Introduction: How to Make a DC: "Azrael" Costume
In 2017, I created the Azrael Batman suit from the Knightfall comic book series. After I was done wearing that costume for a few years, I thought that the next evolution of the costume should be the traditional red and gold version that Azrael wears afterwards. For the 2020 Chicago Comic Entertainment Expo, my friends and I decided to go as a Batman themed group so I thought it would be the perfect excuse to create the next rendition of Azrael.
For those of you who do not know Azrael, here is the back story: The villain Bane broke the back of Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, in the comic books. Well, Gotham still needed protecting so Bruce recruited Jean Paul Valley to take the mantle of the Batman while he he recovered. It seemed like a great idea until Jean Paul started going a bit overboard and violently brutalized villains. He starts to build his own version of a Batman suit and eventually calls himself Azrael. Bruce eventually heals up and takes the mantle of Batman back, but for a while, Azrael patrolled the streets of Gotham. Afterwards, Azrael dons his own costume and becomes part of the Batman family.
Now that you know the character, ready to learn how I made this costume? Let's get started!
-EVA foam (Usually purchased in a roll)
-EVA thick foam (usually purchased as tiles)
-maroon stretch fabric
-Gold Stretch fabric
-reflective eye glass lenses
-spray paint/ airbrush
-hot glue pad
-black plastic mini quick release buckles
-metal coat hangers
-interfacing fabric (medium and Heavy grade of stiffness)
-black puff paint
-E6000 permanent glue
-roll of paper
-non stretch fabric
Step 1: Reference Pictures
Before I ever start ANY costume, I look up a ton of reference photos from various sources and put it in a folder. The more pictures from different angles, the better. Look up: 1. Actual photos of the character from its source (movies, comics, action figure, etc)
2. Cosplay pictures. You can see what has been done, what you like, what you don't like, how to improve on a design. You can also start getting an idea of different poses you think you'd like to do.
3. I start looking at art work. I usually look up things via google images, deviant art, tumblr, etc. This way, you can see different renditions of a character through a new perspective and once again, start thinking about what you like, don't like, etc.
4. Use your own imagination. Think about what you want, how to make it your own original design, what are some tricks you think you'd like to incorporate.. perhaps you want to try out a new technique with this build, etc
5. If you can draw, I sometimes will take all my reference sources and start drawing out my own design
6. I was very fortunate that this Azrael suit is basically a slightly different variation of the Azrael Batman suit. Therefore, i was able to use that costume as a template so i didn't have to start completely from scratch when creating templates.
Step 2: Mask
1. For this version of Azrael, I've seen a few cosplayers make fabric masks. In the old 90s comics, his mask also seems to be made of fabric (pic 1). However, other illustrations have show the mask to be something hard and sturdy (pic 2)
2. I personally liked a sturdy very, as I personally would not like to fight crime in a a ski mask (Sorry Spider-Man!)
3. I actually had a 3d Printed hard mask that i used as a template. If you don't have one, you can ball up a bunch of clothes into plastic bag and cover in duct tape to use a mannequin.
4. So since the mask is symmetrical, i know that i only need to draw out half a mask for templates. I took my masking tape and covered the right side of the face. I cut out where the eye would be and also drew in my pattern. I knew that i would be wearing a hood, so i didnt have to create a full helmet (which would also prevent overheating). (pic 3)
5. Using your exacto knife, carefully cut off the masking tape pieces (pic 4)
6. Transfer the tape to paper (pic 5)
7. Transfer the patterns onto your thinner EVA foam. Flip the paper templates when you are transferring them to foam in order to get the other side of the mask.
8. Glue all your EVA foam pieces together. You can use hot glue or contact cement. However, i personally prefer contact cement at this stage in the game. (pic 6)
9. Now take more tape and put it over the mouth area of your EVA foam mask. Draw out your design (pic 7)
10.Use that tape template and transfer to a piece of paper. Then use that paper template and cut out the design from a piece of thin craft foam. Glue in place. You can also see that i cut two grooves above the eye sockets. I was thinking of adding a little gold in that line to add some slight color variation to the face when i painted it (pic 8-10)
Step 3: Shoes
These pictures are not from this specific build, but the premise is exactly the same
1. Take one of your boots and cover in masking tape. Make sure to not tape over the zipper. (pic 1)
2. Now look at your reference pictures and draw the design on your masking taped boot. Number the pieces on your boots so you know how to attach them onto the boot (pic 2 )
3. Take your exacto knife and carefully cut out your shapes while they are still on the boots. (pic 3)
4. Transfer your shapes onto your EVA foam and cut out. If your foam has the diamond tread on the bottom, use your sander to sand smooth.
