Making Valeera’s Daggers

Making Valeera's Daggers

Step 1: Patterning & Sculpting

The first step was to pattern out Valeera’s daggers (loosely based on Shards of Azzinoth dropped by Illidan in the Black Temple Raid in WoW), however in Glenn Raine’s hero portrait of Valeera, they look significantly different. Because of this I took to creating my own blueprint of her daggers — which you can get here.

I then sandwiched three pieces of foam poster-board together, one the size of the full dagger, and two that were smaller, leaving a gap that I would fill in with clay to act as the sharp edge.

I then sculpted & carved the more detailed inset shapes into the guard and added the gem on both sides.

Then much sanding occurred. Sanding forever!

Step 2: Moldmaking

I wanted my daggers to glow, so my next step was to make a mold with which to cast clear resin copies of my daggers, after all if people can make gems glow, why can’t I make daggers glow?

I later made a video of my moldmaking process, and although it’s a video of my Golden Bow of Quel’thelas arms, I used similar techniques for both.

The first step was to make and ‘clay’ a mold box. (I used sculpey for Valeera’s mold box. Please don’t do this. Use Monster Maker’s Clay. It’s so much nicer, and you can heat it up to make it more workable).

Mix up and pour your silicone over the clayed mold. I use Oomoo 30 from Smooth-on, as it’s easy to work with and pretty forgiving,

Once the silicone has set, remove the clay from the other side of the mold. Spray mold release thoroughly over the silicone you just poured, or the two halves won’t seperate.

Pour silicone over the now uncovered half of the mold. Wait for it to set, and then peel the mold apart. (It was my first ever 2-part mold, so mine looks pretty gross, nice clean molds come with time and practice).

You now have a mold, hooray!

Rubber band the two halves together with a strong backing to keep it straight, and get ready to pour your first casts!

Step 3: Casting the Blade

For Valeera’s daggers I used Cast’n’craft polyester resin from Michael’s Crafts. If you can, avoid using this resin, the fumes are very toxic and CANNOT be used inside. Also, it tends to bubble awkwardly in some places, and is extremely brittle. I now use Smoothcast 326, a crystal clear resin from Smooth-on that is much nicer to work with and is super strong.

The neon green tint I use is Slice of the Moon Green Fluorescent UV powder (it glows under blacklight, and diffuses LEDs very well).

Pour the resin & colorant mixture into the mold. In my daggers, my light source is a string of soldered together green LEDs (that unfortunately I don’t have a picture of). I then lowered these into the mold after the resin was poured so that they would be embedded in the dagger.

Since my mold was pretty bad, I had a lot of flashing (the excess stuff that leaked inside the mold) It’s pretty easy to remove.

Tadaa! One dagger. Now rinse and repeat for the other one.

Step 4: Pommel, Grip, and Electronics

I used a similar method of casting to make the pommel gem and had another green LED embedded inside. This was attached to some longer wires and then epoxied to a length of PVC pipe that had a door cut into it for access to the battery later.

The details of the pommel were then added back in with apoxie sculpt. Here you can also see the battery I use (a 2200 mAh LiPo from Adafruit), which perfectly fits inside the inner diameter of the PVC pipe.

Here I solder up the two sets of wires from the LEDs in the blade to a connector and add a resistor. Then I solder those wires and the wires from the pommel to a 2-pin JST switch, that my LiPo battery plugs into. All of these wires tuck neatly into the PVC.

At this point the dagger gets glued together and now looks like this.

Step 5: Painting & Finishing

At this point I coat the areas that are going to be gold with several layers of Golden brand Black Gesso to block out light that is trying to escape and to provide a base for my colors and metallics. I wrap the handle in leather and add a velcro tab for the hidden door.

I decided that I wanted to be able to use my hands, so I made friction fit sheathes out of worbla and covered with fabric that could hold my daggers upside-down on my back. For the paint job, I used Kamui Cosplay’s painting style of black and white lines to add depth to the guard.

Repeat for dagger number two, and then you’re done!

The Completed Daggers

Now go off and make your own!