Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Dragon Costume Break Down

Here are the details of my dragon costume. First let me say that there is a surprising shortage of dragon costume images and tutorials on the internet. No matter how many times I searched I couldn't find something that was what I was looking for. So I came up with a way to do it completely on my own. It took a very long time to come up with the logistics of how to make it work, but once I had it figured out it actually came together quickly and I was thrilled with how it turned out. It is rare that something ends up looking just as cool in real as if did in my head, but this is one of those times.


The dragon belly was made from my black sequin raven shirt from last year which I turned around backwards and sewed red vinyl to the front in layers to look like a dragon belly. I wanted to have something scaly on my back should I decide to take off my wings and since it was something I already had (and hadn't worn since last Halloween so didn't mind ruining) that was a bonus. You can see the back sequins better in the photo below, but you couldn't really see them when I was wearing my wings, which was most of the night.

The tail was made out of this weird stretchy blackish silver fabric that I bought. It was perfect for my costume and surprisingly easy to work with, but I have no idea what anyone would use this fabric for other than costumes. The dragon tail was basically just a cone which I stuffed lightly with cotton. All the red spikes were made from the red vinyl and sewed into the tail. I wanted to be able to remove the tail so I sewed it onto a belt, which was under my shirt so you couldn't see it.

The wings were seriously some of my best costuming ever and I was so, so happy with how they turned out. (They are up there with the Proton Pack from 2009). I made a frame for the first wing out of wire coat hangers and secured it with tons of electrical tape. This also made it thicker so that the spines would show through the fabric a bit better. The claw at the top of each wing is just wire that I wrapped with loads of electrical tape. After the frame was all done, I traced the wing onto the fabric and sewed a little slip cover the exact size of the wing. I left the side open just enough to wriggle the wing in (it helped a lot that the fabric was stretchy and the wire was still bendable) Once the wing was in, I lifted the open end up and sprayed a ton of spray adhesive inside and then pressed the fabric together, especially along the wire spines in the middle. The adhesive didn't get to all the parts of the wing, but it covered enough of it to achieve the look I was going for. I was ridiculously proud of myself when I realized my plan was working! So I made a second wing, this time out of some more pliable rubber coated wire I got at Home Depot. I used this wire because I ran out of hangers, but in hindsight it was a good way of doing it. The first wing shape sort of ended up looking the way it did since that is the way the hangers bent and it would have been really hard for me to duplicate it with hangers. With the more pliable wire I was able to copy the shape really easily and repeat the rest of the process. Once both wings were done I attached them with wire and made a few spikes to go between them. I wanted these spikes to be separate from the tail so I could move easily and so that the pieces could be removed if needs be. I made straps for my shoulders out of wide elastic and was good to go!

The arm bands were tubes I sewed from the same stretchy fabric and added spikes.The wig was ordered from eBay (new, don't worry) and was the most expensive part of the costume. I debated getting it, but am so glad I did since it totally made the costume. (And made me so disappointed about my real hair every time I would remove it.) The pants were purchased for $7 and felt like garbage bags, but were perfect. The boots I borrowed and were also perfect. I had incredible red fake eyelashes but wasn't able to get them on in the scramble of getting ready so had to go without. But I think it turned out just fine with the rest of the make up I did. I also had cool scaly nails  which you obviously couldn't see but I knew were there. They were stick on nail polish strips - which are incredible. It's all in the details, right?


Logan Wangsgard said...

Truly a sight to behold. You are a marvelous work and a wonder my dear. Well done to you, best in show, no doubt.

Amy said...

Amazing! Thanks for sharing the details.

Marian said...

I agree with Logan!!

Jillaire said...

The nails really were the best part. :) Actually, I just love that you did that because it's the crazy kind of detail I would include in something that D might roll his eyes at, but would get why I was doing it nonetheless. The wings were awesome; I love the spray adhesive idea. I wouldn't have thought of that. Well done!

Svea said...

Hello Mrs. Wangsgard,

I´m going to play a dragon in a play soon and would like to ask whether I might kind of copy your costume, because I think it is really amazing!!
If that´s okay with you, I would also like to ask you a few additional questions to how you actually made the costume, since I´m a total amateur...
Sorry for bothering, I hope to hear from you. Have a nice day.