Introduction: Leather and El Wire Sci-Fi Headdress

When I started making this headdress a lot of people said it reminded them of H.R. Giger. Now, I’ve always been pretty afraid of aliens, I don’t like horror movies, and I consider Alien with a capital A to be the most terrifying creature ever imagined. (In all seriousness I sometimes check inside my bedroom closet before I go to sleep because I sincerely believe that Alien could be hiding in there). I would have never dreamed of creating something inspired by my worst nightmare, so my first reaction to these intended compliments, was, in fact, horror. But as the evidence kept piling up, I decided that some Batman-like part of my subconscious must have known that what I really I needed was to embrace my worst fear and make it part of my identity by creating this piece.

This headpiece is part of a complete costume that also includes the El Wire and Leather Necklace and the Leather Cybergoth Shoulder Armor from two of my previous Instructables. I can’t say for sure where the conscious inspiration for this whole outfit came from. I certainly wasn’t thinking of Giger, but I had been looking at the structure and form of a lot of sea creatures, robots and other alien-looking beings. I always try to create costumes that evoke the spirit of a world that intrigues me, without actually directly mimicking any creatures in that world. In this design I wanted to try utilizing repetition of form and self-similarity to evoke something that was grown, not built.

This piece turned out to be a serious pattern making challenge, and there are definitely things I would do differently in another iteration. But I also love the almost insect-like, biomechanical, and yes, somewhat Giger-esque, aesthetic of the form I was able to create using this technique. I think this method of incorporating el wire into leather has a lot of potential, and I have continued to explore in subsequent designs.

Step 1: What You Need

I started this project like I start all my designs, with a sketch of my idea. Of course my final version turned out somewhat different from my sketch, but if you want to make your own version, I’d suggest sketching it out first.

To build it from my pattern you will need:

Leather: I got mine at S.H. Frank in San Francisco, but you can also order it online from places like Tandy

For the body of the piece: One large piece, about 36x24”, or several smaller pieces, of thick, very stiff leather between 1/16” and 1/8” thick. In my experience, the leather with the best texture for this project is leather that has been treated and stamped to look like reptile hide because it is stiffer than normal leather.

For the el wire strands: A smaller piece of equally thick, but more pliable leather, about 3’ long by 12” wide. This piece will look best if it’s the same color all the way through, since you will see the back in some places.

A computer with a vector design program like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw.

Access to a laser cutter (if you don’t have access to your own laser cutter you can send your file to an online laser cutting service like: https://www.ponoko.com/, or https://www.ponoko.com/, or look up local laser cutter in your area). I really don’t recommend cutting out this design by hand, but I’m sure it’s possible.

Rivets: for most of this project I used small rivets, like these, except black. Whats nice about these is that you can set them with only a hammer, but you will also need about 10 rivets with a longer shank like these medium rivets.

A Hammer

A leather punch

Scissors

A large-ish hand sewing needle

Thick black thread

Clear tape

A pencil

An exacto knife

A ruler

El wire supplies:

El Wire: About 10’ of 5mm aqua, 10’ of 2.3mm red wire, and 3’ of 5mm red.

El wire drivers: you will need one very small driver that powers up to 20’ of wire, I suggest this one from Cool Neon.

El wire connectors: you will need one 4 way connectors, one Y connector, and 5 wire side connectors. You can get them here.

Heat shrink tubing and copper tape

About 3’ 2-core black plastic coated lead wire or speaker wire like this.

A soldering iron

A wire stripper: if you don’t want to go crazy stripping el wire, I suggest one like this.

A wire cutter

A soldering iron helping hands

A hot glue gun

A heat gun, lighter or hairdryer

Something to create the battery pocket: finding an elegant way to house batteries and drivers for electronic components on wearables is always a challenge. For this piece I wanted to put the batteries in the void under the domed ribs on the central part of the head. I also really wanted some light to shine out from under the ribs. I was originally hoping to somehow put LEDs inside the battery pockets, but that never worked out. Instead I 3D printed a dome the size of my pocket base, 1 1/2" high in the center with 1/4" thick walls and sewing holes in the sides to attach it. I used a flexible translucent material and put a coil of el wire inside the pocket so some light shone through. It really wasn’t an ideal solution, and I think there are a lot of other ways it could be done, like simply creating a pocket out of leather or fur, or finding some pre existing container the right size.

