When I made my Flying Monkey costume, I never dreamed that I would meet a Wicked Witch of the West! Chelphie Cosplay is the creator and wearer of this fantastic witch costume and she has a pretty spectacular cackle too — just ask! Our dynamic duo has been spotted at a few events and we even placed 2nd in the 2013 Dallas SciFi Expo Costume Contest. Check out some of the photos:
When the Dallas Museum of Art hosted a Wizard of Oz-themed Late Night event, I couldn’t resist making a Flying Monkey costume with my own twist! I already had the black feathered wings, so I just needed to make the outfit. Below are some behind-the-scenes photos of how I put it all together:
The hat is made from a Laughing Cow Cheese container, craft foam, and cotton fabric. Unfortunately I didn’t document it well while I was working on it. The side of the hat is craft foam covered in fabric. I used spray glue (Super 77) to glue the fabric to the craft foam. I drew the zigzag design on paper, then traced it on the red, white, and black fabric, and made each one slightly larger than the last. The zigzag pieces of fabric were also glued with spray glue. I also added a chin strap with thin elastic, like the elastic on party hats.
Laughing Cow Cheese container (empty)
Cotton Fabric: light blue, red, white, black
Spray Glue (Super 77)
The wig started out as a weird Moses/Zeus wig from Party City. I didn’t have enough time to order anything online, so I used what I could buy locally. Armed with scissors, I slowly cut away at it to give it the signature widow’s peak of the monkeys (and most simians) in the 1939 edition of Wizard of Oz. I had my doubts at first but I’m really pleased with how it turned out.
I created a paper pattern for the jacket based on reference photos and an existing fleece vest I own. Using plain cotton fabric in light blue, red, white, and black, I cut out all the layers to create the zigzag pattern and jacket base. I glued the zigzag layers together with spray glue (Super 77), attached it to the blue part of the jacket, and added interfacing to give the whole jacket the structured shape. I also added slits in the back of the jacket (not shown) for my wings to poke out.
Cotton Fabric: Light blue, red, white, black – measure the amount you need based on your paper patterns and don’t forget about the hat!
This costume, like my dragon costume, features a hand-dyed and painted bodysuit. I first tested the dye on a scrap of Lycra (1st image). I used Jacquard’s Dye-na-flow black, watered it down, added a few drops of Jacquard’s AirFix, and brushed the dye onto the bodysuit. Once it was dry, I painted on the fur with Jacquard’s Neopaque and Lumiere fabric paints.
1 white Bal Togs body suit
1 bottle Jacquard Dye-na-flow black
1 bottle Jacquard AirFix
Jacquard Fabric Paints: Black and White (Neopaque), Pewter and Pearlescent Blue (Lumiere)
I wanted to look like I was barefoot without actually being barefoot! Using some white socks (synthetic fabric), I stuffed them with polyfill, then dyed and painted them with fabric paints (same as used on bodysuit). I applied Zombie Skin (a creamy latex) to the toes to reinforce the toe area. I pulled the stuffing out of the socks, added some foam insoles, then cut out holes for each my toes. When I wear the costume, I paint my toes with same blue bodypaint I use for the face (see #7).
White Socks (synthetic fabric, like liner socks)
Zombie Skin (latex)
Polyfill (or rags to stuff inside)
Fabric paints and dyes (see #4 Bodysuit)
I made these wings a few years ago for my Harpy costume but they worked well for my monkey costume too. The frame was commissioned from Danielle Hurley and she does amazing work! I used chicken wire as the frame for the wings and hot-glued it to black canvas. I hot-glued approximately 350 black turkey feathers for the wings and used down from a black feather boa for the top. Needless to say, these wings are a tad heavy but they are definitely sturdy!
Materials (for the wings, not the frame):
Black canvas fabric
Gloves and wire cutters
Black turkey feathers
Black feather boa
I followed reference photos from the movie so I could capture the big smirk of the monkeys. Since I wasn’t using any prosthetics, I also needed to give the illusion of monkey features with makeup. I painted my nostrils black to make them look wider and added accent lines to widen my nose and mouth. I used professional water-based bodypaint to paint my face, hands, and toes and red lipstick on my lips.
Bodypaints (all water-activated cakes):
light blue (Kryolan)
light grey (Kryolan)
storm grey (Mehron Paradise AQ)
red (Mehron Paradise AQ)
And there you have it!
