Draenei costume - material selection help?

Hi there - new to the school but very excited to try out character makeup!

I'm planning a costume build of a Male Draenei for my husband for a convention (Blizzcon 2017). I only do one costume a year so I have plenty of time.

I've chosen Prophet Velen from World of Warcraft- and while I have experience and confidence in my ability to make the props and robes - This will be my first venture into prosthetics of any kind so I'm both excited and intimidated - and I have a few questions.

I hope this is the right place to ask!

Things I'm trying to take into consideration are:

- this makeup (+ costume) has to be worn all day at a convention - and while he's willing to be uncomfortable, it can't be unbearable and has to stand up to a day of wear

- he has to be able to eat and drink while wearing it

- and I need the beard to be re-useable. (I've done a crepe hair application directly on the face before but clearly that wont work here.)

- based on the size of the forehead and the fact that it will probably be warm in November (when the convection is) I've gleaned that Foam Latex is my best bet.

- I'm starting from scratch tools / materials wise so I know this will be expensive but I'd prefer not to spend my life savings!

- I intend to buy a small(ish) smoker oven - so I don't think I'll have space to bake a full one piece cowl like in the class with the Hag makeup. I'll need to break it down into parts.


1) For the face, if I did an appliance for the lower half of the face and either punched or laid hair on it would the foam latex be able to support a large amount of hair like that? (I do intend to scale it down a bit - the character's beard is pretty out of control - but I'd like it to be long and have decent volume) If not - other suggestions on how to make / apply a beard like this?

2) Facial tentacles - some art has them, some does not. I'd like to include them but only if I can make them look not good. Any suggestion on those? so that they are flexible but not like limp or weird looking.

3) along the same line as the face tentacles - I need to make a tail. I'd prefer the tail to keep it's shape but not be super ridged - Also will probably be too large to bake - suggestions on materials?

Thank you in advance for any feedback or advice!

(sorry if the images are huge - I did try and edit the HTML to get them down to size but it may not have worked)


Post edited by Ashley Casteel on


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    Hi Ashley,

    Welcome to the school!

    Fantastic work on the costumes you posted, I really dig them.

    If the large head piece at the top is too big to bake for you, you could do it in an expanding urethane foam, which would also work for the tail.  You also don't need the entire head piece to be solid foam, and could cast it around a hollow shell to keep things light weight.

    For the face prosthetics, they don't appear too thick, so you could use silicone.  Silicone is good for thinner appliances as it has great translucency, does not require baking, and if you are careful the pieces can be reused a few times.

    Foam latex appliances are not typically re-useable as the blending edges get torn or damaged during removal.  And some removers use oils that start to break down the foam latex.  If you want to use a foam latex piece, use something like isopropyl alcohol to remove it rather than an oil based solvent like isopropyl myristate.

    Personally I would use silicone for the nose, cheeks, chin, and ears.  Then make the first row of forehead scales in silicone as part of the forehead appliance so they can blend nicely into the face and cover the blending edge of the top head piece, which I would probably run in expanding urethane foam.  The challenge there would be getting the paint work on the silicone pieces to match the foam head piece.  For that I would use some PAX paint to blend the two together.

    I would do the sideburns, eyebrows, and beard as hand-tied lace appliances.  To save some money you could hand lay the beard and then use a lace appliance for the hairline between the beard and the face to get a clean transition.  I would do the beard in 3 lace pieces, one for each side (including the sideburns) and then the center.

    The hag lesson you mentioned is a great starting point for handling the facial and ear appliances.  

    I hope you can share your progress with us here, and I'm happy to answer any other questions you may have!


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    Thanks so much!

    I hadn't really looked into urethane foam but it looks to be a great solution especially for the tail.  -- and thinking of it made me remember a video I saw on a Rancor costume I think they skinned it with some paint on latex then filled it with foam. Also seeing that Smooth-on has some 'self skinning' foam - all things ill have to look into!

    Thank you for all the feedback. I really appreciate it.

    I'll be doing the life cast of my husbands head this weekend so hopefully I can start sculpting soon! (second attempt... first one didn't turn out very well ... but I learned a lot! they make it look so easy in the videos!)

    I was staying away from silicone for three reason

    1) I'm unreasonably scared of painting it?? maybe I just need to research more.

    2) it will probably be kind of warm (normally is) at the convention and my husband will most likely be sweaty at some point - I read that this can be an issue with silicone? Unfortunately the actual costume show isn't till late in the day so it has to last!

    3) I'm using stone molds which from what I understand are not great for silicone? I'm not sure if I want to invest in the epoxical or not... I have time to think on it though till I'm done sculpting.  

    I will definitely look into it - not baking would be a lot easier.

    And I've been ruminating on it for a while and I think you're 100% right about the beard. Here's to hoping I have what it takes to make it look right! All of this will definitely be a learning process!

    I'll post photos soon as I have something interesting to show ;)

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    Figured I'd come back and give an update since this costume go finished. 

    Materials I ended up using: 
    For the cheeks, forehead, and face tentacles I used Dragon Skin silicone encapsulated in bald cap plastic (pre-mixed from Motion Picture FX) and applied with Pros-Aide. 

    For the top of the head and the tail I used Flex Foam-iT 14 (we tried 6 and 7 but had weird shrinkage issues, the 14 had better results) - molds for these were made of ultra cal plaster and sealed with Mann Easy Release 2831. 

    The beard and eye brows are hand tied / ventilated on to Swiss lace with kanekalon hair fibers from Doctored Locks (KK Smooth Seal). Hair was wefted by me and sewn to the back of a wig cap. 

    Shoulders and hooves are made from EVA foam and Worbla. 

    Gems on the shoulders and robes are cast in Clear Cast n' Craft resin and then colored with iPoly synthetic fabric dye. 

    Robes are made of raw silk and silk brocade. 

    Staff is made from a PVC frame covered in EVA foam, and the large gems are 3D printed.

    Considering this was my first time ever sculpting / casting / making / applying any kind of prosthetic i think it came out pretty good. And no oven needed :) 

    If you want to see more of our work check out SteelBarrelCosplay on instagram. Thanks!
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