Took me a while but here is my Wizard costume construction break down. There is so much going on here that I hope you can take away some info and be able to apply it to your project.
Concept to Reality
One thing about Diablo costumes is that they leave a lot up to interpretation. For my build I referenced mainly this photo and pulled a few things from my own in game build of the character. Since you don’t see a lot of the details of the design due to how the art was drawn I took some time a drew out some ideas on what direction to take the armor. I knew the character thought very highly of herself so when conceptualizing the costume I decided to express that with very ornate and fancy fabrics. While thinking of what material to use for the armor I several options such as:
Foam: Cheap, easy to work with and to create details with. A lot harder to get organic curves (which are profound in her design) and not as resilient to travel.
Worbla: More pricey than foam, easy to use and to create the organic yet highly detailed look of the armor. Lots of prep work before paint.
Casting: Expensive and not conducive to my time restraints.
TerraFlex: A new themoplastic on the market that is identically to Worbla in every way, yet smoother and available locally.
In the end I chose Terraflex mainly because I wanted to see how it works and looks in a costume application. If you are interested in getting TerraFlex for yourself, Tandy Leather sells it in their stores but can also be found online here: https://www.tandyleather.com/en-usd/3490-02.aspx
I’ve already mentioned what the armor is made of, but there is a break down of what fabrics/materials were used through out the whole costume.
Skirt and Top
- Two-Tone Taffeta in Purple. I purchased it locally, but here is a site that sells it for reference: http://www.madaboutfabrics.com/products/curtain-fabric/two-tone-taffeta-purple.asp
- Two-Tone Organza in Purple/Gold. Purchased locally again.
- White Brocade in Church pattern. Purchased locally but can be found here: http://www.voguefabricsstore.com/Metallic-Church-Brocade-7258-TRADITIONAL-White-Gold-SR-MetCBTrad7258-WhtGld.html
- Maroon Brocade in Church Pattern. Purchased locally, can be found here: http://www.voguefabricsinc.com/productdetail/98/78/Brocade/Metallic-Brocade/Red-Metallic-Brocade
- Black Pleather – Purchased here: http://www.spandexhouse.com/products.php?navId=47&navName=Pleather
- Gold Trim Braid with Dangles, Purchased locally but it is a made for upholstery.
- Matte Metallic Spandex in black: Purchased here http://spandexworld.com/c3/catalog/product/5908
- Metallic Spandex in Black – Purchased here: http://spandexworld.com/c3/catalog/product/1132
Gloves, under body suit and under corset were all purchased and left unaltered, mainly because you don’t see most of them.
To create most of the pattern for the armor I used the “Wrap yourself in cling wrap and masking tape then draw out your designs and then cut it up” technique. For some parts of the armor I reused pervious armor patterns as bases for the new ones. Below you can see how the technique is kind of used.
To create the breast plate I heated some Terraflex bonded to Worbla and shaped it over a dome. I then attached it to the rest of the top by using the adhesive properties of the material and folding over excess from the dome. To be the correct shape for my bust, I cut off the excess near the top and sides. The shoulder parts are attached to the lower part of the plate using the adhesive in the material as well. To keep the top on I used the red brocade to make bands/straps that go from the sides of the breast plate, round back, cross and attach to the lower parts of the shoulders in the back with large snaps. The below photo shows partial how the back of the shoulders are shaped.
Many tutorials for thermoplastics advise to use the sandwich method (thermoplastics>foam>thermoplastics) when creating armor. Personally, I find that technique to waste a lot of material and prefer to use one layer of thermoplastic over the craft foam base, folding the excess over the side and onto the back. I find it holds up just as well but saves you a ton of money in supplies. For many of the pieces in this armor set I used strips attached to the front then folded over onto the back. It creates a nice finished edge and contrast to the rest of the piece. When working with Terraflex, I noticed that it is more prone to getting air bubbles due to over heating. It is also of note they are harder to remove then when they appear in Worbla. To remove an air bubble, poke the bubble with a straight pin while still hot. Then press down the bubble, working the material down to remove the over expanded material. Use of the backs of your finger nails or clay sculpting tools are useful to help work the material back in submission. To attach the armor to the rest of my body, I had installed large snaps or rings along the sides which allow me to snap or tie on the armor. I did also place velcro on the shin and toe plates to prevent any migration due to walking. For the crown, it was attached to a head band. Below are some of the armor pieces before paint
Since Terraflex is naturally a smoother material than Worbla, I only coated the armor pieces in 2-3 coats of filling primer in black followed by a quick sand with 220 paper. The armor was then hastily painted with gold metallic before running to the air port! However, the color was awful and all the armor was repainted with gold metallic acrylic paint, applied with just brushes. The purple is also mixed acrylic paint, with highlights done in a lilac metallic. When I first weathered the costume, I used only brown acrylics diluted with water, brushed on then quickly and lightly wiped off the excess. Once I received photos back I thought the weathering was too subtle and was one of the major things I did when I recently reworked the costume. The second time around I mixed my Burnt Ember with a little black and applied it much heavier then the first time around. Below is comparison.