My vector pattern or the desire to make your own from scratch


...If you want to create your own new headdress pattern you will also need:

A head form and a dress form

Oaktag or tagboard

Pattern paper

A tracing wheel

Pins

Step 2: Draping the Headpiece Mock-Up

Creating the pattern for my headdress was a long and complicated process, not least of all because the head I was working on turned out to be somewhat smaller than an actual human head. I got mine at a wig store, and, like most display heads, it was slightly scaled down from a human head size. If you’re going to try draping something like this on a head, I’d recommend trying to find a more realistically sized one, though I haven’t had much luck finding one that also has facial features (which I think are helpful when trying to create a flattering headdress design).

It took several iterations and revisions to create a pattern that kept its form in the way I wanted, but if you’d like to try a similar technique, here’s the process I followed (otherwise you can just skip to step 7).

First I drew a line down the top center of my head-form with black tape to give myself a reference point. Then I used scissors, oaktag and clear tape to create the sides of the center part of the headdress from the top of the forehead curving back along the skull to somewhere behind the ears. Getting the curve of the head right took a few revisions. I first took a very rough guess by laying the head in its side and tracing the curve of the skull onto paper. I cut out this paper shape, tried fitting it to the head, made any necessary revisions an then re-traced and cut it and fit it again, repeating the process until it was right.

Then I cut strips of oaktag and taped them in curved ribs from one side of the base to the other, moving back along the head. I increased the size of the ribs as they went back, with the smallest being 1/2” wide and the biggest 1”.

When I had added 9 ribs, I added a ‘V’ shaped piece in the center back, which split the ribs to create two ‘tails’ in back. I then continued attaching the curved ribs down along these two tails, sometimes cutting and altering the curve of the base pieces and adding pieces to connect the two sides underneath, creating a sort of floor to keep the structure of these sections that are no longer lying against the head in back. I tapered the size of the tails and decreased the width of the ribs as they came down until they were 1” wide at the bottom with 3/8” wide ribs. I added about 10 ribs on each tail after the split.

Once I had created these tails and had them sitting at about the angle I wanted, I moved on to creating the ‘ears’. As with the center piece, I first created the base onto which I attached the ribs.

Once I had a shape I liked, I repeated the process of taping strips of oaktag down in arched ribs along the ear base until I had created the form of the whole ear.

Before I took the piece off the head, I attached a few cross pieces under the ear and central head to make sure it would hold it’s shape when I took it off.

Step 3: Dis-assembling Your Mock-up

The next step is to intelligently dis-assemble the piece you just made and flatten it out in a way that will create coherent pattern pieces.

First I removed the whole thing from the form and started adding more cross pieces to fill in the entire underside of both the center piece and ear. I was trying to to create an underside panel that the whole thing would sit on, but I realized afterwards that making this panel one solid piece in the center wouldn’t work because it needed to be shaped to fit over the head, I don’t know why I ever thought that would work! However, I still ended up using part of this pattern piece as the backing of the tail portions.

First I separated the underside panel of the central head portion by cutting along the edge where it meets the base. This created a flat pattern piece which I then cut in half down the center. Before I cut away the underside panel of the ear I punched three holes through all three layers at the point where the ear meets the central head piece. These holes are for rivets which will later be used as attachment points for the ears. After punching these holes I cut away the underside panel of the ear to create another flat pattern piece.

Next I drew a line down the middle of the ribs on top of the head and down the middle of the ribs of the ear. I then cut along these lines to divide the pattern pieces, creating two halves that will later be joined with rivets when they are cut out in leather. In the back, on the two tail portions of the headdress, this joint is going to happen along the inner base of the ribs, not the middle. Before I divided this part, I sketched in the overlapping tabs that will connect the two pieces, then cut the ribs off along the base.

Step 4: Creating the Headpiece Pattern

Once all the sections of the headpiece were separated from eachother, I flattened them out and then traced them onto paper. (For the pieces I had divided in half symmetrically, I only needed to trace one of the two halves). Using a ruler and a pencil, I cleaned up the lines of each piece, making alterations where necessary. Where I had cut the ribs apart, I added a rounded tab to the end of each rib. These tabs will overlap each other and be riveted together when the piece is assembled. I added slightly longer tabs to the thicker ribs and shorter tabs to the thinner ones, as you can see in the photo. I also marked two dots on each rib 1/2” apart, with one 1/4” on each side of the cut line/center line of each rib. These dots mark where the holes for rivets will go.

