Skin Dyeing: For Body Paint That HAS To Stay Put!

So, last year I posted an article about the struggles of cosplaying a DrowHow in the world can you get pasty beige skin to turn an obsidian shade of blue-black? On the face? No problem. On the hands … well, if you don’t need to touch anything you haven’t got a problem. But eventually you’re going to have to pee, or open a door, or eat something …

If you’ve visited a cosplay forum recently searching for solutions to this problem, you’ve been probably come across someone asking “Hey is there any way I can dye my skin black?” Or green. Or blue. Or whatever colour is required. And you’ve been disappointed to find a bunch of people crying “No! Don’t dye your skin! It’ll be there for weeks!”

How do I know? Because I did that. I do it every year to see if someone has come up with anything better than alcohol activated paint. AA paint is great! But it still rubs off on high-traffic areas like the hands.

That’s because your skin refreshes itself faster on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet than anywhere else on the body. Those areas get the most friction and pressure because they come in contact with the world a lot. You walk on your feet (obviously) and pick up objects with your hands. If you have good hygiene, you’re washing your hands multiple times a day. That means that poor paint is going to take a beating and you’re going to have to touch it up periodically. Unless …

Unless you’re insane like me.

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Ethan what the crap did you do?! Don’t panic. I used a few bottles of Inkbox freehand ink. Why? A few reasons.

  1. I am crazy.
  2. I’m hosting a Halloween party in which I will be serving food. That means I have to be washing my hands thoroughly several times over the night especially because one of my guests has severe allergies.
  3. I am self-employed, I’m 33, and I’m an artist. That means I don’t give a fluff what people think of my weird black hands for the next two weeks. It’s not going to jeopardise my job or get me into trouble with my parents.
  4. I am scheduled for a minor surgery on the Monday after Halloween and I’ll need 2 weeks to recover at home. Yep, your memory is correct. Inkbox lasts only 2-3 weeks maximum. Even if I did have to worry about my job, it’d be gone by the time I get back to it.

Why didn’t I dye the entire hand? Well, sadly 1 ounce of Inkbox freehand ink doesn’t go very far when you’re covering every square millimetre of skin rather than just doing a design. So I did the practical thing and dyed only the areas that will face the toughest test: the fingers and the palm. The back of the hand doesn’t get beaten up nearly as much so it’s quite fine to simply airbrush some alcohol activated paint from there on up. I don’t go around rubbing my face on things so it’s not necessary to dye that either. AA paint will do fine.

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You might be wondering what’s up with that purple-blue marbling effect. That is a result of the ink’s gel-like consistency. It was very difficult to get it to spread on evenly. It did not want to cooperate. Imagine trying to get an even layer of sunscreen or grape jelly all over your hand. It’s not as easy as you might think. There are areas where it’s not quite as thick and consequently, they don’t dye as darkly. I still have a little ink left that I can touch up the marbled bits with or I can just spray a little AA paint on it. Frankly, I don’t think anyone will notice.

So what do you need to know if you want to do something insane like this?

  1. What is the product made of? If you’re using Inkbox, awesome. Go nuts. It’s 100% fruit-based and will not hurt your skin. If it’s henna or jagua, go nuts. Those are safe. Any other inks/dyes? You have to know what’s in it. HAVE TO. I’m not kidding. Some hair dyes and similar things have additives that will lead to permanent scarring, rashes, permanent chemical sensitivity, chemical burns … it can be bad, okay? If you don’t know what’s in the product, find out. Please. It’s worth it.
  2. Got a skin safe product? (Or one you’ve researched thoroughly and you’re pretty sure it’s fine.) Okay. Test a wee dot of it somewhere inconspicuous. Wait at least an hour. Wash it off. Look for any signs of skin irritation. Wait a bit longer. Still no signs of irritation? Okay. Test a bit more of it. Make a little doodle. Same procedure. If it still shows now sign of rash or swelling and it’s not itchy or painful, it’s very probably fine and you can proceed.
  3. Don’t dye any more of your skin than you have to. Pick the areas that are going to give you the most trouble and get those first, especially if your supply of dye is limited.
  4. Dye only one hand at a time. You will inevitably have to pee. Yes I know this from experience. LOL!
  5. DON’T. TOUCH. ANYTHING. I have smudges of ink on my right forearm, my left shoulder, and a wee bit on my CHIN from my little dyeing adventure. I have no idea how these transfers happened but I must have touched other skin areas accidentally while I still had ink drying. Just … put on a marathon of your favourite show and try not to fidget. That’s also why I suggest not dyeing any more of yourself than you have to. It … wanders. Somehow. It’s annoying. LOL
  6. Do you have an employer/parent/teacher/authority figure you have to deal with in the next 2-3 weeks who will NOT be okay with your re-colouring experiment? If so, this might not be for you. You might have to either clear this in advance with them, or stick with alcohol activated paint.

