Astral Warden Druid

Whaaat – another druid?

What can I say – I like what I like. And this project is yet another night elf druid (my character) from World of Warcraft. This time, it’s the Astral Warden T19 set in it’s mythic color. It has gold borders, which has become one of my trademark cosplay things and it’s got birds and a skirt-style thing. I love the colour scheme on this version, which is why I chose it. And there’s a little bit of armor, but not too much. Just the right amount for me. My screenshots below are from the Modelviewer, and after I started working on the cosplay, I discovered that the purple trim on the sleeves is not on the model in game – and I have no idea where it came from. But by the time I noticed that, I’d already started working on the sleeves and made the pattern, and I decided to keep it in there. I think it looks nicer than plain white.

The first thing I did was work on some patterns. I started with the corset-like chestpiece. I patterned it using the good old wrap-in-tape method.

I had some help getting myself wrapped up in ceran wrap and then duct tape. Then I sketched some parts myself (that I could reach) and had some assistance on marking up the back. Basically, I just drew in where seams should go.

For the top and the skirt, I used fabrics I already had in the closet. The white one is a heavy cotton/poly mix (with no stretch) and the red underskirt is a polyester fabric. No particular reason, it’s just what I had, and the colours were good. I found a copper/gold pleather in my local fabric shop for all the trims. The red and purple pleathers proved more difficult to find, and from here to the next step, I had to wait months before I finally found the right fabric. I ended up finding it in a fabric shop in Lithuania (see this blog post about that, it’s an amazing shop).

The top is a pretty standard princess seam – it’s mostly going to be covered by the corset and pauldrons.

The skirts are two circle skirts where the white will be shortened, so the red peeks out underneath.

Once i finally had the fabric, I started with the corset-piece. I feel like I get a more true-to-reference look if I airbrush the pleather to be darker around the edges, so I mark off where the gold trims will be and airbrush it before stitching anything together. I used black vallejo paint. It’s not made for fabric, but my cosplays aren’t made to go in washing machines, anyways. But in my experience, the paint doesn’t come off if I wash it by hand (which I did with my Feralheart druid).

Still missing the top part on the front here, but this is where it’s heading. The  red part at the top of this image is my left side and where the velcro goes – it doesn’t go straight down, because the seams aren’t straight. By doing it this way, you don’t see where it closes (theoretically). This piece has straps as well, but I wanted to wait until the shirt under it was done before making it, so that part is further down the progress-line.

The next I did was start working on the skirt. There’s no particular reason I did things in the order I did – sometimes I take breaks from a piece, because I feel like I need to think a bit more about it before finishing it.

The skirt panels are all patterned by taking a piece of scrap fabric and draping it on my mannequin. Since it’s not a tight fit, but a question of getting the proportions right, this method works fine.

The front and back panels are made from an imitation suade with a somewhat thick batting layer and a cotton on the underside. I quilted it and then airbrushed it to make the quilting look more 3D – here’s the back and front pieces showing the difference between airbrushed and not airbrushed.

I used a mix of buttons and polymer clay disks to make the gold buttons. I didn’t actually need the buttons at all, but I bought a bag in a 2nd hand shop and it saved me some time from making all of them with polymer. I could’ve also cut them from foam or 3D printed them, but I had clay at hand and just used that. I added a layer of batting and stitched around the edge of a gold pleather circle to wrap it in fabric.

Repeat to failure (and this is still not all of them).

At least my cats were – as always – helpful.

I stitched the buttons on and also the gold border around and airbrushed pleather panels at the bottom.

These two layers are stitched onto a waistband together with the two circle skirts I made earlier. They have a side zipper and make up the lower skirt.

Next I worked on the upper skirt/belt piece. My costumes are often constructed this way, because I really don’t like visible zippers etc, so I use the layers to hide the different closures. The belt and hip-pieces were patterned together with the corset, and the larger panel was patterned by fabric draping. As with other pleather parts, I airbrushed before adding the gold.

