DIY “The Joker” Mask for Labyrinth Masquerade XII!

 

FinishedMask_CmprsMy friend Jimmy (who happens to write/illustrate a great web comic that you should totes check out) is going to the Labyrinth Masquerade tonight! I’m super jealous because I can’t go, but I’m living vicariously by playing Fairy Godmother and sending him of with a custom made masquerade mask. He was just looking for something simple, but since Jimmy is a super fan of The Joker (from Batman) I was inspired to go for a Joker mask with a definite jester vibe.

Here is my journey to the finished product. Enjoy!

I knew I wanted to build out a custom shape for my Joker and I thought a store-bought mask, craft foam and scrap pieces of Worbla would do the trick. Once I played around with my materials a bit, I came up with a concept design and started building my piece

Next it was time to cover the whole thing with a papier-mâché . In the process I decided I wanted a slightly different texture for the hair and tried a new technique. Some tissues did the trick, but since they are so absorbent it took almost twice as long to dry as regular newspaper. Very happy with the results though!

After the papier-mâché  dried completely it was time to get down to painting. First I primed it with white primer from my total spray paint crush- Rustoleum. Then I used acrylic craft paint to do the rest and silver liquid leaf for some shinier accents.

I sealed all my detail work with Rustoleum Crystal Clear Acrylic (My absolute favorite glossy sealer of ALL TIME). Once a few coats had dried I added some 3d accents for texture. Since I was going for a masculine look, the only rhinestones I used were black. For other accents I opted for iron-on metal studs…only I just used hot glue to attach them.

Some inexpensive chattering teeth on wire gave me that extra Joker pizzazz to really put my mask over the top.

The very last thing to do was attach the head strap. I attached black elastic to either side with epoxy glue and used hot glue to create a loop at the end of each piece of elastic. Using the loops I was able to thread through a piece of ribbon for an adjustable fit. I also found the mask rubbed uncomfortable against my nose but it was an easy fix. Just a regular makeup sponge attached with hot glue.

Added a few matching embellishments to a Joker smile-on-a-stick that  I made before and voilà!

FinishedMask_Cmprs

Everything is Awesome!

So I’m super excited for WonderCon in a few weeks. I am slightly kinda mostly obsessed with making hats right now…

Anyhoo, as soon as I saw the Lego Movie, I instantly fell in love with Princess Unikitty, and it inspired me to design a very pop-art Unikitty hat.

Right now I’m sewing a fancy Unikitty-inspired dress I designed to wear with the hat. The Easter-egg colors aren ‘t really my thing so I’m going accessorize with dark makeup, dark nails and moto boots for a kind of “Punk-Princess Unikitty vibe. This is a pic of the ginormous skirt in progress:

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I don’t know what to call this cosplay… Couture Cosplay? Is that a thing?

Whatevs. Its gonna be dope and I’m excited!

A love note from JoJo: This post was updated on June 12, 2014

Last Minute Hippie Chick Costume

Last minute Halloween costume from items already in your closet!

Keep your hair long and loose, your makeup natural and use a yellow or white eyeliner pencil to draw a peace sign on your face. Bam! You’re out the door.

Bonus: You don’t have to shave your legs!

Hippie Chick Costume

Gringo evening dress
$65 – fashion-conscience.com

Cognac sandals
target.com

Opal bracelet
etsy.com

Nars cosmetic
barneys.com

My Dad; The Prettiest Princess of Them All

DadAriel_1Ok, so this one is going to take a little explaining. Firstly, let me just say I have two dads…but not how you think! I have a very long complicated home-life story (which maybe someday I’ll tell in it’s entirety) but basically through a combination of foster care, marriage, and divorce I belong to one of those amazing Frankenstein families that’s more about people choosing to love each other than actual blood relations. I happen to think its a pretty special thing. 🙂

Anyways, so my dad, Craig (pictured here) happens to be a heterosexual male, well into his 60’s, is a decorated veteran of the Marine Corps, served in Vietnam, drives giant Harley Davidson motorcycles, cusses like…well, like a Marine, and also is the most mischievous person on the planet. Thanks to him I was actually kicked out of a Las Vegas hotel like a boss when I was still in middle school. How? He was teaching me to throw paper airplanes in the Luxor Hotel’s atrium!

