Blood Moon Katarina’s Leg Armor with Worbla

The fantastic Arlena Fae partnered with us for her Blood Moon Katarina build, using Worbla’s Black Art and EVA foam to create the detailed leg armor that Katerina sports! If you need to make armor for your next costume, check out her video below – these techniques can be applied to many different types of builds! 

Pleated and Embossed Pleather Belt with Kobracast

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! 

Scarlet Witch from WandaVision – With Kobracast

 

Wanda’s final look from WandaVision is amazing, but also has some very specific techniques the creators used to design the look of fabric and armor without stitching. We’ve seen a few cosplayers use Kobracast Art as a way of stabilizing and fusing fabric to a foam or corset base, and the results speak for themselves. Take a look at this phenomenal build by Carmenvalentina – and she shared how she did it in this fantastic video, so you can follow along for your own build!

 

Sally Whitemane Staff Tutorial

We partnered with Duoqcosplay to bring you this tutorial making Sally Whitemane’s staff from World of Warcraft, using EVA foam and Worbla’s Black Art. If you need to make a staff for your own costume, the process below can be a great guide from start to finish! Final images by CMC Photography.

 

Materials

  • Cutting tools: Snap off utility knife, Exacto knife hot knife, scissors.
  • Worbla: For this project I used 2 medium sheets of Worbla Black Art
  • Eva foam: 10mm, 5mm, 3mm widths
    I also used some foam clay on this project.
  •  Paper: This will be used for pattern making anything works
  • Markers: Silver and Black permanent markers work best.
  • Brushes: For painting these are really personal preferences. 
  • Silicone Brushes: For spreading contact cement
  • Adhesives: Contact cement is what I used for this project along with wood glue. Tape is handy too.
  • Power Tools: Hand Dremel tool, heat gun.
  • Core pieces: For my prop core I used some PVC pipe and a titanium rod.
  • Gems: For my staff I used custom resin casted gems.
  • Sandpaper: An assortment of grits for hand sanding
  • Reference Images: Having images from numerous angles/lighting
  • Paints: whatever paints you like best are fine.

Pattern Making

 

After collecting reference images and materials I find it helpful to start by breaking down the reference image into its most simple shapes for a pattern. This pattern will be used to cut the foam pieces that make up the inside base of the prop. I used a bucket for the middle circle and I looked for the shapes in the prop reference images and tried to copy it as best I can.
To ensure each is cut the same and save some time in sanding, having patterns on paper is helpful. Once I’ve fiddled with it a bit and I am  happy with how it looks compared to the reference images I cut out the paper. To ensure symmetry fold the pieces in half and cut away any misaligned parts.

Continue this process for the rest of the prop pieces,  to ensure my prop was in scale with the resin gems I created I used one of my gems to help with drawing my paper pattern.

For this project I decided to use EVA foam as my core since it is  lightweight and easy to work with. Each layer will need to be cut into the same shape and glued together to build up the size and shape of the prop. These paper patterns will be used to trace each layer of the foam.

During the cutting process I also used my PVC pipe and metal rod to measure the channels needed through the foam to become the handle. I also wanted the top part of the staff to be removable for easier transport and storage. The top part of the staff would slide on and off the PVC pipe through the middle layer in the foam.

Foam Core: Gluing

After all the foam is cut out and the channels for the PVC pipe and metal support rod have been cut the foam layers are ready to be glued. Make sure the layer with the channels cut is in the middle layer so the prop will be centered on the handle of the staff.

I prefer to use contact cement but technically other adhesives would work for this step because the foam will be eventually wrapped in worbla. I love using these silicone brushes when I’m using contact cement. They are so easy to clean and they don’t get ruined from the contact cement.

This step of the process is relatively easy, each layer of foam gets a coat of contact cement. The internal layers for extra security I contact cement on both sides of the foam.

When the contact cement has set you should have a foam stack for each part of the prop, if things aren’t  looking perfect here no need to worry during the sanding process you can clean up any imperfections.

Foam Core: Sanding

I highly recommend using a dremel for you sanding one with a handheld portion is great for small detail work. I hold the dremel tool using the sanding drum attachment at a 45 degree angle while sanding to get the curved edges to create a beveled edge.

I used this same technique to put together the pyramid shape for the point of the staff . The most important part of this step is getting as smooth of a surface as possible on the edges of your foam. The inside is filled with foam clay.  My foam stack for the top of the staff before sanding. You can see where some of my cuttings were a little sloppy and they didn’t end up being all the exact same size.

