Tyrande Whisperwind Build Log
Updated: Jun 11
Today I'm posting the Build Log of the cosplay that I feel I reached a new level with regarding crafting. It's also very well worn, and I have placed in three competitions with it. I originally made it in 2017 for the SCC qualifier held at ComicCon Stockholm, and placed 2nd. I then had it for DreamHack Summer 2018 and won 1st prize. The final time wearing it was at ComicCon Gothenburg 2019 for the SCC qualifier where I won 1st prize. I think this cosplay is mostly retired from competitions now, but it's still a gorgeous cosplay that I would like to refurbish and make even better.
For my version of Tyrande I chose to make a mix between the design she has on the Kalimdor loading screen and her (now) old ingame model. What that means is I've done the design as the loading screen, but added the shoulder piece, shin pieces and made a mix of her hairstyle with the crown and kind of puffed hairstyle, yet still a bit loose and with the leaves from the loading screen version. I don't remember 100% the order of how I made things, but I'll break it down in categories as usual.
So let's start with the dress! My choice of fabrics are 3 layers of various white chiffon with a satin liner fabric.
Tyrande is a very buxom lady, so first up I made a pair of soft foam boobies.
Carved to the left, and covered in purple felt to the right.
With the boobs done I could start figuring out the draping for the top part.
As for the body of the dress I made it in a kind of "tube", with folds at the uppermost part. It has a slit in the back for a string closure.
The flat dress after sewing, and trying the fit before trimming the insides of the folds.
Testing the overall look and which layer to sew all the EL-wire on. I wanted to have a glowing skirt similar to how it looked ingame so I decided to sew 4 EL-wires on the bottom satin layer. This was before sewing the "dress-tube".
Testing the placement of the boob-top to the dress, and after sewing the two bits together, adding the string closure and hems to everything. I also preliminary put on my wig and ears to test the look.
The hip parts were extremely tedious as I had to handstitch the silver fake leather edges and get them as even as possible. Also making the bead-parts and stitching them, and finally adding a silver 3d liner fabric paint for the patterns (because I honestly hate embroidery with a passion).
Handstitching the hip flaps with silver sewing thread that must be the most evil thing ever created (it snapped SO easily... at least it looks gorgeous).
Making all the jewelry bits! Both for the dress and filigree armour.
Trying everything on after adding the hip-flaps and EL-wire! I was very happy that I was able to achieve a somewhat symetrical pattern for the wire on both sides.
Dress more or less finished! Some stuff that I don't have photos of was adding the "torn" chiffon part to the top of the dress (under the armpits) and adding small crystals to the edges. I also lack a proper photo of the string closure, but it's a simple eyelet closure with a satin ribbon.
Next up - The wig!
My choice of Wig was a Malinda (?) from Arda wigs in Mako Green with additional wefts (not sponsored).
All the stuff for the wig before getting to work.
The base wig itself didn't really need any additional styling or work, however since I wanted to have that extra puff that's where the majority of work went in. To make it I carved a small soft foam puff and glued onto a wide hairclip. As for the hair I kind of did it in the wrong order, with curling it before sewing it onto a turqoise felt patch.
Waiting for the wefts to dry after curling
Brushing all the wefts out I quickly realized my mistake in not curling them all AFTER sewing onto the felt. But hindsight is always 20/20.
Handsewing the wefts onto the felt piece that I later on glued ontop of the foam puff on the hairclip.
The finished wig!
So some stuff that I don't have photos of of course is the adding of the felt weft stuff onto the puff, I used hotglue to attach them together. I made the braid using leftover hair from the wefts to hide the seams. The puff is detachable so it's very easy to clean and maintain the wig.
The leaves are attached with hotglue on fishing line to make the thread as invisble as possible, and I also painted a little orange to the edges of all the leaves to give a bit of an autumny feel. They're hotglued into the weave of the wig.
The armsocks are next up!
I ordered a bunch of stockings from welovecolors.com (not sponsored) as they had a great variety of colours to choose from. All the ones I ordered were in the same purple colour, but given that it took like 2-3 tries to finally make the hands anywhere close to snug and good looking it was worth it.
Handstitching directly around my fingers to make sure they're snug enough
After trimming the excess stocking
Testing them on right side out
Trimming down the fake nails to glue on the fingertips
After adding the nails
And the finished armsock, after sewing the wrist a bit tighter.
