Classic Maleficent Costume Build

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After having this costume in my "Blue Sky" file for several years now, I've decided to tackle a Maleficent costume. To be specific, I'm talking about the original Mistress of All Evil, taunts the prince with old age, turns into a giant fire-breathing dragon Maleficent. The animated Maleficent, not the Angelina Jolie one.


Compared to some of the projects I've taken on lately, she should be a relatively easy build, but she does present some interesting challenges. My first challenge is her horns.


Look at that magnificence. But I want them to be symmetrical and hollow. I'm going to have to wear this headpiece all day, so I want it to be relatively light weight, which is something my Loki helmet was not. I know I'm not going to be able to sculpt two horns that are the same, and I don't have the resources to cast the horns and helmet. In light of all that, I've decided to use what I know and add in a little experimentation. I'm going to start with a pepakura of Maleficent's head, build it out with clay, then mold thermoplastic over it. The only problem is there are no pepakura files for Maleficent's head.

I had to start one step farther back, and look for a 3D model of her that I could then unfold and build. I found one that I liked!/search?q=3d obj maleficent, and began the editing process in Blender. I did away with the staff and Diablo, and set about deleting everything below the base of her neck, effectively turning the full body model in to wig head with horns. I did a little bit of shaping to make the head a little wider since my face is not nearly as thin as the model's. In the end, it looked like this

Maleficent Process.png

I went over to Pepakura Designer, and started the unfolding process. It took forever to get the pieces in to a manageable arrangement. I haven't unfolded an object in a long time, and I've never unfolded something as wibbly-wobbly as this, but after lots of connecting and dividing faces to make it printable and at least somewhat manageable to build, it looked something like this

Maleficent Proceses.png

I ended up leaving the little fiddly bits of the eyes, noes and lips off the piece layout, since I don't really need those for the helmet, and they would just take more time to assemble. After I was somewhat happy (or at least I didn't hate the pieces) I took it over to Pepakura reader for Silhouette to print it out. Next session, I'll be cutting and assembling the head.

On the fabric front, I've acquired 10 yards of magenta taffeta for the under dress, so I'm going to start with that while I look for the robe fabric. The under dress is fairly straightforward, since I won't be lining it. I used Butterick's B4377 pattern as my base, and after a couple quick modifications, the pattern was ready.


Depending on how it sews up and how much fabric I have left after cutting, I might add in another set of godets for extra fullness. Or I might go crazy and put some horse hair in the hem. I won't make that decision until I've got it sewn though. I should be cutting the under dress this weekend, and I might even get some sewing done. Updates to come later.

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I was Maleficent in a school play last year and we made the horns relatively cheaply. I think my teacher used a headband, tape, and toilet paper rolls to make the shape, built on that by wrapping newspaper soaking in liquid starch around it, and then painting it all black. They were very lightweight. The only thing I'd caution is to make sure the headband is very wide--we could only get an average half-inch wide one so the horns weren't as stable as we'd have liked and it was a little difficult to get bobby pins to go over the band. So thick headband with teeth and preferably made of plastic instead of cloth covered. :) Just thought I'd share.

Maleficent 2.png


New Member
I didn't get in as much crafting time as I had hoped this weekend, but I still made some progress.

On the fabric front, I was able to cut the under dress on Saturday, and did most of the sewing on Sunday. I need to finish the sleeve and neck openings, and do the hem, but right now she looks something like this


You will have to excuse the horrible picture. It was late, and the lighting in my mannequin area is horrid. After seeing her on the form, I decided I am going to put horsehair in the hem, partially because there isn't enough length in the skirt to have it be floor length with a standard hem, but mostly because she's a little too drapey for my tastes. I was able to find 2" horsehair in a ton of colors super cheap here, but of course it's coming from China, so I'll have to wait for it to get here before I can do the hem.

In the mean time, I've started the work on the robe. I went to my local fabric stores, and was able to secure a heavyweight cotton or poly/cotton broadcloth in an eggplant color for $3 a yard. It's significantly darker than the purple in the film, but I prefer the darker color for her. The fabric is one of the oddest I've encountered in a while. When I first picked it up, I thought it was a cotton taffeta because of how stiff it was.

