In this tutorial I will be showing you how I constructed my belt for Raven from the Teen Titans, (specifically the tv series from the early 2000s), and as an added bonus I also show how to attach them to the cloak. The principles used in attaching the brooch to the cloak can also be used on the gloves. Also, feel free to mix it up and experiment with different materials. I enjoy experimenting with materials that I either already have or things I can get on the cheap, so if you have your own crafting stash don't be shy about using what you have!
- Styrofoam balls- minimum of 5 (I got smooth ones so getting them to look smooth would be easier. I'm using balls that are 2.5 inches in diameter. You will need half as many balls as circular bases, because you technically get 2 when you cut them in half.)
- cork coasters or crafting foam- minimum of 10 (I was wanting a challenge so I decided to use the coasters. As I mentioned with the foam balls, you will want to have twice as many bases as you do balls because those will be cut in half.)
- gold belt- make sure it's loose enough to sit on the hips at an angle
- serrated knife or small saw
- push pin
- mod podge and/or gesso, or some other primer
- red gloss spray paint
- gold metallic spray paint
- gloss clear coat (either spray paint or brush-on)
- sewing machine (completely optional)
- sewing needle
- thread (You may want thread colors similar to the belt and fabric, but it's optional because the thread won't be visible at all.)
- strong glue (I used E6000. I like the fact that it doesn't dry immediately so I can move things if I don't like the placement, and I can sew through it before it dries if I went a little overboard on the glue. Hot glue should work too, but be careful because hot glue mistakes are harder to fix!)
- time (You will not be able to do this overnight, so make your props with enough time before your event!)
*Please note that it's a good idea to have at least one reference image to work from, so that explains the turnaround image of Raven. I do not own this image or claim to own it. I found it on the internet. (Thank you google image search!)
Step 1: Step 1: Gather Your Materials
1. Find materials that you can use for the red gem, the gold base and the gold belt. I would recommend having enough for at least 10, but depending on how many inches your waist is, you may need more or less. I have the gems placed an inch and a half apart and I managed to put seven on the belt.
- Keep in mind that three won't be going on the belt at all. Two will be on the gloves and one needs to be saved for the cloak.
- I have several inches of belt on either end that I don't plan on covering because there needs to be enough room to buckle the belt.
2. Have your utility materials on hand for when you need to use them. (scissors, push pin, knife/small saw, etc)
Step 2: Step 2: Slice, Sand and Surface
1. Cut the Styrofoam balls in half. I used a serrated kitchen knife, but if you have a saw that should work just as well...if not better... If you have a handy-dandy seam line to use to make sure you're cutting the balls in decently similar halves, use it!
2. Once the balls have been cut into halves, sand them down. You will want the bottom surface to be as smooth as possible so that you have a good amount of surface area to glue to the base.
3. Coat the balls in layers of a priming material to help smooth them out and make paint easier to apply. I used mod podge because I had it on hand and the remnants of what's left in my gesso bucket had dried up. (r.i.p. gesso...)
- Use a push pin in the bottom of the foam so you have something to hold on to while you paint the rounded top.
- You will want to use, at minimum, 3 layers. Build up the priming layer on the foam balls so that they have as little texture as possible. Your balls may have mold marks on the top and bottom like mine does, so get that area plugged and smooth too. Please note that, if you do not have a thick enough coat of primer on the foam, the spray paint will actually eat away at the underlying foam!
- Feel free to sand your primed layers, but be careful about marring the surface of the gem!
Step 3: Step 3: Cut It Down to Size
1. Depending on what material you chose as the back of the gem holder, you will need to trim it so that the gem is decently proportioned to the back.
- You don't have to use cork- crafting foam sheets are another good way to go. While I do enjoy using strange materials, they were also dirt cheap and a little thicker and sturdier than typical craft foam.
2. Use your first circle as a base to cut out out the rest. Keep using that same circle as opposed to using newer cut-outs, because they will gradually distort themselves from the original.
Step 4: Step 4: Add a Splash of Color!
1. Paint your gems and gem backs appropriately.
- I went with a very high gloss red enamel spray paint. The enamel gave me a very nice, sturdy look and feel.
- The cork coasters definitely took more work to look metallic. I sanded them to make the surface more even before painting.
2. Coat the gems and gem backs with a clear gloss, either an aerosol or liquid variety. I used a high gloss polyurethane because I had it in my stash. (yay not having to buy things)
3. Allow the items to dry in an area where they won't be disturbed. The last thing you want is to slave over these for hours only to have them get stepped on and ruined. (It sucks.)
