Leliana’s Bow – my first prop!

Now that I have started playing Dragon Age Inquisition, I know that Leliana occupies her time behind the scenes with secrets and agents. She does get to join a few missions and I recently played through “In Hushed Whispers” quest which Bioware featured last summer in game-play demos.

Even if her bow is used infrequently in Inquisition, it was the right prop to make for PAX.  I am sorry that I do not have more work-in-progress photos. It is something I will work on this year. 

I bought this wooden bow on Amazon for about $12 (it is now $18). It is designed for a kid, but it works well for smallish adults like me. I saw a few other archer cosplayers using these bow and arrow set.


Leliana’s bow is broader and longer than the raw wood prop.


I cut a series of EVA foam pieces (floor mat thickness) to fit around the bow shaft, approximating the shape of her bow. I also extended the length of the bow with EVA foam. A newly sharp Xact-o knife cuts through this foam very well, and ensures the edges are smoother. I started with a very dull knife and it resulted in jagged edges that required additional sanding.


After super-gluing these pieces together I used a Dremel rotary tool to sand and round the edges.  (Not pictured: piles of very fine foam dust. Please wear safety goggles, face mask, and lay down a sheet when you are sanding or carving EVA foam.)


I applied layers of gesso to seal the foam for painting, then my husband stepped in to help me finish in time for PAX and painted the bow in the appropriate brow brown and white colors. The last coat we added was spray Mod Podge to seal everything.

I have to be careful to not pull too hard on the string because the EVA foam ends of the bow bend and the paint/mod podge will likely crack.

Photo credit – J. Krolak Photogaphy, PAX Prime 2014

Three arrows came with the bow and they required a bit of sprucing to feel part of the costume. The feather fletching was kinda sad looking and too far down the shaft, so we glued extra feathers to make them appear fuller. I painted the black rubber tips with silver paint. The arrows are too short for me and I can’t pull the string back to the corner of my mouth without causing the front of the arrow to fall off the bow- remember they were meant for a kid. For better poses, I would like to make a longer arrow for the action shots. These three short arrows can just hang out in my quiver.

Photo credit - J. Krolak Photography, PAX Prime 2014
Photo credit – J. Krolak Photography, PAX Prime 2014

The quiver was made from a scrap of leather I picked up from Etsy. Although shown with a bow, Leliana doesn’t have an illustrated quiver. Her gloves are shown with gold trim, so I painted the edge of the quiver with gold paint to mimic that decorative motif.

I used a strip of faux leather (same material as the gloves and chest armor) to wear the quiver. It would slip around a bit while I walked around and I almost hit a few people in the face with the arrow feathers. If I have time before PAX 2015, I’d like the quiver to sit more vertically on my back.

I think it might look better on my cat. 🙂


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