Sunday, September 27, 2015
Thursday, January 02, 2014
|Sugar Rush decorations from Wreck-It Ralph|
Here's a list of all the decorations we made:
- Peppermint trees
- Giant cotton candy
- Giant lollipops
- Giant jawbreaker
- Gumdrop lights
- Rainbow bridge/finish line
- Hero and cookie medals
Peppermint Trees: These were made out of scrap wood and painted with pink and white latex paint. There's a hinge on the back of the trunk of each tree that is connected to another piece of wood that helps the trees stand. We were inspired by the trees seen in the Sugar Rush decorations at Kara's Party Ideas.
|Giant cotton candy|
To color the batting, I deviated from the tutorial after the watered-down paint recommended did not work for me. The paint wouldn't dry and it gummed up the spray bottle to the point where it wouldn't work. Instead, I used watered-down red food coloring. I hung the batting outside on a line (very important to do it outside to avoid staining stuff indoors) and filled up a spray bottle with water and red food coloring (I experimented to find the right ratio of water to food color). I sprayed the colored water on both sides of the batting and let it dry. I had to go back over several times to fill in places that got missed. I think I ended up using about a bottle and a half of food coloring.
After the batting dried completely, I tore it into strips and wrapped them around the trash cans, tucking the ends of the strips under each other. The tutorial recommends cutting the batting into strips with scissors but I found it looked more realistic when it was torn. Be aware that the food coloring is not waterproof and it can rub off on your clothes or anything else it touches. I wrapped them in trash bags before putting them in my car to keep the color from rubbing off on the interior.
Giant Lollipops: We used this tutorial. Instead of wrapping paper tubes we used PVC pipe. To keep them standing up on the asphalt, we cut holes in some planks of wood and stuck the PVC pipe in.
|Illuminated gumdrop lights|
I got the idea for the gumdrop lights from The Felted Chicken. Those gumdrops didn't light up, though, so here's how I made ones that did:
|Cut out cirle from craft foam|
|Clip edges of craft foam circle|
|Tape circle to cup|
|Cover with plastic wrap|
6. I spread Elmer's white glue over the whole thing (except for the hole for the light) then rolled it in Epsom salts. I added more glue and sprinkled on salt in any place that didn't get enough during the rolling stage then let it dry completely.
|Illuminated gumdrop light|
Rainbow Bridge/Finish Line: The rainbow was made from taped-together strips of colored construction paper (the kind that comes on a roll). The finish line was white paper with a grid drawn onto it.
|Hero and cookie medals|
The most time-consuming aspect of making a costume for Wreck-It Ralph's Vanellope von Schweetz was the wig. Just cutting and styling the wig took a week by itself, and making the candy pieces took another! I wish my hair had been long enough to put in a ponytail - pinning the candy into my own hair would've saved so much time. A write-up of how I made the wig is below. Pictures and info on the rest of the costume can be found here; my post on the Sugar Rush decorations is here.
|Vanellope Wig - Front|
|Vanellope Wig - Left|
|Vanellope Wig - Right|
|Vanellope Wig - Back|
|Vanellope Wig - Top|
As this was a low-budget costume, I did not let myself spend $50+ on a nice wig from one of the many online wig stores that cater to costumers. I've done that before (with my Canal Vorfeed costume) and, while it probably would've been worth the money, I just couldn't justify it this time. Instead, I hit every Halloween store in my area until I found a black ponytail wig for $12 at Target:
|"Gladiator Ponytail" wig - $12 at Target|
If you're going to make a Vanellope wig (or a wig of any other character whose hair is in a ponytail), you need to be sure to use a wig that is intended to be pulled up into a ponytail. Most costume wigs are only made to be worn with the hair down, so if you try to pull the hair up into a ponytail you'll find that all the seams, netting, etc. will show.
Here's what the ponytail wig looked like after I took it out of the bag:
|Ponytail Wig, just out of the bag|
After straightening and detangling the wig, the next step was to get it back into a ponytail. I wanted the ponytail to stand up away from the top of the head so it would look poofier. I found pictures of a few other Vanellope cosplayers who somehow used a styrofoam ball to make their ponytails poofy but I couldn't for the life of me figure out how they did it (that is to say, I spent way too much time trying to figure it out so I gave up and improvised!).
Here's how I made the ponytail stand up:
I used part of a hole cover plate (what you'd use if you removed a door knob and didn't want an empty hole in the door) we had sitting around, an empty plastic thread spool, and a washer to create a base to build my ponytail around.
|Part of a hole cover plate, empty thread spool, and a washer.|
|Plate hole cover in wig|
|Plate hole cover held in place with string|
|Thread spool and washer attached to plate hole cover|
|Wig with ponytail base.|
- Added Wefts: Because there was so little hair on the wig that was full length, there was not enough extra hair for me to leave down for the chunks of hair the hang in front of Vanellope's ears. I went to a beauty supply store and bought a $3 package of black plastic (Kanekalon) hair. I used a tutorial from Katie Bair to turn the hair into wefts that I then sewed in place on the inside of the wig, just over the ears.
