Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Star Wars Christmas

Isn't it fun when our interests and skills cross paths with our vocation? That happens to me often enough that I must wonder if it's intentional on my part or just a blessing. To give our students a bit of stress relief during finals, we decided to have a Star Wars theme in the library and to kick off the release of their new movie. When we sat down to figure out what we wanted to do and what could actually get done, I volunteered to dress up our dress forms in appropriate costume and then the fun began. Which characters would be possible? What could I use that would be cheap? What was realistic?

It came down to Obi Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia, R2D2, and Yoda. We found out someone had a Chewbacca costume so we are borrowing that, too. As it turned out, R2D2 was the most time consuming but they all took a fair amount of time. Here's the break down:

Obi Wan Kenobi started with a donated karate outfit with added collar and belted with a find from Goodwill Outlet. Boots, also from Goodwill Outlet, were added at the base of the dress form with the pants tucked into them. The robe was made from one of my bed sheets that no longer had a mate, drawn from a pattern found online. All together he was pretty easy and could we worn by someone:

Obi Wan Kenobi

Princess Leia was the fun one to make with a long white gown made from a large polyester knit that was glowing white. I bought it not knowing how I would ever use it but it was just too good to pass up. Voila! An online tutorial provided all of the steps I needed to make the dress and belt.
Simple robe type of shape

The belt took several tired before I came up with white vinyl, silver lame, and covered buttons. The hair piece was from another tutorial and is waiting for a hairband. This costume is going to be worn by one of our staff on Study Day.
Princess Leia with Yoda
R2D2 took many ties and I finally just had to settle because I was running out of time. Several weeks prior I took a donated ball and marked off places for the many gizmos on his shell with duct tape.
R2D2 with tape next to Leia in my office
He then got a coat of primer and another of silver paint, waiting days between coats. The silver never dried and the tape came off and left the adhesive behind. What a sticky mess! So the ball came home with me for a paper mache treatment. It was not too smooth after the first coat so I tried using liquid starch as recommended of several websites. Oh no, this now created flakes every time it was touched. Then I added something that was more like Spackle and it got smoother but also heavier and had a tendency to roll away.
R2D2's legs on left with sanded head
 I finally just sanded it, primed, and painted with the silver spray paint and called it done. All of the little squares and circles on his head and body were then added, first in paint (did not cover well) and then in blue duct tape (that peeled the paint off). Appendages were added, knobs and lids hot glued on, and he was declared DONE:
Yoda was the quickest of all with a donated Halloween costume coming to the rescue. A pillow provided the body, the costume dressed onto the pillow with an added face printed from an online photo of Yoda. He got stuck into a 5 quart ice cream bucket and went into the display. Here they all are on the day before Study Day, waiting for photo opps:
Library version of Star Wars characters
This should be fun on Study Day and we already had many comments about what we were doing so just wait until the characters go walking around the library! At least Princess Leia and Chewbacca will be and it's possible we might talk someone else into wearing Obi Wan Kenobi. Oh the fun you can have while on the job! Yes, sewing machines and sergers were used in this production and I did much of it at work or it was comp. time I have already used up but its a case of using what you've got to the delight of others. Now I have to finish up a few projects of my own at home!