Behind the cut is what I eventually looked like and the process I went through to make Sailor Saturn's Glaive from pvc piping, cardboard, insulation foam, masking tape, gems, and spray paint.
In the end I looked like this -- (reference images here and here)
The outfit itself is fairly simple to put together -- a tight fitting turtle neck and black tights. I went with black jeggings instead since it's October and cold outside. Black slippers are also generally easy to find. The skirt I scored when I went thrifting earlier in the summer and it was my first time actually wearing it. So the outfit probably totaled = $45 by the end of it. I wasn't too pressed on spending that much money on a costume, since these are all things I can wear outside of "dressing up".
The staff was a little cheaper to make. I ended up buying pvc piping, silver and black spraypaint, sandpaper, (2) cans of insulation foam, and a roll of masking tape for roughly $35. My best friend found a giant box of cardboard from her work. The gems that decorate the handle of the staff were all of $2.
The work is what gets you. I planned it out pretty simply -- but the staff ended up being obnoxiously tall, which is not something you think about until you're trying to transport this fucker through doorways and into cars and where ever the hell I end up storing this thing after all is said and done. The entire staff from top to bottom came out to be about 6' 5". A whole foot and a half taller than me.
So first! I sketched everything out. The PVC pipe was originally 5' and I cut it down to 4'. Then I drew the outline shape of the bottom and the top scythe into cardboard.
This is the easy part - cut out the shape of the cardboard and (super) glue the narrow ends into the ends of the pipe. The insulation foam eventually put a lot of strain on the cardboard attachment, so I would advise also cutting so that you can glue parts of the cardboard to the outside as well. I didn't plan on the insulation foam being very heavy but you live and learn!
You start with spraying insulation foam on one side of the cardboard and waiting for it to dry fairly well (~30 mins-1hour) and then spraying on the other side. What you want to do is prop it up off the ground but giving it something to balance on so the board doesn't bend from the weight of the insulation foam. Tricky!! Plan on getting the insulation foam nice and big so that you have more to work with when you carve the shape. It's better to have excess than to have too little. I went through a can and a half of insulation foam on this project. (Please also be sure to wear gloves and wear goggles when you are spraying as insulation foam can be harsh on the eyes and skin.)
I gave my insulation foam about 1-2 days to completely be dry. Then you start carving. You can use a box cutter or a simple sharp knife. Adjustable box cutters give you more flexibility but my knife was efficient for what I wanted to get done. (Please be sure to wear goggles and wear a mask -- and cover the surface you are working on. Sweep up and clean up the area afterwards as polyurethane particles can get everywhere and inhaling this is B A D.)
Eventually you carve out the shapes using the cardboard as a reference for shape. I sanded down some of the areas to make it smoother but it's not necessary -- and sanding only releases more dangerous particles. Then I proceeded to cover the material with masking tape -- to accommodate some of the areas where the insulation foam didn't fully expand, as shown in the top left picture. In some areas of my taping, I didn't overlap enough, so later when the spray paint is dry and peeling, the masking tape will fall apart and shrink, exposing the material underneath so please sure to give enough overlap when taping.
Next I glued the flares onto the bottom of the staff -- cut out from cardboard. You try to cut as straight of an edge as possible so when you glue (super-glue), it sticks fairly consistently. There are 8 flares in total. I also (super)glued the gems onto the other end. Cardboard cut-outs of the designs on the scythe were glued as well. The color of the materials don't matter obviously since we're going to be spraypainting over everything.
WEAR GLOVES, GO BAREFOOT OR WEAR OLD SOCKS. Spray paint is harsh and the smell is very strong, so do this in an open area, very well-ventilated. I have an enclosed porch with all screen windows so I was able to do this at night (which is the time that I am not working and awake, etc.). Make sure you spray consistently and not too close or else you'll get drip marks while it dries. Follow the directions on your spray can exactly to get the best results. Wait until it's workably dry to flip and spray on all sides.
The masking tape lines look very sharp in this photo, but they aren't quite so distinct in person. The silver blends it well and no one's ever up close enough to notice them so it worked perfectly for me.
So there you have it. My first grand endeavor in prop-costume making! If you have any tips and advice for me, feel free to comment!