How about some permanent pleats and pleather embossing with Kobracast Art? That’s exactly what Eva from evadoescosplay (TikTok, Twitter) did in this sponsored build creating the belt for her Red Mage, and the results are fantastic! She outlined just how she accomplished the effects in this video tutorial – take a look for yourself!
We’d ask if you’ve seen Hendry’s art – Hendry_DIY on Instagram and Hendry’s Art on YouTube, but at the time of writing this, you probably haven’t. He has less than 100 followers/subscribers, and that’s a shame because he’s doing some really fantastic work with Worbla’s Black Art.
If you need to do some noodle-style filligree decoration, check out his YouTube where he shares videos of his process for inspiration. And maybe consider making a frame or vase or letter decor as a gift with your Worbla scraps!
We partnered with Brian from Perler Tricks (on IG) for this amazing Samurai Darth Maul cosplay, built using both Worbla’s Black and Mesh Art. The final project looks amazing and Brian has created multiple tutorials for the process that you can use as your own building blocks for a similar build!
Step One: Using a Cricut with Worbla to Make Detailed Bracers
Step Two: Creating a Corrugated Steel Effect with Worbla
Step Three: Making a Battleflag with Linocut Prints and Mesh Art
Step Four: Dual Blade Lightsaber Build
If you’re creating a piece with a lot of details that are mirrored, it can be frustrating to make sure everything is even on both sides. Gladzy Kei needed a lot of matching designs for her armored Esmerelda design – so she’s shared her process of creating designs from pearly art, then using a simple 2-part mold putty to create molds to make duplicates. Check out the finished piece and her video process below!
Serakirah Cosplay used a simple icing tip usually used in cake decorating to create this sharp scale effect in very little time!
Carmine Warren of Shoot the Look creates amazing pieces using Worbla for his photography looks. He recently shared this tutorial on how he makes his fantastic symmetrical pieces using household materials and Worbla.
Large Molded Details with Worbla
Worbla has allowed me to create costumes for my photoshoots that I could never have imagined possible; I’ve experimented with several methods from the sandwich methods to wrapping Worbla over the edge of the foam. These methods produced remarkable costumes for my creative workshops.
I needed to find a new way to get more complex curves and textures, I tried hand shaping Worbla and this produced fair results, left and right sides weren’t really matching up well. Back to the drawing table and then I tried a mold. Making an impression of some jewelry and odds and ends around the house, I created my first mold.
In this tutorial, I will share how I create these pieces with my molds.
2mm craft foam
Female Dress Form
I started by making a silicone mold, I used cornstarch and 100% silicone. YouTube has plenty of videos on how to create the mold if you check for DIY silicone molds. I dump a box of cornstarch in a bowl and squeeze in a whole tube of silicone and mix it until firm. Use gloves and do this outside. It will smell like vinegar. (I leave the mold in my garage for a few days to get the smell out.)
Once you have a silicone base for the mold, you have to move fast. The Silicone will set in about 10-15 minutes. Get objects from around your house and workshop and then press them into the mold (Worbla.com note: if you want to find pieces like what Carmine uses, try searching for Ekena Millwork to get you started). Adding different shapes to the mold is exciting, once I have molded pieces of Worbla I am able to create designs and then connect different pieces from different molds and heating them together. Every design is a new work of art!
Using an X-Acto knife, I cut additional designs into the Worbla and adding a new dimension to my work and allowing me to have a unique design. You can also use a stencil to cut shapes into the mold.
I cut Worbla into small strips and then heat it. Once the Worbla is at the correct temperature, I roll it into a snake. Pressing the Worbla into the mold and letting it set for a bit, then removing it while it is still warm, this allows me to shape the piece and you have to be careful not to lose the shape of the design. Wooden clay molding tools can help reshape if needed. After a lot a trial and error, I was able to find a process for making the molds I like, using shapes from objects and adding additional cuts.
Once the mold is completely filled, heat it a little and when it’s started to cool down, gently remove the Worbla, remove from the largest end first and then place on a flat surface. You can also place them on a form and shape the pieces or heat them from the back slightly and shape then later.
