San, Princess Mononoke

For our second Krewe de Fu ball, the theme revolved around anime. I’m lacking in knowledge about most anime, and didn’t want to just do some kind of generic anime-looking character, so I went with a character I knew and loved, from the only real area of anime I’m familiar with, the Miyazaki movies. I tossed around a few different character ideas, and ultimately went with San from Princess Mononoke, in part because our Krewe de Fu Ball is a masked event, and San wears a mask – an AWESOME mask – for parts of the film. I convinced Seann to go as Prince Ashitaka with me, so BAM! Couples costume. (see this separate post for info on the Ashitaka costume) Ultimately, due to family events, we weren’t able to attend the Ball (sad face), so instead we wore them for Halloween later in the year instead.

Part 1: The Character

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Part 2: Sources of Info & Inspiration

Once again, my absolute BEST resources are others who have thread this path before me. Some great ones to check out:

Part 3: Piecing Together

The challenge of this costume is that I knew I needed to make or cobble together nearly everything. I wouldn’t be able to purchase most of the items and have them work without modification. This is a much craftier effort than I’ve made for other costumes. Ok, so the best way to organize this is to break it into components: 1) the clothes; 2) the accessories: jewelry & props; 3) the MASK. Please note that at the moment I can’t find all of my receipts, so I’m guessing on some of these costs as best I can remember. I know I kept them, so I will search and do an update on the actuals when I find them.

Also see my separate post on all the DIY elements of this costume for a more detailed breakdown of how I made everything. 

1.) CLOTHES

  • Navy blue sleeveless dress
  • White shirt/apron
  • Fur! Long, white (wolf) fur “cape” with “ears”
  • Shoes/moccasins

I went looking for a dress first, and happened upon a sleeveless navy blue dress  with an elastic waist for $13.76 including shipping from eBay. Super!

The fabric for the apron was a lightweight, off-white linen-y feeling batch of fabric I found at Michael’s that was pretty cheap and looked like it would look right and fray well. I think it was around $5.00 for the bunch.

White Long-Pile Fur. My goal here was two-fold. First I wanted a nice long-pile fur that was a clean white, similar to the wolves from San’s family. Second, I wanted enough of it, and to construct it in a way to do double-duty for another costume I’m working on for next year, Freyja. She will have a fur and feathered cloak. So I needed enough fur to make a cape/cloak that would work for both, since I can’t afford to make two separate ones that are this similar. So they both needed to be modular, interchangeable. I found a good quality, reasonably priced white fur at DistinctiveFabric.com. Again I purchased it with another fur for the Freyja costume, but spent around $43.75 on 2 yards of white long-pile fur, including shipping.

I’ve had several costumes lately with vaguely uncomfortable shoes, and this one gave me an opportunity to be cozy. I went a little off-book and didn’t do a more SA look (in the movie her feet look like they are wrapped in a sort of makeshift canvas-y shoe, similar to the apron she wears). I opted for moccasin boots instead. In this case, I even found SLIPPERS. Yeah that’s right. I wore slippers with some rubber soles and it was AWESOME. They cost me a bit, $36, but I was so comfy, and they’re useable for normal life, too. They’re Dearfoams microsuede bootie slippers with a faux fur around the ankles, and they’re running for about $16 now on Amazon.

2.) ACCESSORIES (jewelry, props)

  • Large shell earrings
  • Tooth & bead necklace
  • Crystal dagger necklace
  • Headband & armbands
  • Spear & dagger

Large Shell Earrings I found through a stroke of luck on eBay ($9.38). There is a similar, lighter weight pair available at WowPhilippenes.com for $12.99 plus shipping.

photo 1-5For the necklaces… there’s a decent knockoff “sabre tooth” necklace available at BuyCostumes for only $5.99 if you want to save money and don’t mind the cheap look of it. I wanted mine to have a more “real” look and less “cartoon”, so I opted to buy some beads, some “teeth” and twine and make my own. I found some round beads that looked sort of like lava rocks at Michaels that I thought would be great for the spacers between the teeth, and these really cool boar teeth on Etsy for $16.90. (NOTE: since then, I’ve learned a lot more about the buying and selling of animal teeth and other items, and I would NOT have purchased these without doing a really thorough check on how they were sourced, and probably not even then, as a lot of the buying and selling of animal items is done in ways that causes suffering to animals or kills them prematurely, which I wasn’t fully, consciously aware of at the time of this costume.) Check out my parallel post on all the DIY elements of this costume for a full breakdown. I can’t recall offhand how much the beads and twine/clasp cost, but I believe together they were around $10.00.

