Theorycrafting: Irelia Cosplay 12/1/2012

Hey everyone!  Welcome to Theorycrafting: Cosplay Edition!  This series will be updated weekly and features my ideas for how to potentially bring a specific character to life for cosplay.  My hope is to give people a quick look into my design process and what materials I like to use use when considering building a character.

As always, discussion and recommendations of which characters you would like to see theorycrafted in future are more than welcome. ^_^

This week’s character is: Irelia (Classic Skin, League of Legends)


Irelia, the Will of the Blades

Irelia (3d Model) is the daughter of a master swordsman and a citizen of the besieged city-state of Ionia.  In a desperate last stand against invaders from the city-state Noxus, Irelia was mortally wounded and collapsed. Another champion, Soraka, managed to heal her, and when she stood up her father’s mystical blades began floating next to her. She won the battle for Ionia, and afterward was awarded her floating headdress, which is Ionia’s highest military decoration.

I believe the 3D detail of this costume is the most important thing to make this costume really pop out, because there are so many armor pieces with intricate detailing. If you can get the silhouette and the detailing, this costume will really come to life.

Leg Armor:

Since Irelia’s leg armor is segmented, I would start with a pair of black or very dark grey spandex leggings and then build the armor off of that. I would use Wonderflex since her leg armor looks on the thinner side (Wonderflex tutorial by Kamui Cosplay).  For patterning, I would create each segment seperately and then space them so that the legging shows through.  This would create more dimension for the leg.

Even though Wonderflex tends to be on the more expensive side, I think it would work really well as you can easily mold it to your leg to a tight fit, is a sturdy material, and it gives a very good finish.  If money is an issue, I would perhaps thinkabout using styrene instead of wonderflex, but I think it is harder to work with since you need a higher heat to mold it (aka: an oven).

If you use velcro on the leggings and the underside of the armor you can attach the pieces separately and keep them from slipping (it’s how I put on the leg pieces for my Orianna costume).  If you find that the segments are slipping too far apart, then you can rig fishing line to join the segments together at the correct spacing.

Once you have the segments made, you can create some details and whorls (which are hinted at in the splash art) with acrylic paint.


For the boots, I would start with red knee-high platform boots.  I would then use EVA foam (good EVA foam tutorial) to make the armor segments around the calves since the segments look a bit thicker.  EVA foam will also allow for a bit more flexibility than Wonderflex.

Reference Pic from Splash Art

Reference Pic from Splash Art

Again, as with the leg armor, the base red boot would show through the segments, creating the 3D look.

Torso Armor:

For the torso, I would probably use a base of worbla (a new thermoplastic that came out recently in Europe: Kamui Cosplay’s Worbla Tutorial).  Worbla would be very useful since you can not only create domes with it, but you can also lump it together to sculpt the details.

For the hip armor, I can’t determine if it is actual armor or just a really stiff fabric.  I would consider using EVA foam for it since it is fairly thick, but another material option that I have yet to work with is Fossshape (Video Tutorial).  It is a light, fabric based, felt-like thermoplastic, which has some give to it and you can sew it.  The only thing that I have noticed (via the tutorial) is that it shrinks as you form it, so if you use it, be sure to account for that.

For the sleeves, you can probably use fabrics and attach them to the top of the bodice with fishing line or a clear strap to keep them up.  You may want to include interfacing to stiffen up the sleeves so that they keep shape.  Just be sure to match your color choice for the red.

Floating Back Piece:

For this portion of the costume, I would rig up a small back pack first (with clear materials) as a base.  Then I would attach a couple of clear pvc tubes from the back piece to the actual seal so that it is held out behind you and appears to float.

The actual floating piece would probably work well as a curved EVA piece.  You could also possibly create a curved form out of wonderflex and sandwich it with EVA foam to make it thicker.  You could then either carve the details into the EVA foam or build them up as needed.


I would use sheet Insulation foam for the base of the blades.  I would probably sandwich the Insulation foam around a base of plywood, cardboard, or a dowel so that the foam won’t snap as easily.  Here is an excellent tutorial on working with insulation foam: Part 1 and Part 2

To make the blades move, I would start with a clear plastic sphere (which would become the red glowing gem in the center of the blades) and cut it in half.  Then, I would take two sheets of plexiglass, put them together so they lay flat, then drill a hole through both sheets and run a post through them. I would put the plastic sphere over the sheets of plexiglass (after I painted it translucent red) to hold them in place, then secure the sphere to the central post.

Weapon Idea Sketch

Weapon Idea Sketch

This way you can make the blades open and close like scissors by having the plexiglass sheets rotating against each other.  To make sure the plexiglass sheets wouldn’t rotate too far when I spun the blades, I would drill little posts into the plexiglass, so that when the blades were opened the posts would keep them from opening too far.

That pretty much sums up how I would go about creating an Irelia cosplay.  If you have any questions or would like anything clarified, feel free to ask me, or if you have any requests for characters you would like to see, just let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading, if you want more, check me out online at my Facebook Page or via Twitter.

5 thoughts on “Theorycrafting: Irelia Cosplay 12/1/2012

  1. Irelia is my favorite champ so I’d love to see this done! I prefer frostblade to original skin, but they are both awesome. When you talk about your blade moving, are you intending for the blades to open up and look like they do in hiten style? Or do you just want them to have mobility?

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