Who should consider skin dying as a solution?

  1. Anybody doing a multi-day convention who wants to save time on makeup application in the mornings and not have to touch up their body paint during the day.
  2. Anybody doing a multi-day LARP out in the forest or the back end of nowhere who doesn’t want to fuss with makeup when they’re going through the inconvenience of camping and limited potable water.
  3. Anybody doing a theatre or film production who has to wear body paint and prosthetics many times who wants to save time on makeup application.
  4. Crazy people like me. LOL

Any questions? Feel free to ask! I’m here to satisfy your cosplay and LARPing inquiries and I don’t mind testing products. Together, we can find unconventional solutions for tough costuming challenges. 🙂

Yes, You Can Ask Me Cosplay Questions

I’ve noticed that I get questions now and then from people who want help with creating their cosplay props. I decided to make a quick post letting you know that it’s okay to do that and I will get back to you as promptly as I can.

You can ask me on my website, my Facebook page, or by email. I don’t mind and I don’t ask for payment for my advice. I don’t know everything but I have been doing this for a few years now and I can usually help track down solutions to problems people run into while crafting.

Fans gotta help fans after all. Just remember I’m doing it in my spare time kay? Good luck with your projects guys. 🙂

Exciting News!

After a long and difficult search, I have finally found a suitable workshop! It is 32 meters squared, has an industrial sink for wet-sanding, its own climate control, a wall of storage racks, a workbench and chair, and excellent air filtration. It has a freight elevator and hand-trucks I can use to haul in my big plastic slabs, and also a kitchen to cook and store my food in. Best of all, I can be as noisy as I like! I’ll be surrounded by mostly storage rooms, another sculptor, and a hockey-mask painter with a lovely, loud air compressor.

The only downside is that it’s in Herttoniemi which is about 45-50 minutes away from where I live. Not a terrible commute as it’s mostly on the metro line, and frankly many people have a longer trip than that so I won’t complain. Much. Hehehe.

Herttoniemi has a lot of industry in it, especially automotive shops. There are several huge hardware stores within easy walking distance of my workshop. That means re-supplying tools and machine parts will be easier than ever!

I’m really looking forward to working near other people, to be honest. Having a workshop in my home was pretty convenient but also usually lonely. I could go an entire day without going outside or talking to someone other than my wife when she comes home from work. While I’m pretty introverted, I do need people-time now and then or I get sad.

So, Monday is going to be a very busy day for me. In the morning, I will go to register my business. That means I get my registration number and notify the tax man of my company’s existence. Then, in the afternoon, I go to sign the lease for the new workshop. Yaaaay!

After that, I’ll need to poke the Startup Grant people in hopes of getting some financial assistance with my newborn company. Wish me luck! I’ll put up some photos of the new space as soon as I’m able.

Updated Gallery

Hi everybody! Just a quick note to let you know I updated my gallery with some new images. There are some sensational cosplays there and I’m so grateful to the Shadowhunters who sent me photos with the swords I sent to them. 🙂

Feel free to check it out here.

Having a Little Trouble

Wow look at that awesome sword! … what? You can’t see it? It’s inside that block of plastic there. It’s going to be spectacular as soon as I can get it out. When? Um … well, the thing about that is …

Nibbles is broken. My band-saw, Nibbles, is doing poorly at the moment. Something’s happened to the alignment of the wheels and the saw blade keeps popping off them. I’ve tried everything I can think of to fix it but the fact is, I’m an artist, not a mechanic.

So, I have six orders left to complete before the year’s end … and no band saw. This makes Ethan sad. Sad and quite frustrated. Making people pretty things and bringing them joy is my happiness. Kind of like Santa Clause without the awesome beard.

