Kitsune Costume

Kitsune Costume

An acquaintances told me about a fantasy festival called Elfia and that he would be attending as Gandalf the White. I thought it might be fun to attend as well. The costume I wanted to go as was a Kitsune (Japanese fox "spirit"). First I made a few sketches, then I went to my local fabric store to see if they had a nice flower pattern. They had really a nice blue and red flower pattern so I made a few examples with different color combinations. Eventually I settled on a blue combination and bought both fabric, rope and material for some additional accessories.

The Dress

My mother is pretty good with a sowing-machine and was willing to assist me in putting my costume together. This was the first time I had tried to make one of my clothing designs a reality and found that it is a lot harder than I had thought. Not everything I drew up was physically possible. It took a lot of back and forth with my mother to find something that worked. One of the problems was the fabric I bought; apparently it was very hard to work with.
Dress Design 01 Dress Design 02
Cloth Dress Making 04
Sleeve Waist Band


What is a costume without a couple of accessories!

Armor 01 Armor 02
One of my first designs for armor pads. I wanted a symbol on them that would come back in other parts of costume.
Created a workable design on the computer.

Armor 03 Armor 04
Cut out a base from cardboard poster tubes. This cardboard was very tough to cut and I hurt myself quite a few times. Working with protective gloves is recommended. As my legs aren’t perfectly circular, I had to bend the cardboard into the right shape by soaking them in water and then wrapping them around my leg until try dried. I unfortunately didn’t realize you would keep seeing the cardboard lines, I should have added a thin layer of clay to mask these.
Added (DAS) clay to create volume. In hindsight there was a little too much clay on the leg armor. The clay also warped the cardboard and I had to bend them back into shape after it dried, which wasn’t easy.

Armor 05 Armor 06
I panted everything black using wood paint (starting with the back). I figured that the wood paint make the armor pads water-resistant.
The inner part I painted blue, again using wood paint. At this part I was almost tempted to leave them like this as I liked the color scheme.

Armor 07 Armor 08
The edges I pained with two different color gold and added black for detail. The Blue part I covered over with sparkly nail-polish.
The armor pads were supposed to be connected using cord alone but that wasn’t enough to keep them in place. My mom made me some elastic bands which I glued to them, this worked really well.
Gold Orbs 01 Gold Orbs 02
Both sleeves have a large golden globe hanging from them. I bought them unpainted at the hobby shop and started by melting holes on the top and bottom using a heated-up icepick. Then I painted the inside a light gold, painted the outside a darker gold, partly covering that with another layer of light gold (dabbing it on with a rough sponge). Finishing with a shiny varnish.
It was my intention to add many additional golden orbs to my costume but I ended up only adding three to my shoulder bag.

One of the accessories I really wanted was a katana. I couldn’t find on online I liked so I decided to try and make one instead.
Katana 01 Katana 02
The base was created for me by Remco Jakma’s father who is a professional carpenter.
He also attempted to create a sheath for me but in the end I made my own as it wasn’t quite what I wanted.

Katana 03 Katana 04
Removing wood from some places and adding cardboard and (DAS) clay, I shaped the katana to what I had in mind.

Katana 05 Katana 06
Painting was a bit troublesome. I thought it would be best to start with a basecoat to smooth out the wood grain, so I added it and sanded it smooth, adding another layer. The two layers didn’t bond properly though, perhaps the paint was too old but the two layers and every consecutive layer of paint didn’t take properly. It was a real struggle but also a good learning process.
The blade I painted black as I felt trying to paint it a metal color would make it look cheap and ugly. For the handle I used the same sparkly blue nail-polish as for my armor pads and gold for the rest.
For the handle weave I used shoelaces I bought at I had tried to find some in local stores but none had the extra broad laces I needed

Katana 07 Katana 08
The sheath was created from a large cardboard tube, cut and bend in shape. Then covered with fabric, more cardboard, clay and painted it similar to the katana (without using the base paint). I was afraid that the friction between the blade and the sheath would damage the black paint so I added a layer of lacquer to the blade.
Shoulder bag 01 Shoulder Bag 02
My mother made me a shoulder bag so I would be able to keep my smaller items with me at the event.
The edges of the claw pattern were a little frayed so I added a line using gold fabric paint and nail-polish.
Tail 01 Tail 02
At work I got lucky and found someone had discarded a foam pipe, perfect for a tail. Inside I added a small metal rod to make it stronger and to allow the tail to bend.
Again my mother helped me by sowing the hairy fabric I had bought. I then attached the tail to my costume.
Ears 01 Ears 02
The ears are cardboard with white and black furry cloth glued on to it. I tried to find a slim golden hairband to connect them to but I was only able to obtain a silver one.
The wig I had bought online at It was a little expensive but the quality was very good. This was my first wig and I had some trouble styling it the way I wanted, the more I tried and failed the more it became damaged. The style is a little different then what I had in mind but I am quite happy with how it turned out in the end.
Fan 01 Fan 02
One of the accessories I thought would be nice to have was a handheld fan. I bought a cheap bamboo fan and took it apart.
Sanded it smooth, painted it black (using the wood paint) and adding a single layer of protective lacquer. Unfortunately I couldn’t get it finished in time but I am hoping to finish it in the near future.
Mask 01 Mask 02
It was my intention to create a fox mask that looked similar to the ANBU masks in the anime series Naruto. My starting point was a cheap mask I bought at a party shop.
For my first try I tried covering it with fine (pre-bagged) papier-mâché. Unfortunately I ended up with a rabbit mask instead of a fox mask. It was also rather solid and therefor very heavy, too heavy to wear. Consequent tries ended up even worse and I had to abandoned the idea.

Elfia Event

The Elf Fantasy Fair is held on the estate of Castle Haar in Haarzuilens. The waiting lines were very long and the weather a bit chilly but the atmosphere was awesome! There were so many people in costume, it was just amazing. My costume held together pretty well, I had some minor hiccups with the ears and sleeves but nothing that couldn’t be fixed on the spot. I was really happy with my costume and I’m hoping to use it for more events in the future.

Elfia 01 Elfia 02
Elfia 03 Elfia 04
Elfia 05 Elfia 06


After all the work on the costume and katana it would be a shame to only wear it once, so my friend helped me with a little photoshoot. We made tons of pictures but had to stop when parts of the costume broke. Those elements have since been repaired and I’m hoping to make more pictures in the future.

Photo Shoot 01 Photo Shoot 02
Photo Shoot 03 Photo Shoot 04
Photo Shoot 05 Photo Shoot 06
Photo Shoot 07 Photo Shoot 08
Photo Shoot 09 Photo Shoot 10
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