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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Daft Punk Helmet Tutorial

Want to make some cool armor but not so sure how to tackle it? Do you want to make a custom helmet but you don't have any idea what to do? Well I'm going to show you how to make a lightweight, durable, and relatively cheap way to make a helmet! In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how!

Materials:

- Cardstock paper
- Pepakura designer
- Fiberglass cloth
- Fiberglass resin
- Vacuum former
- PETG sheet/plexiglass
- Plastic cutter
- Ruler
- Clamp
- Exacto knife
- Quick dry glue
- Bondo car filler
- Spot putty
- Sandpaper

Total Cost Estimate: Around $100
(based off what I had to buy)
Currently selling for: All of your dollars

Project Duration Estimate: Several weeks

Overview:
A detailed explanation on how to turn a pepakura file into a durable, lightweight helmet, possibly even a master mold for copies. This tutorial includes lots of power tools and potentially dangerous materials, so please get an adult to help you out.

WARNINGS:
Exacto knives are VERY sharp. Be extremely careful when handling it! Always pay close attention to what you’re doing.
Fiberglass resin is a very toxic and dangerous substance. ALWAYS wear a respirator, goggles, and work in a well ventilated area.
BONDO: Car filler, can be dangerous. It releases very strong fumes and should not be handled without gloves.
This tutorial also calls for multiple power tools and manual tools that may be potentially hazardous if misused. PLEASE get an adult's help when it comes to using things you're unfamiliar with. Don't feel bad, either- I ask my dad for help all the time.


Always make sure you read through the entire process before beginning to avoid mistakes and get a general idea of how the project will progress.
Now let's make get started:



Step 1: Choosing your model
The very first step of starting this project is deciding what type of helmet/armor you’d like to make and finding the appropriate pepakura, adobe reader, photoshop, or whatever type of file for it that you like. Obviously. Well, you’d be surprised. I would strongly recommend using pepakura models, but often it’s hard to find those randomly around the internet and you need to search for a while. The reason I suggest it is because pepakura is DESIGNED for papercrafts, positioning pieces, rescaling the models and arranging the printing orders is very easy in the program. I really have NO idea how to rescale a photoshop or .pdf file, but I know that when you do so, I believe it increases or decreases the size in a ratio (1/3 the size, 2/9 the size) rather than being able to input the height, width, and depth of the model like you can in pepakura. Either way, I would RECOMMEND pepakura. Anyhow, once you decide the item you’d like to make, you need to search the internetz for a file that looks close enough to what you'd like. For halo helmets and daft punk helmets, there are a surprising amount of variations of the SAME style of helmet, so you need to pay close attention to which features you’d like, what looks easier to build, or whatever it is you’re looking for in specific. When you open a pepakura file, you get to see the pieces of the papercraft laid out in front of you along with the model itself with all the pieces arranged. This is great because you can see exactly how complicated and detailed the helmet will be, as well as how difficult and annoying it will be to create it.


Step 2: Scaling the model
I’ve already made a fully detailed tutorial on this step (found HERE), but I’ll talk about it for just a second here as well. When scaling the model, you have to take a few things into account. Are you the only one who’s going to be wearing this helmet? Does it need to fit multiple people? How snug do you want it? Are you going to install LEDs, cooling fans, or any other electronic systems inside the helmet? When considering all these, you can decide on how exact you’d like it to be in according to your calculations that you will be making. Of course, the downside is that in order to scale the model, you need to purchase Pepakura Designer. The free version – Pepakura Viewer, doesn’t have the option to scale models or rearrange the pieces, so if you don’t feel like buying it, you’re going to have to hope that your model’s scale isn’t too large or small. Remember, I am offering to scale models for anyone who needs it and print them on cardstock for you, just shoot me an email for more information.
Sometimes you can get away with not scaling down a model, but often the more detailed ones are purposely made extremely large in order to capture the details well.


Step 3: Cutting and making the model
Once you’ve gotten the model all nice and scaled down, you’re going to have to print it out , cut it, and form the actual craft. You MUST print the model on CARDSTOCK!! Cardstock paper is a thick, durable paper that greeting cards are made of. It can be found readily at any office store for a decent price, arts and crafts stores for much more money, and can be found very cheap at Walmart! Cardstock paper is important to have because it’ll make the model stiff and will be able to hold onto the resin without melting or collapsing like normal paper would. Making the model is probably the most annoying part, especially if you’re doing a detailed helmet. That’s why you need to make sure your pepakura model is favorable. For example, if you have 6 months to make the helmet, a 19 page pepakura model with 40 pieces may not be so bad, but if you have a week and a half to finish, you might need to stick with the 10 page model with 16 pieces.
Anyway, when it comes to cutting the model, you’ll notice many of the pieces have small triangles, squares, or other shapes sticking out from the main piece to aid in putting them together. This usually causes the models to be VERY hard to cut out with scissors. I STRONGLY recommend using an exacto knife. The exacto knife is very accurate, can cut corners sharply, and will allow you to cut the pieces out while they're flat on a table or floor- this will prevent you from bending or messing with your pieces before you’re ready to put them together. If you do go with an exacto knife, you’re probably going to want to buy a few extra blades- the sharper your blades, the easier things are to cut, so you’re going to want to switch out blades, especially if you’ve got a bunch of pieces.
For actually piecing the model together, you’re going to need to use glue. I recommend glue because it binds the pieces VERY well in comparison to tape. Tape is a HUUGE no. It will come apart and annoy the crap out of you while you’re working on another piece or if you tug on the model too hard. It also makes the finished model very flimsy and bendy (trust me, I wasted hours making a model with tape, it was horrible). Glue is the way to go. It gives time to adjust and move the pieces while it dries and once it dries, the glue soaks deeply into the paper and holds tightly and usually won’t come apart. Just make sure you choose a quick drying glue that’s flexible- you don’t want to be sitting there for minutes waiting for ONE thing to dry. I used a glue called “Quick Hold” that I found at Walmart. It’s a super-glue grade glue that dries pretty damn fast while not being totally annoying or extremely strong while it’s wet, so you have lots of time to put things into place. Besides the glue, exacto, and cardstock, you’re pretty much on your own. Just keep the pepakura model open on a computer in front of you so that you can keep track of where you’re going and try to start from one side of the model and completely work your way to the other. For example, if you start from the top, work to the bottom- if you start from the front, work to the back. This isn’t 100% accurate for all models, but it helps prevent you from bending pieces or stressing the model.

*OPTIONAL STEP*
Step 3b/5b: Reinforcing your Model

Now this step isn't completely necessary, but I'd highly recommend it. It really helps your model keep a definite shape throughout the entire process of layering and SHOULD be taken before adding bondo. If you're going to be putting fiberglass resin and cloth on the OUTSIDE of your helmet, then it may be best to do this directly after step 3. If you're going to be adding the fiberglass resin and cloth on the INSIDE of the helmet, then you may want to do this directly after step 5 (hence the 3b and 5b).
Either way, all this step includes is adding a few pieces of wood inside your papercraft to keep it stable and in place throughout the entire process of layering bondo and resin. Sometimes resin can warp the model and make it irregular and bondo will weigh the helmet down in different directions which leads to complications later on in the symmetry as well as simply keeping the helmet looking nice. So all we're going to need extra for this step are some thin wooden sticks, paint mixing sticks are a nice option, but since they're wide they might get in the way. Thin, wooden frames can be used for this step, if not, just grab some thin wooden sheets and cut them into strips yourself. The shape and design of your helmet is going to be the determining factor of how you go about this, so it's hard for me to tell you exactly. But you're going to want 2 basic supports, a horizontal and a vertical. The horizontal should run across the inside of the widest part of the helmet and the vertical support should go from the top of the helmet to the base, even past it a bit, to keep the helmet from sinking into itself. Arguably, you only need the horizontal support, but if you're scared you can always add the vertical one just in case. More supports should/can be added to places of weakness (example, the tip/chin of Guy Manuel's helmet or the visor of Thomas Bangalter's helmet). Simply mark the pieces, cut them, and place them inside the models using painter's tape. Don't glue them in or anything, since we're going to want to remove them later on.


