Traveling Twi'lek

Random tips for traveling with a Twi'lek costume: 

Don't forget the lekku! -They're a little bit important to the look.

Body Paint -Carrying multiple small bottles is better than carrying one large bottle. That way if there is a spill, you won't lose everything. 

Body Painting in a Hotel Bathroom - First, keep in mind that hotel bathrooms are often small and have limited counter space. Organize well before you go, and you won't have to panic when you get there. If you are going to use a compressor or fan, make sure the outlets in the bathroom work as soon as you get there. If they don't work, ask for another room before you get settled in. You don't want to discover on the morning of your Twi'lek debut that you have no electricity!

Take a painter's tarp with you. They're thin plastic, very large, and cheap. You can get a package of tarps for a few dollars in the paint area of places like Home Depot or Walmart. Before you begin painting, spread the tarp over your whole work area: the counter, the floor, everywhere that paint might drip or spill. If you're airbrushing, then cover EVERYTHING with the tarp... even the toilet and tub! (Or close the tub curtain.) Airbrushes create a cloud of paint in the air that will settle on every surface. Covering everything makes cleanup a breeze; you just crumple up the tarp when you're done and stuff it in the trash, or into a bag for reuse later.

Box Fan - If you're planning to airbrush, take a small box fan that has been covered on one side with the filter screen from an air conditioner. You can get the screens cheaply, and they're easy to cut with an old pair of scissors. Most have a thin metal mesh to help hold their shape, so be careful you don't scratch yourself on that. Tape the filter over one side of the fan, and keep the fan running while you're airbrushing. It will catch the airborne paint mist and keep you from breathing it. It also keeps the paint mist from setting off your hotel room's fire alarm. The breeze from the fan can also help paint dry faster, or blow fumes from alcohol based paints away from your face.

Once you're at a convention, it's very hard to get more body paint if you encounter any paint disasters. To protect myself from running out at a really bad time, I always make big batches of paint. Since many brands of paint are cheaper per ounce in the larger sized bottles, I always order enough paint for three or four events at a time. Even though it's initially more expensive to buy a lot at once, I know that I'm saving in the long run with lower prices and fewer shipping charges. I mix up the colors (I always make my own color blends), and then pour the paint into multiple small bottles. That way if one bottle spills, I still have the others as backup. I always take twice as many bottles as I will need, just to be absolutely sure that I won't run out.

- When sponging liquid paint, never apply it directly out of the bottle. Instead, pour the amount needed into a shallow tray and then put the lid back on the paint bottle before sponging. You'll avoid spilling the whole bottle, and reduce evaporation while you work.

- Since many airbrushes come with glass or thin plastic bottles, I've learned (the hard way) to always take an extra airbrush bottle or two. They don't bounce well on tile floors when you accidentally knock a bottle off the counter with the airbrush hose.

- When traveling, always pack your liquids in a small ziplock bag, and then pack that bag inside a larger heavy-duty (gallon) sized bag. Pack body paint, paint sealers, and removers in separate bags so they won't contaminate each other if something leaks. I've found that multiple bags tend to protect the bottles from overzealous baggage handlers in the airport... and if there is a spill or leak, the doubled bags will protect everything else in your luggage. It also makes it possible to recover most of the spilled paint if one of your bottles develops a bad leak. Whew!

- Create a "Cleanup Kit" to take with you to the hotel. When everything is together, you don't have to worry about forgetting anything at home... and when you hop in the shower to take off the paint, you'll have everything on hand and ready to use. In a quart ziplock bag, pack an old washcloth that you won't mind getting paint stained. Pack a bar of soap in that bag, too, since we know what a pain it is to use those dinky little hotel soaps when you have a big cleanup job. This bag is for cleaning you. In another bag, pack a second washcloth that you're willing to sacrifice, along with a small travel bottle of dish soap. This one is for cleaning the shower/tub if you leave a colorful soap ring. I've found that dish soap works really well for cutting the grease of makeup removers on the occasions when they leave a colorful ring in the tub. In another bag, you'll need your makeup remover, whatever that might be. Pack these bags in a gallon ziplock, and it will be ready when it's time for you to be human colored again. When you're finished removing the paint, just put the washcloths and everything else back in the bags, and then you'll be able to take them home for cleaning without staining anything else in your luggage. Also, take your own sacrificial towel for drying off that day. Even when you're 100% sure that you've gotten off all of the paint, there WILL still be paint smudges you missed. Most hotels use white towels, and it's not nice to get body paint all over them.

- When you get home, it's better to hand wash the paint-removal washcloths in the sink, rather than tossing them in the washer with the rest of your laundry. Use dish soap to cut the oil in them. The residue from many of the paint removers can mess up a whole load of laundry, or leave a nasty ring in your washer. Better to be safe than sorry!

- Body paint can make a mess if you're not careful with it. Please don't leave that mess for hotel housekeeping to deal with. The housekeeping staff is generally overworked and underpaid as it is, and they shouldn't have to clean up a massive red or blue mess in the bathroom when you're gone. Please consider leaving them a generous tip for the extra work they might have to do in your room. Imagine how much harder their job is while a convention is in town! They're not allowed to take any money that is just left out, but leaving a few dollars in an envelope or with a thank-you note that is addressed to them is always appreciated.