Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Last Updated: 02-06-2012
TO SEE HOW THIS WAS MADE, PLEASE VIEW THE GALLERY 'PRINCESS LEIA'S METAL BIKINI TUTORIAL PICS'
Photos for looking at – and giant walls of text to read if you want to MAKE one yourself!
A LONG TIME AGO (ETC)...
In my mind, the greatest Star Wars costume…is Darth Vader (from Episodes IV-VI, take your pick). However, as I do not have thousands of dollars to spend making that costume, I went with the next best thing; Princess Leia’s Metal Bikini, as worn by the talented and lovely Carrie Fisher.
This is not the first time I have made this costume. A long, long time ago I made a sad, sorry version out of a clothes hanger and model magic. I followed a “tutorial” I found online that had about 6 quick steps, a great accompanying photo, and it sounded SO easy. It…it was…well…it was something from the dark side.
I really wanted to revisit the outfit one day and do it proper justice. So, after sculpting, casting, molding and painting other costumes in the past, I decided to take another swing at it.
Check the tutorial gallery to see how this costume was made!
The steps involved:
Leia’s Chain Construction
Fabric Boot Covering
Making Mold of Body
Making Cast of Body
Sculpting the Bikini
Making Mold of Bikini
Making Latex-and-Wire Cast of Bikini
Painting Latex Pieces
Adding Fabric to Latex
I tried to take progress photos along the way, so I can show others the way I made the outfit. It is not the only way, it is not the best way, and there are steps and materials that can be changed. But hopefully it can be of some help to you, if you choose to make one. I recommend looking at how my Liara, Donnie Darko and Terminator costume pieces were constructed, if you’re just starting out in sculpting and casting – and definitely do further research on how to make copy of your body.
For me, the cost was around $75. That included the hair braid ($50), the fabric, and some few odds and ends. It can expensive costume, if you’re making it or buying it…but still, not as expensive as Darth Vader. In this post - http://www.cosplay.com/showthread.php?p=3572299#post3572299 - I talk about the cost of new materials used in another latex-related costume – the price is a bit high, but I had bought enough supply that I continued to use materials from the same original batches at least 3 other costumes...so stuff does spread out.
Let’s say “if you get down to it…2 and a half (full) weeks”.
1: I had a ton of latex (and wire) on my hands. 2: There were two bikinis used in the movie, one that was actual metal, and one that was rubber…so making a latex one seemed to be a safe bet. And 3: making one out of metal would be expensive (same goes with resin, which would need an expensive silicone mold).
WHY MAKE? WHY NOT BUY?
I like making clothes. I love making costumes. I LOVE making Halloween costumes. It’s tradition for me, it’s fun, it’s challenging, it even adds to the wearing experience. So I wanted to make the outfit, for the sake of making it – but also because I knew if I bought one of the beautiful ones available, it wouldn’t fit me. If they carry the bikini in your size, I say get it, more power to you – but if not, big or small, you can make one too! (also, for me, making one was a *lot* cheaper!)
Styling your Hair tutorial, by Tristanc2003
Instead of parting my hair into 3 sections, I did 2. I made a pony tail, attached my fake braid underneath it, wrapped the braid once around the based of the ponytail and then followed the rest of the tutorial.
Fake Leia Hair Braid, from PuppyCatMeow (Tressa)
She not only sends you free colour samples, but she can do custom colour blends for your braid! This is the one I got:
‘Strapless’ panty!, by Shibue Couture
Because you really, really should be wearing something underneath.
Sculpting, Casting and Molding forum, at TheEffectsLab
The people on this forum were a big help. For example, I was stuck on how to do all the fine lines on the hip plates. Their solution? Putting caulking in an old pastry bag and using a fine icing tip!
Gallery and Chain/Boot/Earring tutorials, from Kay-Dee.
Her site not only has a wonderful reference gallery of photos taken of the REAL costume, she has a tutorial on how to make chain links (and earrings, and how to do the boots, and fabric as well!). She made her chain links out of resin, after making a mold from tubing.
Make The Bikini – with Sculpye! By Angel Monkey Studios
Make The Bikini - with PVC Polystyrene! by ‘Kim’
Kristen Andrews aka Mirax – a *huge* inspiration.
And of course:
Leia’s Metal Bikini – Buy It!
If you’ve made it this far, you deserve to just go and buy yourself one.
Confused about the construction of Jabba's Prisoner outfit? Have a question about a certain step in making your own Slave Leia bikini? Message me and I'll do my best!
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