Thrift-Play: Maleficent Horns

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Continuing with my new series on what I call “Thrift-Play”(cosplay that focuses on cost concious solutions to often pricey fabrication), I’m going to give you the goods on my Maleficent cosplay that I created for FenCon 2014 and also wore that Halloween and to Fan Days (Comic Con Dallas) in February of 2015.

There’s no way a female cosplayer can watch Maleficent and not want to try out one of those gorgeous costumes. I jumped at the chance so I could put my cheekbones to good use and play a misunderstood character (gotta love a good backstory).

Obviously the horns are the most recognizable feature of Maleficent. Without them you’d just be an angry woman in black. I searched through countless photos. I liked the headpiece of one and the exposed horns of another. It was my costume, so I just made a hybrid of the two.

Maleficent-Movie-PosterMaleficent_42

 

 

 

 

 

First, I needed an armature to build on. I had some heavy gauge floral wire that I bent into the general shape and length of the horns. This was harder than I thought it would be. There was a lot of measuring to figure out the proportion to use for my head.

Supp;lies: heavy gauge wire, masking tape, plastic bags, and wire snips.

Supplies: heavy gauge wire, masking tape, plastic bags, and wire snips.

Next, I had to put some flesh to the bones of the horns. Because thrifty was my theme and I’m OCD about recycling, I used plastic grocery sacks. I wound those around the wire and secured it with masking tape. Continuing to build until I got the size I wanted. I wound some thin floral wire I had at the base of the horns, leaving the ends exposed so I could use them to help secure the horns to my base.

Fleshing-out the wire with the bags and tape.

Fleshing-out the wire with the bags and tape.

Leaving some exposed wires for later.

Leaving some exposed wires for later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I wired them to an extra wide headband I had left over from when I played Lady Macbeth in a theatre production.

base horns wired to the headband

base horns wired to the headband

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I decided to have exposed horn, I had to figure out a way to add the ribbed texture without adding a bunch of wieght or cost (in other words, no Warbla and no plaster). My solution was to grab a 40% off coupon from the internet for Hobby Lobby. I took that piece of digital money and bought a bucket of Crayola Model Magic.

Model Magic, my wig form, and some vinyl.

Model Magic, my wig form, and some vinyl.

I covered the base with a smooth coating of the Model Magic. I then made long, thin snakes out of the material (just like you did in preschool), and then I wound them around the horns to create the ridges.

Beginning to build up the horns with the Model Magic.

Beginning to build up the horns with the Model Magic.

I then painted them with a few coats of flat black spraypaint. I wanted gloss, but I already had the flat on hand so it didn’t cost anything. After the paint dried, I coated it with some gloss finish Mod Podge. It makes a great sealer and gave it the shine I wanted.

Ready for spray painting.

Ready for spray painting.

My magic Mod Podge for sealing and adding a glossy shine.

My magic Mod Podge for sealing and adding a glossy shine. You can see the ridges created with the “snakes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painted, sealed and shiny!!

Painted, sealed and shiny!!

After all of that had dried a couple of days sitting on my wig stand, I went to work on the rest of the head dress. One of the details I really wanted to recreate was the laced strips of leather featured on one of the movie costumes. I quickly realized that cutting strips of the vinylk wasnt giving me the clean edges I wanted. My solution–black electrical tape!! Yep. It’s shiny, the right size, and the right price (about $1.50 for 3 rolls at my local Walmart). I went to work crisscrossing the tape around the base of the horns until I got the look I wanted.

The woven electrical tape at the base of the horns.

The woven electrical tape at the base of the horns.

I had some black pleather/vinyl leftover from building an alien costume for my son (I’ll blog on that later). There really isn’t a set step 1,2,3… for this next part. It really involved a lot of “winging it” on my part. I would just fold, pin, cut, glue and sew until I got the look I wanted.

Once finished, I used a wig cap to keep my hair in place and applied makeup. This is the end result that went over very well at all of the events.

I already had several materials on hand, so the headpiece cost less than $10 to make. If I’d had to buy the headband, vinyl, paint, etc…, it would have been closer to $20. Still not too bad. I’ll cover in another post how I made the costume and the staff. Overall, I spent less than $30 for a killer costume.