- Portioned out Bangs: I used clips to separate the bangs and the "ear chunks" from the rest of the hair so they would not get caught up in the ponytail.
- Formed the Ponytail Around the Spool: This was a pain to do - I probably did it half a dozen times and using several different methods before I was happy with it. The method that ended up working best was the one featured in this Youtube video from Elizabeth Schram. So the spool wouldn't show, I used black string to wrap the ponytail around the spool (see photo below) and used some caulk on the top of the spool to glue some of the hair to it.
- Cut the Bangs: Using a picture of Vanellope as reference, I trimmed the bangs and "ear chunks."
- Styled the Wig: I used a hair dryer on low and cheap hair spray to style the bangs and curl the ponytail.
|String wrapped around ponytail, over the spool|
Here are some close-ups of the candy after I attached it to the wig.
|Vanellope's hair candy|
|Vanellope's hair candy|
|Vanellope's hair candy|
- Twizzler hair tie (1): red
- gummy bears (2): green, purple
- chocolate peppermints (2): green and brown swirled
- hearts (2): orange, pink
- stars (3): yellow
- thin sprinkles (26): red, light blue, dark blue, pink, purple, green, orange
- round confetti sprinkles (20): green, orange, yellow, pink, light blue, dark blue
|Twizzler hair tie|
|Gummy bear made from hot glue|
|Gummy bear made from hot glue|
|Real gummiy bear soaking in water|
|Enlarged gummy bear in plaster mold|
As the plaster dries it sucks the extra water out of the gummy bear, causing it to shrink. That's not a problem though, as the mold retains the original shape of the larger bear. Once the plaster hardened, I removed the real gummy bear.
|Hot glue in gummy bear mold|
Before the glue cooled completely, I pulled the gummy bear cast out of the mold (if you leave it until it completely cools, it can be difficult to remove). I let the glue cool the rest of the way and then colored it with a Sharpie marker. After the Sharpie dried, I painted over the fake gummy bear with a clear gloss coat.
Attaching the Candy Pieces
While making my wig, I watched the movie and made a diagram of the kinds of candies and their position on Vanellope's hair. I tried to follow this when attaching them to the wig, but by the time I got to that point I was in a pretty big hurry to finish the dang thing and didn't do a fantastic job. I used hot glue and just glued them on. As you can see from a number of the photos above, I probably rushed too much so it ended up looking a bit messy. Unfortunately with hot glue once it's on the wig hair, it's not coming off so when I mispositioned a piece, it was stuck there. Only after I finished did I realized I put too much candy on the top of the head since Vanellope has most of her candy on the sides, not the top. Oh well! I'm still pretty happy with it. :)
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
|Vanellope von Schweetz costume and Sugar Rush decorations|
|Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph|
White Pullover Hoodie = $13
Rit Dye (Aquamarine and Kelly Green) $3 ea. x 2 = $6
Tulip Soft Matte Fabric Paint (Turquoise, Neon Green and Grape) $2 ea. x 3 = $6
Opaque White Tights = $8
Ponytail Wig = $12
1 lb. Sculpey Clay = $8
Hideous Pink Boots = $15
Brown Broadcloth Fabric 45 in. wide by 3 yd. x $2/yd (on sale) = $6
Lightweight Fusible Interfacing 20 in. wide by 6 yd. x $2.5/yd = $15
That totals out to $89, but once I add in all the little incidentals (thread, gummi bears, elastic, Sharpies, paint-on gloss coat, glue sticks), it was pretty much $100. And I'm not even figuring in all the money I wasted "experimenting," like when I tried to dye the tights instead of painting them or using RIT color remover to take out the first bad dye job I did on the hoodie (it didn't remove squat!). Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and save yourself a little money.
- Fruit of the Loom White Pullover Hoodie (found in Walmart men's department)
- Rit Dye in Aquamarine and Kelly Green (I used the liquid dye)
- Mini glue sticks
- Pink Sharpie
- craft sticks (aka popsicle sticks)
- Gloss coat
- Fray Check
- Washing Machine (mine is a standard)
- Hot glue gun
- Scissors/exacto knife
Originally I tried to dye the hoodie in a bucket and it was a disaster. Even though I followed the instructions on RIT's website, the hoodie ended up splotchy and horrible-looking. There was not enough room in the bucket for the hoodie to get adequately dyed. I tried to remove the color so I could start over by using RIT color remover but it did nothing. I finally had to use bleach and that got most of the color out, though it was still a little yellow.
