The Legend of Zelda is one of the most iconic video games out there. This was around when the original nintendo system first came out. Anyways, the premise is simple: Princess Zelda needs some rescuing from the evil Ganon. In order to save the princess and the land of Hyrule, You get to level up the character Link with awesome weapons and battle monsters. Gah, i loved this game on SNES. That was my jam for the longest!!!
Anyways, I had originally made a vest that happened to be green for my dog several years ago. Since I had extra material, I figured that i could make him a Halloween costume for this year. It worked out great!! There are even little pockets on the sides of the vest that you can fill with such things as candy, if you want to distribute. Shall we get started??
- Green Fleece Jacket
-Thick EVA foam
-Roll of EVA Foam
Step 1: Reference Pictures
Before I ever start ANY costume, I look up a ton of reference photos from various sources and put it in a folder. The more pictures from different angles, the better. Because a Dog would be wearing this, i had to think about the logistics of how the costume could actually stay on, and what he would and would not be willing to wear.
1. Actual photos of the character from its source (movies, comics, action figure, etc)
2. Cosplay pictures. You can see what has been done, what you like, what you don't like, how to improve on a design. You can also start getting an idea of different poses you think you'd like to do.
3. I start looking at art work. I usually look up things via google images, deviant art, tumblr, etc. This way, you can see different renditions of a character through a new perspective and once again, start thinking about what you like, don't like, etc.
4. Use your own imagination. Think about what you want, how to make it your own original design, what are some tricks you think you'd like to incorporate.. perhaps you want to try out a new technique with this build, etc
5. If you can draw, I sometimes will take all my reference sources and start drawing out my own design.
Step 2: Jacket
For this part of the build, I took a look at graceduval's amazing tutorial for her dog. I adjusted it to match my needs, but the premise is essentially the same. Here is my cliff note version.
1. We went to our local thrift store and found a olive green fleece jacket. We made sure it was all fleece and only had two side pockets.
2. Using a seam ripper, carefully take off the sleeves and set them aside. You should have a vest now.
3. put the vest on your dog with the zipper along the dog's back.. Essentially you are putting it on the dog backwards.
4. Using your sewing clips, carefully clamp the vest in loose areas to figure out what needs to be cut and where. This will be a process, so just be patient. Cut and sew places where you want the vest to be snug
5. This is what the inside and outside of the vest looks like (pic 2 +3)
6. Remember, the vest of the zipper will fit along his back. (pic 4)
7. For his hat, I use the sleeves and make two long triangles. I sewed those together, made two holes for his ears, and used some string to tie underneath his chin. (pic 5)
Step 3: Shield
For the shield, first grab your measuring tape and figure out how long and wide you want to make the shield. Once you do that, transfer the measurements to your scratch paper so that you have a rectangle. Fold the paper down the middle, length-wise. (pic 1)
2. Now, start drawing in your design on one half of the paper. Sometimes i just keep the paper folded when i do this. (pic 2)
3. Once you have your picture completely drawn and detailed, fold in half and cut out the shape of the shield. Keeping it folded will allow for symmetry. this is now the template for your shield (pic 3)
4. Now take your template and transfer it to your thick EVA mat (pic 4)
5. cut out the shield outline from your EVA foam using your cutting mat and exacto knife.
6. Next you will cut out the border on your paper template. Use that paper border template to sketch it onto the EVA foam shield (pic 5)
7. Use your exacto knife and carefully cut out the border within the EVA foam. Remember to leave the border solid . (pic 6)
8. Glue the border back onto the main body of the shield, but elevate it a few centimeters higher (pic 7)
9. I used my heating gun and heated the entire shield so that i could bend it down the middle just a tad.
10. Using my dremel and a sanding tool, i dremeled in 4 little holes for accents. (pic 8)
Step 4: Shield Details
1. Now carefully cut each detail from the paper template.You can place the paper template on the eva shield to help you mark for placement. (pic 1)
2. Use the paper templates of the details and transfer them to craft foam (pic 2)
3. IF it is in the center, remember to keep the template folded when cutting out. (pic 3)
4. Glue all pieces in place. (pic 4)
5. You can use kwikseal Caulk to fill in any gaps between foam pieces.
Step 5: Sword
For the sword, first grab your measuring tape and figure out how long and wide you want to make the sword, plus the handle. Something to consider: The longer the handle, the more it will be in the periphery of your dog. it may bother your pooch if you're not careful. Also, it makes it a tad more difficult if your dog wears a neck leash.
