Paul Gentile posted this fun top hat on YouTube. Apparently his son had a geek dream.
The inspiration for this hat came from my son, who was looking to create a costume for Halloween. Unfortunately we did not make this in time for Halloween, but we did make it for the Geek Create show. He wanted something Steam Punk in style. I found these felt top hats on Amazon for only a few bucks and figured we could not go wrong.
His final outfit turned out well and he called himself Doctor “OHM” (Doctor Who Fans – read it upside down). So the hat, the LEDs, the Doctor OHM references … it all just worked. We have since used the hat at holiday parties and it made a big hit on New Year’s Eve. We made the hat using the LED MAgician.
Hats off to Paul for bringing his son’s dream to reality. This is a great use of LEDs, but if you want even more variety in pattern and color, you could do the same with a FLORA microcontroller and some NeoPixels. Check out our NeoPixel Uber Guide to learn about your options.
Sam Baumel was faced with a challenge — design a pair of kicks for his cousin’s wedding. Being a lover of the moving image, he decided to make a shoe that would embody his passion.
The groomsmen were told to pick a theme (like robots or superheroes) for their Converse All-Star High Tops. My theme?…SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND. The gem-encrusted Converse spit light in circles from heel to toe with each step, hop and twerk. I danced the night bright with sequins on my socks and LED cuff link accents.
You can check out Sam’s craftsmanship, as well as his love of fun graphics (Spoiler Alert), in this video.
When asked about his genius, Sam admitted that the shoes were an Adafruit inspiration.
The shoes are modeled off the Adafruit Learning System, but I added some of my own rhinestone flare. An earlier prototype was built for Burning Man using EL Tape, velcro and traditional force resistors. Those force resistors sent a few too many electrical shocks to the heel Adafruit’s suggestion of using Velostat and LED strips worked MUCH better
We have to agree he has dazzling talents, especially patience in attaching all of those rhinestones. In the end, it’s worth it to be seen on a dance floor in an original creation. Are you ready for the wearable tech movement? Get your kicks out of our tutorial.
Meet Vanilla Nieves, Chihuahua and professional model. She recently garnered attention at the New York Pet Fashion Show with her LED studded skirt and collar. Her couture was designed by two Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) pet fashion designers — Ada Nieves and Gladys Delgado-Garced. Here’s what Gladys had to say about the design.
I attend a dog fundraiser each February, and based on the theme, I come up with a design. This year it was luminaries, and when my friend sent me the skirt I thought, why not do rain patterns?
Gladys loves LEDs and immediately set to work on constructing the circuit. She started with a small matrix and gradually increased the size, testing as she went along. The final skirt had a total of 96 surface mount LEDs — 81 on the skirt matrix and 15 on the collar matrix.
I like the electronics, the fact that the animations can be changed hundreds of times. I like the way the matrix turned out, and with the two microcontrollers you can do patterns like diamonds, rain and X’s. People were in awe and very impressed. They really liked the lights and even MTV was there. I like that pets can enjoy fashion, too!
Obviously these two ladies enjoy their petite clients, so expect to see more glam designs. Want to turn your dog into Lady ChiHuaHua? Get a FLORA or GEMMA microcontroller and some NeoPixels for your creation.
Brooks Zurn has created a sizzling dress with an LED matrix that can display words, inspired by the famous Twitter Dress. With some help from her friends at FamiLAB in Florida, she’s got 576 neopixels glowing.
I used 4 of the Adafruit 144 LED’s/meter neopixels. The full meter consists of two strips soldered end-to-end, so I de-soldered it in the middle to create the segments. After thinking of a few different approaches, a friend advised I sew sleeves for the strips , and then attach those to the garment. Then I found Adafruit had a Neopixel matrix library. It had a variable that could be changed for end-to-end, so I adjusted that. After that, it just worked!
When asked about the micro-controller and power supply, Brooks had some unexpected answers.
I actually used an Arduino Uno, because I wanted to make sure it worked before sewing anything. I found that 576 neopixels all on at the same time used a lot of current — approximately 18mA/neopixel. So, one of my friends had some good suggestions: don’t turn them all on at once, keep them set dim, and use a more powerful battery. I used a tablet/ laptop USB power supply and stripped one end of a USB cord so I could plug the battery into the Arduino. Then it worked.
Brooks is also working on her own wedding dress, which promises to be quite illuminating. Stay tuned!
If you want to see some truly impressive costumes, go to BlizzCon. Blizzard Entertainment’s convention promotes their major franchises, and cosplayers bring their A-games. Many of the outfits in World of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo are elaborate – such as this Blood Elf Priest. Cosplayer OrangeMoose built the ensemble, and it’s show-stopping. She wrote a helpful tutorial on making the leather armor, and this step details cutting the pattern pieces:
I used the scratch awl to trace around my foam shapes on the leather. I cut them out and used the edge beveler to clean up the edges (front and back). After that I used a wool dauber and daubed a liberal amount of the gum tragacanth on all edges. I then used the edge slicker to rub/buff the edges of the leather. What this does is seal the edges to keep them from fraying and it also gives the leather a nice shiny rounded edge.