For the exterior of the robe, I wanted something with some stiffness to it, and definitely some texture. The hardest part was finding something that was black on black with texture that wasn't too shiny. After searching my local fabric stores with no luck finding anything that met my criteria, I found this


from Shades of Glory Fabrics on Etsy (the listing for this particular fabric is here). They were extremely helpful, and I ended up ordering 14 yards of it. I'm hoping it will be enough, because I made the pattern for the robe this weekend as well.

I started with McCall's M6800


The main reason I picked this pattern was for its shoulder princess seams. The fact that it also had an asymmetrical hem was just a bonus. I did a lot of altering to the pattern to get it ready for Maleficent usage though. The first thing I did was add length to the bottom of the whole thing so center front would be floor length on me, and the back would have a train. Next I shifted some excess fullness from the center front panel to the middle front panel. After that, I modified the neckline so the collar from Simplicity's S2499 would fit. Next was all about flames. I drew a template for a flame point in Illustrator, then proceeded to add it on to the bottom of all of the panels except the center front.

With the body done, I moved on to the sleeves. I dropped the sleeves from the pattern since I have the under dress, and drafted new winglike ones from scratch. Since I'm going to attach the sleeves to the body at the shoulder princess seam, I added that to my usual sleeve length measurement, and used my shoulder-to-knee measurement as the inner edge of the wing sleeve. For the outer edge, I free handed the shape of her sleeves from the reference image in my first post, then used the same flame template from the robe hem to add the points to the sleeve. Fun Fact: between the hem and the sleeves, the robe will have 56 flame points.

This is probably the largest pattern I have every made, which is why I'm currently doubting that 14 yards of fabric will be enough. I'm going to try to cut the lining sometime in the next few days so I'll hopefully know if I need to order more of the taffeta.


New Member
On the horn front, I sat down for some serious crafting time last night.

I cut the pepakura pieces out. Well, I say "I" but I really mean my Silhouette did. I do love that machine. I did have some issues with the cutting this time though. For some reason, on 4 of the sheets it wasn't reading the registration marks correctly, so the cuts were wrong. I've had to reprint those pages, and run them through the machine again tonight. The reprints didn't cut properly either, so in a moment of frustration, I said screw it and cut the last two pages on blank cardstock. It was a little more of a puzzle than I'm used to, but I know there are other people that work without the lines, so I gave it a try.


All in all, I'm pretty happy with the outcome. While I was building it, I thought it was going to be super huge, but once all the pieces were together it was actually pretty good. I'm going to have to double check its measurements against my own head, but it's a good start. My original suspicion about being unable to make a symmetrical pair of horns, even with Pepakura, seems to be correct, since the two horns are not quite perfect. I'm hoping that after I sculpt over the base and mold my thermoplastic to the sculpted horn I like better, the two pulls will be identical and I can make the helmet come together.
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I got in some serious work time this weekend, despite the Super Bowl distracting me for half a day. It all started with the cutting


I did the initial cutting on Thursday, which is what you see above. That on the floor is most of the 14 yard piece of 58" wide fabric I got for the lining. After I started the layout, I knew there was no way I was getting all of the pattern pieces on the yardage I had, which meant I had to go back to the fabric store for more lining fabric on Friday, as well as order and additional 6 yards of the taffeta for the exterior. Once that gets to me, I'll be able to cut the exterior and start on that.

The sewing of the lining was relatively simple. The seams were really long, but compared to some of the projects I've done lately, were very simple. Since the robe is going to be a fully lined garment, I didn't bother with my usual French seaming, instead opting to serge the seam allowance after I sewed the seams. I sewed the lining in about 5 hours on Saturday.


This is what she looks like right now. The flame points don't like to lay out flat because there are so many of them, but I am extremely pleased with the look so far. I'm hoping that when I have the whole thing together, the flame points will still go a little crazy so you can see the lining under the black.

I took some time to work on the under dress as well, finishing off the neck edge and sleeve openings. I was originally going to bind the edges, but decided that I didn't want a binding to show on the edges. Instead, I got some single fold bias tape and used that to finish off the openings. I opened up one of the edges of the tape, stitched it right side to right side of the openings, understitched that seam (because I'm crazy and love to understitch everything), then hand hemmed the tape down. All in all, it have me the nice, neat finish I had wanted. Now I just have to wait for my horse hair braid to arrive from China, so I can install that in the hem.

