Back when I was making my Grimm costume from RWBY, I had a terrible time deciding how to make the skull portion without getting my hands dirty with bondo or resin casting. So, here is a step by step of what I did-
First, I bought some plasticine from Walmart. It’s a type of clay that does not dry out and it’s pretty cheap and reusable.
Next, I used a foam head and began layering the plasticine to create a skull shaped that I liked. I went through a lot of nitpicking for a couple weeks, but the great thing about plasticine is that it is considerably forgiving. It’s incredible easy to add more to it or take some away. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of this progress point.
After completely my model, I added a thin layer of paper mache and let dry. Once completely dry I took a sheet of Worbla and formed it over the model.
It was my first time working with Worbla so I had some rips, but a layer of fast mache took out any imperfections.
Note : fast mache doesn’t exactly bond with Worbla. It sticks some, but I ended up sanding and then smoothing area’s with a mixture of water and wood filler. It worked rather well all together though.
Please use a mask, respirator, or be outside when sanding!</b>
It seemed like forever before I was done sanding! After a layer of wood filler and sanding with a high grit sand paper (grit 180-220), I sprayed on a layer of primer/filler paint to help me see any holes.
I repeated the process of filling, sanding, and priming until I was satisfied. Then, I used some paper clay to make the fangs. Paper clay is easy to sand, easy to use, and quick drying.
From there I continued adding teeth with paper clay and sanding down the edges as I went along. A few teeth popped off while sanding so I used some gorilla glue to attach them back on.
Once those are secured, I dremeled out some grooves in the skull and coated the entire thing in white Plastidip. This sealed everything in a coat of rubber and made it less likely to be damaged.
Here, I had painted in the red lines, stretched black spandex on the inside of the eyes, and added ears. The spandex allowed me to see rather well without being seen underneath, it also allowed the installment of LEDs to light the eyes. The ears were cut from 5 mm craft foam and were easily formed with a heat gun.
Finally, I added a bottom jaw from worbla, teeth from more paper clay, and furred it! The back of the head, I used some green upholstery foam to help the form by the cheeks. Duct tape was used to make the pattern for the ears, jaw, and back. That’s about it!
@thewouldbeswedish asked, and I had been wanting to at least make mention of my painting discoveries, so here it is.
I shall add mine to the million or so others out there. I watched damn near every tutorial I could find, scoured Pinterest and combined a few different techniques, as well as coming up with my own(at least I hadn’t seen it elsewhere)
We love wooden hangers because we love our clothes and think they should be treated nicely. No bent-out-of-shape sweaters on wire hangers welcome over here. Wood hangers can be decidedly slick though, so we busted out some Plasti-dip to make them a little grippier.
It’s super easy to do: Tape off your painting boundaries, custom mix your color in the Plasti-dip (we used the blue, yellow and white tints), bathe your hanger in Plasti-dip and hang (over newspaper or something else that can get dirty to catch errant drips). About three minutes after you’ve finished applying, remove the tape; otherwise you could yank the Plasti-dip off with it.
There’s enough Plasti-dip in the container to paint several wardrobes worth of hangers. Other ideas: dip the handles of your tools or cosmetic brushes; dip the key-ring end of of your keys; paint along the edge of baskets.
We’ve all been there. The collection of twenty different colors of duct tape that’s always on hand in case you need to make a quick weapon repair or need a shiny new weapon for the next event.
But the shiny duct tape wears down to an ugly, flat grey. After the first two times you use it there are wrinkles and creases. After a month the tape is starting to peel away. And it’s time to either re-tape the weapon or try something else completely.
Here’s something else. (NOTE: This does NOT work with swords that have any open cell foam. Open cell foam is a menace in and of itself. My suggestion if you have to have the squishy tip for your game: switch to microcell (MC) foam. It absorbs force much better and is much more durable.)
Finishing your blade
I’m making the assumption you all know how to make a weapon. Probably even a nice shaped weapon out of blue foam. I’m also assuming you’ve solidly secured your weapon to the core firmly without tape. (DAP contact cement works GREAT for this. I’ve yet to see one of these weapons fail.)
What you need:
Plastidip (both can and spray, available at any home improvement store usually with the spray paint)
A mostly-finished weapon
Cheap foam brush
Optional: Spray paint
Optional: Roll of craft foam (Only really needed if you’re using a blue foam weapon as your base. Can be obtained at Joann’s.)
So at this point your weapon should look something like this:
Or, if you’re using blue foam, like this:
(Sorry, ignore my shoe.) It should be shaped exactly how you want it. Because what you see is what you’re going to get. (This is a blessing and a curse.)
1) If your sword is out of MC foam, (picture 1) take this time to pull out a wood burner and draw some sigils, or scrapes, or just leave it as a soon to be shiny plain sword.
If your sword is out of blue camping pad, (picture 2) you have a choice. You can leave it as is, and have a slightly textured sword (which can look really cool mind you) or you can cover it a layer of craft foam. It takes time and patience (you want to DAP it on there, don’t spray glue it) but will give you a nice looking finished product. If you like the textured look you can still cut pieces out of the craft foam and have raised sigils or rivets, or whatever you can think of!
Wait at LEAST a day for the DAP to cure completely.
Now for the fun part! :D
2) Grab your plastidip:
You’ll want to start with the spray. DO THIS OUTDOORS. Also, make certain it’s a warm-ish day, or that your workshop where you can make a mess is heated enough. Hang up your weapon so that there are no surfaces touching the foam that’s going to be sprayed. Follow the directions on the can! Spray down your sword with one thin coat of plastidip. Give it sufficient drying time and spray it down again. (If you do it thick, it will run. and you really don’t want it to run.)
3) Once those two coats are on, crack open your can of Plasti Dip. Paint on a slightly thicker coat evenly. It’s okay if you can see brush marks right now; Plasti dip self levels! Let it dry and paint on two-three more coats. The goal here is to get on enough dip to give the weapon a sufficiently durable coat (100x more durable than latex in fact!) while making it thin enough so that the weapon’s squish isn’t lost.
4) Once those coats are on and have all semi-cured (usually takes about 3 hours with a total of 5 minutes of work), give it one final spray coat. (The spray has a higher concentration of solvents so it levels better.)
Your finished product should look like these:
or if you used blue foam…
(You can see the bumpy texture of the blue foam, and the one that has part of it covered in craft foam is much smoother.)
5) Now you have a choice! You can either leave it at this stage and have fun, or you can paint it! Spray paint (make certain it says it’s usable on plastic) and acrylic paints work fabulously.
I painted this with a hammered copper spray paint.
When this picture was taken, this sword had been used for about 6 months of intense combat. As you can see there’s only a few small wrinkles along the edge. Those are bound to happen from the repeated movement of the foam, but it’s still nowhere near as bad as what tape does! There’s also the option to seal the spray paint with a flexible acrylic spray. I’ve opted to not bother with it for my own and I’ll just touch up the spray paint as needed (maybe once a year? Probably not even that often.)
NOTE: Don’t leave these weapons in your car in the middle of summer, or lying the in the sun on a hot day. Though I’ve yet to see it happen, it can cause the plastidip to start to separate from the foam. But really you should never leave any weapons in the heat or sun anyway as it will damage the foam also.