Though cosplayers usually base their designs on their favorite characters from pop culture or history, they also come up with original looks. Chrix Design designed this scary Death Elf Warrior, and she made the costume, staff, and applied her makeup. Since she pulled the ensemble together with parts she’d already used for other cosplays, it’s a great example of working with what you have to make something shiny and new and how you can pair everyday clothing with handmade items to make an impression.
The pauldrons were made from cardboard, and it seems like a straightforward process:
Start by cutting out the shapes you need in cardcoard.
For the top layer and the ring around my arm I wanted more details. I glued on strips of foam mat in the pattern I wanted.
And then I covered all the cardboard pieces with faux leather. For the pieces with foam strips I was careful to glue down the fabric as close to the details as possible and making sure it stayed glued on.
For the edges I glued on a ribbon. Note: before you do this you should glue on another fabric on the backside of every piece, since you will see the underside from some angles and it is easier to glue that on before you attach the ribbons.
Then do a test assembly. All the pieces are held together with studs, also known as brads.
The family that cosplays together stays together. It’s a good a theory as any. Sarah and her family came up with a Super Mario Bros. ensemble that included Luigi, Princess Peach, Mario, Bowswer, and a teeny tiny mushroom. They sewed or pieced together each costume by hand, and I love the idea of building and creating as a family project. Bowser proved to be the most difficult (that’s appropriate), and here are a few of the details on the process:
I began with the shell and spikes (I figured those were the simplest shapes to form-I had no prior experience with 3D shapes in sewing). I used a pillow for the main bulk of it, then attached the ring around it and the spikes. In doing this I discovered the most amazing stuffing material PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS! (…shshshsh don’t tell anyone my secret). It turned out to be perfect for giving the spikes stiffness while remaining lightweight… and super cheap!
This made me much more confident in undertaking the most difficult part-Bowser’s face. I saw online a suggestion to use a baseball cap so that it would already fit my husband’s head and build onto it to make a headdress/mask. We didn’t want to cover his face so we decided to have his face in Bowser’s mouth. I completely constructed the face initially just out of shopping bags constantly looking at pictures of Bowser online. Once I was finished I wasn’t sure how to cover it all, until I realized I could take it back apart one piece at a time, and cover each piece with fabric before sewing it back together. Just the head itself took me about 2 hours a day (during kids nap time) for 8 days to complete. It turned out amazing, and my husband was super stoked!
Metroid’s Samus Aran has been around for a couple of decades, and the character’s popularity is holding steady. Instructables user Sam DeRose‘s brother is a fan of the bounty hunter so his family built him a Samus Aran costume with over 100 LEDs and sound effects controlled by an Arduino tucked away in the backpack. The result is an impressive suit made from vacuum formed plastic, EVA foam, Bondo, and more. Some details on the arm cannon:
The cannon was made out of a piece of 3 inch (inner-diameter) schedule 40 PVC which we glued EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam to, covered in a craft sealant (called “Mod Podge Glue”), then painted. The front muzzle piece is just a 3-2.5 inch PVC adaptor with a piece of orange transparent acrylic glued inside. Behind the acrylic are two sets of LEDs, 6 yellow and 6 red, which are independently controlled by an arduino in the backpack.
Near the back of the cannon, there are two styrofoam protrusions on opposite sides of the barrel. One houses a control panel that has buttons where you can ‘unlock’ the cannon by typing in a certain combination (once you unlock the cannon, you can shoot by pressing a button inside the PVC tube). The other has a speaker embedded in it, which plays cool sounds from the game Metroid when you push buttons and ‘unlock’ the cannon with the right combination. Both of these are controlled by the arduino stored in the backpack (you can see the cables running from the cannon to the backpack in the main photo above).
Say what you will about the prequels, but you can’t deny that Padmé has a closet stuffed with gorgeous gowns. And yes, she makes some misguided decisions and has a crappy ending, but she also kicks some butt. Anyway, cosplayer extraordinaire Kelldar has made a few of Padmé’s outfits. The parade dress from The Phantom Menace is one of my favorites. To make the elaborate cape, she had to dye each petal by hand and sew them on individually. Whew.
For the cape, I started by making a basic cape out of white material. I came up with three pattern pieces – one for large petals, one for medium size petals, and one for small petals. Even though on the original dress, the petals are unhemmed, I wanted my dress to last, so I finished the edges on my serger. I cut out petals out of both the chiffon and organza – each petal is two layers and each has a rolled edge. I dyed each petal in yellow and pink dye, then started attaching them. Ended up having to go back for more organza and chiffon twice – all in all I ended up using over 40 yards of fabric for the cape. Towards the bottom, before sewing the petals on, I sewed layers of netting to help add some body to it. I still dream of sewing those petals on… it went on for forever! I sewed arm straps in to hold the cape in place, and also “handles” so I could keep the cape in front of me.
