Tuesday, 1 October 2013

SCP173 Costume: DIY Tutorial

So, Sprout had wanted to be SCP173 at the Eurogamer cosplay competition last weekend. I knew this months ago, and planned, and procrastinated, and planned a bit more, until it was the week before and I went into turbomummy mode. Now, I'm no artist or model maker, so what follows is more rough around the edges than an angry badger in a bramble bush, but if I ever need to do something similar I now have experience to go on :)

4m white blackout fabric (this was for a 7 year old, adjust a necessary for bigger people!)
Metre or so of sew in velcro
Metre of self-adhesive velcro
Small amount of net (I'd bought fishnets but 'the seamstress' already had actual net)
Metre or so of medium-ish wadding.
Black fabric paint
Two plastic carrier bags
Bicycle helmet
Hot glue
A balloon
Some plaster bandage
4 wire coat hangers
Newspaper/PVA or fast mache if you're in a rush like I was!
Two green plastic bowls
Two small black glass doorknobs
Fake blood
Off white Sculpey or Fimo or the like

First, the body. Now, I can't sew, so I persuaded Sprout's grandma that she'd love to do this bit. Save a few miscommunications (read: me being right and no-one listening to me haha), this went well. We laid the material, doubled up, on the floor, Sprout lay on top and we drew round him. We took the fabric down past his feet as SCP173 doesn't have discrete feet, and the same over the hands. We took it up over his head, as because of the proportions of the monster, the head would have to be on top of Sprout's head (NB. This is why we made it as we did. The head ended up pretty heavy. It would be more practical to make the head as an over-the-head mask, but then the proportions would be wrong. Your call.) We also added a strip over where Sprout's face would be, to match the strip on the neck of the original, with the panel of net sewn in for him to see through. The hands were sewn with pillow openings, to give the effect of no hands but give the practicality of, y'know, not going an entire gaming expo without eating. We put an opening right up the back, with velcro fastenings sewn in. We sewed a panel of wadding into the bum and one into the tummy.

Next, dying it. I used a scrunched up carrier bag dipped in watered-down fabric dye, and patted it over the whole thing, front and back.

I then did the same over the bum area and up the spine, but with neat dye.

Next, the head. Now, as I said, this is gonna be heavy. Go for a mask instead if you want. Also, this is the really rough round the edges bit of the tute, as I needed to keep the cost down and just use things I had in the house. If you have the stuff to make a more effective frame for the head, do so on top of the bicycle helmet. If however, like me, you're a 'fly by the seat of your pants balloon hanger bandage and whatever you can find in the house sculptor'...

Bend the four hangers, and, against all the laws of physics, get them to stay twisted both into each other and through the holes of the helmet. Blow up a balloon and squeeze it mercilessly inside. Find some leftover plaster bandage, and make some sort of lateral framework with it, leaving a hole down the front for its mouth. Tie anything wriggly with some scraps of wool or something else convenient and not quite perfect for the job.

While that monstrosity dries, craft some vicious-looking teeth from Scupley/Fimo, maybe two or three inches long, and bake.

Realise your framework is full of holes, and cover with a carrier bag (or obtain more plaster bandage, which would be far more effective, and a billion times the price).

Make up your paper mache.

Get to hand your two green bowls, two black doorknobs, and the teeth you've just lovingly crafted and hopefully haven't left burning in the oven. If you have, go! Go get them! Yeah, they're burnt. Make some more now.

Through a combination of hot glue, sellotape, little bits of polystyrene that the doorknobs came on, and sheer bloodymindedness, attach the various bits of face as shown here, paper mache around them, remembering to make the mouth hollow. If some teeth keep falling out, don't panic, once the paper mache is dry (we'll get to that in a second) they'll hot glue back in really easily.
Now, the drying. Oh, the drying. The fast mache type stuff I had, took days to dry. Days. In front of a dehumidifier. Then hours with a hairdryer. HOURS. I thought I'd gone deaf when I finally turned it off. Anyway, there's no doubt a better product, or a better way, or some secret paper mache club where people are reading this and shaking their heads going, "Dude, she totally made it half a millimetre too thick and forgot the secret ingredient..." But anyway, this is how I did it, and got there in the end.

So, at this point, halfway through and wondering if I could get away with just doing the front half if he stands by the wall for the whole expo, I thought I'd paint the front. I used more of the black fabric paint to do inside the mouth and round the cheeks and eyes, and fake blood for the, erm, blood.
Then I stuck the strip of self adhesive velcro round the base of the bicycle helmet so I knew where to paper mache down to. And then, more mache-ing...

...and more drying *yawn*

But eventually, voila!
The bit that looks odd at the base of the neck is where the viewing panel went in in the wrong place the first time, we fixed it after the photo so in the final version it was right up under the base of the helmet.

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