Once you have all your pieces, assemble them. Heat a few contact points and stick them together and then you can reinforce them in the back with little balls of Worbla pressed into the cracks.
Once the piece is connected, turn it over and warm it from the back. Caution, this is a delicate process. If you over heat it, you will lose the shape. Use small burst of heat and slowly bring the temperature up just enough to shape it. You can mold it on a form for ease and then slightly heat it up to shape it to the body. I add D-Rings to the back and you can add lace, fabric, Velcro or ribbon to secure in the back.
I like the texture rough and don’t add any layer of gesso. I paint the base with spray paint and then use acrylics.
We reached out to Cowbuttcrunchies Cosplay to test the new Worbla’s Pearly Art and let us know their thoughts. They shared this review and tutorial with us and it’s a great breakdown of some of the differences of Pearly and how it handles compared to other Worbla products!
Worbla has recently added a new plastic to their lineup! Pearly Art is a smooth, light-colored plastic that claims great smoothness and stretchability. I was really excited to give this a try since it sounded like a smoother version of Black Worbla, but I was surprised to find that the plastic actually handles very differently. Pearly Art is available in Europe and North America at Cosplay Supplies, and will run you $91 for a Jumbo sided sheet.
Heating Pearly Art was the biggest surprise for me, and the part that it took the longest to get used to. Unlike Black Worbla or Worbla’s finest, Pearly Art does not activate with its telltale “sheen” that indicates that it’s warm enough to mold (or rather, the white color makes this very difficult to see if it does). Pearly Art also activates very quickly and at a lower temperature, which meant that more than once I was sitting there waiting for it to activate, not realizing that this had already long since happened. The other surprising bit is that Pearly Art de-activates and hardens far faster than any other Worbla line except maybe transpArt – within a minute your plastic will be back to its hardened state. If you’re an impatient person like me who likes to heat an entire strip edge or armor piece, then work the entire thing into place over the course of a few minutes, you’re going to need to re-think your plan of attack because this is simply impossible. Instead, Pearly Art forces you to work with a portion at a time – when applying a raised edge to my breastplate, I needed to re-heat it twice before reaching the end.
The method I eventually settled on was to heat the entire piece to start and then begin sandwiching my edges. After making it a little bit around the piece, I’d re-heat just the next spot, sandwich more, and continue until finished. Try not to blast the entire piece with more heat in order to avoid off-gassing from your foam.
A lower activation temperature also means that this plastic does not always require heatproof gloves when working with it.
Stickiness and Stretchability
The confusing conundrum of Pearly Art is that it doesn’t “look” sticky because of the lack of shine, but it definitely is! Once heated, I found that sandwiched edges bonded to both itself and to Worbla’s Finest just fine, with about the same amount of stick as Black Art. This plastic does not have the same bananas level of stick as Mesh Art or even highly heated Worbla’s Finest – I was able to separate two pieces of heated Pearly Art without warping. However this trick only works if your pieces have not been pressed into each other; once bonded you will not be able to separate your plastic without ripping. I quite enjoyed how sticky Pearly Art becomes with a much smaller amount of heat when compared to the other worbla lines. While the stick itself is not anything to call home about, it does not require that the plastic be as hot, which means it’s easier to attach things and to avoid air bubbles from off-gassing foam.
Personally I did not find Pearly Art to be particularly stretchier than Black Art – however take that with a grain of salt as other folks have had great success with the stretchiness. One of the first things I did was rip right through my Pearly Art top layer, while reinforcing my heated sandwich edges with a clay tool – something that has not ever happened to me with Black Worbla. So be mindful when working with this plastic when its activated: the tearability and stretchability seems to vary wildly depending on how hot it is, which could explain the mixed results.
