Cosplay Chronicles: High Queen Margo, The Destroyer // Part I

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

I'm going into this post with a couple disclaimers:

1) I haven't (yet) seen The Magicians. I did that thing where I read all the episode recaps on io9 and watched the clips on YouTube. And even with that lackadaisical education, Margo and Eliot are my favorite.

2) I am not a professional. Like, at all, but especially at DIY related activities. I'm piecing this process together from all the reading I've done online over the years and videos I've watched for fun (though there were a couple videos (one and two) I watched once I decided this project).

Ok, now that that's out of the way, at some point next year I'd like to cosplay as High Queen Margo, from The Magicians.

I had a really hard time picking a pic here.

And with that decided, for some reason I also thought that starting with the crown would be the best thing to do. It might have also been slightly influenced by my kind of ridiculous work life and the fact that sewing is hard and is going to be a much longer term hobby to try and even sorta master, but WHATEVER. Here we are. I did try to be slightly reasonable though, and started with the most important, and also most boring, part of a project where you're trying to make something that looks like a thing that already exists - research. And lots and lots of reference photos.

And these are only SOME of the photos/screenshots I have

I really wasn't kidding about the reference photos part, because I wasn't going to go in and spend hours watching the show only for good shots of the crown - that defeats the purpose of enjoying it and sounds miserable. So I went into the crown making business after confirming an organic, leaf/tree inspired motif, with 2 orange stones and approximately 4 teal/green ones. And with a little help from the videos linked earlier, I decided that building a base of wire and bulking it out with hot glue, would be an "easy" way to go about it.

Supplies Needed:
-16 Gauge Wire
-22 Gauge Garden Wire
-Needle Nose Pliers (with wire cutting ability)
-Hot Glue Gun
-Untold Number of Glue Sticks

Ultimately, while it sounds like a cop out, I printed 5-6 pictures of the crown from different angles, and tried to create the general shape with the garden wire. I used the pliers to cut out the base from the heavier 16 gauge wire, and then piece by piece used the garden wire to create the upward flowing bits of crown. I knew this wasn't going to be a project for perfection - the original result is too organic and also, I don't know what I'm doing, but slowly it came together. Doing it this way involved a lot of do-overs (ie, reshaping/curving/moving wire), because I didn't want to do any gluing of pieces to each other until every piece was done. And I knew this tactic wouldn't work for the leaves, so I had to envision where they would go later. Is it creepy to say I was building the skeleton before the person? Probably, but there you go.

I wanted to have the foam head around to work on, but alas, even the male one was too small for the final result.

Pros to this method: relatively user friendly, low material cost. Con: it was hard to judge how big the final result was going to be, and in the end I think my version is about 1.25 to 1.5 times bigger than the show original. I considered starting over, but once I began adding glue it looked good enough that I said f*ck it. Which is a great segue into the next step here, which is hot glue. There isn't any trick here, I just slowly but steadily started going along the base and up each branch with hot glue. First from the outside, then the inside, covering the wire and trying to improve the flow of each piece. This isn't particularly difficult, but it is a little fiddly so I did it over a few days.

Next I had to figure out the leaves part, and this is where I really winged it. I considered using a plastic/glass container like in this tutorial, but in the end went even lazier, and free handed them on parchment paper. Shrug. Working theory was that since parchment paper was used for baking and to keep items from sticking, it would work here and thankfully, I can confirm that it does.

This was way more leaves than I ended up needing.

The only problem with doing it this way is that depending on how you think about it, you're going to waste some glue. I didn't have a final count going in and you're going to end up hating some of the ones you make - or at least I did. It's a good way to get organically matched-but-not shapes, but if consistency is your jam then I'd vote for creating a stencil or something to put under the parchment paper.

Still, even with all this kind of ridiculous conclusion making, I ended up with a very crown like shape that did (when you squinted at it) look like the original! I mean, the squinting is necessary because there's some shape perfecting and jewels and panting and aging and blah blah blah. Stuff. There is still a lot more that comes after this, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out and how it wasn't a total headache to build. Crafting is a wibbly wobbly world of existing constantly on the edge of disaster, but friends, I'm happy to say that so far, so good.

And for sticking around with me this long, bonus cat pic! Sophie is generally very good for a cat while I'm crafting, sitting behind me on the floor or sleeping on the bed, but hot glue? Oh my god she HATES IT. Or desperately wants to eat it, depending on how you read those sorts of behavioral clues, and I'm sure the stringy bits that come along with this medium don't help. But sheesh. I have never had to shoo my cat away more often then when I was working on all this.

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