How-To Make a Unikitty Hat: Adventures in Unikitty Cosplay

Princess Unikitty - April 2014

Princess Unikitty – April 2014

Just kidding, there won’t be any balancing involved…for you at least.

I lived through that mistake and made some major improvements to improve stability. 
Unikitty 2.0, if you will. :)
I would never lead you down the virgin path, gentle reader, so I’m going to give this to you straight.

This is a pretty involved DIY project that takes at least 2-3 days to complete (cuz you have to let papier-mâché dry). I suggest setting aside a weekend to tackle it depending on how quickly you paint. So strap in and be ready to get messy.

What you’ll need:

  • Cardboard and/or poster board to construct the shape of the ears and head and horn.  Shoe box cardboard is ideal.
  • Craft foam- 1 sheet
  • Masking tape
  • Hot glue gun & hot glue sticks
  • Pencil & black Sharpie marker
  • Craft Paint for your Unikitty palette (see below)
  • Clear acrylic spay paint- I recommend Rustoleaum  Crystal Clear Acrylic
  • White primer spray paint
  • A variety of paint brushes. This multi pack of paintbrushes worked for me. Most important is the angled brush for all the hard lines and a half inch wide flat brush. You may want to invest in extra angled brushes to clean up edges without having to rinse out your brush.
  • 100% acetone nail polish remover
  • A plastic cup you don’t mind destroying
  • Papier-mâché supplies:
    • Newspapers (or an old phonebook!)
    • Flour
    • School glue
    • Water
    • Whisk
    • Large mixing bowl
    • Trash bags
    • Masking tape
    • Optional:  latex/vinyl gloves

Unikitty-Palettes

I have made waaaaay too many papier-mâché projects in the last year. Believe me, if you don’t think it through, it can be a bitch- if you’ll pardon my French. :) My Papier-Mâché Tutorial  will help you avoid some large messes and mistakes I made along the way.  <3

Fabricating Your Shapes:

 

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I used cardboard to build the shapes for the head and ears, poster board for the horn, and craft foam to build the round lego gasket piece that attaches the horn to the head.

To make the horn, I rolled up poster board until I got the cone shape I wanted.

If I could start over and do things differently,  I would make sure that the width of the face block (from front to back) was as wide as my head so I could just cut a hole in the bottom, stick it straight on my head and be done…

…but I didn’t think of that until it was too late so here are the actual dimensions of the hat I made:

Round lego gasket: diameter 3.25″ – Horn height: 9″

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Cover Your Shapes in Papier-Mâché

Cover each INDIVIDUAL SHAPE in papier-mâché except for the foam gasket piece.

Check out this article for detailed papier-mâché instructions.

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These are just stacked up- not glued together yet.

 

After my  papier-mâché horn was dry I wrapped it in masking tape to give it spiral ridges:

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Prime Your Pieces

Once your individual papier-mâché pieces are totally dry, cover them evenly with 2-3 coats of white spray primer. (Whatever it takes so no newsprint shows through.)

When using spray paint it’s best to apply one light coat at a time, letting them dry to the touch in between.

Sketch the Unikitty Face

This is where things start to get tricky. You will need to be able to sketch out your Unikitty face on your headpiece so you can paint it.

I sketched my face by hand, but you could also find an image online and then blow it up to the size of your hat.

When I was happy with the face, I folded it in half and chose the best side to be my template for tracing.

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Paint, Paint and More Paint!

Paint all your shapes the appropriate colors, and then fill in your face sketch.

Sounds pretty simple, but I have a few tips for you:

  • Apply colors from lightest to darkest.
  • Let each color dry to the touch before the next color
  • Use the acetone to completely clean your brushes when you switch colors
  • I like angled brushes best for getting clean edges (or touching up edges) on my shapes.

Seal and Gloss

When your paint is totally dry, apply 4-5 coats of Rustoleum Crystal Clear Acrylic to really make your hat look like a plastic lego piece.

REMEMBER: When using spray paint it’s best to apply one light coat at a time, letting them dry to the touch in between.

Congratulations! You have a giant Unikitty head…but not yet a hat. Let everything dry and cure for 24 hours before moving moving on to the next step.

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 Now it’s Time to Build Your Hat

As previously mentioned, if I could start over and do things differently,  I would make sure that the width of the face block (from front to back) was as wide as my head so I could just cut a hole in the bottom, stick it straight on my head and be done…

… but that is not what happened.

When I debuted my Punk Princess Unikitty cosplay at Wondercon 2014, I did cut a hole in the bottom so the block was somewhat contoured to my head.

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I ended up attaching the Unikitty head to a thin little headband because my hair wouldn’t have covered much more and I wanted the illusion of the block just poised on my head.

It worked JUST OKAY.

