Archive for the 'magnets' Category

Dog Cosplay of Amaterasu from Okami



Photo by ~morgoththeone.


Build blog for the costume for the wolf goddess Amaterasu from Okami, built for and cosplayed by my Samoyed dog Dante. Originally posted at my more general blog.

Before I proceed, a few notes for anyone who wants to cosplay their dog:

  • Only do this if the dog will enjoy it.

    • Photo by ~cheebang
    • Dante is exceptionally sociable. Many dogs are not, and may react adversely to being the center of attention. Some might get aggressive.
    • Dante doesn’t care about things being on him, perhaps because he’s bred to be a sled dog. Many dogs don’t like to be encumbered. You can desensitize a dog to wearing things, but don’t just shove a costume on a dog that’s freaked out by it.
    • Watch your dog’s body language in any unusual situation. Make sure they’re happy.
  • Keep the health of your dog in mind.

      Photo by ~octomobiki
    • Don’t leave a costume on for long. This can cause overheating and can tangle fur or cause it to become ingrown.
    • If it’s hot, provide water regularly, if it’s cold, don’t stay out for long, etc.
    • Don’t expose a dog to unusual stimuli for long. This will cause anxiety, even if it’s fun.
    • Don’t apply anything toxic to a dog. (We used food-coloring markers.)
  • Be careful and use common sense.
  • I do not recommend trying this with a cat.


We have a Samoyed by the name of Dante. This is a breed that looks like small, fluffy, white wolf. We also occasionally cosplay. It was inevitable that we would come up with the idea of combining the two.

While planning our Otakon 2011 trip at the start of June, my wife semi-jokingly suggested bringing Dante. To our surprise, our roommates at the con were ecstatic at the idea. Since this was better for him than leaving him in a boarding place for five days, it was decided.

I then figured it would be a great time to do a costume for him. The Amaterasu costume was perfect. Not too complicated, not too heavy, and popular enough to be quite recognizeable.

Overall plan

I decided to do the wings, shield, flames, and paint. I did not do the clouds around the tail and paws. I couldn’t figure out a way to do either of those well without encumbring Dante’s movement or causing him discomfort. Given his general fluffiness, I thought that would be fine.

To attach everything, I decided to make a harness, and then anchor the costume parts to that. This way, it would be easy to put things on and take them off.


This is a balance between comfort and stability. I attached it to his neck, front legs, and stomach. The straps that attach to the legs hook to the main part with buckles, so they can be put on separately.

I then made a little saddle, using fur left over from my wife’s in-progress Felicia costume. It turned out that of all our fur remnants, that one matched Dante ridiculously well, to the point where several people asked how we managed to ‘shave’ him that well for the wings. The saddle is made out of fur just so if people catch glimpses of it, they can’t really tell it’s separate from him.

The main purpose of the saddle is to cushion his back so the shield and flames don’t rest directly on his spine, so it’s two pieces on either side of the center.


I first cut the wings out of foamie to get the shape right. I then took comparatively thick wire and bent it to follow the shape, and stapled it to the foamie (medieval, I know). This formed the base of the wings.

I then took the aforementioned Felicia fabric and cut out a pair of pieces for each wing, larger than the foamie cutout. I stitched them together halfway, inserted the foamie, then hand-sewed them shut the rest of the way. (I tried using the machine, and broke two needles on the wire. There’s just too much fur.)

At first, I was going to attach the wings to the leg parts of the harness, but after trying that, it became obious that this would be way too loose. Instead, I made the wings the leg parts of the harsess. So, they have a loop through which Dante’s front paws go, and the top buckles to the main body of the harness. These are hand-sewn on.

Finally, I did the swirling/cloud designs. I wanted to do this with thread, but that turned out impractical with the thickness of the two layers of fur + foamie. I ended up doing it with a sharpie, and am not entirely happy with the result, since when the fur moves, the lines get messy. I regret not stitching lines before putting the wings together, and am pondering redoing it.


I made the base of the shield out of pink insulation foam, on the general premise that lighter is better in this case. I cut the circle out with a small hand saw and sanded it on my table belt sander, then with sandpaper by hand.