 After sanding. The foam is going to be the base shape for your prop, the worbla wrapping just strengthens the foam core and smooths some imperfections but For the most part you want your pieces to look as shape accurate as possible to your reference images.

Foam Core: Details

Before wrapping the foam in worbla I wanted to add some more three dimensional aspects, you can purchase foam bevels premade now if you want to save some time but I like making my own from foam scraps to not waste any foam.

To create a bevel I use pretty thick EVA foam and cut it into long strips. Once I have a few strips of foam cut I draw a line down the middle of the strips. This line will be where the high point of the bevel will be, the top of the triangle shape.

The sanding technique is holding the dremel tool at an angle and sanding away the square corners of the strips down the length. Adding three dimensional details can really make a prop look more realistic. Without extra three dimensional details sometimes props after you wrap them in worbla and paint them can look a little flat and plain.

I made more than I needed for the staff top so I would have some bevels to wrap the staff handle with and for hiding the joint where the top of the staff would slide onto the PVC pipe.

Worbla: Wrapping

To prepare the worbla for wrapping the foam I spread the roll as flat as I can and do a light pass with the heat gun just heating it enough so it lays flat. Using scissors I cut the general shape of the foam out of the worbla giving extra room for the sides. The shiny side of the worbla is the sticky side so that part needs to be touching your foam for it to adhere properly. I highly recommend wearing heat proof gloves for this step.

For this prop we will be using the sandwich method. There will be a layer of worbla on the top and bottom encasing the foam core inside. Once both layers of worbla have been cut its time to heat form the worbla to the foam. The worbla needs to be hot enough that it changes color slightly and becomes completely malleable. While the worbla is still hot use your  fingers to push the worbla around the foam.

In some areas with finer details I like to use the blunt backside of an exacto knife or a popsicle stick to push the worbla into the crevices of the foam to not lose any details. Along the edges of the prop there will be some left over worbla in spots. Trim any excess worbla along the edges of the prop be sure to leave enough that the foam is sealed inside and not poking out, you can see in the image the ridge where excess worbla has been trimmed away but the two layers are still touching. Heat the edges with 
your heat gun and push the ridge down as flat as possible so the seam is almost invisible.

Worbla: Detailing and Fixing Mistakes

Worbla is an incredibly forgiving material for the most part. To fix a mistake you simply reheat the worbla and place things how you want them to be. For example on the bottom left you will see where my worbla “sandwich” didn’t quite wrap all the way around my stack of foam and there is a gap.

I heated the worbla up again and tried to close the gap as much as I could, folding the worbla trying to get it to lay as flat as possible. I then heated up a scrap of worbla to patch the hole where the foam could be seen. Any seams can be sanded down to be smooth later.

For some detailing on the upper part of the staff I noticed in my reference images that the bottom part of the staff looks like it’s been carved in versus the top part looks like it’s three dimensional. I used a soldering iron to carve the line in.

Worbla being able to stick to itself is really helpful for adding details simply cut out or shape your details when the worbla is still hot and stick it to the worbla on your prop. Any mistakes you make can mostly be fixed by heating the worbla up again which is really nice.

Worbla Sanding/Priming

The sanding step for the worbla is pretty straight forward. I start with sanding with my dremel tool and then move on to different higher grits of sandpaper by hand to get a smooth finish. You mostly are wanting to smooth out all the seams from wrapping the worbla and any lumps in the worbla. If you want a really smooth paint job that looks like metal for example then this step of the process is very important.

After sanding and getting a smooth finish that you are happy with it’s time to move onto sealing the worbla for painting. Worbla black arts doesn’t require as much sealing and sanding as classic worbla does but I still like to do four layers or so of wood glue just to remove the texture of the worbla as much as possible and give a nice base for the painting step next (right photo). Gesso or other surface primers would work for this step fine but I just like to use wood glue since it is cheap and easy to find at most hardware stores.

 

Staff Handle

 Before moving onto painting I wanted to finish the handle so everything could be painted at once. PVC pipe has a smooth plastic finish to prep my PVC pipe I used rough grit sandpaper and hand sanded it to rough up the smooth finish and create a surface for the contact cement to adhere to better.

 For the top and bottom part of the staff I used 5mm EVA foam sheets and one of the thick foam bevels I made earlier to help the foam curve around the PVC pipe I used my heat gun to heat the foam up first.

