Tutorial: Thresh League of Legends (2013)

So as I mentioned in my last post, my next planned costume is going to be Thresh, the chain warden from League of Legends. I hope to get this outfit done for Anime Expo in July but we’ll see. His attire is pretty straigh forward- gauntlets, long ragged coat with a giant collar, armored boots, ect. But then there’s his face… or maybe lack there-of. At first I debated making a crossplay version of this character and maybe working with facepaint to give a more feminized look. But I quickly tossed out that idea. I have no issues dressing as a male character.



My first challenge then was to figure out how to make a convincing floating skull head.



Unlike my Soraka costume, I actually bothered to take progress pictures. I’ve seen lots of cosplayers express interest in this character so I hope that these next few posts can be helpful to my fellow League cosplayers.

Alright, alright, enough babbling. Time to get to work!

The material list for the mask is pretty easy:

– 1 plastic mask base ($5)

-Acrylic paint (I already have a bunch stockpiled)

-2 coat hangers (again these I already had)

-2 packs of paperclay ($20)

-plastic mesh ($2)(Not really sure what this is actually used for, maybe needle point or something)

– 3 colors of cellophane, you know, that plasticy clear stuff that people use when wrapping presents and such ($10)

-Glue gun + glue sticks (something I can’t live without!)

So the total cost should be around $40-50 depending on what supplies you do or do not already have

Okay, step one, cut the mask! It doesn’t have to be super prefect since most of it will be covered in clay anyway, but if you get jagged edges be sure to sand them down so they don’t hurt. I made the eyes large, used the masks chin for the jaw piece, and cut a wide slit for the nose because its important to be able to breathe and the tiny holes in the original mask weren’t gonna cut it.


Step Two making the cap. This part isn’t hard. I used the plastic mesh to make a sort of cap that attaches to the back of the mask and helps hold it on my head. I cut long strips of the plastic mesh about 1-2 inches thick. I glued down one end to the inside of the mask, right about ear level. Wrapped that all the way around until it was a little snug but still loose enough that I could easily take off the mask. Glued that down. The next few strips go across the top of the head to make a dome.




Step Three, figure out where the uh… chain things go. I used the coat hanger wires to create a base for this. One in the middle, and the other two off to the sides. I played around with angles and bent it around before finally gluing it in place.



Once the base is done it’s time for the fun stuff.

Step Four is to take out the paperclay and sculpt his head. I wanted depth and detail and thickness. I used just about 3/4ths of a pack to do this. I can’t give much instriction on how exactly to sculpt it but use water wisely. A llittle bit to wet fingers works wonders, but too much will turn the project into a muddy mess.




Let the clay dry for a few days just to be safe. When the mask is dry use left over clay to fill in any cracks.

Step Five- The wierd fire aura stuff. This is where the cellophane comes in. I cut long rectangles of the stuff and took my scissors to the edges to give it a jagged look. Then I crumbled the who thing up really tight to get some nice texture. Layer that stuff all up the wires and along the cap portion. I used mostly green with a bit of blue thrown in for effect. I tried yellow out but found it sort of got lost.





Step Six- More sculpting! I don’t know why I didn’t do this when sculpting the basic face. Make a bunch of bone shaped shapes (ha) to go up the wires. Make the last one on each wire look like a hook. Let those dry for a few days. I got impatient and tried to cook mine in the oven but even after an hour  they were barely dry. I’d just let them air dry like normal, the oven really wasn’t worth it. My dog thought I was making cookies and was disappointed to learn that he couldn’t eat my project (this time).


Step Seven- Glue the bones to the wire then realize it’d be easier to paint them separate. Take them off. Or even better, don’t put them on to begin with.



Step Eight- Paint!! Thresh’s head isn’t black. My paints fought me all the way on this one but eventually I came up with a decent purple. Be sure to add in some highlights and low lights to bring out the sculpt details. Add green accents around the eyes.

