Here's a project that's been in the works for a while, but is now finally complete.
It's a full Death Eater costume based on the designs from the later Harry Potter films
If you like the final costume, please be sure to vote for this to be a winner in the top left hand corner of the screen, and thank you!
Step 1: The Mask
The mask is made from fibreglass, and finished with leather ties at the back.
I started the process by sculpting the mask in clay, using a plaster head cast as a base.
Once the sculpt was complete, I applied 3 seperate layers of silcon moulding rubber directly to the sculpt. The first was a very thin layer, lightly brushed over the clay. The second and third layers had thixotropic added to the rubber to make it much thicker and easier to apply. Make sure each layer is perfectly cured before adding the next.
Once the rubber is all cured, I applied a couple of layers of fibreglass as a jacket to keep the rubber in shape once it's removed from the sculpt.
Once that was dry, the whole mould was removed from the sculpt and cleaned out. Then I cast a fast cast resin mask in the mould, then backed this thin cast up with a coupel of layers of fibreglass. Next I trimmed off the edges and cut out the eye and mouth holes using a rotary tool.
Then I sprayed the mask with primer, then matt black, then a bright metallic silver colour. Once that was all dry, I weathered the mask using fine sawdust, acrylic paints and wood stain. All of these were dabbed on, then wiped off, leaving deposits in all the nooks and crannies. I than appplied a bit of PVA to the mouth, nose and eyes, and sprinkled on some powdered iron. When that had set, I soaked the iron in vinigar, to create some genuine rust to finish of the weathered look.
Some leather ties were then riveted in place to finish off the mask.
Step 2: The Boots
The boots started off as a pair of cheap rubber riding boots I found on ebay. Looking at the reference of the real costumes, these seemed like a perfect base, even down to the little heel.
These are fairly simple to do, but they do take a bit of time. I found some cheap pleather (faux leather) online, then started to glue pieces onto the boots. I used a good qulaity contact adhesive for this, as it's good with rubber and fabric.
Cut some pleather pieces to size, then apply a thin, even layer of glue to both the boot, and the pleather piece. Wait for it to dry, then carfully place the pleather piece onto the boot, making sure to press down the edges. The toe piece, where I started, can be difficult to get into place, as it needs to streach over different angles. The following strips are all much easier. Keeping an eye on the reference photos, I layered up strips of pleather, gluing them all on as I went along. Take a look at the photos to see the process.
Once all the pieces were in place, I trimmed off the top of the boots, which were slanted, to make them straight. At this point, the lining inside the boot started to come away, so I simply used some good quality double sided tape to fix it back in place.
The next thing to do was to dirty them up a bit, I used some black and brown acrylic paints for this, slopping it on, then wiping the excess off, leaving thin layers stuck in all the seams.
The final thing to do for the boots was to tie on the little leather lace around the ankle.
Step 3: The Wand Belt
The belt was made using black leather belts I picked up in a charity shop. Again, looking carefully at the avaliable reference images, I collected together some suitable steel rings (I used horse tack suppliers to find the big ring) but could not find anything suitable for the strap ends seen on this belt.
I decided that the best thing to do would be to make some myself. I made a master strap end out of styrene sheets and a bit of polymer clay. Then I moulded this master with a quick setting, high temperature silicon rubber. When the mould was ready, I melted down some pewter scrap, and poured the molten metal into the new mould.
Once the pewter had cooled, I popped it out of the mould, and cleaned up the cast using a small file. I repeated this five times to make enough strap ends for the whole belt rig.
I then drilled some holes for the rivets, then used a bit more contact adhesive to stick the pewter strap ends onto the leather belts, then once in place, I used some pop cap rivets going through the pewter and the belt to secure the casts in place.
I then used some small connecting rings to attach each belt piece to the big steel rings.
Then I used a bit of scrap leather to make the wand holster, hand stiching the pieces together, then dying it black to match the rest of the rig. Once it was all fixed together, I finished the belt by rubbing the whole rig down with some 120 and 240 grit sandpaper to rough it up a bit, and get a worn look.
Step 4: The "Magic" Wand
I made the wand using a strip of willow, and a large stag's antler tine. This wand has a special little trick to it which makes the tip light up, but with out any visible switch.
First off I hollowed out the willow stick, using an extra long 6mm drill bit. Then I carved the outside of the stick into a suitable wand shape.
Then I trimmed the antler tine grip into shape, and hollowed out a large section of it at the wide end. This is to house the battery and the invisible switch.
I then rigged up a simple circuit using a super bright LED, some button batteries and a small magnetic reed switch. I then fit this whole circuit into the hollows of the wand.
The reed switch is the real magic part here. It activates when a magnet is held near to it. So if I use a powerful enough magnet, I can bury the reed switch inside the wand's handle and no one can see it from the outside. All I do to avtivate it is use a sticky plaster to fix a small but powerful buttom magnet onto the inside of my thumb, then when I move my thumb close enough to the hidden reed switch, the LED is activated.
Making sure the electric are working properly, I then filled all the cavities with wood filler, at the tip and at the handle, then stained the wood a nice dark brown.
I've tried to upload a video of the wand lighting up, I hope it works!
Step 5: The Tunic
The Tunic started out as a relatively simple double-breasted coat pattern. This was adapted with the help of sketches, marker pens and numerous pins. Finally a mock-up tunic was made using old scraps of fabric, to make sure that it fit, and that the alterations worked. This was quite a funny stage, attached to this step is a photo of this mock-up being worn with the mask, a nice cheerful hippy Death Eater!
Once the mock-up was complete, the next step was to do a few embroidery tests. Three different techniques were used, the main stitch is a chain stitch, the smaller is a backstitch, and "couching" is the thicker grey swirls (stitching some cord or piping onto the fabric with thin cotton thread). Once that was decided, the next stage was to make the final tunic.
It's a good quality, heavy twill fabric, with a basic black lining and pleather lower sleeves. There is a layer of wadding in the front panel of the tunic and tthe collar, to really help make the embroidery stand out. There are also shoulder pads fitted to give shape, and a hidden button on the inside to hold the front flap in place.
The small clasps were very difficult to source, they are actually designed to be used as bracelet clasps - they were the last things to be stitched on!
The final job to do on the tunic was to weather it. I used a very fine spray of grey primer paint to "bleach" the deep black colour a bit, then some fine sawdust and fullers earth was rubbed into the seams to simulate years of dust and grime.
Step 6: The Robe
The main adaptations made to the pattern were the hood and the sleeves. The hood was made longer and much more pointed. The sleeves were removed, and small shoulder cuffs were added. The finished robe is part-lined with the same fabric as the tunic and gives a nice shimmer as the robe moves around. The lining for both the tunic and robe were sewn partly by hand and partly by machine.
Step 7: Full Finished Costume
Here is a collection of photos of the full finished costume.
I hope you like the final costume, please be sure to vote for this to be a winner in the top left hand corner of the screen, and thank you!