For my gold pieces, I usually first glue them on with contact glue before stitching, so I avoid having a lot of needle holes in the pleather.

I was wrecking my brain on how to do the fluffy parts on the skirt. They have very long hair. In the end, I liked how this long pile fur looks (leftover from a white Murloc cosplay), so I ended up using it. I did airbrush it a little bit to make it slightly less stark white (not yet done in this photo).

The last element missing on the skirt (apart from the buckle, which is a separate piece) is the feathers on the side. I used somewhat thick foam (I think 5mm) to make these, which I sanded down with a sanding machine to have a thin blade-like edge. The groves in the middle were made with a dremel tool and the small “hairs” were cut with an xacto knife. I primed it with flexbond, which I applied with a brush in the direction of the “hairs”, which helped give it a feathery texture.

I painted the feather with airbrush, first white, then a sort of bone-colour for shading and last I used a paint brush to paint the spine white and add the black details.

Finally, I was able to stitch together all the pieces and see how it all looked together so far. Honestly, at this point I already like how it’s looking.

Most of the belt/skirt was stitched together by hand, since I had foam feathers sandwiched in there and all. I still need to do a little bit more with those, so they stay in the right spot all the time. With only the top edge as attachment point, they are able to slide a bit around and not sit precisely where I want them.

Next, I decided to tackle the sleeves. They’re a good example on how I overcomplicate things. The sleeves and the straps on the corset have some similar elements, but on the sleeves, I decided to do each panel at the top of the sleeve separately, but when I got to the corset, I realized that wasn’t really necessary at all.

 But I am getting ahead of myself. Here you see how many pieces made up 1 sleeve.

How it looks glued together and stitched onto the rest of the sleeve elements. Including my myserious purple edge that I have no clue where came from, but I like it.

Then I got to the corset straps. I hadn’t patterned these and wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t want to have a shaped strap, but it’s hard to guess how a particular fabric will bend over a curved shape like my chest. Since I had bought more than enough of the red pleather, in the end I just measured out roughtly the shape and size, cut out 1 side, pinned it on and marked while I was wearing it how it should be shaped and where the stitches should go.

And then I had the epiphany – there was absolutely no reason to cut each element out like i did on the sleeve. I could just use the gold and the airbrushing to simulate multiple pieces, so that’s what I did.

And with that – the fabric pieces were (more or less) done and the costume is now at the point where I wouldn’t feel naked wearing it, so here’s some photos of progress so far:

Next – armor parts. I’m not super good at making these, I’ll admit. And the shoulders are floating above the character’s shoulders and have floating moons above them. That is kind of hard to simulate in real life. So I had to modify a bit. I started out with a few pieces of thermoplastic that I shaped to my shoulders. These are the base on which the armor rests. They’ll be covered in fabric that matches the rest, and while not invisible, they’re integrated enough to not be noticeable. 

Onto them, I used cardboard to pattern out the shape. It took me a few tries, but in the end, I think I got something useable. I’ve scaled it down a bit, because in my experience, Warcraft proportions don’t look good in real life, especially not on a female body.

I recreated the cardboard pieces in EVA foam. I used a mix of different thicknesses for the armor pieces – from 0,2cm to 1cm.

To make transport easier, the shoulder armor will be modular. There’s the base piece, which is the part that attaches to my body. Then there’s the upper piece with the owl face. This one has all the lights for the owl eyes and the wings, and connects to the base with a hole underneath for the wire and 3 magnets.

The moons and feathers are removeable as well – more on those later.

Now, a bit on the glowing bits – Zibartas Cosplay worked on the 3D models for me. He created them with Fusion360 and printed them on a regular filament printer for speed to check the proportions. The shoulder moons went through 5 different iterations before looking just right, while the belt buckle only took one adjustment to look right. Once the model was good, we printed them with resin

I’m still not entirely comfortable working with resin printing, but I’m always impressed by how nice it comes out. We also did the 28 feathers from resin.