After that disaster, I decided to use the washing machine (mine is a standard top-loader). I was scared that I would end up coloring a subsequent load of clothes but I just ran a large load with bleach through after dying and I had no problems. Following the instructions from RIT's site, I ran a medium load with hot water on the longest agitate cycle I had (I think I had to turn the dial back a few times so it would agitate for at least 30 minutes as directed). After the hoodie went through the whole wash cycle, it came out looking great and exactly the color I was trying to get.
That leads me to to the big question you probably have: how much of each dye did I use? I'll tell you what I did but please understand that your situation may be different and you may get different results. I urge you to dye some test swatches of your fabric first - that's what I did and I discovered that the color mixture from RIT's site that I thought would be perfect was nowhere near the color I wanted.
I used the liquid dyes, one part RIT Aquamarine to one part RIT Kelly Green (so fifty-fifty, aka half and half). In my medium load in the washing machine, I believe (though I forgot to write it down, so I'm not 100% positive) that I used 4 ounces of each color (1/2 a cup of each) for a total of 8 ounces of dye. However, even if you do everything exactly the same as I did, there are several variables that could cause you to get a different color than the one I got with that mixture:
- My hoodie was 60% cotton, 40% polyester. RIT sticks to cotton better than polyester, so because my hoodie was only 60% cotton, that means I probably got a lighter color than I would've gotten had the hoodie been 100% cotton. Different cotton/polyester mixes would also give different results.
- How much water is in the "medium" load in your washer. I have no idea how much is in mine; if you have more or less water, your dye would be less diluted/more diluted and you could end up with a different color.
- If you use the powdered dye instead of the liquid your results could be different (I don't know what the powdered equivalent of the amount I used is).
How I made the drawstrings and stitches:
I struggled until pretty much the last minute trying to figure out how I wanted to make the drawstrings and stitches. When I was in the planning stages of the costume I watched Wreck-It Ralph several times and took screen captures of Vanellope's outfit and it looked to me like her hoodie's drawstrings and stitches were made of a translucent, pink, plastic-like candy. I have no idea what real-world candy would actually look like that - Twizzlers (like in her hair) aren't really that translucent. Anyway, I didn't want to use yarn or cording but I couldn't find ANYTHING clear, flexible, the right size and pink (or capable of being colored pink). I tried making silicone caulk strings, covering pink cord with hot glue, and using a straw as a mold for a string of hot glue (it just glued the straw together). Nothing looked right.
|Drawstrings on the hoodie|
|Stitches on the hoodie|
Attaching the drawstrings and stitches:
The drawstrings don't actually go all the way through the hoodie, they just stick out at ends. I hot glued them into the holes meant for the drawstring (I removed the drawstring that came with the hoodie before dying it). For the stitches, I cut holes in the hoodie where they belonged, touch up the holes with Fray check, let it dry (I didn't on the first hole and that's why some pink rubbed off on the hoodie) and ran the ends of the stitches through the holes. I hot glued each stitch to opposite ends of a popsicle stick (cut to about 2 inches long) on the inside of the hoodie. I did this so the stitches would appear curved on the outside of the hoodie.
|How the stitches are attached on the inside|
- ~3 yd. Symphony Broadcloth in Dark Chocolate (35 in. wide, from Joann's)
- ~6 yd. Pellon lightweight fusible interfacing (probably didn't use this much but I can't remember)
- Brown thread
- Elastic, ribbon or cord for waistband
- Sewing machine
- Ironing board
- Starch (optional, helps make pleats stiffer)
Vanellope's skirt looks like two Reece's Peanut Butter Cup wrappers, layered on top of one another. I thought about using a shiny fabric to make the skirt look glossy like in the film, but I was concerned that the fabric would be damaged by the iron when I went to make the accordion pleats. Instead I used the cheapest fabric I could find - it was a 65% polyester, 35% cotton mix that I found in the quilting section.
I used the Circle Skirt Tutorial from danamadeit.com to find the right size for the skirt, to make a pattern for a 1/4 of the skirt and to cut out the skirt (I did not make the same kind of waistband as in the tutorial). I made the skirt short enough that I could cut the longer layer out from one piece of 45 inch fabric, instead of having to piece it together. The shorter layer was also cut from one piece of fabric, I just made it 4 inches shorter than the longer layer.
After cutting out my two giant circles, I followed AntiAiChan's tutorial on Youtube for making accordion pleats for a Vanellope skirt. I made my pleats wider than the ones in the video (I counted how many Vanellope's skirt had and aimed for a similar number). Bonus: larger pleats means less ironing!
I drew my pleats on the 1/4 skirt pattern which I then used to cut out pieces of interfacing (4 for each layer of skirt). The biggest time-saving tip I can tell you is to get a pencil or Sharpie and transfer the marking for your pleats from the pattern onto the non-sticky side of each piece of interfacing. This way you don't have to go back and do it after you iron it to the brown fabric.