Smoothness and Detail Work
This is where Pearly Art really shines – the final texture is even smoother than Black Art. This means that your pieces will require less priming, especially when little warping or stretching needs to be done. For pieces that are ‘overworked’ by either folding the plastic into itself, stretching, or sculpting to create 3D objects, you will notice that – like Black Worbla – the plastic does tend to texturize and will require more priming than usual. Below are the basic breastplate componants I made in the following detailing tutorial, with unprimed Pearly Art and Finest Art pieces:
And below is the detailed breastplate after one layer of paint primer. underneath the paint I used two layers of flexbond over the Pearly Art portions, and three layers of flexbond over the curved Finest Art portions, which still has a rougher texture:
Pearly Art is also excellent for detail work such as 3d sculping, and noticably better for this sort of detail than even Black Art. Black Art is great for sculping as it can be molded but retains a firm hand so your item does not collapse. However details look better with Pearl Art in part because of the texture, but also because that moldable phase begins at a far lower temperature than it does with Black Worbla. This means that it’s not only easier to heat and mold your pieces, but you can even use your bare hands if you’re so inclined. Pearly Art also does not have the tendency to stick to everything once it’s in this phase, which helps with cutting and small detail movement:
Pearly Art also takes the cake when using a silicone mold to shape your plastic. I’ve tried molding black art before and I don’t really like it – like all worbla it takes on a rough texture once overworked into the clay-like phase, so any details get overshadowed by this rough texture. It’s also not great at picking up detail because of that grain. Pearly Art avoids both of these unless you have severely overworked your plastic.
This is great if you need to make many repetitive items like in my walkthrough below, so read on for detailed instructions!
Pearly Art Tutorial: Creating Molded Needles
For a sewing-themed breastplate, I decided to add several identical needles on top of my armor. Rather than mold each of these by hand (time consuming) or use resin (difficult to get the right curve and also time consuming), I tried instead molding my Pearly Art, using a silicone mold of that needle shape. This worked far, far better than my attempts with Black Art, and while it did not capture quite as much smoothness as one would if working with Deco Art, the final needle turned out to be sturdier and could be later touched up and bent into shape, unlike Deco Art which can warp under re-added heat.
Worbla Pearly Art
Silicone or metal mold
An important component for this is your mold, which can be either something you cast yourself, or a pre-purchased silicone mold that you can find in craft baking stores. In this case we had already made a mold of a needle-shaped button out of Smooth-On’s Moldstar silicone. When choosing your mold, be sure that this is composed of silicone or metal, NOT plastic. While Pearly Art does not have the wildly sticky properties of Mesh Worbla, you still run the risk of accidentally bonding your Pearly Art to the mold’s plastic if you press too hard or heat it too much.
1) Begin by heating up a piece of Pearly Art or plastic scraps until you can mush them together into a plastic ball. Remember that Pearly Art reaches that floppy, moldable stage very quickly and will not gain a glossy seen. Try not to over-heat the plastic in order to keep the texture minimal.
2) Stretch the plastic into the approximate shape of your mold – Pearly Art loses heat amazingly quickly and so you really only have a max of maybe 20 seconds to sculpt.
3) Squish the Pearly Art down into the mold, pressing pretty firmly until everything’s flat on top. Allow to cool for a few seconds, then pull it out.
4) It’d be pretty difficult to pull a perfect mold since you’re basically shoving the plastic in with your thumb – even with resin you’re often left with a little bit of excess from where the material overflowed from the mold itself. If you have a lot of this overflow, you can trim it off with scissors. Properly estimating how much plastic you need in your mold helps a lot, as does trimming off large amounts of excess with scissors. However for a small amount of spillover, re-heat the needle with just a small amount of heat from your heatgun until it is soft enough to press but not so floppy that it completely loses its shape. Using your finger, pat down any excess down until the edges are smooth.
5) Set aside and allow to fully harden.
If you don’t like how your cast turned out, just re-heat your plastic and mold it again! Pearly Art is completely recyclable and may be re-heated over and over again.
6) Heat the underside of your finished needles slightly, and heat the area of your armor. Remember, only a small amount of heat is required! Position your needle and press down firmly to bond.
Prime your armor and paint as desired!
Thanks again to Cowbuttcrunchies Cosplay for this excellent writeup and tutorial!
Erza Cosplay shows how she moulds with air dry clay and Worbla’s Pearly Art to create detailed armor pieces.
Termina Cosplay shared this fantastic tutorial on how to give your Worbla intense filigree detail without hours of sculpting work!
You can make very tiny, very intricate details in Worbla or other thermoplastics easily by making and using a Super Sculpey clay mold! It’s much easier and faster than just sculpting the details into your thermoplastic itself (and you’ll probably burn yourself less).