5. I use my dremel and shape and bevel them a bit to remove the hard edge.
6. Take your head gun and stretch the pieces so that they mold well to the boot.
7. Use contact cement and glue on.(pic 4)
8. Use your masking tape templates to create foam pieces for the other shoe. However, remember that you have to flip the paper pieces over before you draw them because your shoes are flipped. (pic 5)
Step 4: Knees and Shins
1. Measure your knee, transfer it to paper and fold in half
2.draw your details on the folded paper (pic 1)
3. Create your layers from EVA foam (pic 2)
4. Glue your layers together and then add your details with craft foam (pic 3)
1. Measure your shin with your shoes on, transfer the measurements to paper and fold in half
2.draw your details on the folded paper,cut out and transfer stencil to EVA foam, and cut out all your pieces of EVA foam(pic 4+5)
3. I first start by gluing in a border around the shin piece. Take a strip of EVA foam and glue it around the perimeter. Then use your dremel to round it out. (pic 6)
4. Glue your layers together (pic 7)
5. I used a rectangular piece of eva foam for the back of my calf and sandwich my calf in between the front piece and back piece of eva foam. I mark where everything fits and then glue everything together so i have a cylinder.
6. I cut straight down the back of the shin to open it up. I used black buckles in the back of the shin pieces to close them (pic 8, from the previous Azrael Batman build, but concept is exactly the same) you can add your designs to the back at this time .
7. I use fabric to connect the shin piece to the knee piece. I just use the fabric like a bridge in between both pieces. I use elastic for the knee piece to strap around my knee for stabilization.
8. this is how they shins/ knees/ and shoes can look (pic 9)
Step 5: Crotch & Belt
1. Measure your waistline and cut a strip of EVA foam that size. I usually just use the width of the ruler i am using, which is 1.5 inches.
2. Create your codpiece by measuring the sides of your groin and how long it needs to be. Transfer the measurements onto paper and then onto foam (pic 1). Cut out your triangle crotch piece
3. I wanted to create an edge so i used the soldering iron to burn a groove down the back of the codpiece. place hot glue in groove, hold the codpiece in the position and wait for glue to completely cool (pic 2)
4. Add your details. I used some craft foam to add little sections to the codpiece here and there. I used the soldering iron to create some burns and then use the hole punch to pluck out some pieces(pic 3 (pic is not from this build, but premise is the same)
5. You can do the same process with the butt piece. Measure out your butt piece, transfer to paper, then transfer to EVA foam and coat out.
6. The seam of the belt will be on your side, and that way, you can put on the undies and still have the crotch and the butt-piece intact. glue your belt to your crotch piece (pic 4)
7. I sometimes take some fabric and glue it onto the seam of the codpiece. I also use a piece of elastic to connect the tip of the codpiece of the middle of the butt piece (so that the elastic goes in between your legs)
8. I will then create a cris-cross pattern on the back of the belt and open up the lines with a heat gun. I will then glue a strip of fabric onto the back of the belt so that it does not stretch over time. (pic 5)
9. This version of Azraels suit has a super wide belt. I think i made it 6 inches or so and then glued it over the strip that is already attached to the crotch piece.
10. i used an exacto knife to cut in details and also added craft foam for extra layers (pic 6)
Step 6: Thighs
1. take your measurements for your thigh and transfer them to a paper template (pic 1)
2. transfer the template to your EVA foam and use your heat gun to warm the foam and shape it. (pic 2)
3. Place the front thigh piece against your thigh and create a back thigh piece out of foam. Glue the seams together
4. From there, you can start adding any type of detail you would like. (pic 3)
5. use layers, a soldering iron to burn in grooves, and a heat gun and exacto knife to cut in lines. (pic 4-7, pics 5-7 are from the previous Azrael build, but the lower half is almost exactly the same except for the belt and the shin fins)
Step 7: Abdomen
1. Start out with taking a measurement of your abdomen and your chest.
2. Cut out a paper square with the measurements and then fold the paper vertically in half. (pic 1)
3. Draw out all your details and shape. Since your armor will be symmetrical, you only have to draw it out on one side. (pic 2)
4.take the whole abdomen strip and cut the whole piece out of EVA foam.
