Friday, February 27, 2015

The Best Cosplay of Dragon Con 2014, Pt 6

Oh yes, there's still more.

Let's start off with this epic group of elves from The Hobbit:

Just after I took this some little kids jumped in dressed as Bilbo Frodo and Gollum, and the reactions were priceless:

Kid Gollum was really into character, and so incredibly creepy that he totally stole the show:

See what I mean??

Here's just the kids later on:

Remember how I said Gollum was really into character? 

It's amazing I ever caught them both standing still!

K, moving on, here's a gender-swapped Jareth from Labyrinth:

And a group of Disney princesses:

Nice to see both Kida and Giselle in there - you don't see them much!

Pretty sure these are both from Mass Effect:

This group, too:

This Sailor Moon Cinderella was actually playing a video game strapped to someone's back (because Dragon Con!), and gave me some fabulously cheesy poses with the controller:

Another great mashup: Halo Kitty. (Get it??)

Check out the light-up whiskers!

Now how about a kitty Ghostbuster?

And can we all stop for a moment to appreciate that Caution sign on his waist? Ha!

Here's another group I took too many pictures of - this time from John's favorite game, Skyrim:

The two on either side are Draugr, undead warriors, which look like this in-game:

 Those glowing eyes are fantastic - and see all the arrows sticking out of him?

The woman in the middle is wearing Nightingale Armor, which looks like this:

Here's a better group shot, this time with an armored knight:

Btw, the two Draugrs are husband and wife, and you can see some amaaazing build photos over on his site, Punished Props.

You see a lot of TARDIS dresses, but this couple went all out and had the guy dress as one, too!

Love her white hair and his hat.

How many cons have both Mary Poppins AND Mrs. Banks out together?

And you see Barf from Space Balls in his regular jumpsuit pretty often, but almost never in the guard uniform from the prison break:

Remember this scene? Ha! Great prop choice. 

A cutie patootie Pinkie Pie:

And you've gotta love vacationing Joker smirking in the background.

Super dark photo, but here's a group of Princess Jedis:

And a fantastic armored Wonder Woman with a Dragon Priest from Skyrim:

I tried to find a Priest pic from the game to show you guys, but there are TONS of different versions, and I couldn't find this one.  >.<

[Update: Aha! The "priest" is actually a "Dragonborn Cultist", which looks like this in-game:]

Wow - twins! Thanks, commenters!

Mad Moxxi and Tiny Tina from Borderlands:

And here's what those two look like in-game:

Not a great photo of the costumes, but I thought this shot was really fun:

The camera flashes across from me ended up looking like the Storm Troopers blaster fire! :D

Ronan and Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy:

An unmasked clockwork robot from Doctor Who:

And a screenshot from that episode:

Because venetian masks weren't freaky enough, right?

Since I'm guessing most of you haven't watched Soul Eater (though you should!), this is Lord Death from the show:

He talks with a ridiculously high voice, likes to high-five people, and is generally hilarious.

And now. in real life!

And since every DC cosplay post needs a moment of what-the-actual-heck:

Those aren't condoms, they're baby bottle nipples. And he also had a long glowing tail, which is giving off that purple light. 0.o

And finally, let's end with some My Little Mandalorians:


(Mandalorians are the mercenary/bounty hunters of the Star Wars universe, like Boba Fett.)

So Fluttershy is holding a tiny bunny, Pinkie has her confetti cannon (complete with color-changing lights!), and Rainbow Dash is sporting a hank of hair ala Boba Fett... in rainbow. So good.

Ok, guys, we're nearly there! So in next week's final (yes, finally) DC roundup, I'll have pics from the Potter-themed Yule Ball, plus some jaw-dropping cosplay from Book of Life, Once Upon A Time, and lots more. Stay tuned.

{Click here for Part 7, or here to go back to Part 1.}

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Never Buy Custom Mats Again!

Sometimes even John and I forget how much cheaper and easier it can be to just make stuff yourself.

Case in point: we went to a local craft shop to get two custom mats for some art for the steampunk room. Since we wanted an antique look, we picked fabric-covered mats, which we were told would take over a week to make, and cost over $60.

Now, $30 each may not sound TOO bad... but that's more than we spent on the art being framed! And all for a one-inch decorative border? NUH-UH.

So we canceled the order and headed to the fabric section.

We bought about half a yard of two fabrics that almost exactly matched the original mats we wanted: a faux red velvet and a faux leather. Total cost? Around $8.
New art on the wall.

Here's the thing: fabric-covered mats - which both look and ARE the most expensive - are actually the easiest to make yourself, since you don't need a mat cutter or special tools. All you need are fabric, mat board (available in huge sheets for less than $10 at any craft shop), a craft blade, and spray adhesive.

I'm sure I've shown this kind of thing before, but here, look how easy:

 Cut your mat to size using a plain craft blade - no bevel needed.

Spray the mat with spray adhesive and lay your fabric on top. Smooth out any wrinkles.

Trim the edges with scissors.

Flip the mat over and cut a big X in the fabric, making sure the cuts reach all the way to the inside corners.

Fold back each flap, trim the excess, and glue or tape in place.


Caveat: none of this is acid-free, so I wouldn't recommend it for expensive or irreplaceable pieces. Everything else, though? GO NUTS.

And here's a tip for saving crap-tons of money on custom-sized frames: just buy a pre-made frame that's too big, and cut it to size yourself. We found this gorgeous frame for only $13 on a clearance rack over a year ago:

John cut it down to size ["You'll never amount to anything! Your mother was a sod pallet!"] with his miter saw, then re-assembled using a nifty framing strap which you can just see in the top right corner here:

The ratcheting strap holds all four corners at perfect 90 degree angles while the glue dries. (For larger frames make sure you also use pin nails to hold everything in place.) Cool, right? And not so hard? You should totally try this.

Next John painted the frame bright gold and aged it with a little black, so now it looks like this:


And if you want to fool everyone into thinking your art is an original and NOT a print, here's another ridiculously easy trick: just leave out the glass. Glass screams "I'm a print!" even when it's not, and the reflection gets in the way anyway.

See? No glare!

That said, since my Elizabeth poster was severely damaged by a hungry cat (grrr), we had to spring for some non-glare glass on her to help hide all the creases and dings. Worked pretty well, too!

This is another frame John cut down and re-sized, since the print is a funky size. We left the finish as-is, though, since it went perfectly with Songbird's head.


It amused me to line up the glare so Songbird's eye is glowing. :)

If you do need to buy glass, don't worry; the plain stuff is ridiculously cheap. You can even buy it at the hardware store, where they'll cut it for you!

Since we already had spare mat board and used frames we already had, our only costs were the $8 fabric and about $15 for the custom non-glare glass. (Yay coupons!) Plus we had it all done in about a day - no waiting on custom orders!

Hope this helps inspire my fellow art-lovers out there to start making and modifying your own mats and frames! It's always galled me that the framing process is so flippin' expensive that most folks end up just tacking their pretties to the wall. Well, no more! Frame up those pretties, my friends! Frame 'em!