Tag Archives: How-To

Wayback Wednesday: How To Make a Golden-Age Flash Costume

With Halloween approaching fast, now* seems like a good time to highlight a pair of old posts on how to make a Jay Garrick costume!

My wife and I (OK, it was mostly her) made this for Comic-Con International 2009, and it worked out really well. Unfortunately the gold paint on the helmet wings has tarnished since then, and the boot covers have detached themselves from the shoes, so it needs some touch-up if I plan to wear it again. Maybe next year.

*Yeah, I know last week or even earlier in October would have been a better time, but I only came up with this “Wayback Wednesday” idea acouple of days ago.

Golden-Age Flash Costume: Boots and Shirt Construction

Katie again, as promised, with details on the making of the boots and shirt for Kelson’s Comic-Con Golden Age Flash costume. This shouldn’t be nearly as long as the helmet post, I promise. My aim here is to show the entire process from design to display, as an aid to anyone else who might want to try something similar.

The Boots

Our original intention with the boots was to get cheap boots and make boot covers. I’d picked up a pair of costume boots for myself at Payless at a huge discount a few years ago, which was surprising given that anything in a size 10 or over is hard to find in women’s shoes. However, men’s fashion boots are even harder to find, let alone with a price restriction, and in the sale room of DSW we reformulated our plan. We thought about permanently attaching semi-rigid covers to an old pair of sneakers, but realized that tying laces would prove impossible inside a boot. So it came down to slip-ons, and we located a pair at (surprise!) Payless that fit pretty well. The only question was whether to make them permanent or removable, and the material made the decision for us.

I tend to be a cheapskate when it comes to crafts that I’m going to keep for myself. For gifts, sales, or commissions, I spare little expense; but for my own use it’s Red Heart Super Saver and Westrim beads, because I’m willing to undertake for myself the maintenance that will make the piece look like more than it is. We went to Jo-Ann with no idea what we wanted beyond “shiny bright red.” Luckily, this was during a huge fabric clearance and we found some less-than-half-price red vinyl, which settled the question of what to make the boots from. I also picked up some E-6000 cement, which claimed it would bond vinyl, and some muslin for making patterns and test covers. I didn’t intend to sew the final covers, as it would punch holes in the vinyl. But something else happened then that I did not intend: the E-6000 not only wouldn’t hold up to much pulling (even when I roughed up the shiny vinyl lightly with sandpaper), but flat-out refused to bond to the back side of the vinyl. It didn’t matter that the suggested temperature range meant I’d waited until nearly sunset to be able to use it at all. It just beaded up, dried, and fell off. So, since I didn’t want to mess with mass quantities of hot glue that I’d need to shepherd along definite “seam” lines, it was going to have to be sewing.

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Golden-Age Flash Costume: Helmet Construction

Hi! This is Katie, the wife Kelson’s mentioned a few times. I’m not nearly as involved with comics as he is, but I appreciate a good convention costume and have made a point of wearing at least one a year for a while now. My interests in effects makeup, jewelrymaking, and general arts and crafts really come in handy for this, though it had been a long time since I’d been able to persuade Kelson to dress up for a con. When he mentioned that he’d wear a Jay Garrick Flash costume if he could get all the pieces, my ears pricked up. When he said something about how a really determined person would make a paper-mache hat, I said, “I could do that.” In the end, I did quite a bit more.

The helmet is made from paper mache, Crayola Model Magic, glue, felt, cardboard, a few gap-filling pastes of varying efficacy, and both brush-on and spray-on paint and clear-coat spray acrylic. The boots are vinyl covers glued (again, with a sort of tiered success) to a pair of $20 Payless slip-on shoes, with stuffed plush wings made from felt and sewn on. And the shirt, which we originally thought would be taken care of by Graphitti Designs, involved some last-minute Amazon ordering, masking tape, and several applications of fabric paint. I was heat-setting the thing at midnight the Tuesday before the con; we have yet to see what washing will do to it.

The Helmet

I started with the helmet, figuring it would take a while to dry at the thicknesses I’d be creating, even in dry heat. (One thing California summer weather is good for!) Continue reading