Introduction: How to Make a DC: "Batwoman" Costume
For the 2020 C2E2, our friends wanted to go as a Batman themed group. Knowing my wife's personality, I knew she would want to dress up as someone who could hold her own and has a lot of strength to her character. I thought Batwoman would be a good match for my Azrael costume, while still fitting in the theme of being in a Batman group.
For those who don't know Batwoman as a character, she is Katherine Kane- one of the socialites of Gotham. In the New 52 series, it's established that Kate Kane is a cousin of Batman's alter-ego Bruce Wayne. She is trained in the United States Military Academy and after a brief encounter with Batman, she becomes inspired and begins fighting crime using military body armor and weaponry stolen from her father's military base and purchased off the black market. Her military father eventually makes her an upgraded batsuit.
Well, my wife may not have all the tech of the military, but she does have a super creative hubby! Ready to read how I made this costume? Let's get started!
- stretch black lycra fabric
- Stretch grey lycra fabric
- Stretch red lycra fabric
- Black Pleather fabric for the Cape
-Non stretch red fabric for inner layer of cape
-black ankle high shoes wit
-scrap long sleeve shirt and pants. These will be destroyed
- eye glass lenses
-black plastic clips
-industrial spray adhesive
-toy hand gun with screw-able silencer
-gun holster (purchased online)
- industrial Velcro
- black quick release clips
-mini black quick release clips
Step 1: Reference Pictures
Before I ever start ANY costume or prop, 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/prop from its source (movies, videos, action figure, etc)
2. Cosplay pictures. You can see what has been done, what you like, what you don't like, how to improve
3. I start looking at art work. I usually look up things via google images, deviant art, tumblr, 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
Optional: 5. If you can draw, I sometimes will take all my reference sources and start drawing out my own design.
Step 2: Boots
1. Take one of your boots and cover in masking tape. Make sure to not tape over the zipper.
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 1+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 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..
Step 3: Shin Armor
1. While wearing the boots, measure the width of the calf and the height from the bottom of the knee to the ankle. Transfer that dimension to paper and fold that rectangle in half vertically.
2. Now draw in your design and cut out (pic 1)
3. unfold the paper and you should have a symmetrical template to transfer over to EVA foam. (pic 2)
4. the front shin is 2 layers. I scored the foam to create some deep lines, based off the reference (pic 3)
5. Repeat the process, but do it for the back of the calf. Here is my half designed paper template for the back (pic 4)
6. Unfold, transfer to EVA foam and cut out (pic 5)
7. Wrap the front and back pieces of of the EVA foam around the person's calf and mark where the pieces should be joined. Glue together. (pic 6)
8. Glue together so your shin piece is a tube. Cut a line down the center of the back and attach your little black clips there so you can get in and out of them. You should be done then with your shins (pic 7).
Step 4: Belt
1. Create an even strip of foam that is long enough to fit around the person's hips. Remember that the belt does not sit at her waistline.
2.You can also cut the belt into two pieces and cut at an angle. Glue the angles to make more of a "V" shape to allow it to sit well against hips.
3. Cut a cross section pattern with your exacto knife into the back of the belt. Do NOT cut through the belt. Use a heat gun to expand the lines.This cross pattern allows glue to seep in and allows a better hold to the strip of non-stretch fabric you glue to the back. The fabric should be glued into the back because foam tends to stretch and you do not want your belt to stretch with time and fall off (pic 1)
4. Now that you have a belt strap, take a half of piece of paper and line it up to the center line. Draw out your emblem on the paper. I like using half a sheet because it helps me keep perspective so i can see what's behind what i'm trying (pic2)
5. Now use that paper template to trace the shape out of foam. Now cut it out. If needed, sand off the tread from the back of the foam. Use your dremel to bevel the edges.(pic 3)
6. Glue a strip of thin foam right down the middle of the emblem and dremel so that it seems seamless.
7. Now take some heated worbla (thermoplastic) and cover the foam emblem. I covered the emblem in worbla because i wanted the emblem to be hard. I was afraid that over time, the emblem would tear or crack if it was just foam. (pic 4)
8.Now paint the worbla with woodglue. This is because the Worbla has little grooves and indentations in it. Covering it in layers of wood glue will make the emblem super smooth because the wood has filler in it. (pic 5)
9. Draw a rectangle that will be the size of your pocket. Then for the lid/ cover, use the paper to draw another rectangle that is the same width. However, you will cut the end of the paper in a different angle so it will give the pocket a bit of personality. (pic 6)
10. Transfer to thick foam for the base. Then use the paper to transfer to the thinner EVA. Glue and wrap around the top so it looks like a lip. (pic 7)
11. Glue the pockets in place on the belt (pic 8)
Now you can glue the buckle i the back of the belt to close it together.
Step 5: Guantlets
1. Look at plenty of references/ angles to see what you are trying to accomplish. (pic 1+2). Something i often think of if i get stuck is, "maybe someone has done it before".. and if i see a cosplay who has, then I know i can do it too. (pic 3)
2. Take your paper and fold in half. make sure it is the length of your wrist to your forearm. Draw in your design (pic 4)
3. Unravel and start transferring it to EVA foam. Think of it like layers. Create a base layer, then build up the layers. The gauntlets are 3 layers and a spike that is close to the elbow (pic 5)
4. Take a flat piece of EVA foam and press it against the underpart of your forearm.Then put the layer from step 3 on top (like a sandwich for your arm). Mark your areas with a sharpie so you can see where to glue the two parts together.