I’m working with slabs of two inch (5 cm) thick acrylic instead of my usual 1 inch in hopes of being able to do more 3D cross guards and generally have more freedom of design. I didn’t take into account that Nibbles would not be on board with my decision.

Nibbles is NOT on board with my decision. Nibbles chewed on that bit of acrylic for about twenty minutes and had a breakdown. It’s now packed away in the corner of the workshop questioning its life choices. I may just join it there cause holy cow I am super frustrated.

What am I gonna do? Well, my current game plan is to visit the hardware store tonight and search for something a little bit more robust than a hobbyist band saw. Maybe a chainsaw. No, I’m not even remotely joking. I just need something to strong enough to strap the plastic to and I will take a fracking chainsaw to it if that’s what I have to do.

No, I don’t think you quite understand.

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This slab of plastic weighs as much as I do. The tablesaw I bought specifically to cut pieces off of it is too small to handle it. The chunk I removed to make the sword I’m working on (stalled on) right now took over 3 hours of sawing with that big beautiful wood saw you can see there. I’m going to have amazing shoulder muscles when I’ve finished my commissions for the year.

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You can see where the table saw started crying for mercy.

So uh, that’s my update for now. What will happen next? Not even I know. Stay tuned for more insanity from Inkblade Studios!

Commissions Closed for the Year

Yes, it’s true! My last crafting slot for this year has been bought this morning. Thank you all so very much for your support and for cheering me on as I push myself to better my skills. I will continue updating the site weekly with my progress on the commissions in my queue.

I have to take some time off for medical reasons this December. I’ll probably be back in the workshop for February of 2017. I know it’s a long time to wait but I’m sure you’ll understand the need to put health first. 🙂

Changes for 2017 Commissions

The requests and orders that I’ve gotten this year have given me some data to work with. The most desired swords are always:

Gabriel

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Azrael

Azrael Shiny

Jahoel

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and Sariel

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Though, I think the new TV show replica, Clariel (that you can see in the featured image at the top there) will also be wanted in a decent quantity. Most people prefer to have them equipped with an LED.

I’ve also had many requests for witchlights.

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So, I will be making these styles to keep in stock. Hopefully, this will mean you won’t have to wait as long to get a sword in your hands. 🙂  In the beginning, I didn’t know what you fine Shadowhunters wanted, but now I have a good idea and I’m reorganising my methods to serve you better. I really do take your feedback seriously and I make changes that people suggest.

At the moment, I’m considering opening one commission slot per month so that people who want something special and different can still have their needs met.

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As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the process of applying for a start-up grant. If I get one, it will allow me to get a larger workshop. That  means more storage space, room for more machines, the possibility of hiring people to help me out with the crafting, answering emails, and taking orders, and it also means the possibility of longer work hours. At present, my workshop is in my apartment so I have to be very courteous and not run my noisy machines at all hours.

A larger workplace would also allow me to have a fume hood for working with resin. It’s important not to breathe the fumes of resin while it’s curing. It’s really stinky and generally not good for you. Crafting swords from resin would allow me to skip the whole carving process and go straight to the polishing. Hopefully, it will allow me to bring you more swords more quickly, while still maintaining the quality you want and deserve. 🙂

The other reason I want to free up more of my time is research and experimentation. Some of you may know that I make more than just Seraph Blades.

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I’m a big fan of elves, vampires, dragons, and many other neat fantasy elements. I think that’s why we like Shadowhunters, isn’t it? This fandom really lends itself well to imagination and possibilities.

I love costuming and that love expands beyond props. I also make …

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custom prosthetics,

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and clothing items.

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All these things need time and practice. My goal is to bring you more cool stuff and I really appreciate your patience while I figure out how to cram more hours into a day. Ha!

Now I’ve got to stop blathering and get back in the Studio. I’ll do an update on what’s on my table later. Ciao for now guys!

 

 

What’s on Ethan’s Table This Week?

I made a thing!

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It’s a nice thing. ^_^

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Shiiiiny.

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So very shiny!

If you think you’ve seen this thing before, it’s probably because it’s based on that thing.

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We couldn’t tell what the rune in the middle was so we guessed.

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I like this thing. 🙂

If you want your own thing, you’d better hurry. I’ve only got one more crafting slot left for this year!

That’s all from me for now. I think I earned a nap.