I needed some tiny filigree type details for an armor build I was working on, and sculpting them into my TerraFlex directly was not nearly fast enough. So I thought, “Why not make a mold and smash the details in?” It worked so well I wanted to share the method!
First off you’ll need a pattern for your details. Just draw it out however you want it to be.
Then use that pattern to trace your design onto a flat piece of clay. Something fairly strong is needed, so I used Super Sculpey. Make sure your pencil lines are dark, place it face down on your clay and trace over the lines to transfer the lines to the clay.
Once you peel the paper off, you should be left with the design.
Next, just press all those lines down into the clay with a tool. Once done, bake it according to instructions, and let it cool completely when it’s done.
Next, Take some scraps of whatever thermoplastic you’re using, heat them up, and flatten them out.
Also, coat your new Super Sculpey mold with a bit of petroleum jelly to prevent it from sticking.
While the thermoplastic you’re using is still warm and moldable, smash it into your mold! Mask sure you smash hard enough to get all the details. When you pop it off, you should have a perfect copy!
Now all you have to do is trim the edges!
Now you have tiny intricate details and it hardly took any effort at all!
Elemental Photography and Design shared this quick tutorial on how she created simple fabric stamps from Worbla and 6mm Foam.
The plan is to create this costume using only fabric from my stash, but I don’t have something with these pronnounced circle spirals… painting that many would be time consuming by hand and I have a tight deadline so: 6mm foam pictured left, 2 circles cut out and glued together. On the right, one circle and one spiral cut by hand and then gently sanded by hand, glued together.
The foam shapes are covered with Worbla’s Finest Art. WFA has better stretch which was important for the spiral (and they were what scraps I had handy). For the spiral, I heated the Worbla and then pressed around the raised foam working from the inside out. This is important to let the Worbla stretch without tearing, though you can see it’s quite thin at the lowest points.
I wrapped the Worbla around the back and made simple handles.
I used normal acrylic paint for this. Top, I applied the paint with a roller used for lino-printing, which gave a very fingerprint effect.
Bottom, the paint was spread out on a flat plastic palette and the stamp was dipped in the paint.
The results aren’t perfectly opaque or even, its a bit rustic or grunge, but for a mad hatter costume the effect will work well.
Top left: Attempting to apply paint to the stamp with a paintbrush. Not suggested.
The rest: All dipped into paint spread in a thin layer on wax paper.
Tip: Make sure your paint isn’t too thick on the surface of the stamp, or it will create a ‘ring; around the edge of thicker paint lines (shown top)
I usually work the paint onto my stamp, then dab off the excess onto paper before applying to fabric.
You don’t have to use Worbla for this – you could probably use just foam if you only needed to do it once or twice, but i wanted something that would be easy to apply pressure to evenly/lift up without making a mess and also be durable enough for 40+ uses.
Tutorial by Cowbuttcrunchies Cosplay
For Tsukki’s Legend of Karasuno cosplay, I decided to go with a heavy crow motif, and what better way to do that than covering myself in feather armor? I ended up crafting close to 100 in total between the shield, gauntlet, and pauldrons, using a few different tweaks for different armor pieces. However all of my feathers were made in one of two ways: either by sandwiching worbla around foam for a very thick, large feather, or by stacking two pieces of worbla for a thinner but very sturdy feather that is thick enough to etch deep details into. Read on for these two methods!
These feathers are rather thick, and made from two pieces of worbla sandwiched around a piece of foam. I only recommend this if you need very large feathers that are not heavily layered, such as the ones on my shield or the longest feathertips on my gauntlet. These do not layer particularly well due to their thickness. However, experiment depending on your own project! Terieri made wings of three feathers in this fashion, using foam.
If possible, use worbla black for the top, detailed portion of your feather, and then use worbla mesh for the bottom (or worbla’s finest if you do not have any mesh on hand). I used only worbla black for some feathers and it was noticeably less “sticky” than either mesh or finest, to the point where I had some difficulty with my sandwich popping apart in places. If using just worbla black, make sure that you apply a high amount of heat before pressing your sandwich edges together. Worbla mesh is a fantastic sandwich backer due to its very sticky nature, and also adds extra stability to prevent breakage if you cut your feather ticks particularly deep.
