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26 Aug 2009 - 22:5118811
Advice on hardening a fabric?
Howdy all, I'm new - and I'll admit that I won't be here as a regular, mostly that I need some advice in building a Time Lord costume:




The original collars were made out of fibreglass - but since I'm a poor student with no skills whatsoever, I decided to make mine out of fabric and harden it later to attempt to get it to roughly the right look.

Now I have my fabric version of the collar, but I'm not sure what to use to harden it. I was planning on a couple of coats of PVA glue, finished off with a coat of clear spray paint or varnish, but I'm not sure if this will work - would it be flexible enough, would it rub off and become sticky when I'm wearing it, etc.

So, basically, does anyone have any advice on how to make a fabric look and feel like a plastic and stop it from falling apart (but keeping it flexible enough to actually wear) that's not too expensive?


26 Aug 2009 - 23:0118813
I would try a mix of interfacing (you can get sew on OR iron on, depends on preference) and then use spray-starch to stiffen it even more. But who knows the interfacing alone may help keep it's shape (Get the heavy weight one though, or perhaps you'd need to use two layers) so you may not need spray-starch (I've never had to use it but I hear it's very useful).


26 Aug 2009 - 23:2218815
Quote CrystalNeko:
I would try a mix of interfacing (you can get sew on OR iron on, depends on preference) and then use spray-starch to stiffen it even more. But who knows the interfacing alone may help keep it's shape (Get the heavy weight one though, or perhaps you'd need to use two layers) so you may not need spray-starch (I've never had to use it but I hear it's very useful).
Unfortunately the costume really requires that the collar be partially translucent, so interfacing isn't all that practical. The current build is a wire frame with layers of red/orange organza, unfortunately the frame is only stuck together with a glue gun, and it isn't all that strong.

Spray starch might help, but it would still need to be coated in something to give it the right plasticky texture anyway.

Thanks for the advice anyway!



Last edited by terobi (26 Aug 2009 - 23:25)
27 Aug 2009 - 00:1118816
I haven't tried using it myself, but apparently "Aleene's Fabric Stiffener & Draping Liquid" can stiffen most fabrics, including lace and gauze. This page has a description of how it's used. Doesn't say whether or not it dries clear, though.

At the end of that page they also mentioned something called Paverpol which apparently gives stiffer result... but that's the stuff for sculture isn't it. ^^"



Last edited by Pez (27 Aug 2009 - 07:17)
27 Aug 2009 - 14:4218830
If you're trying for a plastic appearance and still want flexibility, lightweight and stiffness, I would consider using plastazote.

It can be heat formed and would be comfortable to wear whilst being very light. A few coats of PVA glue would give the gloss appearance and then coat it in paint of your choice and add the detail. I know it's now what you want to here now you have the fabric collar, but it is an option.

Alternatively, could you not contruct a card base which the fabric is fitted over? Lex_is_evil used mounting board for the very large hat on her Seth costume. Check out http://www.cosplayisland.co.uk/costume/view/369 for pics. It produced a good effect and has held up very well. She may be able to offer some more advice on that.

However, if you're still after the translucent look, I'd stick with the plan to use wire. However, the shoulder part will probably need to be more solid to give the wire a base to attach to but the top piece would be translucent. The shoulder piece isn't going to be that translucent anyway because your shoulders will be underneath, so consider placing some card underneath?


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Last edited by theKillingDoll (27 Aug 2009 - 15:03)
29 Aug 2009 - 02:2118929
Thanks for the advice!

Well, as I said I already have the basic shape in fabric (if you'll excuse my foot..):



And it's actually relatively sturdy on its own - at least to the extent that I can try it on (and it looks awesome, for the record ), but it is the wrong texture and the joints aren't particularly strong - the top points, for instance, bending out of shape and/or falling forwards.

Would my original plan of a couple of coats of PVA glue followed by a clear spray paint/varnish actually work to keep it solid enough that it doesn't collapse?


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