GAH!!!! So after almost four weeks of slaving over a table covered in hot glue, paper mâché and spray paint, I have finally completed my helmet and boots for my Skyrim Nord Cosplay! In all honesty, if I wasn’t dedicating 70% of my week to a trecherous online Marketing class I’d probably be finished a lot more by now – finishing my degree is just SOOO getting in the way of my paper mâche-ing! Uhg. Worst. But that’s okay, I still have a month to complete the rest of my costume, and everything should be done (hopefully) by the week of October 25th – in time for Halloween and in time for some badass outdoor pictures my bestie will be taking of me with her super awesome camera. I’m actually a little nervous taking pictures because of how they might turn out. I’m a little camera shy when other people are taking my pictures. Unless it’s a selfie, I feel awkward and out of place – but I’m hoping that I can just suck it up for this. And, besides… I’ll be wearing a helmet so maybe that will help a little bit. My last update of this helmet was a few weeks ago and I was just past the foam and cardboard stage. You can find my previous post here. I did a lot of searching for some sort of tutorial to help me with this since I’m so new to costume making, but I found this amazing tutorial here that I’ve been using to help me along the way. Once I had my helmet skeleton I began the paper mâché stage.
I covered the entire helmet skeleton, inside and out with paper mâché. I decided to use a flour and water mix for the mix rather than a glue and water mix. My reasoning behind this was that a) I find I can waste alot of stuff, particularly when I don’t know what I’m doing, so I’d have less of an issue with wasting a small amount of flour rather than a large amount of glue; and b) because it’s cheaper to buy a bag of no name flour than it is to buy a bunch of glue. Essentially, to make the mix, all you need to do is add flour into a bowl and then water and mix until you reach your desired consistency. I’ve noticed that I enjoy a much runnier mix rather than something thicker, especially when using toilet paper strips as I’ve found the thicker the mix the more difficult it is to apply the toilet paper strips. One downside to using flour and water paper mâché mix is that you must wait for each layer to dry completely before adding the next in order to avoid any potential mold. This was a little setback in terms of time but since I gave myself 2 months to complete the project it wasn’t’ a huge deal. Once I had one layer of mâché over the entire skeleton, I added foam strips back over the eyes and down across the helmet from the front to back in order to make the detail “pop” a little more. I didn’t tape these on but rather hot glued them on to ensure all the edges were nice and defined.
The next step was to create the “holders” for the horns. I did this by attaching cylinder-shaped foam pieces to the sides of the helmet. This took a lot of random measuring and taping to get it the way I wanted. I then added a layer of paper mâché to the entire thing. Once it was dry I made the horns.
I made the horns by layering foam and newspaper around a piece of hanger into a horn shape. The hanger came in handy when trying to bend the horns into the shapes I wanted. I then stuck them into the horn holders on the helmet and then secured them there with a hot glue gun. I also used tape to hold the horns together.
Next I covered the main helmet with toilet paper mâché and the horns with regular paper mâché (i.e., newspaper) and then again with . Once toilet paper mâché. Once dry I covered the entire helmet with gesso. Gesso is something that painters use to prepare their canvases before painting. I applied several layers of gesso to the main part of the the helmet and sanded in between to try to give my helmet a smoother finish. I found working with toilet paper mâché was very difficult and it was hard to get all the strips on there neatly. I made the rings around the horns using toilet paper and then added one more layer of gesso. I did not sand any part of the horns.
I made the armor for the boots in a very similar way. I cut out pieces of cardboard, added foam to help with bending, and then added a layer of paper mâché and toilet paper mâché and then layered with gesso and then sanded.
Once the helmet had completely dried I started to paint. I used three different colours – metallic black, silver, and bronze. I first painted the entire thing black and then spray painted it silver. I added bronze for a “rusted” effect. I did the same for the armor on the boots.
I’m pretty happy with the turnout. It was alot of work but it looks totally badass. Once the armor for the boots was dry, I hot glued fur that I had torn off the hood of a jacket arount it. I then glued it onto a pair of brown leather boots I picked up at the Salvation Army for $6.00. I added straps to the bottom of the boots and more fur to the top. I wrapped a few leather staps around the back of the boots as well and glued them into place.
Annnnd that’s it! I’m currently working on my shield, and will then do my gauntlets and then my main armor, which I have chosen to do mostly leather with some fur (if I have any left). I will add a belt as well. Most of the material I’m using is from old leather jackets that I picked up at value village/salvation army. I will likely do my main armor similarly to Aela the Huntress, but with a teensy bit more material. Anyway that’s it for now!!