I will start by saying that this particular walkthrough was for a costume for my son, who at the time was under 4 years old, so there are a few things which are specific to sizing this costume for a little cosplayer, however just keep this in mind if you’re looking for an adult costume as the processes and files I used are essentially exactly the same just at different dimensions.
My son is a huge Disney fan and whilst he does have a couple of dresses – he’s princess mad, we wanted something a little more unisex for the maleficent outfit because everything we found to buy was either very girly to the point where it didn’t match the films at all or was made for adults, so we had to improvise, especially as he’s very small for a 3 and a half year old anyway so even the kids costumes would have been too big. This was my first attempt at making a costume besides my own halloween stuff, and certainly my first time doing large scale 3d prints and using EVA foam. I made it all in different stages but I will break it down below in the key components.
We did cheat and purchased 2 items which were the cloak / dress, which was actually a costume graduation gown for a child and the wings which were just black angel wings. These 2 items are so readily available and interchangeable that there was really no need for me to make them, although had I had more time, some EVA foam wings might have been a lot of fun to make.
Here’s what I used:
- Tyge Supplies EVA Foam Craft Sheet High Density 5mm
- Alpha Thixofix contact adhesive
- Fabric Mod Podge
- RGB Battery LED Micro Rice Wire Copper Fairy String Lights
- Spidermaker Premium Matte PLA Coal Black 1.75mm
- Filamentive rPLA Natural 1.75mm
- Kodak PETG Translucent Green 1.75mm
- Uneek black angel wings
- Children’s Nursery Graduation Gown
The head dress / horns
This is what makes or breaks the costume, and with the kids costumes on the market this is the only way you can tell who the character actually is!
The basis of the head dress was a single skull cap and I used some inspiration from YouTube where there are a ton of different tutorials. I quite enjoyed the one by Evil Ted Smith and have included the first part below. That tutorial is for something much more complex but the basics worked for me.
The basic gist of that was that we covered my sons head with cling film in all the areas where we knew we wanted the head dress to be and then came down slightly further. The second step to help it retain shape once removing from his head was to cover the whole area with duct tape and then using a sharpie draw on to the duct tape where the outline of the head dress would be, including cut outs for the ear arches and the little peak at the top of the forehead.
We also at this point drew on a rough centre line from front to back and then 2 further lines from front to back starting either side of the lowest part of that forehead peak.
We removed this mess from a very sweaty head and then cut out the outline first and then cut it in to the 4 pieces we had. To make them sit flat we had to cut a slit in to the top of the 2 outer pieces.
The next step is important to get right so I recommend sticking these sheets down with pins on to the EVA foam, we used 5mm high density foam which worked well for a child’s head piece. Draw the outline with a sharpie, label each piece along each edge you will need to glue back together. This wasn’t a problem with 4 pieces, but if you’re working with much more, especially similar looking pieces, things might start getting confusing.
The final part of the basic skull cap was to stick it all together. I used a contact adhesive – make sure to read the instructions. With mine I applied a generous amount to each side to be stuck, waited 5 minutes and then pressed it together. For the next 20 minutes or so I would periodically go back and give the pieces a bit of a squeeze and a shape to make sure it stuck nicely… Speaking of shaping I have seen a lot of people using different tools and heating to shape EVA. I think with thicker foam it will need the extra heat, but for me working with 5mm foam I literally just rolled each piece over my bent knee for a few rotations and this added a nice enough curve to help really shape this cap.
To finish that main skull cap shape we also cut an inch wide strip from front to back and stuck it straight down the middle to give a raised peak along the centre of the whole piece. This was just stuck down with contact adhesive.
Next were the horns which I toyed with making from EVA clay but I have a 3d printer and there are a few different pre-made horns out there which are suitable. This first batch by the way in the image below, were not! They turned out tiny and the seams between the different pieces aren’t great, so I scrapped that. Instead I went for a pair of horns which I printed in 2 single pieces at a length of 10 inches which worked out quite nicely. I didn’t want to make them too big for my son to be wearing all day, even though they weigh almost nothing he’s also not going to think about how big they are while walking around comic con!
I ended up using these horns which were modeled by Garrett and Chelsey of Chaos CoreTech and downloadable from Thingiverse – I just stuck to printing only the horns and then stuck those to the skull cap with the contact adhesive. The nice thing about these is that you can really play with the size to make them suitable for your own application.
The next part, and this was the part which mostly finished off the head piece in that it was totally useable after this application, was to add the strap detail to the head piece. This was by far the most boring part of the whole build and involved taking some 20mm wide silk ribbon, cutting it in to tiny lengths and then using Mod podge to stick it to the skull cap and around the base of the horns. I first went one way over the ridge and then did it again with the pieces angled the opposite way, but this time also missed out 20mm between each piece to give a very basic criss-cross effect. The next step was to lay longer strips from the ridge towards the edge of the cap. This involved crossing the ribbons at a slight angle as they reached the bottom edge to give it a nicer effect and have them all converging towards the middle. The final piece was a strip on each side of the middle ridge from front to back in order to cover that meeting point between the two parts on each side.