The middle part of the staff looks like a thick leather fabric wrapped around the handle I knew finding the fabric I needed would be difficult so I decided to  use strips of leftover worbla to wrap the staff.

With the worbla heated up and malleable it wrapped much like fabric does and contact cement was not necessary since the worbla sticks to itself pretty strongly. To keep a fabric-like texture on the middle of the staff I did not seal the worbla with wood glue but did do a few coats on the EVA foam sections.

Gem Casings

Some other details I wanted to create before painting were some gem casings for my resin gems that will go on the bottom of the staff and on the ribbon that hangs from the staff. I used 5mm foam and traced the gem shape and cut out.

After cutting the shape out I sanded the squared corners of the foam so they were more rounded with my dremel. Sanding details like this just make things look a little more polished. Once I was happy with the sanding I heat sealed the foam.

For backing I used a really thin EVA foam that the gems can be glued to after painting the casings. I glued the casing using contact cement to the backing and made sure the gems would fit well before letting the contact cement set in place. For the larger gem casings there is a front and back side.

Once I was happy with how everything was looking sanding wise, the foam had been heat sealed and the contact cement was set, I did a few coats of wood glue to finish the casings for painting.   

Painting

 

As a base coat layer just to cover everything I used gold hammered textured metallic paint on the majority of the staff except for the middle “fabric” portion I painted satin red. I wanted my prop to match my armor so for the top coat I used the same acrylic paints on the prop that I used on my armor.

To add some more detail and dimension to my prop I added some blackwash and weathering with watered down black acrylic paint. I find these sponge brushes handy for giving a subtle black gradient to the edges and the crevices of the prop to add shadows and highlights. First I apply some of the black paint in the crevice and then dab the sponge.

After Everything is spray painted and black washed it’s time to glue the gems in. I glued my gems down to the staff with contact cement. Here is a side by side picture of before and after adding my blackwash shadows. I did some blackwash/ageing along the whole prop. I really wanted it to look used and aged and not like it was just made brand new.

Putting it all Together

One of the final touches for the staff is the red fabric the gems hang from on the top part of the staff. I purchased some 4in. wide satin ribbon at the craft store using a dab of contact cement I folded the ribbon edge in to create the pointed shape the gems would attach to. I did not measure the exact length I just tried wrapping a few times before cutting the ribbon how I liked it best.

With the ribbon cut and all the paint dry on the staff I glued my gems and casings onto the ribbon and the bottom of the staff with contact cement. I did go back over these with a little bit more blackwash painting just so they would appear more melded with the prop and not like I just glued them on top of the prop.

Finally it is time to put all the pieces together! The ribbon can be wrapped around the top of the staff and the pyramid shape can be put on the top of the metal support rod to hide the top.

Here is the PVC pipe (I painted the tip of it to camouflage it even more with the gold of the staff) sliding into the channel of the top part of the staff.

Final Detail Images

Sprite Darter Wings

We teamed up with Sara of C’est La Sara to create this tutorial, using clear face shields and Worbla’s Black Art to create these fantastical fairy wings! Take a look at the process used to make these come together below.

Sprite Darter Wings Worbla Tutorial
By Sara (Cestlasara)

Worbla’s Black Art thermoplastics are a great option for providing a rigid structure for fairy type wings, and throughout this process it’s also possible to minimize waste by recycling the scraps into new sheets again! In this particular tutorial, I also discuss how it’s possible to work with Worbla in mixed media applications! I used cut up face shields taped together when creating the plastic translucent part of the wings.
 
Tools I have used:
• Heavy Duty Pasta Roller (with the outer covers removed) for recycling Worbla scraps
• Wooden sculpturing tools
• PVC Pipe Cutter
• Power drill
 
Consumables:
• Worbla’s Black Art
• Clear shipping tape
• A PVC Pipe for the wings attachment to a harness
• About 15-20 face shields or translucent similar weight translucent plastic of your choice
• Contact cement glue, dispensed in food safe bottles when in use
• Tracing paper
• EVA Foam roll (2mm thick, high density preferred)
• Zip ties (for the wing attachment)
• (optional but highly recommended) 2-part epoxy glue or E6000 for added strength on the wing attachment
• Window frost spray
• Acrylic or airbrush paints
• (optional) Airbrush + Airbrush medium for acrylic paints
• Spray-on paint sealer (Satin or Flat)
 
First, either draw or print out a wing pattern to scale. I vectored a pattern based off Aphrikelle’s (Instagram.com/aphrikelle) Sprite Darter watercolor art inspired from World of Warcraft. When printing out patterns to scale, these will need to be printed out in “poster size” where one will need to assemble all the pieces together with tape.
For more detailed information on scaling a pattern to size when printing out, I wrote this tutorial here:

Getting Started – Accurate Cosplay Reference Scaling [Tutorial]

In this step, the wings will be split into smaller sections that will fit plastic face shields assembled together. Using some regular tracing or plain paper, trace out the sections of the wings that will fit within the sizes of the face shields. If you have larger rolls of plastic available, these sections can be split up into fewer, larger pieces.

