a complicated cosmetics case for clown cosplay

I recently started thinking about playing a ferocious clown, and yes, I admit it– I was inspired by the lanky adolescent stoner juggalo troll from Homestuck. Gamzee Makara’s character is about as far away from mine as it’s possible to get, probably why I am so enamored of him!

I picked up this inexpensive but gets-good-reviews makeup; Snazaroo.

Gamzee only uses white and black, but the stuff can be found in inexpensive three-packs, and his other color is indigo purple. And red is always handy. I picked out a three pack of white, black, and purple, and another of white, black, and red, which doubled my amounts of my base colors very handily.

While I was browsing the color choices I noticed a metallics three-pack– gold, silver, copper, and Damn but I love metallics! So I bought them too while I was at it.

The threepacks come in these slippery little clam packs. A pain in the butt, and I like a bit of ceremony, so I started thinking about something cheap and easy (hehe) to keep them in. Since my original inspiration is such a cool dude, I wanted something that suited him, even if I end up using my clown makeup for other things more often than not.

I found this little book, and decided to turn it into a cosmetics box. It turned out to already be Gamzee’s color, once I pulled the dustcover off– and the dog bones are rather fitting!

I cut all of my little makeup patties apart and played with arrangements. I decided that I could create a long trough for brushes and some of those flat makeup sponges. I drew in eight holes, because another color I like to use is blue, and I intend to pick some up later.

Did I say “easy?” Hahaha I was just joking!


The tools and materials you need to make something like this:

  • Pencil,
  • Xacto or other sharp blade (with lots of replacements, or a fine sharpening stone, because paper really dulls those blades fast)
  • PVC glue,
  • Water to dilute the glue,
  • Brush for the glue,

And intestinal fortitude because the people you live with will be inclined to roll their eyes– even though you thought they knew better by now…

First, I needed to glue my pages together. This is so much easier than you’d think: I simply brushed some diluted glue along the edges.The percentage of dilute isn’t very crucial. You want something like 30% to 50% water. I just dipped my brush into the glue and swished it around in a few drops of water each time I needed to perfom this operation.

I did a couple of things first; I separated three or four pages off the top, and I wrapped them and the cover and the bottom endpapers in cling wrap. The covers will get brutalised, but not just yet. We pick and chose because we can!

I set the book under some weight to dry, which took about ten minutes.

Then I started cutting.

This case has a lot of compartments, and all of them need to be stabilised individually. I decided to start with my long center compartment. Each piece of paper lifts out as you cut, leaving you in this blizzard of paper scraps.

The cutting part took two sessions over two days.

A lot of this was me experimenting with the best and most controllable ways to carve down into the strata. Cutting curved lines takes more control than straight ones, where you could use a ruler– but Gamzee is SO not a straight-line dude. if he were making this, he would have cut his holes with a few casual claw swipes. So I did too, only it took me many more than a few claw swipes and none of them were casual.

It’s easier to find your corners if you drill little holes for your knife to find. Check out that beautiful old handcranked drill!

Once I had that first compartment cut out, I brushed the walls with the same diluted glue.

That meant I had lots more stability for all those small circles I was about to cut.

Needless to say, my planned eight circular compartments morphed into ten odd-shaped compartments. Because too much is never enough, and evidently that includes toil and trouble!

I cut them out a couple at a time, in an alternating pattern, doing the brushed glue routine as each one was completed so as to stabilise the one next to it for the next cutting. This was labor-intensive, and messy, and as an onlooker commented, “heartbreaking.” I have a slice on the ball of my thumb, and a very sore first joint on my first finger from pressing down so hard.

If I were going to do this again, I would cheat, totally– replace most of the pages with foam core, so I would have fewer layers to cut through. Also, remember that a fresh Xacto blade is your loving friend! Change your blades, don’t be stubborn. And wait for the glue to dry, or else you just tear your walls.

Afterall my cutting was done and the walls glued, I pulled down one of the top pages I had wrapped up and safe, and glued it over the top to cover the messy pencil lines and cuts where my knife slipped. Once that had dried, I cut the holes open again. Then I glued the pages to the bottom part of the book.

Four coats of water-based poly finish should make the whole thing plenty waterproof. it won’t prevent the makeup from smearing across the surface of the top page, but that’s okay.

I wanted to have room for a hella lot of white and black cake, since almost every face uses those. And it occurred to me that I use three other colors for whole face applications– Gold, Blue, Red. So I made two really large compartments, three large, and tucked in five smaller shapes, like eggs. two got filled with the silver and copper, one with that small amount of purple. Some time in the future, I’ll pick up the blue, probably along with more black and white, and then there are two small hollows for whatever else I need.

DSCI0067The cover is still in progress. The cover comes from atom2ashes’ depiction of Gamzee’s planet “Land of tents and mirth.” I altered it some — because Gamzee wouldn’t have a picture of himself on his own makeup case! I printed it at 300dpi but on regular paper, and it looks suitably distressed. I finished it with more poly– paint it on real fast,in a thin coat, and do not go over the wet finish because your ink might be too watersoluble and you’ll have to print it all over again.

I cut out the rest of the extra pages, to leave space for a thin plastic mirror.

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