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griselda close-up

tokoz in baka_cosplay

Paper mache is a perfectly valid medium, dammit!

Especially if you're poor!


So, I've been wanting to redo Griselda for a while, and even though the rest of the group fell through, and the winter's been extra bad, and I'm under way too much stress, and I got started super late, and it's super depressing looking at her, I think I have a shot at finishing her. SO, instead of working, I'm posting! :D ... ... ... right. Moving on.

So, the first thing that I did was take a look at the hoop I used to make the skirt puff out. Originally I was using extra thin thread to sew the parts up, and in some places it was starting to gape. I took my extra thick button craft and gather stitch thread and redid the gaping parts, and all around the waistband.



Then I pulled out the old wimpy hoop boning and replaced it with some of the 20mm stuff I had laying around (like you do). I only replaced the bottommost hoop (of 3), but it's made a big difference. I hope I have time to get to the rest...

little, and big.


Moving on to the kilt-thing, originally I'd put cardboard on the edges and point of each slat to help give it some stiffness, then wrapped the vinyl around the cardboard to hide the cut edges. The cardboard I put down with contact cement (good idea), the edges I used hot glue (bad idea). All the hotglue pulled up. I had to pull out about half the stitches I used to attach the slats to their base in order to get to all the pulled-up areas, and went through about 3 bottles of contact cement reattaching them.

Pulled out and ugly
But the cardboard's still attached.
Thank you vinyl, for being so stupid that I have to clamp you EVERYWHERE POSSIBLE while the cement cures.
This took more than two weeks, because i just don't have that many tiny clamps.

I really want to redo the skirt the slats sit under, and actually have a replacement mostly made, but I don't htink I'll have enough time to get to it. It's functional now, at least.

The overskirt had to come off the bodice, which was an adventure. then I had to undo the gathering stitches . And i guess I'd done about 5 or 6 lines of stitching in that area, counting the gather stitches and the stay-put stitches I did over them (not counting the attach-to-the-bodice stitches). urgh. >_<

but I did it.

Just went with cartridge pleating for this. worked out pretty well.

The bodice has to be completely redone because i don't fit in the original anymore. :(
akutenshi7 had to come down and help me with it because I couldn't even look at it, it was so depressing.

bodice sewing from a pattern, la la la.

no pattern for the top part, so I flailed around looking for things to trace
bewbs! adhesive bra, hurray!
that's all of this fabric I have left. FOR-EVAR. Stupid rotating colors by seasons.
sewn, needs attaching.



About the only thing I did well on the original armor was the paint job. I got the scale wrong, and the armor was too big for my legs -- and there's a surprisingly large amount of leg armor going on. Fun foam just doesn't like to go around curves smoothly. I put so much fabric, clay, gesso and other junk on the pieces to cover that fact that they actually held up well -- except for the silver lower leg parts.

No pic of those, but they're all crazed and cracked from lying flat for so long.

So. I'm extra dirt poor (no more school loans to prop me up), and I'm fed up with the go-to cheap cosplay armor material. I suppose I could've gone with cardboard, but I don't like wrestling with that stuff, either (and cardboard papercuts HURT). However, I do have a bit of experience with paper mache...

Plus! I already have the forms I need. Roller derby pads = knee armor! duct tape body parts = leg and arm armor! Workplace that generates tons of waste paper = free materials! Ready? Go! Basically, if you can wrap it in plastic wrap, you can paper mache it.

The hard shell of a kneepad, with a piece of armor over top

Layers drying. I made about 6 of these forms, each on having at least 8 (usually many, MANY more) layers.

Freehanded the shapes on the big forms with sharpie, then cut them out with scissors. Because, paper. No steak knives, utility knives or dremel craziness. Yeah, paper.

all the pieces.

in a line.

The lower leg armor was a bit more tricky. I had a duct tape leg from teh last time I tried getting things to go around my crazy calf muscles, but it was only my right leg, and at least 5 years out-of-date.

not that this stopped me from making a mold of it.

I also had a pair of legs -- a lower torso, really -- from slightly more recently, but this turned out to be a horrible base: I'd made them using sweat pants and they were suuuper too big.

not that this stopped me from making molds of them.

I suppose I could have just gone with fabric, but -- it's armor! and, seams are yucky! So, I pulled up my pants, wrapped myself in plastic wrap, and attempted to duct tape dummy my own legs. I only got to my knees, but that's all I needed, for this.

two lower legs!

figuring all this out took about 5 different paper mache legs, all together. And of course, each one has no less than 12 layers on it. I'm tempted to donate all my leftover ducttape body parts to the derby team, so they can have something to practice jumping over.

I then did the same thing with my forearms (hint -- wrapping your dominant arm in ducttape is more difficult than it seems). I thought i got pics, but I can't find them. oh well.

Then sanding, sanding all the things. The things, all of them are sanded. All the sanding, things.


Yes, yes you CAN, 100%, totally, really, and for truly sand paper mache. Not kidding.

it just takes layers.


And of course, after sanding comes clay. After my (mis-)adventures with other air-dry clays on Kaguya and Hakua, I'm back to my old standard, paperclay. It's pricey, but so smooth and fill-in-able. And, at least I already have a supply laid in. I grabbed my bag from the craft room ... and pulled out a rock. Oops. Luckily I found some Michael's generic brand knock-off paperclay on clearance -- $2.50 per package! The stuff sucks for any kind of actual sculpting, it's fairly horrible to handle. I bought 5 packages.

But you don't need sculptability to spackle!
All you need is sandability.
Which this stuff has.


Then came 2 layers of watered modpodge and 3-5 layers of gesso over everything.


The wig, oh, it's a terrible wig, that first wig. Before we found Arda. So this time, I ordered an Arda. In March, even, so I'd have time to ruin it and try again... only the base I wanted was out of stock. Okay, I can wait. Except... Now it's May, and still no wigs. I had to go with a different color (ash blonde) in order to get the wig i wanted in time for ACen. siiiigh.

Bangs curling. There are some pictures sometimes when their hair isn't ... ah well.

Long story short, same-same but different.


Awesome! I love when you post these detailed descriptions of your progress; I always feel like someday when I'm less lazy I will so be able to take advantage of your diligence. ^_~ Also it's so cool to see these things take shape. The "LAAAAAYERS" bit made me laugh. ^^

I should be sewing right now.
I feel like that's all I ever write on these things --

"And then I put layers on until it looked right"


"and then I put layers on it until I ran out of time"


"and then I put layers on it until you guys dragged me kicking and screaming away from them"