Home > Projects > Destiny Costume
For Halloween in 2017, my friend Kathryn suggested that a number of us do a "group costume" based on the Endless in Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels.
In the original artwork, Destiny looks like a fairly typical medieval monk, but with a large book chained to his wrist. I decided to start with that basic concept, but "goth it up" considerably in order to more closely match the rest of the Endless.
Destiny's book is supposed to contain the entire history of creation, including events in the future - making him vaguely similar to the archangel Raziel. I wanted to make a book that was at least plausibly impressive enough to contain such knowledge.
I didn't want to have to literally bind pieces of paper together myself, so I started by combing through a few thrift stores for something that had good dimensions. I eventually chose a copy of The Companion to Wine, which was enormous and also only $2.49.
I built a frame by cutting strips of aluminum to size, then riveting those together (with hinges where necessary). Cutting aluminum of this thickness in anything like a straight line with a jigsaw was hard, so I built a jig for the jigsaw.
There were a few gaps in the frame, which I filled in with Bondo. That worked pretty well, except for the largest one. If I were going to do this again, I'd try using the metal-infused Bondo that can allegedy be drilled and tapped, because the regular kind popped out of that gap as soon as the frame flexed.
I cut strips of steel sheet-metal to attach the shackles for the chain. Aluminum of that thickness would probably have broken under the weight of the book.
After the frame was complete, I used it as a template to drill holes in the cover of the book. Then I re-covered it with fabric made to look like reptile-skin leather. I did this by epoxying one edge, then stretching the fabric over to the other side, putting more epoxy underneath as I went. Once both edges of the cover were held down with binder clips, I went alone the perpendicular sides and did the same thing. I took the clips off after a few minutes to prevent them from getting epoxied to the cover.
Once the epoxy dried, I punched holes through the fabric to match those already in the cover.
I painted the aluminum frame using textured spraypaint meant to look like antique metal, and then riveted the frame over the book cover. It's still 100% possible to open and read the book.
Cuffs and Chains
I wanted a credible-looking cuff to chain the book to my wrist, but I also didn't want to buy anything with leather bits, since I avoid unnecessary leather products. I decided to just make them from scratch out of more aluminum.
I bent the aluminum into segments of a circle by hammering it around a piece of large-diameter ABS pipe, and riveted in hinges like the ones I'd used for the book frame.
To keep the design simple, the cuffs have only one "size", which is based on my wrists. The shackles not only attach the chain, but hold the cuffs closed.
I made two cuffs in case one didn't turn out right, and also so I could repurpose them for other artsy photos later.
The chains are actual, heavy chain from the hardware store. I bought chain with a texture so that I could easily age them - I sprayed the entire chain with black paint, then wiped it with a rag, so that only the pitted areas were dark.
Robe and Cowl
For the clothing, I wasn't able to find any easily-available robes that looked "right", and I thought I could use some sewing practice. I was inspired in part by the robes worn by members of the Grey Council in Babylon 5.
This was the first complete piece of clothing I'd ever sewn - previously, I'd made a few equipment harnesses and sewn additional bits onto existing clothes - so I learned a lot about that world in the process.
The black robe started out as a simple "tau robe" design. I cut it down the middle in front to make it more of a long coat, and added a riding slit in the back. It also has a ridiculously high collar. The front closes via a diagonal line of metal clasps.
The cowl is basically my attempt to turn a standard hood design into something that looks more like the Grey Council costumes or something from Assassin's Creed. I didn't use patterns for any of the costume, but for the cowl, I barely even referred to how such things are typically made.
My friends Kathryn and Beth were hosting the party, and wanted their place to look more in-character, with some spooky trees. I have a bunch of black locust trees, so I cut bits of them and removed everything but the thorns. Some of them I just painted black, and others I turned into a very large (~1.5 meter diameter) wreath, which was also painted black.
Season of Mists Party
Kathryn's friend David was kind enough to get some photos of everyone with my camera. I was really impressed with what everyone did, as well as the fantastic lighting. Unfortunately, I picked my favourite (character-wise) lens, which maxes out about about f/2.2, so these are a bit grainy.