Sunday, February 14, 2016

How to Recreate This Steampunk Slave Leia Costume

Here's another popular photo from the Fashion Inspiration section. Today we'll show you how to recreate this Steampunk Slave Leia costume, or (even better) just use a few elements to inspire your own version.

Steampunk costume princess leia star wars steampunk slave leia cosplay
Cosplayer: Eiraina Schmolesky / Photographer Tehsigo Eternamente

Eiraina's Steampunk Star Wars costume was a huge hit at Wondercon and it's easy to see why. It combines a well-known character (Princess Leia) from a much loved franchise (Star Wars) with classic steampunk elements and sex appeal. No costume or character explanation is needed--anyone walking by will immediately recognize and understand this costume. If you wear it to a Con, expect a lot of attention.

How to dress like a steampunk princess leia - steampunk star wars costumes for women

The bare bones of this outfit are pretty easy to find, once you realize she's wearing a Princess Leia Slave Bikini costume from Amazon. This one is actually the official version, licensed by Lucas Films, so it's as close to the real thing as you'll be able to buy commercially:

Star Wars Princess Leia Steampunk Slave Leia costume

If you read the amazon customer reviews (which include customer photos of the costume), they aren't great, but we can correct those issues with a few DIY tricks, just as our Wondercon cosplayer has done.

Before we go any further, there is a knock-off version of this costume for the same price, the Honeystore Space Slave Costume (also sold here). The reviews for this one are much better (and include customer photos that give you a better idea of what it looks like in real life):
But since we're trying to recreate the Eiraina's costume from the Wondercon photo, I'll stick with the licensed Leia costume.


If you scan the reviews, the issue is mainly the poorly constructed bikini top. Reviewers said the gold parts of the top were barely attached to the fabric and needed to be glued back down. This explains why the Eiraina removed the gold rubber parts from the fabric altogether and glued them onto a Teal Satin Bra:

Steampunk Slave leia costume princess leia womens fashion cosplay

For more bra options, try here, here or here.


There were also complaints about the quality of the chain on the choker/collar. You can easily fix that the same way Eiraina did: buy your own chain for a few bucks. Here's a cheap 36 inch bronze chain:

Chain for steampunk slave leia collar choker leash princess leia

She attached a pocket watch (like these) to the other end and wound the excess chain around her belt to keep it visible for photos but out of her way.     


The reviews also state that the snake armband is made of droopy rubber, not metal as in the costume photo. Replace it with a Gold Snake Armband like this one:

Princess Leia Slave Bikini gold snake armband jewelry

Or this slightly larger, gold plated double snake armband.


At this point we've put together a Slave Leia costume that improves upon the licensed costume, but we still need to add the Steampunk features.

And because nothing screams "Steampunk" more than gears, goggles and corsets, Eiraina has added these elements to her costume. Small metal gears have been glued onto her bra, as well as onto the head and tail of her snake armband. These metal gears and cogs are popular jewelry making supplies, so they're easy to find. Here's a bag of 100 different sized gears and cogs for under $10:

Gears Cogs sprockets for steampunk costume fashion cosplay tutorial


Goggles are ubiquitous in the Steampunk world, so there are a ton of different styles to choose from. If you want the exact same goggles from Eiraina's Steampunk Leia photo, they have great customer reviews on Amazon. Elope Machinist Goggles:

Brown and green lenses machinist welding goggles steampunk clothing


Eiraina is wearing an underbust corset (sometimes known as a 'waist cincher') in this photo. This Double Steel Boned Underbust Corset looks to be the exact same one from the photo, and has great customer reviews (Fall 2018 update: suddenly this corset is hard to find & may be out of stock in your size so we're linking to additional amazon stores who may still have your size in stock. Check here, here, and here):

Brown Steampunk Underbost Corset Bustier Bodice for Princess Leia cosplay

If you're looking to put your own twist on the Steampunk Leia cosplay (which we strongly encourage), you can forego the bikini top and wear an overbust corset instead. With the sexy harem skirt and collar with chain, it would still be recognizable as a Slave Leia cosplay.  Try this sexy Overbust Corset with Metal Closures in the front and a traditional lace up back:

steampunk star wars princess leia cosplay corset bodice bustier waist cincher

We also like this one, but you can find more styles on our corsets page.


Here's the headpiece from another angle:
Steampunk Princess Leia Slave Leia cosplay hairpiece headdress headpiece hair
It looks like gears made out of something thin and light-weight, like cardboard or foam-core board. Paint them gold, then wind some thin metal wire around them and glue a few gears on top. Glue the finished piece to a cheap hair comb like this one:

hair comb steampunk hair headdress headpiece slave leia


Eiraina chose a brightly colored toy gun and didn't alter it to make it look Steampunk. This would be a big upgrade to the costume, and it's actually really easy to do, so don't skip this step! There are also a ton of cheaper brands out there besides Nerf. Try searching Amazon for 'toy blaster gun'.

Here's a cheap Nerf Zombie Blaster:
Nerf toy blaster gun for steampunk how to tutorial paint DIY steampunk weapon

This Space Gun with colorful spinning and flashing lights is a little pricier, but so cool looking:

steampunk gun tutorial how to steampunk toy gun nerf paint metal craft DIY make

We also like this steampunkier version, and this one that looks more like a space handgun.

To Steampunk your toy gun, all you need is to sand off the logo (and any other unwanted raised plastic areas), spray with a dark base coat, and then rub on the "metal" finish using Amaco Rub 'n Buff wax. It comes in 16 different colors (everything from Antique Gold to Pewter) and works on a ton of Steampunk crafts. Here's a great tutorial with step-by-step instructions: How to Paint a Steampunk Nerf Gun with Rub n Buff Metallic Finish Wax.

how to steampunk a nerf gun toy gun sand spray paint and metallic leaf

You'll find more steampunk gun tutorials and a ton of other tips on our Tutorials page, where we link to the best steampunk costume and weapon tutorials on the web.


Use some acrylic paint or Rub 'n Buff wax to add some depth to the gold rubber shield on Leia's harem skirt. Glue on a few colored gems to give a more finished look to the skirt.

For more guides like this, check out Recreate This Look. If you need shopping resources, visit the Where to Shop page.

Cosplayer: Eiraina Schmolesky
Photographer: Tehsigo Eternamente

Fashion Guide - Understand the elements of Steampunk fashion and learn to put together your own costume

Tutorials - The best (free) Steampunk costume, weapon, & prop tutorials and DIY guides from around the web

Fashion Inspiration - Browse our photo gallery of Steampunk cosplayers

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