When all the pattern pieces were traced and refined, I scanned them and imported them into Illustrator to make them into vector files. I traced each pattern piece with the pen tool and made any further small aesthetic adjustments I wanted. I placed 1/8” diameter holes were I had marked each dot on the ribs. On the ears, I reduced these to just one hole per rib on the very small ribs at each end, because two rivets just wouldn’t fit. I also put a little single sewing hole in the dip between each rib on the central head section of the pattern and the ears. These holes will enable you to attach el wire later.

I took the pattern piece for the solid underside panel I’d created and cut away all but the section that would provide the backing for the two back tail portions of the headpiece. Then I created lines of tiny sewing holes where I needed to join pieces together (on the tail sections, and the edges of the ear), as you can see in the vector files I’m including. I’ll show you how to do this with the pattern brush tool in the next step.

I also created two completely new pattern pieces, simple straps which are crosspieces that go under the center part of the headpiece to stabilize it and attach the battery pack. I made them 1” wide and 6.5" long with two holes on the end of each to attach to the headpiece (see the file for the placement of the holes).

Finally I created new pattern pieces for the strands of leather and el wire that will drape around the face and connect the ears to the tail sections. These are just long strips of leather with a row of slits running down the center to weave the el wire through. I made them by using the rectangle tool to create two strips 9” long by 1” wide and two strips 24” long by 1/2” wide. To make the slits I drew a line down the center of each strip and applied a pattern brush. I’ll describe how to make this pattern brush in the next step as well.

*IMPORTANT: Whenever you apply your pattern brush to a path, make sure that the fill is off! If you leave the fill on, the laser will cut a line down the center of your path an ruin your holes or slits!

Step 5: Using the Pattern Brush Tool

I made my sewing holes and el wire slits using the Illustrator pattern brush tool, which is a great tool for creating any repeating feature. Basically you create a swatch, and then the pattern brush tool repeats this swatch along a path.

Making a Pattern Brush for Sewing Holes:

-First use the ellipse tool to draw two tiny circles .05” in diameter and arrange them next to each other .25” apart from center point to center point. Make sure your circles have no fill, and a stroke value of .001. Group these two circles.

-Next draw a rectangle .25” high and .5” wide. (You want the width of your rectangle to be exactly twice the distance between the center points of your two circles so the spacing of your holes will repeat evenly).

-Center this rectangle over your circles using the align tool, and give it no stroke and no fill.

-Drag to select both the rectangle and the circles and then drag and drop them into the brush pallet. In the dialog box that appears, choose ‘pattern brush’, in the next dialog bog, name and save your brush.

You can now use your brush to create your sewing lines. To do this draw a line parallel to your cutting line, but inset by 1/8”. I like to do this by using the Offset Path tool under Object > Path. This way you can get a line that is exactly parallel to your cutting line and then use the direct selection and Cut Path tools to divide up your offset line into the sections where you want sewing holes. Once you have done this, just select your line and apply the new pattern brush to create lines of sewing holes!

You can alter the size and spacing of the holes to your liking, depending on how thick your leather is.

Making a Pattern Brush for El Wire Slits:

-Draw two vertical parallel lines with the stroke width set to .001, and the fill off. For the larger slits that will hold 5mm wire, make the lines 5/8” long and 1/4” apart, for the smaller slits that will hold the 2.3 mm wire, make the lines 3/8” long and 3/16” apart.

-Group these two lines. Then draw a rectangle. The width of the rectangle should be twice the distance between the two lines, and the hight should be the same as the height of the lines.

-Align the rectangle so it is centered directly over the lines, and turn off both the fill and stroke on the rectangle.

-Select the whole thing (rectangle and lines) and drag it over into the brush palette to create your pattern brush.

You can save your pattern brushes for use in other files by clicking on the little library icon at the bottom left of your brush palette and selecting ‘Save Brushes’. Then you can find them later from any file by clicking the same library icon and then selecting ‘user defined’. I’ve been developing a whole library of brushes for use on different leather thicknesses.

*IMPORTANT: Whenever you apply your pattern brush to a path, make sure that the fill is off! If you leave the fill on, the laser will cut a line down the center of your path an ruin your holes or slits!