I also wanted to wear the crystal dagger necklace that Ashitaka gives to San. I figured Etsy would have something I could use, and I was right! I found this awesome blue glass arrowhead necklace to use as a base and added my own cording to it, spending around $15.50 for it.

IMG_1168For the headband and armbands, I wanted SIMPLE. I found some pretty natural-colored buttons that were a nice size, so I got one for each arm and one for my forehead. Nearby I happened to see some brown quilting bias tape that looked the right width for the band, and it was sturdy, so I grabbed it without a second thought. I had some sticky-back velcro at home. All I needed was to attach the buttons to the bias tape, cut it to the right length, affix some velcro, and viola! Bands. I can’t recall the price for the buttons and bias tape, let’s call it $2 per button and $3 for the bias tape?

Finally, I made a couple of props, in the form of San’s dagger and spear. I used the same method for both of them, which is detailed at my separate post on all the DIY elements of this costume. Piecing these together took some supplies from my house (duct tape, acrylic paint & brushes, a spare broom handle, an Xacto knife, etc.) and a few purchases (foam boards, red suede cord for wrapping), but I didn’t spend more than $15 on all of the supplies, at the VERY most.

photo 3

3.) THE MASK (& other head/face elements)

  • Brown flippy-type wig
  • Red face paint (& “dirt” makeup)
  • DIY full-face “San” red/yellow/white mask w/fur “hood”

Brown “Flirty” Wig I got from BuyCostumes. It was on sale for $14.99 and I purchased it with other items and got free shipping. It regularly goes for $19.99. The wig is longer than necessary, but had the outward “flipped” look I wanted, so I trimmed it to the right length. It’s similar to this one (below) I saw at PartyCity. For the red face paint, I just used normal Halloween makeup I found for cheap at Party City for $1.99 plus tax, applied with a spare eyeshadow applicator or Q-tip.

I had some air-dry clay at home already, so no cost there. I bought a cheap kids’ bouncy ball at the dollar store to use as my base for the mask. I also needed some Elmer’s glue, which for some reason I didn’t have on hand!

The “ears” were a great find. I was having trouble figuring out how I would make them, but, even more difficult, how I would ATTACH them. I stumbled upon some foam coozies at Michael’s and realized that if I cut them the right way, they would be the perfect ear shape, and I could basically staple them to the fur if I needed to. Plus they were CHEAP. 2 for $1 if I remember correctly.

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Note: All costs include shipping. Total Cost for this Costume = $170 (approximate)

Part 4: The Final Look

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Part 5: Epilogue

I’m so happy with this costume I barely have anything to change. The only things…

  • It’s HARD to see with the mask on. I have no idea how to fix this! I think I just have to accept it.
  • I need to SEW the apron to the dress or at the very least, sew the apron together as one piece. Right now, because I was in such a crazy hurry at the end, it’s all safety-pinned together just so it all stays up. Same with the fur, it’s safety-pinned to the apron. So I need to find a more permanent way to affix everything, while still allowing it to come apart to wash. Buttons? Snaps?
  • I need to get it more dirty. Haha! I didn’t use the “dirt” makeup I found, in the interest of time. I need to smudge myself up some more.

That’s it. Otherwise I love it. LOVE IT. I got CRAZY compliments for the mask and the whole thing. It was super fun.

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One thought on “San, Princess Mononoke

  1. Pingback: DIY Mask, Jewelry & Props for San, Princess Mononoke | Bad Wolf Cosplay

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