I’ve also been known to hang around with a certain Wicked Witch of the West (Chelphie Cosplay) at various events. Have a look at photos of our dynamic Oz duo.
I’m so thrilled and honored to have taken part in Living Art America’s North American Bodypainting Championships in Atlanta, GA. My presentation took 1st place in the Emerging Artist category!
About the art:
Event Theme: Future Vision This piece is a tribute to Voyager 1 — the first human-made object to travel outside our solar system. Contained on Voyager is a golden record with music and images of life on Earth (DNA, human figures, trees, plants) to hopefully be discovered by beings somewhere in the universe. The headpiece takes inspiration from H.R. Giger’s biomechanical female aliens and hints at the idea of an alien discovering the record and incorporating into her body. Voyager 1 and 2 also gave us the first hi-res images of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and beyond. So order to gain a clear vision of our future, we must reach forward through the solar system and light years, but also look back at the past, to see where Voyager is taking us.
About the event:
Artists have 6.5 hours to paint a model (with the help of an assistant if you have one). Then we each have 1.5 minutes to present our creations to a panel of judges. After the judging, there is opportunity for photos and then an evening runway show. Artists can select music and prepare a statement to be read by the MC while their model walks/dances/twirls down the runway for 2 minutes. It’s the most amazing spectacle of art!
About the paint and props:
All the paint is professional grade body paint and artists can do a combo of brush/sponge or airbrush. I only used brush and sponge for my piece. Models must also wear some sort of thong and pasties. I created the headpiece ahead of time with EVA foam (anti-fatigue mats), craft foam, and pipe insulation. The record was a real record (Barry Manilow to be exact) and was painted gold. The shoes were also created ahead of time and are heel-less shoes with craft foam vines/plants built on top.
Halloween 2013 was the year for a dragon! I took most of my inspiration from Ysera in World of Warcraft. I’ve outlined most of the process in my tutorial on instructables.com. Go check it out there or take a look at my process photos below. I also won a 2nd prize from Instructables for my dragon, yea!
Who could resist dressing up when going to “Avatar: The Exhibition“! Since it was December, dressing up as Dr. Grace Augustine (Na’vi version) seemed like a more practical option in order to stay warm. Here are some tips for doing this costume:
My Halloween costume was a mythological phoenix, the colorful red and gold bird that bursts into flames and is reborn from its own ashes. This costume consumed all my free time in September and October, but I’m really pleased with the result! I’ve posted these instructions on Instructables.com too!
– 1 white full body unitard (Bal Togs brand)
– Jaquard brand fabric paints – 2.25fl oz size
– Lumiere line (2 crimson, 2 gold, 2 burgundy, 1 burnt orange)
– Neopaque line (2 yellow, 2 gold yellow, 2 red, 1 black)
– paint brushes
– 1 iron (for heat setting)
– 1 mannequin to hold your bodysuit’s shape
How-to Paint the Body Suit:
Plan out your design, then start painting! This design took me at least 40 hours to complete. Having a mannequin is crucial for holding the body suit in the stretched position. The body suit is made primarily from nylon, so I chose Jaquard paints because they were one of the few that list nylon as a suitable base. If your body suit is made from a different fabric, you may want to investigate a different brand of paint or do a test sample. After the body suit is dry, flip it all inside out and iron it with the correct setting for the fabric. I placed towels in the legs and arms so the designs weren’t pressed together under the heat.
Bird Feet Boots:
– 1 pair of boots
– 1 inch thick green high-density foam (sold a fabric stores for seat cushions)
– white craft glue
– 6 fake bear claws
– black or brown acrylic paint
– 16oz liquid latex
– foam brushes
– fabric paints for painting the boots to match (leftover from body suit)
– paint brushes
– Hot glue and gun OR Liquid Nails perfect glue
How-to Create Bird Feet Boots:
Using craft glue, stick together pieces of foam so that they are wide enough for a toe (about 3 inches wide). Shape the foam with scissors so that it is rounded and toe-like (repeat 5 more times). Cut out an insert for the claw, but don’t glue the claw in yet. Paint the green foam with acrylic paint so it matches the boots. Using the foam brushes, paint the toes and boots with liquid latex. Be sure to follow the instructions on the liquid latex. Once the latex is dry, glue in the claws. Then paint the boots to match your costume. I used fabric paints since they would match the body suit even though they’re not the perfect paint for sticking to latex (and I’m not sure what is).