Step 4: Coating in Resin
Once your model is nice and put together, it's time to ruin the hell out of it. Nah, it should be fine (in theory). From now on, the steps are going to get more and more tedious, but they will strongly effect how durable your helmet will be. The first step is to coat the model in fiberglass resin. The first thing you're going to want to do is gather all your materials in one place so that once you start, you don't have to run around or get anything. Once the catalyst is added to the resin, it will begin to dry, so you won't have time to do much besides put it on the model. So get your measuring cups, paintbrushes (around 3 or 4 is what I used), mixing sticks, plastic/latex gloves, respirator, apron, goggles, and resin all in one spot. You should also work outside, if possible. If you're going to work in a garage like I did, make sure the door is open and that you have some sort of fan on to shoot all the nasty resin fumes outside. Anyhow, the first coat of resin is the most important. It has to be thick enough so that it will make the helmet hard yet thin enough that it doesn't weigh your model down or make it sag or collapse. Coat the INSIDE of the helmets with the resin in a thin layer using a paintbrush. You should probably use the cheap-O ones at home depot because you're probably going to be tossing it out after. Cleaning resin off paintbrushes is pretty much impossible. Anyway, the first inner coat should be simple enough. Let it dry for about 4-6 hours before adding the next coat. You can coat the outside of the helmet just for good measure, but you should be more concerned with the inside.


Step 5: Adding Fiberglass Cloth
Now this step can be a bit tricky, but it shouldn't take you too long, either. However, it WILL drive you mad. Haha, maybe not, let's hope not. We're basically going to take our fiberglass cloth and put it on our helmet to reinforce it. I added my fiberglass to the outside of the helmet, but I recently found out that adding it to the inside of the helmet is much more favorable AND a lot easier! Either way, it's something that you may decide on personally, but I would recommend the inside. So one thing you've hopefully learned about working with the fiberglass resin is that you're going to want to get everything 100% ready before you mix your resin with the hardener. So the very first step is to cut your fiberglass cloth into small pieces.


Now, before we get into it, I'd like to point out a couple different options. There are 2 different types of fiberglass: there's fiberglass MATTING and fiberglass CLOTH. Fiberglass matting is very random looking. It kind of looks like someone piled a bunch of thin strings together and made them into a matt. It's usually a lot stronger, doesn't come apart as much as cloth, but it's also a lot less flexible. Fiberglass cloth, on the other hand, is very organized looking. It has a definite weave pattern, is much thinner and more flexible, yet comes apart very easily. Fiberglass cloth is probably the best choice for getting into all the cracks of the helmet and it's probably more readily available than fiberglass matting is. With whichever you choose, the following steps are the same, I just wanted to note some differences.


ANYWAY, back to our actual thing. So you're going to cut your fiberglass cloth into thin strips, preferably medium length, of about 4-6 inches. Be extremely careful with the cloth as you cut it, because fiberglass loves to come apart and make a huge mess. Use very sharp scissors and try not to tug or pull on the strips or it will come apart and get EVERYWHERE. We're going to be essentially using these as "paper mache" to reinforce the inside of the helmet. When you cut your pieces, try to leave them inside the helmet so you have an idea of when you have enough strips to fully cover the inside. However, don't use this as an excuse to stop cutting more strips.. ALWAYS CUT MORE THAN WHAT YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING TO USE. It's better to have all the strips pre-cut so you don't have to deal with more resin. Not only that, but you may need to go back and reinforce some areas that aren't covered as well. It's just generally a good idea to just have everything prepared and ready to go before you start so you're not wasting gloves, paintbrushes, or other materials in between layering times.


Anyhow, once you've got all your fiberglass cut, put some gloves on, mix up your resin, and apply a thin coat on the inside of the helmet. This coat doesn't need to be thick at all, it's simply to help you set the pieces into place. So, begin sticking your strips inside the helmet. When you have about 3 or 4 set in place, grab a nice brush-full of resin and dab it on top of the fiberglass strips. DO NOT STROKE THEM as you would if you were painting- for it will make them slide around, simply dab the resin into the strips from straight above until they're completely soaked. You'll notice that as you soak them, they will change color and almost 'disappear'. Simply pat them down until they're flat and soaked, then move on and add more strips, repeating the process until the entire helmet is lined. You may or may not want to add multiple layers of fiberglass. It's really up to you, but usually one layer is plenty. Once you're satisfied, set the helmet aside and allow it to completely dry! This usually takes significantly longer since there is a lot more resin, so allow around double the time.


OPTIONAL STEP 5b: Sanding the Fiberglass
Since there are multiple ways to make the helmet there are multiple ways to go about doing this. In this case, if you added your fiberglass cloth to the INSIDE of your model, you don't have to really worry about sanding anything down. On the other hand, if you've added it to the OUTSIDE of your model (as shown in the pictures) you should probably do your best to sand it down and trim any excess fiberglass handing off the edges. For this step, I had to use a power sander. Fiberglass and fiberglass resin are a bit more obnoxious to sand down than bondo, so I would recommend getting your hands on an electric sander if possible. At this point, I just don't think the sandpaper will cut it. Home Depot sells a very nice detail sander for only about $30 (can be seen HERE). It has good reviews and it's the one I ended up buying and I don't regret it so far. Anyway, this part doesn't have to be perfect anyway, you're just using the sander to get rid of all the uneven edges left behind by the cloth from stacking and simply hanging off the edge. Usually you can trim off some of the dangling pieces with scissors, especially if they're not coated with resin. That's another thing, if you missed a few spots and there are still dry patches of fiberglass cloth, DO NOT SAND. Go over them again with the resin. EVERYTHING SHOULD BE SOAKED: if not, when you go over it with the sander, the sander will simply unravel the threads and cause a big poofball.



Step 6: Adding Bondo
Now for some more caking on. This step we're going to be adding bondo car filler to the model. The bondo is a nice thing to have because it adds volume and weight to your helmet while allowing you to sand it down and make it smooth. The trick to adding the bondo is to make it as smooth as possible to eliminate the chances of bubbles being trapped in between layers. This will reduce your sanding time as well as your chances of needing a lot of spot putty.
If you've never worked with bondo before, it's basically similar to resin in the sense that you have your main product and a hardener. However, bondo dries VERY quickly and has the consistency of thick cake icing, so it's a bit more annoying to work with. The trick is to work in very small samples of bondo rather than mixing the entire amount all at once like you'd do with resin. Only use a small blop of bondo (a blop thats 3inches in diameter) and just a little bit of hardener (make a thin line across the length of the bondo). There are instructions on the actual case, as well, but the 3inch diameter blops work very well.
Spreading the bondo can be a pain if you use the wrong type of stuff and unlike resin, it can't be applied with a paintbrush. If you take a trip to Home Depot or Lowes to get some bondo, you'll notice near the aisle you find it in (painting section), there should be smoothing materials. Bondo sells a specific package of spreading thingies used especially for car filler. They're pink, bendy smoother thingies and they work great. I especially love that they're so flexible, unlike the normal stiff white plastic ones you get for $1. This allows a bit more maneuverability around corners or curved surfaces, but most importantly, it lets you flake off that stupid excess bondo that loves to cling onto the spreaders. They're about $4 but I think they're worth it, the only problem is they don't have small ones. If you don't feel like dishing out $4, that's fine too. Cardboard works surprisingly well when it comes to spreading bondo, the only problem is you'll need to replace it very often so cut a few extra squares of it before you begin, but it's basically free, so you can't lose. Whatever method you use, just make sure you spread your bondo as nicely and evenly as possible. Since you should be adding relatively thin layers, you only really need to put 2 or 3 layers onto the helmet in total. The more layers you put, the more imperfections you'll be able to hide from the pepakura, and the less blocky it'll look when you're done.


