Working with FlameRed Art

Elemental Photography and Design used Worbla’s Flame Red Art to create a mask and pipe from the film Kubo and the Two Strings. She talks about FlameRed and how it compares to other Worbla Products below.

Elemental-9660

FlameRed Art: What You Need To Know

Worbla’s FlameRed Art, the newest product from the Worbla Line, was recently released. Plenty of cosplayers were asking two questions:

One: How is it different?
Two: Why would I use it?

Elemental-9659
I recently used a sample of FlameRed to create two projects – a single layer shaped mask over a clay form, and a sculpted pipe. Both based from the Sisters of Kubo and the Two Strings.

Kuuuuuubooooo. The Sisters were too creepy not to love!
Kuuuuuubooooo. The Sisters were too creepy not to love!

Question One: How is Red Art different?
Aside from the obvious (It has a flame retardant built into the plastic as a safety feature), Red Art does have some noticeable differences. If I were to summarize? It’s the best of both Finest Art and Black Art in one product.

Surface:
The surface is very close in smoothness to Black Art. Black Art has a fine texture when stretched that is almost like a glass emery board. Red art when stretched is closer to leather: still with more noticeable ‘bumps’ but far less than Finest Art would have.

FlameRed shaped over a clay form
FlameRed shaped over a clay form

FlameRed and Black Art painted to show their unprimed texture.
FlameRed and Black Art painted to show their unprimed texture.

Stretch:
Red Art stretches and takes curves better and farther than Black and Finest art by a significant degree. You can do fine details and extreme curves without tearing the material, and it’s less brittle than Black Art can be.

From Cast4Art, a stretch test showing Mesh Art, Finest Art, Red Art, and Black Art.

Glue:
Red Art is pretty much the same as Finest Art as far as adhesive properties. Make sure both pieces are heated up and press them together, and they will adhere. Seams can be blended well.

Sculpting and handling:
Seams can be blended, but it can take more work to do so compared to Black Art. The surface takes fine detail very well without tearing.
Red Art heats up faster than Black Art and stays warm a little longer than Finest Art but isn’t too ‘hot to touch’ the way Black Art can be at times.

Painted with regular acrylics and gold leaf, this pipe is entirely FlameRed and very solid!
Painted with regular acrylics and gold leaf, this pipe is entirely FlameRed and very solid!

Paint:
The one major thing I hadn’t considered with Red Art vs Black Art came when I was painting it. Red Art can be painted without priming – in theory. But if you try to paint it without any priming, the red color is probably going to come through a lot and require more coats of paint to cover. You should probably plan to at least paint prime your pieces with a neutral color before applying your actual paint. Worbla’s Black Art works without, in this case, because the black acts as a nice base in itself.

The Red Art needed 3 coats of acrylic paint to cover the red, and I think still needs a forth. The Black has only 2 coats.
The Red Art needed 3 coats of acrylic paint to cover the red, and I think still needs a forth. The Black has only 2 coats.

The white mask required 3 coats of white spray paint as a base to cover the red completely.
The white mask required 3 coats of white spray paint as a base to cover the red completely.

Why Would I Use It?

Click to Enlarge in a new window. Full disclosure: I have never made a flow chart like this before....
Click to Enlarge in a new window.
Full disclosure: I have never made a flow chart like this before….

I love FlameRed and think it hits that sweet spot between the best parts of Finest and Black Art respectively. That said? I won’t be using it for anything that doesn’t need to meet certain specifications, because the price difference is just too high for me (understandable considering the extra material and work that has to go into the manufacture of it!)

Many cosplayers have asked “Well, why would I use it?’ and the answer is: you probably won’t. FlameRed wasn’t made for cosplayers. We’re totally welcome to it – and I bet there will be folks who do great things with it! Think of it instead as being like an industrial model of Worbla. For example: most of us don’t sew, or cook, with industrial tools and never will need to – but those who do need those tools save time and effort using them instead of the commercial models. Everybody wins!

Tags: