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I started cosplay about 5 years ago. I found therpf on my third or fourth build and followed along to build my own Bard the bowman. Since, I have had several builds and each had its own challenges. I would love to share my builds here with people who just get it. Should I start with my oldest and work up through the newest in separate threads or should I list them all together? I ask because I really liked how the progression steps in other people's posts helped my builds but mine are completed and not really in progress. I do have material and process shots too. Opinions?
 
Last edited:

George

Master Member
First off: Welcome to Crafter's Heaven. You'll love it here and there's lots to see, even if you yourself are not actually building something.Let's just say you won't be bored either way, and in the process you learn from the best.

Secondly, I think it depends on your own preference how and where to share them. Just as long as you consider showing them :cool::notworthy: Enjoy your stay & looking forward to your work
 

smithjohnj

Well-Known Member
When I search on therpf, personally I take one of two general approaches. I am either looking for a specific prop/costume or I am looking for a skill/technique. So I like the material grouped that way - all about one item or related group of items going from the beginning to the end on builds, or the basic to the more skilled with techniques. So techniques might use several props or costumes (of which I might have little interest) to illustrate the techniques of which I am. It is also helpful when the authors provide topic titles which relate to the type of content. In practice I find a lot of technical details are only buried in, and not separated from, items' narratives.
 

division 6

Master Member
There are several on the forum that have a single thread of the things they make or collect and just update it as new pieces are made or acquired.
Others post a build / show thread in the relevant part of the forum, ie.... replica props, costumes, Star Wars, Marvel, etc.

In progress pix and info are always a desired thing on the forum.:love:
Looking forward to seeing your projects.
 
I would have sworn that my first cosplay was Captain Jack Sparrow but alas it was Doug the Pug. I found this while digging out my pictures for this cosplay build.

Starting with Jack. The world is awash with build advice on this one, so I just followed instructions from several sources: Alyson Tabbitha (the insanely talented cosplayer on youtube), The Brethren Court at Jack Sparrow Costuming - A Pirate's Compendium and a load of available screenshots.... and a guy working at Goodwill who actually had his own braided and beaded goatee.

I sewed the vest from pattern using a thicker material, closer to upholstery fabric than clothing fabric. The pattern was a Simplicity brand from their costume line 4923:
1652939660843.png



The shirt I had in my closet, without ever having intended to do this build. My wife had purchased it in hopes of going to summer events. It looks very much like the shirt in the pattern above and the pattern would have sufficed.

The pants are brown nurse's "scrubs". The pants were a thrift item from second hand shopping purposely purchased a few sizes larger than my size to give the baggy look. They had not come with a string belt and were elastic only. I used brown, boot shoestring and threaded it through the upper one inch of the pants by poking holes about every 4 inches in the top hem of the scrub pants.

The belts are cut from light thickness conveyor belt material and adorned with picture frames for buckles. I cut and bent the brass rods for the buckle catch. The conveyor belt material is extremely useful for many costume items, especially if you can find the rubber with cotton or cloth like internals instead of fiberglass or metal. It comes in random widths but is usually more than wide enough to cut the appropriate belt width and is thick enough to do light pattern carving on the surface (think Dremel). This material can be purchased in remnant quantities at a great discount at Industrial Supply stores. It can be used in place of many leathers for wide sections of costume items. When searching your local market for this, definitely search using that term, "Industrial Supply". Off topic but they will also have metals of all kinds, chain, cordage and rope, and an endless supply of plastics and usually have remnant/discounted pieces of all of the above. Metallic plastic sheeting, the list is endless and it is right there in front of you to check it for compatibility with what your needs are. This is a wonderful thing if you have been burned with online purchases not actually being what was pictured when you purchased it. I mention this because most every town has an Industrial Supply, if not many, and they always carry these supplies, unlike getting the oh too common advice of "found at the local second hand store" which mean you won't ever find it yourself. The buckles, which at the time were what I could get, were picture frames from the Dollar Tree line of stores. These are now available online as direct replicas of the onscreen buckles and patterns are available for resin pouring. I removed the backing from the frames and drilled a matching hole on either side to allow a brass center bar to be placed across to hold the belt pin. The center belt pin was also this same brass stock (about 1/8th inch diameter) wrapped once around the center pin. It is stronger than it looks and will require the use of pliers. I would advise using needle nose pliers to get a tighter curl on the loop and to avoid a lot of added scratches. Check any commercial belt buckle with a center pin for the appropriate shape and loop for this part. Push the straight section, that will be the buckles central bar, through the first side of the buckle and then through the loop you have made and then out the other side. Bend each side to fold against the outside of the buckle and cut the extra length off, leaving about a quarter inch. Swing the now attached center pin until it hits the buckle end, overlapping the buckle enough to catch but not sticking out past the end of the buckle. Clip off the remaining length of the belt pin with wire cutters. This is harder than it sounds and my final method was to score the brass with wire cutters and then use the needle nose pliers to gently work the rod back and forth at the scoring line until it broke free. The brass rod was also purchased from the industrial supply store which was being sold as Brazing Rod. Michael's crafts and Joann Fabrics have these available as well, listed as rod stock but were far more expensive than the Industrial Supply.

