Status of the Site and Commissions

So, anyone who has tried to access the site in the last couple of weeks probably saw a very nasty warning page from google stating that the site was likely an attack site. This has been fixed! It seems my site was the target of a nasty bit of malicious code insert that tried to install malware whenever anyone visited it. I’ve been working with my hosting provider and the site is now clean again. If you have visited the site in the last 2-3 weeks and ignored the warning page, it wouldn’t hurt to run your favorite malware/virus checker just in case.
On brighter news, I have a few commissions slots open over the summer, but only for things which I already have the molds for. These items include:

I just won’t have time this summer to take on any new, custom commissions with my current workload and preparation for DragonCon. I will have time to prepare things I have already created molds for, however, and may also be able to provide any of the above listed items in kit form. Use the commission inquiry form to inquire.

Commission status and more client photos!

This is a post to explain the status of my commissions in the coming months. I am currently all booked up until August or September for custom commissions. My time will be taken up making gear for Megaman, Edward Elric, Felix Faust, Rosalina and Adam Warlock costumes; quite an eclectic mix, no?

However! I do still have some spare time in my schedule I can devote to filling some additional orders, so long as they require no sculpting, patternmaking and initial fabrication. This means that I can create anything that I already have molds for; jewelry, pauldrons, knives and staves! I have put together a list of what pieces I still have molds in good condition to make, with prices for the simpler things. For the larger pieces, just contact me with all of your particulars and I’ll get you a quote. For certain items, like Lightning’s Pauldron, I would be willing to sell resin kits. You’d get the raw resin casts from me and do the sanding, painting and assembling yourself. This is a good deal for folks with the time and skill to spare to do the finishing work and who’d like to save some money.

Here’s the list!

Quick turnaround pieces (2-3weeks maximum work time):

Final Fantasy 13

Snow’s NORA necklace: $45.00 Image
Snow and Serah’s Engagement Necklace: $45.00 Image
Serah’s Earrings: $15.00 Image
Lightning’s Necklace: $20.00 Image
Lightning’s Coat Hardware: $85.00 Image Image 2(One D buckle, One large slide buckle, four slide buckles, three three point buckles, four square fasteners, four silver “grommets”, six gold disks) I can create just parts of the set as well, contact me for individual prices.
Lightning’s Bullet Holders: $20.00/pair Image

Final Fantasy 6
Terra’s Earrings and Necklace: $50.00 Image


I can also cast colored, foil backed clear gems, including special effects such as opalescence, pearlescence, embedded items and create custom clay settings. Examples Here and Here

Moderate turnaround pieces (2-3 weeks turnaround):
Contact me for prices, as options affect the price.
Lightning’s Pauldron Image
Lightning’s Survival Knife Image
Snow’s Badge/Amband Image
Light Staff from FFXI Image Image

I already have a large stock of small parts, including many necklaces needing only a few days to assemble and complete, a large stockpile of jacket hardware and several cast resin gems which can be sold as-is or foil backed:

Just shoot me an E-mail at joy (at) or use the commissions form!


I also have the pleasure of postinga photo of a really lovely client from France with one of my Survival Knives!

This amazing costumer can be found at her site, HERE, or at her facebook site HERE.

Take care out there, and expect to see a new video documenting a really fantastic process I’ve started using soon!

Showcase – Lightning’s Suvival Dagger v2.1 and Vanille’s Heavenly Axis staff!

Been busy with a couple rush orders and several orders for things you folks have already seen if you watch this blog. I do have some new things though, an updated, upgraded version of the survival knife:













This version is nearly 100% resin, which is far sturdier and able to hold much better details. The handle is a resin core wrapped in heat formed eva foam. The caps are the ones described in my filigree tutorial.


I also got a commission for this fantastic piece, Vanille’s Heavenly Axis staff!















This piece was a lot of fun to create, and I’ll be posting a photo journal of it later. The core of the handle is heat formed pvc, with wonderflex detailing and bondo reinforcement. The antlers and head have a galvanized steel wire base, with carved insulation foam bases, wonderflex shells and bondo again for reinforcement. The mitama/beans are cast in hollow resin. It is just under four feet long and weighs less than four pounds. The whole thing is hand painted and it collapses!