– 2 4’x4′ pieces of polyethylene foam
– hot glue and gun
– 1 red and 1 gold spray paint
– 2-3 sheets of kids thin craft foam
– acrylic and fabric paints (leftover from body suit)
– paint brushes
How to Create Foam Headpiece:
Create paper patterns of each spiral piece and cut them out of polyethylene foam. Glue the pieces together with hot glue so that the flat sides are together and there’s a space for your head. It’s almost like making a helmet. Cut out pieces of the thin craft foam for the beak and side “feathers” and glue on with hot glue. Give the entire headpiece a base coat with spray paint, then add accents of color with acrylic paint and any leftover fabric paint.
– 1 pair of Isis belly dance wings (available online)
– Face and body paint – Paradise, FAB, and Kryolan water-based cakes
– paint brushes
With water-based face/body paints, dip your brush in water and rub it on the surface of the dry cake until the paint is a smooth and creamy consistency. Now paint your face however you wish! I don’t have any process photos of this part, so you get to be creative!
One of the common questions with body paint is: Will it rub off?
And in general, the answer is: Yes, it will eventually rub off. BUT, that said, there are some products available to help seal on your paint and make it last longer.
Products to Seal Water-Based Body Paints
Below are some of the products I use. There are other products out there, these are just ones that I have experience with. All are available at SillyFarm.com:
Ben Nye LiquiSet – Use it instead of water to activate the paints and it will help seal on the paint. I’ve found this to be slightly sticky/tacky when it’s dry…which I guess is why it helps “stick” the paint on.
Ben Nye Final Set – Put it in a spritzing bottle and spray yourself when you’re all done painting. Let it dry before you touch it!!
Kryolan Fixer Spray – Looks like a bottle of hairspray and it essentially works the same way. Just spray all over the paint when you’re done.
Some Lessons I’ve Learned…
Once the paint is dry and sealed, you can touch it with dry hands. It’s not the kind of thing where it will come off as soon as you touch it; it requires some friction.
Don’t sit directly on someone else’s fabric furniture. Sitting on furniture won’t rub off the paint completely, but you’ll likely leave mark. Even though the paints are water-based, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Use an old sheet to cover things you sit on. I often have to drive while painted, so I cover my seat and seat belt with sheets and towels.
If you sweat a lot (especially on your face) consider using grease paint instead of water-based body paints.
If someone touches you with wet hands, it will smear the paint. Sometimes at parties, people just can’t resist touching you, so be prepared for your creation to get a little messed up.
I had my paints out at an “Arabian Nights”-themed party and painted the night away! I painted 22 people over the course of the evening, but as usual, I started forgetting to snap photos of each one. I’m glad I created the boards of design options, it really helped give people direction. All of the designs done with brush and sponge.
This year’s costume was Neytiri from Avatar. I decided to use body paint instead of liquid latex like my Mystique costume last year. I did the majority of painting myself, though I needed help with my back. Here is the final result, but keep scrolling down if you’d like to see more photos of the process. The professional photos are courtesy of T.J. Hall Photography.
I purchased a “Pandora Kit” from SillyFarm.com. The kit included all the blues I needed, and it worked perfectly for painting a full body. I also purchased some glow-in-the-dark body paint so that the white dots would glow.
1. Apply the light blue all over your body with a sponge.
2. Use the 2-blue combo cake (it should be shimmery) for the stripes. Start by painting stripes with the dark blue, then add a highlight with the light blue right on top of the dark one.
3. Use white is for adding the dots, then go over them again with glow paint (optional).
I made the beaded arm bands by painting Mardi Gras beads and sewing them onto elastic bands.
I purchased the wig online. If you search for “Deluxe Neytiri wig with ears” you’ll find the same wig from various vendors. I also glued some feathers into the braids to make it fuller and match Neytiri.
I made the outfit from scraps of fabric and a bikini bra top from the fabric store. I made the straps by braiding fabric and I stitched fabric on to the front of the bra cups by hand. The loincloth (not pictured) was two rectangles of fabric sewn on to a pair of black underwear.