Step Nine- Glue the bones onto the wire.



Step Ten- By now it should look pretty awesome. Use this time to clean up any glue gun cobwebs or any other touchups as needed.

The mask will be a little heavy because of all the clay, but it’s nothing unmanageable. I might add some more cellophane further down along the mask but I need to make the coat to see how it all fits together before I mess with that anymore.

Oh! One thing I forgot to mention, I intend to buy some sort of zentai suit like hood in green to wear underneath the mask. That way my eyes wont be seen and it will give me something to attach the jaw too. Hope this helped in some way shape or form!!




After the mask I decided to work on the gloves. For these I needed just a few basic supplies:

Wonderflex (jumbo)- $67.00

Black gloves- $8.00


Paint/paint brushes



Elastic scraps

Okay! Once all the supplies were gathered I did some research on gauntlet and glove patterns. I tried a few different techniques to get the finger joints to bend properly but in the end I decided to make each finger plate separate. Below are some preliminary attempts. In the bottom right corner are the actual patterns I used, just resized for each finger. The tear drop is the claw while the other wobbly shape makes up the other fingerplates.

It’s worth noting that at first I tried to use styrene because it was cheaper and came recommended  but in the end I went with wonderflex. It might be way more expensive but I like the way it bends better and the fact that it sticks to itself when warm makes it easier to work with.


Using the heatgun, I heated the wonderflex to a warm but not burning temperature. Two layers of wonderflex works best, that way its sturdy but not too thick. Wearing the black gloves I wrapped each piece around my finger and reinforced the bottom of each peice with an extra strip of wonderflex. To add some random flare, I pushed up the front edge and formed it to a point.



After all the finger pieces were done it came out looking like this:


The fingerplates might require some trimming to make sure they bend properly under the other plates:


The palm piece was pretty hard to figure out. Most of the sites that claimed to have automail or gauntlet patterns were out of date or the pictures didn’t work. So I just sorta made up the shapes. The right top piece is the knuckle plate, below that covers the hand, and the last piece is for the palm. With the wonderflex warm I added some warble to the knuckle plate ’cause it looked cool! All of this was formed over my hand. It’s not hard to do but if you try this just make sure not to heat up the wonderflex too hot and wear gloves!



Added some more details:


Also put on some elastic so the wrist parts stay in place:


Now for the wrist. The shape is easy enough:


I cut out two of those shapes for each arm and formed them directly over my wrist. I pressed the edges together so that it was stuck on my arm. I couldn’t pull my hand out so I cut it right up the middle when the wonderflex was completely cool. That way I can slip my arm into it but it keeps its shape without revealing the open seam.


Here’s it all together (unpainted).



Time for painting! Yay! This is what can really make or break the armor. Never use one flat color, always try to paint in highlights and low lights. Once it was all painted I coated it all with matte clear spray paint then using hotglue I stuck on all the fingerplates to the glove.






I spent sometime over the past week working on the boots for my Thresh cosplay. Pretty basic and easy to make, though I am not entirely satisfied with the paint right now. Anyways, here’s how it was done…

First step, buy some boots! Being spring time I guess boots are out of season because I wasn’t able to find any at my local shoe stores. Instead I bought them online (something I hate to do because I won’t know if they fit until they get here).

Got these on Amazon for about thirty dollars. Cheap but effective.


I cut off the little buckles because they just got in the way.

Thresh’s boots look armored so I brought out the handydandy wonderflex! And craft foam. Because wonderflex is expensive and craft foam helps to thicken it. For the armor on the toe I cut out a shape out of craft foam like this:


Then covered it with wonderflex using a heat gun and folding it underneath. I pinched it along those lines to create a ridge:


The rest of the armor is pretty much repeating this process but with different shapes such as this for the rest of the foot:


When put on the boot it looked something like this:


You can see where the wonderflex dented from being overheated, but when painted over it’s not as noticeable.


The next three pieces are done exactly the same way.


