Anime Programming in the US
Making a Living in Manga in Japan with Felipe Smith
Lost in Translation
[Reproduced from Jongleur Cosplay.]
Find tons of pics of the item you're making. This one is actually really difficult because you have to find stills of the FFIX ending video, so I'll waive my do-the-legwork-yourself! rule. Click here for a handy zip file of my picture collection.
Before I start the actual instructions, there's a basic engineering principle you need to understand about this piece. Polymer clay is NOT STRONG ENOUGH to support the weight of a piece of crystal this big. Therefore, we're not really going to make a crown cap, which has a crystal attached to the bottom and a chain attached to the top, like the pendant in the game, because it will break. What we're going to do is attach the chain directly to the crystal through a hole in the crown cap, and make it look like the pendant in the game.
If you look closely at the crown, you'll see it's made up of several components. There's a little dome in the middle with ridges and stars on it, a ring around the dome at the bottom with studs and a cross on it, a tall bit that rises up from the top of the dome, and two arched pieces that start from the ring and end at the tall bit. So that's how I'm going to refer to the components; the dome, the ring, the top bit and the arches.
We're going to start by making the dome. Take a piece of clay big enough and form it into a dome shape with a flat bottom. Press the clay dome into the top of the crystal so that the dome sits in the right way on the crystal and the steel loop is inside the dome. (I hope this is clear - you're trying to make a top-of-crystal shaped indentation in the bottom of the dome, so that when it's baked it will fit over the crystal perfectly) Use your thin rod to poke a hole right through the centre of the dome from top to bottom.
Doing all this is actually quite difficult - pushing the dome onto the crystal tends to mess up its dome-shape, poking a hole through the dome tends to make it go splat a little, and so on, so you have to keep repeating steps. Persevere and get it right in shape and size, it's important.
When you're ready, bake the dome. DO NOT COOK THE CRYSTAL. Let me say that again. DO NOT COOK THE CRYSTAL. If you need me to tell you why, your basic physics ain't what it oughta be. ^_^
Hopefully you've now got a baked dome that fits fairly neatly over the top of your crystal and has a hole through its middle. (If you haven't, do it again!) The next bit is the fun bit where you add the silly little decorations. You can really do this any way you like, but here's how I did it:
Firstly, the ring around the bottom of the crown. Roll out a thin strip of clay and wrap it around the bottom, then another slightly wider and thicker strip and wrap it around that. This gives you a strip around the bottom of the dome which has a sort of groove in it (it's higher on the outside than the inside). Add the stars to the dome, the little blobs to the ring, and the Maltese Cross to the front.
(I actually found it downright impossible to do the stars and the cross in one go. I cut the stars out of clay with a craft knife and baked them, then glued them on. I couldn't even do that with the Maltese Cross so I baked a flat piece of clay and *then* cut the shape out and glued it on. If you're doing this, remember you'll have to wait to glue them on till you've finished baking the crown - you can't bake glue, it de-stickies.)
Next, the top bit and the arches. Make the top bit, except for the topmost piece (remember the top bit needs to have a hole through it that continues from the one through the dome). Make the arches and attach them too. DO NOT attach the very top piece of the top bit yet! (The bit that sticks out) Make it, bake it, keep it separate. You're going to need it in a minute.
Right. You're done with clay, now we just need to paint the crown and make the attachment for the chain. Make a space, cover it with newspaper, spray-paint the crown silver. You may need a couple of coats to get it all. Try to paint all the bits that are going to be visible, but try not to paint the bits that will actually be touching the crystal if you can help it (doesn't matter too much though). You don't need to use too much paint, but make sure you spray from all angles, especially on the front, so that all the cracks and crevices get paint in them. Leave it to dry overnight.
Now for the rather fiddly bit. I use professional jewelers' techniques to make the jewelery bits of my cosplay pieces. You're going to use crimp beads to secure the beading wire, so unless you already know how to do this check out this handy tutorial by Rock Garden. (If you can do it another way go ahead, just remember that it MUST be secure, or else the crystal could drop off and smash.)
Take a piece of the beading wire and loop it through the steel ring at the top of the crystal. Crimp the loop closed, leaving the two loose ends sticking up at least a few inches.
Now poke the loose ends up through the hole in the crown and use superglue to carefully fix the crown to the crystal, so that the whole pendant hangs from the pieces of wire which are sticking up through the crown cap.
The next bit is a little tricky. Use crimp beads to attach the loose ends to the jump-ring, as close to the top of the crown cap as you can. Then take the top piece of the top bit (the ring-shaped piece you made separately, remember?), cut it in half with a craft knife and glue it back together around the bottom of the jump-ring. The idea is that it hides the crimp beads and makes it look like the jump-ring is attached to the crown.
And that's pretty much it! Use the pliers to make your chain into a loop the length you want. I put a clasp on mine so that I could remove the chain from the pendant but it's so long you don't need to, you can just pull it over your head.