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Mikey is Still Doing Commissions...

Blog

Here's where the magic happens. I'll be posting about all of my experiences and experiments (both failed and successful ones), introducing you to my costumes, sharing fun stories, linking tutorials and useful products, and who knows what else!

 

Mikey is Still Doing Commissions...

Michael MacWolff

So while my last series is done with, I am still working on one last commission for Youmacon, for a friend of mine. She's going to be doing Sailor Pluto, and asked me to make her staff!

It all starts with a flagpole. Seriously, flagpoles are the greatest things ever when it comes to making staffs because they're generally an appropriate length & thickness, and you can get ones that separate in the middle for easier storage & transportation. Unfortunately, the flagpoles I used to get at Joann Fabrics, I can't find any more. They were much higher quality and I could get them cheap because coupons; but alas, now I am forced to use this one, that I found on Amazon. 

I used a carving bit in my Dremel to make all of the indentations around where the round parts went, then used some craft foam covered in worbla to get the fluted part on the end where the topper would fit into.

The round bits all along the staff were then made by using a bunch pf leftover bits of worbla which I heated, rolled together, and then mushed around until I got it as round as I could make it. Caution: it's really easy to burn yourself while doing this so be careful!

The key parts you see in the photo are just two layers of foamcore with a layer of cereal box on either side, for extra support. I did my usual spackling/sanding routine on all of the edges.

Now just add a couple of layers of mod podge, spray paint it silver, and the staff part is done!

Ste staff head, however, is a bit more involved. I started with an acrylic ornament that separates in half, so I sanded the inside with a very fine sandpaper to make it translucent. Once it was all sanded, I spent a couple of hours taking a red sharpie to it until is was this lovely color.

The lighting was simple, I use a string of mini LEDs with a tiny battery pack, because I knew I'd need to hide it in the staff and there's not much room. These are the same type of lights I used for the Crystal Maiden staff, if you remember that. Also, to keep the little lights stable & spread out appropriately through the little globe, I wrapped the string around a styrofoam ball I happen to have lying around, and used packing tape to secure them in place. Lastly, to diffuse the light a little further, I wrapped the whole inside with two layers of kleenex (remember folks, improvisation is everything)!

Now that we had the light ready, I had to figure out how to mount it on the top of the staff while being able to hide the battery pack somewhere. And my godsend appeared in the form of a plastic spool that I got some heavy gauge wire on. The battery pack actually fit in the central tube, and it was the right height to fit in the fluted part on top of the staff. To top it all off, the wider bits of the spool fit perfectly into the fluting such that it holds it there without me having to install velcro or anything like that to keep the topper from falling out. YAY SERENDERPITY!

You can see here I also started with the core of the heart shape part of the topper. It's just a couple layers of corrugated cardboard. There were a couple of marbles I hot glued in for the round bits, then I took a bunch of worbla scraps and heated them around the shape. Slowly I heated areas and mushed them together to get it smoothed out. You can see the process here:

Here's the topper, all mushed smooth and attached to the red orb!

Now all that was left to do was paint the topper! I used the same silver spray as I did with the rest of the staff, and used cling wrap & masking tape to protect the red orb. The little spheres in the staff design are all gold, so I did my brown undercoat and brushed them with the acrylic gold paint!

And that's all there is! The staff is all finished and I'm happy about that because it's another thing to check off of my list, since I still have 2 commissions to finish before the end of October, my own new cosplay I'm working on for Youmacon (which is the first weekend of November), and 2 events coming up at which I'll be vending: Con on the Cob, which is the weekend following Youma, and the Yule Ball, which is December 10th. So needless to say, I'm going to continue being busy for a while yet.

 

As a fun little end note, I was also commissioned to make a Sailor Moon outfit for a friend's daughter. It doesn't warrant a full post because I only have photos of the finished costume, as modeled by my teddy bear, Murray. Enjoy!