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 Eyepiece

Hello all and welcome to the first installment of my Steampunk series! I’ll be going step by step of how I created my Halloween costume starting with the most complicated piece: the eye piece.

It started with an empty pill bottle. I tore off the labels so that I was left with the just the translucent orange bottle. It’s a regular, prescription sized bottle that I am sure many of you at home will have lying around somewhere.


The next thing I did was use Crayola Air-Dry clay to do the mold. In retrospect, I should have used a stronger clay, as the air-dry one was very brittle when it dried, but  in the end it worked for my purposes. I went with it because of how light it was, as I knew that the weight would make a difference when it came to applying the prosthetic to my face. 
Afterwards, I sanded it down to make it smooth and flat on all sides and to clean up any of the dust left over during the drying process. As you can see, as it dried the clay actually cracked on the bottom. Oddly enough, it still held onto the bottle, unlike the top piece which I reinforced with craft glue. I actually ended up having an issue with Play-Doh the parrot where he bit off part of the top, but I was able to work around it and piece it back together. The clay was really easy to sand, so I had to be careful not to overdo it and shrink the size of the piece. I wanted to make a big impression with it and for that I needed it to be the size that I made it.

After sanding it, I gave my eyepiece its initial paint job. I went with copper and gold colors with a silver accent in the center of the eye. I also used black to accentuate the crack in the clay. When things go wrong, sometimes they can work to your advantage and this was a great case of that happening.

After the paint dried, I began adding liquid latex to the piece. I used small pieces of cotton in between the gear spokes to make it look like there was skin and muscle protruding around the gear. I also added a couple of golden clock hands which I submerged into the latex. In this photo you can actually see where Play-Doh bit the clay and cracked the top piece. Later, I find a way to make it work by adding a flat gear to the top, which actually made it look like it could be part of a gas mask.

I had to make sure that I applied the latex on a flat surface that it wouldn’t stick to, so I alternated between an upside down metal trashcan and the lid to an old shoebox. After the latex dried around the gear, I peeled it back to make it look as though it burst out of the latex.

Paint job #2! After the latex dried, I painted it with black and red acrylic paint. I also touched up the eye piece paint and added a flat gear that I got from Costume Holiday House to the top. I spatter painted red on the eye piece itself to help complete the illusion that it had burst out of the eye not too long ago.

And that’s how I did it! It ended up looking really cool though it took A LOT of spirit gum to keep on my face. Next blog, I’ll show you some of the accessories that I made to go with the costume and then a chest prosthetic that I made which features a working clock that lights up. Until then!

The finished product!

“To some, ‘steampunk’ is a catchall term, a concept in search of a visual identity. To me, it’s essentially the intersection of technology and romance. –  Jake von Slatt