First up, my new Anna Maria belt, made by the awesome Captain McCool. You can check out his Etsy store at www.etsy.com/shop/CastawayTradingCo. McCool previously made my sun belt that was featured in an earlier post. For the Anna Maria belt, he used leather he acquired from overstock used to make leather goods for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The belt is a dark tan color and is 2 1/4″ wide. It doesn’t actually fit the Anna Maria buckle (which is made for a 3″ wide belt), but that is how Captain Jack wore his, too, as can be seen in the photo above. For “On Stranger Tides” the buckle was actually modified to fit the belt, but the look I’m going for is “Dead Man’s Chest”/”At World’s End”, so here the belt and buckle are appropriate.
The belt also has a brown smudge on its tip and a patch in the back where the belt has been split. It’s possible that the original belt didn’t fit Johnny Depp quite right and the patch was added to make the belt a bit longer, but it may have also just been for looks. Either way, it’s one of those small touches that adds to the overall look of the costume.
The patch is meant to be from a separate piece of leather so it has no stitching, and for my belt Captain McCool made it a bit darker than the rest of the belt so that it really looks thrown together.
One thing I did after the fact was switch out the leather lacing that was used to hold the patch in place because I felt the original lacing was a bit too light in color. Of course the lacing I used is too dark, but it’s what I had lying around, so I may end up changing it out again later on.
The belt turned out great and I am absolutely pleased. Captain McCool is a great guy who does some awesome work, and I look forward to doing more business with him in the future. I highly recommend checking out his Etsy store, The Castaway Trading Co., because he offers up some fantastic nautically themed items over there.
Several months ago I acquired a chicken foot to dangle from my Anna Maria buckle (as can be seen in one of the photos above and also in a previous post), and fairly recently I got hold of the other trinkets that Jack has dangling from his belts. It’s these little touches that really make the costume come to life, and I’ll have plenty of photos of them in my next post (don’t worry, it’ll be up very soon, I promise). I’ll also be discussing some distressing techniques you can use to give your leather goods a great weathered look. But for now I want to show off one more awesome item that my pal Captain McCool sent my way: Jack’s leather palm glove.
On his right hand Jack wears a leather palm glove that loops around his two middle fingers and thumb and then ties around his wrist. It’s a neat little piece that allows Jack to keep a a good grip on his sword during those sweat inducing sword fights under the hot Caribbean sun. I was thrilled when my Anna Maria belt arrived to find a terrific bonus item thrown in, Captain McCool had made me a brilliant leather palm glove to go with my outfit!
McCool and I had gotten to know each other a bit, first on the message boards and then on facebook, after I ordered my sun belt from him, and when I ordered the Anna Maria belt in June he was going through a move and had quite a few things going on. He told me it would be a while before he could get to the belt, but I assured him I was in no hurry. I, too, had a custom order to make a spooky cemetery sign that I couldn’t get to right away because I had recently broken my shoulder, so I completely understood. Finally in late September things settled down a bit for both of us; I was able to complete the sign I needed to make, and McCool was able to put the finishing touches on the belt. To make up for the longer-than-expected time it had taken us to complete these projects I threw in a couple of vampire stake keychains (I’ll explain shortly) and McCool tossed in the palm glove.
Part of what I love about the Jack Sparrow costuming community is that its members are always quick to help each other out. I see guys trading spare items with each other all the time on the message boards, posting tutorials about items they’ve made, and letting everyone know where they can get the best products. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll definitely want to check out the forums at Keep to the Code and The Brethren Court. Also be sure to check out Jack Sparrow Costuming, a fantastic wiki meant to help point people in the right direction as they work to put their Jack Sparrow costumes together. Whether you are setting out to throw together a quick, inexpensive version of the gear, or you’re going for 100% screen accuracy you can get some excellent tips by visiting these sites, and probably make a few new friends along the way.