Armsocks in my opinion was a very good choice for this cosplay to save it from being totally smudged with bodypaint. Especially with a white dress. The only problem is matching the colour of the bodypaint/makeup to the socks, but I'd rather have to deal with that instead of walking around an entire day with purple patches on the costume.
Moving on to the "armour" and gems!
I made all the armour bits entirely out of Thibra. It's a thermoplastic that's basically... all plastic (?) in lack of a better word. It's incredibly smooth and doesn't really require any priming. It's very hard to shape though, and it doesn't require as much heat as for example Worbla to be able to shape. So I would not recommend it if you're making something that's going to be in 30+ degrees celsius scorching sun because it'll lose it's shape in no time. I had this happen to the middle part of the bellypiece that goes up between the foam boobs, it started to bend out of shape after wearing for a whole day and that's just with my body heat.
In any case, I went about making it in pretty much the same way as my old 2014 Tyrande. I traced the design on baking paper and then shaped the Thibra on the baking paper.
Shaping the belly piece
Shaping all the small bracelets
Belly piece almost complete. I decided to have this in 3 separate parts. One part for the top, one part for the bottom and the lowest thingies (not pictured) are also separate. This is for flexibility so I would actually be able to sit down or in general move around without worrying about breaking the piece. It attaches into the dress with tiny clasps directly under the foam-boobs.
The crystals were made with fiberglass resin, the super stinky toxic kind. This was because I really didn't have time to order anything proper and this is something available for boat repairs in certain stores. I used powder silicone mixed with water (same thing there, I was too tight on time to order more proper silicone). I did make a first try with proper silicone, however for some reason I must have messed up the ratio of the blend because it just never set. So I had to resort to what I had at home.
Getting all the stuff ready for casting! The crystal shapes sculpted in brown plastilina clay and tested so they fit all separate armour bits. Sadly when the first silicone cast got messed up I had to remake them, using... WHITE plastilina clay (ha, ha, what a difference!)
Waiting for the molds to set, and then after cleaning them out and adding the resin! I also added the LED's while doing the resin cast.
All crystals popped out of the molds! They are very nasty-looking at this point with lots of bubbles and leftovers around the edges.
So many bubbles
First rough sanding done with dremel
Second sanding done with a fine grit sandpaper and wetsanded
Washing off all the dust
And after painting the backsides, adding aluminum foil and clearcoating! I totally love these gems and they're probably the pretties gems I've ever made.
Adding the gems into the armour bits
Starting to see the finish line here!
After all the gems were inserted, I shaped the thibra straight on... me. Heating it up and having the baking paper underneath, gently "draping" it around whatever part it was going on.
Tiny bracelet part
As I mentioned in my personal opinion Thibra doesn't really need priming because it's so very smooth already as is. So for painting I just went ahead and chrome painted the entire thing. I used a two-part paint, consisting of one black base spraypaint and then a chrome spraypaint to go over that.
All the finished armour pieces with added jewelry and decorations (like the front flap, which was sewn in the same way as the hip-flaps on the dress).
With all the LED's on!
The finished costume before first wear
Now... last but not least.. the bow!
I made it out of high density styrofoam (xps plastic, in Swedish cellplast), covered in Worbla, primed and painted. For my first wear of this costume I didn't really finish it in time, but I completed it about half a year later for another competition.
Carving the base parts
Adding all the Worbla. I used a drawer-handle to serve as the middle piece of the bow and reinforced it with Worbla.
The finished bow!
Stuff that isn't pictured in WIP's are;
Priming the bow with a lightweight wall filler
Painting it up with white acrylics
Making the middle piece, which is also of styrofoam, covered in Thibra (I think? Perhaps it was Worbla..) and painted with the same type of chrome as the "armour"
Adding the arrows to the middle piece, made out of flower sticks with added worbla arrowheads.
Attaching it to the bow, and gluing the leafy-vines on.
Adding two drawstrings, plus the leather ribbons and feathers.
As far as makeup goes I've used Kryolan grease makeup mixed to match the armsock colour, latex ears and white lenses that cover my pupils.
That's pretty much it for this log, but as usual if you're curious about anyting in particular or have any questions feel free to write. For all the fancy photos head over to the dedicated page for Tyrande.
I'll end this post with a photo taken in low light where you can appreciate what a glowy cosplay this is!