1) Trace your feather shape onto a piece of 2mm or 3mm thick craft foam. If you’re a fan of “ticks” or gaps in the feather, be sure to add these as well. Cut the entire feather out, and clip the ticks with the nose of your scissors.
2) Cut out a piece of black worbla and mesh worbla that is a bit larger than your foam template. Heat both of these pieces thoroughly until they are nice and floppy.
3) Place your mesh worbla smooth side down onto your silicone mat. Place your foam feather on top and then place your black worbla over that. Being careful not to trap any air, use your fingers to thoroughly press your black worbla into the mesh worbla all along the edges of the foam, including the tick marks. If your worbla begins to cool too much, just heat it up again but try to concentrate that heat along the edges if you can.
4) While the worbla is still somewhat soft, use your scissors to cut around the edge of the feather. Take care not to leave a few milimeters between the foam itself and your scissors – you don’t want to accidently cut into the foam itself. Use the nose of your scissors to also cut away the excess worbla in your tick marks.
For my pauldrons and most of my gauntlet, these feathers are made from just two pieces of worbla pressed together. These feathers are much thinner than sandwich feathers, and you will have an easier time layering them. For some I used black worbla on one side, others I used one side black and one side mesh worbla – however for the most part this doesn’t matter a lot. Mesh worbla WILL be less prone to snapping if you are cutting particularly deep ticks into your worbla; however the double thickness of any material will make it quite stiff.
1) Start by tracing your feather pattern out of paper for use later. For my feathers I included a few “tick” areas that will look to be gaps. I found that it helped make my feathers look a bit more realistic.
2) Cut out two pieces of worbla that are a bit larger than your pattern. Use your heat gun to thoroughly heat both pieces, and then lay them on top of each other. Take care that you don’t accidently trap any air between the sheets, and then press the pieces together.
3) Trace your feather pattern onto the worbla. Re-heat the worbla once again until it is soft enough to easily cut, and then cut your feather shape from the plastic. Use the tips of your scissors to snip out the tick areas.
Now that your base is finished, it’s time to etch in a few details. Remember that there’s no one right way to do this – you can go as cartoony or realistic as you like.
1) Use your pen to draw a line down the center of the feather where the quill will lay. Next, sketch several lines running from the quill, upward toward the edge of the feather. You may not find these steps necessary once you become a feather expert, but at first I found them very helpful when needing to know where to press my tool in the next step.
2) Heat your feather again to make it a bit soft. Use your clay tool to begin etching lines in your feather, from the quill to the edge. I like my feathers a little cartoony, but you can always clump these lines closer together and make them lighter for a more realistic look. If your feather starts to harden again, don’t worry – hit it with your heatgun again until it softens up. I usually have to re-heat once or twice per feather.
3) This step is optional, but I really liked the semi-cartoony, semi-realistic look this extra step gives. Once all of your lines are etched, use your clay tool to press inward on the edge, at either every or every other etch line.
4) Cut a skinny strip of worbla around the length of your feather. Heat it with your heatgun and then roll it until you’ve created a very thin noodle. Heat both the noodle and your feather one more time and then press the noodle down the center to form the quill.
Rejoyce in your glorious birbness!
If you need an oversized chain for your costume, try this guide from Pretzl Cosplay!
How to make cool chains with Worbla scraps!
First I took some Worbla scraps and heated them up. I wore gloves and rolled the Worbla until it was a snake (#worblasnake). Then I cut it into the right size for my rings, put the two ends together and sculpted it until it was a full circle. Then I applied some paper tape so the Worbla couldn’t stick to itself on those points (thanks Galyopa for the idea!). Then I took a double layer of Worbla and cut a small stripe out of it. I used little parts of that stripe to create overlaps that connect the rings. And voila a Worbla chain is born!
While the costume isn’t finished yet, you can see the chain painted in this progress photo here:
Details on Worbla are often done with scraps rolled into tubes, but Itakoo shows how they make their details with a bead mold, which creates a sharp triangular bevel for their armor.