Step 5: Step 5: Sort the Gems and Find Some Thread
1. Pair your gems with your bases, and set aside which ones you want for the belt and which three others will be for the gloves and cloak.
2. Figure out which gems and bases are your best and worst. Place the gems on the bases because it' not the centers of the bases that are important, but rather you're looking for the ones with the best edges.
3. Determine where you want to place the gems depending on their grade. I would suggest having the best-looking ones on the hands and as your cloak brooch because they will be the most visible, then the next ones in the center of the belt, with the worst ones closest to the ends of the belt because the cloak will cover some of the side gems.
4. Pick out what thread you wish to use to attach the base to the belt. I went with a golden color because I had one in my stash, but it's not completely necessary to pick a matching thread because the thread won't be visible at all.
Step 6: Step 6: Attach Thread to Base
1. String a needle and pull the needle to the center of your string. Tie both ends of the string together in a knot, keeping the needle in the middle.
2. Sew through the gold disk and sew back through it so you can tie a knot. This will help to ensure that your knot doesn't get pulled out as you sew. If you find it difficult to get the needle through the disk, you can put holes through it first.
- If you have a sewing machine on hand, you can position the disk under the needle and hand-turn an un-threaded needle through to create the holes
- Try to put the holes in the center of the disk at the width you need to sew around the belt. (I didn't do that for the demonstration pics, oops!)
Step 7: Step 7: Sew Around Belt and Glue
1. Sew back through the disk and around the belt. (If you noticed the thread color change from steps 5, to 6 and back again now, congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back because I can't afford to send prizes to everyone. Sorry!)
2. Put a glob of glue in between the disk and belt so that they won't be able to slide around on the belt. I'm using E6000 because it's slow-drying but strong, and I want to be able to make adjustments as I go. If you're more comfortable with hot glue, it's less forging but it still does the job.
3. Continue to sew through the disk and around the belt until you feel that it is adequately secure.
4. Knot the thread and cut it so that you can continue to attach the next disk.
- I have my disks spaced about 1 1/2" apart. In total I have seven on the belt.
- Depending on your girth and the amount of spacing you want, you may need more or you may need less than the number of disks I used.
- Leave several inches after the buckle and after the hole you plan to buckle through so that you can adequately fasten the belt.
Step 8: Step 8: Glue and Wait Until It's Dry!
1. Apply glue to the backs of your gems, leaving a little space from the edge un-glued so that you don't get glue gushing out the sides.
- If you did go a little heavy on the glue, take either your sewing needle or a pin and carefully remove the excess glue globs. Be very careful because the glue sometimes makes the gold paint do funny things. (The things tend to be un-funny stuff like your paint coming off or getting weird ripples.)
2. Keep gluing your gems until you have all of them attached. (This is pretty self-explanatory...as if I really expect you to stop part-way now and say it's good enough. You're in this for the long-haul now!)
3. This is the most painful step of all: WAIT UNTIL YOUR BELT HAS FULLY DRIED BEFORE PICKING IT UP AND TRYING IT ON! (Yes, it's even worse than stabbing yourself with your sewing needle or dripping hot glue on yourself.)
- Should you get too impatient to have heeded my warning, the gems may come off and leave glue streaks on spots that you didn't intend to be glued.
- You will be sad that you got glue on the belt in a bad spot and eat from a container of ice cream with a spoon while watching tv or a sad movie and wallow in your misery.
- In the case that you did or did not heed my warnings, you will proceed tp the next step to see how to attach the gems to your cloak and gloves. (Trust me, it's fairly similar to the whole belt attaching thing.)
Step 9: Step 9: Sew the Disks Onto Your Cloak and Gloves!
1. Knot the thread to the disk like you did earlier and sew through the disk and fabric several times until it's attached.
2. Knot the thread to the fabric so that it won't come loose.
3. Repeat steps 1-2 until you have attached the disk to the fabric. I like the four-corner approach to make sure there is enough thread holding the disk in place to keep it from flipping away from the fabric.
Step 10: Step 10: Glue Gem, Allow Time to Set, and Be Fabulous!
1. Glue the gem to the attached disk.
- I got a bit sloppy so you get to see me remove the glue blob with my sewing needle. Yay!
2. Give the gem enough time for the glue to set. You reaaaaally don't want the gem to slide off and get glue all over your costume. That bucket of ice cream you were eating in step 8 will be gone before you know it.
3. Show off your fabulous handiwork!* You're done!
*dress forms wearing snoopy t-shirts are completely optional