1652942369180.png


The boots are my work boots folded over.

This worked for pictures due to the focal blur at this distance and is not a screen match. In this situation, any Doc Martin brand, calf height boots will work but not with hooks. The eyelets look fine but the hooks are just too noticeable, even when folded over. Keep in mind, this was one of my first ever cosplay builds and I was not as obsessive about screen matching as what inevitably comes later. I remind myself of this to not be discouraged when looking at my past work. It is an incredibly enjoyable hobby and getting overly picky about past work will just keep you from sharing the joy of it with others. Jack's boots, upon close inspection are very custom, square nosed and very baggy boots as would be expected in period attire (promotional shot of Depp below). Note that, to screen match these boots, you would have no opening but at the top. No zipper, slits or bindings of any kind show in the picture, at least not from the front. For a cosplay build, true to screen, you would be better served to purchase the correct square nose, in the correct suede, and then overlay it with a large piece of buckskin or rawhide of the same texture and a near match to color, covering the front zipper or laces, with enough for the very large fold over. There are many boot covers, sold online, for this purpose but few would really be leather to match. It would be more likely to get a good match by purchasing a leather hide suede remnant at a leather store (Tandy's). You can find faux to match but I would advise only doing so if you can touch it and purchase it in person. Remember to take your square nose shoe or boot purchase with you when searching for your boot cover match.

1652942968917.png


The sash was a red lined table cloth, torn in long, 8 inch wide strips and died with tea stain. Try specifically for cotton for staining and weathering purposes. This sash wraps around the waist several times and then hangs so I had to sew my table cloth end to end for a long enough piece. I would make the goal 10 feet long. This wraps at least twice around, hangs in two lengths to the knee and has one pulled loop, almost to crotch length. My tea staining, at this time, was actual tea bags in a pitcher. I have since moved to Rit dyes and similar. In any dying process, you want to start with washing your intended cloth to remove any coatings or softeners that will cause the staining to fail. I purposely tore at the ends of the sash to give the weathered look. To easily achieve this look, cut up from the end, lengthwise in about 2 to 3 inches about 1 to 2 inches between cuts. Do some of the cuts straight up and some at a slight angle. After cutting, you can pull at the ends to pull out threads and make it look rough and tumble like in the image above. Remember that it is not completely frayed or bound up and should only show as much wear as you see in the promotional photo or the on screen capture you are using.