I drew out the design based on a model (the only halfway decent reference I could find), then cut it out of 1/4″ foamie and glued it on with superglue. I primered the shield with spray primer before and after the application of the design (before to protect from glue, after to get ready for painting).

Amateur Hour

Around this point, I thought it would be a good idea to paint the back of the shield white, to make it blend in with Dante’s fur. So I sprayed it with flat white paint. This is one of those things that demonstrates just how amateur a cosplayer I am (several people have laughed at this). The spraypaint ate through the insulation foam, almost all the way to the front. :/ I painted over it with acrylic paint…


I decided early on to make the flames out of a foamie-wire-foamie sandwich (using 1/8″ foamie), so I could shape it in 3D. I went back and forth on what to use as a base. I started with a foamcore torus, but eventually switched to a foam disk. The wire is just embedded as deep into the disk as possible. The foam sandwich is sealed with superglue. The flames are cut out best as possible.

Somewhere around here, I painted the shield with green acrylic paint, and tried the whole thing on the dog. None of this is attached, but Dante was particularly tired out that day (we’d just come back from a dog park), so he was willing to hold still to verify everything was fine:

Painting the flames was a ton of fun. It turns out to be way easier than drawing a harness schematic.

I then glued the shield on. (Some paint touchup still to be done.)

Attaching the Divine Instrument

Finally, I needed to attach the harness and the divine instrument (shield + flames). I decided that magnets would be best, so I could snap the instrument on and off quickly as the situation dictated. I get magnets from I believe these are RC22CS-Ps.

I attached the magnets to the shield, then covered them with extra bits of foamie to fix them firmly in place and painted over those. (Yes, still using superglue.)

I then attached corresponding magnets to the saddle.

Face Paint

That just leaves the face paint. I looked it up, and there were two safe methods: food coloring and dye specifically tailored for dogs. I found food coloring markers that came in a variety of colors, so I ordered those.

Painting his muzzle was easy, because the fur is short. As the fur gets longer, though, it’s harder to draw clean lines. For the first outing, I just did his face, not his sides. The coloring smudges a lot when it’s wet, so be careful, but it’s pretty solid once dry.


And that’s it. It’s remarkably easy to put on – takes 5-10 minutes to do the face paint (and I’ve only done it once) and then 5 minutes to put on the costume, which is:

1) Put on collar and leash
2) Put on harness (two buckles – one around neck, one around stomach)
3) Slide wings over paws and attach to harness (two buckles – one on each wing)
4) Snap the divine instrument onto the harness (magnetic)

Photo by ~cheebang

Wall-clock time: 2 months
Build-time: ~19 hours
Cost: ~$50
Beers consumed: ~2.

For more photos take a look at my Amaterasu deviantart gallery and photos of this cosplay in others’ albums.

For other photos of Dante, friend him on facebook:

Okami Cosplay Comic: Susano and Amaterasu



A few months ago, I was in an Okami photoshoot with my dog and nsomniacartist, photographed by enchantedcupcake. The photos were awesome, and occasionally fairly popular.

While going through a bunch of them, it occurred to me that I could put together a very-short-story type of thing out of some of the shots, so here it is.

Note that the photos weren’t taken with this (or any) story in mind – we were just playing around trying to get good shots.

Resin “Darker Than Black” Mask


Tutorial for the mask worn by Hei (BK201) from Darker Than Black, made out of Bondo resin. It’s tougher and smoother than paper-mache, and takes hours to make rather than days (not counting painting time). However (or ‘Plus’), it involves working with toxic materials.


For Fanime 2011, I made Hei’s costume and dagger. I also made a mask out of foamie, using heat to shape it. It was a dismal failure. Since I had no new costume plans for Fanime 2012, I decided to remake the mask.

There are copious tutorials for making such a mask out of paper-mache (this one seems fine). But that takes several days due to drying times. I didn’t have several days, so I decided to follow more or less those instructions, but with Bondo.