I ironed the interfacing on to the inside of each layer of the skirt. The pieces didn't match up 100%, but it was close enough. I hemmed the lower edge of both layers and ran an overlock stitch over the top edge of them as well (but did not hem them). Still follower AntiAiChan's instructions, I ironed in all the pleats. I used spray starch while I was ironing but I'm not sure it made much of a difference. The weight of the interfacing is really what keeps the pleats sharp - don't use the featherweight stuff (I did for part of it and it did not hold the pleats as well). AntiAiChan used Pellon's Decor-Bond fusible interfacing so that may be the best way to go.
|Drawstring waistband on skirt|
- White opaque tights
- Tulip Soft Matte Fabric Paint in Turquoise, Neon Green and Grape
- Painter's tape
- Cardboard mailing tube or duct tape leg
- Dressmaker's chalk
The tights were the very last thing I made and they were nearly a disaster. When I dyed the hoodie, I experimented with using RIT dye on tights and I got a result that, though a bit light-colored, was okay. Unfortunately in the month that passed between when I did the test and when I sat down to do the tights (the day before the event), I completely forgot how I had applied the dye, how long I left it, how much I had diluted it...pretty much everything. But I thought I could figure out what I did and wasted most of the day experimenting. Everything I tried was a failure - the dye ran under the painters tape and most of it washed out afterward.
So lesson learned, RIT dye is not the best method for making striped tights. The next best thing I could come up with at the last minute was fabric paint. I had dismissed fabric paint earlier because I thought it might end up looking "crusty" or splotchy, but since I was running out of time I didn't have much choice. Luckily it turned out better that I thought. Though the paint was a little splotchy, it wasn't really noticeable once the tights were on.
I used this "Vanellope's tights" tutorial from pixiesizedprincess.tumblr.com as a starting point. The first thing I did was use a Sharpie to right "R" and "L" at the waistband of the tights so I wouldn't get them mixed up when I made my chalk markings while looking in the mirror. Vanellope's right leg has angled green and white stripes while her left leg has horizontal green, white and purple bands. I put on the tights, my skirt and boots and lightly marked where I thought the stripes should go with blue dressmaker's chalk. I took off the tights, stretched each leg over a cardboard mailing tube (one at a time) and used a ruler to redraw my marking so they were evenly spaced.
When I was ready to paint, I used painter's tape to mask off the parts I wanted to stay white. I used the Grape paint as-is and mixed together the Turquoise and Neon Green fabric paint to get the green color I wanted (no clue about the exact proportions - all I can say is that I used most of the bottle of Neon Green and not as much of the Turquoise). Contrary to what the tutorial said, I watered the paint down a little because it wasn't spreading like I wanted. That did result in a little bit of running, though, so it might not have been a good idea. After letting the first leg dry completely, I repeated everything on the other leg.
- Obviously I wish I hadn't wasted a day trying to make the RIT dye work!
- I wish I had had time to make a duct tape model of my leg like in the tutorial and had to use a cardboard mailing tube. The fabric paint dries very stiff and the tights end up stretched to the width of whatever you had them on when you painted them. Since I used the mailing tube, this meant that my tights were baggy in the ankle and so-tight-I-could-barely-get-them-up around the thigh. In the end they still worked, but a duct tape leg would've solved those problems.
- The paint stuck to the cardboard when it dried, so when I tried to peel it off the mailing tube I ended up with little pieces of paper stuck to the inside of my tights! It was a giant pain to clean up. Possibly something slick underneath liked waxed paper (or duct tape) might've stopped that, but I didn't have time to experiment and was worried that a slick surface under the tights might make the paint bleeding worse.
- The Neon Green Tulip Soft Matte Fabric Paint had glitter in it. It was the only shade of green at the store that was anywhere near what I needed so I used it anyway, but the glitter rubbed off on everything and made a mess. A non-glitter paint would've been better.
|Boot altered to look like Vanellope's (original boot in the background)|
Vanellope's boots are shiny, black, laceless boots with red licorice stuck to the soles. I had a hard time finding something that looked anything like that for under $20. Eventually I got lucky and found a hideous pair of black slippers with pink bows, pink faux-fur lining and pink soles at Walmart for $15. I removed the bows and I carefully detached the fur lining from the top of the boot so it could be tucked inside. I didn't remove it completely because it was attached to the rest of the interior lining and without it the boots would've been uncomfortable to wear. I used a black Sharpie to draw over the pink stitching on the boots and a red Sharpie to color in the edges of the pink soles so they would look like the red licorice. I wish yet again that I had thought to use a waterproof gloss coat over the red Sharpie because I discovered afterward that some of it had rubbed off on my tights (I guess when I accidentally touched them with the edge of the boot).