Posts filed under ‘Article / Guide’

Lillymon – Part 2

Not a lot of progress to show off, mostly because I am waiting to show you guys the complete pieces rather than my unhemmed half-painted stuff! So today I will explain how I made Lillymon’s long thornesque nails:

Unfortunately my phone camera is terrible at picking up color, but these are bright red!

So around Halloween I check the sales and scope out some useful cosplay supplies, usually higher quality makeup pallets or liquid latex, specialty stockings and other fun things. This year I picked up a set of “Mardi gras” nails which were these bright green and yellow nails that were the length of the individual containers in the image above. I grabbed them in case I needed some extra long nails or claws for something, it was only $1! So for Lillymon I trimmed them down to size with a small pair of scissors. This gave a rough edge and so I used some sandpaper to smooth it down and make it more rounded. I then colored it with a couple layers of acrylic paint (trying to keep costs down for myself, red nail polish would have been a better choice) and finished it with two thin layers of glossy mod podge. They are a nice red and have a bit of a shine to them. They came with a type of double sided tape adhesive so I will be using that to attach them.

Hey look I found a picture of the package!

Add comment May 12, 2012

Sharpie Dye Tips and Guide

So I finally had a chance to try out wig dyeing! In an effort to save money I took my old Mintaka wig and colored it purple to be used as my Rarity wig for this upcoming May.

What Didn’t Work

Wanting to avoid unnecessary mess and spending I attempted two other methods before trying the Sharpie & Rubbing alcohol dye mix.

My first attempt was just coloring the wig with Sharpie markers. This was effective but a long process. This would be ideal for creating a streak that is a darker color on a lighter wig. This might also be a good option for a short multicolored wig.

My second attempt was the paint method where you heavily water down acrylic paint and use the pigment to dye the wig. I had the most perfect color of paint for the hair and it would have been cheaper than sharpies, and I used this method previously to dye spandex with success. Unfortunately the wig would not take the color. After drying I rinsed the wig and the color ran right out.

Sharpie Dye – Spray Bottle Method

The method that worked was using Sharpie ink and 70% rubbing alcohol. This is one of the commonly suggested methods for wig dyeing!


  • 70% Rubbing Alcohol (Approx. $2 at walmart in the medical section)
  • Sharpie Markers (Available individually at craft stores. For a good color I suggest 4-8 markers)
  • Spray Bottle


You start by opening the Sharpies. I did this with a pair of pliers and wiggled the colored tip out. Don’t cut the grey end of the marker since it will be hard to get out the ink and you might cut the ink cartridge.

Once the Sharpies are opened you can cut the cartridge along the side so it can mix much easier. This is optional but I found it reduced the waiting time!

Pop the ink cartridges into the spray bottle and then fill with the rubbing alcohol. For refrence, I used 3 sharpies with each 250ml (1 cup) of alcohol. I used almost 500ml (2 cups) for the entire wig. Make sure to shake it so it can be mixed well!

Let your mixture sit, and shake it a bit. I let it sit for about an hour before I sprayed it on the wig.

Spray your wig! This stuff stains and gets everywhere very easily, it also drips off the wig. I suggest doing it outdoors if possible. If you must do it indoors make sure to cover your area including any close by walls that might be splattered from the spray. Alcohol evaporates quickly but it still takes a fair bit of time. Go slow and work your way through the wig, you will want to take care to get it to the roots of the wig and to color both sides. I did several applications of color.

Once it looks how you want it to, run it under cold water to wash out excess color. You may need to do another coat or two  to touch up areas you might have missed so repeat as necessary.

– You can use different colored cartridges in the spray bottle to create different colors, you can also use different colors for each application to create highlights and lowlights. I colored blue streaks on the wig for lowlights before spraying. I also used blue in the second application to darken the purple a little bit.

– If the color moves away from the roots you can touch it up later with a sharpie marker.

– Use light applications to avoid lots of dripping and wasting your solution.

– Rather than using a spraybottle you can create a dye bath and let it sit in it, such as in this tutorial.

2 comments January 20, 2012

Using Cosplay Tutorials

This is an interesting article to write. Many people use tutorials, and many people write tutorials but not everyone knows how to use them to their advantage. This guide is to help with that, especially for people who aren’t experienced and aren’t sure if the result would be good. This guide is to help you learn how to find tutorials, and get the most out of them!

Types of Tutorials:

Guide / Article – These are usually in-depth and heavy on text, but can include images as well. These are usually to inform the reader, and can provide a lot of information or are based on personal opinion or experience.

General Tutorial – Almost always a series of images and text, giving you step by step information on how to create something.