All that’s left is to do the paint. I use basic acrylic.


And to cover the paint with a clear coat of matte spray paint.

Hope my quick and messy explanation will help someone! Now off to play some ARAM!



Alright, it’s beenn quiet on my blog for a few weeks now but that doesn’t mean I havn’t been busy! With a new full time job it’s been getting harder and harder to find time to work on my personal projects. Anyway, let’s take a look at Thresh’s lantern. It doesn’t light up like I’d have hoped but again, time has been an issue. Maybe in the future.

It all starts with a bit of cardboard…

DSCN7649Then some hotglue…


Add some supports along the edges…


And POOF! Lantern! Or at least the bare bones of one.


I ended up making the bottom flat without those points because throughout the rest of the process they got dented and smashed and were an overall pain to deal with. I don’t have pictures of the next two steps but basically cover the thing with expanding foam. The support beams can be a guide for where to cut. After the foam has been used to give some shape to the bones, cover it all in paper mache. Strips of paper + some watered down glue will do the job.

Here’s the darn thing covered in a very thin layer of Paperclay…


And here it is painted! Again, I lost some of the steps but the “glass” is made of shrinky dink paper cut in jagged triangles, sprayed with spray adhesive, then covered with green celephane (the same stuff used on the mask.




Ah yes, the scythe. Like the lantern, it all starts with some cardboard. The process is very similar to the lantern, just a different shape. This is how I make most props.


Oh, and here are some chain pieces. They have wires glued to the ends to attach them.


Cover that with expanding foam!


Then carve it into a nice shape.

DSCN7730Cover with tape.


After the tape comes a layer of paper mache and paperclay. Use the paper clay to add in the details. You can sand paper clay, but I try to get it as smooth as possible before it dries. I’ve found the cosplay community has an obsession with sanding things.


Once it’s all nice and pretty its time to make it even more nice and pretty. WITH PAINT. (Don’t forget the protective coat of matte clear spray paint).





And now a sneak peek at the coat!

This is the pattern…

DSCN7815And this is the product…


This will be the general base. The collar needs adjusting and all the funn skulls and bones need to be attached. Speaking of which… let’s go over how to make those skulls he wears at his hips.

Plastic mask.


All cut out.



(Scary, huh?)

Foam (like the stuff used in seat cushions).

DSCN7707Cut and formed.


Now here’s where I went a little crazy and just covered those foam horns in big gloppy layers of hotglue.


Glue those onto the mask base and bring out the paperclay. Cover it all in the clay and mold it into something nice. It’s the same technique as the mask. Paint it!


My paints came out a little lighter than I would have liked but I don’t have time to redo it just yet!!

The final details…





I hope you enjoyed this super rushed post!! Feel free to message me with questions.


24 thoughts on “Tutorial: Thresh League of Legends (2013)

  1. This is amazing so far. I have been working on this costume since march. I was curious if you lined the mask in paper before molding the clay or if you just molded it to the plastic. And have there been any signs of peel from this method? Looks great! Will post pics when mine nears completion.

    1. I didn’t line the mask with anything, just put the clay directly on it. While ding research for this project i did run into a few comments that paper clay wouldn’t stick to the mask but I haven’t had any issues with it so far. I even picked at it a bit on the jaw part and didn’t see any signs of it coming off. I guess the real test will be when it’s worn to a convention! I would love to see progress of your costume if you have any WIP pics :)

      1. I have several pics of the build and I am not near completion yet. I started early this year so I don’t cram it all in two months before the con. This also helps prevents burnout . I wil post some pics when I get home.

      2. The previous post doubled the location so just copy and paste half of that link.

        This is a shot of the bones separated from the “stalk.”

        This is what I am using to make the bones that cross the chest and waist.

        This is a shot with the spray foam curing.

        Here is a sample of the waist before paint. And lastly, the headpiece I’m still tweaking.

