EDIT: Action shots! [link]
EDIT: I had no idea this deviation would become as popular as it has, so let me address a few frequently asked questions I didn't think would come up. No, this belt is not for sale. However, I am TOTALLY HAPPY helping you make one of your own. Advice is free. :3 The gems are made of EasyCast Castn'Clear epoxy resin with food coloring dye. More instructions below. Thanks for all the favs, guys!
I decided to cosplay Raven from Teen Titans despite being utterly too tall to play a convincing animated Raven. Thus, I am cosplaying a really weird version of Raven that combines parts of her animated costume with parts of her comic book costume. Don't judge me. Why do I always tend to fall for the short ones...?
Figuring out HOW I wanted to make the belt took longer than the actual construction, not counting the 24 hours it took for the gems to set (they're the size of my palm and quite deep). If anyone else is wondering how the heck to make a Raven belt, maybe give this method a try. It's super easy and not too expensive at all!
ANYWAY. Here's what I did:
I resin-cast the gems (using food coloring for dye) and backed them with foil using clear superglue. They're really shiny and deep; these pics didn't capture their luminosity very well but rest assured they have tons of sparkle! I coated the gems in glossy varnish to really bling them up.
For the gems' "settings" I used flat discs of wood. In each wooden disc I drilled four holes, two holes on opposite edges of the disc. Each set of holes was about a half-inch apart. I painted the discs gold using metallic paint (which I mixed with a little yellow acrylic to brighten up the hue).
I used Gorilla glue to glue the gems to the center of the discs. Gorilla glue is really tough but it expands as it dries, so be sure to weight the gems so they don't rise up off the wood. I would have used more superglue instead, but I ran out and the Gorilla was all I had in my apartment and I'm super lazy and without a car, soooo...
I attached the gems and their settings to a chain using spare jewelry links, colored gold and in a thick gauge. I spaced the gems evenly along the chain, counting 5 big links between the edge of each gem (though depending on the chain you use this count could vary a great deal).
There appear to be two chains behind the gems; really it's just one chain folded in half, but you could use two if you want (they only had one strand of the chain I wanted to use left at Michael's, sadly, which is why I had to double up and the chain doesn't reach totally around my body). I did this double-strand thing for stability so the gems wouldn't get twisted up as I wore the belt. I use a spare chain (plain gold) to secure the gem-chain-portion around me at the back. There are lobster hooks so I can adjust the fit as needed.
I felt that my cape/cloak would cover me from the back so making more gems was a bit unnecessary (and can you imaging sitting down if there were gems poking you in the back???). There are five gems total on the belt.
I have a sixth gem on a wooden setting left over for Raven's brooch (the "mold" I used was a plastic painting palette and had a total of six deep depressions). I made smaller resin gems with another mold/painter's palette for the backs of her gloves, with proportional wooden settings.
Eventually I plan to go back and put actual gold metal on top of the wood to make it really sparkle.