Building material:
bondo (with hardener)
putty knife (a small flexible one to spread bondo with)
stirrer sticks (something to mix Bondo)
scrap paper (somewhere to mix Bondo)
disposable scoop (something to scoop Bondo out of its container)
latex gloves (don’t touch Bondo when it’s liquid!)
respirator (don’t breathe Bondo when it’s liquid!)
a place to work (a garage will do)

Everything else:
party baloon
measuring tape
sandpaper (preferably also a power sander)
paints (spray and/or acrylic, your choice)
sharpie (for drawing on the balloon)
dremel (to cut out the eyes)
hand file with triangular cross section (to shape the corners of the eyes)

Note! In the comments, Monterey Jack points out that Bondo heats up when setting, and can pop your balloon. If one balloon doesn’t work, it may be worth trying a different type.



Measure your head with the measuring tape. Inflate the party balloon to more or less that diameter. Draw out the approximate outline of the mask on the balloon with a sharpie.

Base layer

Don your gloves and respirator and crack open the Bondo. You’ll need someplace to mix (I use scrap construction paper) and something to mix with (I use wooden stirrers). Mix a small amount of putty and hardener, as big as a golf ball. Follow directions on the can for the ratio.

Slather the Bondo mixture onto the balloon using the putty knife, going an inch or so beyond your mask outline. Don’t worry about the result being even. You have about five minutes to work with each batch after you start mixing. As soon as the Bondo mix starts beeing cottage-cheesy, STOP. Throw the rest of that batch away, and mix a new one. You’ll probably have to mix 2-3 batches to cover the mask area.

You should end up with something like this:

(When I did this, I rather wondered if the Bondo would eat through the balloon, like it does with insulation foam. It did not.)

You’ll want to prop the balloon up so that it doesn’t roll Bondo-side down. I used some scrap wood, but whatever you have handy will do.

Wait 30 minutes for the Bondo to fully harden.

Structural layer

Apply a second coat. Slather the Bondo on liberally, especially near the edges of the mask-to-be. Wait another 30 minutes.


Pop the balloon (fun!):

Peel the balloon off the mask (it should come off easily).


Make the first sanding pass. If you have a power sander, use it. A table belt sander with 80 grit or rougher works great. Hand-sand if you must, but it’s going to suck. With a belt sander, this should take you ten minutes. By hand… maybe an hour.

Aim for around 2/3 of the surface to be smooth. If you try to keep sanding after that, you’ll weaken the mask, or even sand holes in it. The result should have a smooth outer surface, and some rough valleys.

While you’re at it, sand the mask closer to the right shape and size (but leave some room for adjustment). Sand, don’t try to cut. Note that the sharpie should have conveniently transferred off the balloon onto the Bondo:

Smooth layer

Apply another coat, but only put Bondo down on the rough patches, and use the putty knife to smooth things flat. This coat is for smoothness, so take your time, and really make sure you get bondo into all those gaps. Wait for it to harden.

Finish sand

Sand again with 80 grit. You should end up with a nice smooth surface. If it’s necessary, repeat the above step for a fourth coat. (I didn’t feel the need.)

Hand sand with 100 grit or finer to get a nice smooth finish. The remaining discolorations are from inconsistent Bondo batch mixes, not from roughness.

The mask is now built, and should’ve only taken 2-3 hours including drying time.


Draw and cut out the eyes with the Dremel. Use a cutting bit to make a center incision, then use a sanding bit to shape the eyes. Use the triangular file to get the corners of the eyes. Also, sand the mask shape to exactly where you want it to be.


Paint. I used spray primer and flat white paint, and then acrylic paint for the lightning bolt and mouth. This step took me a long time (I’m no good with a paintbrush and had to reprimer and start over several times.)


Add anchors to be able to wear the mask. I used two magnets on the back, which attach to a band that goes around my head under my wig. If you’re going to do that, glue before you paint, otherwise the glue will bond to the paint, and the magnets will come off with the paint. (As I learned the hard way, and you can see in the photo here.)

Sample photos

What could be done better?

A balloon is not a perfect representation of the shape of the mask. Really, you want something that curves more around the vertical axis than around the horizontal. Maybe the back of a mannequin head? You can tell that the mask extends a bit far to the sides of my face because of that. On the other hand, the anime is wildly inconsistent (and physically impossible, of course), and this shape is a reasonable approximation.

I’m not perfectly happy with my painting job, either, but this is about my fifth attempt, and I’m not about to reprimer/paint again.

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