I made two tiaras for a Black Swan Cosplay Costume for DragonCon 2011. Below you will find out how I did it. The Black Swan photo to the left was taken by Sean Alderman – SciFiAnimeHeroes.com at DragonCon 2011. In that image, the tiara was place a little to far back on my head. Later during DragonCon, I moved it up and more horizontal.
Since I don’t have any skills with metal working–melting, molding, burning–I have decided to work with a different material, molding clay. I will use metal wire, an air dry clay, and paint to simulate the look of metal. Then apply the crystals after they have been set in metal findings.
The molding clay I have picked can be painted, carved, sanded, and polished after it dries. It will also stick to metal, which is important because I am building the frame out of wire metal. Also the clay is light weight and has turned out to be surprisingly strong. I know the picture shows Aluminum spray paint. I do not recommend this after testing. Instead get a black metallic spray paint and a metallic gray acrylic paint. First spray on a base of black and use the gray has highlights over the black paint. The Aluminum spray paint has a weird texture, which does not apply nicely to the clay. After painting your base, I recommend using a glossy clear coat to finish. Do this before adding your crystals. More on that later….pictures coming after Dragon*Con…
The first step in creating the Tiara was to created small, mangled looking pieces of clay. While the clay is drying, you can create the wire base for the Tiara. I took Black 18 gauge aluminum wire and shaped it around the crown of my head where I estimated the Black Swan crown was placed. There is a slight dip in the sides of the crown; you can see this in the references images I provided. Once the clay had dried, I took another thinner gauged piece of wire and created the center point. About one inch from the top of the center point I took another piece of this wire and created a triangle and anchored it down to the sides. This provides some support while you are starting your tiara. I took un-dried clay and styled the center piece and let that dry for 24 hours. The next part I took un-dried clay and started to build of the sides according an image I had of the tiara. You will notice that there is a bend in the tiara coming of the side. I did not bend the wire. Instead I shaped the clay over the wire (the wire is not inside the clay). After I was finished with the tiara, I clipped those exposed pieces of wire leaving a nice arch in the clay. After these had dried, I start using the small pieces of clay and gluing them to the rest of the tiara. I start from the center and work around to the sides. The glue has to set at least 24 hours. So, I was only able to add a couple pieces a night. There are at least 30 individual pieces of clay that comprise these tiaras. There are at least 16 pieces of clay show in the image “Black Swan Tiara Front Finished.”
After all the glue has dried, you can paint your tiara. I picked a metallic black spray paint as a base. Spray the whole thing and let it dry. Then take a coat of gun metal gray acrylic paint and paint over the top. I diluted this paint with water in some places in order to have some black show through. When this coat was finished drying, I used black acrylic paint to add shading. Then finished it off with several coats of acrylic gloss spray paint.
I used Swarovski crystals in clear and black as well as some pointed beads. The Swarovski crystals need to be set in metal fittings in order to be attached to the tiara. The only metal fittings I could find were gold in tone; thus, they had to be painted black. I used wire and or clay to provide an attachment point to the tiara. The crystals that used clay were glued to the tiara base; some were wired depending on their position. After everything dried, I painted the white clay with black then gun metal gray so it matched the rest of the tiara. The results follow with the exception I had yet to paint the white clay attachment points for the crystals.
Viewed 36090 times