Step 7: Wet Sanding
Hopefully you took my advice and added thin, smooth layers of bondo onto your model. If you didn't, sanding is going to be a bitch. You're going to want at least 3 or 4 different grades of sandpaper for this. 60 is nice for starting off and weathering away most of the extra gunk, and 1000 is great for ending and getting the smoothest finish possible. So let's go with 60, 200, 400, 1000. You don't have to be exact like me, just make sure you have a nice range of sandpaper types so sanding will be as smooth as possible. Unfortunately, sanding will always take time, so just be patient. If you have a sponge to attach your sandpaper to, great, if not, just fold it up and sand by hand, it's similar enough that you won't notice.
So anyway, to the actual sanding, you can start off your 60 directly to the model just to get a general "smooth". I put smooth in quotations because you're not going to get it very smooth, but just try to get rid of the major cracks and bumps. Try to chip away most of the excess bondo that you don't need and try to start re-defining any features that you may have over-coated with bondo. Once you're done, it's time to add some water. Take a bucket, fill it with water, and dump a random sponge and all your sandpaper in there. Soak up your sponge and empty it all over your bondo'ed model a couple times until everything is nice and wet. Don't worry about the actual model getting any water damage, either. The resin coats absorbed by the paper make it waterproof. Begin wet sanding with the 60 grade sandpaper again. Don't press very hard and keep a general view on your model so you don't over-sand one area. Even though the 60 is very coarse, it won't strip all the bondo off your model. Once you see the sanding is getting close, switch to your next sandpaper grade. In this case, the 200. Use the next grade up to get closer to the actual shape, in fact, pretend your next sandpaper is your last one and try to get all of your details as nicely done as possible. Only move sandpapers when you're happy with how the helmet looks. The 60 grade should have make the entire helmet smooth and the 200 should be to touch up everything. Everything after is simply to make it COMPLETELY SMOOTH. Since the sandpapers are so fine, they won't make any large or noticeable changes, instead, they'll make the helmet even smoother, so every grade after your first 2 should be simply to make the helmet that much smoother. It's pretty self-explanatory, just make sure to keep your model wet the entire time.

Step 8: Adding Primer and Spot Putty
The first thing you want to do after you've sanded your model down is to add a nice coat of primer on there. The primer helps seal up the bondo and make it less likely to release any more debris (also it looks nice). You may notice the bubbles or spots that I was talking about when it comes to smoothing start to appear as you sand. They will appear in the form of small crevices or dips that come out when you start sanding. Don't worry about these, that's what spot putty is for. Spot putty is available in the same place as normal car bondo is and it works the same, it's just smoother and doesn't require a hardener. It comes in a little toothpaste tube and all you have to do is squirt a bit onto your spreader or piece of cardboard and then smooth it onto the ugly spots. Go around your helmet and locate all the little indents that you can find and circle them with a sharpie. This will keep you from forgetting about any spots. Next, add spot putty to all the ugly places that you'd like to fix up. Unfortunately, this requires more sanding, but it's well worth it. Not just normal sanding, either. Get your bucket and sponge back out and toss out the 60 grit sandpaper. Go around your helmet and start sanding all the spot putty areas again with the last 3 sandpapers until you're pleased with the smoothness once again, then slap on another coat of primer.

Step 9: Cutting out the Visor
Now it's time for the scary part, cutting out the visor. Arguably, you can do this step earlier on, but I prefer later so that you can get a more precise borderline that's easier to fix and define with bondo. Try to use a small dremel or cutter to get as precise as you can. There's not really much else I can tell you besides to be careful and take your time. Once it's cut out, it's all downhill from here. All you have to do is touch up any uneven spots or scratches you may have made from cutting and then it's off to vacuum form your visor!

Step 10: Vacuum Forming
Now this step can be extremely intimidating if you've never done it before, but it's really not as hard as it seems. Once you have the right info, anyway. All you really have to do is get the right supplies, measure everything accurately, and then be efficient in the actual process. Now, you might be saying, "wait, Kanti, I don't have a vacuum former, you never showed me how to make one", well, no, but for now I will give you 2 simple ways to make your own super awesome vacuum former for cheaps.
The first method (seen HERE) is a great and easy way to make one. It only takes about 20 minutes to fully assemble and works pretty nicely for almost anything you will probably be vacuum forming. What I don't like about this one, is that it's a big large, but besides that, it's great and lots of people use it.
The other method (seen HERE) is indeed a bit more complex, but it has a much stronger suction. This is useful for when it comes to getting those overhanging ledges (such as the visor in the Thomas helmet).
Either way, everything is going to be the same process, just a different frame. So, anyway, one thing I learned is you DON'T use acrylic sheets. The first thing you probably think is "yea, they're too thick". Well, they are, but that's not a problem. Simply heat them at a higher temperature. The problem with acrylic is that it's a pain in the arse to cut and it often bubbles after it dries, so steer clear from it. I know I featured a youtube video showing off the acrylic, but disregard it. Acrylic apparently sucks.
What you WANT instead are some PETG sheets. The can be readily found at your local plastic supply, some hardware stores, or online at amazon or eBay. I got mine from this store off eBay for a great price. Where-ever you decide to get them, just make sure they're CLEAR, so this involves reading the descriptions on the items, because often, they will have colored plastic coating (that you later peel off) on them so they won't appear to be clear. Anyway, once you got your PETG sheets (mine was 0.02 inches thick), you need to set them up in your frames to heat in the oven. Before placing them in the oven, you should probably grab a pair of gardening gloves (unused please) and coat every corner of it with foil incase your plastic decides to melt around and get in your oven. This will make your parents very happy and they'll think you're being considerate!
Anyway, the trick to heating the plastic is to watch for when it starts to tighten and then sagg a bit right afterwards. You'll notice the shine of the plastic will really be defined and it will almost start to look as if it's wet. Don't wait too long or let it sagg too much, at the first sign of an arch, turn your vacuum on, take the plastic out of the oven and place it over your visor. Let the vacuum do what it does best and let the plastic get sucked down onto the visor for a few seconds by itself. Then put your gardening gloves on and start smoothing the plastic down around any corners and eliminate any bubbles that may have formed while the plastic is still warm. For the Guy helmet, this step isn't completely necessary since it's generally smooth anyway, but if you're vacuum forming something more complex, you're going to want to pat and smooth it down.
Once the plastic has been sitting for a few minutes, remove it from the mold. You don't want to let it sit there too long or it'll cling to whatever it is you vacuum formed (in this case the bondo) and chip it off.

Step 11: Tinting and Installing your Visor
Finally, a pretty easy part. Well, sort of. I've never actually tinted a window before so it was actually very difficult. Either way, the first thing youre going to want to do is cut out your visor from all the excess plastic on your vacuum mold. So take out a dremel or scissors, if your plastic is thin enough, and start to cut from the main shape. Once it's out and ready, get a spray bottle or sponge, and dampen the inside surface of your visor. For the actual tinting material, I went to Walmart and got something called "Insta-Cling". It's basically a tinting film that can be removed if need be and the advantage to that is that you can take it off if you mess up, which I did several times. Anyway, once you've got the inside of the visor wet, you're going to want to cut out a decently sized piece of film and then CAREFULLY place one side on the end of the visor, then with a damp cloth, sponge, or anything soft, really, you're going to press down firmly and press the film slowly onto the visor. Do this very carefully and do it slowly passing over ONCE. That means, don't slide it all down then go back and fix it, instead, press down completely on one side before going forward, so you basically move in little steps so that when you get to the end, all you have is the other side. It's hard to explain, really, but just work from one side to the next, don't go back, or you'll get airbubbles, and when you get bubbles, it's very hard to get them out. Once the film is nice and set, cut off all the excess with some scissors. The major problem I had with this tinting material is that the ends almost always love to work their ways back up when you handle the visor. Usually you can just stick them back down, but if the water underneath dries they will stay up. Simply wet it again and place it back down. You can pass a heat gun over the tint LIGHTLY to secure it a little, but don't go too much or you might warp the vacumm formed plastic.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hooved Shoes Update



Hey guys!
Glad to say I've found some extra time to work on my hooved shoes.
For those of you who've been keeping up with them or even know what they are, I'd finished a prototype for a very realistic-looking shoe this past May and I've been getting a few requests for them. However, I did happen to take them for a 14 hour spin at a local convention only to learn the hard way that the hoof used in this shoe is muuuch too heavy and makes extended use very difficult, so I've told a few people that I'd rework them with a lighter and more durable hoof. Well, I've finally begun to work on the new pair and things are looking good so far!