5.Cut each piece out from the paper, but save all the templates so you know where to glue everything. (pic 3)
6. Take your templates and draw each of the pieces onto EVA foam. (pic 4)
7. Take your paper template and place on the EVA abdomen strip. Use a sharpie to mark where all the abdomen pieces are supposed to go.
8. Cut out the pieces (pic 5)
9. Now is the time to create any designs in the abdomen pieces. i used a variation of tools like exacto knives and soldering irons to create holes, crisscross designs, etc. If you want to create lines, then cut them with an exacto knife and then use a heat gun to open them up a bit.
9. glue all the abdomen pieces and use buckles in the back to secure it together.
Step 8: Chest Piece
1. Fold your paper chest template and fold it in half. Start drawing in your details. (pic 1)
2. unfold your template and transfer onto EVA foam. (pic 2 +3)
3. Flip the chest piece over and use a soldering iron to create a line down the middle of the chest. fill the groove with hot glue. I also created a ledge on the bottom of the chest piece. (pic 4)
4. Now glue the chest piece directly onto the abdomen piece. (pic 5 +6)
5. Put the chest piece on and repeat the the process to create the back piece. measure your back and transfer the measurement to paper. then repeat steps 1 and 2. glue the front and back
5. I used the paper template to draw out (pic 7-9) and cut strips of thick and thin EVA foam. (pic 10-11)
6. I then sanded off the tread and start gluing on the strips to the chest piece. (pic 12, Pic from previous Azrael build, but concept the same)
7. Make sure you glue in all the strips on both front and back. Your front will have a space in the center for that downward arrow piece of the suit. (pic 13 + 14)
8. For the arrow, measure out the length and width and then transfer the dimensions on paper. Fold paper in half and draw out your design. Cut the template out of EVA foam (pic 15)
9. I used my dremel to carve in the design of that arrow. Eventually you will attach it to the chest piece with industrial velcro.
Step 9: Shoulders
1. Use a thicker EVA for the shoulder as it will give you a more stocky look.
2. Use your paper template to cut the front and back of the shoulder pieces. (pic 1 + 2)
3. use a heat gun to warm up the EVA and push it into a bowl to curve the pieces. (pic 3)
4. cut a wide EVA strip for the middle part of the shoulder (pic 4)
5. i created an under ledge. (pic 5)
6. Glue ledge in place (pic 6)
7. now you can add your details with craft foam and grooves by using an exacto knife and heat gun (pic 7 + 8)
Step 10: Biceps
1. measure out your bicep and cut a strip of paper that will wrap around your arm.
2. Once you have the measurement down, begin to draw in your design (pic 1 +2)
3. create all your EVA pieces from your paper templates (pic 3)
4. i made sure to add a front bicep piece (pic 4)
5. The seam is located on the inner bicep (pic 5)
6. Here are pictures of the front and back of the bicep pieces (pic 6 +7)
Step 11: Body Suit
1. You can use fitted long sleeve tshirt and pants to create your paper template.
2. You will use your shirt and pants to create paper templates. Then use a piece of chalk and outline those paper templates on your fabric. (pic 1)
3. Draw on the vest piece, and then draw out seperate arm pieces.
4. Sew the front and back of your shirt together. (pic 2, from another build, but premise is the same)
5. I also cut the shirt down the back and put in a zipper. This is because i wanted to sew the legs into the shirt. (pic 3, from another build but premise is still the same)
6. You can sew your arm sleeves on now.
7. Now use a pair of fitted pants to create a paper template for your Legs. Sew your pants together (pic 4
from another build but premise is still the same)
8. Sew your pants to your shirt. (pic 5)
9. Try on everything to make sure it all fits well. It should be snug and not loose (pic 6)
9 . Put on your torso armor and bicep armor
10. Use your chalk mark where your shoulders are visible. (pic 7)
11. Move the lines about an inch over on the fabric, as you want the gold to extend underneath the armor pieces (pic 8)
12. Cut out the fabric and then use those pieces as a template for your gold fabric (pic 9)
12. Sew the new gold shoulder sections back onto the suit (pic 10)
13. I used an airbrush to darken the fabric so its not so shiny.
Step 12: Half Way Point
Try on all your pieces with your body suit. Make sure everything fits and closes well at this time.
