The first versions of the inkling outfits were missing something dreadfully important: pockets. But also ink tanks! Luckily, if done right, both problems could be solved at the same time. The theory was simple: find an appropriately sized cylindrical container, glue a bunch of things to it, and put it on backpack straps. In this case, my usual craft stores failed me but The Container Store had just what I was looking for. I built up the bottom of the tanks first, starting with various thicknesses of EVA foam, then coating in plasti-dip (after masking the rest of the canister).
For a while I anguished over exactly how to retain the original lid’s function while staying as true as I could to the design. I eventually realized there was no reason to keep the old lid – I didn’t need the tanks to be hermetically sealed, just keep their lids on so nobody’s wallet or 3DS fell out. I constructed entirely new lids with EVA foam, Barge glue, and a few bits and bobs from the plumbing aisle at the hardware store. The whole lid has piece of threaded brass pipe through it, keeping everything aligned and allowing the wearer to remove or attach the lid without much stress on the glue.
Next up: plasti-dip, primer and paint for all! Nothing fancy, just a couple of colors of acrylic, watered down slightly to reduce the appearance of brush strokes. Once the paint (and the glossy clear coat) dried, I popped the lenses out of a pair of “Lennon” glasses from a party store and super glued them to the tops of the lids for the red light. I’d been hoping for bike reflectors but couldn’t find the right size in time.
The tanks looked great, but I still needed to get them on the inklinks’ backs. I sewed some tubes from appropriate fabrics and stretched them over strips of EVA foam and added buckles. These straps were attached to a back piece made of several more layers of foam. I initially used epoxy to attach the two, but the stiff adhesive couldn’t hold on to the flexible foam and fabric, so I re-glued them with hot glue. The tank attached to the straps by locking in to a cell phone belt clip, the base of which was epoxied to the foam back plate.
To add the white lines to the tanks, I cut self-adhesive vinyl into the desired shape, removed the backing paper, and transferred it to the tank itself. The red triangle was cut from electrical tape so I could remove and replace it at different ink levels over time.
The ink itself? Thin orange cardboard cut to fit. This allowed use of the inside of the tank for storage. After all, if you’re going to a convention, you need to get Street Passes!