I will now have "male" and "female" hooves, which are really not so different from each other, other than size. The male hooves are about 1" longer and .5" wider than the female pair, allowing them to support a larger shoe size and also to make balance much easier for smaller shoes. They're not exclusive to guys, though. Anyone who would prefer the extra surface area or simply wants a larger looking hoof can order the male hooves.

I think I may also market a more simple pair that will be cheaper and that can be more affordable for those of you who can't afford the newer pair I've been working on. For now, everything is still in the works, but I'm just throwing some ideas out so you guys can get an idea of what may be happening soon.


I've also been surprised about how many guys have actually requested these shoes! For all the guys out there who may be reading, I just want to let you know that these hooves require a stiletto (shoes with 3" or more in heel height). I imagine most guys have never walked in heels before nor do they even know where to purchase them. Heels in men's sizes can be readily found at stores or websites for drag queens. If you'd prefer to not buy the shoes yourself, I will hunt a pair down for you, but I would STRONGLY recommend buying the heels and practicing in them. Then when you see how they fit, how they feel, and what it is you're up against. You can also send them to me and I will knock you a discount off the final price for already having the shoes.

Some FAQ


Q: How difficult is it to balance and walk in these shoes?
A: You have to consider a lot of things when answering this question. Your height, weight, composure, posture, and experience with high heels will influence how hard or easy it is. For me, it's rather easy to balance and walk in the shoes, but I have probably spent around 60 hours walking in them. They do take adjustment and getting used to. I also weigh only around 100 lbs and am 5'2 so I am very close to the ground and I don't put much weight on the heels themselves. If you are taller or more heavy set, you may not be able to wear them for longer periods or time or you may find balancing in them more difficult. You just have to practice, really.

Q: What does it feel like to walk without a heel?
A: Anyone can really just put on a pair of stilettos and simply not let the heel touch the ground as they walk and they would feel how it is to walk in these. It's not all that hard, but it's a different style of walking that some people may find difficult. Just like normal heels, when wearing them over long periods of time, your feet WILL hurt.

Q: Where exactly are you standing? On your toes?
A: No, all the weight is distributed on the balls of your feet. It is like tippy-toeing but really it's just like how you'd feel with walking in heels. After long periods of time the balls of your feet and the back of your ankles will hurt the most. Your toes will only hurt from pressing them down against the shoes for balance, not from weight.

Q:
Is a walking stick a good idea?
A: YES! A walking stick is a great thing to have to help you balance out your weight and to transfer some stress away from your feet. It's also an amazing way to keep your balance, even when standing still. I would strongly recommend using a walking stick.

Q: How are these shoes made?
A: The base of the shoe is a stiletto heel that I'd recommend 4" or higher for a more realistic look. I do NOT use boots nor do I recommend boots for these shoes. The heels are then removed from the shoe and placed on top of a "hoof structure". If you plan on making these yourself, you can use many things for your hooves. Wood is a great material because it's easy to work with and cheap to use, but it's not waterproof and will splinter with extended use. I then add straps onto the heels to secure your feet into the shoe and place velcro at the base of the shoe to attach a cover. The covers I use for the shoes are stockings, leggings, or dress socks. I feel these really capture the silhouette and also show the seamless blend of the hoof into your legs. Fur pants are optional, but I do not recommend them at all. The silhouette created from these shoes is very subtle and realistic, and since fur pants cannot be fitted very tightly and since they're relatively thick, they will only destroy the silhouette.
I WILL be posting a fully detailed tutorial on ways to make your own hooves in the near future, so keep an eye out!

Q: How much will you be selling them for?
A: No less than $200. Sounds expensive, but the materials used are pretty expensive as well as the time it takes to make make it reasonable.


Q: How durable are the hooves?
A: Rock solid. They're pretty much indestructible. They're impact resistant and water proof, so they won't break during a day at the renaissance fair like many other hoof designs.

Q: If I order a pair, how long will it take you to make them?
A: I would say around 4-6 weeks. The hoof itself takes the major amount of work to make, detail, and then depending on the material, to cure.

Q: I already have a pair of heels I'd like to use. Can I send them to you so they can be used for my shoes?
A: Certainly~ Just don't send me any shoes you really like because I will be tearing them apart, haha. Again, for the best effect, you're going to need a shoe with at least a 4" heel. The shoe should fit snugly and it should have a very solid arc support. If you do end up wanting to do this, I will certainly knock some money off the final price.

Q: Where can I wear these shoes?
A: It all depends on you. I would recommend paved, flat surfaces for walking. If you're using them for a photoshoot and don't plan to do any walking in them, then just so long as you can place both feet on the floor in a somewhat flat position, you should be fine. Paved surfaces are the easiest, carpet is more difficult without being hard, grass is a bit harder but not impossible, rocky or very uneven surfaces are difficult and can be very dangerous, and sand is nearly impossible.

Q: Are these shoes dangerous?
A: They very well can be, yes. It really depends on where you're wearing them, how well you can compose yourself in them, and the adjustments you make for your body type. If wearing them at a location with paved, flat floors I would say they're safer than wearing them outdoors in a grassy or rocky terrain.

Q: Do you have any more videos or photos of your hooved shoes?
A: Yes, I have lots more. I have mostly production pictures of my newer hooves and lots of finished pictures of my very first pair of hooves. I will list them below:

Photos:
Multi-shot photo
Ganon Cosplay
Draenei Cosplay
Satyr Cosplay


Videos:
Hooved Shoes - Walk Test
Draenei - at 2:40
Ganon - at 1:07

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How to Stud a Leather Jacket


Got an old boring jacket that could use some sprucing up? Have some article of clothing you wish had some more zing to it, but you're not sure what you could add? Well, studds are a great way to add a nice little something extra to any piece of clothing. Best part is, they're washable and you'll never have to worry about them flaking off :') In this tutorial, I'm going to be studding a leather jacket with the Daft Punk logo.

Materials:
- Jacket
- Refrence picture
- Exacto knife
- Metal tipped throwing darts
- Studs
- Pliers
- Double sided tape

Total cost estimate: $50
(based off what I had to buy)

Project Duration Estimate: 4-7 hours

Many of the things in this tutoral can be found at your local art and craft stores.

Overview:
This tutorial is for adding studs to a piece of clothing. The recommended article in this case, is a jacket. Studding things such as sleeves, pants, or shoes may be difficult since you won't have as much space. Either way, once you stud one thing, it's very similar to stud something else.

WARNINGS:
An exacto knife is an EXTREMELY sharp knife, and should be handled with EXTREME caution! If you don't feel comfortable using an exacto knife, it can easily be replaced with a pair of scissors.
The steel tipped darts and studs themselves both have very sharp points and if mishandled, they can cause injury. Be careful when handling both!


Always make sure you read through the entire process before beginning to avoid mistakes and get a general idea of how the project will progress.
Now let's make get started:



Step 1: Making your stencil
Now the very first step to this process is making an accurately sized stencil of the design you'd like to studd onto your jacket. Since studding is more difficult and sloppy than tracing or sewing a design on, you're going to want a very accurate stencil so you can get the details perfectly. When you're deciding the size of the stencil, you need to take into account that if it's too small, you won't be able to get some of the details. For this tutorial, I decided to do the daft punk logo. If I had made the logo any smaller, I wouldn't have been able to create the curves of the letters as well, especially since the studs are usually not that small. Take the complexity of your logo into account, along with the size of your actual studs.
Anyway, once you get the logo you'd like, bring your article of clothing and compare the size to it. Try to think about the location of the logo as well. For instance, if it's on the back, don't allow it to get too close to the arms or it won't sit flat on your back and will curve. When you've decided on the size, screenshot the photo and print it out. In my case, the daft punk logo was much to colorful to print out and I didn't want to waste a gallon of ink, so instead, I simply placed a piece of paper over my computer monitor and carefully traced the silhouette, getting as many details and curves as I could. This is a ghetto way to do it, but it works.


Step 2: Cutting out the stencil
To cut your stencil, you can either choose scissors or an exacto knife. If you're doing the daft punk logo like I am, you're going to want an exacto knife to get all the inside spaces of the letters. If it's a different design, you may be able to use scissors. If you do end up going with the exacto knife, be sure you have some sort of cutting board or cardboard underneath so you don't scratch up the floor, desk, or any other workspace surface you're using.


