Intro & Photos
DBZ was a staple of my childhood (go Toonami!). This year GAAM asked me to build Majin Buu. I was part of a huge group of cosplayers who all came together to do this:
Click here to see all of these cosplayers and the photographers!
|Klara Cu DelRosario||Klara Cu Photography & Design|
|Mark Pariani||Mark Pariani – Productions||mark_pariani|
|Li Hoang||Helloitsli Photography|
|Kory Torjussen||K Torjussen Photography|
|Francis Peejay Santos||Photography by F. Santos||photosantos31|
Cosplayers (who have public pages):
|Videl||Miss Koumori Cosplay||MissKoumori|
|Master Roshi||AWS Craft||aws_craft|
|Bulma||Hannah Jones Illustration||hannahthebird|
|Android 17||Mega5 Cosplay||Mega5cosplay|
|Satan||The Short Box Podcast||theshortboxjax|
|Android 18||From the Ashes Cosplay||ladyashexii|
So, yeah. They wanted that giant candy-loving, steam-blowing pink blob (wait, am I describing him, or myself? ;) ) And this is what I built!
It’s like looking into a mirror~~!
This costume had a lot of fun parts to build and a TON of unique challenges, but overall I’m so pleased with how he came out. I know I say that, like, every costume… but I legit love him.
This was one of the easiest costumes to move and pose in. A lot of cosplay is delicate or restrictive, but I could jump and dance in this!
Behind the scenes photos:
Here is my Buu reference board:
Two things I wanted to do with this costume were to nail the face and make him steam. If you’re only familiar with Akira Toriyama through the Dragon Ball TV shows, Dragon Quest or Chrono Trigger, do yourself a favor and check out his comics. His characters are funny and hugely expressive and I wanted to bring that into the costume.
Beyond that, the important things were to match his silhouette and match his colors. He has skinny arms and a huge body, which means…
Initially, I wanted to use my own body for this. I’ve gotten pretty fluffy over the last year, but unfortunately, I wasn’t fluffy enough, and there was no way I could eat enough in time.
The fat suit was made from 2 oversized men’s t-shirts. The first one, I folded the bottom up and pinned it so the back would be flat. The belly was stuffed and sewn. When I built Teddie I had issues with the stuffing moving around. Sewing the belly fixed that issue.
Then the second shirt was put on. I was hoping my chest could be Buu’s chest, but I ended up adding some padding in because I was too narrow.
His skin was latex mixed with pink paint. I did a huge batch and kept it in an airtight container so his skin would match all over.
The pants were huge and so simple to make. The trick was to have a ton of fabric. I used a twin sheet set. I could fit myself down one leg. They were big pants!
The pillowcases from the set were stuffed and hung onto a belt to make his hips. The sheet was sewn around elastic to make a pair of huge harem pants. The pants actually went all the way down to my ankles. I did the ankle elastic so it could fit around my upper calves and all that extra leg fabric made the bottom poof out really nicely.
I bought boot covers and gloves before realizing Buu only has two fingers! So I just traced my hands onto some felt, sewed two sides together and cut it out. They weren’t the fanciest gloves ever, but they did the job.
The vest was a silky women’s pajamas I cut to size.
It was my first time using bias tape, which is a thin piece of fabric you sew on twice, creating a hem or edge to your piece. It’s hard to describe how to use it, and I just blindly followed a few tutorials hoping it would turn out ok. IT DID! It made the edges of the vest look so professional, and I didn’t have to cut or dart it to get it to follow the curves. 10/10, would recommend.
His belt was 3 pieces of paper. For the black part of the belt, I used the scraps from the vest.
The yellow was scrap fabric from the gloves. The “M” was printed off a computer and glued on the front.
Initially, I wanted to build latex glove arms, but it went poorly. My paint didn’t mix well, it got streaky, I was still a little wary after the disaster with my Hancock gloves…
I ended up finding a pink sweater in my mom’s donation bin that worked perfectly for his arms.
I didn’t paint my arms, even though I had the body paint I needed. I was worried about sweating it off (we were in Florida) and I’m terrible at putting body paint on. I always smear and ruin it.
Here’s a video of me making the mask:
The base of the mask was a hamster ball, similar to how I built the heads for our Powerpuff Girl cosplays. This time I used a 7.25″ ball, which juuust barely fit over my giant head. Usually, I add some sort of harness system inside these masks to hold them in place, but this ball was so small I didn’t need to.
My original plan was to have face plates that I could swap out. I was going to use the top of the hamster ball for the face, because the top was already designed to be taken on and off of the ball. I used my Dremel to drill a huge hole in the side of the ball for my head to go into.
I taped over the vertical slits in the ball, so it would be smooth. I was planning on doing latex over fabric, and I knew the latex was going to soak through the fabric and stick to the plastic. Over the holes it would lay flat, or even a little concave. The tape would help there.
With all the prep work done, time to make the mask!