Sadly – the feathers ended up being just too heavy for the shoulder pieces. With 2 days to go before the event, I didn’t have a lot of time to figure out alternatives, so I ended up with the obvious solution – actual feathers. I actually think it turned out ok. They attach with velcro, so they could be removed for transport. The feathers and the velcros are glued onto gold pleather, so the visible part matches the armor – but I will try to work to make the seam a bit more smooth, since you can see the velcro a bit if you look from the top.

The shoulders attach with purple pleather straps that close with velcro under my armpits. The pleather is airbrushed black and I added gold pleather details to them. To attach them to each other, I’ve added a gold pleather strap between them. In the reference, there’s a tiny sleeve thing at the top n purple pleather, so I feel like this sort of replaces it – it’s not invisible, but it fits into the design in a way that I don’t feel like it’s super obvious that it holds the armor in place. In the reference the armor is held in place by magic and just kind of floats above the character’s shoulder, so I had to make some changes to make it work in real life.

There’s also a gold strap that goes behind my neck, which can be seen in the previous photo on the mannequin. 

This photo shows the elements of the moons. They are also just floating bits that are held up by magic, so we again took some creative liberties. There’s supposed to be both a floating crescent moon and a floating ball in the middle of it. Zibartas instead made the model have “rays” between the ball and the moon. There’s 5, but only 2 of them are used for wiring. We decided that there was no way to make them completely invisible, so instead we made them part of the design as kind. I honestly think the end result looks good. We also printed a matching stem for it to sit on, which slots unto a holder, which I later glued onto the shoulder armor and painted. The moons are detachable, since they’re fragile and will be easier to transport like this. They plug in separately to the controller as well.

We used “flexible COB led filament” to make the moons light up. These are very thin LEDs with very small space between each point of light, which means they look like a solid string of lights. They run off 3-5V and are REALLY bright. Since the other strips that we used in this project require 10-12V, we used 4 strips in total. They are wired in a way that they get the correct amount of voltage without any resistors.

The belt buckle, the lights at the feathers on the shoulder armor and the eyes on the owl are all lit up with COB (chip on board) LED strips. These are the ones that require 10-12V. Zibartas made a video about these LEDs if you want to learn more.

The shoulders are connected with two plugs each to the controller; one for the moons and one for the owl eyes + wings.

The belt buckle is connected with 1 plug to the controller.

The controller is a tiny little box that Zibartas made. Within it is an arduino and all the lights connect to it via a mosfet. The mosfet makes it possible to vary the voltage that is supplied to them, which means it’s possible to make the breathing light effect by constantly increasing and decreasing the voltage.

The whole thing is powered by a powerbank. To make it possible for the powerbank to supply 12V, we used a USB C PD plug – Zibartas made a whole video about this, so check it out here if you are interested in learning about that.

The rest of the armor was also made with EVA foam of varying thicknesses that I carved with a knife and sanded with a dremel tool. I used Flexi paint to prime all armor parts, though I prefer Flexbond, as I feel it applies a bit smoother, but I didn’t have that on hand. Both can be purchased at

The last things I made were very rushed, so I sadly forgot to get photos of the progress. 

I made the fabric dangling parts on the belt with pleather that I airbrushed. I cut out a piece of gold pleather that matches the outline of the belt and stitched everything onto it, including velcro to attach the buckle to the skirt, which i then glued onto the buckle. That way, the velcro is held with stiches rather than just glue, which I feel is a more solid connection.

I used a small brush and acrylic paint (the liquid type) to paint the ends of the feathers black. I also glued little strips of fabric on the underside of the corset part, so the wires would be hiddin under the clothes.

And that’s it. I didn’t make the gloves in time for the event where I wore this cosplay. I may add them at a later time, though I really dislike gloves, so I might just “forget” them. I hope to add a staff of my own design to the cosplay as well.

This is the finished cosplay! You can see more photos in the gallery

This project was started in august 2022 and finished april 2023. The first 3 months were spent finding the right fabrics before I could start sewing.