Might I first say I would like to dedicate this instructable to my wife. She is the joy in my life and keeps me going when times are hard. She is wonder woman!
This has been an amazing project for me and I have learnt a lot about female body form. It has given me a further insight into just how amazing women are!!! They are all incredible! It has taught me respect for tailors and seamstresses and the work they do everyday to make people feel great.
We took the costume out and it was wonderful. Currently the G20 world meeting is being held here in Brisbane with all the world leaders represented. The city is crawling with police and it was good to see their face's cheer up when they saw wonder woman walking along. Pretty much everyone who had a phone or camera stopped to take photos. The indian delegates who happened to be in the area wanted a picture or several hundred.
Step 1: Why Wonder Woman?
I chose to make wonder woman because her character represents the truth and the good deeds people do. Also, the strength of women and their power to achieve great and wonderful things. Without the women in our lives, what would we achieve?
The inspiration for this costume came from artist Jeff Chapman and I would like to thank him for his creative mind. You can see his artworks here Jeff chapman art
Capturing art was at times difficult, especially digital, but also allowed for my own creativity and detail to be added.
I hope this instructable helps people around the world to capture the wonder in their minds and bring it to life.
Step 2: Your Tools
Here are most of the tools I used during the making of this costume. From left to right, there is:
Press studs kit
Craft (stanley) knife
Brown waxed linen
There are also a few types of spray paint but you will see them below.
Step 3: Corset
Step 4: Bracers
Here I tape formed her arms by making a tape form and then cutting it off to make my pattern. Its a good idea to make your patterns a little bigger as you can take leather off but its hard to put back on.
Here I'm using 3mm or 1/8th embossing leather.
I cut out my first one and then used it to cut out my second one. Once cut, clean up both edges with the edge beveler. Doing this when the leather is dry will give the best results as it does not crinkle the leather.
Next decide on where to to punch your holes for your bracer studs to join. I put mine in from the edge a bit to prevent the bracer from bending open in the middle but you could always put three in per join. The hole size is determined by your stud size so ask your leather shop which size to get.
Next use a set of dividers to make a line on the top and bottom of your bracer and follow over this line with a swivel knife to deepen the cut. The leather should be wet when doing this. I use a spray bottle.
Now burnish your edges. I figured out a way to do this really fast and I even made a tool for this specific job which I recommend as it will save you loads of time if you work with leather a lot. You can learn about it here - Fast burnisher!!
Step 5: Painting Bracers
Using spray paint correctly can make or break the look of an object. In most cases "less is more", meaning take your time in coating. Use smooth, even swipes with the can and never go over the same area twice. Its better to do thin coats and lots of them than two thick messy ones.
I used a leather spray throughout this whole project and then went later and changed the gold colour because I wasn't satisfied with the look. The brand I used for the leather is made for leather and is called Magix. I used a grey for the undercoat and then followed the bracers with a silver and the rest of the costume with a gold. All items were originally sprayed with the leather sprays but later I bought a White Knight product called "Super gold". This paint comes out very thick as opposed to the leather spray, so be careful when you get to that step later.
After your undercoat and top silver coat on your bracers are done, use your press stud kit to set your studs in place. Hit these solid and vertically even or you will run into problems. Even buy a few extra to practice.
Step 6: Wonder Woman's Headband
Next its time to make the headband. Here I'm using 3mm or 1/8th embossing leather.
I first used baking paper to take a pattern off Hannah's head. I folded this in half to get even lines and tried to follow the eyebrow line to frame the face better. Once this is cut out, wrap the tail ends around the back of the head and make a pencil mark for the right size. Your press stud positions can be taken from this. So punch those holes in and bevel the edges on both face and back side of leather.
Now cut the exact shape out but a bit smaller. This will be another layer of leather that is centred at the front. I diminished this to a dull point on both sides. Bevel the top side of this once your happy .
Burnish these both.
Next use PVA glue to fix these two together. I used a razor knife of Hannah's to score up the bottom layer to create a good bond between the two pieces. Use pins to hold this in place and a clothes peg on the back so it dries in a curve.
Step 7: Headband Spray and Centre Star
Repeat the earlier steps found in the bracer by undercoating the headband once dry and then top coating with a gold paint. I then fitted my press studs, but this time used brass coloured ones.
Print a star the appropriate size and lightly glue this on leather with PVA glue. I used a thicker leather for this Star to create definition. Cut the star out with a razor knife and also make the centre definition lines with the razor. Use the bevel tool to bash down the star edges to make it three dimentional. Then stain this cherry red the same as the corset and open up the center detail with a swivel knife.
Glue onto the headband with one star point facing upwards.