Step 3: Tracing the pattern
Now to trace the pattern onto your jacket so that you can follow it while you add the studs. But hold on just a second. Before we mess with the stencil, take your jacket, pants, or whatever surface you'd like to stud and lay it as flat as possible. Take your double-sided tape and apply it to the bottom of your stencil, trying not to let any of the tape interfere with the outline. Once your stencil has tape in enough spots to keep it held down, press it down against the jacket in the position you'd like, making sure it and the jacket are as flat as possible. Once it's in a spot you'd like, trace the outline with a pencil. If you're using leather like I did, don't worry about the pencil marks showing through or staying after you've studded or anything, the pencil literally starts to disappear faster than you can stud, so make sure that you're darkening the lines as you see them beginning to rub off as you progress.


Step 4: Adding the Studs
And now for the longest, most tedious step~ Adding the studs. Depending on the material you're studding, this process COULD take much longer. If you're going to be adding studs to cotton, denim, nylon, muslin, polyester, or any other thin fabrics, you may not need to use the darts. Faux leather and leather may require the use of the dart, it depends on the article itself. The thicker the fabric, the more likely you will need to use the dart.

When you look at a stud, you can see that it is essentially a half circle above (usually)4 metal spikes. The stud's spikes have to pierce the fabric completely and then you will need to bend them inward with the pliers. The smaller the pliers you use, the easier this will be. Bend them toward the center of the stud, and then clamp the pliers down onto the spikes so that they point inward towards the inside of the rounded head of the stud. If you're studding a leather jacket as I am, the leather itself is not so hard to pierce as the inside lining is. You have to hold the stud tightly to make sure it pierces both, and then bend the spikes inward.
Sometimes, you may come across a lined area that will have 2 layers of leather, or possibly, your fabric may be too thick for the studs to pierce through by themselves. This is where your dart comes in handy. You're going to need a metal-tipped dart- very important. Take your stud and stab it into the fabric as hard as you can and then remove it. Take your dart and enlarge the small indents that your stud left behind from when you stabbed it. The dart has a fine and sharp enough tip that you will only really need to poke it through to break the fabric. Just a nick for each spike should do it, don't start tearing through. The exacto knife COULD work as well, you will just have to be extremely careful that you don't stab too deep or the knife will slice a large hole that you won't be able to fix. I'd recommend the darts.
Another thing, when it comes to studs, there are several different sizes. The size I went with was 7mm. Depending on how you'd like your jacket to look, you may want to use larger or smaller studs. When looking at my picture, just try to remember I'm a very small girl who's only 5'2 and I have a back that's approximately 13 inches wide, so the studs may appear larger on me. I would recommend 5mm for a small girl such as myself to make the studs appear more as they do on daft punk's actual jacket. For a larger person or a guy, I would say 7mm works pretty well. The smaller the studs or the larger the design, the less you have to worry about losing detail from the design.

And there you have it!
A spiffy cold-be-mistaken-for-a-brand-new-jacket!





For more information on purchasing jewelery and other props in my tutorials, requesting a custom item, or an idea for a new tutorial, feel free to email me at Kanti-Kane@hotmail.com (:

Monday, August 1, 2011

How to turn Diving fins into a Fluke


Do you have an old pair of diving fins you don't really care for? Are you thinking of getting a monofin but you just don't have the money? In this tutorial, I'm going to teach you how to crop an old or unwanted pair of diving fins into a fluke shape!


Materials
- Fins
- Duct tape
- Hot glue
- Caulk gun
- Liquid nails (weather-proof)
- Electric saw
- Silver sharpie marker

Total cost estimate: $15
(based off what I had to buy)
Currently selling for: $20

Project Duration Estimate: 2 days

Everything in this tutorial can be found locally. The liquid nails, duct tape, and hot glue can all be found at your local multipurpose stores.

Overview:
This tutorial will teach you how to turn an old pair of fins into a nice looking monofin with a fluke-shaped cut. We will be cropping and reattaching the blade of the fin until we get a desired result. Since the finished product will be covered with duct tape and probably not look as pretty as most people would like, I'm going to suggest the use of these fins when using a mermaid tail.

WARNINGS:
This tutorial calls for the use of electrical tools. When using an electric saw or cutter, it can be extremely dangerous if percautions are not taken. Always wear splash-proof goggles to prevent any debris or dust from the cut to get into your eyes and gloves to prevent any hot plastic or rubber from getting onto your hands and potentially burning them. You should always ask an adult or friend to help you with the tools. If you're unsure how to use them, please ask someone who knows to help you out!
Liquid Nails is also a potentially harmful substance. When wet, always use gloves and do not inhale the fumes it releases. Always work in a well ventilated area.


Always make sure you read through the entire process before beginning to avoid mistakes and get a general idea of how the project will progress.
Now let's make get started:


Step 1: Test your fins
A strange way to start the tutorial, however, it's a necessary step. The very first thing you should do before finalizing your choice of fins and deciding to tear them up is to test swimming in them. Swimming in a monofin is much different than swimming with regular fins. The monofin forces your legs together and restricts movement, so it often takes practice to get the swimming part down. Not only that, but regular store-bought monofins are designed so that your legs point straight down, whereas when rigging a pair of fins together often causes your feet to point outwards. The width of the blade of the fin is what causes the outwards slant, so if your blade gets too thick towards the end, it may be too uncomfortable to swim in properly and you may need to try another pair of fins. Testing your fins can tell you alot about how your project is going to turn out, and I find it very necessary. Not only that, but its fun to do anyway!
Before we can test the fins, we need to tie them together somehow. Nothing permanent, just a quick tie will do, since we're only testing them out. To do so, we're going to use duct tape. Use the tape to completely circle your fins right below the toes, on top of your feet, and behind your ankles. Layer the tape at least 3 times to make sure it's on nice and tight. Place a couple lines of tape running the length of the inside of both flippers. Check the picture for a nice idea of where to do it. Before you get in the water, make sure the tape holds the fins stiff. There should be no individual movement from either fin, they should be stuck together pretty well. If they survived, reinforce the duct tape with a new layer, and you're ready to move on.


Step 2: Marking your fins
Once you're happy with the monofin you've made, it's time to write all over them. I used a silver sharpy marker for my fins and I really liked it, so I'd recommend that. If not, a normal sharpie works too. Now, what we're going to focus on right now, is the inside of the fin. For the fluke shape, the center comes to a curvy V shape, kind of like a { shape. We're going to be looking at the very inside part of the fin, though. Notice how a dolphin's fluke extends out a whole lot on each side. Don't worry about that, we're going to get to it later. So sketch the inward V and mark to the edge without worrying about sketching the tips of either side of the fluke into your fins.
HOWEVER, you need to make your mark close enough to the toe area so that you cut off a nice amount of the blade off. Reason being, you're going to need a decent amount of it to re-create the outside of the fluke. Don't worry if your fins look like they're going to be too short, it's more important that we capture the width of the fluke so it'll look more realistic.


Step 3: Cutting the fins
Now for the tricky part, we need to cut off the excess fin blade. For this, I used an electric hand-saw and it was very tricky. Even with an electric cutting or trimming device, you're still going to have to take it slow so you don't mess up. Try to get as close to your marked lines as possible and make your cuts nice and smooth. Most flippers are either made from plastic or rubber, so chances are, some molten stuff will be flying at you. Wear gloves and goggles for safety and if you can, get someone to hold down the fin still while you cut it, or vise versa.
Once you cut out the excess fins, you're going to be re-arranging them to make the length of the fin. It's sort of hard to explain, so I've provided a picture of what I did to mine. Sorry guys, I didn't take any pictures of the process, it was super tedious. It's not perfect, and your fins may be a little different, anyway, so it may take some playing around with. Simply take your excess blade piece and move it along your fin until you see an area you'd like to place it. Trace the area where your fin lies near it so you know where to cut so that it can be attached perfectly next to the fin and then crop off any extra that you need to in order to achieve your shape. I made 2 pairs of fins and I made them both using the excess a total of 2 different times. In other words, I cropped it once, and then I cropped the remainder again. It's just trial and error, really. Just sketch it out and compare it before you actually cut it to prevent mistakes and don't don't DON'T forget to label the pieces of the fins! Label them R for right side, L for left side, TOP for top piece, BOTTOM for bottom piece, etc.