Xaljira Cos(tumes) recently shared this quick tutorial on how they used their Sizzix machine to emboss their Worbla for their Phoenix Staff, pictured below:
The Embossing Process:
It is actually a very simple process if you happen to own an embossing tool like a Sizzix (I own this one) You simply cut the Worbla to the size of the textured impression folder – that’s the plastic thing on the left. Then you warm up the Worbla, don’t overdo it, and place it in the folder and run it through the machine.
You can see above that it works with Worblas Finest Art, Worblas Black Art and Worblas TranspaArt.
Once you’ve embossed the Worbla you can reheat it and form it into any shape you want as long as you don’t press on it too much.
When I first tried this I was concerned that the Worbla might stick to the folder after having been pressed onto it so hard, but if you let the WFA cool down a little before you open the folder, there’s no stickiness problem at all. With WBA and WTA you don’t even have to wait for it to cool because both materials are less sticky than WFA.
About the staff:
The staff itself is a paper tube, thickened at the top and bottom with foam and then covered with WFA, which I embossed with my Sizzix embossing tool. The glowing flowers are made of WTA that I first painted with yellow glass paint, then cut to size and heat-shaped before hot gluing it onto a push-light. The petals around the flowers are once again made from WFA. On the staff is an acrylic sphere filled with a Mini-Led chain and painted with glass paints. The cage sphere around that is made from leftover WFA rolled into long strings and formed over a bigger acrylic ball.
With thanks to Xaljira Cos(tumes) for sharing this with us!
Erza Cosplay shows how she uses thin sections of Worbla’s Black Art to create the iconic Greek ‘wave’ detail on her upcoming costume.
You can also see how she uses a ‘half relief’ method to create impressive detail for her upcoming Sagittarius design.
Melting Props,Cosplay & Projects shared this tutorial on using TranspArt to make clear domes you can then paint or tint any colour!
So here is a super easy tutorial on how to make clear domes from Worbla’s Transpa Art. These domes are perfect for round crystals, robot eyes and goggles that you can actually see out of.
What you need:
Empty masking tape roles
Rounded non stick object (I used half a Gashapon ball ) ((Worbla.com note: if you’re worried about things sticking, you can use a mold release spray or petroleum jelly to help keep things non-stick)
Lens Tinting Spray
Step 2 Cut a square of worbla transpa that’s about an inch larger than masking tape trole roles on all sides.
Step 3 Evenly heath the center of worbla till it starts to sag depending on the heat gun this can take 2-6 seconds.. (Make sure not to overheat or it will lead to imperfections in the form of small bubbles )
Step 6 you have a choice you can spray tint the inside or outside ,Whichever you choose you need to spray it lightly and evenly.
the more coats you do the darker it will be (3 coats of this brand seems to be the ideal number)
To make the worbla transpa dome stronger you can also stack 2 or 3 domes on top of each other before painting or repeat the forming process mutable times on top of each other
This tutorial can be used to make other shapes as long as they are smaller than the roll but the larger it is the thinner the worbla will in the end result
Thanks again to Melting Props,Cosplay & Projects for sharing this with us!
Creating a stamped, tooled or raised/relief look is something a lot of armor requires, especially if it’s supposed to look like leather but act like metal. The awesome folks at 519geeks have shared this tutorial for how they get an embossed effect for their Worbla pieces.
Creating an Embossed Look: Part 1
The things you will need are:
Below you see me just eyeballing the second pieces for the front of the armour. Just making sure there is enough to cover and enough to trim off.
Now remember those second pieces you made? The ones that were just eyeballed and bigger and didn’t really have anything traced on them? Those ones. Now you get to heat that up slowly on both sides and place it on the other side of the EVA foam, Making a Worbla Sammich and trim that up leaving about an inch and a half on each side.Normally you would actually sandwich the pieces so the worbla would meet in the middle of the EVA foam on the side. However for the look I was going for I needed something that looked big and clunky. Also since I was doing embossing on some of the edges I needed to re-enforce those edges with an extra bit of worbla on the side so I folded the front piece over to make a lip.
Thanks again to Elicia and 519geeks for sharing their work with us!