Crafting a Worbla Gauntlet

Tutorial by Cowbuttcrunchies Cosplay.
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I love my worbla gauntlet! It looks cool as heck, is pretty dexterous, and can be easily made with just a few materials. To get started crafting your own, you’ll want to pick up the following supplies:

  • Black worbla
  • Mesh worbla
  • A black satin glove, mid-arm length or longer
  • Heat gun
  • Scissors
  • Posterboard
  • A silicone mat
  • Heat proof gloves
  • Flexblond

“Wait, why are there two different types of worbla included here? Can’t I just use one type? Does it matter which one I use?”

Each type of worbla has its strengths. Worbla’s finest (brown worbla) is an all-around hefty material, black worbla is smooth and requires very little finishing, while mesh worbla is strong and incredibly sticky, even against other materials. Combining black worbla for its finishing and mesh worbla for its stick means that we get the best of both worlds. While you might be able to get away with using only brown worbla, I do not recommend using only black as it will not stick to your satin glove without additional adhesive.

To begin, let’s pattern! Your gauntlet will require fifteen pieces total: three pieces each for each finger, two for the thumb, and one large piece to cover the back of the hand. If mimicking my design, each of those finger pieces will be flat above your joints and extend slightly backward to a point, which is a great way to slightly cover the next piece and disguise any edges.

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You can use the above graphic as a starting point, but everyone’s hands are different, so be sure to cut several pieces out of posterboard and experiment with how they look and fit over the satin glove. When testing, your pattern piece should overlap slightly and should not be super tight around your finger, as your worbla will be a bit thicker than posterboard.
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Once your pattern pieces are cut and fitted, transfer the entire pattern to your black worbla.

Next cut out fourteen rectangular strips of mesh worbla that are a little wider than the length of each finger piece. This rectangular strip is what will be attached to your glove , which is why we will be cutting it out of sticky mesh worbla instead of black. Each ring will eventually be attached to the glove on one side and the black worbla on the other, overlapping a little bit to form a ring on each of your fingers.
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Take your heatgun and warm your first finger piece until you can bend it into shape. This should be the lowest fingerpiece that rests just above your knuckles. While wearing your glove, fit the piece around your finger and allow it to cool. Once cooled, remove it and set it aside. Eventually you will end up with the following formed black worbla pieces and mesh strips:
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Put on your glove and slide on your finger pieces on to test the fit. They should sit snuggly but with a little room to spare – remember that you’ll be adding mesh worbla strips so you do not want the black worbla to be too tight already. Make any tweaks to the point size and fit before moving on to the next step.
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Heat your mesh worbla strip to a high temperature but do not burn the worbla – you want to make sure that you have applied enough heat, otherwise it may not stick as well to your fabric. I highly suggest wearing your heat proof glove on your free hand when handling worbla this hot. Simultaneously apply your heatgun to the short, flat edge of your black worbla piece. Heat the flat edge to a mild to moderate temperature but do not heat it so much that the entire piece begins to lose its shape – we just want enough heat on the bottom so that it will bond to the mesh worbla, but not so much that we lose the shaping work we already put into it. Take your strip and wrap it completely around your finger, just above the knuckle on the satin glove, pressing firmly to the fabric. Very quickly slide your black worbla piece over your finger and press it into the still-hot mesh worbla. Hold in place until everything has completely cooled. If you see a little bit of mesh worbla poking out, don’t worry! That distinction will go away once you’ve primed and painted.
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Repeat these steps for the second and third joint as you move down your finger, this time attaching the mesh worbla strip just above your second joints. Repeat again until all of your fingers are covered.

Finally, heat up a small piece of black and mesh worbla and fuse them together, placing the black worbla over the mesh grid pattern. Trace your hand back posterboard pattern onto this double-thick piece and cut it out. Generously heat it and then press the mesh worbla side onto the back of your gloved hand.
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At this point you may also create a bracer to compliment your gauntlet! If a bracer is included in your design, tuck the edges of your satin glove up past the bracer opening, so that everything appears to be one piece.

The beauty of black worbla is that not a lot of priming is required for a smooth texture, which is nice because priming and painting a gauntlet is a tricky process. I found that it was easiest for me to put the gauntlet on and then brush on flexbond with my free hand. Two coats primed everything quite nicely. Allow to dry and then finish up with your favorite paint!
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*Photography by パラパラ Productions