Filigree How-to

Happy New Year everyone! Let’s get it started with a quick step-by-step tutorial!

So, I was recently asked to make another survival knife from Final Fantasy 13, and while watching some of the trailers for 13-2, it became clear that the caps on the handle were far more intricate than I had originally thought. It was time to do some raised filigree work!

First, I used a bit of scrap paper to create the shape templates I would need for the end caps. I then started sketching the design I wanted onto the templates.

I then cut out the shapes in styrene. Next, use graphite papaer or rub the filigree design onto the styrene. It will be rough and hard to see, so then go over these lines with a sharpie to get nice, clean guidelines. Next, grab some fabric paint and carefully draw it onto your guidelines. I used Tulip slick  in white for the finer lines and details like the oak leaves, and puffy in black for some of the thicker lines. I also went back after this photo and carefully drew in all along the edge of the upper cap to give a raised border. Allow this to fully dry.


Now, take the dry fabric paint and styrene contraptions and glue them down to whatever you’ll use as the base for your mold. I used foamcore this time. Build up the edges to hold your silicone, and mold as usual. Since this is for a bent piece, and I cast this as a flat piece, when casting I did not leave the resin in the mold for the full cure time. It will take a little experimentation, but resin can be removed before it has fully hardened and shaped as you see fit. Wait until the resin has become opaque, no longer feels remotely tacky when touched with a glove and bends like underdone pasta. If the resin seems to stretch as you try to remove it, it is not ready yet, just leave it a little longer. Once pulled from the mold, I simply pressed the resin pieces onto the knife handle where they will eventually rest.

Here we have, from right to left, the original styrene and fabric paint base, the mold and the resin casting after being formed around the handle. The handle also sports two more casts. Now simply paint and assemble!






Here are two casts, up top is a primed cap with a brown base-coat, below is the result after dry-brushing the cap with gold.















Speaking of dry-brushing, I also made a quick video demo on the subject:


Hope this has been helpful, stay tuned for some new projects and some exciting news about the studio!


Been a while, eh? I’ve been busy!

So, Dragon*Con has come and gone, and it was a sad year for us. A few hours Saturday meandering the halls was nowhere near enough! Ah well, there’s always next year.


The bench has been pretty full the last month or so, filling orders for the fall convention scene. Here’s what’s been keeping me busy lately:













Arika’s Blue Sky Sapphire from My-Otome. Used a new technique on the gem in this, added a layer of some color shifting nail enamel to the back, the gem has the super cool aqua to sapphire opalescence. Sculpey, metal findings and a cast resin gem.















Ah, old school. These little earrings are for none other than the Dark Lady from Sailor Moon. Snagged some really awesome AB jet prism drops from an etsy seller, they have a very cool gold to rich purple metallic rainbow finish to them. Those caps were quite a feat to sculpt as well, they’re only 1cm tall! The full earring is about 3.5 cm in length. Sculpey with Swarovski prisms and metal findings.












And here we have Himeno’s tiara from Pretear. Started making my own molds to use with clear resin, and I’m very pleased with the results so far. This piece is attached to a wire headband for ease of wear. Photo taken on top of my Lightning wig, I don’t think she’d be caught dead wearing something so cute and girly! Sculpey, Resin, clear resin and a wire headband.

















A seemingly simple commission, The artwork version of Eclair’s earrings from La Pucelle Tactics. The problem? South Georgia’s summers are pretty much constantly 50% humidity or higher, so the paints I was using on this threw some hissy-fits. A little patience and some time with a heat gun eventually gave me a nice, even, pearly coat. Plastic, faux pearls and metal findings.














Yet another NORA necklace, I wasn’t happy with my old photos of this necklace, so I took a few new shots of my latest commission for one.


Now, I swear I took better photos of these next two commissions before I sent them out, but for the life of me I cannot find them, so a few phone photos will have to do.












Jason Todd’s (The Red Hood) dagger from Batman. This was a learning experience for sure, and I shamelessly pilfered a technique from one of Volpin’s step-by-step posts to create beveled edges without pulling your hair out. A ton of gap filling and wet sanding was also required, but the results were well worth it. The blade is super smooth and very shiny and the whole piece just -feels- right. I tell you, every time I held this thing I couldn’t resist the urge to make dagger fighting poses and slash it around. The dagger is 100% cast in resin, with a central metal post for support.