Next, cut off the excess parts to the face shields. Most brand new face shields also include protective plastic coverings on both sides. Ensure these protective plastic pieces are not removed until after you have finished tracing the outlines of the sectioned off pieces of the wing. After tracing the outlines of the wing sections, cut the face shields, and remove the protective plastic film layers from both sides of the face shields.

Carefully lay the clear plastic pieces on the pattern template as a guide, and tape the pieces down with clear shipping tape.

On the clear plastic pieces, use contact cement glue to trace over the “spine” areas of the wing. While allowing the glue to dry (don’t wait too long over 20 minutes), cut 1/4″ width strips of the Worbla’s Black Art sheets and heat this up to shape with a heat gun. Carefully place the strips over the contact cement and the Worbla will set. There’s no need to coat the Worbla strips with contact cement as the thermoplastic has its own adhesive component when activated with heat. Continue until you complete the inner part of the wings.

Using some tracing or butcher paper, trace the outer section of the wing.

Next, trace the “base” of the wing as a separate piece.

Using scissors and hobby knives, cut the outline pattern. Do not cut the intricate inner details yet as pictured. When first tracing this outline it’s easier to place on EVA foam later while maintaining the proper shape of the wing.

Place the paper template on a 2mm thick EVA foam roll (high density recommended). The same paper pattern is used twice (mirrored), since we have 2 wings. Optional: do this process on another foam roll if you want a double-sided outer “frame” of the wings. I chose EVA foam for the outer parts of the wings for safety reasons as they are softer than worbla on pointed edges.

Using a hobby knife, carefully cut out the foam pieces.

 
Using contact cement glue, glue down the edges of the wing. While waiting for this to dry, glue the back side of each foam piece that is used for the wing outline, then stick the foam piece to the clear plastic.

The outer edge of the wing will look like this. The base part comes next.

For the “base” part of the wing, take the foam pieces that were cut earlier, and cut Worbla’s Black Art sheets large enough to “sandwich” the foam. Using a heat gun over the worbla surrounding the EVA foam, use a wooden clay tool to shape the edges. You can see what the sandwiched piece looks like. There are 4 of these “base” pieces that need to be done for extra strength in holding the wings together. Repeat this process for all 4 of these.

Recycling Worbla tips: As you cut the Worbla pieces, you can reuse excess Worbla scraps and re-roll into sheets for zero waste.
 To reuse these sheets, gather your scraps and heat activate them with a heat gun. As the Worbla scraps soften, gently fold them over into a rectangular shape. Using a heavy duty pasta roller, the recycled Worbla pile can be pushed through the rollers at the thickest setting. Ensure that the Worbla is still warm and soft to the touch while rolling on the pasta roller. Repeat this process until the pasta roller is adjusted to the thinnest setting. Lay the finished rolled pieces on a flat surface, and reheat to reshape and flatten the newly formed sheet. You can proceed to use this rolled sheet like a fresh new sheet of Worbla!

Finalize the wing structure
Once you have completed the sandwich pieces of the “base” of the wing, use contact cement glue to glue the remaining edges of the wing. Let the contact cement dry after a few minutes. Reheat the under piece of the “base” of the wing to reactivate the worbla’s soft adhesive properties, then place the “base” of the wing worbla sandwich part over this area.

The wings will now look like this.

Priming the Wings for Painting
Using window frost spray, coat the translucent part of the wing on both sides. Masking the exposed worbla and foam parts with painter’s tape is not required. This is how the wings look like before (right) and after (left) spraying with frosted glass spray. This is a required step to prime the translucent plastic parts for painting.

Preparing the Wings to Wear
Cut 2 pieces of a PVC pipe with a PVC pipe cutter. Use the heat gun in a well ventilated area* to bend the PVC pipes to shape, and use the PVC pipe as a guide to mark where holes will be cut on the bottom of the wing base. Use a power drill to drill holes large enough for zip ties. 
*Preferably outdoors, with a respirator.  PVC fumes are very toxic when heated enough to shape.

