As you probably now realize, I’ve become quite addicted to cosplay and have been starting to spread my wings beyond Doctor Who-related costumes and into comics. After attending the Superman Celebration in 2012, I thought I could not return to the event without a cool DC comics costume. Being a huge Wonder Woman fan (I cut my teeth on the Linda Carter series), I decided that the Amazonian Princess would be a good place to start.
The Base Pieces: Corset and Skirt
This is the first costume I’ve actually crafted myself. My previous costumes have been pieces I’ve put together from street clothes. So this costume is sort of a big deal for me. The thing is, my original intention was to buy a Halloween costume and just use that. So I did. I bought it from another cosplayer and it sort of looked like this:
In fact, it was identical to this except that it didn’t have the belt. This is the official DC-licensed costume. The thing is, like most Halloween costumes, it looked cheap. I wasn’t happy. But I loved the skirt. So I decided, “I can do this,” and decided to cut off the top part of the costume, keep the skirt and make the rest on my own.
I started with the corset. I found a red one on eBay for all of $14. Because, cosplay is also about budgeting. It was important that the corset be shiny so that it would match the skirt well:
Being relatively small on top means that I have to tighten this thing as tightly as possible. But it works and looks great with the skirt.
The Tiara, Armbands, Breastplate and Belt
Of course, what’s Wonder Woman without her tiara, armbands and breast plate and belt? This is where I ran into a wall. I had no idea how to make those things. I don’t sew (it’s on my list of things to learn now, obviously) and I had no clue how to make things like armor pieces. Fortunately, the cosplay community is a sharing one and after searching Cosplay.com‘s forums, I found what I needed: craft foam. Not only that, but I also learned how to work with it. Even better? Craft foam sheets are cheap!
I ordered craft foam from Hobby Lobby, but I couldn’t find just plain white (so I could paint it later), so I went with a glittery white. I wasn’t sure it would work, but it did. Within minutes of acquiring what I needed, I fashioned a tiara. Of course, being a perfectionist, I screwed it up trying to perfect it, so had to make a second – that one came out even better. I painted it gold with Krylon Shortcuts in goldleaf. And immediately loved it. I also did the armbands and painted them with Krylon Shortcuts silver. It was almost too easy:
Of course, I didn’t learn until after I painted them that I needed to stiffen them up with glue. Good thing I stocked up on extra paint. So I added layer after layer of Elmer’s glue (diluted slightly with water so it went o smoothly) with a small paintbrush. This is a painstaking process: basically, you “paint” each layer of glue on and let it dry and then paint subsequent layers, one by one, over it. It takes a few days, but eventually the craft foam stiffens up and feels more solid, which is what you want. This technique also gives you a smooth surface to work with:
Another option is to glue a stiffer material behind each piece, but this technique proved the easier. Then, using my stove’s gas burners (which probably isn’t safe, but hey, this is cosplay – suffer for your art), I shaped the pieces. Basically, I warmed them up and then used my hands to make them sit the way I wanted to. I used velcro on the armbands to secure them (and hot glue because the sticky on the velcro isn’t sticky enough). For the tiara, I hot glued simple bobby pins into the edges of the piece to secure it to the wig. To quote Stephen King, “Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS).”
What’s Wonder Woman without her stars, though? I found some awesome glittery red craft foam stickers at Hobby Lobby (the store cosplayers can’t live without). They didn’t stick too well, so I used a hot glue gun to make sure they’d stay on. I already had the perfect wig from a previous cosplay, as modeled here:
With that part of the costume complete, it was on to the breastplate armor. I honestly had no idea how to cut it or shape it to work with the corset I bought. In the end, I looked at a lot of different Wonder Woman photos (thanks, Google Image Search) and other cosplayers and then sort of came up with my own design. And honestly? I think it looks awesome.
I stiffened that up with glue and painted it gold. After that, all I needed to do was figure out how to attach it to the corset. Fortunately, velcro is awesome and after attaching a lot of it, it seems to work well. The cool thing about using velcro is that the breastplate is now detachable, which might come in handy when storing or packing the costume.
This is what it looks like when worn:
As you can see, at this point, the costume is coming together. Because I’m paranoid (and like to feel dressed in something so skimpy), I also ordered this pair of dance tights and these dance shorts to wear underneath the skirt. I went with dance items because they are both flexible and sturdy, especially considering how I always end up with holes in my normal tights. I also decided on these boots (which are perfect, but seem to scuff entirely too easy) and this cape. Although many of my friends pulled an Edna and yelled “NO CAPES!” I am defying them. The cape hides some of the messiness in the back of the costume and honestly… well, I just wanted a freaking cape. Don’t judge me. Capes are cool.
All that left was the belt. Once I realized I could tuck the corset into the skirt, rather than vice versa, I figured out how to cut a shape for the belt that fit my pear-shaped body without a massive amount of weird gaping at the waist (I have a small waist, but wide hips). I took my time cutting and fitting it, but after I painted it, added a loop for the lasso, and put it on, I was quite pleased.
So without further ado, I give you the full Wonder Woman costume. I’m really proud of this one, since a lot of it was made with my own hands. I plan on debuting this at Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con in a few weeks, so if you see me, please say hello.