I just finished up my Zelda armor the other week... I did something that's going to sound really ghetto... I cut out plastic in the shapes I needed and then sewed pleather around it and then sewed gold fabric very taut around the pleather and used fabric paint for the design. It had a nice, subtle effect to it, which I liked. I think using one of the other ideas posted here might prove easier. Although it might not seem possible, I spent hours and weeks on the armor, and truthfully, I still have a little ways to go.
red wine and sleeping pills help me get back to your arms