1. For your handle- Once you get the measures, transfer the measurements to your scratch paper so that you have a rectangle. Fold the paper down the middle, length-wise. Now, start drawing in your design on one half of the paper. (pic 1)
2.While keeping the paper folded, cut out the design so when you unfold it, you have a symmetrical design (pic 2)
3. Transfer the design to think EVA foam (pic 3)
4. Cut out design using your cutting mat and exacto knife (pic 4)
5.Using your dremel, you can start etching in grooves wherever you want them. (pic 5).
6. draw your blade on paper, transfer it to EVA foam and cut out. (pic 6)
Step 6: Prep and Paint
1. Now you should have your sword and shield completely assembled. (pic 1)
2. You need to prep both the shield and sword for painting by applying maybe 1-3 thin layers of modge podge onto the foam. This create a seal on the foam. If you don't do this, the foam may just absorb the paint, leaving it dull colored. (pic 2)
3. Once dry, I sprayed both the sword and the shield with silver spray paint. Once that was dry, i used a metallic blue to paint the handle and also the shield background. I used a metallic red to paint the details of the shield (pic 3+4)
4. Spray your shield with a clear coat, or apply more modge podge. It dries clear anyways. This is how my shield ended up (pic 5)
Step 7: Straps + Belt
1. I later realized that having a whole blade underneath the shield was going to make it difficult to stay on my dog. I cut the blade down and just glued the handle and blade to their respective corners. (pic 1)
2. I used a ruler and cut out long strips for thinner EVA Foam. I lined the straps where the would sit on the shield and marked that area. I then used my dremel and sanded off the tread so that the straps had a nice flat surface to attach to. (pic 2)
3. I did this for three areas on the shield. Remember to sand down the areas (pic 3)
4. I glued on little black plastic clasps so that everything would click together (pic 4)
5. I then took one long strap for his belt. I used another plastic clip to close it (pic 5)
6. Once everything was secure, I prepped the belt and straps with Plastidip. I use modge podge when the object will not be bending. If i used modge podge, there would be cracks in the foam wherever it was bending. However, since the strips would be wrapping around my dog, i used plastidip, which allows for flexibility. you can masking tape the areas of the shield there are done and just plastidip the straps and belt. Once completed, paint them brown.
Step 8: Finished!
That should be it! A few things to consider or improve upon:
1. if you dog wears a neck leash, the leash will have to be mostly on your dog's left side in order to compensate for the sword handle on the right shoulder.
2. The shorter the sword handle, the better. My dog kept knocking it into things and eventually it broke off.
3. After a while, my dog's shield would start rotating. I am thinking that i may add a little piece of fabric to one of the straps and pin it to his underbelly. That way, the pin won't be noticeable and it will keep the shield in place. I didn't want to do anything permanent to his vest because he uses it for normal wear. BUT, if you were only going to have your dog use it for the costume, i'm sure you could try using a fastener or another clip to secure the shield in place.
4. My dog eventually hated the hat and kept trying to shake it off after a while. I think if you wanted, you could figure out a way to attach it specifically to the vest. Perhaps something like a removable hood.
5. If your dog was really okay with a hat, maybe you could get a blond wig and put a few strands of blonde hair under the hat.
6. If you dog is okay with getting dressed up, you might even consider making little brown arm warmers to add to the costume. Outside of that, i personally wouldn't add too much more so that it doesn't interrupt your dog's gait.
7. you can put little candies in the pockets and distribute them to anyone who comes up to you all. We had a few admirers of his Link costume.
Hope your dog enjoys the costume. Happy Halloween!!!