touch all my own. I figured any statue is going to end up with graffiti, right?
Materials: Foamcore posterboard, craft foam, galvanized wire, foam, hot glue, acrylic paint, backpack strapping and buckles
Here's a peek at how I was using reference images:
Patterns were drawn on newspaper, then transferred to my wing base. The core of the wings is foamcore board. Normal sheets of foamcore were too small, but fortunately there are giant display boards designed for kids' science fairs. Those have folds in them, but by using two layers of foamcore and lining the folds up so that they wanted to fold in opposite directions, they cancelled each other out and remained sturdy.
Each wing has two pieces: front and back.
The pattern was cut apart into individual feathers, with enough extra added to each feather so that the pieces could overlap nicely. The feathers themselves are made from craft foam and glued to the foamcore.
The support structure for the wings runs between the layers of foamcore. The panel between the wings was made from two layers of a stiff upholstery-type foam. Sewn between the layers and extending out on both sides
was galvanized wire.
Fabric was draped over the whole structure and sewn on, then the excess fabric was cut away. The fabric gives the glue something to grip.
Massive amounts of glue were applied to the wing halves,
and the wire supports were sandwiched between them. I
was very lucky to have the perfect thing to weight them with while they dried - a marble-topped coffee table.
Once they were fully assembled, I draped a little extra fabric from the dress around the base of each wing, to help the base blend in with the dress.
Painting used the same highlight/lowlight technique as the dress, and the same paint, just minus the fabric medium. You can also see here how I cut notches into the foam feathers to make them look more real.
Strap assembly. I'm going to redo this so that it's possible to get into the wings/dress without assistance.
Materials: Paper-mache mask, paperclay, acrylic
paint, Elmer's glue, plastic gumball machine thingys,
For the masks, I started with pre-made paper maches masks, then sculpted onto them with paperclay. I hadn't
ever sculpted before, so that was a challenge!
The eyes are made by cutting lenses out of those plastic capsules you get from gumball machines. I covered them with grey pantyhose and hot-glued them into place. The inside of the mask is painted black to cut down on light reflection.
To give you some idea of the resulting visibility - here's a shot of my neighbor's car through one eye in broad daylight. The visibility was MUCH worse at night. But I could see enough to function.
The masks were painted using the same technique mentioned earlier, though I used a little more care since the face would get more attention. Note that I glued the lenses in AFTER they were painted.
The mask just goes on with an elastic strap. I plan on remaking the mask - it looks pretty decent on the mannequin, but it's just plain too small for my fat head.
Materials: Pantyhose, yarn, acrylic paint/fabric-medium, fabric
I'm sorry I don't have any in-construction photos of the wig - I was getting pressed for time and forgot. Basically, I cut the legs off a pair of pantyhose and sewed the rest into a cap-shape, then stitched yarn down the center seam. The yarn was then styled and held in place with 2.5 bottles of fabric glue, and a fabric hairband added. Painted with acrylic paint w/ fabric medium.
A shot to show the internal construction:
I'm planning on remaking the wig. It ended up too small
for me and too inaccurate. I think I'll try sculpting a wig next time.
Arms, neck, feet
Materials: Opaque tights, acrylic paint/fabric-medium, nail polish, artificial nails, toe-socks, thrift-store sandals
I know I don't have any makeup skills, so I wanted some sort of gloves for the arms. I bought two different pairs of gloves before giving up and making my own.
First, I took a pair of ladies' opaque tights and cut out the crotch. This became the neck-hole. I pulled them on, one arm down each sleeve, then used pins to mark the divisions between my fingers.
I cut along the pins, then sewed the fingers together by hand using a whipstitch. After that, I took a little tuck in the wrist area of the gloves to smooth out some wrinkles.
As soon as you pull the gloves on after this, dab some nail polish along the seams - this will stabilize them and prevent the tights from running. Then turn the gloves inside-out so that the seams are on the inside (at this point, the right glove will become the left glove and vice-versa).
To increase the illusion of fingers, I glued artificial nails to the gloves. You have to do this while the gloves are on to get the correct placement - to prevent the glue from sticking to you, rub some oil or lotion into your fingertips/nails before you pull the gloves on.
Paint the gloves while you are wearing them and let them
dry on you, otherwise they will shrink. I used the same old acrylic paint/fabric medium mix. Before painting the gloves, I gave the nails several coats of silver nailpolish so that they wouldn't show pink if the paint scratched.
They look really freaky when you aren't wearing them.
But once on, the illusion is very convincing.
The neck area is covered by a sleeve made from another pair of tights. Again, use nailpolish to control running.
And in one of those touches no one will notice: just in case anyone caught a glimpse of my feet, I added some fake toenails to a pair of grey toe-socks. The sandals came from a thrift store and were given a coat of grey paint.
And that's pretty much it! Like I said, there are some bits I want to remake, but overall, considering I was really scrambling to finish it, I'm pretty pleased.
Last edited by penwiper; Jun 25, 2010 at 6:04 PM.
Sep 4, 2008, 2:23 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
Just finishing up here because of the post text limit:
Despite being really miserable to wear physically, this costume was SO MUCH FUN! I got to terrify people and attack people and pose really really still and then jump out and scare people and just generally indulge my evil side. Fortunately I had hidden pockets in the skirt, so I could stow a bottle of water in there. I could only partly see. It wasn't too bad during the day, but at night when they lowered the lights everything just became a grey haze with people-shaped blobs in it. I probably passed right by any number of people I know, just because I couldn't see them. Also, the only breath holes were in the nostrils, which worked better than expected, but I still had to have 'breathing breaks' where I flipped the mask up and got some deeper breaths. Also, the only way to move effectively in it was on tiptoe - which actually was good, because it gave me a gliding motion that really freaked people out.
