Why is it when I have something I want to write that isn’t date-necessary, I get bowled over with things to write about? My Saturday post keeps getting pushed back on the grounds that it’ll take some time to write, and I actually have other things to write about.
(And yes, I am fully aware of the irony of now having too many things to write about, thank you).
However, this afternoon I had a complete full on panic attack when I realised I’d been doing something very stupid. Something I feel I should write about just to remind myself how much of a crazy scatterbrain I can be without trying.
This event in question? Cosplay related, to nobody’s surprise.
I’m currently making a full on helmet for my main costume, and this has involved multiple layers of cardboard, paper mache, and finally a layer of body filler. The filler is so you can sand the helmet down and get a smooth finish. So far it seems to be working as expected, and with some free time this afternoon, I grabbed the sandpaper and started to get to work.
After 10 minutes, I’m noticing an awful lot of powder falling from my little work of art, and I start to get a nagging feeling I’m forgetting something. I discard the newspaper for cleanliness and keep going. Then it hits me.
The tub recommends wearing a mask for sanding. It’s just one line on the tub, but it stops me short. A quick scant to Google later, and I’m hitting full blown panic attack.
Although nowhere near as dangerous as fibreglass (which I understand is basically the devils cosplay ingredient), turns out body filler is mildly toxic, and should never be sanded without protection, and definitely not indoors if you can help it.
And I’ve spent 10 minutes doing just that in the kitchen. My brain goes into panic overdrive and I get the thing down to the bottom of the stairs near the door for airing, shove the badly working hoover into the kitchen to get as much of the powder off the counter and floor as possible, yank open the windows and start to wonder if that tickle in my throat is my soon-to-be-death.
It wasn’t – but my nerves did result in me throwing up – only belatedly realising that if I HAVE inhaled any of this danger item, it’s in my lungs not my stomach and I’ve probably done more damage to myself than the filler ever did.
Thankfully, I finally got to some forums on using these materials, and got my nerves calmed. A little session like mine isn’t going to cause any serious damage (fibreglass, hell yes. Body filler…not so much). The kitchen is one of the airier rooms and I was using the corner far, far away from food preparation, and I just need to get a mask and take it outside in future. Clearly it hasn’t damaged me too much, as I had to run the bleep test tonight not an hour later, and managed to plateau at 9.2, despite having not ran it since March (gym finally paying off). Lungs survived the ordeal, though my earlier panic left my throat raw.
I’m now just crossing my fingers and hoping I’ve cleaned up my mess well enough that it won’t be an issue. Starting to understand why so many ‘serious’ cosplayers dedicate their entire garage’s to their craft. Once you slip out of fabric and foam and glue, it starts getting dangerous. Certain props and designs just can’t be made with standard materials – you need to get creative. And with that comes electronics, toxic fumes from paint and fillers, fibreglass hell, plastic and its multiple warnings, and the craziness of expanding foam.
And it’s not even like you have to use this materials to make good costumes. Some of my favourite cosplayers are those who devote time to the details rather than the materials. Trinity Blood cosplayers immediately come to mind – anyone who can devote 2 weeks to sewing 3,000 beads onto a ball gown deserves my respect.
However, this cosplay is something I’ve been building up to for years. I adore Kamen Rider, and the fact of the matter is it requires me to make armour. Hopefully this weekend I can invest in a mask and get the helmet into a closer-to-complete state. I want to complete it so I can find out how dangerous it’ll be to wear – at the end of the day; I have to wear this thing after all. Hopefully sealing up the helmet will be enough – plenty of people use this method, so I just need to follow my predecessors.