Warnings: Regular rambling. 25 images. Worksafe!
First! I could not have done this without my dad. He's amazing and was the one that did the heavy lifting on this.
I only started taking pictures after the basic form was made, but my staff was originally a closet rod. I collected a bunch of images of the staff and made sure it was the scale to my body as it was to Jack's in the movie. I used a protractor on the images to try to figure out the angles of the hook, but it took A LOT of playing with to get angles that I liked. We tried everything out on scrap wood, and when we found angles that worked, we cut the closet rod.
I really wanted the staff to light up when I touched it. There was a lot of discussion on how to do this… what sort of lights to use, how to turn on the lights, where to put the batteries, etc. In the end we decided on using high brightness EL wire. However, we needed 8 AA batteries to power it and there was no way we could think of to hide all those on the staff without compromising the structure AND be able to change them if they died. I decided to make a pouch that hung on my back under my shirt with wires leading up my arm to a connector on my hand. When the connector hit a certain spot on the staff, it would light up. Unfortunately it meant that I had a lot of juice running up my arms and I would get a nasty shock if any skin accidentally touched the connector. I had two packs of the batteries so I could touch both hands to the staff on both parts to light the whole thing up.
Here's the staff in it's completely built (not decorated or lit) form. You can see it splits into two parts under the hook so it can be transported easier. The sharpie marks show where I want the lights and the red string is measuring the length of the marks so I could tell how much EL wire I needed for each section.
I used my dremel to carve out the areas for the EL wire. I could have just wrapped the EL wire around the outside, but I wanted the light to look like it was coming from inside the wood/bark.
The full thing is dremeled out now. I'm TERRIBLE with the dremel, you can see how sloppy it is at parts. But everything will be covered up, so it's OKAY.
I spray painted the grooves a dark brown, glued the EL wire in, then wrapped it with a brown tule to try to help hide the EL wire. Nur kindly soldered all the wires, connections, switches, and the like for this project.♥
Now the hook lights up! I used two colors… I think they might have been listed as blue and white? You can see the battery pack I needed to use for this on the left. The smaller black box on the right is a inverter. It also has a switch on it which was very useful in preventing myself from constantly getting shocks.
Annnnnd now the bottom is lit!
I used painter's tape to mask the EL wire so I wouldn't accidentally cover them in the next steps.
But now, a short break from the staff...
During the time I spent at working on the staff at my parents' place, I used any breaks I had (waiting for paint/glue to dry etc) to work on pieces for my Sadao Maou costume. These are the pauldrons I made for him. I forgot to take pictures earlier, whoops. I did a lot of prep work on these, drawing out all the different versions on paper (anime version, manga version, novel version) and trying to figure out the patterns for each. Anime version was the easiest, so I went with it and slowly refined by paper patterns until I had something I liked. These are made of worbla (a thermoplastic). It was my first time using it and it really shows, but it's so much fun! I traced my paper patterns onto the worbla, cut them out, and used a heat gun to shape them. After forming the pauldrons, I primed them and then painted them with a hammered copper spray paint.
I detailed them with a layer of black and then a bit of bright copper to make it look worn in certain areas. As a final touch I added a little teal to simulate patina.
You can really see how wonky they look from the bottom! It's not very obvious, but I have small loops on the undersides of these so I could attach chains. It's not in this picture, but I added a strip of velcro on these so they can attach to my cape and I don't have to worry about them falling off (they also help prevent the cape from slipping off!)
Side view. The angle of the pieces isn't… really… constant…
Alright! Back to staff times!
After taping over the EL wire, I covered the entire staff in plaster wrap. A few years ago I bought a big roll of plaster tape (upper left side). I cut it into strips of different widths and wrapped and wrapped and wrapped until I had a thickness and a look I generally liked.
I primed the whole thing with a red primer and then went to town with four or five different shades of brown spray paints. It mostly just looks like one color though, curses!! As the paint dried, I started the very laborious process of finding out where the painter's tape was and carefully pulling it off. Since the plaster was put on top, it made it difficult to A) get all the tape out and B) get it out without breaking sections of plaster.
As things were drying, I made my Maou horns. These are based off of how they look in the anime. They're made of worbla.
After much too long, I had all the tape off! It exposed a lot of white, and that was definitely not good.
I mixed up some acrylics and painted the white sections with a base color that was fairly close to the overall color of the staff.
Maou horns again. I wanted the horns to be hidden, so I put them on a headband that would go under my wig. There was no way I'd be able to get those big horns through the wig, so I made them connect to the headband with bottle caps. I can twist them on and off as needed pretty easily. The parts on the headband are just sections of plastic bottles hacksawed off at the desired angle. Easy, cheap, and works well.
Painted the horns. Had a lot of problems trying to match them to the anime and ended up putting lots of layers on trying to get the right color (which I never achieved, booo).
The last paint job needed some touch-ups and I spent a morning helping those areas blend into the surrounding area. I also added a layer of glow-in-the-dark paint in the "bark crevices," so the staff glows a bit even without the massive battery packs. The staff was then matte clear coated.
The final horns on the headband and all clear coated.
Bonus! LOOK! STYLING A WIG POORLY!
What I am doing
oh my god
This is close, right?
Yeah. Close enough.
Maou! (and Emi!) The horns turned out much too big and the angles were all wrong, so I decided to redo them for the next time I wanted to wear Maou. That's for the next prop post though!
I'm really REALLY happy with how this came out. Sure, there are problems with it, but it looks alright and it LIGHTS UP WHEN I TOUCH IT(in certain spots)! As you can probably tell, first frame is no touching, then touching the bottom section, touching the top, then touching both.
APPROXIMATE TIME/MONEY SPENT ON THESE:
-Maou Pauldrons: ~$20 (this includes the chain I bought for it), ~5 hours
-Maou Horns: ~$10, ~2 hours
-Jack Frost Staff: ~$120 (vast majority of that was EL wire-related bits), 20-30 hours
Thanks for reading!! Next will be a long post about making dragon puppets. Well, they're sorta puppets.