This guide is for people who have purchased my Flexible Twi’lek Lekku and are interested to learn more about wearing & caring for them! If you’ve come here after purchasing, first let me say thank you! I hope you enjoy your new Twi’lek Cosplay, and I’m so grateful you chose my lekku to adorn your head!
How to Paint
Paint to use:
Because of the flexible nature of the lekku, it is imperative that any paint or coating you put on the lekku is as flexible as the lekku itself. I *DO NOT* recommend coating these lekku in Plastidip — in my experience, the lekku are far more flexible than the Plastidip and this will cause it to crack.
You can use one of the following:
- Acrylic paint — Not just any acrylic paint will do. I recommend Liquitex, a brand of paint that is mixed with latex, resulting in a high pigment, flexible paint. Remember to try and do as thin a layer as possible, since thicker layers will crack.
- Airbrush acrylic paint — I use Createx airbrush paint, but there are other types of airbrush acrylics out there. Just make sure they remain, again, flexible when dried. It is much easier to get a thinner layer using airbrush paints.
- Bodypaint — For exact color matching, you can use the very same bodypaint that you’re using on yourself on your lekku. Whether water- or alcohol-based, bodypaint will remain flexible when dried so is a great option. Just be warned that even if you seal or set the paint, you’re likely to have to touch it up on a regular basis. Bodypaint is also a great option if you want to remove the paint and re-paint your lekku in a different color!
Applying the Paint:
- Cheaper — all you need to get going is your paint and some brushes.
- Easier to do fine details such as geometric tattoos or any designs with a sharp edge
- Difficult to make sure that your coats are thin, meaning paint jobs are much more likely to crack.
- Time consuming, will take much longer than airbrushing
- Much easier to get an even, light coat with a minimum of pigment use
- Faster than handpainting by far
- It is far easier to blend and make gentle gradient style markings
- Sharp designs or clean edges require precision with a fine tip or stencils
- Requires an airbrush set-up
Other Tools for Painting
Reference Photos/Art — it doesn’t have to be of twi’leks, it can be of animals or fabric print or just about anything. Simply having a ‘good plan’ ahead of time will make the painting less stressful and more streamlined.
Stencils — one of the best tools for any painter are stencils that you can use both with handpainting and airbrushes. Find them online (such as HERE) or create your own using cut-out foam or even fabric with a pattern already in it.
Final Tips/Thoughts on Painting
When painting a design, you can use a color a shade lighter than your base to mark out “key points” of your design. That way if you change your mind or need to adjust, you can easily cover the markings — much more easily than if you use, say, black marks on white or vice versa!
If you’re not completely sold on a color or design, consider using your bodypaint initially. This way you can remove it if you decide you want to change your mind. This will make it easier to match to you when you actually paint up as well. Just keep in mind that this will require a LOT of bodypaint initially and constant upkeep, so if you’re sure of your color or design you’ll save more money in the long run using acrylic paints instead.
A final note on “Canon” versus “NonCanon”
It is always nice to find reference material that is considered canon — ie from the movies, cartoons, or canonized video games. That being said, unless your goal is to go for approval with one of the charity clubs, don’t feel restricted to just what you see in canon sources. The beauty and fun of twi’leks are that they come in every color and combination — don’t be shy to be bold and creative!
Prepping to Wear
Your new set of lekku is almost ready to go — but first we need to prep it to wear. This involves figuring out your headband and ripping out the foam in the inside of the headpiece.
Dealing With the Foam Stuffing
Ultimately, you want to rip out just enough foam from the inside that it sits comfortably in place but not so much that there is excess space. People ask me “Well how it SUPPOSED to sit?” and the answer is a bit up to you. I designed the lekku so that they stick straight out from the back of the head, so the top of the lekku should sit down against the top of your head. If you like lekku that stick up a bit higher or hang a bit lower, though, please feel free to adjust accordingly.
- Position your lekku with one hand on the outside of the head. This will allow you to feel if you’re getting too close to ripping the surface.
- With your other hand, tear small strips or bits of foam at a time. You can use scissors or a knife to create an initial gash if that helps.
- Try your lekku on frequently. Remember that the foam will pad down just a tad when you wear your lekku for the first few times.
What about hair?
There are two main ways of dealing with long hair underneath your lekku.
The first is to braid your hair in two pigtails braids. Then wrap the braids around, opposite each other, using either bobbypins or a wig cap to keep the braids flat against your head. This won’t work well if the lekku cap is exceedingly tight.
The other way is to rip out “pockets’ for where your hair will sit. With the lekku, you can rip out two small indents in each of the lekku. Then, simply put your hair up in two buns, cover with a wig cap to keep flyaways handled, and when you put your lekku on your buns should go right into the spaces made for them.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have little to no hair, you may find that the lekku shift or slide on your head. I recommend a nice, soft wig cap or headband made to go under wigs. It will absorb any sweat and keep your lekku nicely in place.
Wrap It Up
Once you have the inside of your lekku made comfortable, the next step is to figure out your headwrap.
You can either make your own or commission one. To make your own, you can create your own pattern using a duct tape dummy, or purchase a preexisting once such as mine here →
Just about any type of fabric can be used for a headwrap, depending on how you want it to look. I use four way stretch material when I want a headwrap that is tight and sleek. For headwraps that have a bit more structure, two way stretch vinyl or even pleather work fantastically.
Either way, try and create your headwrap so that your earbuds sit just over your existing ears — this will help the earbuds look natural.
Long Term Care and Storage
- Wash Lightly with Soap & Water (If Needed)
- Just a really soft soap will do. Hand soap is best.
- Don’t fully submerge the headpiece. It is foam, and will soak up the water!
- Make sure to pat, don’t scrub! Use a soft wash cloth, or your bare hand
- You probably won’t get 100% of the dirt, but it should help.
- Repair any damage to the paint.
- You can mix up a tiny amount of Liquitex to cover up any dirt or damage that occurs. Remember to wash with soap and water (pat, don’t scrub!) to make sure you get dust/grit/grime off before repainting.
- Store out of sunlight/heat.
- Sunlight will contribute to the foam yellowing. It’s very important you store your foam headpiece out of sunlight. A good paint job will keep her from yellowing noticeably but an unfinished headpiece will go from white to tan in a day’s time if you’re not careful.
- Store her flat and not crunched/crinkled.
- The foam will recover from, say, a road trip in which another heavy prop falls on her and dents her. But the longer she’s crinked or bent, the longer it will take for her to recover and at some point she’ll just stay bent forever.
- Don’t store her against anything smooth/sticky/painted/inked/etc.
- The Liquitex paint, once fully set, is pretty durable, but can still be prone to being stained or even pulled off. My headpieces are stored on a mannequin head on a stand with a trash bag overtop of her to keep dust and debris off of her.
- Dust her before long term storage.
- Putting a thin layer of baby powder on her will help keep her from sticking to anything and keep grime off.