The hair was a straight wig that I dread locked and shaped. My apologies, but I cannot remember my source for dread locking advice and I would say it is easier to buy the rasta wig, especially when available at Halloween stores (closing sale is the day or two days after Halloween for 50% off but don't miss out if you really need it, just pay full price). If you are going for a very close match you will notice that not all of his hair is in dreads and some is still straight and loose. Spend time examining your chosen picture/pictures/videos very very closely when working on each element of the build. Colors, textures, sizes, lengths are all eventually going to be a focal point for you in your build. In some of his movies he has blonde streaks in his hair but only in some of the films. One big tip on adding straight wig hair to a rasta wig: remove the straight hair in bunches with the netting still attached. Then reach through the rasta wig webbing using a knitting needle and pull sections of the straight hair through in several very close but different holes. When you pull this tight the webbing of the straight hair will stop when it bottoms out against the rast wig netting and you can hit it in one or two spots with super glue points or hot glue dots to bind them together. Now you have your straight hair only where you need it. If you start with slightly curly hair you can use a straightener (on human hair). If your wig is synthetic hair, straighten it with a steamer or by dipping it in boiling water and hang to cool. It will form to whatever shape it is in while cooling so this works even for making really crazy shapes to match your intended picture. After you wig is put together you can put it on a mannequin foam head (I put mine on the stub of the back of my dining room chair) and shape it to match Jack. Note that Jack has several red tassels and other bindings in his hair. I purposely attached the bandana to the wig as well but that is not a needed step unless you are taking it off and putting it back on quite a lot. Add your hair beads and decorations while your wig is easy to deal with, mounted on the foam head. Definitely look up some video help about attaching wigs or you will find you made a painful mistake after the fact. If you are only posing for a few shots and not walking about for the duration, you can simply put it on without bindings. This is not at all secure and any real moving about will dislodge it.

The bandana was two dollar tree red bandanas, heavily cleaned, then boiled, sewn together, dyed with red coolaid, then tea stained, then sun bleached. I was no where near the nasty dirtiness needed.

That major point, you will notice in my poses below: I AM NOT NEARLY DIRTY ENOUGH. I have since read so many posts that say "No one likes a clean pirate". I have learned that you need to take pictures of each prop and costume piece and match the photo to the original onscreen photo. For some bizarre/brainy reason, only then will your mind kick in and say "Wow, this is not nearly dirty enough yet." Trust me on this, it just isn't worth not doing this trick. And do this photo trick in stages so you don't overdo any coloring and weathering steps, as well. This trick also plays on the fact that your device that is showing you your original on screen Jack (or other) target has already changed that photo as well. To see how yours truly matches it, you need to see yours on the same device monitor/screen. Keep this trick with you for the rest of your life even when matching house paint at the store. Match your picture of your house color ONLY with another picture of the stores colors on the very same camera device. Matching to the swatches they provide, without taking a picture of them, is a guaranteed non match because you didn't bring your house along, you brought a picture of your house and that is now different because of the monitor that is displaying the picture.

Facial hair was my own except for the two beard braids of doll hair. Again, Dollar tree saved me. I found a very small dark haired doll and braided the hair in two braids to match the screen image of Jack. I then carefully placed a small amount of super glue at the base, near the doll and another near the other end but not completely at the end. The reason for this is you need some loose hair past the glued point to mix into your own facial hair or to blend onto your skin when you attach it as a facial prosthetic. I used more actual super glue because my beard was about a half inch to 3/4 inch long but if you attach this to your skin, do not use super glue (never do when gluing to skin). Skin requires something far more removeable and gentle, like spirit gum or Pros aide brand prosthetic adhesive. There are a gojillion videos online for this and I have seen many but I have been so extremely pleased with Stan Winston School and am now a yearly subscriber. They cover pretty much everything Hollywood does for movies and TV. All of their instructors are big name special effects gurus from the industry. I only discovered them well after my Sparrow build. However, there are plenty online, for free, that show how to use spirit gum and or pros aide correctly.

Some of the more time consuming parts of this build was the beads and decorations, which are many, on this costume. Each was a trip through multiple craft stores.

When attempting to match small items on a build, do searches using the image size feature online or try to find the Extras portions on movies that show in depth reviews of the costumes or at least high definition still images. It wouldn't hurt at all to purchase a large printed poster of your intended build target to display in your work area for reference.

My wife and my daughter both helped with makeup.

I had not yet gained the idea of matching an onscreen pose, so these poses were pretty harsh. I am a horrible poser for family photos so these are very awkward. It reminded me way to much of school pictures so I call these "Jack Sparrow's High School Senior Photos".