 

Insert zip ties (2 per wing) through the holes. Wrap the zip ties around the cut and bent PVC pipe. At this rate, the PVC pipe is still slightly flexible for adjustment. It is highly recommended to use 2-part epoxy or E6000 glue to stabilize this PVC pipe + zip tie attachment. You can see how it looks like on a harness on the back.

 

For the harness, I wrote a detailed tutorial here:

Cosplay Wing Harness Tutorial


 
Free pattern download here:

Patterns

From the front, this is how the wing attachment looks like.

Painting the Wings
I mixed airbrush medium to thin out acrylic paints to use within my airbrush. I use a dual-action gravity feed airbrush and clean out my airbrush regularly after every use with an ultrasonic cleaner when switching out colors.
 
I started with the teal edges of the wing near the top, and worked my way towards the bottom, with the yellow parts airbrushed last. I then used color shift paints to brush over the exposed black worbla and foam spine parts.
 
When finished with the wings, I used a spray-on flat sealer.

The final wings!

 

Jessie Rasberry from Final Fantasy VII Remake

We partnered with Mage.Cosplay for her Jessie build, and she shared the process of creating her armor and accessories with us. If you’re looking to make Jessie for your next costume, check out how Mage went about the process below!

Bringing Jessie’s Armour to Life

Source Character: Jessie Rasberry from Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Disclaimer: While the general principles of using thermoplastics, such as Worbla, will be very consistent, there are many methods to use the material to construct costume elements. My methods may not be the best for you, so please keep in that in mind! In summary: There are many tutorials out there, but I’m hoping that sharing mine will help you figure out what’s best for you!

Patterning: The base pattern you’ll see in this tutorial came from Jenny Desu; I bought it from her Etsy shop. This is also my first time using someone else’s armour pattern, so we’re learning together.

Equipment: The tools you’ll see me use include:
• a heat gun;
• heat resistant gloves (provided by CosplaySupplies, who carry these in several sizes!);
• a silicone baking sheet (often covered in parchment paper);
• a cutting mat;
• a utility knife;
• spherical ornament, old hotel key cards, paintbrush handles, and spoons for shaping;
• wooden skewer for poking things;
• rotary tool (very minimally).

Materials:
• CosplaySupplies has generously partnered with me for the Worbla’s Black Art.
• The foam I’m using is two types – one is a high density foam I purchased from CosplaySupplies and the other are yoga mats I picked up from the dollar store.
• Metal bits included a handful of purchased buckles and connectors, split pins in a couple sizes from the stationary store, and jewellery wire that I used as a frame for my DIY fasteners and connectors.
• Contact cement (as little as possible) and hot glue.
• There’s also some hook and loop tape and elastic used.
• Paints are dollar store acrylics, a bit of gold spraypaint, and some PlaidFX Armour.

Glove and Boot Armour

You can see here the glove pieces and also part of the boot pieces as well. The glove pieces will just be getting one piece of Worbla to add strength and give them a nice finish. I’ve left a bit of a seam around them, per usual.
My tools for smoothing the corners are pretty low key—the handle of a paint brush and an old room key. I manipulate the material with my gloved hands while it’s hot and then come in with the card and brush once it’s just warm, so the heat doesn’t warp either.

Since the front of the boot might get banged around a bit, I made a Worbla’s Black Art sandwich. I’ve also put the seam a bit closer to one side by using the paintbrush to push the bulk toward the back. Afterward, the excess was trimmed off and added to my scrap pile. Those scraps will make an appearance in the fastenings and closures section.

I’ve used split pins to fake my brads on all the armor pieces. By heating up the Worbla, I can make it pliable enough for a sharp wooden skewer to pierce both it and the foam. This makes a nice, clean hole that’s also sealed as the Worbla gets taken along for the ride by the skewer.  You can see that I’ve left the back of the plates open, which makes them light and still very springy.

Shoulder Armour

JennyDesu’s pattern has been transferred to thin camp mat foam and an approximately-the-right-size piece of Worbla’s Black Art is ready to go. My surface is a silicone baking mat and some parchment paper, alongside a heat gun and a large Christmas ornament to help me round off the shapes.

All the foam pieces have been hot glued at the seams. The hotglue will re-activate when I apply heat via the thermoplastic, but it is essentially just there to keep the foam in place until the thermoplastic gets there. This cheap foam also deforms very easily, but the strength will come from the Worbla.

