Well, Collectors, if you’ve made it to this page, it’s probably because you, like myself, went through my original Widow’s Bite tutorial, and after a couple of uses, founded it needed an upgrade. If you’re just here because you stumbled upon this post, welcome to my cosplay world.
Now, my original tutorial is much simpler and less time-consuming, and the bracelets will hold up for a few uses. This tutorial is for cosplayers who find that they need something a bit sturdier for all that ass-kicking they’re doing at conventions. Because, let’s face it, Natasha Romanoff is so much fun to cosplay because you get to do poses like this:
So, if you’re ready to take it to the next level, here’s what you’re going to need:
- Plastic bandolier bullet belt (available here on Amazon)
- Flat (matte) black spray paint
- Sealant (such as Modge Podge’s matte spray)
- Craft foam
- Pleather fabric (such as Yaya Han’s 4-way stretch pleather)
- Velcro strips
- Super glue (or hot glue if you prefer it)
Step 1: 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 craft foam to the length and width you desire. 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). For the width, I measured the height of one bullet from the belt and cut my craft foam that wide.
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. Take the belt apart until you have two strips of bullets that are close to the same length as the craft foam strip, making it slightly shorter to account for the Velcro.
Step 2: Paint, paint, paint
As you can see in the photo above, the craft foam I used is red because it was the color I had on hand. If you purchase black craft foam, you can skip this step, but if it isn’t black, you’ll need to spray paint the craft foam. Only paint one side, however, as we will be covering the other side in the pleather fabric. You’ll also want to paint your bullets now. But first, separate them so that each bullet is separate. I kept the casings on mine and cut them with a pair of scissors, because I liked the look. It’s easier to just slide them free of the casings, so feel free to do that if you prefer. I did three coats of black matte spray paint on mine before I was satisfied with the colour, and then I prayed them with a sealant to minimize scuffs.
Step 3: Assemble the Cuff
Okay, so honestly, the pleather fabric was a last minute decision because I was running out of spray paint and was too lazy to return to the craft store. I happened to have a few scraps of pleather laying around from my Harley Quinn outfit, so I decided to repurpose them. I cut the pleather as if it were wrapping paper, leaving a little length on the sides so I could wrap it around the craft foam to create a leather-looking cuff. Then on the ends, I Gorilla-glued (that stuff is amazing) the velcro so I had a complete cuff.
(Yes, I was watching RuPaul’s Drag Race the entire time I crafted these. Please enjoy the random screenshots of my television in the background.)
In the end, you’ll have a leather cuff that looks something like this:
Step 4: Stuck Like Glue
Okay after I assembled the cuffs, I wrapped them around a water bottle with a rubber band for about a week so that they would be nice and curved around my wrist. When I returned to the project I had bullets, cuffs, and a lot of glue to put the two together. This part is tedious, but the most important: glue the bullets one at a time to the cuff, and pay attention to placement. I became distracted by RuPaul, so one of my bullets is a little bit crooked, but after you Gorilla glue something, it’s there to stay so….*shrugs*.
I still think they look pretty good, but as always, because you’re constantly rubbing against things and moving, the paint will, inevitably, scuff. I touched mine up with black nail polish and no one seemed to know the difference!
Step 5: Be Badass.
Once you have your bracelets how you like them, go kick some ass.
Things to be aware of: Since creating these bracelets, I’ve worn them to one convention and to a photoshoot with only minor touch-ups required. However, one of my bullets didn’t last through the photoshoot (probably because I was doing some serious spy poses!). You should have plenty of extra bandolier bullets should one of the bullets fall off. Just spray paint and glue, and you’ll be all set!
Lastly, remember that the point of cosplay is to have fun. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.