Workshops & Demos

Each year the Costuming Track brings a wide variety of make-n-take workshops and small group (standing room only) close-up Demos.  The close-up demos are a more intimate setting where you get to see the presenter(s) work their craft and have a greater opportunity to ask questions about how to do it.

In our Workshops, you will receive hands-on instruction on how to perform a skill.  The subject of the workshops change from year to year so check back to see what this coming year’s options will be.  Registration is on a first come first serve basis so make sure you sign up as soon as the listing has been made available.

The Workshops

We will begin taking registrations for this year’s workshops on August 1.

Instructor: Matthew Penick

 Designers at Ribbons and Rivets lead participants through making their own bracer pattern that can later be transferred to foam, plastic, or leather. Participants will also learn about seam allowances, rigid crafting mediums, and adhesion methods.

Where: Hilton, room 307
Length: 2.5 hours
Max # Participants: 10
Materials Fee: $6

The kit includes:

  • Posterboard
  • Brass brads
  • Also provided, but not part of the take-home kit:
    • Scissors
    • Hole punch
    • pen
    • ruler
    • tape measure
    Friday 7:00 pm Saturday 7:00 pm
    This workshop is full.

Instructor: Ginger Rowland

Go on an adventure of synthetic wig styling. You will be walked through the process of crafting and designing your own personal wig. You will take your fully styled wig home with you.

Where: Hilton, room 306
Length: 2.5 hours
Max # Participants: 10
Materials Fee: $35

The kit includes:

  • Wig
  • Comb
  • Hairspray
  • Wigform
  • Form stand
Friday 5:30 pm Sunday 5:30 pm
This workshop is full.
This workshop is full.

Instructors: Freddy Clements & Rainer Clements

In this workshop you will have the opportunity to create and cast from a box mold so that you learn to cast your own personal props and accessories.

Where: Hilton, room 306
Length: 2.5 hrs
Max # participants: 10
Materials fee: $16

The kit includes:

  • Resin Medium
  • Foam Core
  • Plastic cups
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Hot glue
  • Pins
  • Instructions
Saturday 1:00 pm Sunday 1:00 pm
This workshop is full.
This workshop is full.

Instructor: Stephen F. Taylor

In this workshop, you will have the opportunity to learn the basics of creating chainmail while creating a flexible, colorful bracelet.

Where: Hilton, room 307
Length: 2.5 hours
Max # Participants: 10
Materials Fee: $21

The kit includes:

  • Aluminum rings: 220 in red, yellow, blue, and violet
  • EDPM (rubber) rings: 165 in orange, green, and purple
  • 2 pair pliers
  • Instructions
Friday 2:30 pm Saturday 2:30 pm
This workshop is full.
This workshop is full.

Instructor: Mera Rose

Covering the basics of thermoplastics, including L200/EVA foam, Worbla & Wonderflex, and Instamorph, this workshop teaches standard methods of working with thermoplastics to create cool accessories. 

Where: Hilton, room 306
Length: 2.5 hours
Max # Participants: 10
Materials Fee: $44

The kit includes:

  • Instructions
  • Rotary tool
  • Heat gun
  • Medical scissors
  • Heat resistant gloves
    • Worbla
    • Wonderflex
    • Instamorph
    • L200/EVA foamThermoplastic samples
Friday 1:00 pm Saturday 5:30 pm
This workshop is full.
This workshop is full.

Instructors: Travis Scott Merrill

In this workshop, you will learn the basics of lifecasting using Alji-Safe and Dragon Skin (Smooth-On) to cast a silicone finger.

Where: Hilton, room 307
Length: 1.5 hrs
Max # participants: 10
Materials fee: $10 (instructor will donate 100% of proceeds to this year's Dragon Con charity: Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Atlanta)

The kit includes:

  • Alji-Safe
  • Smooth On Dragon Skin

Choose Your Session:

Sunday 2:30 pm
This workshop is full.

Your Instructors

Freddy Clements is a Professor of Drama and Faculty Costume Designer at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. Clements has taught courses in costume design, costume construction, stage make-up, and advanced stage make-up. He has been instrumental in the mentorship of many young designers as they continue along the path to professional careers. He has also designed costumes for various theaters, including Wayside Theatre in Middletown, VA; CPCC in Charlotte, NC; Converse College Department of Music in Spartanburg, SC; Barter Theatre in Abington, VA; and Theatre In The Square in Marietta, GA.