Step 13: Hood
1. Draw out your hood on some paper. The hood itself is quite big and bulbous, so it's better to go big than small. You can always make it smaller later if needed. I also knew i wanted a center piece for the hood so that the hood could have a little peak that came down in front of the face. (pic 1)
2. I cut out both pieces (pic 2)
3. I cut out 4 sides for the hood and 2 for the center. I also cut out some interface to give the hood stability. If you don't have any stiff interface, your hood might night sit correctly and will just flop around. (Pic 3)
4. Sew all the pieces together (pic 4)
Step 14: Cape & Bib
1. I folded my fabric in half so i knew the center of it. I cut a circle at the end of the fabric so my head could fit through. I then sewed the hood onto that hole. Once it was sewed on, i laid the fabric on the floor and drew out my design (pic 1).
2. Try the cape on with your shoes. You want the cape to just barely hit the floor. The reason for this is that you dont want anyone stepping on your cape or it getting caught in an escalator. (pic 2)
3. For your bib, Cut a fairly large square shape from your fabric. do this twice, as you will need some less still interface sewn in between. (pic 3)
4. Now use some of your gold fabric and sew in a gold strip (pic 4)
5. Now you will fold one side of the bib onto itself. the interface will let you keep those nice ridges. Put a few stitches in to help the it stay that shape (pic 5)
6. Now sew the bib underneath the color of the cape (pic 6).
7. Time to draw in the emblem. I just measured it out, drew it on a folded piece of paper (pic 7), cut out and transferred to gold fabric.
8. I experimented and used a bit of black puff paint around the edges to make it pop a bit. Sew the emblem in place. (pic 8)
9. I created a little foam coin from EVA foam and a dremel and attached it to the bib with a safety pin
Step 15: Guantlets
Azrael's flame blade gauntlets are pretty bulbous on him, so don't be afraid to make them big.
1. Take your thick EVA foam and make a cylinder to the size that you want the gauntlets to be. (pic 1)
2. create circles of EVA foam for the top and bottom of the cylinder. Do not glue them in yet. (pic 2)
3. Take the circles out and cut out smaller circles that will fit your write and forearm. You should have 4 "O"s now to glue in (pic 3)
4. wrap some masking tape around the cylinders to draw in your designs. (pic 4). Transfers those to EVA foam to create additional layers (pic 5)
5. Now add in your details. I used craft foam, smaller strips of EVA, and headed up some cut lines to create all the details(pic 6)
Step 16: Gloves
1. Start by tracing your hand with spread out fingers. Keep in mind, Azrael's gloves only have 4 fingers on them. (pic 1, different build but same premise. Put your pinky and ring finger together)
2. outline your hand and add in a little extra border for seam allowance (pic 2, different build but same premise. Put your pinky and ring finger together)
3. Now cut this out 4 times (pic 3, different build but same premise. Put your pinky and ring finger together)
4. Sew glove together (pic 4)
5. For your finger armor, you will have 2 sides and 1 wide strip. (pic 5)
6. Number all your pieces so you can keep track of them (pic 6)
7. Glue in your details by using craft foam. Do NOT glue the pieces onto the glove yet, however this is how my gloves turned out. (pic 7 -9)
Step 17: Flame Blades
Not only does Azrael have these retractable blades that come out of his gauntlets, but of course... they light on fire.. (Easy right?!).. (pic 1)
1. I took some craft foam and cut out the blades. (pic 2)
2. I had some clear worbla thermoplastic. Basically this becomes soft when you apply heat to it (pic 3)
3. I cut out 4shapes from the worbla and air brushed them to that gradient yellow to orange/red "fire" look" (pic 4)
4. I then sandwiched the foam in between 2 pieces of painted worbla. The Worbla is not sticky, nor does it adhere to itself so i had to bust out the big guns and use the E5000 glue.