Back in the day, when I still lived with my parents, I made this super awesome detailed Snow White costume. About a year after the last time I wore it to a party, my dad comes sauntering down the hallway wearing one of his Harley t-shirts, sweat pants…and my princess skirt. Somehow he had opened the back and wedged it around his waist. I’ve never laughed harder in my life than when he was batting his eyes and fanning his face “because someday his prince would come.”DadArial_3

Obviously he had to be Snow White for Halloween! I made fancy light blue princess sleeves for a regular dark blue t-shirt, he commandeered my skirt, we added my wig and my cape and it was a done deal! Of course he wouldn’t shave his handlebar mustache, so yeah, that happened… He ended up not just wearing the costume on Halloween night, but also to get kicked out of both Disneyland AND Disney World for sporting it in the parks.

That’s right. In the name of mischief he got himself kicked out of The Happiest Place on Earth. Twice. That take’s commitment.

At first we were ambitious and swore to do a different Disney Princess costume for him every year…but you know, things happen and we got sidetracked. We did make him a full Cinderella costume, which he wore very well, but once me and my wig collection moved out on my own, I’m not sure if he’s worn it since.

This year, we bought his very own bright red “Ariel” wig and it is game on! You’re welcome.

A love note from JoJo: This post was updated on June 12, 2014

Steampunk Rainbow Dash: How-To Advice

RainbowDash_Steampunk2The costume doctor is in! My friend, Cat, recently asked for advice on how to make a Steampunk Rainbow Dash costume.

These are my shopping suggestions, techniques and advice on how to execute the design.

Love you, Cat! Thanks again for the great inspiration!

COSTUME ACCESSORIES

  • A Costume Top Hat + cheap can of brown spray paint
    • TIP: For an aged leather effect lightly dust the hat with the brown paint rather than going for full coverage.  To do this, hold the can at least 12” away and apply in sweeping circular motions.
  • Aviator Goggles
  • Blue Feathered Wings 
    • TIP:  Apply with metal elements to wings with super glue or epoxy glue.
  • White Gloves

CLOTHING/APPAREL

These were some great finds on Amazon that were not too expensive and also items you could use again either in real life or other costumes!

Boots

Garter stockings:  go to Amazon.com and just search thigh highs and garter belts, there were SOOO many options!

Vest , Shorts & Belts: Head to a thrift store for a vest and some slacks you can cut into shorts. The tweedier the better.  Also look for leather belts.

TIP: Ladies, you’ll probably find leather belts more easily in the Men’s section.

RainbowDash_SteampunkTHINGS YOU’LL HAVE TO MAKE:

Bangs, Mane & Tail: You can actually make very awesome horse/pony tails out of acrylic yarn. It’s cheap and very  easy!  Sometime in the future I will do a full How-To article on tails, but for now you’ll just get the basics. Don’t worry, if you get totally lost just google it.

Supplies: Acrylic yarn; Scissors; Stiff brush; Flat Iron for Hair

  1. Using your scissors, cut 20 40” pieces of ONE color of yarn. Place the pieces of yarn together into a stack.
  2. Secure the end with a rubber band or thin ponytail holder and braid 2-3 inches the stack and secure with a small piece of yarn.
  3. Starting at the tip, brush out the yarn until it starts to look like hair. (There will be a TON of fluff leftover on your brush, just remove it as necessary.)
  4. Use your flat iron to smooth out the strands.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each color in the Rainbow Dash tail.
  6. Once you have all the colors, secure them together at the base of the braided part with a small piece of yarn.
  7. Untie the braids lay the yarn as flat as possible and glue to the underside of the belt of your choice. Trim off excess yarn that sticks out above the width of the belt.

For the bangs and mane to go on the Steampunk top hat, use shorter pieces of yarn in smaller bunches. Glue directly to hat and then cover with Steampunk goggles.

Steampunk-Cutie-MarkCutie Mark:

Supplies: (1) Sheet White Craft Foam; color photo print out of my Steampunk Rainbow Dash Cutie Mark;  Various brass/copper chains from your local hardware store.

  1. Glue the photo to the white craft foam.  Let the glue dry.
  2. Cut out the Cutie Mark
  3. Attach the chains to your belt (a simple way would be to tie them on with a bit of ribbon)
  4. Affix the Cutie Mark to the chains with super glue or epoxy glue.

Optional: Simply cut out the photo and have it laminated.

A love note from JoJo: This post was updated on June 12, 2014

Let’s Be Online Besties!

Steampunk-Cutie-Mark

One of the drawbacks perks of being included in my inner circle of best friends and family is that I will obsess to the ends of the earth over every costume that ever touches your body. If we’re really close, chances are I’ve forced you to let me  offered to make you a Halloween costume at least once. I just can’t stand to see a good idea go to waste!  I pout for weeks when someone declines and then comes up with a crappy slapped together costume they made the day before a party.

