Thursday, April 17, 2014

Skyrim: Dragonborn Helmet and Costume Tutorial

Hello everyone! Today's post is going to be a tutorial on how I made my Skyrim Dragonborn helmet, plus some pointers and pictures on how I made the rest of the costume. Now, I am a horrible procrastinator when it comes to me making costumes for conventions. I am usually the entire night before it is suppose to be ready lol. This can be a blessing and a curse! On one side, I learn to make costumes relatively quickly. On the other hand, things sometimes dont turn out as detailed or perfect as I like. 
Between work, school, and having my personal free time, the helmet took about 6 days to complete. I would say that I am very pleased with that amount of time and with how it turned out!!
It was surprisingly very simple to make, it does just take patience and time to finish things during certain steps. I didnt take as many photos as I has liked, but I will go into as much detail as I can through each step. HERE WE GO!!

OKAY so how I made the shell of the helmet was with a Pepakura Design. If you dont know what Pepakura is, is a program you can find online that has hundreds of designs for helmets, armor, weapons, and anything you can pretty much think of. The program gives you outlines of the design you are looking for and lays them out with coordinating numbers that match up that you tape/glue together to build the frame. You will see some solid, and some dotted lines. You fold the dotted lines which will help form the shapes you are looking for. Now this was my second attempt at Pepakura and I am absolutely in love with it. The first thing I made with Pepakura was my second Mega Blaster for Mega Man. (Picture below during a WIP):

(I will do a Mega Man Tutorial in the future so I wont go into detail about the Mega Buster at this point)
Anyways, it worked out perfectly. So I decided to give it a try with a wearable helmet. Now I will warn you. The hardest part (for me anyways) of this project was sitting down and assembling frame. It's tedious and annoying. You have to make sure you connect the pieces just right so everything is flush. After this step, it was all smooth sailing for me for the most part lol.
Now people will tell you different ways to assemble the pepakura models, and here is what I did.
1. I used basic 8 1/2 by 11 in. printing paper. Some say use card stock. It will be sturdier when folding with card stock, but the printing paper worked just fine for me and it was all I had.
2. I used scotch tape to put the pieces together. Some use glue sticks or elmers glue. All are fine. I felt that the scotch tape was easier to use, especially if something need to be untapped and readjusted.

*******PRO TIP: To help fold smaller edges, used a credit cars or thick business card, it makes life so much easier, and your folds come out straight!
Seriously. Be patient. This part sucks the most, but it is so worth it once the helmet starts coming together! If you like annoying puzzles, you may love this part most! ;)


Now I used a normal "Men's" Skyrim Helmet Pattern and it fits perfect. There are female patterns available online to try out, I assume it's if you have a smaller head than someone like me lol.

One thing I did change on my helmet after assembling was remove the lowest bottom later on the helmet so you could see my mouth and jaw line better. It's optional if you want to remove it...I think it made it look better for my face shape.

Once you have your frame together the way you like, it's time to harden it!!!

With this being my first helmet project, I decided to play around with different things just to see how they work/ dont work, especially with my slight time crunch.
The first step in hardening your helmet is using a two part resin to coat your helmet in for hardening.
I went with a white resin (your helmet will be painted so it doesnt matter) that ends up hardening in 10 minutes! Seemed perfect for what I needed, so I gave it a whirl. This is the brand I used and got from Michaels Craft Store.

BE SURE to have am open space outside that you can easily cover to keep from making a huge mess. Use either foil or cookie sheets so your helmet doesnt stick as much while it dries.
Now with this seriously have to work fast. It starts to harden a few minutes are you mix the two solutions together. The directions in the box will tell you how to mix the resin it is super simple. They are serious when they say it hardens in 10 minutes. I applied with some old brushes (USE BRUSHES YOU DONT CARE ABOUT BECAUSE THE RESIN STICKS AND HARFENS TO THEM)
I coated the stop of the helmet first and evened it out as best I could and let it sit and dry. I them poured a large amount inside the helmet and moved the helmet around while the liquid coated itself to the inside.
I let this harden then added another coat on top again to add more strength.
I them coated the horns in a single layer of resin and thats all the needed.
***Some tutorials show people adding fiberglass to the insides of their helmets/armor. That's fine too! I decided to skip this step to see if this resin would be enough strength (and it kept me from having to buy something else) This step is up to you if you want to your helmet to be pretty indestructible lol.
My helmet after using the quick hardening resin was great! It was ready for the next step.

(this was the helmet after it's first layer on top. There were some drip spots from where the resin has collected, you can file those parts down!)


For plastering I used a 1:1:2 ratio of PVA glue, water, and Plaster of Paris. Both I bought at  Michaels Craft Store

****QUICK TIP: BEFORE PLASTERING Some people like to add an all purpose epoxy to the helmet for the plaster to have something to stick to. I skipped this step to see if it would matter. For the most part, the plastering went very well...I hit one snag, keep reading I will get to that part soon enough.
I mixed it up to the consistency I wanted, added plaster if I needed it a little thicker, but the ratio really seemed to work. Make sure to have a few hours set aside for this step. You do not want to let a layer of plaster dry then add another, or it will start cracking. Let the plaster slightly dry before adding another layer until you get the thickness you desire. It took about 6 layers of plaster till I got it how I wanted it. I used another throw away brush just to help apply the plaster smoothly. I also bought some cheap plastic sculpting tools to help with smooth and adding the details on the helmet.

