I have been cosplaying as Mystique since college. Pretty much before I was even aware of the term “cosplay.” I’m not the biggest fan of costume recycles, but when I do, I like to try to at least improve them every time. Last Halloween, per usual, we had not managed to scrape anything together for costumes. I decided to recycle my Mystique costume, but I had some ideas on how it should be improved. Namely, I needed a belt upgrade. Previously, I had made a belt using Crayola Model Magic. It was very time-consuming, but I didn’t really know a faster way at the time. Because I hot glued the skulls on, they kept falling off and worst of all, after a couple months, the paint somehow oxidized and turned green. It was a failure.
Lucky for me, I married an artist, and he knew how to cast stuff in resin. He used sculpey and tin foil to sculpt a badass skull. He used tin foil as something to bulk up the skull so he wouldn’t have to waste a ton of sculpey. Then he baked it so that it could be used as our template. You can see it on the bottom right of this picture.
Once we had the template, he used resin putty to make the mold for it. That’s the yellow thing in the picture. Once he made the mold, I went to work making about 15-17 of these bad boys. We used resin that we bought on Amazon.com. I would recommend buying it there versus Michael’s or any other brick and mortar store because it’s so much cheaper. In order to make the resin stretch further, we added packing peanuts to the mixture. They pretty much immediately dissolve in the resin. The packing peanuts also had an added bonus of making the skulls a lot lighter, which is helpful. The belt is over 5 pounds using packing peanuts, I can’t image how heavy it would be with just straight resin. We ended up using approximately 3 boxes of resin for this.
Once all the skulls cooled off, Andy painted the eyes and nose cavity black, waited for them to dry, and taped them off so he could spray paint them an antique gold all over.
After that, he drilled holes in the back, so we could later screw them all to a belt. You can see the bubbly bits on the back are where the packing peanut foam was rising to the top. If you’re going to use packing peanuts with resin, I would recommend layering the resin and the peanuts. Resin first on the bottom of your mold where all the details are, then add packing peanuts, then more resin. It’ll take some trial and error, but you’ll get it.
Once the antique gold dried, Andy went over the raised areas with a lighter gold and a paint brush and screwed them all to a leather belt blank.
Here’s the finished product! I think the belt is a huge upgrade and really makes the costume. What is your favorite cosplay to recycle?