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Unread 11-20-2012, 07:24 PM   #1
SCP 426
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Join Date: Nov 2012
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Detailed Bow Help

Hi there,

I am fairly new to cosplaying and as you may notice I only just signed up to this site after looking in all corners of the internet for help, lol.

I need help making a bow like this (windrunner, dota2);


My question is to all you prop veterans out there, how would you go about making this bow?
what materials would you use? would you buy a cheap fake bow and mold over the top? How would you finish it so as it looks manufactured as opposed to handmade?

I want to make this as professional as i can get it, so I'm willing to put in the time, money and effort.

Thanks in advance!!
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Unread 11-24-2012, 02:26 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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Glad to hear you're willing to put some time into this! Honestly though it's a pretty good project to practice some prop making fundamentals so should be a good learning experience!

I made a bow very similar for my girlfriend (Elsword Online - Grand Archer) and I made it using 3 layers of wood. Just cut the first layer as the basic shape of the bow then added the 2nd layer as the detail layer. The grooves I got by cutting the detail layer into halves then sanding in a bevel, but the "real" way to do that would be to use a wood router.

I'm kind of babbling but I wrote things out a big more coherently on my blog. Pretty much just cut out the basic overall shape, add layers of wood to add detail, sand all sharp edges round.

I don't have a lot of WIP shots since the bow only took me an afternoon to build.

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Unread 11-26-2012, 11:07 AM   #3
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Admit it Stabbity, you only responded to show of the pic of your cute girlfriend

Carving from wood is probably the best way to go. Though this requires some carving skill and various tools. So long as you don't want the wood grain to show through, mistakes can be fixed with wood putty or polyester autobody filler putty (aka Bondo).

Sculpting it from clay is more forgiving, but it requires making a mold, and casting it in something like resin or a fiberglass layup. Either way it tends to be pretty pricey to make a mold and casting that size.

Carving it from extruded polystyrene foam insulation requires fewer tools than wood, but you still need to be able to carve. You harden the foam with paper mache or fiberglass+resin. It can be a bit tricky to account for the added thickness and loss of detail this gives. But on the plus side, the foam is cheap, quick and easy to cut, and mistakes aren't hard to fix.

The difference between stuff that looks professional and stuff that looks home-made (other than getting the shape in a proper proportion) is pretty much the finishing process. surfaces must be sanded smooth. With techniques like Bondo autobody filler putty, or paper mache, this sanding can take quite a long time, so most cosplayers I see seem to either skip it or not do nearly enough of it. Once smooth, porous surfaces, particularly wood must be sealed with something like sanding sealer or shellac. Finally, you need to give a good paint job. For multi-colored pieces, this generally involves liberal use of masking tape. Spraying the paint on isn't required, but it tends to be easier to get a good finish.
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Unread 02-12-2013, 03:37 AM   #4
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His g/f isn't cute at all! Sadface for such a hottie :c
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