Making scale mail isn’t inexpensive or easy. Anhyra Cosplay has a video that will help with the first issue. Instead of using metal scales for the tabard for her Grey Warden costume (from Dragon Age), she decided to use leatherette. It’s still going to be time consuming because you have to make a pattern, trace the scales onto leather, cut them out, sew them to a base, and then paint them. By using two shades of silver paint and some black paint on the leather scales, Anhyra gives them a 3D metallic look. It looks like a painstaking process but also a satisfying one. I recommend watching the video tutorial to observe the painting techniques.