Tutorial: Eternal Sage

From start to finish, here’s what I was able to document on my Eternal Sage costume worn at the first ever Hex 100k invitational tournament! As always, if you have any questions feel free to ask!

Eternal Sage Reference and Result:

The base:


Because I have difficulty sewing without a pattern, I used the same basic pattern I used for my Thresh coat.


It has a few obvious modifications. No sleeves (woo!), no collar, and most importantly I replaced the frontal buttons with a separating zipper. The coat also needed a hood which I had more difficulty with than I care to admit.

The armor:

All of my armor is made with the same basic technique and materials: foam and worbla.

First, I cut out the shapes with 2mm craft foam. This sort of foam can be bought in large rolls frim craft stores for pretty cheap, usually less than $10.


After this the shapes are glued into layers.


Next the piece is placed onto an upside down piece of worbla (the smoother, shiny side), and its outline traced. I also cut slits all the way around from the edge of the worbla to the traced line. This’ll help the worbla fold over the foam and saves more materials than using the ‘sandwich’ method.

The worbla is laid flat. Using a heat gun, I carefully heated to the point that it is pliable. Too much heat may make it bubble, and those can be tricky to fix! You’ll see the worbla change slightly when it reaches a good temperature. It will get slightly more transparent. Slightly.

After that I lay the worbla over the foam with the shiny side down, the rougher side up. Using a flat wooden sculpting tool I press the worbla into the grooves of the foam to catch all of the details. I also fold over the tabs created from cutting the edges of the worbla piece. Once the piece has all the details etched, reheat the whole thing if it has cool and curl it into shape.

And that’s it! From there the armor is ready to paint! I would recommend first spraying the whole thing in matte black paint. The matte paint is easier to paint over then glossy and the black will make the colors show up better.

A few things to consider:

Googly eyes can be used for rivets! Although I would attach them after the piece has been covered with worbla. Not sure why I didn’t do that here. It does make for a funny piece though.

Use foam for large, simple areas. It will save on the cost of worbla. In the image below, the top peice is made with the foam and worbla method. The bottom layer is a thick foam mat cut to shape. Once painted, it’s hard to tell the difference.


For etched details in foam, use an exacto knife to cut the designs. Then, use a heat gun and go over the lines. The foam will pull back and leave wider gaps around the cuts. It’s a cool effect and fun to watch!

I use paperclay for details that can be hard to capture with foam and worbla. Its also useful to smooth out any bumpy areas.

After the armor is painted, use a clear satin coat to protect the armor. Satin finish will preserve the metallic effect without making it overly shiny or matte.


The back piece:

ALWAYS plan how you are going to attach large pieces before you make them! I always forget this myself and I regret it every time.

This kind of design may be helpful for characters with large floating back pieces, like the Eternal Sage or Karma from League of Legends.

For the giant backpiece I started off with a large foam core board. I cut out the basic horseshoe shape. Using thick foam mats, I bulked out the shape and added some raised details. I made the floating bits by covering a cardboard base with expanding foam and glueing them to the horseshoe shape with cut wire clothes hangers.


Now, what I should have done before this was figure out how I was going to attach it to my back. I ended up having to cut apart some of my base to make this possible. I inserted two pvp pipe pieces into the bottom ‘legs’ of the horseshoe shape. Below is the nice mess I made trying to fix this. (Note: I fixed this basically after everything had been made and right before painting. I had to add some extra foam details to cover this up)


Anyways, back to the basics. I used a small serrated knife to carve the expanding foam into the proper shapes. It makes quite a mess!

Then, I smoothed it all out using paper mache (basic 1/2 wood glue, 1/2 water + newspaper strips).


To smooth out the foam floating pieces I used paperclay.

From here I used more of the thin foam to add some raised details. I also sprayed the whole thing with black matte paint.


After that, I painted the whole thing dark silver and added some weathering effects with brighter silver highlights and black crevices.

The back harness:

(This may be harder to explain than I first thought! The base is a square piece of wood. This rests on my back, attached by a harness that i will show shortly. There is a pipe attached to the wood using two screws. The top of this pipe has a Y shaped piece.


Final product after painting. I attached a thick piece of cloth to the back, strengthened by interfacing. This is what I sewed the harness straps to. You can also see below that there are two short pipes stuck into the Y shape. These fit into the horseshoe shaped back piece, connected together with L shaped pieces. This whole harness goes on underneath the cloak. The cloak has a slit cut in the back that allows the pipes to stick through.

Here’s how the harness looks:


Kind of a mess. The white squares were added later to try to pad the harness on my sore shoulders. The idea kinda worked.

Here’s a diagram of the harness. The number represent the buckles and their corresponding shapes.


And here’s what the whole thing looks like on my mannequin. (Sorry for awkward mannequin boobs!) It looks kind of uncomfortable in the front, but I had no issues with it. I am also not the same shape as my well endowed mannequin. Most of the weight distribution falls on the shoulders. It was pretty easy to wear for about half the day, but after 5 hours of continuous wear it did start to feel extremely heavy.

So that’s all I have. I hope it was helpful!



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