Step 6: Testing the Headdress Pattern

Once my vector pattern was complete, I prepared it for laser cutting. I made sure all the cutting lines had a .001 stroke, and duplicated and reflected the pieces that I needed two of. I arranged them all on one Illustrator art board the size of my laser cutting bed. I kept the strands in a separate file, because they are not going to be cut out in the same leather as the rest of the headpiece.

I cut the whole thing, minus the strands, out in oaktag first so I could put it back together and test it before I cut it out in leather. Also, the negative from this cut can be useful when you are positioning your final cuts on a piece of leather that has a stamped pattern.

I used one of Instructables awesome 120 watt Epilog laser cutters, with the following vector settings:

Speed: 60

Power: 15

Frequency: 500

When these oaktag pieces were cut out, I taped them together with clear tape, checking that all the holes lined up properly and that it created the shape I wanted. I marked any changes I needed to make on the pattern, then disassembled it again, scanned it, and adjusted my Illustrator file accordingly.

Step 7: Cutting the Pattern in Leather

Now that the vector file is adjusted you can cut the pattern out in leather.

First cut a piece of leather to the size of your laser bed. If you did a test cut in paper you can use the paper negative from the test cut to help decide where to place the pattern on the leather to take advantage of the reptile stamp.

I used one of Instructables’ awesome 120 watt Epilog laser cutters, with the following vector settings:

Speed: 40

Power: 45

Frequency: 550

Every laser cutter is different, as is every piece of leather, so always test your settings first.

Leather tends to warp as it’s cut, so make sure your piece is secured to the laser bed as well as possible, and make sure your file is set to cut all the inner cuts and holes before cutting out the outlines of the pattern pieces. You may still need to pause your cut periodically to remove pieces, or tape down edges that are warping.

Leather smells terrible when you cut it. Make sure your laser is adequately ventilated and wait a minute before opening the door when the cut is complete.

The laser will create some soot marks on both sides of the leather, I usually use a damp towel to clean these off, though I’ve recently found that baby wipes work even better.

Step 8: Assembling the Center of the Headpiece

Once the pieces were cut out you can begin assembling them. For this you will need a hard stable base, like an anvil, metal table or, stone floor.

Started at the front of the central headpiece, overlapping the ends of each rib in the center so the rivet holes line up, and rivet them together by pounding the small black rivets in with a hammer. I alternated the overlap of the ribs because I thought it looked nicer that way.

Work your way back to the 11th rib, this is where you split the ribs into two tails by adding the inner tail base pieces. Take these two base pieces, place them in between the two sides of the pieces you’ve been riveting together with the short tabs oriented outwards. Line the holes on the last tab at the larger end of the inner base pieces up to the matching holes on the 11th ribs of the center piece with the shiny (grain) side of the leather facing up. You are going to basically sandwich the ends of the 11th ribs between the ends of these two inner base pieces and then rivet all 4 layers together through the two holes. You’ll need two of your medium sized rivets for this since you are riveting through 4 layers of leather, and it may take some finagling to get it at a good angle to hammer. The corners of tables are good for this.

Once you have these 4 pieces attached to each other, you can begin creating the two tails by riveting the ribs down each side of these new inner base pieces. Instead of alternating the overlaps here, I just kept the longer ribs on top to keep it neater.

Once the ribs on both sides of the tails are riveted down, you can move onto the ears!

Step 9: Assembling the Ears

Take the weird, almost heart shaped, pattern pieces that are the outside of the ears, and fold them over onto each other at the small connection point that is the dip in the ‘heart’. Now start overlapping the ribs and riveting them together. I thought it also looked neater to not alternate the overlaps here and so I kept the ribs of the larger outside piece of the ear on top. The first few ribs on each side only take one rivet because they are too small for two.

At this point in the construction of my headpiece, I started sewing the back pieces into the ears and tails of the piece. However, if I were to do it again, I think it might be easier to attach your el wire first. Order of operations in assembling anything is always a bit of a mind puzzle. I’m going to describe the way I did it, but I'm sure there are other options.

Step 10: Attaching the Ear and Tail Backs

Now you are going to attach the back pieces to the ear and tail portions of the headpiece.

For this you will need a needle threaded with thick black thread, your larger rivets and a hammer.

