November 9, 2015

Propworks: Cardcaptor Sakura Wand Tutorial - Part 04 Bird Head

While wearing my Cardcaptor Sakura costume at the convention, I had a lot of people ask, "how did you make that wand?" so I figured that it would be a good time to write up a tutorial!

This tutorial will be in multiple parts to provide the detail I went through in making my wand so hopefully it will be helpful to other people! 

As always, if you make a wand using this tutorial LINK ME! I'd love to have pics of them in action!

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This part required a bit more ingenuity and errors than I would have thought, so you guys get the results of a bunch of failures leading up to a success!


Foamcore Posterboard
Newspaper/Magazine/Mail Advertisement Circulars
Masking Tape (NOT Blue Tape)
400 Grit Wet/Dry Sandpaper

Remember that big cut out piece I had? YEAH, get that back out.

Using my print out as a size estimate, I used the headshape to sketch out a head shape onto a piece of foamcore board. Make sure to have it so there are slots that will stick down into the PVC pipe you're using for the handle. This will keep your staff head in place when working on it, and make your prop sturdier!

Oh ho ho ho, I traced my wing shape to make sure it'd fit!

You don't want the shape to be the full size of the head, but almost the size you want. This will be necessary in the next step! Once you're got a staff head you're happy with, cut it out, and place it into the end of your pvc. If you've got your wings on hand, you can use it to estimate the size.

Next is where a little bit of creativity and sculpting come into play. Find yourself some newspapers or some of those flyers you get in the mail that just have a bunch of ads and coupons, and carefully tear them into scrunchable chunks. Then oh-so-carefully take the little tightly wadded up pieces of paper and begin taping them to the staff head with your masking tape.

It's not very scientific, and you have to watch out for any sort of odd shapes. REMEMBER: the gold part of the staff head is actually raised from the red "beak" so make sure there's an obvious ridge. As well as the gap in the bottom that is at the handle connector where the pink shows through. ALWAYS REFER TO YOUR REFERENCE PICTURE!

Once you've got enough crumpled paper into the shape you're looking for, you'll end up adding about 3-4 other layers of masking tape.  You'll want to create as smooth a surface as you can (i.e. no giant pockets or wells in your design).

Now, once you've got your bird head lookin' good, it's time to cover that thing! There are several ways you can do it:

1. Paper mache + Gesso (lots of layers and sanding)
2. Worbla (let me know if this works for you)
3. Paper Clay

I tried Paper Mache, with gesso, and then tried to cover it in Worbla, and EGADS that was a disaster. My hair dryer stopped putting out the heat it normally did, and then it didn't react well with the gesso, and then we ended up peeling it all off to the masking tape layer.

So I ended up getting paper clay and putting a thin (say 1/4" thick at most) layer of clay on top of the whole head. I was able to get a pretty smooth covering, and then let that dry for over a day. (Remember that "time" thing I told you about? Here's another 24-hour curing time!)

Once your clay is completely dry, use a very fine grit (I used 400) to carefully sand down your bird head. I hear you can use the wet/dry sandpaper to wet sand it down, but I didn't think of that until AFTER I was done, so I'm sure that will turn out great because paper clay likes water!

Carefully sand down your head so it seamlessly meets with the PVC pipe, and when it's nice and smooth, you're ready for the next part: the gemstone at the bottom I've lovingly come to call the "strawberry".


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