On the horn front, I resined the paper form yesterday. I had to take 2 passes to cover the whole thing since the head didn't want to cooperate and stand up. I'll be going to the hardware store today to get some expanding foam to fill it so I can start with the smoothing and shaping.


New Member
Just a quick update on the horn front.

Last time I mentioned that I had resined the pepakura head, but I wanted to share a picture of the progress with you

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I was working pretty fast when I coated the paper, so the resin got a little messy in spots, but that's ok since I'm going to take the head to the sander. I used a lot more resin than I normally do, since I'm not reinforcing this from the inside with fiberglass. Looking at it with the whole thing stiffened, I'm starting to wonder if it's too big. I suppose I'll find out pretty soon. I did fill the head with Great Stuff so I have something to carve in to later.


Poor thing, she looks diseased. I ended up having to drill access holes near the tops of the horns since I couldn't get the foam all the way to the tips from inside her face. I used one full can to fill her up, with a little extra from a second can I had lying about to fill in the gap near her chin. I'll probably spend some time this weekend carving and sanding her down to get ready for the thermoplastics.

In dress news, I got the rest of the fabric I need, so I'm going to be cutting the robe exterior tonight. I also found some awesome 16cm wide horse hair from a different supplier, so I ordered some of that to put in the under dress hem instead of the 5cm stuff I got before.


New Member
I was not as productive this weekend as I had hoped, but there was still progress made. The first update isn't so much a progress report as it is a great prop find.

View attachment 436799

I got a raven! I wasn't sure I was even going to have a Diablo for this costume, since I was having a hard time finding a bird that was the right size and looked good. But I found this one while poking around on eBay, and I knew he was the right bird for the job. Now I have to figure out how I'm going to mount him to my staff and/or shoulder.

In the actual crafting portion of the costume, I started on a somewhat strange item. I knew going in to this that I was going to have to paint my face green, but I wanted to avoid painting my hands if possible. Luckily, I had this pinned for a circumstance just like this. So I set about sewing a pair of acceptably green tights in to gloves.


The gloves look a little weird just lying there, but they look good on my hands. I need to put some elastic in the wrist to keep them in place, and I'm probably going to put a magnet in the top of the wrist to grab on to the robe sleeves when I get all dramatic. Painting the fake nails was a bit of a struggle for me. I don't normally paint my own nails, so I kept messing the fake ones up. 9 of the nails made it on to the gloves, but I somehow managed to melt the right thumbnail when I was trying to put hot glue on it, so I need to redo that one.

In serious sewing land, I did some serious work on the robe. Of course, it started with the cutting.


For the record, I hate cutting. Cutting is the worst. I would rather hand hem 20 yards of skirt than cut 20 yards of fabric. That being said, I did all the remaining cutting in one sitting. I'm just happy I won't have to cut those flame points any more. They look nice, but they really, really suck.

I started the sewing with the wing sleeves, just so I could get a feel for the sewing of the flame points. I got both of the sleeves sewn in one night, despite my stupid idea that I needed to understitch the lining as far in to the points as I could. Lesson learned here: there will be no undersitching on the hem flames.

The robe exterior had to be assembled in a very specific order, so it took me a little longer than the lining. Normally, I start my sewing at center back and work out from there, but because I was putting the wing sleeves in to the shoulder princess seam, I had to modify my order of sewing. I started with center back, then attached the center front pieces at the shoulder seams. Then I assembled the middle and side fronts and backs in to the side sections, also attached a the shoulder seams. Since I was putting pockets in the exterior, under the wing sleeves, I had to puzzle through the order in which things were going to get sewn in the shoulder princess seam. First, I basted the wing sleeves to the center sections, starting at the shoulder and going down the front then down the back. Then I sewed the pocket piece on top of the sleeve, with it still folded over the center panel. Attaching the remaining pocket pieces to the side panels followed that. After that, the whole seam got sewn together from shoulders down, going around the pockets and everything. And since I decided I didn't hate myself enough yet, I serged off the edges of all of my seam allowances.

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It was totally worth it though. I'm super happy with the way it looks, even without the collar and the lining attached. The wing sleeves might be a little too long, but since I'm going to be flinging my arms around a bit, I think it will be ok.

