How to Make your Very Own Leia Bikini – Part 1: The Bikini Top
My disclaimer: This is a very comfortable, supportive and fun way to make Leia’s bikini. At the end of this tutorial there is an “Outtakes…Things that didn’t work” so that you can avoid the mistakes I made. This was a first attempt and I learned a lot of ways NOT to make Leia’s bikini. The pictures I have included in this Leia Bikini Tutorial will help you interpret my explanations but keep in mind that they do display some of the “Outtakes” (ex. The white bra you see is the ‘saggy boob’ bra that I mention in the outtakes as not working.)
You will need:
White Rubber Weatherseal (3/16-5/16” round)
- An old bra
- Wire that fits through the hollow of the stripping and holds good shape
- 4 Screw Eyes(1/4-1/2”)
- White Wood filler
- Super glue gel
- Gold Leaf Paint( I used Precious Metals Leafing Finish#45503)
- Bronze acrylic paint
- Pledge with Future Floor Finish
- Suede or leather cord
- 4 beads (holes should be large enough for the leather cord)
1. Put on the old bra. Use a pen or pencil to trace as much of the bikini outline onto the old bra as possible. You may have to attach paper to your bra in some places to see where you’ll have to splice in more fabric.
2. Cut the rubber to match your outline. You should have 5 pieces. You’ll have a long piece for the part that wraps under the bust and extends up the back a few inches, a u-shaped piece for the center, 2 pieces for the bra squiggles, and 1 piece that wrap under and around each breast.
3. Thread your wire through each piece of rubber leaving a little extra on each end of the middle u-shaped piece and the long piece that extends up the back.
4. Put the bra on and bend your pieces around your body (you will probably need a second person to help or you can use a dress form).
5. Use tape to temporarily hold the pieces together.
6. Once the bikini has the shape you want, remove the tape and use the super glue to hold the weather stripping together.
7. To finish off the back ends, wrap the excess wire that you left yourself around the screw eye end and tuck it into the rubber end. Make sure that it is tightly secured and put a few drops of super glue gel inside just to make sure.
8. On the front U-piece, you will use the same process as step 7 to finish the ends except you need to cut the rubber ends at an angle so the screw eyes fit very snug.
9. Use the wood filler to fill in and smooth out the places where you have glued pieces together and where the rubber has bent (weatherseal makes a funny crease when it bends). You can also use the wood filler to smooth out the screw eyes and make them look more natural.
10. Let it all dry very well.
11. Now you’re ready to paint. It took 3 coats of gold leaf paint to get the rich color I was going for. After that, I used a bronze acrylic paint to give it a nice rusty metal feel. Work in sections. Paint the bronze on and then wipe some of it off. Don’t forget to paint and bronze your 4 beads. Coat everything with 1-2 coats of floor finish for a shiny touch.
12. Cut away the parts of your old bra that stick out of your bikini mold. Use the excess to fill in parts that need it.
13. Either cover the bra in the color you want or paint it. I used a dark blue bra and then painted it with the bronze acrylic paint.
14. Use the super glue gel to glue the bikini mold to the bra, working from the center out.
15. Thread the suede cord through the screw eyes and use the beads to secure the ends. Cross the cord and thread it through the front screw eyes. Use the beads to secure the ends.
16. Put the Bikini on and make any adjustments that you may need for support.
17. Voila! You now have an awesome Leia Bikini!
Outtakes…Things that Don’t Work:
• Used a wire that was very thin and not very strong. The bikini had absolutely no support! I had to take it apart and thread 3-4 more strands of the wire through each rubber piece.
• Tried spackle and toothpaste to smooth out rough spots. Both cracked and flaked right off.
• Tried to use the weatherseal at the back and front ends as my ‘loops’ but they looked really funny. The screw eyes looked so much better!
• At first, I left the tape holding the pieces together and tried to cover it up with spackle and wood filler (you can see this in a couple of the pictures). Let’s just say it looked like tape and spackle when all was said and done.
• I didn’t use a good bra as my base and ended up with saggy boobs. No good. My second bra was so much better.
I hope this tutorial inspires you to make your very own Leia Bikini. There are so many ways to create this awesome costume. In the quest to learn and help one another, please email me or write a comment on what you have done differently, problems you have run into, questions, sources of inspiration and successes.
I encourage other Leia fans to check out my other posts for more ideas as well as links to other research online.