In April last year, I cosplayed Wanda Maximoff, or Scarlet Witch, for the first time during the Avengers marathon. I honestly loved her outfit from the movie so much, and I ended up loving her character as well. I’ve been improving her outfit more and more throughout the past year, and then I decided I wanted to do a comic inspired outfit as well.
But that meant either buying (or making) the headpiece that she wears, that is kind of her most recognisable feature. My friend – who wanted to cosplay her as well – and I looked around the internet but couldn’t really find anything that was cheap enough to ship to our country. So, we decided to make the headpiece ourselves. And today I am going to share with you exactly how we did it!
What do you need?
- A mock-up of cardboard (or paper)
- Worbla, PVC Plastic, foam or anything similar
- A heatgun or hair dryer
- (White) Primer (we used Gesso)
- Red spray paint
- Paint brushes
- Scissors or a knife
- A pencil and a (black or red) marker
Step one: The Mock-up
You’ll need a piece of A3 paper (or two pieces of A4 taped together) to make your mock-up. We used this video tutorial to make ours, so you can use the same one. You can use a reference photo of Wanda (like the above one) to loosely draw (with a pencil, in case of mistakes) the shape of her headpiece over your rectangle. When you’re happy with the result, you can either trace the pencil drawing with a marker, or immediately cut it out of the paper. Remember to fold it in half, so you’ll have a full mask and not just one side.
You can now either trace it onto a piece of cardboard, to make a folded mock-up of your mask, or immediately trace it into the Worbla. In either case, let’s go onto the next step!
Step two: Cutting the Worbla
Put the paper or cardboard onto your choice of material. Since I used Worbla, I’ll be referencing to that throughout this tutorial, but it doesn’t mean you have to use it too. You can use any type of marker to trace the mock-up onto your material, but you can also use one in the colour you’re eventually going to dye the mask in. (You’ll be painting it over almost ten times eventually, so you will not see any of the marker anymore).
After tracing the headpiece (don’t worry about any mistakes, you can easily cut around them), you can pick up your scissors or your knife and cut out the piece. Once you’ve cut out the piece, you can use sandpaper (either just a piece of paper or a machine) to get rid of the hard or sharp edges and any mistakes made while cutting.
Note: If you’re using Worbla, you might have noticed that it has a rough side and a smooth side. A friend of mine said it doesn’t matter which side you use for the front, but we choose the rough side because the smoother side is probably nicer to put against your face).
Step three: Shaping the headpiece
When you’ve cut out your mask, you can finally start the fun part! Shaping your headpiece with heat! You can use one of those heads that people put wigs on or anything else that’s round to shape your mask on, or perhaps a bottle filled with cold water (to cool it down as well). As for the heating part, you can use a heatgun, or if you don’t have one a hairdryer. Just heat up the middle of the mask and shape it. I myself used my own head to shape the mask, because we used a hairdryer and it didn’t get as hot as a heatgun would get.
Most Scarlet Witch headpieces have the lower points shaped towards the face, and the top ones shaped outwards, but my friend couldn’t make it work, so we ended up just shaping the mask around our heads. You can try to do it still, and if you make a mistake, you can just reheat the part with the mistake, and shape it back as best as you can.
The only thing you have to keep in mind, is that you have to do all the shaping before priming/painting, because you might ruin the paint if you reheat/reshape the mask in a later stage. If you’re happy with how your mask looks like, you can let it cool down a bit and start priming!
Step four: Priming
When your mask is fully cooled down, you can start priming. We used a white primer, but I believe there’s all kinds of different coloured ones as well, so if you can find it, you can also used a red one instead. The first day, we put around two to three layers of primer on our masks. Remember to let each layer dry properly, before adding another layer. Of course, you’ll need to do both sides, because you will be able to see the inside as well as the outside.
You can use your sandpaper to get rid of any paint ‘tears’ that you might get on your mask. Do this between each layer of primer, just in case. Then, we let the masks dry overnight, but it isn’t really necessary before spraypainting in my opinion.
Step five: Painting (and finishing up)
You can use a brush to paint the mask red, but I personally recommend spraying it, because that will get you the best/even result. Put as many layers of paint on your mask as you think it will need. We ended up using two or three layers, letting each layer dry for about ten to fifteen minutes and getting rid of paint tears (or bubbles, idk what they’re called). You might want to wear some rubber gloves during this stage, because the paint will stain your fingers. (If that does happen, you can always use aceton/nail polish remover to get rid of the stains).
The mask will need to dry properly, so put it somewhere safe (a place where no children/animals/rain can reach it) and let it dry for another twenty-four hours.
Of course, the mask will need to stay on your head. There are lots of options for this, but I personally think the best one is using a clear piece of elastic. Put it around your head to see how much you need, and then cut out two pieces of the same length. Stick the pieces of elastic to your mask on the inside using either (hot)glue or ducttape.
If you don’t want people to see the tape, you can always paint it the same colour as your mask with the bottle of spray paint. Put the mask on, and tada! You’re Wanda Maximoff!
You can use this tutorial to also make Polaris’ headpiece, which is very similar to Wanda’s. As long as you have a good piece of Worbla, a mock-up and something to heat up the material, you can make anything out of Worbla! Just use your imagination!