Many complex costumes start from a simple and widely available material: cardboard. I’m continually impressed by what creative people can do with it, and Replica Prop Forum user Slagmite used it as the base for his Mr. Freeze cosplay. It was his first Bondo and resin suit build, and he invested about 150 hours in this first version of the costume. One of the neat aspects about the outfit is the light up hoses, and it was an easy solution:
The hose is the metal insulation from a length of scrap insulated wire and the lights are just LED rope that I wrapped around it. They are attached to a PVC canister on the back that I fill with hot water and dry ice. The Fog goes through the hoses and out through the entire suit. It only lasts for about 1 minute before I have to replace the hot water and a little more dry ice. Its more so for competitions instead of a regular trick. Works great. The fog is heavy and it’s cold.
The Nintendo game Dynamic Slash featured Norse mythology and Brynhild/Brunhilde was one of the Gods who showed up in the game. She has distinctive armor, and it’s just the sort of outfit cosplayers drool over re-creating. Shappi made the costume for the 2013 European Cosplay Gathering, and she looks absolutely amazing. She said it was a nightmare to work all the details into the armor, but the finished product is worth it. She used foam, Worbla, Wonderflex, resin, and more.
She even made all the jewelry for the armor by hand:
Process of making jewelry for neck, sword and belt.
1) I created clay + metal ornaments negative for each of the pieces.
2) Made the molds for each piece with silicone
3) Cast this madness army of little rainbow pieces!
To be honest i have never ever made more complex resin casting work, this is crazy how much time it took to prepare each piece with this tiny details.
Zelda has had different looks across various games, and cosplayer Akuriko has re-created more than a few of her outfits. My favorite Zelda costume is The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess version, and Akuriko built what looks like an exact replica. She made everything except the ears and spent about one year and four months on the project. The time she invested is evident in the quality. She used craft foam, Mod Podge, epoxy resin, and tons of other everyday supplies in the build.
From her FAQ on the costume:
How did you make your armor?
I created the base from craft foam, backed it with wire form, sculpted the details from model magic, and sanded them after the model magic was dry. I then coated them with one layer of fiberglass resin, spray painted, and weathered them.
How did you make your crown and other accessories?
I made them from model magic, sanded and sealed them with modge podge. Then I painted and weathered them, and coated them with high-gloss epoxy resin.
Though this Treebeard isn’t carrying around two hobbits, he still looks a lot like the character from The Lord of the Rings. Instructables user fasaxc made the costume over a weekend for Halloween. Just look at those realistic eyes! He invested most of his time into constructing the head and like the rest of the costume, the base of the tree top is cardboard. He also used Gesso, acrylic paint, wire mesh, and air dry clay. Some details on the paint job for the head:
The head got three layers of paint and some details:
One layer of gesso, which is a white primer. If I had a do-over, I’d mix in some black paint so that I was starting with a grey base. That way, little nicks in the upper layers wouldn’t show up as much.
One layer of reddish-brown.
One layer of greenish-grey, applied with a fairly dry brush. It lets the brown show through in cracks and crevices, which is what we want.
For the details, I added highlights and lowlights using dark and light versions of the above paint. I actually dropped blobs and white and black into my mixing bowl and only partially mixed them. That way, I could pick up a bit of dark or light on each trip to the bowl.
Lady Sif isn’t someone who you want to make angry. Not even a little. Cosplayer Kimi admired the character and put a ton of work into getting the costume just right – the result is impressive. As you can see, it’s referenced from the comic book and not the Thor movies. The most challenging part of the cosplay was making the leg armor so she started there. She purchased tassets to modify.
Not exactly what I needed [the tassets], but a good start. The first thing I needed to fix was the color. The tassets I got were imitation (CHEAP) leather with many imperfections and this horrible cherry red color. That is not the Sif I’m going for. I want to make a realistic, leather clad warrior, not a cherry red snow bunny with a sword.
Step 1: Fix the color. I used shoe dye to change the color and then used shoe polish to bring out the imperfections and darken the edges. This aged the material and made it shine like real leather. The original color is on the right and the new look is on the left. I have since done another coat of the shoe polish, so they are even darker now.
Thanos was tempted into a life of destruction and death, but cosplayer McNopants13 didn’t have to replicate his path when he made a mask of the villain’s face and constructed his Infinity Gauntlet. Building this costume requires a little background knowledge in casting a bust and hand to use as a base but if you can figure that out with online tutorials or workshops, you can move forward. He used medium chavant clay to sculpt and then put the sculpts in molds:
for both moulds i used the same technique which consists of building up a wall of clay and then adding a good coverage of a cement like substance called ultra cal. this product is ideal for making masks out of latex and foam latex
make sure that you cover your clay in a good clear coat spray before you apply the ultra cal this makes it alot easier to clean out the clay later.
once the clay is out and the moulds are clean you can begin your casting in latex or foam latex when using foam latex it is also wise to reinforce the inside by laying some sort of stretchy mesh or pantyhose on the base