Waxxed thread/fake sinew screen color matching

This started with me asking the forums about a bear grease replacement and color question for making the Revenant/Dicaprio leather coat. I will paste Chris Ellerby's awesome and highly effectice suggestion here and then follow that with my discovery for coloring the waxxed string/fake sinew to match:

Look into making a mixture of beeswax and an oil, similar to how beard waxes are made.  I'd also look into non-spoiling oils so the costume lasts.  You could even mix in natural scents like pine, leather, smoke, to add to the impact of the costume, but I'd be careful to stick to pleasing scents and not go too heavy with them.

Lanolin may also be an optional additive/base.

Then you could mix in oil-friendly pigments to get the color and saturation you are after.

You can run small tests on scrap fabrics to fine-tune your mixture.
That worked very well, there will be a darker patch of grey brown in the pics below that came from testing. I then found I needed to color my thread as it is identical to the coat color. My string was too bright but is wax so will not accept pens, sprays or similar. I used makeup dry powder cakes and rubbed the powder manually into the string by pressing it down to the cake under my thumb while pulling the string through with the other hand. I finished by rubbing and dragging the string through my fingertips.

Final color of seriously weathered grey brown of leather and cordage above are getting very close to this inspiration photo from the movie:


  • Really love the attention to detail you are putting into this project!  Part of the fun in making something like this is learning about the history/materials/techniques that would go into the real thing, and the stories those can tell.   Awesome stuff!

  • The leather and the thread are looking great. This is in very golden lighting and will look far more gray in blue light. I am a lot too light on the straps so they get treated next. Need some grunge grey on that top strap. @Chris Ellerby. The wax mix I ended up really liking was beeswax and paraffin lamp oil but needed to be slightly thicker for the purposefully uneven application, so I added some tallow. It needed to be patchy to match the screen, instead of even in tone, so thicker turned out better for this project.
  • So glad you found a wax/oil mix that worked for you!  And loving those details as always!

  •  @Chris Ellerby I like to put all the what ifs and exceptions on the table when I show a finished shot, so here is the preamble: I took the background from the onscreen pic in Revenant. I also make a hard and fast rule not to alter my costume in photoshop on anything but lighting or filters, like an actual camera. That said, I used a filter to tone my pose and costume to the lighting that was present on the day this onscreen pic was shot (Dicaprio image above from The Revenant).
    With all that bla bla out of the way, my leather coloring grease/wax and my custom colored thread, following your instructions in the above convo thread, is here (finally), with more poses to follow in the Cosplay thread section:

  • and if you look close at my hand you can see my camera shutter remote.... ;)
  • It's really coming together great!  Now is that a period-accurate camera remote? 

  • Darrell GreenDarrell Green ✭✭✭
    edited April 2022
    He was seriously ahead of his time with his use of the selfie remote..... :smile:
    Not only did this remote need to be facing the camera, it was practically in need of being exactly 90 degrees to the sensor in vertical and horizontal. It was touchy to the extreme and guaranteed it would be in the photo. I have sworn to purchase the radio remote where I can tap it with my toe or hide it in my hand completely. This, in-line-of-sight, infrared is off my list of tools, after this build.

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