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.

Thank you Polygon! Holiday Gift ideas!

I want to thank Alexa Ray Corriea at Polygon for featuring my work in their Gift Guide: Crafts article!

I’m booked to the brim until the start of the new year on larger props and armor commissions, but I can still fit in a few jewelry commissions for which I still have the molds and materials on hand. If you’re looking for a gift for that game loving geek on your list, I have several pieces that I could whip up in time for the Holidays!

The list of pieces I can create in time for the holidays are as follows:

  • Serah and Snow’s Engagement Pendant from FFXIII
  • Snow’s NORA Necklace from FFXIII
  • Lightning’s Necklace from FFXIII
  • Serah’s Earrings from FFXIII
  • Rosalina’s Earrings from Super Mario Galaxy
  • Terra’s Necklace from FFXI/Dissidia

Interested? Just shoot me a line via my Commissions page, or directly at joy (at) joysutton.com! I can only guarantee shipping by Dec. 24th on orders placed before Dec. 16th, and there are only a handful of slots, so act early!

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

Gems

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)joysutton.com 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!

More props and jewelry in action! And some WIPs!

I have some amazing photos of one of my favorite clients in her Lightning costume! She is sporting one of my pauldrons, bullet holsters, belt buckles, coat grommets and gold circle details. Her Snow is also sporting one of my NORA necklaces! Their group is quite fabulous, and you should definitely check out the rest of their set.

 

There are quite a few more shots of this amazing group HERE.

And the photographer’s work can be found HERE and HERE, and hey, a fellow prop maker!

 

And now, what has been keeping me busy:

Growing close to completion on this baby here, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s looking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here, from a super fun commission, I’ll leave it to you guys to figure out what it is for now!

Snow’s Armband, the Light Staff and changes coming

So, after several hiccups, Snow’s Armband/Badge has been complete!

The Badge and holster is cast in resin, with cast magic goldfinger and silver bullet powders, with black enamel paint. The white text reads “Paladin” in the game’s script, while the lower black strip says “Plautus” is the same script. The Paladin coat is purchased from Plautus’s Workshop in the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The armband is sewn in heather gray jersey, with double interfacing, orange piping, eyelets, woven cord and metal cord caps.

 

Next, we have a WIP from the workbench, the Light Staff from Final Fantasy XI!

This piece is also being constantly updated in one of my imgur galleries, so please watch how it shapes up Over Here!

 

Now, for news. I hinted at this a month or so ago, but the site will be getting a name and domain change soon. I do this in an effort to differentiate my own personal web presence from this business. Jay and I will be working on the changes, which will include a site upgrade and some other ways to keep up with our work, so keep an eye out for the new site!

 

Heavenly Axis Staff – Step by Step

A bit behind on posting the step by step on this piece. This was a rush order, so I didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked to, but I will do my best to fill in the gaps with words.

Design

The staff design from the game, some changes were made to allow it to actually fold up and allow for durability.

I first heat formed some PVC pipe for the basic handle curves. I decided that using the tension from two slip elbow pvc joints would be the best bet to make the handle collapse as it does in the game.

The head was carved in several layers of insulation foam. After this I also cut out the mouth. This was then gessoed and got a layer of bondo.

The first of many layers of bondo over heat formed wonderflex for the flower petals. There are also stacked layers of wonderflex towards the end to smooth the transition from handle to cap.

As you can see, it requires quite a lot of sanding once it cures. Over the course of this project I did find a few tricks for getting it even smoother during application.

First sanding, somewhat rough, but another layer of bondo would be covering this. I also took the time to confirm my color selection with my client.

More and more bondo and wonderflex. At this point, the head has received a layer of bondo, then a layer of wonderflex over it.

The pivot point, I ended up needing to switch one of the elbows to increase the distance between the flower petals.

The beans/mitama details were first sculpted in plastalina, this is the sculpt about halfway through.

The plastalina prototype was molded in silicone and I started casting hollow resin versions.

The antlers are insulation foam and paper mache around a double galvanized steel wire base. This was then covered in wonderflex and a few layers of bondo. The lower halves in this shot have this treatment, while the upper parts are the raw foam carvings.

Even more bondo! Never have I sanded so much.

Close up of the head and antlers. After this I decided to give the head yet another coat of bondo. Here is a bit of a gap in photograhs. After this, the last few mitamas were cast and smoothed out a bit, the handle, head and joints in the antlers got more bondo and I did the final sanding. After that, the pieces were primed and painted.

Nearly done, touchups, clearcoat and a few details to go. This is the staff folded up. I adore these bright colors.

I did all of these gradients by hand with a paintbrush. Unfortunately my studio lacks an airbrush.

I didn’t take any photographs of doing the head cap where the antlers attach. It’s a solid resin cap, with galvanized steel rods helping to anchor it solidly into the head. I achieved this by stabbing some galvanized steel wires into the head with about an inch protruding for additional anchors, then made a paper “mold” in the shape I wanted and added a rectangle of insulation foam where I wanted the channel for the antlers to go. Resin was poured into this, and once cured I simply removed the paper and foam and sanded it to the final form. Unfortunately, the first time I did this, I accidentally placed the steel wires right where I needed to drill the screws to hold in the antler loops, so I had to take a hammer to the headcap to start over. I can say with absolute certainly that this method made that headcap -very- sturdy! Took me a half an hour, pliers, a hammer and a power drill to get the thing off. The second time I was much more careful where those anchor wires went. I also used the paper mold technique to make the diamond shaped gem at the top.

Another head shot. The spheres are just birch balls, painted and drilled.

The beads and big gem laid out. The gem is actually a cast left over from another commission for Serah’s Tear.

A full shot of the extended staff, now time to add a half a dozen coats of protective clearcoat. I used Pledge Tile and Vinyl Floor Finish as my clearcoat, this is the product that was once known as Future Floor Wax, it’s very durable and high shine, and it smells nice too, a nice change from all the fumes I have to deal with.

Beads and gem now properly strung, with a hidden knot, all with burnt and bandaged fingers on my dominant hand! The things I’ll do to fish out the last snow crab claw from the boiling pot.

Completed staff – Folded

The complete piece, folded up. The handle rotates, and the antlers come out of slots in the headpiece and can be anchored either up or down with screws in the back.

Completed staff – Extended

The complete piece, extended. The staff is just under four feet long and weighs less than four pounds.

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!