I had to stand perfectly straight and not turn my head too fast or it would fall off… just how you want to be at a con all day, right? o_O

Luckily I used to train in ballet, so that was helpful but a few hours into Wondercon and my neck was killing me!

Here is what the janky headband rig looked like:

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Seriously it was so bad, lol!

How I Stabilized My Hat

First, I made a curved piece out of worbla thermoplastic with elastic straps and attached it to my hat with super glue:
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 To wear the hat I pull the elastic through my wig. (This wig is from the Rhapsody Collection from http://www.dolluxe.com/ <—-srsly great wigs!!!)
I also bought a pink wig for a super kawaii version of Unikitty…but for now I’m enjoying the platinum. :)
You can see from the pics below how you could easily get through the wig between the wefts:
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 I just pull the elastic snug and secure behind my head with a safety pin. Between the snug elastic and snug wig, my hat is perfectly stable all night long! Even dancing all night at Club Cosplay with Jack of All Nerds!
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Some Special Recognition <3 <3 <3

When I made the Unikitty hat, I never intended to write a tutorial… hence the extreme lack of step by step photos (sorry).

A special thank you goes out to Cindy A. for inspiring this tutorial. As the first person to ask for details, my emails to her forced helped me to organize my thoughts. :) Then Cindy and Katherine made AMAZING Unikitty and Angry Unikitty hats of their own!

Using the  wig for a snug fit has worked like a charm. <3

Cindy-&-Katherine

Gotham Hobos Cosplay: Takin’ a Stand & Makin’ New Friends at Long Beach Comic-Con 2014

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Succinct writing is not always my forte but I’m kinda wiped out so here’s my best go at it:

Girls tired of seeing girl cosplayers only representing the sexy side of women.

Girls drink a lot of wine and hatch a plan to do the most sexualized characters we could think of in a whole new way.

Gotham Hobos are born and I send my early costume sketches to Jimmy at Been Better comics for a cartoon rendering:

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Old friends meet new friends and several months of crafting (and giggling) ensue.
Crazy Cat-Lady Catwoman was the first to take shape:

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Then Homeless Hippie Poison Ivy started to come together:

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And last, but not least, everybody’s favorite certifiably insane girlfriend, Hobo Harley Quinn, came to life:

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Hopefully con-goers would see us and get a chuckle. Hopefully, a few gals would see us and  think “hey that’s cool, I don’t always have to be sexy to be awesome.”

As long as we were having fun we were stoked!

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We never thought in a million years we’d win anything- all day we went back on forth on whether we should even enter the official cosplay contest hosted by Nerds Like Us!

So you can imagine how stoked we were when Gotham Hobos actually won Best Group Cosplay!!! There was lot’s of squealing and jumping up and down, lol.

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Best of all we made friends with some very talented, creative and awesome female cosplayers who are not afraid to cosplay outside the sexy box, so to speak! All in all, it was a fantastic experience and so  much fun.

I could not have had two better partners in crime than Ms. Natasha and BHArtDesigns!

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Sexy Cosplay: The Nerd Double Standard

Yawn. I am so over sexy cosplay. That’s why I wanted to do a group cosplay called Gotham Hobos. We thought it would be an interesting twist to portray some famous Gotham citizens in odd, poor, frumpy, dirty versions of themselves.

First, let me be clear. I’m a nerd and I love sexy cosplay! But think about this:

When you read the words “sexy cosplay,” what type of people popped into your head? Dudes, right? Lots of beefy sexually dressed men. LULZ, of course not!

You instantly pictured women dressed as Slave Leia, vinyl clad Catwomen, tiny bodysuits, corsets and of course tons of boobs. ::Le sigh::

Women should be allowed to be as sexy as they want to be! I would never dream of telling women not to display their bodies how they see fit or shaming them for doing so! I just wish that the collective consciousness glorified us for being whole people, not just one part of a person.

What if I said “epic heroic cosplay?” Did you still envision Slave Leia? I didn’t think so.

I do think it’s high time more women show more sides of themselves in cosplay. How about some strong, armored characters? (Without the ridiculous bare midriff armor). What about funny characters? Scary characters? All with nary a boob to be seen. Is that asking too much? IDK.

Now all of that being said, part of the the problem is the actual content women who cosplay have to draw inspiration from. I think we can agree that both male and female characters in video games, comic books, etc all have ridiculously proportioned bodies. However, at least there are more male characters where the correct “form” can be fabricated.

A skinny bean pole guy could put on Batman armor with built in muscles and voila! Dope cosplay, dude! I’m not saying that guys don’t ever get crap for being too pudgy, too skinny etc in a spandex Superman cosplay…but not as much as women. Even portraying characters professionally, somehow women are just put under more scrutiny.

