So, I announced a while ago that I am working on a cosplay… and this is my first post about the ongoing efforts. My character of choice? Melkor, also known as Morgoth, Black Foe of the World, the major villain in the Silmarillion. (Yeah, I know, I’m weird.)
Melkor/Morgoth’s most important attribute is probably his crown, with in it the three Silmarils (glowing holy jewels) that he stole from Fëanor. In this post, I’ll show you how I tried to recreate said crown for my costume.
What I needed:
- Cardstock/Cardboard. (You can get this in large white sheets at a craft store, but being a thrifty person I got mine by collecting empty boxes of deep freeze pizza and cereal.)
- Black craft foam. (I got mine at a hobby store. It came in A3 sheets; I bought two sheets but ended up needing only one.)
- Gesso. (Some sort of white paint that is mostly used to prepare surfaces for further painting. Also at the hobby store.)
- Black glossy spray paint. (Got mine at a hardware store. Make sure you can actually use the paint on all surfaces, as some spraypaints dissolve craft foam. *experience speaking here*)
- Black acrylic paint.
- Glass stones. (I found them at my local florist; a lucky find because I was not looking forward to having to make these myself.)
- Hot glue gun. (This is my most expensive tool, and it is worth every cent I paid for it. I invested in a larger, high quality tool, but you can also get a small hot glue gun on a cheap in most hobby stores.)
- Paper tape and duct tape.
- String of LED lights. (Because I’m not Fëanor, and also quite lazy, the light of my Silmarils comes from a battery-powered string of lights I found at a party decoration store. Any lights will do, just make sure there aren’t too many of them; the whole string has to fit in the crown, and you do have to carry that stuff on your head all the time.)
How I did it:
- I made a rough mock-up in cardboard to have an idea of the pieces I would need. I ended up having three main pieces, and a circular crown-thing to attach them to.
- Notice the holes in the pieces? That’s for the “silmarils” to fit in. I made the holes exactly big enough for the stones to get stuck in.
- I then cut out those pieces in craft foam, and glued them to the cardboard. Most people who work with craft foam don’t do this, but remember: you are going to attach three glass stones and a heap of cables and batteries to this thing, so you want all the support you can get.
- The pieces aren’t flat, you have to bend them to the shape of your head. When craft foam heats up it becomes bendy, when it cools down it keeps the shape. I was a little scared the cardboard would do away with this quality, but it worked perfectly. Because I don’t have a heat gun, I used the heating element of my hot glue gun for this.
- Next I sealed the pieces with Gesso. Craft foam is like a sponge; you need to seal it before you can paint it. Many people use glue and water for this process, but because I had bad experience with my foam melting through the paint, I opted for many thick layers of Gesso instead. I painted until the black foam no longer shone through, and then another layer just to be sure. Took about two days.
- Everything got two layers of spray paint; later I attached the main crown pieces to each other and gave them an extra layer. Gesso and paint harden out, so you want to make sure the bend of the crown is good before the last layer of paint, because after the assembly there can be cracks you might need to mask.
- I stuck the glass stones into the holes made for them, and then I circled them with hot glue to keep them in said position. It’s not as easy as it sounds: hot glue is hot and I am a clumsy person, and I burned my hands twice doing this. *facepalm*
- I then fitted the string of lights into the crown. As you can see, this led to a heap of tape being used. The backside of the crown is not exactly attractive at the moment…
- To mask the ugly backside, I painted as much of the tape as I could with black acrylic, and made a fabric cover to go over it (Not shown here). I glued the cover in place with hot glue, but left the bottom free so I could still reach under it to turn the lights on and off.
So far my cosplay efforts! This is my first serious cosplay (I have cosplayed before, but most of my kit was either store-bought or very haphazardly put together; this is the first time I’m making almost everything myself!) and I’m sort of proud of it. The Helmet/Crown is finished now, but there is still a heap of work to be done before the end of the year… I hope I get it all done in time!