Tag Archives: Distressed Cosplay

Level 8:2 – Armor Damaged!

5 Jun

Eleanor Lamb screen shot

As most costumers would tell you, it’s not enough to have a good-looking suit, you have to wear it. I might take that a step further and say that it needs wear and tear to complete it. Thanks to the help of an amazing friend and her superb, sewing skills we had Eleanor Lamb‘s suit but it was up to us to give it a story.

The first step in removing the shine of our new suit  was a couple of rounds of tea staining. First, we soaked the suit in water and then put it into some fresh tea. We left it to soak for about 2 hours, swishing it around every half hour. The picture below is from our test strip and you’ll notice that not all of it is submerged. That’s why we rotated the suit around in the tea soak, we wanted it to look “patchy.”



Once it dried, we added the serial numbers. Check out the reference photo above, on the right side of her chest you can see some tiny, faded numbers. Hard to read aren’t they? It took us a long time but we finally found an action figure that has the numbers prominently displayed; 726. We decided to use spray on fabric paint which we tested prior to using it on the suit.

Daniel free-handed the numbers and then cut the stencil into some scrap foam we had lying around and we were set to spray our suit. We started by laying out a painting tarp and putting cardboard between the layers of the suit to prevent bleed through.

Suit prep for spray


Next, we positioned the stencil and proceeded to cover the rest of the suit in cardboard to prevent any wafting paint particles. Then, using long sweeping motions, I sprayed the paint across the stencil.

Numbers on Eleanor Lambs Suit

After the numbers dried, it was time to add the blood and the rust. First, the blood.

Eleanor Lamb Suit Blood EffectWe decided to use acrylic paint primarily a Venetian Red. Since we’re not dealing with fresh blood, we added some brown as well. First, I put down a layer of paint and then hit it with a spray bottle of water. I wanted to get the look of actual liquid running rather than trying to fake it with a paint brush. Interested in the nitty-gritties? Head on over to our Rust on Cloth Effect Tutorial.

Once I got the look I wanted, I went back in with deluded paint to make it more pronounced. I did the same thing with the smaller cut on the stomach and the arm.

The rust proved to be a bit trickier.

We did a little digging around for a tutorial but didn’t find a whole lot for rust of on clothing aside from rubbing the suit on a rusty piece of metal. So we decided to use chalk for the rust.

Here’s the nifty article we found about using chalk.

Using the same technique as the blood, I started working on the rust. Since copper oxidizes differently than, say iron, I decided to use green, yellow and brown instead of a typical red, orange and brown. Feeling encouraged by how well the blood effect went, I started working the chalk into the suit.

Eleanor Lamb's Suit Rust Eleanor Lamb Suit Rust Wet

The only thing I didn’t account for, is how dark the chalk is when it’s wet and how light green and yellow chalk are when dried. Imagine my frustration after spending hours hunched over on the floor only to find to find out the next day that it’s not nearly dark enough to be noticed. It was also very difficulty to get the coverage right. I would try to dry the chalk with a hair dryer before putting on the damp suit and then the helmet and having Daniel take pictures so that I could see where the lines needed to be adjusted. A mannequin would have so come in handy right about now.

Eleanor Lamb's Suit with Rust

It took about ten hours total to get the effect that I wanted but, in the end, it was worth it.

As I was working on the rust effect, I also noticed that there are faint brown lines around Eleanor Lamb’s waist and thighs. I assumed that these were markings from the leather shorts and leg wrappings that Big Sisters typically wear. So I used more brown chalk to suggest a faded line where the wet leather might have marked the white suit.

Last but not least, the final detail to Eleanor Lamb’s suit, the oil stains. For this, we used charcoal and a wet paint brush and tried to copy the smudges from the concept art and viola; a distressed suit!

And here’s our finished product in full production!