1652947945488.jpeg



1652947969462.jpeg


1652948001289.jpeg
 
But Doug the Pug was my soulmate and onscreen laugh bringer. I had this as my screensaver at work during a really stressful plant closure and swore to re-enact it later. Only today did I realize this was actually my first step into cosplay, even before Jack Sparrow.

1652948208204.jpeg


I had no idea at the time that Doug was famous. I only knew of this one picture.

I wanted to match the couch, the outfit and the kick-back mood. It took 3 months to find a onesy that had the right colors. I found a yeti costume pajama set and then had to wait again for the right bunny ears. I searched many home decor stores to find the big version of the bowl. I believe mine was a salad bowl for events. The marshmallows were a real kick when I found the Super Jumbo pack that was available during the summer. These things are fist sized. Then I turned my couch on end to make it look larger than me. For my very first ever attempt at matching a target photo (and having had no intention of picking up cosplay as a hobby), I was happy with the outcome.


1652948541260.jpeg

1652948724920.jpeg


I look back at this silly picture and my brain says "your hand is not in the right spot"..... oh the obsession for screen matching.

However, I did make this following pic for my nerd friends that were still toiling away at work while I was enjoying my time going back to school (no offense meant in the following, it is just for fun):

1652948802511.jpeg
 
I would have sworn that my first cosplay was Captain Jack Sparrow but alas it was Doug the Pug. I found this while digging out my pictures for this cosplay build.

Starting with Jack. The world is awash with build advice on this one, so I just followed instructions from several sources: Alyson Tabbitha (the insanely talented cosplayer on youtube), The Brethren Court at Jack Sparrow Costuming - A Pirate's Compendium and a load of available screenshots.... and a guy working at Goodwill who actually had his own braided and beaded goatee.

I sewed the vest from pattern using a thicker material, closer to upholstery fabric than clothing fabric. The pattern was a Simplicity brand from their costume line 4923: View attachment 1576851


The shirt I had in my closet, without ever having intended to do this build. My wife had purchased it in hopes of going to summer events. It looks very much like the shirt in the pattern above and the pattern would have sufficed.

The pants are brown nurse's "scrubs". The pants were a thrift item from second hand shopping purposely purchased a few sizes larger than my size to give the baggy look. They had not come with a string belt and were elastic only. I used brown, boot shoestring and threaded it through the upper one inch of the pants by poking holes about every 4 inches in the top hem of the scrub pants.

The belts are cut from light thickness conveyor belt material and adorned with picture frames for buckles. I cut and bent the brass rods for the buckle catch. The conveyor belt material is extremely useful for many costume items, especially if you can find the rubber with cotton or cloth like internals instead of fiberglass or metal. It comes in random widths but is usually more than wide enough to cut the appropriate belt width and is thick enough to do light pattern carving on the surface (think Dremel). This material can be purchased in remnant quantities at a great discount at Industrial Supply stores. It can be used in place of many leathers for wide sections of costume items. When searching your local market for this, definitely search using that term, "Industrial Supply". Off topic but they will also have metals of all kinds, chain, cordage and rope, and an endless supply of plastics and usually have remnant/discounted pieces of all of the above. Metallic plastic sheeting, the list is endless and it is right there in front of you to check it for compatibility with what your needs are. This is a wonderful thing if you have been burned with online purchases not actually being what was pictured when you purchased it. I mention this because most every town has an Industrial Supply, if not many, and they always carry these supplies, unlike getting the oh too common advice of "found at the local second hand store" which mean you won't ever find it yourself. The buckles, which at the time were what I could get, were picture frames from the Dollar Tree line of stores. These are now available online as direct replicas of the onscreen buckles and patterns are available for resin pouring. I removed the backing from the frames and drilled a matching hole on either side to allow a brass center bar to be placed across to hold the belt pin. The center belt pin was also this same brass stock (about 1/8th inch diameter) wrapped once around the center pin. It is stronger than it looks and will require the use of pliers. I would advise using needle nose pliers to get a tighter curl on the loop and to avoid a lot of added scratches. Check any commercial belt buckle with a center pin for the appropriate shape and loop for this part. Push the straight section, that will be the buckles central bar, through the first side of the buckle and then through the loop you have made and then out the other side. Bend each side to fold against the outside of the buckle and cut the extra length off, leaving about a quarter inch. Swing the now attached center pin until it hits the buckle end, overlapping the buckle enough to catch but not sticking out past the end of the buckle. Clip off the remaining length of the belt pin with wire cutters. This is harder than it sounds and my final method was to score the brass with wire cutters and then use the needle nose pliers to gently work the rod back and forth at the scoring line until it broke free. The brass rod was also purchased from the industrial supply store which was being sold as Brazing Rod. Michael's crafts and Joann Fabrics have these available as well, listed as rod stock but were far more expensive than the Industrial Supply.

