It’s been great to to be back at the creative table again! The first half of my 2016 was rough, and part of that meant I have not been able to be as productive cosplay-wise as I've wanted to be. Fortunately, I’ve been graced with a (capricious) respite, and am trying to make the best of it by cramming in as much costuming as I can while I can.
Like making a Princess Peach gown in seven days.
While I am incredibly proud of the final product, since I was admittedly rushed making it, it is not quite all that I know it can be. So I’m gradually leveling it up over the next few months, remaking parts, adding embellishments, things like that. I’ve decided to start by remaking the crown.
My original Peach crown was made using hot glue as the primary adhesive. While hot glue is amazing, the crown is also a bit unwieldy and prone to falling off my head if I tilt it forward too much… and then the gems are in danger of popping right off (it’s happened twice). Since then, I have been introduced to the magical glue wonder that is E6000 (be careful using this stuff, it’s pretty much smelly cancer in a tube). This stuff. Oh man. I love it. It sticks to pretty much everything, is washable, paintable, dries clear, and while the tube claims a 4 hour dry time, I found on this project that leaving stuff at least an hour usually makes it secure enough to at least work on other aspects of the piece (depending on the prop and what point you’re at, of course!).
All right, let’s dive on in!
- 4 glass cabochons, 1 ¼” diameter
- Craft foam (I don’t recall the thickness, but I believe it’s the thinnest you’ll find at stores like Joann’s and Michael’s)
- Thin but sturdy cardboard (I actually used an empty box of soda cans, not the cereal box shown)
- Aluminum foil
- Glass enamel paint in blue and pink
- Gesso priming paint
- ModgePodge sealer
- Gold spray paint
- E6000 adhesive and something to apply it with (I used cardboard shrapnel)
- Paint brush/cosmetic sponges (whatever you prefer to apply the gesso and ModgePodge with. I used brushes last time, and this time tried some of my latex-free makeup wedge sponges for much better, smoother effect)
- Bobby pins
1. Paint the cabochons on their backs. Two of them should be pink and two should be blue. I ended up overdoing it on the blue ones and had to paint another set a bit lighter- the blue dries far more opaquely than the pink did.
**Do this at least a day in advance of Step 4 to ensure the paint is dry!**
2. Trace the outline for the crown on the cardboard or foam, whichever you want to start with. I made the base 1 ½” high, and each side of the crown points is 2”. The length came out to 15”.
3. Cut the outline out, and use that piece as a template to trace two more pieces. You should have 2 foam crowns, and 1 cardboard crown. Trace the glass cabochons on foam and cut those out as well leaving a small border around where the gem will go; so you’ll also have 4 foam circles.
4. Apply a thin coat of E6000 to each crown piece and glue them on top of each other. The foam pieces should sandwich the cardboard. Take your time with this and make sure everything lies flat and that all the crown points and their edges line up! I left each piece under a book to dry for about an hour before applying the next piece of foam.
5. While you let the crown bases dry, crumble up some aluminum foil. Then flatten it out, but not too much! You want it all wrinkly. Glue the cabochons to the foil, let them dry at least 30-60 minutes, and then carefully cut around the cabochon. Now they look like sparkly gems!
**NOTE** If you want, you can do Step 7 before Step 6. It would have been better if I had!
6. When the crown base is dry, make yourself comfortable. Make the crown into a circle so the two ends meet, and then very carefully apply glue to the ends and press them together. That’s going to be your life for the next 40 minutes or so. After that, I placed some gaffer’s tape on the crown an let it sit for another 30 minutes to strengthen, adding a bit of glue when I pulled at the crown a bit too hard by accident.
7. Now that the crown is a bit drier, you can glue on the foam circles you cut out earlier. I set mine so the bottom of the circle was 5/8” from the base of the crown. Let dry at least an hour; you’ll be gluing the cabochons to here later, and the glass is a bit heavy, so you want to make sure these bases are attached!
8. Cover the crown in at least one layer of gesso primer. Honestly I’m sure there’s a different primer to use specifically for spray painting, but I had this on hand so I used it. Wait for the gesso to dry completely between layers and before moving on!
9. Spray paint the crown with gold paint. Make sure you apply THIN coats, and let each coat dry completely before the next one I have a serious problem with impatience, and tend to pile on way too much paint right away, causing some streaks and other imperfections. I made a concerted effort this time around to let each layer dry completely, and not to be too heavy handed.
10. Once the spray paint is totally dry (for serious), apply some coats of ModgePodge. I used a “glass/luster” type, hoping it would give the crown a bit of sheen. It didn’t really, but just by sealing and smoothing the surface it did the crown a more polished, completed look.
11. Once the ModgePodge is totally dry, whip out that E6000 again and glue the gems on! Peach wears her crown with one of the pink-stoned points in the front, center of her head, so make sure the crown is oriented the way you like it with your nicest looking cabochon in the front!
12. Next, make yourself comfortable again. You’ll be gluing the top of each bobby pin at either end to the bottom of the crown. I found it best to glue each end one at a time, letting it dry about 30 minutes at least (longer would have been better but I was impatient and had to fix up some mistakes…). You have to hold the pin open so it doesn’t get glues closed, but you also don’t want to hold it too open or you could warp the pin so it won’t hold the hair securely. I used two bobby pins on each side of the crown, positioned for the crown to be put on from front to back.
**NOTE** I’m trying to find a more effective way to attach the crown, since the pins make it a pain to get in straight and they allow the crown to slide off if I tilt my head forward. I found it’s far more secure if you’re sure to put the pins through both your wig netting and the wig cap, but that’s probably not good for your wig long term. I tried a clear headband, but just did not like how it looked and found the crown was too heavy for it stay up anyway.
And there you go! Your very own crown, fit for royalty. I hope you found this tutorial helpful! If you have any questions, you can always reach me through our channels here at Geeekade, or message me on any of my PunchDoktor Cosplay accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). I’d be glad to help troubleshoot as best I can if you hit a rough spot, or just to complain with you about how you always have to pee the minute you sit down to hold a thing down to dry for an hour!
Just make sure you don’t lose your pretty new crown in any of those castles you keep getting trapped in.