After I finished patting myself on the back, I started attaching the shell to the lining. I started with the armsceyes, since they're always a pain to sew together. I had to put the lining and the shell on my dress form so I could pin the armholes together correctly, then I took the whole monstrosity to the sewing machine and stitched and understitched them. Then it was on to the front and hems.

I started about 12 inches down from the neck edge, since I don't have my collar ready to be sewn in just yet. Down, across the bottom, and up the inside of the center front panel was easy. Down the inside of the middle front panel was easy. The hem was not. I decided the best thing to do with all the flame points was to pin them at the tips, and the valleys, and at the midpoint between the two. It sounds so easy when I say it, but it ended up taking me over an hour to get all the pins in. The sewing isn't too difficult, but since every flame tip is a corner, I have to sew slowly in to it with a tiny stitch length, reinforce the turning point, and sew back out with the tiny stitch length.

I still have to finish the last third of the hem stitching, and I need to finish the collar and put that in as well, but the robe is well on its way to completion. I didn't get to work on my horns at all this weekend, but with the robe almost done, I should have more time to devote to the horns soon.


Well-Known Member
Wow, that looks spectacular so far! I am so excited to see this finished.

And I have that exact same glove tutorial pinned for a future costume! Glad to hear it worked out okay. :)


New Member
Wow, that looks spectacular so far! I am so excited to see this finished.

And I have that exact same glove tutorial pinned for a future costume! Glad to hear it worked out okay. :)

Thanks! I'll be taking this costume to Emerald City Comic Con, so it will have to be done by then. And the gloves do work, but they're a little funky. I sewed through the cardboard a couple of times, so I was picking cardboard bits out of the seams. I think if I make gloves like these regularly, I'm going to use a piece of plastic to make hand forms, and use my suicide foot to get up next to the form.

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So this weekend was all about the horns. I took the head to my belt sander to start cleaning up all the foam overflow and round off the corners before I started sculpting on top of it. It was going well, until I started working on the back of the head. I had a big foam overflow back there, and when I removed it, there was a pocket of uncured foam underneath it that started pouring out everywhere. I ended up having to hold the head and let it drain the uncured foam for about 30 minutes before I could get in and close the hole up. Unfortunately, this meant that my goal of starting the thermoplastic forming on Sunday was out of the question, since I was going to have to wait for the foam to cure again before I could finish the sanding. I took the extra time to strip away some of the resined paper so my clay would have something to grab on to when I started sculpting.

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Poor thing, she looks like some kind of alien. In the back picture, you can see where I've patched the hole left by the foam explosion. Since I wasn't going to be able to finish the back of the head until Sunday, I started sculpting over the forehead and horn. I used an air dry clay similar to Crayola's Model Magic that I get from my favorite Japanese dollar store. I prefer it to actual Model Magic because it's so easy to smooth out with wet hands, even after it has started drying. In the first stage, I smoothed out the forehead and the top of her head, then set her out in the sun to dry while I changed my smoothing water and rested my hands a little.


Stage 2 was about the horn and the back of the head. Notice I keep saying horn, singular. I'm only going to use one of the horns to form over, since I want my finished horns to be symmetrical. So I picked the horn I liked better, and started to sculpt over it. There were a lot of sharp corners that needed to get smoothed over, so it took me a little while to get done. I put some clay on the back of the head too, but since I was limited by the still-curing foam, I didn't do a whole lot to it.


I took her back out in to the sun for a little while, just so I could make sure she was doing ok. I did a little bit of smoothing out with water before I left her to dry for 24 hours. I ended up using 2 packages of clay to get her to this point.

So I came back to her on Sunday afternoon, and the clay was dry and ready for sanding. I powered up the dremel to take off the overflow of foam on the back again, and this time it seemed to be all cured underneath. Then it was on to hand sanding on the clay. It didn't need too much done to it, just a few nubs taken off here and there, but the bigger issue was all of the divots and low spots on the clay. I considered doing another layer of clay, but decided it was easier to use some spackle to fill in the places I wasn't happy with. About 30 minutes of spackling, and she was ready to cure again.

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Fortunately, the thermoplastic I'm using doesn't pick up all of the little details, so she should be ok to use as a form like this. I might not get to do the forming until next weekend, but I should have her sanded down in the next few days.