Step 8: Wonder Woman's Belt
Get a waist measurement and draw out what design shape you like. I made this belt in two pieces so that it looks more interesting. I created a vertical centre line by using the dividers and followed by the swivel knife. This enabled me to keep folding the belt in half and cutting it so it was symmetrical. I then trimmed the ends of this front belt in a nice rounded form. Edge bevel and then burnish this.
Next print out some designs and glue them on with PVA and cut through the paper to transfer the designs onto your leather. I used a new razor blade for this to make sure the lines were very accurate. Wet the leather and peel the paper off. I then hand tooled these designs into the leather with the mallet and bevel tool. I used an image of Veritas (goddess of truth - where the lasso of truth may have originated from), and Zeus.
Next, make your back piece by getting a measurement and cutting it out also following the same steps. Mark out your press stud positions and punch the holes required.
Step 9: Spray the Belt
Follow the previous order of undercoat, then top coat with dry time in between. When this is done, fit your press studs. I used the brass coloured ones here also. You can see the gold colour was a bit light in these pictures.
Step 10: Tape Form Eagle
Next, wrap your corset and begin to use duct tape to form around the cups. Once this is achieved cut them out and draw your basic eagle shape. Cut a small dart and flatten this onto your leather to cut out your piece. Im using the 3mm or 1/8th embossing leather here.
Step 11: Eagle Detailing
I folded the eagle wings in half and made a symmetrical design. Cutting a swivel knife line in the center will help with this step.
From there, pencil in your feather patterns. I divided the wing up into lines to draw out the feathers - it seemed to help me. Starting at the top of the wing closest to the centre begin to swivel knife each feather in. Work in this direction to create the overlay effect. Now use the bevel tool to create some depth to the feathers. Cut the leather out now so its feather shapes create the boarder.
I then swapped the swivel knife tool for a different tool tip called a "braiding tip". It creates small, very fine lines -perfect for feather patterns. I only did the larger tip feathers here. Swap the tip back and create some basic detail for the other feathers. Note that the leather should be very wet while you are using your swivel knife.
Stick your eagle wings on your corset and mould them to the same shape as the cup and leave them to dry. Watch the local wildlife crawl all over your work.
Step 12: Eagle Body
Now it's time to collect all your leather offcuts and glue them together with PVA to make one solid block of leather. I thatched these together at the eagle head point to save on leather and it worked fine. Be sure to score each piece of leather to create a good bond on the smooth side. Once this has been left for two days you can begin to sand this into an eagle shape. I'm lucky because I have a sander already set up so it was easier. If you don't have a sander, a dremel works also as I did end up using one for the finer touches.
Next, use a dremel cut off wheel to detail in all the eagles feathers. Wear safety glasses!!!! Dremel cut off discs explode when they have too much pressure applied or catch something and it's easy to forget about this. Once my detailing was done, I glued this onto the wings, checking its position on the corset also.
Step 13: Eagles Tail
I then cut a small piece of thick embossing leather for the tail. I marked this out with dividers and beveled down to make a shield shape. Scored it and glued it onto the eagle to dry.
Step 14: Spray Eagle
It was at this point the gold paint wasn't doing it for me, but here's what the eagle looked like anyway. Undercoat and then gold topcoat.
Step 15: Attaching the Eagle
After changing all the gold items to the new gold colour, I used a double velcro to attach the eagle to the corset. I bought good quality stuff by the actual velcro brand and I am glad I did because the glue is very strong. No problems with the eagle moving or coming off.
Step 16: Wonder Woman's Pants
I got Hannah to buy a set of high waisted knickers. These were a polyester blend, so they are a bit shiny which is what I wanted for this costume. I got these great little 3D iron on rhinestone stars that are so easy to put on and very permanent.
Mark out the positions for the stars on the front. Then hold the iron down on these stars without moving it around. Allow these to cool and then flip the knickers inside out and place a tea towel on the inside to prevent the heat from building up that side. Place the iron on and heat the back of the stars up till you can see an outline of them on the fabric.
I had the iron set to silk, which is the second coolest setting.
Repeat these steps till you have all your stars stuck into position. I recommend these stars, they are cheap and very effective at creating a great look.
Step 17: Special Thanks
Thanks to my lovely sister and her husband for coming to take photos for us. We really appreciate your time and effort in taking your whole family out just to help us. We love you!
Thanks to my wife Hannah Joy for coming on board and being the model for the whole project. You can see her instructable here. She is super kind and gave me advice on what looks good on a woman and what does not.
Thanks to my brother, mother and father for always encouraging me to pursue my passions.
Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!
First Prize in the
Superheroes and Supervillains Contest