The WORST is when someone asks me how to do something for a costume (the usual request being how to do something on the cheap) and then says “fuck it” and does the exact opposite; ending up with something more expensive and less effective then my original suggestion! ::cough:: Double Dragons 2012 ::cough, cough:: You know who you are…

But the worst is only occasionally. I’d say about 90% of the time (don’t worry no mathematicians were harmed in the writing of this post- its just a statistic I guessed at) it works out great. Fantastic ideas are given, people surprise me with their level of craftsmanship or I somehow end up on a costume bender going broke making 15 different costumes for various people. It’s that last one there that really takes the mickey outta me, so over the years I have learned to exercise some self control. Nowadays I still make costumes for people, but I now I always ask them to buy the supplies and sometimes actually pay me a small fee for the umpteen billion hours I’ve spent turning those supplies into something awesome.

In an effort to learn and grow (i.e. smack my inner perfectionist bitch into submission) this year I’ve decided to try something new. Simply designing costumes for other people. They give me their dream, I give them an idea with a hearty dose of how-to advice and then they are responsible for executing said idea. It’s been super fun so far, as my first request was for something very unique that I had to really put some extra thought into: Steampunk Rainbow Dash. Oh yes, you read that correctly. The science fiction sub-genre that combines steam powered machinery and the 19th century fashions of Victorian England and/or the American “Wild West” mashed up with… a flying, rainbow hued My Little Pony character.

Challenge accepted.

Thank you to Cat Fernandez for this amazing challenge! Making the Steampunk Rainbow Dash Cutie Mark was super fun, I can’t wait to finish designing the rest of this costume!

Do you have a challenge for me? Message me on Facebook or leave a comment on this post!

Crafting Tools 101

GlueGun_2

This is my glue gun. There are many like it, but this one is mine…

By far, the hot glue gun is my most favoritest crafting tool of all time ever. I use mine on almost every project and the love and good times we’ve had together are evident in the little community of crafting scraps making a home stuck to it’s side. Some  would say it’s gross, I prefer to think of it in the same category as a well-worn, dogeared copy of someone’s favorite book. It looks hideous because it gets a lot of use!

GlueGun_1

Anyways, glue guns generally come in 2 sizes (one for little glue sticks and one for big glue sticks) and range from obscenely cheap to fairly expensive. I prefer the small size, because they seem to fit my hand better, but in all honesty, I’ve been using the small ones for maybe 10 years now and maybe I’m just used to it. I think this is the one time where “size doesn’t matter” is actually true. Am I right ladies? Oh snap, I sure did just make a dick joke…on a crafting blog. Go me!

Back to topic: This little bugger cost me $3.99 and I’ve had it for at least 3-4 years, so in my humble all-knowing, all-powerful opinion, the expensive ones are a waste of money.

Besides my trusty ol’ glue gun there are other tools I like to keep handy. If you’re a veteran crafter you’ve probably got your own little arsenal of crafting weapons, but if you’re new to crafting you totes need to start your own crafting kit!

So here’s my suggested list for beginners:

  • Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
  • Crafter’s Knife (also known as an Exacto knife)
  • Sharp Scissors
  • A Hole Punch
  • Pencils
  • Ruler
  • Measuring Tape
  • Black Permanent Marker
  • Masking Tape
  • Scotch Tape
  • Cardboard Scrapes
  • Sewing Needles
  • Black & White Thread
  • Straight Pins
  • Multipack of Assorted Cardstock

DIY Vintage Harlequin Clown: Accessories Tutorial

HarlequinClown_IG2

Sometimes you just need a quick and easy costume. One of my favorite ways to whip up a costume in a jiffy is to make really cool DIY accessories that can be added to regular clothes. This is a DIY tutorial for my 3 piece Vintage Harlequin Clown accessories.

HarlequinClown_MeThis is especially awesome if you’re on a budget and have a bunch of parties or events to go to: it’s super versatile.  I LOVED the high waist short and contrasting striped shirt we dressed up my fantastic model Kelsey in, but you could slut it up (and I mean that in the best way) with a skimpy leotard, sexy dress, or maybe pair the shorts with a corset or halter bra for a pin up vibe.

I actually wore it to an early Halloween party while my main costume was still in progress, and it was a big hit.  (The top, skirt, tights and shoes are all direct from my closet.)

Included in this tutorial are instructions to make a cone hat, ruffle collar and ruffle cuffs.

Beginner level, low cost, and can be done in an afternoon; what’s not to <3?

Enjoy!