To create the scrolls on the costume I used a cardboard tube cut to the correct lengths. After cutting it into the right sizes, I filled them with expanding foam/ gap filler that is commonly found at home improvement stores. I chose it as it is lightweight but will help prevent the tubes from getting squished in travel and during wear. Using hot glue, I then covered the tubes in scrap book paper that looked like parchment, burned the edged and wrapped it again in fabric scraps. The ends were finished with craft foam caps detailed with custom casted gems. To attach the scrolls to the rest of the costume, they are glued to ribbon which is then attached to the waist band of my skirt. To create the spell book, I purchased a book box at Michael’s craft stores to use as my base. I then used scraps of leather sewn together to create a cover for the box. Using contact cement to attach the leather cover, I covered the out side of the book box and added details using paint and custom casted gems. A small hole was drilled on the sides to thread a cord through that allows me to attach it to my skirt’s waist band. The plus side to using a book box is that it doubles as my purse while wearing the costume! All the gems on the costume were custom casted using clear epoxy resin. For the larger gems I used an egg shaped plastic keepsake ornament as a master which was then molded with silicone RTV. The gems were without pigment and painted on the back with purple glitter nail polish to resemble the arcane orb on the game’s HUD. Below are some photos showing the scrolls, leather cover and mold box.
The actual sewing parts of this costume were pretty easy for a change. To create the skirt I cut several panels, some on the bias to help them drape better, and then attached them to the skirt’s waist band. I wanted the skirt to have lots of movement and be almost whimsical. Due the nature of the skirt, I opted to wear a black leotard under the costume for modesty. The “top” is really a wrap around vest worn over the body suit but under the corsets. When I first wore this costume I didn’t have time to create a custom corset for the costume so I ended up using one I had already made for another costume. When I reworked the costume, I made a point to create a waist piece that fitted the costume. Originally I was going to bone it so I didn’t have to wear another corset underneath it, yet due to time constraints I opted to make a a piece that essentially covers the functioning corset. Both corsets lace up the back. The leggings were also a new addition to the costume to replace my standard thigh high stockings. The thigh high pieces were made of spandex and then attached to a pair of dance tights to help them stay in place. Since I don’t have any photos of the sewing bits, here are some photos of my crazy work space with my dog stealing my seat. LOL.
The wig for this costume is actually the same wig I used for my Huntress costume with a ponytail clip in at the back. To create the orb she uses, I purchased a large keepsake and then painted it to look like the orb from in game. There was no altering to the shoes aside from adding the armor.
***Info on how to make the claw hand will be in a separate post as it is this month’s tutorial.***
Phew! I think that’s covers all of it! One thing I would like to add is if you aren’t satisfied with your costume after the first time wearing it, don’t fret! The first time I wore this costume I was pretty disappointed in myself with how it turned out. Before I wore it again I evaluated what made me un happy with it and thought about ways to make it better. In all honesty, the first time you wear a costume and take photos of it are usually trial wears, especially for big, armored or elaborate costumes. That first wear tells you invaluable information, such as weak points in construction, how light hits it when photographed, etc,. that you really can only learn from wearing the costume. There have been many times I went back and reworked parts of costumes so I would be happy with the end product. Like the saying goes, if at first you don’t success try, try again!
If I skipped something or you want a clearer explanation on how something was made please let me know! Feel free to ask all the question you need to. I sincerely hope that this was informative. Also, I would love your feedback on weather or not this type of content is helpful and if you want to me to continue costume break downs.
Thanks so much guys! Happy Crafting!