Queen of the Nile

(MardiGras 2000)

Matching MardiGras Mask

Since for Halloween I have always leaned toward specific characters, usually with as much realism as possible, I decided I could use MardiGras to create costume archetypes, especially with extra the added creativity needed for making a matching masquerade mask!

In my closet I had a white with silver sparkles polyester 70s-style outfit (little did I realize I would later have a chance to wear it as originally intended!) acquired from a mysterious source that I had been saving because I knew the full-length skirt could easily be used for a sparkly toga or something, a la a Classic Star Trek Greek goddess or whatever. Since I did already have a pageboy black wig at my disposal anyway, I decided Cleopatra would be an excellent choice for the inaugural MardiGras Masquerade.

Closeup 3

Crown & Hair:

Of course this is a wig, exactly the same wig that has been worn as T'Leo, the Romulan Tal Shiar officer, and Ensign Ro Laren. The crown however was painstakingly constructed from electrical wire, Sculpey, gold leafing paint and beads. I bought electrical wire by the foot at Home Depot, then shaped it to my head shape while wearing the wig, since the wig does add extra width to my head with my own hair underneath. After the wire was shaped, the two ends were twisted together and formed into the basic cobra S-shape for the front. Sculpey was formed around the S-shape into the cobra until I was satisified with the look. I then used beads to make the impressions around the edge and for the eyes and other tools like toothpicks to add detail, taking great care to smooth the edges of the Sculpey into the wire texture, then I baked the Sculpey on the wire. Since Sculpey bakes at 250F and this small amount only required about 5-7 minutes, my wire was safe, but be careful about baking the plastic on your wire!
Once the Sculpey was baked and cool, I gilded the entire crown with gold leafing paint. Do NOT use spray sealant over the gilding, since I tried that and it turned everything pink! (My guess is that this is because the leafing paint is not water based.) After my second coat of gilding, I used matte finish Modge-Podge sealer, which worked fine. If you do not seal your leafing paint, you run the risk of the gold coming off, since it remains slightly tacky. Once the sealer was dry, I glued the beads into the eyes and impressions around the edge.


Yes, I did have fun with the makeup, since I figured MardiGras was all about glitter! ;-) This is all fairly cheap makeup. I used my normal foundation and blush, with the reddest liptick I own. About three coats of black liquid eyeliner were used for the Egyptian cat eyes, then cheap gold glitter liquid makeup found everywhere around Halloween was used for the entire eyelid area. Be sure to use makeup glitter, since that has been specially formulated to use on skin, but still be careful when removing it around the eye area. Craft glitter is too sharp, so never use craft glitter on any face. Be prepared for glitter hanging around for a few days, no matter how careful you are at removing it. :)


Obviously, the jewelry was the most time-intensive part of this costume! About half of the beads are from a kit purchased at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, with the rest of the beads purchased at craft stores and specialty bead stores. I do like the authenticity provided by the key lotus pear-shaped gold-tone dangles from the Egyptian kit, as well as the colors of blue which are also authentic. Once I figured out the basic design, it was just a matter of spending the time stringing all the beads together. (hint: do this while watching TV)
Through the Papyrus

The Cleopatra dress is just the skirt from the white sparkly outfit with a strand of gold ribbon through the waistband to make a halter dress.

Belt and Armbands:

I had leftover black synthetic leather from my Avengers catsuit, so I used that for the belt and armbands. Since I wanted the belt to remain wide while being cinched tightly around me, I reinforced the back with a couple layers of scrap vinyl. I also reinforced the middle of the front flap, since it needed the additional weight to hang properly. All the gold is topstiched with gold thread, then gold beads were added around the edges of the armbands. The bottom of the flap was decorated with the same gold beads plus more of the lotus dangles from the Egyptian kit. The belt ties together under the front flap using inset grommets.

Belt and Armbands


I luckily found these little white and gold thong sandals at a thriftstore, but I just had to add some beads to the gold swirl that was already there.

More Images...

(from the photo shoot at the
Rosicrucian Museum Gardens in San Jose)
Cleopatra Sketch
Original design sketch
Closeup 1
Close Up #1
Golden Guys
The Golden Guys
CloseUp 2
Close Up #2
Hand Pose
Hand Pose
The Sphinx
Pole Pose 1
With the Pole #1
Pole Pose 2
With the Pole #2
In Front of the Temple
Torso Pose
Leaning on the Hieroglyphics
With the Bird
Black and White 1
Black and White #1
Black and White - Smile!
Black and White - Smile!
Papyrus Black and White
Black and White Amongst the Papyrus

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