Wednesday, March 2, 2016

My Quest to Make Latex Covered Foam Lekku - #2 Making the Lekku or Tails

Latex Covered Foam Lekku Guide Page 1 - Stand and Pattern
Latex Covered Foam Lekku Guide Page 2 - Making Tails
Latex Covered Foam Lekku Guide Page 3 - Covering Them in Latex
Latex Covered Foam Lekku Guide Page 4 - Custom Ear Pieces

I built the base of my foam lekku and now its time to build the lekku themselves, or tails if you can't quite get into the vernacular. Lek is singular and there is even a name for left and right ones - t'chin, and t'chun respectively.

But we don't need to go there.

#2 - Making the Lekku or Tails

First off, you will find that keeping your robot head on a box isn't going to cut it. While I started my gluing and discovered this part-way in, I would recommend doing this now.

Step one: Make a stand for your head


I found some PVC, bought three 90 degree elbows, and cut three tubes the same length for the stand. Duct'ed taped them together, then I put some shorter extra pieces on the bottom to balance it. Viola!



Or find something around your house that works. I read somewhere that a guy used barbells, upended. A broom in a bucket of sand, and stuff the head with old towels to keep its shape.

You should have already bought your craft foam and made the base. Now its time to measure how long you want your lekku to be. Short lekku go part-way down your back and long lekku go all the way down to your butt. Originally I thought I would be making a Sinya costume - but now I have changed my mind. However, I made mine long. I measured the top of my head all the way down to my butt. Then I added six inches for bending. That became my length.

Step two - Making a pattern for Lekku or tails

I know that I already chose to make the diameter of my lekku 12 inches. So it stands to reason that the width at the top needed to be 12. I then measured my length and marked off where that was. I measured half - six inches - and made a mark. Then I measured up half and inch, made a mark, and measured below half an inch. I then drew a line from my top to the marks I had made. The visual below shows it best.

You end up with a nice triangular shaped piece of foam. Here is mine below: but for some reason one of my sides looks too straight. I must have skewed the angle when I took the picture. Or cut it pretty crappy. I admit, my first lekku was substandard.


And now its time for your handy glue gun.

Step three: Gluing lekku

I started gluing from the big end, and then found my lekku was too long and pointed. It was super hard to glue the end with only 1 inch width. Needless to say, that lekku looked poorly. So I did it again, and modified my pattern.


First measure six inches from the bottom of your lekku, I am glad I made mine long! Make a dot.


Then measure two inches up on each side and make a dot. Draw lines connecting each side to the center dot and cut. Notice the image next to it shows an already cut off piece. You will discard this piece.


Start at the smaller end by gluing the sides, leaving the point open for now. Pinch and hold them until they glue cools and the foam stops pulling apart.


Then put a line of glue in the trough and pinch shut. This gives it a nice point. Hold till glue sets.


Trim and round to desired look.


Working your way down, continue to glue the edges together, pinching the seams to hold them until the glue cools.


I did about an inch or so at a time and put two thin streams, one on inside and one on outer edge.


At times I put too much glue on it and it bulged out. Don't worry you can smooth it our with your fingers (and they do get burned a bit) but also you can cut the excess glue off when it dries with scissors.


Step four: Shaping the lekku

You should have your completed lekku rolls ready for shaping. Now, I did not like the way latex lekku in many pictures folded down due to its weight. Most made a headress that kinda covered it, but I personally wanted to improve on this.


See, it will just fold if you don't shape it. No folds for me. So I decided to cut pieces out of just the bottom half of the tube and create a curve. I was so glad for a third lekku to try it on. So, I first practiced on the wonky, substandard lekku to get it right. Here is a picture of the first few cuts and how they turned out. I marked the photo wrong so one thinks that how its should be.


Obviously, when glued it looked ugly. I found that I was making my cuts too shallow, they needed to be at least half way up the tube, and you can't make them too wide. They work best when only a half-inch wide.


Notice my cuts go almost to the center of tube and I made them very narrow. I found making three in a row made a good bend. Then leave a gap and do more till you get your desired shape. The third lekku came in pretty handy!


See, that bend is so much nicer!


I also found that in glueing my lek would curve up a bit, especially near the ends.


Foam is stretchy, so I just took a few minutes to stretch out the top of the foam till it was straight.


And the first fitting!
And it didn't curve enough. So I will be making more bends.


I also noticed that if I took away part of the bottom top it would fit better.


So cute the top off at an angle. It sets pretty much where I wanted it to be.


So after cutting more bends into it, here is the final result:


They are pretty much identical and both have that nice bend in them that I wanted.


I have to admit that it bothers me a bit that one is larger than the other but I think wonkiness is ok. A Twi'lek in real life would have different sized lekku. So, I am good with it.


Glue them on your base and your part way there! I found mine fit inside my curves just perfectly, only in one spot did I need to fill it in. I just kept putting glue in till the hole was filled. 


The next step is to cover them with latex. I found out that it needs to be done in a warm, well ventilated area, so till the Wisconsin winter lets up, this project will be on hold. But its been fun so far!

And I am only 22 bucks into it.

Now if I can find a safe spot to keep them away from my kids...







Latex Covered Foam Lekku Guide Page 1 - Stand and Pattern
Latex Covered Foam Lekku Guide Page 2 - Making Tails
Latex Covered Foam Lekku Guide Page 3 - Covering Them in Latex
Latex Covered Foam Lekku Guide Page 4 - Custom Ear Pieces

4 comments:

  1. This is an awesome tutorial. I plan on following it and making my own sometime!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your great tutorial. I was about to embark myself into sculpting a mould and covering it with latex just to unmould them later... and your approach looks more feasible. Thanks again

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really LOVE this tutorial its great! Do you have any YouTube or Instagram Page with more tutorial?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for your awesome tutorial! I made this for my Darth Atroxa and it was a lot of fun to do. I have it on my public IG @christymakesstuff next try I hope my seams will be better.

    ReplyDelete