Being Princess Bubblegum

So, with my dress, crown and butler in place, I finally put my Princess Bubblegum costume into action today!

I decided to dye my hair, because wigs are expensive and hard to store. I used a Stargazer magenta dye that I’ve used before, my experience is that it washes out within a week. Don’t forget, if you use a dye, to do a strand test. Everyone’s hair is different, it may take more washes for you to get rid of it if that worries you.

The nail polish is a metallic pink by Jess, which I bought at Poundland. The shoes are from New Look, I bought them back in 2008. The purple petticoat is from Vivien of Holloway.

Princess Bubblegum
Princess Bubblegum costume, May 2014

Adventure Time: Princess Bubblegum’s Crown

A princess isn’t a princess without a princess gem, and Bubblegum’s is in her tall, golden crown. Having made the dress, and my very own butler, the crown was the final piece of the puzzle. It took me about two hours in total, mostly because I find drawing freehand really fiddly.

There are many other fabulous tutorials on the internet, but they are more time- and resource-intensive. If you have time, or are serious about your cosplay, check out: The Stylish Geek, or the amazing metalwork of Boo Science.

I used thin, gold card (A4) from Hobbycraft, PVA glue, a pipe cleaner for strength, and a metallic blue pen.

First, I measured my head. I wanted the crown itself to cover my forehead, and assumed that was about 1/3 of the total (n). I then cut two strips of card, 1″ wide, measuring n+2″ (for overlap allowance). I marked out a rectangle n*1″ on the bottom of the card I was using for the two crown pieces, and drew the crown freehand, then cut two pieces. I added the gem to the top with metallic blue pen. (If you don’t have a pipe cleaner, you could use extra card instead, just made extra crown pieces from your template. Other tutorials use lolly sticks, they would work, too.)

The crown before being assembled

After that, it was just a matter of putting the crown together. I glued the band strips to back of the top crown piece (the one with the gem drawn on it). At this point, I glued the pipe cleaner behind the stem of the crown, to stiffen it. I placed the other crown piece on the back, making sure the gold is showing both sides, the crown will be visible from behind.

Finally, mark the points on each side of the band where the crown sits comfortably on your head. Cut 1/2″ notches at each point, one from the bottom up, and one from the top up, so that the pieces slot into one another and the crown closes.

Wear with pride, Princess!

Adventure Time: Princess Bubblegum’s Dress

Continuing with my Princess Bubblegum costume, once I’d made the Peppermint Butler (a girl’s best candy-friend), I moved on to creating the dress. It took me about an hour, including the sewing.

I already owned a lovely pink jive dress from Lindy Bop, so all I had to do was add the collar and belt. I bought two small squares of purple felt (50p each in my local haberdashery), and made a template for the collar by marking out the neckline on a piece of greaseproof paper and drawing the collar shape freehand. I then cut two, and reversed one to make the collar symmetrical.

Drafting a collar template with greaseproof paper

I cut out strips of felt about 1″ wide from the remainder of the felt to make the belt. I only made the belt wide enough for the front of the dress. If you’re more inclined to detail or are going to keep and reuse the costume, you may wish to do it all the way around. I tacked my details on very loosely, so I can recover the dress after the party.

Voila! One pink dress with purple detailing, quick and easy.

The collar, attached
The collar, attached


Adventure Time: Making the Peppermint Butler

Some of you may not be familiar with the cartoon and comic sensation that is Adventure Time. Congratulations, you almost certainly have a life and no children. Set in the post-apocalyptic land of Ooo, Finn and Jake troll around having adventures and generally being awesome. By far my favourite of the princesses they regularly hang out with is Princess Bubblegum, for the following reasons:

  1. She rules the Candy Kingdom without a regent, or a prince, or anyone else telling her what to do (she also created the Candy Kingdom and its people)
  2. She is a scientist and inventor, who is drawn to smart people who relate to her as an intelligent woman
  3. She is as often rescuer as rescued
(I should say at this point that I’m really only familiar with vol.1 of the comics and series 1 of the show, my knowledge is probably out of date for the hardcore fans out there.)
So, like the Princess herself, I set out to create myself a Peppermint Butler.

White foamboard (5mm thick, A3)
Daler Rowney Canford Card in 007 (Bright Red) and 049 (Navy Blue)

From the craft kit:
A large plate
A craft knife
PVA glue
White paper
Black marker
Responsible adult (or equivalent if this is not available where you live)

I started by drawing around the plate on the foamboard. I folded the navy card in half and used the bottom 1/3 of the plate against the pre-cut edge to create his tux. I then added the tails, without rubbing out the shape of the plate. I cut both pieces out, then cut the tails off the one with pencil marks, along the curved line. I also drew the outline of the plate on the red card and marked where the tux would sit.

Using a responsible adult (My Girl), I cut the foam board with a craft knife, and then tidied the edges with scissors. I positioned the two tuxedo pieces against one edge and glued down

I drew the markings freehand onto the red cardboard, in the right positions on the circle I drew earlier, and cut out two of each. I placed them onto the foamboard based, and glued into place.

I drew the arms, legs, hands and feet freehand on card and cut them out (again, two of each piece), and one bow tie. I glued these together and placed them onto the body. The cuffs I made from plain white paper and wrapped around the wrist. I added the black lines in marker pen, and drew on his face.

That’s it, a Peppermint Butler to call your own.


Free Comic Book (Craft) Day

The first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day. I made sure to go out and celebrate with my fellow Bucks-based-nerds at Dead Universe Comics in Friar’s Square (Facebook), then I came home and started planning for my fiancée’s epic Heroes and Villains barbecue birthday party.

I’m something of a magpie for craft materials; I buy things when I see them and find a use for them later! Rummaging in my craft box, I came across some coloured twine I bought from The Works, and two 1.5m samples of Marvel wallpaper from B&Q. The project that presented itself was obvious: bunting.

The height of the flag is also 105mm

I started with working out how widely-spaced the holes on my hole-punch are. Then – aiming for five flags on each width – I settled on 105mm width and height, and laid it out. I didn’t refer to where the design is in relation to the flags, because it would have been too much of a headache, and I wanted to reduce wastage. If you wanted to, you could obviously draw the triangles out on the front to get the ideal images.



I cut all the flags out, and punched holes in the top, then strung them along the twine and secured with tape on the back. My bunting is one-sided; to make it double-sided, cut the same number of flags again but don’t put holes in. Then glue the un-punched triangles onto the back. The length of twine on the reel wasn’t labeled, but I think I had 4.5-5m. With about 20cm left at each end and 6-7cm between flags I had 30 flags on my bunting. It’s not an exact science, of course, I decided not to be over-accurate.

I think it took me an hour (about half of my Bob-Hoskins-tribute viewing of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) and looks better than I expected. Hurrah!


A footnote: The cross stitch in the picture is this kit, which we bought from Hobbycraft. It was The Girl’s first embroidery but she’s very good at the detail and – unlike me – always gets projects finished.