        I will update as more is completed. Below is a shot of my Darius costume from last year’s con. The fabric wasn’t attached yet. :).

      3. Oh wow! That’s really cool stuff there :D
        I like the way you are doing the bones that go across the chest, definitely gave me some ideas for when I get to that part.
        I have no idea how to work with lights unless they are already set up (Like EL wire with battery packs attached, just put in batteries and go). I’ve seen those strips for sale online- are they bright in normal daylight/con lighting?

        Cool Darius too :) I always have issues making full body armor like that XD I really like the feet!

      4. Please bear with me. I’m attempting to converse with my phone as I haven’t been home or on my laptop for this conversation.

        This is a coil of green LEDs which ran 16 feet long. I wrapped the helmet and snipped it when it reached its flexible limits. I then cut smaller sections and soldered them to existing contacts on the strips.

        The green is definitely bright but only runs on 12volt and my power supply is 18v. For this I had to get a step down module that reduced the output to a mere 12v, which I soldered and seated inside the helmet.

        I needed more depth of color for the aura. If you look closely at the splash art you will notice it is actually “souls” Thresh has collected. I added another string of blue LEDs randomly for the proper effect.

        I am trying to finalize the shell of the helmet now. It is a layering process that starts with open cell styrofoam, thin white plastic for diffusion, and clear silicone for texture. The lighting in the room is supposed to be “sunlight” bright. You can see how it still shows under the light but I may brush some transparent paint on the styrofoam for more color in the outdoors.

        Here is a cl

      5. Grr phones! Here is a close up of the lighting feature.

        It is necessary to use the foam to create depth for the lights. If not, you have the issue of seeing each bulb and not an ambience. You can see this at the top of the picture.

        I have the next couple days off from work so I plan on doing much more soon!

        Your gauntlets are amazing btw!

      6. Here is a pic I found of the guys at Dragon*Con 2012.

        I did the Darius and Taric costumes myself and helped with Graves and Singed.

        The year prior I did Jax. My first con! I have only done this three years. >_<


  2. I´m with the mask but I don´t know how to cut it. Can you give me a reference or something like that ? Good post ^^

    1. I don’t have any pictures of the base mask before I cut it, but pretty much I made a horizontal cut along the mouth line. That’s what the little jaw piece is. The upper part was made smaller by cutting away the space under where the cheek bones would be. I wish I had a picture or something, its kinda hard to explain in words alone. But if you are working on a project like this just be sure to draw everything out before making any cuts!

    1. The wires on the head are three (cheap) wire coat hangers with the hook cut off. They were straightened and glued onto the mask, then bent into kind of a zig-zag pattern. The ends were snipped off when I thought it looked long enough. The middle one is slightly longer than the side two. I hope that helps!

      1. thanks, I think I got it, also did you just continue the green foil stuff ( who knows its name) and continue that for the back of the head? And for the coat, do you know of any pre made coats that would do the job? Im not totally sure the simplicity one is what I would be able to use.

      2. The green stuff continues down the back of the head to hide the mesh underneath. If you look at some of the pictures you can see a mesh that wraps around the back of the head to help keep the face of the ask balanced out. I glues the green stuff to that.

        I don’t specifically know of any other patterns but if you find one thats a basic long coat or trench coat, you should be able to modify that to your needs. You just need to consider what the body of the coat looks like since the sleeves are hidden by the gloves and the bottom is cut up and ragged looking. The collar is the only major modification.

  3. Hi, I’m new to cosplaying and wondered, how does the paperclay stick to the mask and where is it possible to find that. Thanks if you read this and please answer :D

    1. Hey there! Paperclay is a light weight air drying clay that can be bought at most craft stores. It’s in the clay section and comes in black packaging. You dont have to do anything special to get it to stick to the mask, just press it on and mold it firmly. When the clay dries it’ll naturally stick to the base. So as long as you don’t flex the plastic underneath you shouldn’t have a problem with it!

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