As soon as I saw the full poster of Katniss in the Mockingjay Part 1 poster I knew I absolutely had to make that costume. It didn’t matter that I’d never done armor before, that I would have to buy a new, expensive wig, or that I had no experience with making weapons like bows and arrows. I HAD to do this thing.
I started making the costume today! The kydex plastic sheets I had ordered to make the armor out of arrived, and I could not wait to start. Kydex is a type of thermoplastic typically used to make gun holsters and knife sheaths. Since I didn’t need too much detail to the armor, but I need a cheap and easily workable material, I went with Kydex.
It worked so well! I used a utility knife to score the plastic where I wanted it to be cut – then I gouged those lines in pretty deep. You can’t cut all the way through the kydex with a knife, but if you score it enough, bend it a little, then use pliers to bend it back and forth it cracks off pretty easily on the seam you made. So here’s my front armor shape, ready to be heated up:
Then I got myself ready. I didn’t have the materials to make a torso mold of myself, and I didn’t feel like waiting or buying more supplies (I am notoriously impatient!) so I layered up and prepared to heat mold the thing to myself. This is really not something you should do. Okay? Don’t try this at home, kids. Also, don’t breathe the hot plastic fumes. Also totally toxic.
I set my oven to 225 degrees – directions online I read for working with kydex say that 250-300 degrees works best, but my oven runs really hot to I set it to 225. I let it preheat (totally hard for me to wait!) then set the cut piece right on the grate thing inside the oven. Then I waited. Precisely 3 minutes, and it was ready to mold!
It took a couple of tries to get it close enough. I would hold the plastic sheet to my chest (with the gloves one!), pretend my chest wasn’t getting really really really hot, and waited a couple minutes. The plastic started cooling and hardening after seriously a minute and a half. 3 minutes later and it was hardened enough that it wouldn’t bend, and cooled enough that I could touch it with my bare hands.
The first few tries didn’t work quite right so I put the sheet back in the oven, let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then crushed it to my chest again. I’m wearing 4 layers of cloth over my breasts and 3 layers over the rest of me, and my hands were almost burning inside the gloves. So seriously, don’t do this unless you’re completely crazy, okay?
I ended up with a piece of plastic that was molded to my chest! It’s lightweight, hard, doesn’t bend, and easy to re-mold if I feel like trying again and being more precise.
I also made a piece of armor for my back, which required the assistance of a friend as I held the bottom of the piece down to my lower back and he held the top of the piece to the base of my shoulder blades.
Next up I’ll be using Cordura fabric to make the shoulder piece of Katniss’s costume! I’ll have to wait a few days to get the Cordura, but as soon as I do I’ll have another cosplay in progress post up.
Top Ten Authors I’ve Only Read 1 Book From but Need to Read More!
1. Alaya Dawn Johnson. Oh, my goodness, do I ever need to read THE SUMMER PRINCE, and soon! I read an ARC of LOVE IS THE DRUG in August and it was honestly my favorite book of the summer!
2. Dawn Metcalf. I’ve read INDELIBLE, and absolutely loved it. It is one of my favorite paranormal YA books. I need to finish that series, and read some of her older books, too!
3. Marcus Sedgwick. I’ve read SHE IS NOT INVISIBLE, and enjoyed it. Not one of my favorite books ever, but still good. I want to read MIDWINTERBLOOD and…I’m not sure what else.
4. Mindee Arnett. I read AVALON this year, and it is one of my new favorite YA sci-fi series. I also want to read her ARKWELL ACADEMY series!
5. Hannah Moskowitz. I’ve read TEETH. I loved TEETH. I have reread it twice since the first time I read it. Why have I never read anything else by this lovely author who created the amazing Teeth? *sigh*
6. Steven dos Santos. I read and reviewing THE SOWING for SLJ, and I must confess that I haven’t read the rest of that series. Dystopian YA from a guy’s perspective with LGBT romance? Seriously, I need to finish that series!
7. Leila Sales. Her latest novel, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE, was one of the most powerful books that I read this year. I need to read some of Leila’s older novels, and I definitely want to keep reading her new books as well!
8. Jessica Verdi. I’ve read THE SUMMER I WASN’T ME, and Jessica has 2 other stand-alone contemporary novels that I need to read.
9. Nora Raleigh Baskin. This year I read ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL, which is Baskin’s newest novel, but I haven’t read any of her other books.
10. Richelle Mead. I’ve read the first VAMPIRE ACEDEMY book. That’s it. Seriously. I need to read more in the series!
Today I attended a Teen Services Special Interest Group Meeting (through SWON Libraries) at the Wilmington branch of Dayton Metro Public Libraries. It was a great meeting with a lot of sharing and discussion about programming for homeschooled teens, “new adult” programming, and teen spaces in libraries.