MY FAVORITE EXAMPLE OF THE NERD DOUBLE STANDARD

Do you remember when the first Tomb Raider came out? Some nerds somewhere took a shot of Angelina Jolie’s body in costume. They ran it through a program where it compared her EXACT measurements to the EXACT measurements of the completely fictional human-anatomy-defying video game version of Lara Croft. Her tits were huge but dammit they weren’t EXACTLY as huge as the video game!!! How could Angelina dare to play this role!? How could the studios RUIN such an iconic game!? Nonsense. I’d like to see Adam West’s body run through the same program and compared to the comic book Batman.

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Also, of course, there’s not as many female characters as male characters in video games, comic books, etc. So women started gender swapping their favorite male superheroes. I think it’s a fantastic idea and I’m excited that I’m starting to see more men gender swapping too! I just wish that the majority of gender swapping wasn’t simply making a sexy skimpy version of the male counterpart. I’ve seen pinup versions of literally every comic character I can think of. Every single one. Do you know how many women I’ve seen in an actual Iron Man (or I guess, in this case Iron Woman) suit? One. I saw one once on the internet. It was pretty badass!

I have a theory that we don’t see more equal gender swaps from women because as a group it’s easier for us to use our bodies to get attention for our cosplay than dudes. Which is unfair for them too when you think about it. Don’t have the time, energy, skills, or whatever to do a full Iron Man costume? That’s ok if you’re a lady. Just throw on lingerie in Iron Man colors and add a light on your chest. Maybe get the helmet- but for fucksake don’t wear it- just carry it so you don’t mess up your hair and makeup- duh!

As long as you have big tits and are showing them off, please believe you will make a splash on any con floor and your photos will be shared all over the internet. I have witnessed this exact costume in person surrounded by photographers and admirers. A so-so attempt at Iron Man from a guy? Who the fuck cares? Exactly nobody.  Unless it’s crafted perfectly nobody cares.

This whole train of thought gets me down.  At times it seems so huge that I don’t feel like things will ever change. That it’s pointless to even try… but “be the change you want to see in the world, fuckers!” Ghandi said that, although I may be paraphrasing. I’m not saying I don’t ,or will never wear sexy cosplay, or you’re wrong if you do. I’m just saying that if we all all shake it up once in in a while we might start to change people’s minds. So maybe take a risk at the next con ladies and don’t just go for the T&A. And if some hot dudes want to do shirtless Thor, I won’t complain, either. ::wink::

I personally find taking the sexiest (and most cosplayed) Gotham characters and making them weird dirty hobos funny. It’s not going to be sexy, that’s for sure- unless you have some hobo fetish. To which I say, to each their own! You do you.

The Gotham Hobos will be at Long Beach ComicCon 2014 and we can’t wait to show off Harley Quinn, Catwoman and Poison Ivy like you’ve never seen them before! You can follow the #GothamHobos on Instagram @jojossocreative to see what hijinks they get up to in the weeks leading up to the con.

Until then,

XOXO

I Work Hard for the Money

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Today marks the end of my first month at my new job with a new company! I am beyond happy.

I feel like I have so much creative energy that I might explode. Good thing I have plenty to do on-the-clock and I’m working on a fantastic group cosplay for Long Beach Comiccon in September.

If you want to see all the cosplay crafting madness unfold give me a follow on Instagram @jojossocreative.

When I’m crafting I like to post progress pics to Instagram pretty much in real time! Because TECHNOLOGY. <3

XOXO

DIY Jewelry Update- Hint: All you need is spray paint!

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Every fashion expert will tell you that if you can’t afford a new wardrobe, new accessories are an “inexpensive alternative.” But let’s be real; sometimes we can’t afford new jewelry either.

Upgrading old or used jewelry is one of my favorite past times! Whether you just change up the color of a piece or “Frankenstein” several together, the result is an inexpensive way to freshen up your wardrobe.

Changing colors of pieces is by far, the easiest thing to do- all you need is spray paint! I recommend Rustoleum paints: their metallics are amazing, their clear coat is amazing, plus they have a lot of heat resistant colors because they’re used a lot on hot rods. I actually discovered the brand from my dad when he was restoring his vintage Model A.

But anyhoo, I digress. Here is how I achieved the above: 

Supplies: Round jewelry pliers, metallic silver spray paint, crystal

STEP ONE: Used pliers to take apart the necklace.

Pro Tip: You can use tweezers or regular needle nose pliers if you don’t own jewelry pliers… but at less than $7 I strongly suggest investing in a pair. They come in handy for lots of different crafts!

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STEP TWO: Spray painted the colored part of the necklace.

Pro Tip:  For a shinier finish, use metallic spray paint alone. To achieve the “gunmetal” silver pictured, just follow with a coat of clear acrylic.

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STEP THREE: Used the pliers to put the necklace back together and then rocked my piece out on the town!

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Go forth and craft! XOXO