Cosplay How-To: Widow’s Bites

If you follow The Collective (@nerdwrldprblms) or my own acct (@dearcollectress) on Twitter, you’ve probably seen my increasing number of tweets about the Diva’s and my Avengers cosplay, which we first did for WonderCon. 

The Collectiva Diva and I have fallen  in love with cosplay (OK so maybe I was already in love and I gripped Diva tight and pulled her into the rabbit hole with me), but as struggling bloggers and writers with full-time jobs in the academic world, it’s hard to find the time (and money) to make a costume. Most of you can probably relate. So I decided that I would make my costume as inexpensive and DIY as possible, so I could share my knowledge with the cosplayers on a budget.

When I went to WonderCon, I had my Widow’s Bites made as per Kit Quinn’s tutorial on YouTube, but I quickly discovered a flaw in that design–when the bandolier bullets aren’t securely fastened to something, they come undone and fall off your wrist! So before I put the catsuit on again, I made some adjustments to the bracelets, and they are now perfectly secure and more comfortable!

Here’s a short tutorial on how I made my Widow’s Bites (pictured below.)

Update: there is now a tutorial for Widow’s Bites 2.0

blog pic

What You’ll Need:

  • Plastic bandolier bullet belt (available here on Amazon)
  • Flat (matte) black spray paint
  • 2-inch wide black elastic
  • Velcro strips
  • Super glue (or hot glue if you prefer it)

Step One: Measurements

The first thing you’ll need to do is to measure your wrists (having a friend do this is very helpful as it’s hard to measure your own wrist one-handed). After you have your measurements, you’ll need to cut the elastic. Add 1 or 1.5 inches to the length you cut, as you’ll need to account for the Velcro (this part varies depending on how wide your velcro strips are). After measuring and cutting the proper length, attach the Velcro to either end of the elastic. You should have now what looks like plain black wrist cuffs.

2014-05-07 19.28.25

The bandolier bullet belt is going to be much longer than you need (extra material for you to make spares!), but it’s easily shortened. Pull a bullet or two out and voila, a shorter belt. Now in the picture above I have my original bracelets (see how the paint began to scuff off after one use? a sealant fixes that) measured to my wrists. Take the belt apart until you have two strips of bullets that will fit around your wrist, making it slightly shorter than the elastic to account for the Velcro. As you can see in the picture, there are some extra plastic rings that you won’t need, so cut those off.

Step Two: Assemblage

2014-05-07 19.46.43

At this point, there’s really two ways to create your bracelets: you can either take the bullets out of the casing and spray paint them individually (more time consuming) OR you can glue them down and then spray paint them (faster). It really depends on how much time you have; if you’re like me and creating props the night before a con, I’d go with the faster option.

Gorilla Super Glue is my best friend. I’ve used it for almost every costume I’ve ever constructed because it works on everything. Warning: you only get one chance to glue things, because once you use this glue, it’s there for good. Take your glue of choice and liberally apply to the bullets and (very carefully) apply them to the elastic. Don’t forget to leave space for the Velcro!

Now regardless of whether you spray painted or glued first, let your bracelets dry for several hours before doing the other step. If you glued it, I would recommend letting them dry overnight to really let the glue set. If you spray painted, let it dry for at least 4 hours. When it’s dry, simply do the next step: gluing if your bracelets are painted, or painting if your bracelets are glued already. Let them dry (again), and voila!

2014-05-07 21.05.50

Step Three: Go Kick Some Ass

Your bracelets will be a little stiff once they’ve dried, so I’d recommend wearing them for a few hours until they curve to your wrist naturally. Once you’ve got them how you like them, put them on and cosplay!

IMG_7869 (2)

Remember that the point of cosplay is to have fun. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

-The Collectress

Special thanks to Jeremy Caesar (you can see his work here) for the gorgeous photos of me as the Black Widow. More thanks to jacksqueen for helping me measure my wrists. 

Follow me on Twitter @dearcollectress