And here is the final finish on the handle. The comic goes back and forth on color a lot, but the client and I eventually went with a dark wood grain. Been a while since I drybrushed a wood texture, but I’m exceedingly pleased with the result.



















And now..the strangest request I have gotten yet! A nearly life-sized plush sheep! Now, it all makes sense when you know the character this prop will accompany, this sheep is the base for Deadpool’s meadowlands sniper sheep cannon! I don’t normally do sewn commissions, but I have a fair amount of experience sewing plush, and I felt confident I could give my client a quality sheep. The problem? You try finding a realistic sheep pattern. I ended up completely drafting this pattern from scratch, and certainly took some editing, but I’m truly pleased with the results. Hey, maybe I could market these to all the Catherine costumers, what do you think? Faux sheepskin, polyfill, poly-suede, buttons, galvanized steel wire in legs for support.


So! That’s it from me today, but expect more soon, the bench is still inundated with work and I’d like to put up another tutorial soon, so keep an eye out!



Long time no see… Have some commissions

Been a bad webmistress, I’ve been so busy with commissions and classes I’ve neglected the site. Well, at least it means I have tons of goodies to post!

Another one of these bad boys, best one yet, but I doubt I’m going to want to make another for a while, this one gave me so many problems getting the gold finish just right.


A very old piece, for a very lovely client. This is the necklace worn by Excella Gionne in Resident Evil, was a lot of fun to make and a really gorgeous piece. Sculpey, Gold toned findings, swarovski rhinestones and enamel.


Next is Eclair’s brooch from La Pucelle Tactics. This is one of my many recent forays into working with clear resin. Mildly temperamental, but so very useful. If only it didn’t take days to fully cure. Sculpey, clear resin, foil cardstock, enamel and pin back.

And now a cute little wrist transceiver for Touko from Pokemon Black and White.  Small, but very precise lines required. The costumer had their own wristband for this. Sculpey and enamel.


And now one of my current WIPs, one of Jason Todd’s many pointy things, a kris dagger. This has been a lot of fun to work on, and I got to try out a new technique for sculpting beveled edges pilfered shamelessly from Volpin’s flickr stream (follow his blog here, he really is talented: ) . The dagger is about 14.5 inches long and cast in resin. Currently going through the oh so tedious process of priming and sanding.


Well, that’s all the work for other people that I can currently show off. I’ll be making another post today focusing on my own projects.

Busy Workbench!

So, business is booming! I have a ton of great projects in, and repeat customers, which to me is the best sort of compliment. I’m cataloging the new pieces and will be putting up a small, basic beading tutorial in the furture.

Lightning’s Survival Knife – Progress Post 2

And now Part two!

This will outline the handle construction all the way to completion. There are a few new supplies to add to the list first:

  • Acrylic Gloss Coat
  • Fabric Paint
  • Sculpey
  • Craft Acrylics
  • A Push Pin
  • Card Stock

Alright, first off, the interior bit of foamcore in the handle needs to be cut out. It’s cut to match the exterior back curve and the lower edge curve of the blade, so that it gives structure to the handle while allowing the blade to nestle inside it. I also cut two extra pieces of plain cardstock to give a little extra clearance for the blade, don’t want the resting track to be too tight, or it will wear off the paint on the blade.

Now the interior pieces are glued onto one side of the handle, before gluing the other side of the handle down, I went ahead and painted the whole interior black. It’d be nearly impossible to paint after assembly.

Now, time to get that rotating mechanism in there. It’s a very simple sort of arrangement. A push pin (the kind with a flat metal head) is embedded, head end, into the blade, with the pin protruding. Later, this pin will be anchored into the handle pivot point. First we cut a square out of the blade, careful to only cut the top layer of paper, this is then removed, and the foam inside is compressed slightly to allow for the pin. We also cut a square out of cardstock that will fit -very- snugly into the square in the blade, punch a hole through the center of this bit with the pushpin. Also, to allow for maximum adhesion later, I took some wire cutters and put little score marks all up and down the pin shaft to give the glue more to bond with.