I stretched and sewed a t-shirt around my hamster ball, then stuffed the cheeks and jowls to give it a triangular shape. It was important for it to be as smooth as possible because latex would show off all the bumps and lumps. Note that the top area (under his antenna) and the area under his ears I didn’t worry too much about. They would be hidden in the final product.
A sock was stuffed and used to make the roll on the back of his neck. I used a sock because of how latex and fabric stick to things – the sock meant that there would be a cylindrical shape on the back of the head, not just a series of lumps.
After everything was in place, I painted the fabric with clear latex. Then I covered it with pink latex.
I drilled two holes in the top of the head, and ran a wire coat hanger through the holes, bending, gluing and taping them to the inside of the mask.
Over the wire hanger went a piece of nylon hose stuffed with stuffing.
The edges of the hose were pinned in place, then “glued” on with latex. During this, the edges of the nylon rolled up, creating an obvious ridge. I carefully tore the rolled edges off, which made almost a seamless connection.
His “ears” were circular pieces of foam. I hot glued them on and then used latex to fill in any gaps.
At this point, I realized I was a fool to think the faceplate would work. There was no way I could get it on and off, and I would have a huge seam right through the middle of Buu’s face. If I had realized it earlier I would have cut the neck hole around the opening of the hamster ball. Since I didn’t, there was a huge, circular ridge right in the middle of Buu’s forehead. Luckily it’s not very obvious, but I was bummed over it.
Capturing his silly, cartoony expressions was really important to me. I opted to draw on his eyes and make mouths that I could add and remove as I wanted. I also painted some shadows and highlights on his cheeks and chin, to make the face pop a little more. Finally, I drew some details on his face to try and match the style of the art he came from.
It worked pretty well to give me a wide variety of facial expressions.
There’s a very small fog machine that runs up the back of the costume and comes out of the front holes in the helmet. More on that, later :)
When I was asked to build Buu, I was visiting one of my dads in California. This dad is pretty handy and creative. He builds a shower for Burning Man every year and does a “Frankenstein’s Lab” performance in his front yard every Halloween.
I was lamenting that I wanted Buu to shoot steam but wasn’t sure how to do it. A fog machine would be great, but all the ones I knew of needed a lot of power and fluid. Maybe something with baby powder, to fake the steam? Or a smoke bomb in an insulated container?
We both kicked around ideas before settling on an e-cig.
Yup. Buu vapes.
I bought a tiny, $10 disposable cigarette. I picked vanilla, thinking it would be the least offensive smelling. I was wrong. I no longer like vanilla.
I tore it apart. Pro tip – this voids the warranty. The cigarette works using a switch that’s activated by a vacuum. You suck on the tube, creating a vacuum that depresses the switch, which heats a coil wrapped around some cotton soaked in fluid. The fluid (which in my final version would be a mix of water and glycerin) vaporizes, and you get vapor!
First, I disconnected the wires from the vacuum switch. I pulled the rest of it apart, hoping to make a small container for it, before realizing that the vape was already in its own, small, heat-resistant container. So most of the pieces went back inside.
I stripped an old USB cord and used it to lengthen the wires, taping them together with electrical tape. My dad had a handheld flashlight that was broken, so we gutted it. I ran the wires to the switch to an old flashlight, giving it an “on/off” switch. The tubes were pieces of a sprinkler system, and they fit the end of the vape perfectly. The other end had a white plastic piece to hold everything in place. That white piece had a hole in the center, where the wires originally ran through that I fit the straw of a can of compressed air in. The vapor was blown through the tubes using a can of compressed air.
I turned it on for a few seconds, then blew the air. Eventually, I replaced the canned air with a fan from an old computer part.
I experimented with using one of those rechargeable power sources that people use for their phones, but it didn’t give off enough power to work for me. I ended up investing in a larger battery for the fog machine.
My first mistake was not planning the faces out on the mask more. I know it’s a little thing, but the ridge in the front of the mask really bothers me. I also didn’t wait for the latex to fully dry before testing the mouths out on it, which led to a slight bumpiness in the mouth area that I personally dislike.
My second mistake was in the antenna. I needed to use a thicker material, or I needed to layer more nylon. Stuffing came through the holes in the nylons and got caught in the latex as I was painting, which led to a ton of tiny, gross looking little bumps. I cut off most of them, but simply layering more would have helped a lot. It also would have allowed me to stuff the antenna more. Currently, it looks lumpy.
My third mistake was not wearing enough protection while I was working with the e-cig, and not doing it in an area with enough ventilation. Nicotine can be absorbed through your skin and I don’t smoke. While working with the e-cig, some got on my skin and I felt really nauseous and got a bad headache. That, combined with the cloying scent of vanilla, made for a bad evening.
My final mistake was messing up my fog fluid right before the shoot. I bought the wrong kind of glycerin to mix with water, which ended up saturating my cotton and I couldn’t get a good cloud out of it. It was very disappointing. I hope to get some photos of the mask with the fog machine when I wear Buu to GAAM.
I love this costume. It’s really comfortable, it looks great, and I got to build a wearable fog machine for it, which is just way too cool.
I will definitely be wearing it again.
Bonus Sexy Buu Photo