Hannah Alexander Megara Cosplay Tutorial (Part 3 - Wigs and Worbla)
In this tutorial, I will walk through how I made my Hannah Alexander design art nouveau Megara cosplay from Disney's Hercules. This is by no means the only way to make this garment, it is just how I created mine.
This is Part 3 of the tutorial. Check out Part 1 to learn what fabric I used, how I ombré dyed the colors, and how I patterned my Hannah Alexander design Megara. Then continue reading to Part 2 to see how I sewed all the fabric elements of this cosplay.
Styling the Wig
I used an Arda wig for this cosplay, a Victoria in Mahogany. This wig already has very intense ringlet curls in the back. I finagled these curls into a ponytail (which was an event, trust me). I left out the bangs and some side ringlets to frame my face. While manipulating the back into a ponytail, most of the perfect ringlets became horrible tangled messes so, I had to brush out, straighten, and re-curl about a third of the back ponytail. I also re-curled the side ringlets so I could control the tightness/looseness of the curl.
To curl, I heated up strands of hair with my straightener then rolled them around different sized foam rollers and let them cool in the roller. Usually to secure the curl I leave them to sit overnight.
To style the bangs, I curled all the pieces, let them set, and styled them into a side swoop ala Ariel. The bangs were a lot shorter than the bangs I am used to styling for Meg (which I usually use an Arda Jeannie in Mahogany) so, there was some manipulation from my original styling technique.
I usually lift the bangs to be higher and more dramatic for Meg but, looking back at the original design, her bangs are just side swept with minimal volume. So, I changed tactics and focused on a more forehead covering design with volume going out instead of up.
I eventually loved this styling ten times more than my first attempt and I’m glad I went back and looked at the original Hannah Alexander design instead of going into Meg autopilot. (Proof that you should use and look at your references).
Working with Worbla
Working with worbla was a whole ‘nother beast. I first created patterns for the worbla pieces out of 3mm craft foam using the cling-wrap and masking tape method.
I cut darts in the pieces that needed to be more convex and super glued the darts together. The pieces included the pauldron (shoulder armor piece), breastplate and breastplate swirls, Zeus medallion and lightning emblem. (Other cosplayers had made the belt out of worbla as well but, I was worried about it breaking when bending or moving so, I only made the medallion worbla).
This was my first time working with worbla but, I was so lucky to have an amazing friend help me and advise me and teach me about worbla. They made it so easy to understand and less intimidating and stressful that I made it out to be.
I watched and read a lot of tutorials about working with worbla so, I’m not the most knowledgeable nor am I a source for worbla questions and advice. I’m going to try to explain to the best of my ability what we did but, I most likely will not get all the terminology right and will use some unconventional methods.
Once the worbla was heated, I shaped it around the foam pattern piece. Cut off excess worbla on the sides and darted the extra to make it easy to fold around to the wrong side of the foam pattern.
With things like the Zeus medallion, breastplate cups spiral, and weird face on the pauldron, I wanted dimension in those designs so, I layered foam and super glued down the designs before worbla-ing it. Then I just had to heat and press the worbla into the silhouettes that already existed instead of trying to add worbla detailing later.
I did add detail lines directly to hot worbla by pressing down with tweezers, needle-nose pliers, and drawing heavy lines with pen. This is how I did most of the squiggles on the pauldron. The design of it isn’t super accurate to Hannah’s design, which to me read like an angry sun god. I however drew inspiration from accident Greek art (once again) and found really cool images of depictions of Medusa that had the angry/stern front facing look and swirly/voluminous snake hair.
* Getting way too personal but… I have always loved Ancient Greek and Greek mythology so, it was so easy for me to draw inspiration from that knowledge of mine. I have always seen connections between Meg and my favorite women from Greek mythology, Medusa and Persephone. Meg and Medusa are both manipulated and abused by the gods, are kind of social pariahs and outcasts, but are strong, independent women. Both Meg and Persephone are the females of the Underworld, have a dichotomous personality between very kind and loving, and being snarky and closed off, and their color schemes of the pinks and purples of pomegranates is practically the same. I actually was so happy to add a Medusa cameo into my design, as I had already impulsively drawn a pomegranate swirl into a blank spot on the skirt design. *
I was happily surprised with how easy it was to work with worbla and how quickly I got in the groove of it. Once all the pieces were attached and detailed, I added eyelets to the center back opening of the breastplate so it would almost function like a plastic corset. I also sandwiched eyes (from like hook and eyes) between two pieces of worbla around the inner edges of the pauldron according to the points that would have a chain attachment. I explain how this all connects in Part 4.
I primed the worbla armor with 3-4 coats of wood glue and painted them with acrylic paint. I started with a dark brown base coat all over then stippled gold on top. I added highlights by mixing gold and a light champagne paint and stippling that on the raised parts of the armor. I attempted to use a dark brown to draw thin detail lines but, my brush ended up being way too big and I had to spend the next 3 hours painting over it and trying to fix that mistake. I mixed pink, red, and purple to paint the border lines on the breastplate and pauldron, matching it to the color of my applique floral embroidery. I then lightly stippled a lighter shade of purple onto the breastplate cup swirls. I sprayed all the pieces with a sealant/varnish
The last thing I did was super glue some amythist colored rhinestones onto the pauldron for the eyes of my Medusa face. And then I was done with the worbla pieces!
Keep reading to Part 4 to see how I did the next step; making the belt and adding all the chains.