Supplies

NOTE FOR SUPPLIES: You want to get fabric 45″ wide or wider. The wider the fabric the more “ruffley” your collar will be (and yeah I just made up a word, so deal). If you’ve never shopped for fabric before, read this, then proceed.

HarlequinClown_Hat2

Don’t forget to download my cone template!

step-one

  • TIP:  I used the large size for my human-sized hat you see in the pictures and I used small and medium for doll sized  “party skeletons” that I used to decorate my “Circus of the Damned” theme Halloween party. You could  also  totally  use the small version and glue it to a headband for a cute mini-hat look.

step-two

step-three

step-four

step-five2

step-six

step-sevem

step-eight2

step-nine2

Repeat for opposite side of the hat. You’ll use these tabs to secure the hat to your hair with bobby pins.

HarlquinClown_Collar2

collar_one

Repeat step one with your second printed fabric- this time making a 6 1/2 ” fold.

NOTE: Save the excess fabric you trim off. You’ll use that to make the cuffs.

collar_two

collar-three

collar_four

TIP: You should end up with 15 inches marked off directly in the center of your ribbon and 12 1/2″ of ribbon left over at either end.

collar-five

collar-six

collar-seven

collar-eight

HarlequinClown_Cuff2

Start with your left over fabric from the ruffle collar.

cuff-one

TIP: Before moving on to the next step, trim edges so they’re nice and even like the photo in step one.

cuff_two

cuff-three

cuff-four

cuff-five

  • OH SNAP! Note on using snap closures: Each closure comes with two pieces (an “innie” and an “outie” if you will) that, uh, well, snap together. Cleverly named, these things are… but I digress. You will need to make sure that you keep track of which pieces are innies and which are outies as you apply them to your cuffs. Otherwise they won’t snap together, k?

cuff-six

cuff-seven

cuff-eight

 Repeat steps 4-8 for the other cuff and your done! Enjoy! XOXO

Love note from JoJo: This post was originally a 3-part post condensed and reformatted on 6/21/14.

‘Tis The Season…For Costumes!

If you’ve read a bit of my blog you probably already know that I’m pretty much obsessed with Halloween. I love throwing giant parties for the occasion and I usually make/get together 2 or 3 costumes for myself. I know that sounds like a big case of the crazies, but hear me out. I do one major handmade costume that takes me sometimes a month or more to make. Then there’s always that one person who throws a party in early October, so I gotta be ready with either something cool I can make in one afternoon or I pull out a repeat from years past. The office at my day job is pretty awesome so I get to dress up for work too…but sometimes my costume is just too complicated or uncomfortable to make it through my commute. Plus sometimes it’s too slutty. Not for the commute, for the office- but you get the idea.

Anyways, because of this mad obsession I’ve got tons of easy  & inexpensive DIY costume ideas to share. I’ll to post as many as possible leading up to Halloween. Coming soon: Vintage Harlequin Clown.

I’ll also be chronicling my preparations for this year’s party: Circus of the Damned. And keeping you posted on my progress with my big-deal costume: Vampire Ringmaster. I’m kinda stuck on this whole vintage circus vibe… just incase you hadn’t noticed.

Got a specific costume or costume accessory you’d like to make? Comment with your questions and requests and I’ll help you out. Maybe. If your request doesn’t suck. XOXO

Best Fabrics for Crafting & Costumes

fabricWhen I’m looking for costume & craft fabrics I generally hope they are inexpensive, look awesome, feel good and are easy to work with. That being said, sometimes looks are everything. Cutting faux fur only ends one way- with looking like you murdered a Muppet and had no time to hide the evidence. Vinyl is not so comfy to wear- but you can’t beat that slick look for certain characters and/or accessories. Listed below are my personal top choices for costuming and crafting. If I see any one of my Top 3 on sale, I’ll buy versatile colors (black, white, brown, red) just to stock up for the future, even if I have no idea what I’ll use them for. If you’re a newbie and never bought fabric before, read this to avoid pain and humiliation when heading out to your local fabric store.

TOP 3 BEST FABRICS FOR COSTUMES & CRAFTS:

#1 Polyester Crepe
V-E-R-S-A-T-I-L-E. Nice weight and texture.

#2 Power Mesh
Great alternative to Chiffon (which frays like a bitch)! And it’s stretchy to boot!

#3 Tulle/Netting
Generally cheap. Versatile for costuming AND crafting.

MORE FAVORITES:
Lace
Faux Suede
Velvet
Metallic Spandex
Spandex
Pleather
Vinyl
Faux Fur
Fleece
Flannel