My own Jack Sparrow costuming adventure certainly would have been much more arduous without the terrific info I’ve acquired from these sites. It was on these message boards that I met and became friends with Captain McCool and many other great Jack Sparrow costuming enthusiasts. I hope to eventually meet and maybe sit down and have a beer (or rum, rum’s good) with some of thesm. No doubt we’ll all have plenty of great tales to tell.
But I digress. The palm glove McCool sent me is great, and I’ve since sent a couple of pirate keychains and a snake vertebrae for his Captain Jack costume his way as a way of saying thanks and to return the favor. One of my favorite things about the glove is that it has leather straps for you to wrap around your wrist to tie it on. Some palm gloves I’ve seen have a sort of “cuff” that is laced together with a bit of string, but Jack’s glove in the movie clearly has leather ties as can be seen in the photo below.
Since Jack’s wrist wrap goes over the palm glove it really isn’t a big deal how it ties on, I just like the little detail of having the straps dangle down from the wrist. The palm glove used in “On Stranger Tides” may be different (I’ve noticed that the thumb strap is different), but for the “Dead Man’s Chest” look the straps are perfect. I had to make a few minor adjustments to the glove to get the fit just right, but it’s yet another item I can now check off my list.
So earlier I mentioned a custom ordered sign and some keychains I made. Well, it just so happens I’ve been selling some handmade items on eBay for a couple years now and several months ago I started an Etsy store as well.
In 2010 I played the role of Dr. Van Helsing in a stage production of “Dracula: The Musical?” (yes, that question mark is supposed to be there; it’s a comedy), and I decided to make a couple of wooden stakes as part of the costume. I got a little carried away with designs, and by the time the show opened I had made 8 stakes, even though my costume had a holster to hold 3 and the script only referenced a stake once. Before each performance I would have a different cast member pick which stakes I would use that night on stage. My costume also included a lot of little glass vials hanging around my neck and on my belt full of all sorts of oddities, and I had a little story for each one. (Yep, my approach to acting isn’t too dissimilar to the way Johnny Depp approaches his roles).
At some point I had the brilliant thought that there were probably people out there who would buy vampire stakes like the ones I had made, so I made a few more and put them up on eBay. Sure enough, they all sold. By the end of 2011 I had probably sold close to 100 of them, both ones I listed and quite a few custom orders. I had also made some mini stakes as keychains that I gave to the cast and crew, so I put a few of those on eBay and they sold really well, too. Next I made some wizard wands to see how they would do. Occasionally one sells, but they haven’t been no where near as big a hit as my wooden vampire stakes have been.
I’d contemplated making wooden mallets of some kind for a while for those vampire slayers out there who want to do in their vampires old school Van Helsing style, but hadn’t attempted to make one until last year when a customer requested one. That gave me an idea, so pretty soon I was selling sets that include a mallet and 3 matching stakes. These have become another big hit.
As for the cemetery sign, that was another request from the same customer who bought the first mallet. It was for a Halloween display she was putting together, and I was more than happy to take on the project. I think it turned out pretty darn well.
Anyway, feel free to check out my Etsy store, www.etsy.com/shop/CaptainMcAnen, and if you find something you like you can enter Coupon Code “BECOMINGJACKSPARROW” (all one word) at checkout to receive 10% off your purchase. I also happily accept custom orders, so if you have something specific in mind let me know and I will fix you up. It is by selling these products that I have been able to afford the pieces of my Jack Sparrow outfit so far, so any purchases you make will help keep my Jack Sparrow costuming adventure going and this blog up and running. The 10% Coupon Code is a small way for me to say thank you to all of you for following my blog and making this experience so much fun. I really appreciate your support!
There’s still plenty more to come, so keep following the blog because I’ve got plenty more items to acquire before I’m done, as well as tutorials and videos making their way to the blog this year as well. And you’ll definitely want to stick around because there might just be some contests and giveaways coming up in the very near future, too.
Also, feel free to leave comments and let me know about your own costuming adventures. Until next time, “Drink up me hearties, yo-ho!!!”