Photo by Geek Behind the Lens Photography

Photo by Geek Behind the Lens Photography

Thanks for following along! Hopefully, you found this helpful and maybe a little entertaining! — TCG


Rust on Cloth Effect

4 Jun

Eleanor Lamb's Suit with Rust


Over the course of creating our first cosplay, we spent a substantial amount of time combing the internet for tutorials, tips and tricks from more experienced craftspeople. While we found a lot of info about utilizing rusty metal and transferring it onto fabric but, since this was something that I’d be wearing, I wanted to use a method that wasn’t so dirty. Here’s what we cooked up.

Materials Needed

  • Chalk
  • Paint Brush
  • Cup of Water
  • Spray Bottle with Water

Chalk DustFirst things first, do a little research to determine your color palate. Different types of metals result in different colors of rust. For this example, we’ll be working with a brown, red and orange color palate. We bought a package of chalk from our local craft store and then used sandpaper to get our dust on.

Next hit your cloth with the spray bottle. You want it saturated so that it will really soak up the chalk.

Now we add some color. With your wet brush, mix up your colors and then slather the chalk onto the cloth. This line would serve as the source of the rust.

wet brush paint paint on cloth

Next, use the spray bottle to make that color run. Make sure that your spray bottle is set to mist so that you can control the amount of water you’re using. If it’s set to a stream you might delude the chalk too much and you won’t have a clear source of rust. Then, just let it run.

The nice thing about chalk is, if you over water your rust source or if you want to make certain areas of the running color darker than others, you can go back in with your paint brush. Then, let it dry.

We also used a similar technique for the blood on Eleanor Lamb’s suit.

Photo by Geek Behind the Lens Photography

Photo by Geek Behind the Lens Photography

Thanks for checking us out! Hope you found this to be helpful! — TCG

Weathered Metal Effect Tutorial

15 May
Photo by CB Lindsey

Photo by CB Lindsey

During the amazing eight hours that we were in costume at C2E2, we received a large number of compliments about our work weathering and distressing our helmets. This was a very time-consuming process on larger pieces but it’s fairly simple to execute.

Materials Needed

  • Black Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Paper Towels or a Rag
  • Q-Tips

Painted Weight

First off, if you’re going to be adding this weathering technique to a piece that you’ve already painted, make sure that your paint has completely dried. We’re going to be applying black paint and then rubbing it off and you wouldn’t want your first coat of paint to smear.

In this instance, we’re working with craft foam that’s been shellacked and painted with spray paint. We’ve allowed it to dry completely before we started working on the weathering.

Next, using your paint brush, slather on the black acrylic paint. You can put it on thick because you’ll just be wiping it all away in a few moments. You don’t want to cover too much of the surface in the paint at the same time or you run the risk of it drying before you have a chance to attack it with the paper towel or rag. Take it in sections. It’s alright if some spots are uneven; in real life things don’t usually get the same amount of dirty in all places, right?

Weathering the Weight

Wipe Paint off WeightAs you can see in the picture above, we’re just wiping the paint away with an old dish rag that we decided to sacrifice to the Cosplay gods. Remember, the goal here is not to completely wipe away the paint. The goal is to leave just enough to make the piece look dirty; as if someone had tried to clean it once but done a terrible job.

If you rub off too much of the paint, go back and reapply. Keep at it until you’re happy with the amount of grunge.

You can also use a Q-Tip to really get into the nooks and crannies. In the example below, Daniel used a Q-Tip to heavily apply the paint in the small holes of the weight.

Weathered WeightIn the case of Subject Delta’s helmet, we used a thinner brush to get in between all of the cap nuts and Q-Tips to get in between the panels on the top of Eleanor’s helmet. It’s pretty easy, albeit time-consuming but the results are worth it as you can see below.

Subject Delta's Helmet Painted Subject Delta's Helmet Distressed

We learned how to do this by watching a tutorial put up by Valentine Cosplay, a fantastic cosplayer we’ve been following since we had the pleasure of stumbling across his blog. He has a You Tube channel filled with little gems if you’d like to check him out.

Weathered Metal Effect Tutorial

Hope you found this helpful!! — TCG