WIPs (Work in Progress)– These are aimed at someone who already has an idea of what they are doing. Usually it is not explaining how to do what is shown but is showing the process. If there is progress being shown and information on how to achieve it, then it is generally counted as a tutorial. If it goes into a lot of detail then it is more likely a guide or an article.

Video – These are great for beginners. Video actually covers a range of tutorials, but I am specifically referencing those that show in real-time, possibly with some fast forwarding, how to create the end result.

Other – I can’t really think of something that fits this section right now, but if it doesn’t fit in the above then it will likely go here.

Add comment May 9, 2011

Wigs: Yellow vs Blonde

This is an interesting topic and something I see come up a lot in wig advice threads. Yellow or Blonde, what color should a wig be? It’s a challenge that can make or break a cosplay! Some people argue that yellow never is good, however I don’t believe that it’s true and I am going to go over some ways to determine if you should choose a blonde or yellow wig!

Obvious Blondes
These characters tend to have a lighter color of hair that is more blonde than yellow anyway. These generally should be a blonde wig.


Add comment April 11, 2011

Panty & Stocking Guide

Simple costumes but still a bit of a challenge, particularly the wigs if you don’t want to find them prestyled. The outfits are pretty good for smaller cons, meetups or more casual cosplay because they are fairly regular clothes.


Add comment January 26, 2011

I’ve Been Scammed! What Now? A Guide for Buying on the Internet

It happens, you buy from a commissioner and something goes wrong. You don’t get your item, you get something that is horrible quality, or you are just unsure if they are trustworthy. Buying on the internet isn’t like real life because you can’t just pick it up at a store and observe the item, you can’t walk it up to the cash and make sure it goes into the bag and that you walk out the door with it.

So there is always a risk with ordering online, but don’t let that scare you away from ordering! Personally I have never had a bad experience buying online, and I buy yugioh cards, wigs, theater makeup, books, cds, and clothes. But I know it happens, I’ve seen the stories of people where a commission just went wrong and they don’t know what to do – so this guide is here to help.

Add comment July 2, 2010

Jan Valentine Guide

Currently darkelements doesn’t have working contact forms due to the site’s redesign, but requests still get through to me. This morning I got a tutorial submission from a form that has nothing linking to it! I also got messaged on gaia to do a character guide for Jan Valentine from Hellsing, and so I am:


Add comment June 21, 2010

Hinamori Amu (Shugo Chara) Cosplay Guide

I haven’t done a full costume guide in awhile but I think it’s a pretty useful thing to blog post about, so I decided to go through how to make Hinamori Amu from the anime Shugo Chara.


Add comment June 5, 2010

Hot glue and Cosplay

I read through this article that was posted on

It discusses costume designers ditching sewing kits and going for hot glue as an alternative. I decided to go overs the pros and cons of hot glue for cosplay, because it is a useful tool but you shouldn’t ditch the sewing tools yet 😉

– Saves time (especially when in a pinch)
– Quick
– Good for a non-sewer (no skill required)
– Cheap (I got 100 glue sticks for under $5 and my best glue gun was $1)

– Cannot be washed (weaken the bond)
– Sacrifices Quality
– Not Very Durable
– Doesn’t adhere to some fabrics
– Possible burns

Overview: Why you shouldn’t Ditch the Sewing Kits
While hot glue can be a time saver, it’s quick and it’s easy … there are a lot of downsides to consider too. You can make some nice costumes with hot glue, they may hold together for the convention but it is likely to split open since it is not as strong as sewing. It also cannot be washed, for hot water will melt the glue or warp it and cold water loosens it’s grip, especially on fabrics that expand in water.

What Hot Glue is Good For
– Quick Fixes: When buttons fall off at a convention, you can hot glue them on until you have a chance to sew them, same with ripped seams. A glue gun is a great addition to any convention fix kit.

– Armor / Props : Raised designs on armor can be done with hot glue, and depending on what you are making it out of you can use hot glue to hold the armor together as well. Props are usually made from stuff that can be held together with hot glue, especially cardboard.

– Areas you can’t sew: If it’s something you can’t sew because it is far to thick for your sewing machine, or whatever other reason then hot glue is a good secondary option. I’ve used hot glue on some of my hats to attach pieces of sculpty or keep the fabric attached to the base.

– Things you don’t plan to wash: Wings, bootcovers, hats … you aren’t likely to throw these in the washing machine, and sometimes sewing is just not an option, so hot glue is great for these

Add comment April 12, 2010

10 Things Every Cosplayer Should Have

There are tons of things that cosplayers may end up gathering for various costumes, but there are things that every cosplayer should have – whether for emergencies or just to make your life easier. These are the ten things I think every cosplayer should have:

Add comment February 23, 2010

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