I'm still pretty new to the whole cosplay world. I've only attended two conventions in costume (only two conventions at all actually), and I personally only made one of those costumes. I'm still learning, and pretty much all my cosplay projects are all made up as I go. But, oh man, am I having fun learning!
I just finished up making my first ever large scale prop and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out for a first project. I made Fishbones, the gun used by Jinx from League of Legends for a cosplay I will be doing in the near future.
I thought I'd share my process and explain what I did in case it might help others in their own projects!
This is Fishbones right at the very beginning. Here he's constructed out of craft store foam sheets, cardboard and styrofoam. You can see some of the sheets of foam that I used at the top left of the picture. For the top and bottom jaw, I made a template out of poster board to get the shape and size right before I cut it out of foam. This probably would've been smart to do for the rest of the gun, but honestly I just guessed and built the rest of it out of foam by looking. (I wouldn't recommend this, but whatever works for you!)
Here's the base of the gun constructed out of the foam and such. At this point, I made a mix of Elmer's glue and a bit of fabric glue together with a little bit of water. I gave the whole gun, foam and styrofoam, about five or six coats of the glue. I had to do this over about two days, giving it time to dry in between coats. I had to do this to make sure that the paint would go on evenly and that it wouldn't all be absorbed by the foam. This part of the process was time consuming and not very exciting, but it's very important. I learned that if you take time here, It will make it easier to paint in the end. I didn't spend as much time on this step as I should've and ended up wasting paint in the end to paint over parts to make sure that the paint job was even.
Here's the painting in process. I used Reeve's acrylic metallic silver paint. I used two of the smaller tubes (seen on the bottom left) and it was the perfect amount. Because I sealed the foam with the glue, the paint sat on top of the gun and really had a nice, shiny effect. By mixing this with some black acrylic paint, I was able to get some nice tones and weathering.
My messy work space! As you can see, I tend to spread out when I work, much to my family/friends/roommate/cat's chagrin. Here the paint job is almost finished. Another tip: always make sure to look at whatever project you're painting in different lights to make sure that the paint is even. What may look good in one light might look unfinished or uneven in another.
Here, to weather the gun, I used some of the metallic paint mixed with black to make it pretty dark. I went around the areas that I thought would get the most wear (joints, edges, etc) to give it an aged and used look. I also used my hot glue gun to add some scratches by dragging the tip when it was heated along the areas. In order to make the scratches look deep, I painted the actual depression black, then painted some highlights with white along the edges. If you do this, it may feel like its too stark or extreme to use black and white but you'll be surprised how natural it all looks once it's all finished! Especially since most people see the gun from farther away, using the black and white to create scratches is really eye catching.
Voila! Fishbones! Since I'm making this for a convention that is still months away, I'm gonna mess around with some things and fix a few other things in the mean time. There's still a couple of details missing in this picture that I have to add, but overall I'd say he's about 95% finished. For being the first prop larger than a coat pin that I've made, I'm pretty happy.
I hope this has been helpful and you could learn from my mistakes! Please comment if you have any questions about what I did or any products that I used or anything else.