Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Making of Party King Thranduil

[art source]

One could argue that Thranduil does not need to be made fabulous, because he was born fabulous. Be that as it may, he still needed to be outfitted properly for the DoS midnight showing, such that his clothing and accessories accurately reflected his fabulousness.

Components that I needed to make: ridiculously sparkly silver tunic, crown (not shown here), jewelry (brooch and rings), and staff. 
Close-up of the rings, and you can see what his crown with red leaves looks like. 
Close-up of the top of his staff.

Let's go from top to bottom: the crown first! In doing some preliminary research, I noticed that a lot of other cosplayers have gone the baked-clay over some kind of understructure. While I like the idea of a wire understructure, I knew I wanted my crown to be lightweight and stay flexible enough that it could get banged up without breaking. Oh, and I also didn't want to have to go out and buy clay...

I started out with one of those cheap metal hangers from the dry cleaners and cut off the top hanging portion. Then I bent it around my head until it fit, and you can see I wired it together with that most sophisticated of materials: twist ties. I then used plastic drinking straws to make the little branch portion that sticks down by Thrandy's cheek. I didn't take a lot of pictures of each step since I wasn't expecting it to turn out so well :\
To make the branches that stick out the top, I just taped sharp toothpicks to more drinking straws. 
After that, it was just a matter of using lots of masking tape to secure the branches to the coat hanger, and then bulk up the wire with more tape.
At this point it seemed to still be missing something. I decided to fill in some of the gaps with more entwined "vine-y" branches. I knew from making Gandalf's staff that twisted paper does an excellent job of mimicking wood, so I tore up some credit card offers. Best possible use for junk mail, don't you think?
Okay, so I don't have a picture of the painting process, but it was pretty much the same as for Gandalf's staff: a couple of brown acrylic coats, then a wash of watered down black paint to give it some dimension. After that, I just had to hot glue on some glittery red Christmas branches  from Michael's. 
Since I used such cheap materials (most of which I had already), the whole crown cost me maybe $3. The most expensive part was the glitter branch. 
Not bad for half a roll of masking tape, a wire hanger, some toothpicks and straws, and junk mail! 
Gummy was not impressed. "Seriously? The king of the woodland realm, and you make his crown out of trash and kitschy decor?"
The best thing about the crown is what a cool silhouette it gives me. 

I was originally pretty stumped about how to do the jewelry, since it's pretty distinct. I ended up using aluminum florist wire to make it all, since 1) it's cheap, 2) it's thick enough to be visible, unlike jewelry wire, and 3) it's very easy to manipulate, unlike thicker gauges of stainless steel wire from the hardware store.

For the brooch, I went with a giant opalescent light-colored pendant from Michael's. I bent the aluminum wire in random shapes until all the individual components looked good together. 
For the hot-glueing, I worked on a silicone mat so that I wouldn't destroy my table. 
The finished pendant: don't look too closely at the blobbles of hot glue on the front. The giant rock ring is just another bead with more wire bits bent and glued in place. To shape the rings that are just masses of wires twisted together, I just built them up around a bold Sharpie, which was conveniently the exact same size as my finger. 
The staff was also a bit of a puzzle, since there's a definite texture to it. I knew I needed to use something that would be easy to shape, and again, didn't want to have to bake anything because hello, five foot staff! Wouldn't fit in my oven, plus wood is flammable. I realized I would have to buy clay after all, but I went with air dry clay instead of the more common Fimo or Sculpey.

I started with a 1" wooden dowel that had a wooden doll's head glued to the top (like with my Saruman staff). I used the air dry clay to make the lumped-out portion of the staff, then rolled the clay into long thin ropes and laid them in strategic patterns. 
I did need to use craft glue to get the clay to stick to the wood.
Again, no pictures of the painting process...brown acrylic base coat over the whole thing, then silver on the viney bits. The twisted-looking bits in between the clay were just silver Sharpie drawing, since I couldn't get the clay that thin. It's not perfect, but good enough for a casual ridiculous cosplay. 

I'll post about the making of the tunic in the next post because this one has already gotten super long.

Most exciting thing to happen to me since Ryan North tweeting my Superman dress...Gingerhaze herself reblogged my PTK cosplay! You guys, I am so honored and incredibly excited! 


  1. Unimpressed Gummy! lol!

    Your "casual cosplay" is amazing wonderful and beautiful executed! You could seriously work as a costumer or in a film production's art department - and I say that with first-hand knowledge. Great use of junk mail!

    ~ Brooke

  2. So very cool - and it looks amazing! One tip; next time use Paperclay for staff-like scupting. It's air dry, plus it sticks to anything w/o glue. I use it on wood all the time. Just dampen the surface you want it to meld to!

    1. Thanks for the tip! I just grabbed this air-dry clay because it was cheap at Michael's, but I'll have to look out for the Paperclay next time.

  3. Yep, I stand by what I said earlier. This is awesome!

  4. Wow you have amazing fabricating skills! You should be a costume maker!

  5. Your ingenuity never ceases to impress me!! Love it!! :D (and love Walnut's angry expression in the other post haha)

  6. freakin awesome work here!!! Your best outfit yet!

  7. I love your King Thranduil and And how lovely your blobbles of hot glue on the front is, i'm really impressed with your creations.Thanks...

    jewelry supplies

  8. WOW that is just amazing! I love your attention to detail, especially when it comes to that jewelry, I love it all and would wear it all too. Fab job!

  9. You are AMAZING! You costume and your posts))) Thank you for the crown tutorial, it was most helpful! I'm so happy i've somehow found this page, because it'd inspired me to go dressed in ome kind of "thranduil party king" outfit to my employer's new year party too =) Though it was some almost last-minute decision, and no one understood why thranduil wears pink shutter shades and all, i still felt like i was the trendiest masquerader out there))

  10. The things you make are just mind blowing. Your skill and talent and creativity and genius are off the charts! Wanna share some? I could be happy being half as brilliant as you!

  11. Heya!

    I was just wondering if you used a pattern for making Thranduil's coat. If so, do you think you could give me some tips on how to make it? I'm going to a friend's birthday party and really want to dress as him!


    1. I did not use a commercial pattern; I just based it off of my own measurements. If you have a plain button up shirt whose fit you like, it is pretty easy to trace off the shoulder and torso and just extend it down to make the long coat. Alternately, you can get a commercial pattern that has similar lines and go from there.

    2. More information about how I made the coat here:

  12. Thank you so much for this ♥ I have never been much into crafting but when I saw this I immediately knew I had to try my hands on making this.
    And I did! With some creativity (I have a tight budget) I was able to make myself a beautiful (well, in my eyes anyway) crown and... it's FABULOUS.
    The whole process of making the crown was amazingly inspiring and fun. Thank you for making me feel so excited of this and bringing joy to my life :)

  13. I just used this tutorial to make my own crown--so easy! And it looks so cool. You're a friggin' genius! Thanks for posting all of these. Seriously. So cool. I'm so excited to go as Thranduil (super casual-like) tomorrow. THANK YOU so making that happen! :D

  14. Can I pay you to make me one?! It's awesome!!!!

    1. I'm not sure which item you're referring to; please clarify!


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