Step 4: Attatching the pieces
Now that you've got all the extra pieces you need to attach, it's time to bond everything together for good. First, we'll attach the actual fins together, then glue on the pieces we cut. Tear the old duct tape from the swim test and attach your fins together with some hot glue down the center of the shoe area and all down the length of the center where the blades touch. The hot glue will not be the only thing holding it together, we just need it for now to ensure that the fins are held together temporarially while our liquid nails dries. Now that your fins are kept together, ready your caulking gun and add some liquid nails to the center areas where the hot glue is. If there is still a large gap inbetween the shoes, work with small layers of liquid nails rather than a large one. A large blob of liquid nails will dry on the outside much quicker than it will on the inside which will result in you thinking it's dry when it's really not and possibly messing it up, or it never actually drying at all since it will never completely cure on the inside of the wad. I've got personal experience on that one. Anyhow, add liquid nails down the center, where the fin blades meet. Next, we need to attach the extra pieces we cut. To do this, use the hot glue in the same fashion. Hot glue is great because it'll hold well and it dries quickly, but it's not the only thing we're using, so don't get scared. If you have a friend, you should REALLY convince them to help you out. Doing this part alone is hard. If you don't have a friend, get your parents or something. Anyway, start attaching pieces on one side at a time. First attach the tip piece that matches the end of your fluke and then add the bottom piece that reinforces it. It's important to make sure that the fluke shape is one solid curve rather than some uneven edges, so it's important to always put that piece on first. Hot glue EVERYTHING in place first, and then allow it to dry for a couple minutes. Once it's dry, set the fin flat on a bucket or table where the fluke piece can hang off the edge. Now, apply the liquid nails over the areas where the pieces are attached and spread it out along both sides of the fins. When the liquid nails dries, it has to be able to grab onto both sides of the fin to hold them well, so just kind of use the tip of the bottle to mix it around. Add liquid nails to every piece that was attached and allow it at least a couple hours to completely dry and cure. Once it's dry, cover the fins with duct tape in the same manner as you did before, over the parts where you slide your feet into the fins and down the center, and add a whole lot of duct tape over the extra pieces you added on as well. Press the duct tape down hard so that it sticks firmly and doesn't crinkle too much. Press down any areas that may stick up or collect water underneath them as well. The duct tape will reinforce our liquid nails and keep it together, so you must do it as well as you can to prevent the fin edges from breaking off. Once you're done, wait a whole day just to be sure that your liquid nails completely cures before our next step.

Step 5: Test it again!
And now for final and possibly most fun step. Test out your new fins! Don't test them lightly, either. This could be the best or worst step, but it's completely necessary. Swim in the fins as you would with normal fins, don't be gentle or scared to break them either, swim fast and kick as you would normally. If they do happen to break, then you may have possibly not reinforced them enough and you need to go back and repair them twice as hard so that they don't. What you should be careful of, though, is to bend the edges too much on the floor or walls of the pool. They can bend nicely, but don't slam them on hard surfaces or that might be what actually causes them to break. Just so long as you can swim in them normally, they should be good.\


(click the picture for a swim test video!)


And there you have it! A nice monofin with a realistic fluke shape! Now all you need is a nice mermaid tail to slip over it!

For more information on purchasing jewelery and other props in my tutorials, requesting a custom item, or an idea for a new tutorial, feel free to email me at Kanti-Kane@hotmail.com (:

Kanti has a Twitter



That's right people. Not really sure why, I was just suggested to get one. I'll be updating progress on tutorials, orders, sales, and anything else I guess I feel like mentioning. It'll probably turn into my "I'm not dead, really, guys" webpage where I can just say stupid stuff all day long.

I hope I can get some followers, but I'm sure I'll be expected to actually do something useful before then. So until that time comes, I suppose you all can enjoy the tutorials. They're much more useful anyway.

If you feel like messaging, following, tweeting at me, or whatever it is you do on twitter, check out my page here!

Using Rit Dye on Clothing



Do you have that old piece of clothing that's looking a bit stale? Do you need a different colored jacket but don't have the money to waste on a new one? Well you can easily make an old piece of clothing look completely different! I'll show you how, using Rit Dye.


Materials
- Article of clothing you want to dye
- Rit dye
- Bucket you don't care for
- Large pot (for boiling)

Total cost estimate: $2
(based off what I had to buy)

Project Duration Estimate: 2 hours

Everything in this tutorial can be found at your local arts and crafts stores and/or large multipurpose stores.

WARNINGS:
Rit Dye can cause irritation if contact with eyes is made. When handling the dye, wear gloves or refrain from touching eyes while your hands are/could be contaminated. Always wash your hands after handling.
We will also be boiling water, so make sure you have some oven mitts for when we transfer the hot water from the pot to the bucket.


Always make sure you read through the entire process before beginning to avoid mistakes and get a general idea of how the project will progress.
Now let's make get started:



Step 1: Boil a large amount of water
There are many ways to use Rit dye, but for this tutorial, since we have a very large article of clothing (or assuming that you do), we're going to be using a separate bucket to soak it in. For the first step, we need to boil water. The amount of water depends on the article of clothing you're trying to dye. For small items, like gloves or other accessories, you may only want to use half a packet (1/4 a bottle, if using the liquid version) and enough water to suspend the object yet cover it completely. For my jeans, I used a large pot that I assume could carry around 8-10 cups and an entire packet (or half a bottle for the liquid version) of Rit Dye. For now, all we have to worry about is bringing our water to a boil. It may take a while, depending on how much water you have. It took my amount of water about 15 minutes to lightly boil.


Step 2: Prep your article of clothing
While you're waiting for your water to come to a boil, you can begin to soak the clothing piece you're going to dye. If you're wondering whether or not you can dye your particular clothing piece, Rit Dye works on almost anything. It can dye plastic, vinyl, leather, faux leather, felt, denum, cotton, webbing, muslin, feathers, and much much more. Either way, to prep the clothing, all you have to do is completely soak it in warm water. Crumple the fabric together and then stretch it apart, making sure the entire piece gets wet. Once it's wet, wring it out lightly and set it aside.
Another step you may need to take depends on what you're dying. If you're going to dye from a lighter color to a darker one, you may not need this step. For example, if you're going from a light purple to a dark purple, you will not need to pre-bleach or color-treat your fabric. If you're crossing colors or going from dark to light, you will need to purchase the Rit Color Bleach. I don't remember what it's called exactly, but the process to use it will be the same as using the normal Rit Colors, but you will need to do it before you apply the colors.


Step 3: Dissolve the Rit Dye
Once your water has reached a light boil, it's hot enough to take off the stove and transfer into the bucket. Carefully transfer the water, since it is obviously very hot. Once you've done so, pour whatever amount of dye into the bucket and mix it generously for a couple of minutes, making sure that the salt/liquid completely mixes into the water. It's important that you mix the dye into the bath before you put the clothing so that the clothes dye evenly. If you pour the dye into the mixture while the clothes are inside, there's a chance that you will get a blotchy coloring rather than an even coat of color.


Step 4: Add your clothing
Aaand finally, put those suckers in the bath. Don't throw them in or anything, calm down. Gently set the clothing into the bucket and slowly poke it underwater little by little with either a stirring rod of some sort (I used a random PVC pipe), or your hands. If you use your hands, you should wear gloves, as the dye will probably soak into your skin (also the water is still pretty damn hot). While you're pressing the fabric down into the bottom of the bucket, bubbles will tend to escape from inside the clothing and may cause some splashing. Make sure you do this step inside a sink, tub, or outside. Somewhere your parents won't throw a fit if you get dye on the floor. Once you've got it all underwater, let the clothing soak for about 5 minutes and then come back to stir the clothing to a different position. Continue stirring the clothing in 5-10 minute intervals, changing the position and making sure all crevices or folds in the clothing get opened and soaked. The instructions on the Rit Dye specify to soak the clothing for 30 minutes to an hour, however, I let it soak for about 2 hours total. I'm a bit paranoid, though, so you can follow the packet if you wish.