The pin was then inserted into the cardstock cutout, and this was pushed into the cutout in the foamcore, making sure it’s -very- snug.  Then, to smooth the top over, since it now has a big square cut into it, I cut out a piece of plain printer paper in the shape of the blade and secured it over the top of the foamcore with a thin layer of the permanent fabric glue. This glue doesn’t make the paper wrinkle o get too wet, so I find it’s good for paper to paper application. Now this side of the blade can be finished, I won’t post photos of this since it’s exactly the same as the other side.

Alright, back to the handle, Now I went ahead and assembled the whole knife. The blade was set into the pivot point, but not glued down yet, I then checked to make sure the opening and closing was smooth and that the knife folded down without any of the point still sticking out.

Now on to finishing that handle! The handle in the game shots is definitely rubber like, so I decided to use Eva foam (aka foamies, craft foam). It’s nice and comfy to hold, has a rubber-like feel and photographs like rubber. Also, this stuff can be heat formed very easily. I cut a square out large enough to cover the piece, then went to the kitchen. The foam was held over a stove burner until it started to soften, then stretched over the handle to pick up it’s curves. Repeat a few times to really get the shape. Now this is just to get the back curve, the finger grip is a bit too much to do without having four hands to work with.

Now the eva foam was glued to the handle, first along the back edge, then carefully stretched over the finger grips, gluing down only a ridge or two at a time to preserve the contours. Many Hot glue burns from holding those edges down. The the edges of the foam were trimmed.

Now, some detailing. First, grooves were cut out of the eva foam near the front, the underlying foamcore was painted matte black afterwords. Then, I used an old stylus to press the details of the finger grip into the foam. Eva foam embosses like a dream, just use even pressure and be careful not to tear it, and repeat the pressure several times. Then, to give the grip a different finish than the rest of the handle, I painted it with glossy black fabric paint (I used Tulip brand Slick paint).

Now comes the time to work on the gold caps on the handle. I had intended to make these from styrene, however I hit a snag when I discovered if I want styrene, I need to order it online. No stores in my town stock it. So, plan b…more Eva foam! The problem with eva foam and painting is that it is, quite literally a sponge, and will keep drinking paint without ever letting go of it’s porous texture. There is a technique to help prevent this though. By heating then stretching the foam, buffing the surface the whole time, the surface becomes very smooth and more apt to take paint well. I did this by heating the piece of foam under a hot iron, then immediately stretching it, all the time running it over the back of my office chair (think how you shine a shoe). The butt form was cut from this and further heat formed  into a curve (I actually used the outside surface of my very hot teacup for this).

Then, the cap and it’s bottom were glued to the and of the handle and embossed in the same way as the finger grip area. The cap foam was then sealed with gloss acrylic paint first, then got two coats of gold enamel.

Now the back cap, it’s done in the same way as the butt cap, cutout from the same strip of foam that I buffed and stretched.

I had to extrapolate most of the embossed design, as all of the references I could gather only really show the side of the design. You can also see the different finiah the eva foam gets after being streched and buffed.

Another sealant coat, then two coats of paint:

Now, on to the emblems on the pivot point. I had hoped to make these of an image backed clear material, however the supplies were a bit too much for this piece, so Instead I decided to sculpt the rounds with sculpey and paint them. First, the sculpting. Little flattened rounds are harder to do than you’d think, so I went ahead and made a simple press mold in sculpey by pressing the rounded end of a hobby blade cap into some rolled out sculpey, fired that, then used it to mold the two emblems. One is a little bit bigger than the other in the references, so one is smaller than the other here as well.

Once fired, I set them up to paint. When painting very tiny things, It’s hepful to secure them to a round head sewing pin with a little hot glue or other removable adhesive, then stick the pin in something like foam to keep the piece from moving while you paint. I used a little craft acrylic paint to paint in the base colors first.

Then, highlights were added to the base colors and the black lines were painted in carefully.

They were then given two gloss coats and removed from the pins. Now it’s time to assemble. The Emblems were glued down, the pivot post glued into the pivot…and voila!

There are still a few things to do, paint touch-ups and the like, but I won’t bore you folks with that process.

