Welcome one and all to my quick "Do-It-Yourself" Star Wars Cosplay tutorial!
As an avid Star Wars fan I was adamant about completing a Jedi Costume/Cosplay before the release of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens film. Since I wanted to create an original character I delved deep into the Legends universe and discovered a race of aliens that had frequent interactions with Luke, Han and the Solo/SkyWalker children. This race of white skinned, rogues were called the Nagai and they played a vital role in the Rebel Alliance's successes against the First Order/Empire. There was just one teeny problem...ok, there were a few problems...
- I was running on a budget of just $50 for this costume.
- I had never completed a body/face paint before.
- I only had a week to complete this costume.
Not one to be discouraged I ventured forward using spare fabric, Amazon sales, thrift store treasures and some elbow grease to create my custom Jedi Nagai Sentinel. How did I do it? This tutorial will cover my quick solutions and ideas for the following...
- Patterning & Sewing
- Star Wars Accessories & Making Thrifted Items Your own
- Using FX Make Up
- Getting into Character/Posing
Here is a summary of what you may/will need...
- Spare Fabric:
- Preferably faux/real leather, cottons or polyester blends in shades of brown, white and black
- Sewing Supplies
- Needles, thread, scissors, measuring tape, etc.
- Patterning Supplies
- Saran Wrap, Masking/Painter's Tape and a Sharpie or Marker
- Make Up Supplies
- Face Make Up in your preferred color (I chose Ben Nye MagiColor), Eye Liner, Primer, Make Up Sealer, Eye Shadow Palette
- Light Saber or Sabers (This is where Amazon helps or access to a thrift store)
- A pair of boots (use a spare OR thrift store OR feel free to buy new)
- Time, Dedication and Patience.
Let's get started!
Step 1: Patterning & Sewing
Patterning is something I am beginning to get quite comfortable with. For this costume I sewed the following:
- Faux Leather Under Coat
- Faux Leather Over Vest/Adornment
To make the pattern for the top portion of the overcoat I used an existing Bolero pattern by Simplicity. My pattern is from the late eighties but the new one is very similar and much easier to put together. I used the normal sleeve pattern however; when it came to the bolero front/back/side I lengthened the garment to cover my entire torso and extended the front section so it could be sewn together like a shirt. For the skirt I attached to the coat I used a half circle skirt method found HERE and added a few pleats in the back for more fluidity in the motion of the rear of the coat.
Overcoat complete I proceeded with the vest...overcoat...adornment thingy. I wrapped myself in saran wrap, placed masking tape strips on top then drew out the base pattern on the front of my chest. I cut myself out of the saran wrap and tape (having a second set of hands helps here...I have cut myself often). Once freed of my pattern cocoon I laid the base down on some faux leather and cut 2 copies. I then took some transparent pattern material (called pattern-ease...tracing paper works too) and drew my triangular designs on them then lined them up with where I wanted to sew to be sure the proportion was correct.
Designs in order, I cut them out using a darker faux leather and sewed them onto their individual sections. I then connected the shoulder portions of the vest flap adornment thingy and my sewing endeavors were complete!
TIP: Common Pattern & Sewing Tools
- Sewing Machine
- Serger (often different from a machine but SOME machines can also be sergers)
- Thread (buy HIGH quality thread...I cannot stress this enough)
- Fabric Scissors (I prefer Fiskars)
- Normal Scissors (for non-fabric tasks)
- Cutting Board
- Seam Ripper (aka life saver)
- Pins and a Pin Holder
- Pattern Ease OR Tracing Paper
- Tailor's Chalk and/or Magic Erase Pattern Pen
- Safety Pins
- Saran Wrap and Masking tape (in case you are not comfortable drafting patterns based on measurements)
- Butcher Paper (for patterns - Pattern Ease can be used for this as well)
- Measuring Tape
- Sewing Machine Oil and Brush (to keep your sewing machine clean and running smoothly)
Step 2: Accessories & Altering Store Bought Items
For this particular costume accessories were simple...
- A wig
- A lightstaber
The wig, corset and boots I reused from a previous cosplay. The belt was a thrift store purchase ($1). I purchased the gloves and light saber from Amazon. The light saber was a child's saber as, again, I was on a budget. The gloves were bridal gloves in a silken brown.
So what did I have to alter?
- Boots - Change the Color using a Fabric Medium and Spray Paint (to give it a metallic sheen and blaster damage)
- Light Saber - I removed the acoustic diode (the sound emitter) and I rigged the saber so it lit up solid (this worked sometimes...lol)
- Wig - I styled and trimmed the bangs.
TIP: Spray Painting Clothing
When you are in a pickle and need to change the color of something quickly Rustoleum sells an outdoor brand of spray paint that holds up well on clothing and shoes. ISSUE: this is ONLY temporary. Spray paint is often not flexible so expect cracking and chipping.
Long term solution?
For clothing you can buy a Fabric Painting Medium that, when mixed 1:1 with high quality acrylic paint, turns into a poor mans solution for screen printing. You must heat seal this and it takes 24-48 hours of dry time but it is machine washable and the color holds up well.
The same can be done for shoes but you will need some fabric paint instead of acrylic. Mix the Fabric Painting Medium with a Heavy Fabric Paint on 1:1 ratio, let it dry for 24 hours, heat seal with a heat gun OR blow dryer and you're all set!
NOTE: Touch up may be required after the first wash.
Step 3: Using FX Make Up
Special Effects Makeup and body paint can be tricky to use. I started out with Ben Nye Magicake in White but discovered that, over time, it would become very dry and flake off (even when I used a sealer). So I recently switched to Mehron Water Based Makeup in Clown White. Here is a video of my makeup application process...
- Ponds Mosturizer
- Mehron Face Paint (Clown White)
- Ben Nye: Face Paint (black)
- Ben Nye Setting Spray
- E.L.F Setting Powder
- Loreal Silver Eye Shadow
- Eye Shadow Palette (generic)
- Large Makeup Brush
- Medium Makeup Brush
- Matte Black Lipstick (NYX)
- Liquid Eye Liner
- Loreal Mascara
Step 4: Getting Into Character
With your creation complete you now get to have fun!
Check out the Star Wars Wiki for guidance on your race's behaviors, preferences and desires. Create a back story for your character. Practice your looks in a mirror and HAVE FUN!