(The photos I’m using to illustrate this step show the el wire already sewn in, just ignore that).

First take the two solid leather pieces that are the backs of the ears and line them up with the ear pieces you have just riveted together, with the shiny (grain) side of the leather facing out. As you can see, both front and back pieces of the ear have one small end that is curved, and one small end that is flat. Line up flat end with flat end, and curved end with curved end. Also make sure you line up the three larger holes on the top of each piece. Both pieces have small sewing holes along the sides which you will now use to stitch the two pieces together.

When you get to the flat, narrow end of the ear, you are going to attach one of the slitted strands that is going to hold the large aqua el wire. Take this strand and match the sewing holes on its end to the sewing holes on the end of the ear backing, with the smooth (grain) side of the leather strand facing up towards the outside of the ear. Then keep sewing around the ear until the whole thing is stitched together. Sew the other ear together, attaching the other large slitted strand.

Once both ears are assembled you will rivet them onto the center part of the head. First make sure you are attaching the ears to the correct side of the head. The curved end of the ear goes toward the back of the head and the flat end with the attached strand goes toward the front.

Now, find the place on the side of the central headpiece where there are three holes and sandwich this part in between the backing of the ear and the front of the ear so the holes on all three layers line up. Put your larger rivets into the two outer holes, but not the center hole, and pound them together. (We need to use the center hole for something else later). This is where the corner of a table, or a small anvil comes in handy. I also sometimes take the flat back end of a metal snap riveting tool and use it to help me pound in the rivets if they are in a hard to reach place.

Once both ears are attached you can move on to the tails. Take the two solid tail backs and line them up with the tail portions of the headpiece. The wider ends go up towards the top of the head and the narrower ends go down towards the neck. On the wider side, the pointier corners should be pointing inwards and the shiny (grain) side of the leather should be facing out (or down towards the head if the headpiece was on you). The top inner corners line up with the place where the two tails split off from eachother. Line up the sewing holes and start hand stitching the outside of one of the tails, from top to bottom.

When you get to the bottom, you can attach the other end of the slitted strand that you attached to the ear on that same side of the head, forming a loop between the front of the ear and the end of the tail. Take this strand and match the sewing holes on its end to the sewing holes on the end of the backing with the grain side of the leather strand facing towards the outside of the headpiece. Make sure there are no twists in the strand before you attach it.

Step 11: Finishing the Basic Structure

After I had the headpiece assembled this far, I tried it on to see how it looked, how it was fitting, and exactly where I wanted to place the smaller strands.

I decided I needed to attach a leather strap that went around the back base of the head from ear to ear to give the piece stability and hold it on. I didn’t incorporate this piece into my laser cutting file because it is really a matter of fit and will be slightly different for each person.

So, try on your headdress, and press the back ends of the ears towards eachother at the back of your neck until the headpiece feels snug, then measure this distance between these two points in back of your head, add 1” on each end, and cut a strip of leather this long and 3/4” wide.

Punch a 1/8” hole 1/2” in from each end of the strip and then rivet each end to the ends of the ears using the hole that has already been laser cut in the base of the ear.

If you want to adjust the position of the smaller red el wire strands, you can now put your headpiece on again and play around with that. (I used paper clips to temporarily pin mine in place). I found that mine looked good coming right out of the center front of the headpiece, looping around the back strap, and re-connecting a few inches in from the center front. Having them loop around the back strap is useful because it allows you to adjust the length of both ends of the loops so that it compliments the shape of and size of different people’s faces.

Once you have them where you like them, hand sew each end into the sewing holes on the body of the headpiece, making sure you loop them around the strap at the back of the neck.

Step 12: Attaching the Battery Case

To be honest, this is where my design strategy fell apart a little. I was planning to 3D print a piece that would cover most of the entire inside of the headpiece and could contain LEDs that made whole thing glow, but I ran out of time and my 3D modeling skills were pretty rudimentary when I made this. I hope to return to this design and create something better, but the solution I came up with still looks pretty good.

I decided to 3D print a sort of half egg shape in translucent material that would hold the batteries. I made it just tall enough to hold the el battery and driver, but wide enough that it almost filled the inside of the headpiece. I am attaching the file here.

I printed it on an Objet Connex 500 with a digital material combination of Vero White (a hard material) and Tango Plus (a clear soft material). It would probably work with a filament material like Ninjaflex too.