View attachment 1576853

The boots are my work boots folded over.

This worked for pictures due to the focal blur at this distance and is not a screen match. In this situation, any Doc Martin brand, calf height boots will work but not with hooks. The eyelets look fine but the hooks are just too noticeable, even when folded over. Keep in mind, this was one of my first ever cosplay builds and I was not as obsessive about screen matching as what inevitably comes later. I remind myself of this to not be discouraged when looking at my past work. It is an incredibly enjoyable hobby and getting overly picky about past work will just keep you from sharing the joy of it with others. Jack's boots, upon close inspection are very custom, square nosed and very baggy boots as would be expected in period attire (promotional shot of Depp below). Note that, to screen match these boots, you would have no opening but at the top. No zipper, slits or bindings of any kind show in the picture, at least not from the front. For a cosplay build, true to screen, you would be better served to purchase the correct square nose, in the correct suede, and then overlay it with a large piece of buckskin or rawhide of the same texture and a near match to color, covering the front zipper or laces, with enough for the very large fold over. There are many boot covers, sold online, for this purpose but few would really be leather to match. It would be more likely to get a good match by purchasing a leather hide suede remnant at a leather store (Tandy's). You can find faux to match but I would advise only doing so if you can touch it and purchase it in person. Remember to take your square nose shoe or boot purchase with you when searching for your boot cover match.

View attachment 1576854

The sash was a red lined table cloth, torn in long, 8 inch wide strips and died with tea stain. Try specifically for cotton for staining and weathering purposes. This sash wraps around the waist several times and then hangs so I had to sew my table cloth end to end for a long enough piece. I would make the goal 10 feet long. This wraps at least twice around, hangs in two lengths to the knee and has one pulled loop, almost to crotch length. My tea staining, at this time, was actual tea bags in a pitcher. I have since moved to Rit dyes and similar. In any dying process, you want to start with washing your intended cloth to remove any coatings or softeners that will cause the staining to fail. I purposely tore at the ends of the sash to give the weathered look. To easily achieve this look, cut up from the end, lengthwise in about 2 to 3 inches about 1 to 2 inches between cuts. Do some of the cuts straight up and some at a slight angle. After cutting, you can pull at the ends to pull out threads and make it look rough and tumble like in the image above. Remember that it is not completely frayed or bound up and should only show as much wear as you see in the promotional photo or the on screen capture you are using.