Rainer Clements is an IT Support Specialist at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. He has been involved with Dragon*con since 2010. He has helped with the technical aspects of computer presentations as well as audio visual set up for costuming workshops and presentations such as Pattern Drafting and Tailoring Authentic Scottish Kilts.

Since 2011, Rainer has worked on period costumes for various theatrical productions as well as King and Queen costumes for The Mystic Krewe of Apollo – Birmingham’s Annual Ball Masque. Currently Rainer is researching and exploring early forms of “Nalbinding” historically used before the appearance of knitting. He is also exploring the process of creating “Armenian Needle Lace” known around the world for its beauty and humble beginning.

Travis Scott Merrill has worked professionally for over 20 years in theater, television, and film. He specializes in aging, dying, and distressing specialty costumes and props construction. He is currently working as an ager/dyer in IATSE local 479. His work can be seen in Macgyver seasons 1-4, AllegiantStranger ThingsGuardians of the Galaxy 2Live by Night, and Avengers Infinity War.

Matthew Scott Penick is the owner of the theatrical design company Ribbons and Rivets, founded in 2009. A self-taught leatherworker, he made his first suit of armor in college out of scraps and remnants from the local Tandy. Upon wearing that suit of armor to the local Renaissance Festival, four words changed his life forever: "Do you take commissions?" Although it was created primarily as a leather-working business, Ribbons and Rivets has since incorporated a variety of materials from pliable foam to rigid steel to bring all sorts of designs and characters to life. 

During her two decades in the entertainment and Con industry as a professional costumer and production designer, Mera Rose of Prop House 42 Productions has served as a leader and champion for inclusion and diversity. Combining her passions, legal experience, and 25 years as a civil rights advocate, Mera worked tirelessly in the International Costumers' Guild as Vice President (and then President) to ensure fairness and equity in costume contests. Returning to Dragon Con from her small family farm in Virginia, this variant with multidimensional skills will offer her wisdom and experience in adaptive costuming and thermoplastics.

Ginger Rowland is a master hairstylist from Atlanta Georgia. Ginger has a passion for avant-garde hair styling, she is also an expert with hair extensions and wig styling. Ginger has worked with countless photographers and models from around the world. She has been a styling educator for over a decade and had also been awarded best stylist in Atlanta as well been nominated for best stylist in North America by the North American hairdressing association.

John Brown Photography

Stephen F. Taylor (aka The Tattooed Santa) is the father of 12 children. He and his wife had 3 of their own and adopted 9 from foster care. As his children were growing their desires for better, more realistic costumes grew and Stephen took their promptings to expand his skills until he started making armor. He enjoyed making armor and as others saw his work they asked him to make more. As his skill set grew, Stephen started teaching armor crafting classes at Tandy Leather and taught some of the armor crafting workshops for the Costuming Track. He can be found on FB and Instagram as #TattoeodSanta .

Got questions? Here are the ones we hear most frequently:

