OK, now that I've totally humiliated myself with that REALLY bad appropriation and shown just how much of a geek girl I am, I can get on with things. If you're lost - awesome - you won't think any less of me!
My kids have grown-up loving dress-up, which is probably why they are drawn to drama, and also why they were ecstatic to discover Comic Con and Fantasy Con - making it ok for them to continue loving dress-up as they get older. It also provides them with background for their Halloween costume choices. Realizing that I'm a busy person and unlikely to be making multiple costumes TOO many times a year, they plan ahead. They're smart little cookies! To that end, Lily and Isaac chose to go Lord of the Rings this year - cosplay themes that play well at the cons.
The elves in the Lord of the Rings series, from Rivendell or Lothlorien, are gowned and flowing. What Lily was intrigued with was the Mirkwood Wood Elves from the Hobbit, particularly Tauriel.
Now, I know that there are all sorts of debates about Tauriel as a character, and Tolkien purists may go ahead and rant. I am a die-hard Tolkien fan (read the trilogy 3 times in my young adult life), and I'm not in this for a debate. All I know is that as a feminist, I like that my daughter is associating with this strong, intuitive, nature-loving, perceptive, compassionate character.
And debates aside, Lily was inspired by Tauriel's look, but is, as always, her own person. She used an elven name generator online to chose her own identity: Glorhel.
I wanted more drama, so I looked up elven designs online, then, since I'm always in a hurry, instead of being smart and making a solid real design, just started free-handing with paint on one collar side. Luckily, it worked out fantastic! Replicating it
Jacquard Lumiere Metallic Acrylic Paint 2.25 Ounces-True Gold I can't find it locally, which is a pain, but it is the best. It is smooth, consistent, gorgeous on any type of fabric - lights and darks. The metallics are beautiful. It can be used as a dye (if you look at my Elsa cape and notice the ombre effect on the cape and sleeves, I used the blue metallic, watered down, to achieve that look, and it is spectacular).
Again, I used craft foam treated to look like leather to make the vambraces. I just used sharp scissors to carve the designs into the foam BEFORE treating it. How do you treat it? SO simple! Just iron it. Use some parchment paper to protect your iron, and iron away. The foam becomes soft and pliable, and the surface stops looking foamy and looks leathery. While it's hot, form it to whatever surface you want. In this case, Lily's arms. It doesn't bounce back when cool. Voila, bracers!
I used brown foam, then lightly painted the design with gold paint (same fabric paint as before, only WAY watered down - I just wanted a tiny highlight). Then rough the whole thing up with black shoe polish to weather it. A little furniture polish if you want it shiny in places.
Some people recommend Mod Podge, that gives a shiny, polished finish - like patent leather, and that wasn't the look we were going for. I usually only Mod Podge if I've painted the foam, to seal it (like when I've made it look like metal - see the dwarf helmet later).
Elf ears were just cheap plastic ones cut to custom fit. And a cloak, of course!
|It's all about the hair with Elves! No wig here!|
DwarfFor the Dwarf, layers are key. Layers, layers, layers. Of course Peter Jackson's Dwarves wear lots of leather, which is awesome. But we made do.
What surprised me about dwarves is the fine line between dwarf and biblical costume. Yep. It made me laugh too. But think about it. Long tunic underneath long vest with detailed trim. I had to take a couple trims back because as I laid it out I realized it was looking like he was going to be in a Nativity Scene rather than mining for gold! Really, a super fine line.
In the end I had to hand-paint an oversized trim based on a pattern from a dwarf in the Hobbit film.
One thing I've learned about Elves and Dwarves is that Elves always use rounded, curving shapes and Dwarves use geometric, straight patterns. Keep to that and everything is OK!
Fur trim is always good. Added fur trim to the vest. Fur trim to the top of a pair of ugg boots. You can't quite see the tunic underneath, but there is a piece of fabric that looks like chain mail set inside an open neck. I was proud of that little detail :)
The beard I LOVE. Could have gone with a full Santa style beard, but he's a kid. This beard is hilariously perfect. Had to be held on with spirit gum, but that's the price you have to pay.
The hat. Oh my. The hat. I wanted a wig. No wigs.
Husband bought the hat. A viking hat. Dwarves and vikings are NOT the same. The problem is, with a viking hat, the kid becomes a viking! The whole costume is a viking in that one detail! So out with the viking horns, and what do you do with two gaping holes? Cover both sides of the helmet with foam treated to look like leather, of course! Applied VERY patiently. Over lots of time. Ironed over and over, as the foam gradually learns to take a new shape without folds. Then glued in place. Make a front piece also out of foam, painted to match the metal helmet. And we're back in business as a dwarf. Whew!
But the cream on top is the gauntlets. Made ON Halloween day, with moments to spare, the kid suddenly, desperately needs gauntlets. I study the dwarf gauntlets to determine that they connect to fingerless gloves. Whip out the shapes.
One layer is thick foam, the other thin. The thin foam is cut into the detail design. Both are ironed (tricky, because they do shrink, and thin shrinks more than thick). Glued together. Shoe polished.
Then here's the crazy. (If we haven't already achieved it) Sew the finished, shaped gauntlets to rectangles of knit fabric. Yep, I said sew. You can sew craft foam. It's trickier when it's been shaped, but it's possible.
Sew the gauntlets to the fabric. Sew the fabric into tubes. Turn. cut holes for the thumbs, and you've got fingerless gloves with gauntlets attached. And you've got a dwarf.
|Dwarves will always find tunnels!|
Our final costume doesn't get much coverage. Seth is in the musical "Peter Pan" at his high school right now, so he's NEVER home. For the same reason, I don't have many pictures. He knew what he wanted, but wasn't here much to discuss it. As it was, he turned out very cool.
He was the Hatbox Ghost from the Haunted Mansion. He didn't know how to be transparent, so he opted for a full-color version - as if the ghost were in the world what would he look like. Pretty creative! He couldn't find a hatbox, so he found a cool picnic basket and spray painted it.
This year, he passed out candy on our porch, where there was a blacklight to make his skull mask glow, and he was hilarious! He scared so many kids. I was super proud of him because he put so much of his costume together himself this year. I made the cape, and the mask is Tysen's (a very cool kind that is applied directly to the face so that it moves when the wearer talks. Seth applied more makeup after I took pictures so that his face and neck were more obscured), but the rest of the costume he found at second hand stores, costume shops, and out of closets throughout the house! Way to be creative, Seth!
Putting the PLAY in CosplayThe best part of dress-up is playing. I love that my kids aren't too cool to play, no matter their age. It's a little harder to get them to forget I'm there as they get older, but I love when they get goofy and have fun. So here's the appendix of silly pics. In my humble opinion, this is what it's REALLY about!
This first group of pictures I LOVE because they are Lily actually Being a Woodland Elf. I also adore them because even though they are not in focus, they look like watercolor paintings:
And finally we have Elf and Dwarf together. Hilarity ensues. I love the running series where Isaac gets into character by being Dwarf exhausted by Elf.