CelticRuins' Halloween Costume Contest Entry 2013: Skyrim Nightingale


Sr Member
Skyrim Altmer Nightingale

I began this huge project, that also included my bf's Dwemer armor, at the beginning of this year. Aside from a few fixes/additions, I finished both of them in the later half of August.


Materials used:
-Latex (for coating the foam armor and making my own elf ears)
-Air drying terracotta clay
-Paper clay
-expanding foam (for the bow)
-cardboard (for the bow)
-wood (for the arrows)
-turkey feathers (for the arrows)
-Pepakura'd card stock for the Dragon Priest Mask
- micro suede (for the Dragon Priest Mask hood)
-hot glue (for the ear molds)
-Playdough (for the ear molds)

The Armor:
I had a strict budget this year, so any and all costumes had to work with creatively cheap materials. My go to is usually fun foam and EVA. Fun foam has definitely pissed me off, and I've gone through alot of trials and errors trying to make sure it won't rip or wrinkle.

I came up with the idea to brush liquid latex over the top, as I had a tub of it laying around. Turns out it completely protects the foam, especially if applied to both the front and back!

I drafted patterns for each overlapping piece to the armor, after retaking all of my measurements to ensure a good fit. The picture below is a mixture of both the Nightingale and Dwarven armor patterns, (only pic I had, sorry to mix in both, though I can get my bf to come out from under his rock and post the Dwemer armor on here as he did help me with things like sanding the helmet, expenses, fitting issues and more).

Each piece of armor was layered and glued, though the skirt-belt is detachable with a belt hook located in the back. Vinyl stripping was riveted at the top for the strapping accents. The bird and medallion emblems were sculpted and cast in resin, though I don't have a progress pic of that.

The wrist guards are EVA with hand cut foam designs and elastic. The boot spats and knee guards are machine stitched vinyl with elastic for sliding on ease. The shoulder pauldrons are also foam with elastic. Plastic and metal buttons were sewn on to the breast plate to hold the cape/hood.

The cape and hood were machine sewn and made from heavy linen. The hem of the cloak was distressed with charcoals and acrylics, to appear muddy.

Boots were something I already had in my closet, as were the spandex leggings. The black spandex turtle neck was purchased, but modified for the look. I added a neck piece made from foam and painted the top half with silvers and dark greys to mimic the armor.

I hand sculpted the face mask from air drying terra cotta clay. I was originally going to make a mold from this and cast it in resin, but to save my resin for other things, I just ended up using the clay base, and just brushing a coat of resin over the top to seal it. It was then attached to a hand made black spandex mask, with velcro closure in the back.

Gloves were made with thin leather, with resin covered foam for the knuckle pieces.


I knew I definitely wanted a bow to go with this costume, and of course the one that matches it is the Nightingale bow. I usually use it or my enchanted Daedric bow in the game :p.

I started out drafting a pattern for the bow in paper first. I cut out the bow ends in EVA, using caulk to fill in the sealing on the edges of the bow. For the handle, I scoured our condo for something to use, as to not spend any more money than I had allotted myself. I ended up taking a paper towel tube, filling it with expanding foam to harden it, and covering it in fun foam. The whole bow then got a resin coating over the top, after I finished hand cutting and gluing all the detailing to the bow. The string on the bow was hand braided.

The arrows were hand made as well, using cut down dowel rods. The turkey feathers used were hand dyed to the color I wanted. I then realized that I had paired Iron arrows in an Ebony quiver....:facepalm whoops LOL...details -_- Ah well, I like it!

The quiver is made from vinyl with foam accents and metal ring at the top. It was attached directly to the cape, to avoid strapping that's never seen in the game...>_<...why? I have no clue. It worked though...with ALOT of thread and some Loctite :p!

Dragon Priest Mask:
I definitely wanted one of these masks when I saw them in the game! I had originally hand sculpted one, onto a store bought mask...but it turned out to be complete crap LOL...so I ended up diving into Pepakura for the first time!

I ended up choosing to paint it as Volsung. I hand made the hood out of micro suede, and appliqued on the swirl patterns on the sides of hood, machine stitching them down.

High Elf Ears:
I was originally going to purchase these as well, but figured I had everything to make them in my stash. Here's is a bonus tutorial I made for this recently, to make cheap prosthetics at home: http://www.celticruinsdesigns.com/ear.png

Again, I was being as cheap as possible with this, so I figured I'd mess around with some Playdough I had laying around...Why do I have Playdough?? It actually makes a good mold in a pinch!

I ended up doing this for my bf's wood elf ears as well. I took about 2 of the Playdough cups, combined the dough and smacked it onto my ears! Making sure to firmly press my ear into the clay. If you have fresh dough and do it right, you should be able to pull the mold back and have a pretty decent impression of your ear. I then filled that mold with hot glue, making sure to not over fill it. Wait 15-20 minutes, and you have yourself a cast!

I used my air drying clay again to sculpt tips on top. After that clay was dry, I brushed 6-10 coats of latex over my sculpts. Making sure to use baby powder as I went, so the latex wouldn't stick to itself, I pull the molds and attached them to my ears! The picture below was before I added make up to them.

Add a set of gold-colored contacts from FourEyez.com, and some Skyrim inspired makeup, and I'm done!

Proof pic coming later today!

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Master Member
Re: CelticRuins' Halloween Costume Contest Entry 2013

HOLY BLEEP! Absolutely incredible! :cool:thumbsup


Sr Member
Re: CelticRuins' Halloween Costume Contest Entry 2013

You are amazing... it's beautifully done and you look gorgeous in it. *BIG FAN APPLAUSE*


Master Member
Re: CelticRuins' Halloween Costume Contest Entry 2013

WOW.... Nicely done.


Active Member
Re: CelticRuins' Halloween Costume Contest Entry 2013

OMG, you are amazing! Beautiful work!

Michael Bergeron

Legendary Member
Re: CelticRuins' Halloween Costume Contest Entry 2013

This entry just needs a proof pic and then you're set. :)


New Member
Re: CelticRuins' Halloween Costume Contest Entry 2013

Gorgeous, have always liked the Nightingale Armor from Skyrim.

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Atlas crafts

New Member


Sr Member
Re: CelticRuins' Halloween Costume Contest Entry 2013

How did you attach the string for the bow if you don't mind sharing that is? I love the extra details you go to for your costumes! (Gambit/Rogue, Nightingale)
Created a 'nock' at each end and cut a pre-braided piece of string to the size of the prop bow, then tied it down.


New Member
Re: CelticRuins' Halloween Costume Contest Entry 2013

Finally getting around to making something similar - how many layers of foam did you make the ends with? Looks like 3 layers then all the extra detailing. Thanks again!