One final piece remained which was a raven skull which I downloaded from thingiverse. There are loads of different types available depending on how detailed you want to go and what works best for you. But I liked the raven skull design by sprocket1597. I took that design and tried it with a new filament which was Filamentive rPLA Natural 1.75mm just to try it and I have to say that it’s really not a very good filament at all. I won’t be buying it again! However these turned out ok for what I needed, with this one having been painted white with a black tip to the bill. It was later attached at the front of the cap on that central ridge using hot glue.
The collar was pretty easy to make.
I checked how much space I wanted to take up on his shoulder and then used that as the flat base for the 2 parts of each collar side, flared out slightly and then came back to a tip marking out the shape using a marker pen. Once I’d done 2 of these (1 smaller than the other) I cut them out and traced around them again to give me 2 of each size. At the base i then added a second cut at a 45 degree angle, however make sure that when doing this the angle goes the opposite way on your 2 pairs. This allows you to get a nice angle when you glue them to the little base plates using contact adhesive.
I used those little base plates just to add a little bit of a counter nalges support for the collar and to give us some way of anchoring them in place. I turned out that as we were using wings which attached with elastic that these were perfect for holding the collar pieces in place.
You can’t see it in the images here but it’s visible in the final images of the costume assembled, but I finished it off by adding a skull on each of those little base plates just to add a little bit of contrasting colour to the shoulders and to bring some more of that detail in to the outfit. They were printed at the same time as the one above for the front of the head dress but this time I painted them just white and then also stuck them on with hot glue.
In a bonus I didn’t even consider, they actually also really help to keep those shoulder pads in place under the elastic from the wings by acting a bit like stopper buttons.
I can’t take credit for the staff in terms of the general design as I used a pre-made model which I downloaded from Cults3d for £4.16 and it was well worth it.
I had to make some changes to work out what size was going to be best for me by taking the original size, seeing what would be the best fit for my son, working out the percentage and then applying that to all pieces in the 3d model. After printing I stuck all the pieces together which was the most difficult part of the whole job. When changing the sizes it did mean that the strength of the staff got majorly compromised and I ended up suing a contact adhesive as well as a no more nails putty to stick the pieces together as almost all internal connectors between the pieces broke.
I gave the whole staff a basic black paint job and then added a little green detail on the inside of the top part before continuing to the inner section at the top. Up to this point the whole model had been printed from Spidermaker Premium Matte PLA Coal Black 1.75mm which is a very nice looking filament but I have to say it is a little bit weak.
The inner piece at the top was printed in green but I wanted to add a little bit of pizzazz so I printed that in Kodak PETG Translucent Green 1.75mm so that I could put some LED lights inside it.
After the main staff was glued together and everything was painted I cut a slit along the top part which was nice and smooth as thats where the green inner globe sits. Just below that I cut out a much larger slot which I could fit the control unit from a cheap LED light chain from ebay in to. I didn’t think it through too much and made this a limited use item by keeping it all in place using no more nails which I then painted over at the end. You can’t see this control unit at all and I had to use a small piece of wire attached to the switch to make it operable.
Once that was all in place I stuffed the light chain inside the globe, positioned it and glued the last remaining black pieces to the top of the staff to hold it all in place.
I did also first put some reflective christmas present tape in there as well hoping that it would make the glow more intense, but it had the opposite effect so it is just the led chain in there now and it has a wicked glow! I tried the RGB one, bright white and natural light with the RGB being by far the nicest.
This whole staff is long and thin and 3d printed using a fairly fragile PLA so I decided to give it a bit of strength by adding 2 layers of clear epoxy resin over the whole thing. This had 3 outcomes!
- It did make it stronger
- It made it a lot smoother which makes it more comfortable to hold
- It sadly also made it very glossy and a bit weird looking for my own taste
Sadly it didn’t make it strong enough and I have to say that as I was writing this, 1 week away from comic con after he’d already had it out at a castle and played with it several times he slammed it on the sofa and snapped it in 2. I don’t know how well I can fix it but I will try… Cutting it pretty thin in time for comic con now though! Once he has outgrown it, I will for sure be keeping it as a display piece only because it does look pretty cool.
The end result
And that just about does it! There aren’t too many parts to this costume to be honest. i did think about making the gown a little more ornate by adding more skulls in the form of a bird skull necklace as a lot of my inspiration came from the second Maleficent movie, but I just ran out of time, and for my son to be happy we really didn’t need to add anything more to the outfit so it was a good place to leave it.
Below is a little test fit before the head piece was finished and even at that point you can see how much he loved this outfit! Best thing I’ve invested my time in for him so far, and certainly won’t be the last time I make him a costume. We’ve got a budding cosplayer here for sure!
Seeing Ripley dressed as Maleficent,acting out the curse scene word for word in an old ruined castle (Old Wardour Castle where they filmed part of Robin Hood with Kevin Costner) with such passion in his eyes has made every single second of putting this costume together so worth while and I can’t wait for him to get a chance to show it off at comic con on Sunday… I think i might even be more excited than he is!
The only thing we will be changing is that rather than trainers and shorts, he will be wearing black leggings and black plimsoles from his dance classes, so it will really be popping off as a full ensemble.
What do you think for a first costume attempt? I actually found the EVA a lot of fun to play with and can’t wait to make more!