Introduction: Spacemonki's Spacesuit. a Girl's Journey.
How can anyone rule the galaxy without the proper LED spacesuit?
Step 1: Find Yourself Some Cardboard.
This step is pretty easy. Find a box. Most earth people have these throughout their homes. Look in the closet, shed or attic somewhere.... The box should be a lot larger than the width and height of your torso. Don't worry about rips and tears in the box or even if the box runs a little short. You can tape and glue them up later. Also, as long as you have enough cardboard as a whole, you can tape pieces together to form the shape you need.
Step 2: Careful Cuts. Cat Approved.
For me, this was the most time consuming. I wanted to make sure the bodice fit correctly so I really took my time with small cuts here and there. I started by measuring my body. I overshot the measurements a couple inches on width and height to allow for the design. I drew out the picture of how I wanted it to look, but I know that I like to be creative as I go. This gave me more freedom to allow different elements. With paper mache, you can always add if there's a mistake, but easier to get it right the first time.
You can see the form really taking shape. I wanted a high cuts to accentuate the legs. I had found some pretty sweet pants on ebay.... I added a two inch lip to the base for an over the top look. I knew I would be adding lights there, so it was a perfect amount a material to add those details to.
I made cuts at the top of the bodice to hide the wiring for the lights that I would be installing later in the design.
For a "Barbarella" inspired campy style spacesuit, I had purchased a clear rubber ball. I went to many stores to find one that would be suitable. It's pretty weird holding them up to your own chest to make sure it will fit, but necessary to get the size right. It was a plus that this one had blue "veins" (eh.... I don't thing even space veins are sexy....) or better sounding, "wired" look about it. I didn't have to paint it myself.
Step 3: Get Your Glue On!
This is messy. I won't lie....
There are many ways to make paper mache. My preference? Half glue. Half water. I had used about a half gallon of Elmer's Glue. You can purchase it at any office supply store for about 12 dollars a gallon. With flour, it tends to be very grainy and it pulls at the paper. The glue mixture also dries more quickly. I had also used printer paper instead of newspaper or magazine shreds. I found the printer paper to be stronger and it also has a very smooth application. The combination of the glue and printer paper is a wonderful medium to work with!
The first run, I had applied about 4 coats or so, concentrating on the front of the piece. As I had worked, the glue and water softened the cardboard. It made it very malleable after coating. This allowed me to form it into the shape I had wanted, making it less boxy looking.
Setting process: STABILIZE YOUR PIECE. I cannot stress how important this is. As your piece sets, it will move from moisture as it dries. I had put a two liter under the rib cage area of the piece, so it dried with a beautiful curve. For the chest, I had lifted up the area and placed a thin cardboard box underneath in (approx. 4 inches). I had put a layer of plastic wrap underneath, so the dried chest plate would not adhere to it. I had a fan blowing directly on the piece to speed up the process. I would regularly check on the piece to shape it as it dried.
After the first coat, I applied the details. I had used thin rope to accentuate the piece, trimming the edges and bust. I find that a hot glue gun works great to keep it in place and to get the job done fast.
I coated the front, rope and all with paper mache. I did the back side the following day. The front was done once more after that.
Step 4: Adding Your LEDS!
Back to that ball again.... I had punctured the rubber ball with a knife, and sawed it slowly in half. I flipped the ball inside out to retain the shape better. This created a lip which allowed the balls to stay in place for the finished piece. It also enlarged the circumference slightly.
I had bound two, thirty strand battery operated LED lights (in BLUE) in each globe. Each ball was filled with crumpled up plastic wrap to diffuse the light better. The switch box was placed on top, easily accessible.
Two sets of icicle LED lights (in blue), twelve tubes each, were bound with clear tape. It gave a mesmerizing, wave-like effect when operating. I had threaded the wires underneath, through the cavity I had made prior. The lights were coated in plastic wrap, then I had paper mached a housing unit for them to keep them in place (the plastic stayed on until after the piece was painted).
Step 5: Painting/More LEDS!
Getting Cosmic with LED's....
First, the piece was painted (front and back plate). I had used a spray paint for the base in Chrome Silver. Then, I used flat black and brown poster paint to achieve a distressed metal look. I had dry brushed the paint focusing on the trim and crevasses to achieve this look.
On my final paper mache run, I had created nodules on the front plate for the tubing I had purchased at a local hardware store. The piece was very firm, but I was still able to create a cavity with a knife in the center of the nodule so I could thread the LED lights through it.
I had another two sets of thirty LED battery operated light stands (in BLUE). I had threaded the lights through the tubing with fishing wire, tied to a pen. I was able to pull the lights through successfully. I had enough lights left on one strand to run along the base of the thigh ledge. I used a drill to make the holes for the remaining LED lights. I threaded the lights through and secured them each with hot glue. The wiring on the bottom ledge gave this chest plate piece a level 10 coolness factor.
I had lined the inside with soft cotton fabric that I had glued into place. LEDS light switches were accessible through small holes. I had also worn a black tank top underneath for comfort.
The back plate was also painted, shaded, and smaller tubing added to the smaller nodules I had created. Both pieces came together with rope threaded on each side through corseted holes. The piece stayed securely up without issues.
Step 6: LED Lights AGLOW!
Here is the finished result! Complete with LED space boots. You can see both daytime and evening pictures of the LED lights. I hope you've enjoyed my tutorial. Thank you for stopping by. :D
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