In fabric land, I finished with the robe. Her collar is on, the hem is finished, she's been pressed, had her zipper installed, and closed up down center front. I ended up hand stitching a piece of lining fabric over the zipper tape to hide it, since it will be visible at the neck and I didn't like the look of the tape being exposed. The only thing I have left to do on the robe is installing magnets on the sleeves so they snap to the gloves. I'm going to use some rare earth magnets so they'll be super strong, but tiny.

I'm still waiting for my horsehair braid to come in from China, but I've been keeping an eye on their tracking progress, and it looks like both of them will be here by the end of the week. I'll probably put that in the dress on Saturday (since I have to work in the middle of the day and won't be able to work on the horns) and call her done.

My staff pieces should be coming in this week as well. I had to order more LEDs since my stash has gone missing, but it should be a quick build once they're in. My plan is to use an acrylic fillable ornament as the orb of the staff. I'm going to frost the surface of it, either through sanding or frosted paint, and stuff it with green LEDs and some lime green organza ribbon I picked up at Joann's. I'm going to mount the orb on a small section of PVC pipe that will house the battery for the LEDs. I'm going to use some of my thermoplastic to make the little flutey bits under the orb, and press fit the PVC pipe to the butt end of a pool cue. I'm going to have to wait until my cue comes in to pick the right size pipe to use, but once I get that, it shouldn't take long at all to build. I decided on the pool cue as a base because I'm going to have to travel with the staff, and I would rather not have to deal with shipping the staff as a single piece.

I'm still debating what I'm going to do with Diablo. I want to make him moveable, and he's light enough that the same magnets I'm using to hold my wing sleeves down should hold him in place on my shoulder and the orb of my staff. I'm just not sure I'm going to like him on my shoulder with the big collar and everything. We'll see how I feel about him once my staff is finished.


New Member
I *love* your choice of fabric here. Disney costumes are often visually boring (i.e. blocks of color, not a lot of detail) by necessity of animation budget and time. It's really refreshing to see you bring this costume to life with some texture and pattern!

Thanks! I struggled with the decision to stay true to the animation or to add to the character with something textured, but after looking at other peoples' costumes, I felt like she really needed the fancy fabric. Plus, I feel like she would actually wear something like this if she were to come to life.


New Member
I don't have a lot of progress to show, but there's a lot for me to talk about this time around.

In horn land, I started shaping the Kydex to my base head. I somehow thought I could mold the horns from a single sheet of plastic, but realized halfway through the process that 1) Kydex is not as flexible as Worbla, and 2) there would be no way for me to remove the horn from the base. So I went to plan B and started wrapping strips of plastic around the horn.


This method is not as clean as I would like, and I have to mold each strip while it's independent from the others, then attach them later, but with some sanding and filling I think it will work out. Unfortunately, it was raining when I was trying to glue the first horn together, so the adhesive wasn't setting. I'll have to wait until later in the week to attach everything I've done so far.

I also molded some thicker sheets of Kydex over the skull part to form the helmet base. I had to form that in 4 sections, but once all the parts are glued together, I'll sand the joins and fill the gaps, and it will be seamless enough to cover with fabric.

I did some work on my staff as well. I started with the head of the staff, specifically the glowing orb. I started by wiring 6 green LEDs in to a circuit with two parallel series of 3 LEDs each. After the repeated soldering and shrinking of heat shrink tubing, I moved on to the orb itself. I used an 80mm fillable Christmas ornament as the base of it. I decided on sanding the inside of the ball so the light would be diffused, but the exterior would still be glossy. Using my drill and my trusty soldering iron, I cut a hole in the ball for the battery connector to pass through, then stuffed the circuit in to the ball with some wax paper to diffuse the light.


This was the same sort of thing I did for the Tesseract, and it works quite well. I decided I needed to test the circuit to see how long a 9 volt battery would power it, since I was concerned it wouldn't make it through a day of con. As of right now, I've had the same battery powering the LEDs for 46 hours, and it's still glowing strong. I'm pretty sure there's some sort of alien power source in my battery though.