Step 5: Rinsing the article
After an hour or two (however long you decided to wait), find an area where you can dump out the excess water. If you're outside, you can probably dump it in the crass, if you're inside, you can try to put it down the drain, but it will stain if it's not rinsed off immediately. Where-ever you decide to rinse it off, simply run water over the piece until the water that drips off it is clear and not colored. This WILL take a while, so be patient. What I would recommend is taking it outside and hosing it down or leaving the clothing in the bucket, filling it with water and replacing the water as it becomes black. Either way you decide, simply make sure it is as rinsed as possible.


Step 6: Air dry or Dryer
Once your piece is rinsed, you have the choice of placing it in the dryer or letting it hang dry. Putting the clothing in the dryer will prevent it from wrinkling up, but clothing such as leather, and faux leather should be left to hang dry. Also, if you ARE working with faux leather or leather, hang the clothing to dry, and pat it down with a damp sponge or cloth every 15 minutes or so. Sometimes, a film of greasy looking liquid will surface on the faux leather but it can simply be whiped off. If not, anything you wouldn't put in the dryer should not be put in the dryer for this step.

And there you have it!
A cheap and easy way to spice up an old piece of clothing or just change up that one piece that isn't quite to your liking. Hope this helped!



For more information on purchasing jewelery and other props in my tutorials, requesting a custom item, or an idea for a new tutorial, feel free to email me at Kanti-Kane@hotmail.com (:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

How to Adjust Scale on a Pepakura Model



Now this tutorial is going to be something a bit different than the usual. In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to properly scale a wearable pepakura model so that it will fit you perfectly!


Materials
- Pepakura Designer 3
- Pepakura model
- Fullbody reference picture
- Half a brain

Total cost estimate: $40
(based off what I had to buy)
Currently selling for: $10

Project Duration Estimate: 5 minutes!

Everything can be found online for this tutorial

Overview:
This is a very quick and easy process by which you can re-size pepakura models to fit your body. It can be done with most models.

WARNINGS:
There is nothing dangerous about this tutorial

Always make sure you read through the entire process before beginning to avoid mistakes and get a general idea of how the project will progress.
Now let's make get started:



Step 1: Getting a reference picture
The very first step in this tutorial is to find a full-body reference picture of the character who wears the certain piece, or anyone who you'd like the ratio to be similar to. In other words, I'm going to be doing a couple Daft Punk helmets, so my best bet would be to find a fullbody photo of Thomas and Guy-Manuel. However, if I couldn't find a fullbody photo of them, it's alright for me to use another picture of someone wearing an outfit of theirs if I like the size of the helmet. Do NOT use paintings or drawings, as good as they may be, they are probably not as accurate when it comes to anatomy (not to diss anyone's art or anything). I managed to find a nice, fullbody picture of both Guy-Manuel and Thomas, so I lucked out.


Step 2: Taking measurements
Now this is a very crucial step. It's not at all difficult, but it must be done as accurately as possible to get the best results in your overall ratio. Take a ruler (preferably a bendable one or a measuring tape) and measure the height of the model you've found the picture for in cm. Then, measure their headpiece, chestpiece, legpiece, or whatever else you want to size (in cm as well). Once you've gotten both measurements, all that's left is to take your own height down and convert it to cm. If you don't know your own height to the inch, then you're going to need to take your measurement. For this, you're probably going to need someone to help you out and hold the tape or ruler while you stand as straight as you can. One trick I like to do when I'm alone is to stand up straight and use a pencil to make a very light mark along a door or wall and then just measure the wall up to that point. There are many ways to do it, just make sure it's accurate! Once you've gotten your measurement, you're going to need to convert it to cm. Reason being, pepakura model measurements go by mm. You can either take your measurement and do the math yourself (an inch is approximately 2.54 centimeters) or just type it into google. Once you get the cm, just move the decimal place over once to the right and you've converted it to mm.

Step 3: Doing the math

Now there's endless ways you can go about doing the calculations to get the magic number you're going to need for your model, but we're going to go into a couple simple methods I find are easy to grasp the concept of. If you can understand the meaning of the equations you're doing, then you won't even have to remember any formulas and it will just come naturally. That's right, we're going to be doing MATH. That stuff is useful? Apparently so.

Method 1
When it comes to doing the first method, everything is laid out in the actual problem, but grasping the meaning may be a bit difficult. You essentially have to think of it as finding a missing number using ratios. It's very simple and many of you have probably learned it before. Simply take your 3 known numbers and arrange them into a ratio problem (which has 2 fractions set equal to each other). Set both demoninators to the same aspect (person height) and then the numerators to the same aspect (helmet height) and then set them equal to each other. Cross-multiply the factors together and then divide to seclude the x term. In this method, your x term will be equal to the height or your helmet. I've included a picture that explains the method in more detail, along with an example.

Method 2
The second method is a bit easier to do, but it requires an extra step. Typical math, it's never just easy lol. But it really is, don't get discouraged. In the second method, we are trying to find a factor by which everything is multiplied rather than the exact measurement. In other words, your model that we measured from the picture is obviously much smaller than a real person. So when we tackle our second model, we are solving to find a number that can be multiplied to our very small helmet measurement and cause it to become a very realistic size. For example, if I'm 50 inches tall and I measure a helmet that's only 2 inches and a figure that's 5, then I can try to solve for the certain NUMBER rather than my exact measurement. So I can look at it like, how many times would I have to multiply 5 inches to make it 50 inches? well, 10 of course. So then you take the 10 and multiply it by 2 and you have your exact helmet size. I've drawn a picture and explained this method as well.



Step 4: Scaling the model
Now for the quickest step. To scale your model, all you have to do is open your pepakura designer and edit the information. Here is where things may get pricey. Yes, unfortunately you have to pay for pepakura designer, and that's the piece of software you need to re-scale models. It's around $40, but it's useful if you're going to be making models. It's also pretty imperative since most models are made extremely large in the event that their designers KNOW that they're going to be used to make actual props. If you're not sure if your model needs to be resized or not, check the actual file. Most of the time, the designer will have a note that says "Check scale before printing" or something along those lines. If not, simply check the scale yourself. Checking the scale can be done with the free Pepakura Designer software, but you will not be able to save any work or changes made to the model. The models I used had to be re-sized, and unfortunately, I didn't know until I was halfway done with the damn papercraft. So anyhow, either dish out the money and buy your own software or try to find someone who has it already and trick them into doing it for you.

If requested, I will be willing to re-scale and print your model on cardstock for $10 (shipping included). I'll even do the math for you ;) Simply send me an email if you're interested.

If not, you'll just have to try to get by with what you can :')


So anyway, let's get to actually programming it into the system. In Pepakura Designer, on the top right of the screen, open your 2D menu and scroll down to 'change scale', and then 'scale factor'. A popup will appear and it will show you the current measurements of the model. I have Pepakura Designer 3, and it shows up in mm (hence why I said it may be necessary to convert to mm earlier). Change the HEIGHT of the model to the measurement in mm you got. *Hint* it should be in the hundreds, not the tens. If it's a 2 digit number, you probably need to add another zero.



Step 5: Moving the print arrangement
Once you've rescaled your model, the printing arrangement will shrink and cause the models to be scattered across page boarders. Simply click and drag the pieces to new pages and make sure than none run off the edge of the page. Don't forget or you'll have a big ol mess once you print your scattered pieces.

And there you have it! A nicely scaled model that's bound to fit you like a glove!

For more information on purchasing jewelery and other props in my tutorials, requesting a custom item, or an idea for a new tutorial, feel free to email me at Kanti-Kane@hotmail.com (:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Majora's Mask Tutorial



Seriously, who doesn't like Majora's Mask? Do you really need a reason to make it? You actually need a reason to NOT make it. Let's just jump right into the tutorial!