Once it was printed I used it to create a leather base piece that would attach it to the head. I laid it on paper, traced it’s outline and then added tabs to attach the leather piece to the headdress, and a slit down the center to allow you to access the batteries.

I laser cut this leather piece on the epilog, then sewed it onto the domed 3D printed piece using the sewing holes I had added to my files.

Then I took the two short leather crosspieces and riveted them to the tabs on the leather base of the battery case. The front tab rivets to the center of the front crosspiece and the back crosspiece goes under the battery pack and rivets to the tabs on the sides.

I placed the battery pack inside the head and then took the ends of the back crosspiece and riveted them to the sides of the headpiece by using the open center hole of the three holes used to attach the ears.

Then I riveted the two ends of the front crosspiece to the holes on the sides of the central headpiece, just in front of the ears.

As I said before, this battery solution worked, but I might recommend trying a different solution. Using fur or leather to create a battery pocket, or 3D printing a piece that fits a little better inside the headpiece and takes up more of the space.

Step 13: Soldering Your El Wire

For this headpiece solder 5 different pieces of el wire:

-Two 5’ sections of 5mm Aqua wire with 8” black wire leads

-Two 5’ sections of 2.3mm red wire with 6” black wire leads

-One 3’ section of 5mm red wire soldered directly to the wire side connector

Take each strand of el wire and strip about 1” off one end using your automatic wire stripper. You can adjust how deeply the stripper cuts by turning the little wheel on the front. I found that I usually needed to use the stripper several times on the 5mm wire to get it to strip all the way through. Your goal is to expose the phosphor covered core wire, without breaking the two tiny hair wires next to it. It might take a few tries to get this right.

Now shave the phosphor coating off the ends of the core wires with an exacto knife.

Use your fingers to twist the two tiny hair wires together, and fold them back over the plastic coated end of the wire.

Cut a piece of black lead wire to the appropriate length (for the 5mm red, you just need to strip the ends of a wire side connector and solder the el wire it to that). Trim and strip the ends of the two lead wires so they line up with the hair wires and core wires respectively. Carefully wrap the hair wires of the el wire around the exposed end of the lead wire.

Slip a piece of heat shrink tubing over the end of the el wire, and then use the helping hands to hold the el wire and lead wires in place so you can solder them together.

Once they’re soldered, take a hot glue gun and cover the solder joints with glue to give them stability. Don't apply too much glue however, or the joint will be really bulky.

Now use a heat gun, lighter or blowdryer to shrink the tubing over the connections.

Now, for the aqua wires and 2.3mm red wires, strip and solder the ends of the lead wire to the ends of a wire side connector. (The 5mm red wire was soldered directly to this wire side connector). Make sure you slip small pieces of heat shrink tubing over the wires before you solder them so you can heat shrink them once they are soldered.

Now plug all your wires into a driver and battery to check that they are working.

For more tips on el wire soldering, follow this great Cool Neon tutorial.

Step 14: Attaching Your El Wire

Turn your headpiece upside down so you are looking at the inside and the leather base of the battery pack with the slit in it. Take one length of 2.3mm red and thread it out through the sewing line from the inside of the battery pack on one side. Then start threading that el wire through the small leather slitted strand nearest the battery pack on that side. Continue threading all the way back around to where the strand meets the center front of the headpiece. For now leave the end of that strand dangling while you thread the next piece.

Take an aqua strand and thread it out of the battery pack in the same place as the red strand. Pull the lead wire through and lay it along the bottom edge of the leather until the beginning of your aqua el wire can rest right past the center front where the loose end of your red strand came out. Now, take a needle and thick black thread and start sewing down both the red and aqua strands, starting from the center front and working back toward the back of the headpiece. Use the single sewing holes that are laser cut in the dips between each rib, and stitch around the two wires. Keep the two el wire strands together with the orange one on top. This is all a little hard to explain, but pretty clear when you look at the photo of the underside of the headpiece. Basically you are trying to attach the wires as neatly as possible to the inside of the leather so that are just visible in the space at the bottom of each rib dip.

Continue sewing the wires to the leather all the way onto the tail of the headpiece until it becomes to awkward to stitch. At this point you can just tie off your thread and slip the wires out through the end of the tail. Cut the red wire here with a wire cutter and put a drop of glue on the end to keep it from shorting out. Leave the aqua wire hanging so you can thread it through the loop of slitted leather later.

