Thursday, December 15, 2011

5 Easy Crafts That Will Improve Your Look

As you’ve noticed, Ohio LARPers, it’s cold outside. That means we stay indoors more than usual, and wait until the season really goes into gear. But there are things you can do to keep up your LARP cred in the off season, as you might have read in previous posts. Some things require more crafting ability than others, but here are a few things that are cheap and can be done by anyone – and will make you look totally 1337! :)

1.) Be-Dazzle Your Documents – Chances are your character could be carrying some sort of paper. It could be your formal rituals, a noble writ, a mercenary company charter, or even a book of in-game notes. It’s easy to just print things out, or not have a copy of them at all, but try taking some time to create some cool-looking phys reps. Put things on a paper stock that is thematic to your character – sparkles for fae, natural fibers for nature types, even use transparencies for futuristic settings (paper making is fairly easy, if you want to get into a new craft). And don’t stop there – try using different colored inks and including sketches or other additions. With the scrapbooking boom, you can go to any craft store and get stuff to stick on paper; or to attach to your books and scroll cases. And wax seals are easy to find online.

2.) Customize Your Weapons – A few modifications can go a long way (as long as they’re safe). Add a colored grip to your boffer made of yarn or scraps of leather or fabric. Glue jewels or other additions to your hilt. If you’ve got patience, you can cut out designs in duct tape and just tape them right on to your weapon. Try painting, too. You can add a design to your hilt or even flames and other effects to the blade. And of course, with a shield you’ve got a blank canvas ready to go! If you use fabric covered boffers, fabric paint is easy to buy, or just get a unique fabric. LARPs that use guns allow for a lot of modification – paint your wood so that you have a pearl grip, add a few copper coils for the steampunk look, or maybe even some lights for sci-fi. And any weapon can look cooler by adding runes or symbols to it.

3.) Tech Your Gear – Add convenience to your costume by making some easy-access pouches or holders for scrolls, components, tags, potions, and other commonly used items. Strips of elastic or cord can be threaded through a cuff or other material and tied off to make an easy vial holder. You can tie it onto your wrist, or just hang it off your belt. Some people put plastic envelopes on the back of their shields to hold scrolls, etc – consider if you could benefit from that. Now’s the time to make some separate containers so you can stop digging through your main pouch for things! A fabric pouch is easy to make out of scraps, and you can sew it yourself. It doesn’t need to look super fabulous, as long as it makes your life easier.

4.) Jazz Up Your Jewelry – Still wearing plastic Mardi Gras beads to rep your magic items? Make a few more period items to use as your reps. Craft stores offer hemp, leather, and even chains in their jewelry making section. You can find beads and pendants of every kind, and they go on sale regularly. You can go to thrift and antique stores and get some costume jewelry. If the whole thing is a bit much, you can always take them apart and just use the parts you like. You can even paint things like buttons, or check out your hardware store. Try Ebay for lot sales of buttons and beads, and for things like watch gears. As a tip, LARP jewelry often works best when it’s a little bigger or brighter than what you’d normally wear – otherwise it just looks like your rl stuff. :)

5.) Add More Reps – Accessories are everything! If you have a character with a craft, gather up some things to put out at game to show what you do. I mentioned papers and inks, etc., for paper-related crafts. If you’re a potion maker, get some cheap glass bottles and jars and fill them with various substances. You can use spices from the grocery, bath products, or just colored water. You can even use these kinds of reps for in-game alchemy (it will also help you tell them apart at a glance!). Maybe your character tells fortunes – make your own cards, rune stones, or even bones out of things you can find at craft stores and a little paint. If you’re more modern, consider getting some old tools (or new ones) and modifying them or just painting them to carry around. Your character just hits things? What about repping combat trophies? It doesn't have to be icky (or it could be) - you could rep a tablet or other item where you mark how many kills you've made. You don’t need a whole box full of gear, unless you want it, but a few additions to carry with you can really round out your character.

Got more ideas for easy LARP crafts?


  1. I found that if you are using dacron kite tape that paint pens stay on well. If you get the metallic kind it can add real flair.

  2. I know I bought a ton of glass supplies and potpourri stuff at the dollar store to get my doctor's table up and running for Exiles.

  3. It's not a craft, but it's related-- since it's soon-to-be wintry and many will be indoors, it's a good time to experiment with cooking for a LARP. Themed food can add a lot to the IG experience: if you bring your own food, it's an easy way to add character to your team. For instance, in the Accelerant game Mirror, Mirror, we play a Persian-inspired team: I researched and made Persian themed food that was easy to put in a crockpot and pack up.

    Tangential, but kind of funny...
    On shield pockets-- at the last Madrigal event, a shield player had pockets on they back of his shield. Within these pockets he had stored a bagel and a container of cream cheese. It was pretty fabulous. And genius.