Explore Practitioners 2: Crafting and Cosplaying – Teo Zi Lin

I am an otaku (anime lover) and cosplayer. I have been cosplaying for about 2 years, but I have never crafted my own weapons for cosplay (thanks Taobao). For this year’s Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention,  I decided to cosplay Chirrut Îmwe from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I asked my cosplay friend, who is also a crafter, for help on making Chirrut’s weapon/walking stick because the weapon costs $200+ if I buy it online. Below is the documentation on the tools used and the crafting process.

Tools used

Sketch of tools used in the entire process of crafting and cosplaying. I did not take a collage of these tools, but they’ll appear in the process documentation.
Reference picture for Chirrut (character) used in the entire process.
Reference picture for Chirrut’s weapon used in the crafting process.
Chirrut’s costume that I bought from Taobao (rip wallet).

Worksite documentation

The best part about crafting is that it can be done anywhere. Yes, that includes the comfort of your own home/room. I crafted Chirrut’s weapon in my room as my room has all the tools necessary. For cosplay, it’s usually done at conventions, such as Anime Festival Asia Singapore or Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention. The worksite for cosplay is usually really crowded with a mix of normies (casual visitors), cosplayers, exhibitors, and photographers.

The worksite for cosplay (convention). Picture belongs to AFASG.

Process documentation

My friend shared with me that as a crafter, I need to have the mantra of “lowest cost possible” deeply rooted in my mind. Crafters often think out of the box and figure out how to make a weapon using the cheapest items, including household items. They dissect the weapon into layers and build the layers one by one. To begin, we decided to use a stick meant for attaching a mop as the base for the weapon. The stick only costed $1 from a household items store. We wrapped the stick with pieces of drawing blocks so that the paint can stay on it easily.

Base for Chirrut’s weapon.

Then, we used moulding clay to make the tip and the uneven bark-like structure of the weapon. After allowing the clay to harden over 24 hours, we used 3-seconds super glue to attach the clay to the stick.

Moulding the shape of the weapon’s tip with clay.
Creating the uneven bark-like structure of the weapon.

The next step is to paint the weapon. We used 2 different shades of brown paint to coat the weapon. By mixing the 2 different shades, we are able to get a couple of other shades of brown (saving costs). The varying shades of brown give my weapon the illusion of a more realistic texture similar to tree bark or wood.

Painting the weapon.

We then proceeded to make the metallic parts of the weapon. To do so, we used pieces of red foam that I had at home (save $$). We used the weapon reference picture as a guide to layer the foam pieces in order to create similar mockups. We added more layers of foam for the parts that are “higher” and less layers for the parts that are sunken. After the mockups were done, we painted the foam silver in order to create the metallic effect, and used super glue to attach them together and to the weapon.

Layering the metallic parts of the weapon using foam.
Attaching the painted foam pieces to the weapon.
Finished metallic parts of the weapon (yay).

In order for the paint to stay on longer, it was paramount to add a layer of protective coating to the weapon. This is even more important if you are going to a crowded convention where people may brush against your weapon. We applied a layer of gloss varnish to add gloss and shine to my weapon (which appears better in pictures, according to my friend). After which, lo and behold, the weapon is finally completed! The weapon costed me about $20 to make (including leftover paint, garnish and glue), as compared to $200+ if I were to buy it online. I can proudly say we have fulfilled the mantra “lowest cost possible” for this weapon.

Applying varnish to the completed weapon.
Completed Chirrut weapon.

Below is a picture of me cosplaying as Chirrut and proudly posing with the weapon I crafted together with my friend.

Pain points

Some of the pain points I experienced during the convention was trying to move around in my costume as it was really crowded. Also, it was difficult for me to see in those contact lens. I had issues trying to touch up on my makeup during the con, and had to leave my baggage unattended at some corner of the venue. For the crafting process, painting took a really long time. It would be nice if there were some sort of paint gun that allows me to spray the paint on according to how I wanted quickly.

Teo Zi Lin (A0160163R) – Practitioner 2/3

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