Hello again beautiful people!
So this was my first cosplay attempt EVER, Erza Scarlet’s Heart Kreuz Armor from the anime Fairy Tail. And since I got frustrated searching the internet for tutorials and found nothing useful, I promised myself to share my knowledge with everyone if the armor turned out to be a success!
Before we start I just want to point out that this was all a trial and error process, so there may be a few blunders I fixed along the way. I worked using proportions and not by accurate numbers, so you might have to measure things on yourselves using your own scale as a reference. And speaking of scales, I am 1.53m tall, pretty short! So consider that this armor was made according to my tiny size, and you might have to work out the proportions and make a few adjustments to create your own perfect fit.
I hope this step-by-step tutorial will be useful and help you all make a much better armor than mine.
And of course if you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to contact me here or email me at ( email@example.com ) and I’ll be more than happy to help you with anything!
((DISCLAIMER: All rights to "Fairy Tail" the anime and the manga go to its creator Hiro Mashima and TV Tokio))
In this part we will go through the making of the: Pauldrons (Shoulder pieces).
Materials you will need:
- Butter paper sheets.
- Craft foam sheets size 50x50 cm, preferably white.
- Hot glue gun.
- Metallic Silver & Black spray-paint.
- Thick black markers.
- Scissors or cutter.
- Steel ruler or cutting ruler.
Step 1: Making the Template
First things first, grab your beautiful butter paper and put it on your shoulder so it covers it all around, I use myself as a model because I don't have a dress form or a mannequin of my own, if you have one then you can do the same with that.
On the butter paper draw a rectangle that starts from your neck-bone down to your shoulder (Deltoid, is it?) and covers it fully from both sides. Make sure that the length is good, proportions again, you don't want it to be too long or too short! Always keep reference pictures at hand and just keep going back and forth between them, those are very helpful.
After you've traced that rectangle to the size you want it to be, thicken the lines and cut that out, that is your base template!
from that template you will make two smaller templates, with the same length but a smaller width each time. Stack those on top of each other, the biggest is down and the smallest is up. So you will end up with 3 rectangles, all the same length but they get wider as you go lower in that stack.
Now draw lines dividing the top rectangle in half, then another line on the outer third of each half (at the end of the rectangle) those will be where we fold the pieces over!
And after that, we will cut the corners of all the rectangles diagonally, so you'll end up with small triangle cut-outs. Also we will cut the short side of the rectangles into small curves.
There! You have your template ready!!
Next you will transfer that butter paper template onto the white craft foam and cut it out. It should look like the picture when you're done cutting it out.
Beautiful, now do the same thing again, you want two shoulder pieces now don't you?
Great! Now that we have two of those, let's move on to the next step!
Step 2: Shaping the Pieces Pt.1
Alright! The first thing we are going to do is glue the stack all together, make sure everything is in place and hot-glue all three pieces on top of each other. That's not so hard!
Next we are going to fold the pieces where the lines we drew are, that is in the middle of the rectangle, and the outer third of each half. Now since three layers of foam are a bit too thick to fold easily, here is what you do:
On the inside, you grab your steel ruler and your cutter, and you just cut along the lines where you want to fold. DO NOT cut the piece off!! We simply want to make a thin surface cut to help give us a clean fold. Simply scratching the surface. After that, hold your ruler up and fold the foam pieces against it. Lovely!
Again, because the foam is too thick it might not hold still in that folding position even after we've done our little folding surgery. So to make the folds even more secure simply put some hot glue in the crease on the inside, (just a tiny little bit, don't put too much otherwise it will be problematic later on) and then stick the folds together on the inside. When you're done, you should have nice folded pieces like this!
But BEFORE gluing the folds together, there is still one thing we need to do. As you can see, what we have here are rectangular pieces that go up like pyramids. We don't want that, we want them to have a curved shape just like Erza's, they are arched. So to do that, we have to make a few cuts in our rectangles. More surgery!
Step 3: Shaping the Pieces Pt.2
Now, I told you not to jump right in and glue the inside of the folds just yet, so now we are going to unfold the pieces and lay them flat on a surface, and now we are going to look at the picture here. You see dashed lines on all four sides of the rectangle.
Okay! Let's get to those!
On the short side, there is a line perpendicular to the center of the curve going inwards towards the center of the rectangle. From the inside of that piece, you are going to pinch that in along the vertical center line and pull it in backwards. This will cause the edges to arch downwards giving the sides the perfect shape, and also tucking them in so that they won't stick out randomly when you wear them, but wrap snugly around your shoulders. This pinch won't be seen since it's on the inside of the shoulder piece, but the issue now is on the outside where it clearly shows. The solution to that is simple, just cut out C-shaped pieces of craft foam identical to the sides we have (Just put the side on the foam sheet, trace it and cut it out. Simple!) and stick them on there! The good thing about this patchwork is that adding one extra layer of craft foam will make the sides a bit thicker and heavier, and will also keep the pinch in place and the arches will hold their structure.