A last couple of pics:
(Photo by mal00005)
I'm SO happy someone got a shot of this! This kid was absolutely adorable - not scared at all, but just fascinated. He stood there for the longest time silently holding my hand and staring at me.
(Photo by Hueyatl)
And my funny story for the con:
I was lurking in the Hyatt corridor late at night in my Blink Angel, the better to terrify people with. I was standing in the weeping pose, holding absolutely still, when I heard a couple of people come by. They stopped and started whispering together, and then I heard someone come closer and felt a hand touch the 'stone' of my dress. I instantly spun around into 'attack' mode, whereupon the pretty woman who had been touching my dress let out a shriek and jumped back about ten feet. She and the man started laughing uproariously, and the man said that she was absolutely terrified by that episode would probably have nightmares now. They asked if I could pose with her for a picture like I was attacking her. I said sure and posed. They shouted, "Strangle her! Strangle me!", so I did. Funny photo, we all laughed, they went their way.
Apparently that was Jewel Staite from Firefly.
Photo by Ray Radlein
Only at Dragoncon...
Last edited by penwiper; Sep 4, 2008 at 3:17 PM.
Reason: photo credit
Sep 4, 2008, 3:03 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
Outstanding work !
Blink was one of the best Dr Who episodes ever. I figured they had used statues or mannequins to make it, until I strolled over to Neil Gorton's site and discovered they were people.
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best ...
The Pensive Polak
Sep 4, 2008, 3:19 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
Amazing work! Too bad I missed seeing it in person.
Sep 4, 2008, 3:22 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
That is just awesome!
Thanks so much for sharing your process!
Sep 4, 2008, 3:38 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
Amazing. You did a great job on the costume and I appreciate the artistry and imagination you showed.
The Story about Jewel is absolutly priceless. Should have had a video of that one.
Sep 4, 2008, 4:32 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
I saw you several times, terrorizing the attendee's!
Absolutely amazing costume, worked an absolute treat.
Congratulations, the paintwork worked especially well, it really looked like stone.
I went past you either as an Ape or an Aliens Marine.
Look forward to seeing what you do next year!
Sep 4, 2008, 5:43 PM - and I won't miss this
This is high art.
I have not posted here in some months. But this display demands applause.
Great craftsmanship, great effect.
Sep 4, 2008, 5:56 PM - Re: and I won't miss this
Sep 4, 2008, 6:55 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
That is one of my all time favorite episodes, creepy to no end. I loved it and you really did justice to the Blink Angels, wonderful work and engineering, those gloves are well Wow, once on it looks like stone skin. Great work. Wow..did I say wow enough????wow
Sep 4, 2008, 9:13 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
Awesome work... I have nothing more to say, just compliments!
Sep 4, 2008, 9:35 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
Aww. How did I miss this? Great work Pen
Sep 4, 2008, 10:10 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
That is fantastic !!!!!
Incredibly creative !!!
and a damn creepy character !!
Sep 4, 2008, 10:15 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
Aww man!! I knew I should've worn mine to the con!
Next year, if you bring yours, we'll have to find the other angel & do a group shot..Great work on your costume..esp.like the gloves & socks! Inventive!
My wig is a rubber one that I sculpted..I can pull one for you if you want..
(I only have progress pix.. will have to get one of the entire thing for you)
Sep 4, 2008, 11:05 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
Bravo! That is an amazing costume!
Sep 4, 2008, 11:14 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
You did an absolutely amazing job on this costume!! I loved the blink episode... too freaky!! I better stop blinking now lol!
Sep 4, 2008, 11:18 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
that is simply GENIUS!!!! :
I love that episode!
Sep 4, 2008, 11:49 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
that is an awesome awesome costume!! From the best episode too
kim just said - "well there's no point in doing the costume now!"
you nailed it!
Sep 4, 2008, 11:53 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
I saw this in person and it was absolutely FANTASTIC! You did a great job of it!
Sep 4, 2008, 11:59 PM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
As others have said, absolutely fantastic costume! Brilliantly put together and executed! Love the Jewel Staite story!
Sep 5, 2008, 12:15 AM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
Thank you soooo much for the WIP pics. I never would've figured out how you did all that! Well done!
Sep 5, 2008, 3:17 AM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
Superb costume! really good... my favourite Dr Who episode and you have done it justice. Fantastic.
Sep 5, 2008, 5:08 AM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
Oh my god, amazing. My first thought after seeing the episode was how cool an angel costume would be, but I almost immediately wrote it off as impossible. Just goes to show what ingenuity and dedication will do!
Sep 5, 2008, 6:45 AM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
[COLOR="SeaGreen"]Too cool for school!
I doff my cap to you and your skillz.[/COLOR]
Sep 5, 2008, 8:54 AM - re: Doctor Who 'Blink' weeping angel costume
Wow, thank you, everyone! Especially considering all the awesome, high-quality costumes that are around here, I'm glad y'all like my cobbled-together yarn and fun-foam!
Jayn, I would LOVE to see your costume!
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