5. Then use your craft foam to create "straps". (pic 6)
6. Now that your forearm is nearly complete, you can draw your fins to the size you need on paper. Transfer to EVA foam, bevel edges and glue in place (pic 7)
7. Now use some EVA foam for thicker "rivets" (pic 8)
Step 6: Gloves
1. Spread out your hand and and draw out on paper. You want to create a glove that is past the wrist. Before you cut it out, add a few meters to allow for the thickness of your hand.
2. Draw in your design. The references i was using suggested that her glove was split black with red fingers, so i drew that into my paper template and then cut it.
4. Transfer to your stretchy fabric and cut out.
5. sew the black and red portions of 1 side of a glove together.
6. Then, clip and sew together (pic 3, this is from the build, but i had to remake the gloves because i didnt realize that the glove was 2 colors until i had already cut out the pieces)
7. Once sew together, use a piece of paper to sketch out the shape of the back hand plate. I also like to create finger/ knuckle armor. I beveled the edges and then glued directly into the glove (pic 4)
Step 7: Chest Armor
1. You can do the whole masking tape tape method again and draw on yourself if easier. (pic 1)
2. I am pretty decent at just eyeballing it though. I take a piece of paper and fold it in half. I make sure that that is the length of the shoulder to wherever i need the chest armor to end. I cut room out for the neck and start to draw my patter n in on one side (pic 2)
3. Cut out your pattern while it is folded. Unfold and you should have a symmetrical shape (pic 3)
4. Transfer to EVA foam.
5. Cut out two circles for the bust area. You can use a guide or a company if needed.
6. If you have a ball or fruit or something round, then cover it in tape, draw your pattern with your seam lines and cut out. (pic 4)
7. Transfer to EVA foam so that you have 2 half domes. glue in place onto the chest piece (pic 5)
8. Now put masking tape on the chest area and draw out your bat symbol. You only need to draw half of the emblem since it is symmetrical . remove the tape in one piece and transfer to paper. Cut out and that is your template.
9. Take that paper template and transfer to EVA foam. (pic 6).
10. Sand off the back diamond patter if needed, bevel the edges, and then glue in (pic 7)
11. Repeat the process for the back piece. (pic 8).
12. I attach the front and back at the shoulders so it goes over your head. Then i glue in clips along the rib cage area to close it.
Step 8: Shoulders
1. While wearing the chest armor, take your tape and put it over the person's shoulder. Wear the chest armor so you know how much space you have to work with.
2. draw your pattern and include your tic marks. Cut out (pic 1)
3. Transfer to EVA foam and glue pieces together. (pic 2)
3. Draw in your design and transfer to EVA foam. I know I wanted to have some under layers, so i drew those in, carefully cut them out with an exacto, staggered them line stairs, and reglued them in place. Glue in any of the top layer pieces (pic 3)
4.Set aside. You still need to prep and seal the foam before you glue it in.
Step 9: Duct Tape Template
1. Put on the scrap long sleeve shirt and pants.
2. Take strips of duct tape and apply to one half of the body. do NOT just have one long continuous piece of tape because you wont cover all the areas, you'll waste tape, and you're more likely to tighten the tape around the person so that you restrict blood flow to their extremities.. So just apply several strips of tape until their half is covered (pic 1)
3. Once half of the person's body is covered with duct tape, use a sharpie to draw in the design. (I also draw tic marks across my lines so i know where to match up my pieces pic 2+3)
4. Now carefully cut off the duct tape suit from the person's body. Once off, you can cut out the patterns that you drew in (pic 4)
5. Transfer those patterns onto paper. It will be easier to use when you transfer it onto fabric (pic 5)
6. Once you have drawn your paper templates, Add a seam allowance to the perimeter of each piece. If you dont, your suit will be smaller! dont forget to transfer over your tic lines as well (pic 6)
Step 10: Body Suit
1. Take your paper templates and transfer them to your stretchy fabric. I just lay the paper down, use some chalk to outline the edges and also the tic marks. I sometimes use weights to hold down the template as i draw (pic 1)
2. Cut out your pattern from from your stretch fabric. Make sure to flip the paper templates over to get the other side of the body. (pic 2)
3. Sew all your pieces together. I have the person try on the suit inside out so that i can clip any loose fabric and resew that area to make it more form fitting (pic 3)
4. Once your suit is all together, sew in the zipper. (pic 4)
5. Now try on your armored pieces over your armor.
Step 11: Neck Piece
1) Take a plastic bag and wrap it around your neck like a bib. (pic 1)