The hair was a straight wig that I dread locked and shaped. My apologies, but I cannot remember my source for dread locking advice and I would say it is easier to buy the rasta wig, especially when available at Halloween stores (closing sale is the day or two days after Halloween for 50% off but don't miss out if you really need it, just pay full price). If you are going for a very close match you will notice that not all of his hair is in dreads and some is still straight and loose. Spend time examining your chosen picture/pictures/videos very very closely when working on each element of the build. Colors, textures, sizes, lengths are all eventually going to be a focal point for you in your build. In some of his movies he has blonde streaks in his hair but only in some of the films. One big tip on adding straight wig hair to a rasta wig: remove the straight hair in bunches with the netting still attached. Then reach through the rasta wig webbing using a knitting needle and pull sections of the straight hair through in several very close but different holes. When you pull this tight the webbing of the straight hair will stop when it bottoms out against the rast wig netting and you can hit it in one or two spots with super glue points or hot glue dots to bind them together. Now you have your straight hair only where you need it. If you start with slightly curly hair you can use a straightener (on human hair). If your wig is synthetic hair, straighten it with a steamer or by dipping it in boiling water and hang to cool. It will form to whatever shape it is in while cooling so this works even for making really crazy shapes to match your intended picture. After you wig is put together you can put it on a mannequin foam head (I put mine on the stub of the back of my dining room chair) and shape it to match Jack. Note that Jack has several red tassels and other bindings in his hair. I purposely attached the bandana to the wig as well but that is not a needed step unless you are taking it off and putting it back on quite a lot. Add your hair beads and decorations while your wig is easy to deal with, mounted on the foam head. Definitely look up some video help about attaching wigs or you will find you made a painful mistake after the fact. If you are only posing for a few shots and not walking about for the duration, you can simply put it on without bindings. This is not at all secure and any real moving about will dislodge it.

The bandana was two dollar tree red bandanas, heavily cleaned, then boiled, sewn together, dyed with red coolaid, then tea stained, then sun bleached. I was no where near the nasty dirtiness needed.

That major point, you will notice in my poses below: I AM NOT NEARLY DIRTY ENOUGH. I have since read so many posts that say "No one likes a clean pirate". I have learned that you need to take pictures of each prop and costume piece and match the photo to the original onscreen photo. For some bizarre/brainy reason, only then will your mind kick in and say "Wow, this is not nearly dirty enough yet." Trust me on this, it just isn't worth not doing this trick. And do this photo trick in stages so you don't overdo any coloring and weathering steps, as well. This trick also plays on the fact that your device that is showing you your original on screen Jack (or other) target has already changed that photo as well. To see how yours truly matches it, you need to see yours on the same device monitor/screen. Keep this trick with you for the rest of your life even when matching house paint at the store. Match your picture of your house color ONLY with another picture of the stores colors on the very same camera device. Matching to the swatches they provide, without taking a picture of them, is a guaranteed non match because you didn't bring your house along, you brought a picture of your house and that is now different because of the monitor that is displaying the picture.

Facial hair was my own except for the two beard braids of doll hair. Again, Dollar tree saved me. I found a very small dark haired doll and braided the hair in two braids to match the screen image of Jack. I then carefully placed a small amount of super glue at the base, near the doll and another near the other end but not completely at the end. The reason for this is you need some loose hair past the glued point to mix into your own facial hair or to blend onto your skin when you attach it as a facial prosthetic. I used more actual super glue because my beard was about a half inch to 3/4 inch long but if you attach this to your skin, do not use super glue (never do when gluing to skin). Skin requires something far more removeable and gentle, like spirit gum or Pros aide brand prosthetic adhesive. There are a gojillion videos online for this and I have seen many but I have been so extremely pleased with Stan Winston School and am now a yearly subscriber. They cover pretty much everything Hollywood does for movies and TV. All of their instructors are big name special effects gurus from the industry. I only discovered them well after my Sparrow build. However, there are plenty online, for free, that show how to use spirit gum and or pros aide correctly.

Some of the more time consuming parts of this build was the beads and decorations, which are many, on this costume. Each was a trip through multiple craft stores.

When attempting to match small items on a build, do searches using the image size feature online or try to find the Extras portions on movies that show in depth reviews of the costumes or at least high definition still images. It wouldn't hurt at all to purchase a large printed poster of your intended build target to display in your work area for reference.

My wife and my daughter both helped with makeup.

I had not yet gained the idea of matching an onscreen pose, so these poses were pretty harsh. I am a horrible poser for family photos so these are very awkward. It reminded me way to much of school pictures so I call these "Jack Sparrow's High School Senior Photos".

View attachment 1576869


View attachment 1576870

View attachment 1576871
This was my max facial likeness percentage from my likeness app:

Captain Jack Sparrow cosplay costume comparison -.jpg
 

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