Materials:
- Wood Hardener
- Acrylic paints
- Sealant spray
- Majora's Mask Papercraft
- Tape
- Celluclay
- Flour
- Elastic cord
- Water
- Salt
- Sharpie marker
- Scissors
- Newspaper
- Plastic wrap
- Large bucket
- Funnel

Total Cost Estimate: $60
(based off what I had to buy)
Currently Selling For: $70

Project Duration Estimate: 7-8 days


Many of these materials can be purchased at nearby arts and crafts stores, even Walmart.

Overview:

This is a long process that requires several hours in between steps to allow the materials time to dry. This tutorial creates a heavy, delicate mask with protruding spikes. It's unwearable, and eyeholes should not be made due to it's thickness.

WARNINGS:
Chemicals used in this tutorial may be harmful when not used correctly.
WOOD HARDENER is a very dangerous and flammable chemical. The fumes it gives off are harmful if inhaled. Always work in highly ventilated areas and wear gloves and eye protection when dealing with it while it is wet! If you're under 16, get an adult's help before you continue. Remember to ALWAYS read the warning labels on products you are unfamiliar with.


Always make sure you read through the entire process before beginning to avoid mistakes and get a general idea of how the project will progress.
Now let's make get started:



Step 1: Making the Papercraft
Unlike my previous paper mache mask tutorial, this one starts off a bit differently. Since the shape of this mask is unique, we can't use the foam mannequin head to make our shape for us. In this case, we will be using a papercraft to get the general size and shape. A very nice papercraft of a life-sized version of Majora's Mask is available here. The papercraft is a bit annoying to assemble, but you should be able to do it in under 10 minutes. Use the tape to fasten the pieces together. At the end, do not attach the backpiece of the papercraft. Instead, leave it open. Also, don't attach the horns. We will add those at the very end.


Step 2: Mixing the Paper mache
This paper mache recipe is a very simple one and consists of even parts water and flour (and a teaspoon of salt for some reason).
In my previous mask tutorial, I used 2 cups of water and 2 cups of flour to make 5 masks, but for this mask, you may need less. Start off with only 1 cup of each and add a bit of salt for the recipe. So you'll do:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
Mix these together with a large spoon until the mixture becomes pasty. Try to get rid of any balls or layers of flour that may compress and not get mixed in properly. Once you get it all mixed up, get some newspaper and begin cutting it into long, thin strips. You may use scissors, but a papercutter saves time and makes the newspaper strips much more even.


Step 3: Adding newspaper paper mache
Now here's the fun part. You have to be careful for this step, I found it rather aggravating and tricky. You must layer the paper mache on the papercraft WITHOUT wetting it excessively. If you apply too much mache, the papercraft will not be able to hold its shape and will melt. A good way of starting off is to begin with the inside of the mask. Place the mask face-down and use the curve of it to your advantage. Only apply ONE layer of mache that's very very lightly dipped in the flour mixture and allow it to dry. When dry, flip the mask over and repeat to the other side with just ONE layer. Once you've got at least 2 layers on each side, let it dry completely.


Step 4: Soaking in wood hardener
Now that you're mask is dry, it should have SOME sort of shape to it. If there is no shape or the mask is way off from what it should be, you should probably scrap this mask and repeat the steps until you get a better one. Once you dip the mask into the wood hardener, there's not much you can do to alter the shape. BUT assuming you did a good job (hopefully you did), you can begin soaking it into the wood hardener.
Wood hardener is a very strong smelling liquid, so you should work with it outdoors. To soak the mask in the wood hardener effectively, we will use a large bucket (that fits the mask inside nicely) and a funnel. Hold the mask on the inside of the bucket and slowly pour the wood hardener on top of it. Soak the mask thoroughly, getting every inch of it wet. Once you're certain you've got it right, pull the mask out and place it somewhere to dry completely. Next, place the funnel on top of the wood hardener's container and funnel the liquid that you poured into the bucket back into the container. That way you won't waste it.


Step 5: Shaping the mask
Once the mask is dry, you can now coat it with many layers of mache without worrying too much. You'll still want to let the first few layers dry completely before adding more so you don't stress the mask out. This step is looong. It will probably take around 2 days to completely finish. Not only will you be layering the paper mache along the mask, but you will need to crumple pieces of newspaper into certain areas of the mask to raise them. For example, the eyes of the mask should bugg out and the "mouth" area needs to be elevated while the "forehead" area needs to sink down. Since we used the papercraft, it should have already captured some of the mask's geography, but much more needs to be added to properly see it. Folding and crumpling several newspapers in the areas that need to be elevated and then smoothing them over with newspaper strips is a nice way to get these surfaces. Once you're done with this step, make sure to sketch a quick Majora's Mask face on the surface to decide where you want the eyes to be. It'll be important for the next step.


Step 6: Adding the celluclay
Once you're happy with the basic shape of the mask and you have some elevated surfaces and depressions, you can add the celluclay! Celluclay is a papermache type clay that's kind of chunky since there are newspaper bits inside it. The box has instructions on how much water to add in relation to clay, but I just kept adding water until I had a workable clay. You probably need to add more water than you expected. If you don't add enough, the clay dries out quickly. Anyway, knead it for about 5 minutes before you start using it, that way, you'll get some of the bumpyness of the newspaper bits worked into the mixture. Once you're tired of it, just apply it onto the mask. I avoided the eye parts (I hope you drew them) and just added a nice, even layer of clay to the surface of the mask. For the eyes, I made two half-spheres and placed them where the eyes should be so they would be elevated much more than anything else on the mask. Also, to aid me in painting. Once you add an even layer of clay, wet your hands and smooth it out as much as you can. Sometimes you can only do so much and there may be some bumps left over, but it's nothing hindering of the final piece. Once finished, let the mask dry completely. I'd give it overnight just to be sure. Once it is dry again, you should re-mark the eyes and doodle on some other features to aid in painting.


Step 7: Painting the Mask
This can be the most exciting or the most stressful part. Painting the mask will require alot of patience, especially since Majora's Mask has so much detail. For paint, I went to my local craft store and brought a reference picture from the game to compare the colors. The purple and the red gave me the most trouble, and I had to mix a few colors to get them to the right tint, but the other colors are pretty straightforward. Remember, when you switch colors, alwayysss let the previous color dry completely. Acrylic paints are great because they dry in minutes and you can get painting done pretty quickly, but sometimes fabric paints can also be considered multipurpose paints and they have nice pigments and go on darker in less coats. The paint you use is really up to you. Also, don't stress if you mess up. The great thing about paint is that you can just let it dry and paint right over it.


Step 8: Making the horns
Now that your mask is nice and painted, all that's left is to make and attach the horns. Using air-dry clay is nice, since it's usually very lightweight and cheap. I used paperclay, which is kind of annoying to work with, but it's pretty sturdy and very light. For this step, simply cut the clay into even sections and make cone shapes. When you're done shaping the horn, find the position on the mask you'd like it to be, and press the bottom against the mask so it fits into position nicely. This way, you shape the bottom so it can attach easier. I made each horn a different size so that I remembered which ones were positioned where. The two top horns were the easiest to tell, since they were long and skinny. As for the others, make each horn a bit different to make it easier, if not, just place them onto the table near the place on the mask they should be so you don't forget. After you're done, wait for the paperclay to completely dry. Once it is, paint all the horns in a nice yellow color and allow it to dry. After that, select the horns on each side of the mask (3 pairs) and paint the tips lightly with red, blue, and green. To give the fade effect, simply give your brush a touch of paint and dab it on your hand or a piece of paper until it begins to fade, then brush it lightly along the horns.
Once you're done painting, all you have to do is glue them into place! I used a hot glue gun and it worked pretty well.

Step 9: Sealing your mask
Once your paint is dry, it's important that you seal the mask. You can find sealant spray at most craft stores and it's a very nice step to keep your mask looking good. A couple coats of the seal should be sprayed on the front and back of the mask. The sealant spray makes the mask a bit more water resistant and helps dirt and debris slide off the mask easier. It also keeps the paint from chipping more. It's not completely necessary, but I would recommend it.



And blammo
There's your nice fancy Majora's Mask.
Go hang it in your room or something

For more information on purchasing jewelery and other props in my tutorials, requesting a custom item, or an idea for a new tutorial, feel free to email me at Kanti-Kane@hotmail.com (: