August 4, 2013

The Hobbit: Lord Elrond Costume: Vambrace

While I had printed out an arm bracer pattern from a generous soul who posted it online, I still had to make my own, based on my son’s arm measurements. It should neither be too long nor too short, so I had to adjust the dimensions and curvature. The dress form was really helpful in providing perspective.

Paper patterns of the Elrond armor on the dress form.

I decided to use vinyl, attached to heat-shaped craft foam as the base where the plates would be attached.

Elrond vambrace using vinyl and heat-curved craft foam.

Elrond vambrace using vinyl and heat-curved craft foam.

When I was satisfied with how the paper pattern looked, I traced them onto the vinyl and cut the pieces out neatly.

Tracing the patterns of the Elrond vambrace plates onto the vinyl.

Elrond vambrace vinyl plates.

The next step was making the clay trim. I had estimated the total measurement of the silver edges on all the plates of the whole armor and came up with 900 feet of a quarter inch width of clay. That’s a long piece of clay. I tried freehand slicing but I couldn’t keep a steady hand to make the quarter inch width, so I devised a tool. I glued two pointed blades, a quarter inch apart, on some popsicle sticks. Voila!

Customized blades to cut the polymer clay into 1/4-inch strips.

And there are the bracer plates with the silver edge trim.

Clay edgings attached to the vambrace plates.

I hand-stitched a hard heavy-duty thread along the edges of the vambrace base just for effect.

Adding stitches to the Elrond arm bracers.

Then I needed to decide on how the bracers would be worn. I asked my son if he wanted buckles or laces. We agreed on buckles, which he could manage without help. So I went to the Tandy Leather store to get some buckles (for my purpose, these were the best ones they had, and I couldn't find any other source). Then I made my own closures with the same vinyl I used for the vambrace base.

Fabricating the buckle closures for the Elrond bracers.

Fabricating the buckle closures for the Elrond bracers.

The step that’s not pictured here is when I painted the plates with Mod Podge to make them shiny. I had tried various ways to make the vinyl shine, like polyurethane, white glue, and polymer clay gloss, but Mod Podge is the one that dried out the shiniest.

Then I punched holes and hammered studs to attach both the plates and the buckles simultaneously to the vambrace base.

Assembling the Elrond arm bracers.

Lord Elrond arm bracers finished.

Lord Elrond arm bracers finished.

And wow, it worked!

Lord Elrond arm bracers on the dress form.

Lord Elrond costume arm bracers (vambraces).

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