Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Cosplay Tutorial -Princess Garnet Crown

If you haven't already realised, I'm a little bit of a geek, and one of my geeky pass times is cosplay - dressing up as fictional characters and hanging out with other awesome people also dressed as fictional characters!

I've recently been clearing out my wardrobe of cosplay costumes that I don't think I'm going to wear any longer, and selling them on. This costume is from my favourite video game of all time, Final Fantasy IX, and the character is Garnet, a young princess who is forced to make a lot of difficult decisions for the good of her country. I'd wanted to cosplay Garnet since I'd discovered what cosplay was, and I received the custom made dress as an 18th birthday present.

I didn't make the dress, but I did make the accessories, and the crown/headpiece I am particularly proud of. So I thought I'd put together a short tutorial that explains what I did, so that others wanting to make this crown can give it a go. It's very low cost, in fact you could probably make this for under £10 if you got the materials at the right price.

You will need a thin silver headband (not too thin, wide enough to glue things onto).
Craft Foam Pieces (these can be bought from most craft shops, they're usually used by little children to make cards and pictures- you could cut craft foam sheets to shape, but you get much more uniform designs by buying these little pieces)
Silver Acrylic Paint
Large Flat Green Bead or Jewel
Small Green and White beads
White Sewing Thread and a sharp needle

First sort through your foam pieces to get the shapes you need. You may have to cut some to get the desired size and shape.

The crown is made of 5 main parts.

The middle part is the setting for the green jewel. The parts to either side of that are "wing shaped". And then either side of those wing shapes is a large, intricate design, which is mirrored on either side of the crown.

I spent a while, probably up to half an hour, checking my reference pictures and arranging these larger intricate designs. You can see the shapes I eventually ended up with in the picture below, and the different colours of foam allows you to see exactly how I layered the pieces. When I was happy with the arrangement I glued the pieces together with hot glue, and mirrored it for the other design. I did the same for the other 3 pieces on the crown.

Next I hot glued the foam shapes onto the headband, being careful to position the pieces so that the crown was symmetrical.
Then, the crown was ready to paint.

I used silver acrylic paint because it's cheap and easy to clean up if you make a mess! It took several coats of paint to hide the bright colours of the foam, but it was worth it.

Adding the beads was a little more tricky. Following the reference pictures, I made 6 strings of 4 green and 2 white beads onto sewing thread, and then stitched these strings into the foam at the front of the headband. It's very easy to get a sharp needle through the foam. I then simply secured the threads with a few sturdy knots, and added a little silver paint to hide the threads. I hot glued the green bead in place-it's best to do this after all painting is finished and dried!

I added a thick coat of varnish to the whole headband. This not any acts as a second "glue" to keep everything in place and a protective waterproof layer for the paint, it also serves to "blend" the lines between the foam slightly, giving the crown a more carved metal look than a painted craft foam look!

Finally, I needed to add the chains that are at the back of the crown. I looked into adding metal chains, but they were all rather heavy and caused the headband to bend, and I was worried about them damaging the foam. So instead, I took some ordinary string and painted it silver, and tied these onto the crown, just under the wing shaped foam pieces. I used two pieces of string, one slightly longer than the other, as Garnet has two chains on her head dress, one that sits just below the other.

I was very pleased with the crown, and it's stood the test of time, with only minor repair works being needed after wearing it to several conventions.

If you cosplay Garnet I'd love to see pictures!

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