Steampunk’d: The Chest Piece

Hello again and welcome to the last installment of my steampunk Halloween costume series! In previous episodes/entries, I showed you how I made a prosthetic eye piece and several different accessories for the costume and now I will show you how I made a pretty sweet chest piece.

I started with a thick layer of liquid latex in the shape of a sloppy triangle. I left the end of it curved for when I would add the clock piece. If you plan on doing this, you want to do it on a surface that the latex can be peeled off from, so a smooth surface that won’t have any chipped paint pieces or anything like that. I ended up using an old lid to a shoebox, which worked very well, especially if you want an easy cleanup and for your project to be portable while you are making it . After this layer dried, I added another one right on top of it so that the base would be thick and not fall apart when I added pieces to it.

I added a third layer of liquid latex and began to add pieces. As you can see, some of the pieces got another layer of latex over parts of them to make it looks as though pieces of flesh were growing over them. It also gives the impression that there are more gears inside the body, behind the ones that you can see.

Interestingly enough, as the liquid latex dried, the colors from the gears actually caused the latex to change colors. So, naturally, I added another layer over it and some more gears to see if that would cover it up. The liquid latex continued to react to the gears even as I added more latex, so I ended up leaving it the way it was. In the long run, it actually worked in my as it looked as though the gears were having a reaction to my body and therefore leaking pus. Disgusting, yet very effective in what I was going for.

Paint time! Using the same red and black acrylic paint that I used on the eye piece, I painted the latex around the gears and added some red on the gears to make them look as though they are covered in blood. After the paint dried, I used a knife to cut away some of the latex so that you could see more of the gears and I cleaned up the paint on the gears so that they would still reflect off the light. Then, I used paint again to clean up the latex pieces that I had cut away from the prosthetic.

This is actually the piece once I took it after wearing it. I attached the piece to my chest with spirit gum and then added the watch piece separately. It was actually a watch piece that I had gotten from Wal-Mart and added copper paint to it in order to keep with my gold and copper color scheme. I also repainted over some of the gears to make them stand out, as the ones from Hobby Lobby were a bit darker and less shiny then the ones I had purchased at Costume Holiday House. Once I had the pieces applied, I made strips of latex about an inch wide and about 3-4 inches long on the shoebox lid. Once I had two layers dried, I peeled them off and added them to the top and bottom of my piece to give the effect that the skin was cut apart and hanging over. It also helped to make the wound look deeper and more three-dimensional. I made a few more inch by inch pieces of latex to fill in the spots that weren’t covered on the far side of the watch piece. After all of that, I used makeup to color the latex to my skin color and to make it look a bit more bloody and natural. I topped it off with some liquid fake blood, which gave it a glossy look and made the clock look as though blood was dripped on to it as well.

Here’s what the piece looked like when it was applied. This also shows why I added the extra layers last, so that I could attach them to the skin as well as the wound and make everything look seamless. I had no trouble keeping the pieces on once the spirit gum had dried and actually had this piece on for most of the day. Now, I’d also like to point out that the watch piece is a working one and actually lit up with a blue light when you pressed a button (which was located near the number 2 and could be pressed despite the latex). Initially, I had considered using a bigger watch piece and trying to make it seem as though my heart was a clock, but I felt that this looked more realistic than that would have, so I adjusted accordingly. All in all, I was very happy about the way that this piece turned out and it will actually be featured again very soon in Lionface Production’s Dr. Faustus on the character of Mephistopheles. Pictures to come!

Photo courtesy of Laura Fairman Photography

Now we have come to the end of my series and now you know the story behind the creation of my steampunk costume. I may be doing an encore post as well in regards to Dr. Faustus, given that it is being done in a steampunk fashion, so stay tuned for that. In other news, I was voted one of the top five comedians from last years Stand Up Toledo, which means that I will be in it again this year! More information on that as it gets closer as well as some updates on Already Indie and life as an actress. Thanks for reading!

“We can control the future, my boy, just as we wind up the mechanism in a clock. Say to yourself: I will win that race–I will come first–and you wind up the future like clockwork. The world has no choice but to obey! Can the hands of that old clock in the corner decide to stop? Can the spring in your watch decide to wind itself up and run backward? No! They have no choice. And nor has the future, once you have wound it up.” – Philip Pullman, Clockwork

 

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Steampunk’d: The Accessories

With any great costume comes great accessories. Or at least decent ones. You can decide what you consider them after you see the ones that I did to accent my steampunk costume. All except for the awesome chest piece prosthetic, which will be my third and last installment of this series. So let’s get to it.

In any makeup job I do, I try to accent the eyes the best I can. As you may have seen in my earlier entry, I had a large prosthetic eye piece, so I wanted to do something simple with the other eye as to not distract away from the piece. I went with a simple brown eyeliner color and flared out the corners a bit. However, the accessory part is the three golden gears that I spirit gummed along my cheekbone. Simple, but it ended up looking really cool.

The next piece is the hat. It was just a simple, $5 black hat that I got from Spirit Halloween. The black, ribbon band was already attached to it when I bought it. I was unable to find any feathers that I liked, until I came across a pair of cheap, black feather earrings. I took the earrings apart and, using craft glue, attached it to the hat. I then used some of the gears that I got from Costume Holiday House and one from the package of gears I got from Hobby Lobby, to complete it. Again, nothing too fancy, but this particular piece actually captured the attention of my director for Dr. Faustus. I will actually be wearing it as the part of Robin in the steampunk version of the show, put on by Lionface Productions. The next couple of pieces will also be featured in the show, but more on that in a later entry.

Now we get into the more complicated accessories. This choker started out as a blue and white Victorian portrait jewelry piece that I got from Wal-Mart. I started by repainting it so that it would match the copper and gold color scheme that I was going for. I then attached it to a piece of black ribbon using a mixture of black thread and craft glue. I had to sew it on to keep it attached and the craft glue to keep it in place. I then used some copper chain that I had gotten with jewelry piece and cut off two parts, which I sewed on. I added a clasp and loop to the back and accented it with a couple of gears where it clasped at so that the back was decorated as well.

Finally, I created a handflower out of some of the remaining chain and gears (again, one from each package). This was a little more tricky to make. The ring part is fit to my size and is made from the chain, which wraps around my middle finger and connects at the gear. I then made the wrist part using one of the large gears and doing basically the same as the ring, only this time I split the chain and attached it with a clasp. I then measured out three lengths of chain which I used to attach the two pieces together. I used ordinary black and brown thread to attach all the pieces, and then used a layer of copper paint to help lay down the stray pieces and make it look more metallic. It took me a couple of hours to get it the way I liked it, but out of all the pieces that I made this is probably the most impressive.

Play-Doh enjoys the hat the most

And that pretty much covers it for the accessories. As stated before, my last installment is how I made the chest piece and put everything together. Thanks for reading!

“If you want something you can have it, but only if you want everything that goes with it, including all the hard work and the despair, and only if you’re willing to risk failure.” – Philip Pullman, Clockwork