2016 was our first year offering intimate, hands on workshops with materials that the attendee can take home. Each year, we receive more emails asking for hands on training workshops than any other panel or event requests. The idea is to give each participant a packet of materials in which they can use to follow along, step-by-step, with an instructor as they demonstrate a complete building process.
This is not a short answer. To properly present a beneficial workshop, presenting educators must charge for the materials (see also "Why the fee?".) It is Dragon Con's general policy that no one on a track level, either the director, volunteers, or presenters, are permitted to profit from any event presented on behalf of a track. We have always had the freedom to raise funds for Dragon Con's official charity; but we, otherwise, have not been allowed to exchange money for goods or services in any way. Meanwhile, we were receiving multiple emails annually asking us to do hands-on workshops. -many said they would even be willing to pay for it. So we began asking folks if they would do a workshop if it meant reimbursing presenters for the cost of materials. The positive responses were overwhelming. So, in 2011 we began negotiations with Dragon Con to allow us to collect from each workshop attendee only the amount of money needed to cover the cost of materials for the workshop. Seeing that there was a demand, Dragon Con first decided to manage the money pieces directly and take costuming workshops from the track-level to their regular workshops division in which the intent is to provide attendees a chance to receive instruction from a celebrity. The advantage would be that folks can pay in advance through the official Dragon Con store. Then there came the issue of logistics. Dragon Con realized that they would have to dedicate paid resources, both in credit card fees and human operators, to handling payments for something that is only reimbursement of materials. Suddenly we had a dilemma: should Dragon Con manage the money exchanges at a loss, or allow the track to manage the reimbursement process at cost. Fortunately, a solution was reached: participants are to reimburse the presenter directly on the presenter's terms. Costuming Track monitors the reimbursements to make sure everything is handled fairly for both the participant and presenter while not physically touching the money directly. When all agreed to this compromise, we moved forward with making hands-on workshops a reality in 2016.
The cost of materials vary depending on the objective of the workshop. Please see the description of each workshop for the materials cost.
Materials cost money. 99.9% of Costuming Tracks guests and professionals are at Dragon Con on their own dime. Your expert instructors are generously donating their time to share their expertise with you without any financial benefit. $15-$30 worth of supplies for 15-20 people adds up. -especially when a presenter does more than one session of the same workshop. We will not ask our presenters or volunteers to eat that cost. We ask only that each workshop participant reimburse the presenter for the materials - at cost: often for less than you can buy them yourself because the presenter purchases in bulk and passes that savings on to you. Hands-on instruction is in huge demand and with the cost of instructor time removed we know these workshop costs are a steal. We do on occasions offer a hands-on experience in which there is no materials reimbursement fee. This is typical available when a sponsor donates the materials. If we are able to offer such a workshop this year you will find it listed in our workshop offerings.
Payment to register for workshops is taken through PayPal. Each class will have a PayPal Add to Cart button below the workshop description. Payments are due at the time of registration.
Workshops are hands-on. Each presenter sets attendee limitations based on how many people they can directly assist with their projects. Its a quality over quantity thing.
Dragon Con has many things to offer ranging from fan tracks (Costuming being one of them) and table top games to concerts and celebrity workshops. Dragon Cons workshops are typically for a rate negotiated between the celebrities agent and the con office. Their workshop is essentially a provided service for which they are able to accept advance payment via the Dragon Con store along with their membership badges and other collectible merchandise. Our workshops are simple hands on DIY in which you pay only to reimburse the instructor for materials - nothing else. Our workshops are not related to Dragon Cons official workshops whatsoever and, therefore, they do not allocate resources toward the peaceful exchange of materials for reimbursement. It is also why you will not find Costuming Track workshops on the Dragon Con workshop schedule.
No. We tried this in the past. It didn't work out. If participants don't reimburse the instructor for materials, the instructor gets stuck with excess supplies and will not want to help us out with a workshop next year. Besides, they can only provide their attention to X number of participants and we don't want that quality time to be disturbed by onlookers.
Last minute entries at the Con (with exact change in cash) will be accepted if there are spaces available. We do predict, however, that all spaces will be gone by then so pre-register early and pay for your kit so you won't miss out.
You will receive a payment confirmation through PayPal. A Costuming Track Workshops volunteer will be reaching out to you via email confirming the workshop(s) you have registered for. Then it is just a matter of showing up for the workshop during Dragon Con.
Sorry, no. We don't want the instructor to be stuck with excess tools and supplies they may not be able to use. But do not despair: each kit comes with detailed instructions and the instructors contact information so that you may complete the project at home. If you are unable to attend the workshop, please make arrangements with the Workshops Coordinator to pick up your workshop kit by emailing
We know how the crowds can sometimes make it difficult to get from point A to point B during the standard 30 break between events. We will hold your seat for up to an additional 30 minutes giving you a full hour to arrive. If you are more than 30 minutes late the instructor may opt to do one of three things: 1) continue to hold your seat for you 2) seek reimbursement from a potential participant and refund you (see previous question for more) 3) close the doors to avoid being disrupted and make arrangements to have your kit delivered to you Instructors generally tend to do either 1 or 2 but we are required to mention 3 since it is a possibility.
You may email our workshops team at:  We would love to hear from you.