On the staff itself, I received the pool cue I decided on for the base, and immediately started sanding the paint and clear coating off of it. I primed and sanded it smooth, and was ready to paint the whole thing gold when I realized I didn't have the coupler I was going to use to attach the head of the staff to the body. I ran off to the hardware store only to discover that the 1" coupler was slightly loose on the butt of the cue. Knowing that I was going to have to glue the 1" coupler to the staff, I grabbed a 1.25" coupler to fit over it and function as the base for the head. I left the coupler and butt of the cue to bond overnight so I should be able to prime the coupler tonight or tomorrow and get ready to paint the whole thing gold.

In fabric land, I received my 6" wide horse hair braid, and started the instillation process on Saturday. Sewing it to the hem was easy, but it took me almost 2 hours to get it pressed flat and pinned up so I could stitch it down. I decided on hand hemming the whole thing, since I didn't want topstitching to show. I stitched half of the braid down while I was watching the Oscars last night, so I should be able to finish the rest this week. Once the hem is done, I'll take a picture of the dress and robe together, and the sewing portion of this project will be done.


New Member
I'm nearing the end of this project, and I'm super happy with it.

My decision to use the 6" horsehair seems to have paid off, since I don't feel like I need to wear a petticoat under it anymore. It did take forever to hand hem the braid down, but the result is exactly as I wanted it. The skirt looks a little wonky in the pictures, but it likes to move around a lot, so it makes it difficult to take pictures. Not much of it will be seen anyways, so it won't matter much.

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I finally got the robe on the form with the completed dress as well, and she is magnificent. I decided that since I'm going to be wearing this at con, and in a potentially rainy environment, that I should put some pickups on the skirt. There is one at center back and one under each sleeve at the front so I can get the entire skirt up off the ground. I probably won't use the front pickups unless I absolutely have to.

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I got most of the helmet assembled. The horns are together, and the base is together, I just need to attach the horns to the base and smooth everything out. I need to shape the "hairline" of the helmet before I attach the horns though. Once I smooth everything out, I'm going to cover the whole thing in fabric so it looks more uniform.

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I also painted the body of the staff, but I don't have any pictures of it. I ended up using a gold spray paint that is meant for picture frames, since it was the best gold I had on hand. I think it's this stuff here. It looks really good, but I don't know that I'm going to be able to clear coat it the way I normally do. I'm going to wait for a test piece to dry for a few days before I try the clear coat on it.

The last major piece that needs to come together is the head of the staff. It shouldn't take too terribly long to get done, but the forming of the leaf parts is going to be a little tricky. I think I'm going to need to fit them to the coupler first, then bend them over a larger cylinder to get the curve in them. I probably won't work on that until next weekend though, so I have some more time to think about it.

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It's been a while since my last update, and it's now the eve of ECCC, so I figured I should probably finish this build writeup.

The biggest change was the helmet. Once the plastic base was all assembled, I realized that it was not only too big for my head, but it was impossible to get on without poking myself. I decided to move forward with the smoothing of the horns and make a new base for the horns to be attached to.

View attachment 456399

I used ligtweight drywall spackle to do the initial smoothing on the horns. Once it was sanded down, it was smooth enough for my needs. While I was waiting for the spackle to dry, I put together a new helmet base made of EVA foam. Once the horns were dry and sanded, I cut them off the plastic base and glued them to the new foam one.

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With everything attached, I covered the horns in craft foam to smooth them out even more (of course, I was so determined to get it done that I forgot to take pictures of the foam and fabric stages). I then took some heavy nylon/spandex and hand stitched it to the shape of the horns and helmet. I attached a side releasebuckle and some nylon strapping as a chin strap, and a couple of magnets to hold the piece of fabric that will cover my neck closed.

For the head of the staff, I cut 4 leaf shapes from my thermoplastic, and curved them around the PVC connector that I was using for the base. With the leaves attached, I then curved them out, using a space orb as a guide. Then it was on to the priming. So. Much. Priming.


I settled on using filler primer after my standard primer wasn't going to hide the plastic's texture. Once the primer was ssanded smooth, I spray painted the headpiece gold to match the body of the staff. With the paint drying, I opened up the orb and attached some magnets to the top of it and the bottom of Diablo's feet so he can sit on top of my staff.

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I'm pretty happy with the result, even though it's a little bit too tall.

I'll have pictures of the whole ensemble after Emerald City Comic Con, and I'll be sure to share the final product with all of you.
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