It starts out pretty tough to keep the plaster on, but the more layers you add, the more it smoothes out and get's it shape. I also used the sculpting tools to add line details to the horns while the plaster still soft. I didnt get more photos of the detail I sculpted, but you will see that in later photos if you would like to have reference.

Once you let the plaster dry, you will want to sand down whatever rough or lumpy edges may exist. I didnt do too much sanding since I rushed this helmet, but in the end it gave the helmet a "hammered metal" look which ended up looking pretty rad. This is your helmet though, do whatever you want!

Once the plaster was completely dry, I decided to make the mistake of trying on the helmet. Some pieces of plaster fell off when I pulled the helmet over my head. I had to do some repair work to fix what had cracked. I left it till the morning to dry and when I looked at the top of the helmet, there some a few small cracks forming in the plaster. I decided that this helmet may not hold up without some more reinforcement.
So I decided to get some clear resin to coat the plaster and have it harden again to prevent more cracking.

This is a clear cast resin (WHAT YOU SHOULD TYPICALLY USE WHEN YOU RESIN THINGS LOL) It is another two-part resin. I coated the helmet a few times making sure to get in the cracks and over the entire helmet and on the inside where I know there would be stress applied when putting on the helmet (Near the ears and bottom edges) Now this resin takes 24 hours to harden so I left it be until the next day and it hardened perfectly. I took the helmet on and off multiple times checking for new cracks or breaks and nothing happened. SUCCESS! I would highly suggest using this resin over your plaster work to make sure it all stays together for wearing :)


Now I used Krylon brand spray paint from Michaels, it's cheap and does the job! Just wear gloves when you start spray painting, the spray nozzle gets kind of clogged and paint drips ALL OVER YOUR HANDS.
First, I used a white paint primer all over so the paints I used in the future would stick without a problem. This was a fast drying primer so I left it dry outside for about 10 minutes before moving on and using a matte black spray paint ON THE HELMET ONLY!! Be sure to cover your horn with newspaper and sealing with painters tape. It all came off smoothly and evenly!

Here is the helmet after spray painting is all done!!!

FINALLY, it is time to add the awesome details which really make the helmet look legit. For the metal look I used a Martha Stewart Craft paint in silver. And for the horns I used basic water colors!

I first started with the horns. I mixed the yellow and brown colors with more water to get a dirty and worn look to the horns. I had to go over with color several times to get the color I want. Do as many layers as you want to make them look worn to your preference. It is a little hard to tell in the photo, but adding a good amount of paint will allow the dark paint to sink into the lines in horns and give more definition.

Now to the silver. I used a dry brushing technique that I highly suggested using to give the helmet a really cool effect. Used an old worn out brush for this or get a brush you wont mind really destroying. Now dip your brush in a small amount of silver paint and smear it onto a piece of paper and starting smearing the brush back and forth to get the excess paint off. You do not want very much paint left on your brush. Now take your brush and push the brush to helmet and use that same smearing technique. You want some of the black to come through the silver to give it a old and worn look as well. Too much silver makes the helmet look a little weird. Do this until your helmet is covered to your liking. After your painting in complete, I suggest spraying a clear matte coat over the entire helmet to seal the paint and keep it from fading/chipping.

Now sit back and take in the helmet you just created YOU BADASS. Great job!! Wasnt too hard was it?!
Seriously, its worth the work when you can tell people you made your helmet. Yay!!!!!

Now real quick, I'll run through the rest of my costume:

I got the fur and pleather from Hobby Lobby, I got about 2-3 yards of each and ended up using pretty much everything.
For the shin guards, metal chest plate, arm guards, and belt piece, I used thick and thin craft foam.
For painting, I sprayed the craft foam with the same primer and black spray paint I had left over. I used the same silver dry brush technique on everything as well. 

For the leg covers, I just measured my legs ans where I wanted each piece lay. After that I free handed the pattern I wanted and cut everything out. I used hot glue to attatch everything together. I used Giant velcro patches to attach the belt behind and it works AMAZING. Much easier than anything I had brainstormed to use. Same with the chest piece. It was a lot of measuring myself and cutting leather strips how I wanted. With this part, it will be up to you on how you want your Dragonborn to look. I wanted my as close to the actual character as possible. I just tailored a few things to make it more my shape.


I am SO SO happy with how my Dragonborn turned out. Like I said, this was made in ONE WEEK! You can totally do this. Super easy. Super fun. Super badass. I hope this tutorial is helpful to you guys.
If there are any other questions, LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW! LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

Love you guys, now....FUS ROH DAH!

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