Anybody else a fan of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series? I love it, and cosplaying as a Shadowhunter is a lot of fun. There are a few tricky bits to the costume though, and one of these bits is the witchlight.
How the crap do you do this?
Well fear not! I have found an easy, cost-effective way to do just that.
You will need about one sheet of white tissue paper. Paper mache glue. (about a cup should do) A balloon. A clothespin and something to hang the balloon from . Most importantly, you need a small LED light like this. Choose a white one, otherwise you will be able to see the colour.
Blow up the balloon. Make it no larger than you would want your witchlight to be. That means the size of your palm or smaller. It must be large enough to fit the LED light inside it when we’re all done.
Cut the tissue paper into small squares. Again, you’ll want them roughly the size of your palm. Don’t stress about making them even or equal. No one will notice.
Hang up your balloon using the clothes pin. The one I have here has a handy dandy little hook on it for hanging. I’ve suspended the balloon on a skewer between two jars. If you have nowhere else to hang your balloon, you might want to adopt this idea too. Just wrap a couple rubber bands around two pairs of skewers, set one more skewer between them and stand ’em up in the jars. Bam. Easy peasy.
Put paper mache glue in a small container so you can work with it. I usually put my paper mache glue mix in an old glue bottle so I can dispense a little at a time and not waste any. Pick a paintbrush about as wide as your thumb and use it to paint the glue all over the little balloon. Then, stick the squares of tissue paper all over the balloon. Cover it completely with one layer of paper, making sure to paint glue over top of the paper as well.
I usually do two layers of paper, wait for it to dry for about 30-60 minutes, add two more layers, and so on until I have six layers of glued-down tissue paper encasing the balloon.
Once you have six layers, leave the balloon alone to dry completely. Overnight if possible.
When your balloon is totally dry, cut off the knot and cut about an inch slit down the side of the balloon so you can extract the rubber from inside your paper mache ball. You will notice that the paper macheed tissue paper will feel rather like plastic and remain somewhat flexible. This is great because you can shape it to look like a natural rock rather than a rounded balloon shape.
Note: the balloon will not make a popping noise when you cut it. It has been thoroughly muffled by the paper and glue and does not have the proper tension on it for a good pop so there is no need to brace yourself for that.
Place the small LED light inside the paper mache holder you’ve made. Make sure you can turn it on and off by just sticking a finger in there. You might also like to consider taping it in place. If the light gets turned around, it can be annoying to switch it on and off.
Gently bend the flaps inward to conceal the LED light and work with the shape of the holder to make it more irregular so that it looks like a stone. Remember that even if you can’t fully hide the opening, it’s going to be held against your palm anyway so there is no need to stress about it. No one will see it.
And you’re done! This whole project cost me two bucks.
And looks pretty darned authentic!
Have fun costuming! If any of my readers decide to make one, feel free to post pics in the comments. I love seeing creativity at work.
If you’d like to take a look at something else you can do with the balloon light-holder, you can check out my evil wizard staff post right here.