5. Once dry, trim off the excess in a wavy manner so that it looks like a blade on fire.
6. Now, to add more flame, i used my hot glue gun and the self-cooling mat. I made a "fin" and let that dry. I made sure to do it in a flame way, so making sure it wasnt solid.. i made sure there were some holes and some strands coming from it. (pic 5)
7. once it was cool, i started to thicken it up and added a base so it would sit upright (pic 6)
8. once i was satisfied,glued them onto the worbla blades. (pic 7)
9. I then airbrushed the glue to make it look like flames (pic 8 + 9)
10. I made it so the blades sat within a channel of the gauntlet. I made them also removable as I'm hoping one day to make them actually light up. (pic 10 +11)
Step 18: Caulking, Sealing & Painting
1. Once everything is built, it's time to caulk all the adjoining pieces. Basically, use the caulk to fill in any gaps, unwanted spaces, etc. Also, if you layered any foam on top of each other, you should put caulk around the edges. (pic 1 shows the wet caulk in between the joints)
2. Next task is to seal it. If it is foam, i recommend plastidip as it allows for flexibility without cracking of paint. However, if you have pieces that will not be moving, bending, or squishing, i recommend mod podge.(pic 2)
3. Once dry, I begin with painting all my pieces. As my foam and craft foam were sometimes different bright colors, I started by painting all my pieces black so everything had an even base coat. Then i painted them the correct colors by using acrylic or spray paint (pic 3+ 4)
4. Once everything is painted, protect your paint job with a clear coat of spray paint
Step 19: Assembly
Once everything is dry, you can begin full assembly. I actually took these pics before i finished the hands and the top cape. I was still trying to figure out how to create them at the time.
1. Install your eye glass lenses. I use the reflective lenses and Dremeled them down a bit to fit the spaces. It's okay if they dont sit flush against your mask, as this will prevent fogging and allow for some air. You can also buy lens defogger if helpful(pic 1 +2)
2. Attach your biceps to the shoulders with elastic.
3. Attach your shoulders to the chest piece with elastic and alligator clips. I use this method because it is significantly easier to store when you can take off the arms.
4. Attach the thighs to to the belt using alligator clips and elastic, as this is also easier to store at this time.
5. i found that the weight of the of the hood caused it to uncomfortably rest against my neck. So i attached an alligator clip underneath the bib and had it clip onto a piece of fabric that i glued into the inside of the chest piece.
6. I added gold thumbtacks to act as "rivets" and give the suit some extra details.
7. This is a good time to see about your mobility in the suit. Move and walk around. See if anything pinches or is uncomfortable.
Step 20: Top Cape
This top cape was the very last thing I was stuck trying to figure out. It's essentially made from 2 layers of foam.
1. Draw a collar shape that will sit around your neck an shoulders. cut out of Eva foam. Let's call this your "lower layer". You will paint this the color of your cape. You can also attach a quick release buckle in the back, as no one will see it. (pic 1)
2. Draw a template for the front "feather" looking pieces.(pic 2)
3. Since the are all staggered in height, you will have to chop them into sections. make sure you mark them so you know their order (pic 3)
4. Cut each piece out of EVA foam and glue together at varying heights, like stairs. Lets call this your "upper layer" (pic 4)
5. Turn the upper layer over and cut in grooves for your coat hanger wire. (pic 5)
6. Glue in your coat hanger wire. This will give the upper layer enough strength so it doesn't flop or sag (pic 6)
7. Cover the whole upper layer with fabric (pic 7)
8. Create long strips of fabric for the rest of this top cape. Use a template. I used a strip of duct tape and attached it to paper. (pic 8)
9. you will need 3 pairs (6 total), but each pair is a little shorter because the feathers of the top later are at different heights . (pic 9)
10. Glue them onto your top layer and add some gold thumbtacks for detail (pic 10)
11. Glue the upper layer to the lower layer. (pic 11)
12. Try it on with your hooded cape. The feather should sit above the shoulder. (pic 12-17)
Step 21: Finished!
Now that you are officially done, just a few things to consider.
1. Try out different poses. I like the fighting stance with the flaming blades
2.Don't get too reckless with the blades when you play with them. They can still tear out of you are hitting things with them.
3. Go find other DC and Batman Characters.
4. Also special thanks to the amazing photographers (David Ngo) to make this suit look fantastic.
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