This piece has been a lot of fun to work on, and I’ve certainly learned some new tricks while doing it. I hope this little walkthrough has been helpful or at least entertaining. Look forward to the next tutorial coming soon (and I mean soon!): Making small sculpey press molds from hot glue!

Lightning’s Survival Knife – Progress Post

So, one of the costumes I’m doing for myself is Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII. She has a gunblade (oh you quirky Japanese designers!) that she uses in main combat, but she also has this dagger that comes into play in the story of the game, it actually gets a lot of screen time, so I thought I’d make it.

So, I decided to go with cheap and easy to obtain materials with this one. The majority of it is made using the following:

  • 3/8ths inch Foamcore
  • Eva Foam (craft foam sheets)
  • Strathmore foil cardstock in silver
  • Printer paper
  • Gesso
  • Hot glue
  • Permenant fabric glue
  • Liquid leaf silver
  • Testors Gold Enamel

I started out by creating a template image from screens and videos of the game, then printed this out  and cut out all the pieces. This is boring..thus no pictures.

Next I cut out the blade from foamcore and used a very sharp hobby blade to cut the beveled edges of the knife edges. The trick to doing this is loads of practice, a steady hand and an extremely sharp blade.

Now comes the shiny edges. On this piece, instead of fighting with days of gessoing and sanding foamcore edges, I decided to add flashing of a sort to all “sharpened” and high-polish edges.  I traced all of the beveled edges first onto printer paper and cut them out, carefully laying them over the foamcore to ensure a good fit, then used these patterns to cut out flashing strips from the foiled cardstock. These were then glued down carefully using hot glue and trimmed with the hobby blade where necessary.

Now comes the swirl detail on the back of the blade. This is a raised design, so I simply drew the swirls onto the cardstock using thick layers of gesso.

Now to start the paint on the blade. I wanted a duller finish for the rest of the blade, so I used standard liquid leaf. I also placed a placeholder for the little colorful bit to check size. The other side of the blade will go through these same steps when it’s time, but I am holding off on that until the folding mechanism has be set up. It will also need to receive more flashing on the unfinished edges around the finger hole.

Now on to the handle. This blade folds up, so it needs to have a slot inside the handle to rest in. Therefore, this will be made of three layers of cardstock with the blade anchored between the outer two. Here’s the cutout for the outer pieces, the inner bit will cut after the folding mechanism is set up. You can see more of the template file there next to the pieces.

Now comes beveling. I don’t want this bit to be as shiny as the blade’s sharp edges, therefore I will not be using the flashing method here. nstead what I have done is score the edge of the bevels around the circle with a hobby blade, then very carefully press the scored edges down, they fold at the score line, and still lay fairly smoothly. I’ve also cut out some pieces from eva foam that will form the contours of the handle.

Now, gesso, sand, repeat. These edges and planes need to be as smooth as possible since they will be painted.  Metallic paint picks up ridges and imperfections like nothing else, which makes this part vital. But! You can also use that to your advantage here, On a piece I was having a bit of trouble getting smooth, I used the gold paint to highlight areas still needing work, since gesso makes these things hard to see. I also went ahead and started embossing the screws in the handle. I just pressed the outlines using the metal cap from a set of eyeglass screwdrivers and then used the flat-head screwdriver to press in the line of the screw. You’ll also see here the test holes for the dowel that the blade will be anchored on.

Now we’re getting somewhere!The pieces were as smooth as I could get them, so on to paint. This was done with some testors gold enamel, quite good stuff actually, I also used it on my lightning necklace. About two coats is all it took (needed a bit of touch up in a few places). Then since some of the pressed details for the ridges and screws were lost, I re-pressed them with the cap and screwdriver and made sure to actually cut into the paint to make a sharp edge. I also carved in (what I assume must be) the knife’s product code.  This was then highlighted with a dark grey, dark brown and black ink to bring out the lines.

I’ve also started assembling the handle pieces together. Here you can see how the layers of eva foam will help give the handle a nice contour and make it more comfy to hold. I’ve also temporarily set the blade in to mark the pivot points and get the shape I need to cut for the interior bit of foamcore to go between these two.

More detail:

Well, that does it for me tonight. Hope it’s been helpful to someone out there. My next post will detail how to put the whole thing together, wrap the handle and add the handle caps.