2. Take tape strips and tape the entire thing (pic 2, not same build but same concept)
3. Using a sharpie, Mark where the center of the neck is. That will help you establish a middle point.
4. From there, You can start drawing in your designs on one half of the neck guard. After all, the neck guard will probably be symmetrical anyways. (pic 3)
5. Carefully cut the template off the person (pic 4)
6. Cut the template into 3 parts (each side) and then transferred them to EVA foam (pic 5)
7. Glue your 6 pieces together.
8. Add a zipper to the back of the neck guard to reattach it all together when wearing it. (pic 6)
9. Add in your details. I used thin craft foam for additional layers. (pic 7)
10. I glued it in place and then added some grooves in around the sides. (pic 8 +9)
11. Try it on. You can heat the foam a bit and gently stretch it out if its too time. (pic 10+11)
Step 12: Mask
1. For your mask, make sure you study your reference. There are actually a few variations of it. Here are two different styles, but decide which style you like (pic 1+2)
2. I actually happened to have a Styrofoam mask that i used for a template. However, if you don't have one, you can probably use a ball or a balled up shirt as a way to create something the size of the person's head. It doesn't have to be accurate, but just for some sizing and shaping.
3. with whatever you are using for your head shape, cover it in saran wrap and then cover in masking tape. Draw your design directly onto the duct tape. Since the mask is symmetrical, you only have to draw on one side(pic 3 + 4)
4. Cut away the unessentials such as the mouth area and eyes. Additionally, you can take a piece of paper and create an ear to see what it would look like (pic 5)
5. when your design is complete, take the masking tape off and shop up the design to get your template (pic 6)
6. take all your pieces and transfer to EVA foam (pic 7).
7. Cut out all your pieces and start gluing everything together. You may need to use your heating gun to start helping the foam molding into the desired shape.
8. If needed, you can created channels, by removing a line of foam and gluing the sides together. it creates an angle on the other side of the mask. they call these "hills' and "valleys" (pic 8)
9. Glue your pieces together. I start with the larges pieces like around the eyes and skull pieces. The rest of it is just little adjustments. (pic 9)
10. Once completed, attach some elastic to the sides that will connect in the back. Put the elastic undereath the wig when you wear it. Make adjustments as needed. (pic 10-13)
*I will probably redo the mask sometime, as the ears a little more "fox" like than i actually one. It was based off the reference i was using, but i think i'm going to try doing the traditional mask.
Step 13: Cape
1. Measure from your shoulder down to where you want your cape to sit. Have the person wear the shoes and chest armor because they will add onto the length.
2. transfer the size onto a long piece of folded paper. Draw in your design. The cape has these points, so you are making a slice with a curve at the bottom. (pic 1)
3. Open the paper up and transfer to your black pleather (pic 2)
4. Cut out your slices (pic 3)
5. Sew all the slices together. I was able to get 4 slices from the material i had (pic 4)
6. I then spread the full sized cape over my non stretch fabric (pic 5)
7. Outlines the size with a piece of chalk. and cut out (pic 6)
8. It all depends on your fabric, but you will want to attach the red fabric to the black fabric, as the inside of the cap is red and the outside is black. I used industrial strength spray adhesive, put a ton of books on top to press the fabrics together as they dried. (pic 7)
9. once dry, you can go back and add more spray to the edges and/or run the entire thing through a sewing machine for some stitches. (pic 8)
10. you will cut out a circle at the apex of the cape, so it can wrap around your head. Attach two quick release clips to the two collar points. The other pieces will be attached to the chest armor itself .
Step 14: Hand Gun + Grappling Hook Attachment
1. Batwoman's grapling hook looks like one of those claw hand games. I wasnt a fan so i wanted to make my own design.
2. I had a spare metal rod that i altered. The toy gun i bought came with a screw-on silencer. I chopped up the silencer part and glued in the metal rod to the part that has the threading. (pic 2).
3. I Then created 3 fins from EVA foam (Pic 3)
4. I glued them onto the rod. I used my dremel to make a little tip to cover the end of the rod (pic 4)
5. Paint you gun the colors. The handle is black with a red palm part. the top is a dark metal color (pic 5)
6. Your grappling hook should now be able to screw into the gun. (pic 6)
7. I also bought a gun holster that had velcro on it. I put an industrial velcro piece on the back of the chest armor so the holster was hidden under the cape in the back.
Step 15: Sealing + Painting
1. Now that all your pieces are assembled, it is time to paint! First though, you have to seal all your foam pieces with plastidip. Plastidip will seal your foam so your paint doesnt get absorbed by the foam. Essentially, you are spraying on a rubberized shall. This is also helpful for pieces that will bend/ move.
2. Once dry, get to painting!
3. Once dry, spray all your painted pieces with a clear coat to protect you paint job.
4. lastly, take your sunglass lenses and glue them into the mask. I use the reflective white ones. You may have to use your dremel to shape them into the eye space of your mask.
Step 16: Finished
Your Batwoman costume should be done at this time! Just a few last minute things to do.
1. Make sure to wear a black balaclava under your mask. it will cover your exposed neck area and also keep your actual hair out of the way.
2. Wear some red lipstick.
3. Work on your poses and figure out what is the best for you. I personally like the cape being held with the gun in the other hand.
Thanks for following this Batwoman Build. More of my work can be found on Facebook, Instagram,Youtube, and Tumblr.
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