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Creating Marceline from Adventure Time’s Bass Guitar #CostumeDIY #Tutorial

Our Head of Character Assets Siobhan Doyle is a pro at crafting costumes and going all out for cosplay. Just check out her Furiosa costume and her Scarring Makeup Tutorial - you'll see she takes Halloween seriously!

And this year she's decided it's all about that bass. Marceline from Adventure Time's bass, in fact!

Not one to take the easy road, she actually crafted a fully working, playable axe bass, so of course, we just had to find out how she did it. Check out her process below:

Siobhan: This year I decided on a reeeeally simple costume, Marceline from Adventure Time!

Jeans, top, wig, nice new boots. Body paint and makeup were going to be the most complicated parts. That is, until I decided to add a prop. 

What is Marceline without her iconic bass guitar? 

Strangely, it didn't even occur to me to make a fake bass, so the first thing I did was try to figure out how complicated it was to make a guitar from scratch. It turns out you can get a kit online pretty easily. The only custom part I wanted was the axe body, so I started by buying the neck and machine parts.

Next, I called in a friend with his own workshop. Matty Makes is a professional prop maker and an old college friend. Check out his work on his Facebook page or Etsy shop! He takes commissions ;)

I drafted a template on cardboard, using the body from the kit as a reference. This took a bit of trial and error, and a LOT of research to get right. We didn't want to start on actual wood without answering all the technical questions.

Next, we decided to work in ash wood, and Matty took my template to his workshop. This was definitely the most exciting part.

Matty was also nice enough to assemble the parts, so the next thing I got to see was a fully functioning instrument!

I've never finished, sanded, coloured or really done anything on ash before, so at this point, I had to go back to research.

There are some amazing tutorials on YouTube for specific wood types. For example, ash is porous, so you should fill the grain by sanding it while you finish it, letting the dust fill the pores.

After some research and a lot of trial and error on test wood, I decided on three layers.

1. Artists oils hand rubbed into the wood alternately with mineral oil, to build up a powerful red colour that would let the wood grain shine through.

2. Danish oil to seal the wood in theory, but since I started with paint, I'm not sure how useful this was. There was a bit of sanding and recolouring involved.

3. Polyurathane to seal everything.

You'd think the last thing to do would be to restring the guitar and remove all the masking, but I had one more task. Learn to play O_O

Then to complete the costume I ordered a long black hair wig online, used Mac bodypaint in white with some cheap grey eyeshadow mixed in to cover my face, neck and arms and topped it off with some grey lipstick and nail polish.

There you have it, now it's time to jam out!

For more #CostumeDIYs check out our Queen Mera, 3D Majora Mask, and Troll Mask tutorials.

Happy Halloween!

Anahita Tabarsi

Anahita is Brown Bag Films' Marketing Director, Digital & Social and drinks more than five coffees a day...

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Brown Bag Labs is an exciting online space, brought to you by Brown Bag Films. We share great content for families as well as behind the scenes fun and tutorials from the Brown Bag Films team.