On the long side of the rectangle, you see two curved dashed lines meeting at a point just a few centimeters behind the center. We are going to cut them out along those lines and that will give us two nice mirrored arches connected from the center. We will glue those together exactly at the edges. You should be extra careful when you glue this from the sides because some hot glue might come out from between them and burn you, since you will be pinching both ends together, and if you're not too careful it might look sloppy with glue bursting out of it. But sloppiness isn't an issue here, since you will be giving all edges a black marker treatment!
Now after you finish gluing these together, you should see the arched shape come together. NOW, you can fold the sides again and glue the insides of the folds to keep them tight and secure.
Do that for the second piece and your shoulder pieces are now ready to get painted! YAY!
You can see the final shape in the second picture, I apologize but I got so excited that I painted them quickly afterwards and forgot to take a picture.
Step 4: Paint Away!
A few important tips for spray painting, keep the object at a distance when you spray it, you don't want it too close otherwise you'll end up with lumpy tear-drop paint that will look terrible. Also, get lots and lots of newspapers to cover the area you'll be painting in, preferably outdoors, since you don't want to inhale all that spray. Don't wear your favorite shirt because there is a big chance you will get dirty, gloves and goggles if it's windy because you will get paint in your eyes if the wind is mean enough!
Also, make sure to test the spray paint out on a small piece of foam just to check if it's safe to use, because some types of paint will just burn through it, and it's also a good idea to test the colors before you actually start to paint the real thing.
The colors I used for the armor are a silver chrome spray paint and a glossy black spray paint, those are the ones on the left and right. the one in the middle is a textured metallic paint which I used for the sword.
So after laying newspapers everywhere, you place your pieces and you spray it from a distance with the silver paint first on one side, wait a bit till it dries and turn it over to the other side and repeat that until you've painted it completely, don't forget to also paint the inside of the shoulder pieces, just on the edges because that is going to show when you lift up your arms. After you do a coat or two of silver, walk even farther away and spray some black strokes, do NOT color it black.. this will just give the silver paint some darker points and this will give it more definition, try to hit the points where you think should show more shadow like on the sides, between the layers... etc.
You've already seen this picture in the step before, but just in case you missed it, here is how it looks like after being left to dry.
And don't worry about the edges of your patched-up side pieces, those will look amazing once they are outlined with black markers!
And try them on! You want to see how they fit on your shoulders and make sure that they move when you do. This is where the pinch we made earlier comes in handy because now those pauldrons will stay in their place and move when your shoulders move!
Step 5: Using Markers
One thing that separates reality from animation is the outlines. That's my theory on the subject, if you want to make something look cartoon-ish or anime-ish, give it a black outline.
And I swear by black markers. They can instantly make anything, and I mean ANYTHING, look awesome.
So the secret here, is the black outline!
And now that you know the great secret, wield your black markers and start outlining every single line, every single detail on those beautiful pauldrons, fill in the thickness of the foam itself, the edges, everything! It will look drastically different once you are done with it, but be slow and be careful, you cannot afford to make mistakes now because one stray line would be fatal... Black marker is permanent, and you will mess up the paint job if it goes wrong.
This is what they looked like when I started outlining them. Now if you notice in those pictures the edges on the top of the curve don't look that great, that's because some hot glue came out there and dried, and when you try markers on glue it doesn't work so smoothly, you will have to outline them again and again, keep going over that spot until every little white or transparent dot is gone!
And they will look so pretty when you're done! You should feel proud!!
Step 6: Attaching to the Chest
Now the moment you've all been waiting for, we are finally going to attach those pauldrons to our chest piece that we made earlier!
Oh the excitement!
Attaching the pauldrons directly to the chest piece makes it much easier to put on, as opposed to wearing them separately.
Now, you will simply get your chest piece, put the shoulder pieces on the place where they should be and mark only the edges, and by edges I mean only the top 2 corners of the shoulder piece. We are only going to glue them from the very tips because we want them to move when the arms move, so gluing them only from the tips because that will work as a joint, and the pauldrons will be able to move. And don't worry, they will hold securely, hot glue is one strong adhesive because it melts the foam together. It may require occasional maintenance but it is the best on the long run.
After you mark the edges and start gluing, make sure you don't put too much glue on, you should have just the right amount of glue, because any extra glue might damage the paint on the chest armor. So be careful with that part, if any glue comes out just take it off quickly before it dries, it may leave a small trace though, so be careful.
After you are finished, take a step back and give yourself a round of applause, then treat yourself to a cookie and some hot chocolate!
Great job!! You have just made your armor's shoulder pieces!
Step 7: Try It On
Put on the chest piece with the newly-added shoulder pieces and see how they fit you. if they look a little out of place then it's never too late to take them off and stick them back on!
When you are happy with their position, then CONGRATULATIONS!!! You have successfully finished this piece of the armor! Let's all do a little victory dance!
Step 8: Conclusion
I hope you found this tutorial helpful, it was fun for me to make this armor and I hope it would be the same for all the brave souls who attempt it.
But one last piece of advice, hard work pays off. This will be exhausting and time consuming and at times even frustrating. But if you want it to look perfect you have to give it all the effort and time you can possibly afford, and when you see your final result, you will be blown away!
Again, if you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to contact me here or email me at ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
This part of the armor is done, now let's move on to the next one!
Lots of love,