At Dayton Metro they do an awesome program called “Take it and Read” where they drop off weeded books at various community locations. I would love to do this.
The branch is really cool, and the teen area has great displays, a good collection of comics and manga, and velcro poetry boards. I made a poem. There is even a lizard in the children’s section! His name is scale. He was very cute. The teen librarian there does a lot of science programming, and he showed us a section of comic book (Tony Stark’s eye, to be exact) under a microscope. It was so cool. I was super pumped because, as you can see, I had come prepared with my Iron Man notebook!
Finn Easton is a 16 year-old boy living in the middle of no-where, California. Finn never tells anyone how he really feels. He is very good at just “being fine.” He’s okay. Always okay. Except he’s not, really. This is the story of Finn’s becoming more than okay with who he is. The journey of an epileptic, baseball-playing, poetic, never-been-kissed teenage boy. And it is a journey that all boys someday go on: how to escape from the book of their life and write their own story.
By the second chapter I had a crystal clear picture of who Finn Easton was, what he sounded like, and how he felt about everything. This is character building; it is connecting to your reader; it is identifying with a fictional human being. This is great writing. Finn Easton is a poet, and that is the truth. His narrative is a hypnotic, colorful whirlwind of words coalescing into unexpected poetry as it falls from the page into your head.
Finn is a boy with problems. As a little kid his mother was killed by a horse falling from a bridge, and that same horse broke Finn’s back. Finn has epileptic seizures. He lives constantly under the shadow of his father’s most famous book, which features a boy very much like Finn himself. One summer, Finn meets a girl, and he falls in love with this girl. After Julia moves back home, Finn and his best friend Cade go on an unexpected road trip to plan the rest of their lives.
Next, I want to devote an entire paragraph to Cade Hernandez, Finn’s best friend, so I will. Just, Cade, okay?
Cade Hernandez is a god among boys. He is everything. Confident, attractive, funny, bold, the best friend a guy could ever have. But there are moments, and in those moments I know that Cade is even more than everything. He is loneliness. He is longing. He is the truth about boys and that’s how it is. I love that kid. He reminds me of Conner Kirk from The Marbury Lens, and I love that kid, too. These best friends in Andrew Smith’s book are simply the most well-written characters I’ve ever discovered.
Don’t be afraid of the horse on the cover. You’ll discover something mesmerizing inside. Like all the words in your head just spill right out, until before you know it you’re filled right up with “Twenty miles, twenty miles, twenty miles,” and then you’ve traveled 60 miles sideways across the face of the Earth and you didn’t even know it.
This is a book for every reader. Girls, boys, parents, new adults. Sure, go ahead and recommend it to them. Especially girls who like books by John Green. Boys who don’t like to read, or have a hard time sticking with a book. Anyone looking for a refreshing contemporary teen book that isn’t mired down in love triangles. Yes, you. This book is for you.
P.S. This is a book I was so grateful to not have to wait until release day for. Thank you very, very much (you know who you are, both of you) for the advance review copy.
Fan of Andrew Smith? Join in the WINGER Read-a-Thon I am hosting! Grab the banner below, use the hashtag #ReadWINGER, and check my WINGER Read-A-Thon post for updates!
Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger(Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year,” and an ALA Top 10 for 2014) and The Marbury Lens (A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist). He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. Grasshopper Jungle, a starred novel by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Shelf Awareness, is his seventh novel. He lives in Southern California.
TRIAL BY FIRE releases tomorrow! Head over to Goodreads to enter to win a copy before the end of the day.
Lily Proctor knew she shouldn’t have gone out on a Friday night with her best friend, and now boyfriend, Tristan. Lily has powerfully debilitating allergies, can’t handle even a sip of alcohol, and breaks out in hives at the mere suggestion of shellfish. When the vodka slipped into her soda sends Lily into a fever-induced seizure, she is transported into another world, Salem, by an evil version of herself. Salem features Crucibles (witches who control technology) and monsters that haunt the shadows. On the plus side, the protagonist’s severe allergies are suddenly gone. Lily must befriend Rowan Fall, a moody yet irresistible man who becomes her guardian, and train with Rowan and his friends, Caleb and Tristan (an alternate world version of her boyfriend!) to become the strongest witch Salem has ever seen. Meanwhile, the cruel Lillian is doing everything in her power, including murdering innocents, to stop any scientific advances, and will stop at nothing to see the downcast Outlanders that Lily has allied with completely destroyed. Lily, Rowan, Caleb, and Tristan must use magic to stop Lillian, even at the cost of their own lives. Much like Anna Jarzab’s TANDEM and Shannon Delaney’s WEATHER WITCH, Angelini’s latest series opener combines the best elements of fantasy with hints of science fiction, history, and romance.
-Review originally published in School Library Journal, July 2014.