Now go back and repeat this process on the other side of the headpiece, threading the other red piece of el wire into the leather strand and then sewing the aqua and red wires down to on the opposite side.

When you are done, you should have an aqua el wire strand hanging out of each of the tails at the back of your headpiece. Now thread these strands through the slits in the loop of leather running between the tail and the ear. When you reach the ear, insert the wire between the two leather layers of the ear. Now get out your needle and thread again, and start sewing the aqua strand down to the inside of the ear, again, using the small single sewing holes in the dip of each rib.

You are going to sew your el wire down on a loop around the entire inside of the ear. When you get to the back of the ear, just bend the wire to fit into the curve and start sewing it down the other side. It gets a little awkward here, but you can make it work with a little tweaking. When you've gotten back to the front of the ear where your wire came in, cut off the excess el wire and put a dab of super glue or hot glue and the end before nesting it into the ear.

Now do the same to the other ear.

Step 15: Finishing

All you have left to do now is attach the driver, and if you want, place a coil of el wire inside your battery pocket so it will glow softly. This is what your 3’ section of red 5mm wire is for. I just looped mine around on itself and taped it together with clear tape, making sure I made the loop small enough just nest inside the battery pocket.

To attach Your wires to your driver, take your Y connector and plug it into the white connection on your driver. Now plug one Y of the connector into a 4 way connector, and plug the other end into the white connection on the end of your 3’ coil of red wire. Plug the all your other wires into the 4 way connector, and then stick everything back into the battery pocket. To turn the el wire on, just plug a 9V battery into the battery connector of the driver, and stick this inside the pocket too. In these photos I'm using a slightly different driver than the one I suggested, either will work.

Now you're ready to go menace the streets in your creepy elegant creation!

Step 16: Taking Over the Galaxy!

I firmly believe that wearing the right costume gives you power. When I wear this one I even get to feel a little evil. I'm also fully willing to admit that half the reason I like wearing crazy things is because it makes people more likely to talk to me. Costumes are great ice breakers, and when you get to tell everyone who asks that you did, in fact, make the awesome thing you're wearing, it's even more gratifying. It's also interesting what references and archetypes people see in costumes that don't have a defined identity. I've worn this piece out to a lot of different events and I always hear a wide variety of interpretations from the people I meet. It's like a living Rorschach test that helps you make friends.

Costumes For All!!!

Comments

author
olyaz made it!(author)2016-07-20

A truly incredible art piece. I feel so inspired. Thank you!

author
LittleLily made it!(author)2016-01-15

OMG!!!! That is so like AWESOME!!!! sorry i do not regulerly do stuff like that...

but on that note, OOOOOOOMMMMMMMGGGGGGG!!!!!!! brilliant!

author
BlueTorqueBar made it!(author)2014-10-12

Really beautiful artistic hands on work.!! :-)

author
GordonKirkwood made it!(author)2014-10-11

Excellent work, you've inspired me. I'll look forward to making a plaster head-mold of my crazy lumpy head soon so I can prototype something for this coming halloween.

author
GordonKirkwood made it!(author)2014-10-11

Excellent work, you've inspired me. I'll look forward to making a plaster head-mold of my crazy lumpy head soon so I can prototype something for this coming halloween.

author
samalert made it!(author)2014-10-10

Awesome ! Unique design , brief tutorial and it looks very promising. The photography one introduction was very admiring.

Alienating ible !

author
sursula made it!(author)2014-10-10

this is so amazing! and the rest of your costume looks equally good....

author
hardlydavidson made it!(author)2014-10-10

this is just fantastic. there is a certain finesse to this which I really like. the leather work was good enough but the introduction of the el wire just smashed it. you have great sketching skills too. thanks for sharing this ible.

author
tinaciousz made it!(author)2014-10-10

Absolutely gorgeous. Your main image is really striking, too! I appreciate all the detail that went into making this.

author
seamster made it!(author)2014-10-10

Nicely done!

It's nice to see original, unique creations like this. Very cool.

About This Instructable

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Bio: Costume and experimental fashion designer and artist. Maker of clothing and accessories for time traveling cyborg superheroes, and lucid dreamers. Interested in fusing couture design ... More »
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