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Friday 12 October 2012

Kurai Stain Glass Dragon Wings Tutorial

Cosplayer: genkimami  Photographer: Jack Liu (alucard_leashed)

I made this set of wings over 8 years ago for a friend that never ended up using them. They ended up sitting in storage unloved until genkimami mention in 2011 that she way doing Kurai for Anime North that year and I was happy to sell them to her as there is nothing sadder than a costume that never been worn.

Cosplayer: genkimami  Photographer: Jack Liu (alucard_leashed)
Kurai(Cry) from Angel Sanctuary

Materials you will need.

•Paper & pencil/pen
•Xacto knife and extra blades
•Foam Board 1/8th to 3/8 of an inch in thickness.  (The larger sheets with smooth
  cardboard laminate can be found art supplies stores. Don't use the super
  weak sheets found at dollar stores.)
•Acrylic paint (artist grade preferred)
•Epoxy glue (10 minutes if you can get it)
•LePage Poly Instafil/Paperclay/Bondo (aka a sandable filler.)

Stain "Glass":
•Clear acetate sheet
•Glass paint that is acrylic based (I used Lefranc & Bourgeois Glass & Tile)
•A rubber shaping brush or the end of a paint brush.
•Optional for paint ~ Alcohol based glass paint
•Optional ~ Grafix Coloured Clear Lay Acetate Film if you want just a solid shade
  and if you can find it.

Making the Frame:

Start by drawing out a template on paper to the size and scale you want the wings to be. You want to add a base to your wing where it would "join to your body". Cut out your template for tracing.

On your Foam Board trace your template out 4 times. You Foam Board should a have a finished surface on both side but if it doesn't, remember to flips you pattern for 2 of you tracing. You are basically creating 2 panels to sandwich a sheet of acetate between to create 2 wings.

Once your done tracing, use a new Xacto knife blade and start to cut out the inner segment for the stain glass sections, then cut out the outside perimeter of the frame slowly. For each of the 4 wings traces use a new blade as Foam Board cut best with a super sharp blade.
(Once the blade starts to dull slightly the paper and foam will start to tear and you will ruin you clean cut if you don't switch out to a new blade.)

Note: You should notice when you start to cut with a new blade it goes through the paper and foam easily. The blade will start to get slower/hard to cut/pull with as the edge gets dulled.
Once you've got your 4 traced wings it's time to fill in the inside edge segments with Poly Instafil. You only need a thin layer just to seal and smooth out the expose foam edge.

Once your inner segment sections are cured you can sanded smooth the Poly Instafil for a nice finished edge.

Then you can paint your frame whatever colour you like (I used black artist acrylic paint as it has a slicker almost wet finish then cheap craft acrylic which I usually matte flat). The outside parameter edges you can leave bare as this section will need to have the edge filled and painted later.

Now use your template to trace the perimeter of your wing out twice onto you acetate. You want you cut the acetates 1/8" inside your trace line.

Gluing the Frame and "Glass":

Now that you frames are prepped, take 2 of your wing frames to use with one pre-cut acetate panel. With your one frame, mix up your minute epoxy and start to draw a glue line on the inside of the frame and away from he edges edge. Make sure to cover all the dividers for the frame and a larger area at the base of the wing. (This is important as your want to both glue and seal the edged of every segment for the painting of the stained glass.)

Once you glue is down align your acetate panel to the frame.

Repeat the same gluing method on the mirror image of the second frame. 

Then place the mirror side down over the acetate panel and align to the frame edge of the bottom frame. 

At this point you can add light weight flat objects over to wing to keep the panels in place as the epoxy cure.

Repeat the same steps for the second wing.

Note: If you have an airbrush the glass paint on then I recommend painting the segments first before mounting the acetate panel to the frame. In this case, you want to mark out each segment with a wax pencil with adding a 1/4 Boarder to the template to know where to stop painting.

Finishing the Edge:

Once you Expo glue has completely cured you can finish and fill in your outset edge of your frame. Again use your Poly Instafil to fill in and smooth out the edge.

Once your Poly Instafil has is cured you can sand the edge smooth. Fallow this by finish you frame paint job.

Painting the "Glass":
Now that you have your wings finished and edged you can start to paint the inside segment.

If your glass paint is a solid colour paint it on normally into each section of the exposed acetate on once side.

I'm my case I wanted the gradient of shades to show up so the Lefranc & Bourgeois Glass & Tile I used I thinned out with water first. This is important, your paints need the same viscosity (water to paint ratio) otherwise the paint will not blend correctly and might pull in onto itself while drying. I had this problem making the second wing on genkimami right shoulder on the first image.

The reason behind adding water is the make the paint blend in together from one shade to the other in the centre and the Lefranc & Bourgeois was too thick for this treatment from the bottle.

(The top segments of the wings in my case was a blend of dark blue-purple to a light red-purple. The bottom segments are a blend of dark blue to an emerald green that leans a little blue. I only need 4 colours of glass paint in this case.)

Find a perfectly flat surface to set your wings on to allow to dry undisturbed or moved during the painting and drying period.

Once you have your premixed paints thinned out, pour a small amount of your top colour in the top corner and the a small amount of the bottom colour in the bottom corner. You want these colours to pool toward the centre slowly and not flood. If you don't have enough one colour adds a little more at the time.

Now that you have your shades, mix the two shade together with you rubber shaper by pull a bit of colour from each side and "cut" the paint with strokes into it. The viscosity will start to blend the two colours together to create a gradient.

Repeat the same painting steps for each wing segment.

I recommend painting the mirror side on you second wing so that the paint will be facing the same side when you wear them on your back.

Let your paint dry for 48 hours before moving your wigs.

You can use alcohol-based glass paint like Pebeo as well but this has a quick dry time and you will need 3X the amount of paint. The acrylic base Lefranc & Bourgeois Glass & Tile I only need just one jar of the 2 shades of purple and two jars of the blue and green to get the project done.

Finished wing

Simple Harness:
Depending on the final size you might need a corseted harness, plate system yo wear your wings and their are plenty of tutorials out there on harnesses for wing.

For a pair of small wings like these you can make a U-shaped harness out of copper pipe.
Copper pipe comes in different gauges but is easy and lightweight enough to shape by hand into a U shape.
The top parts of the U is where can glue the base of the wings to (the part I'm holding in the image above). You can also cut out a channel for the pipe to rest inside the foam layers and acetate so that when the you glue the pipe into place the wings will stay flushed to your back.

You can also paint the pipe to match the frame of the wings or our skin tone.

Once the U shape pipe is finished and glued down to your wing it can then be slipped under a shoulder-less top or corset and your wigs will sit on your bareback or an undershirt.

Now you can wear your wings!
Cosplayer: genkimami  Photographer: MlleFe (fechan)

Other Options for the wing segments:
The can also use the same framing method to create fabric wings as well, in whatever custom dye job cotton voile/silk or sheer organza fabric you want.

The shape of your wing it up to you whether it be insect or lizard based designs just have fun!!!

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