This is what it looks like after one layer of Worbla’s Black Art. I was able to easily reposition the material as I went, although you can see I could have given it one more go to make sure I got the corner flawless. I stopped fiddling with it because I don’t mind the imperfections here; the character’s likely to be using armor that’s seen many encounters and been dinged, damaged, and repaired several times. They’re also more rounded than they appear in most reference art, but that’s partly the pattern and partly personal preference.

A test shot of how the two pieces of the pauldrons will fit together. With this, the hard parts for the base are all set. You can see the split pins in the bottom piece; they’re the same as in the glove pieces.

 

Cuirass

The cuirass consists of many parts in JennyDesu’s pattern, so the first step was to transfer these all to foam. The difference is that I wanted a more firm structure for the central plates, so instead of camp mat, I used a higher density foam that I purchased from CosplaySupplies. That’s the grey foam you see in the photos. This was also necessary to get the peaked look you see on the backplate and the stomach plate – those pieces were cut at a 45 degree angle and hot glued.

Since I knew I wanted to already have a good rounded shape present in the foam before I applied the Worbla’s Black Art, I used contact cement on the darts for the upper breastplate. It required some cold outside time, but the fumes are no joke and it’s important to not take risks with that! Unlike hot glue, the contact cement doesn’t re-activate with the application of heat and is more easily sanded.

For the side plates, I did just use hot glue – mostly because I didn’t want to deal with the contact cement fumes and these pieces would not need to take on any complex curves before they were covered in thermoplastic.

I continued working the top and bottom halves of the breastplate separately once they were covered with Worbla. This made it much easier to work on getting the breasts into the shape I wanted them, which followed the same method as when I shaped the upper shoulder armor.

Having thicker, stronger foam underneath made it much easier to really work on the Worbla in terms of smoothing it out around curves and adding in further curves and details where I wanted, which will be easier to see once we get to the paint.

For the lower breastplate, Jessie has these kind of faint abdominal muscle looking lines, so I tried to mimic that as I was shaping. I didn’t have to worry about the fact that I’d used hot glue on that centre-front ridge as the glue was nicely sandwiched between the thick foam and the Worbla.

Now the centre back plate and its side plates have been covered in a single layer of Worbla’s Black Art. Split pins were placed, although I messed up and put some pilot holes in the wrong places after misinterpreting pattern markings. You can kind of see the shoulder blade markings I worked into the back plate and the similar markings on the lower breastplate. At this point, I’d just about reached the point where I had to join the upper and lower breastplates to do any further fitting.

So this step looks a little violent, but one of the ways I made sure that the upper and lower breastplates would line up properly was to use my skewer to put one continuous path for split pins between the two pieces. Although the adhesion of Worbla with itself is fantastic, it never hurts to have a mechanical connection to back-up the chemical one. Of course, this necessitated buying some split pins with longer shanks!

Greaves

JennyDesu’s pattern was transferred to thin camp mat foam. For one greave, I transferred each pattern piece to Worbla’s Black Art with about a half inch of allowance all around. Once adhered, I rolled over the seam allowance and then started to curve the piece. This was repeated for the other two main plates on this greave.
The second greave followed the same initial pattern-to-foam transfer, but I next glued each of the plates to each other and continued from there. Since the foam pieces then had a shape, it was more a matter of best-guessing the size of Worbla piece needed and leaving a much bigger margin for error. I had thought this would save me time, but heating and fitting the entire greave at once took much more time than doing the heating and fitting of each piece first, then adhering each Worbla-covered plate to each other. I used an old hotel key card, pressed into warmed Worbla, to add in the seam lines, where needed. The shoulder straps show this sort of detail more explicitly.

This is the greave where each plate was separately shaped. I was able to get a more tapered shape much more easily in this fashion. You can also see the pilot hole and split pin method applied here that was shown in the section about gloves and boots.
This is the greave where it was shaped as one piece. It might not be entirely clear in this photo, but it’s much more cylindrical, partly because it was more difficult to angle/fit each plate relative to each other when they were all part of the same piece of thermoplastic.

Shoulder Straps

I started with no pattern, just rectangles of foam in the correct length. I wanted to straps to be able to flex easily and they won’t bear any actual weight, so just one layer of Worbla’s Black Art, so I wrapped the Worbla around the foam and set the initial curve, then I used my old hotel room key to press the Worbla’s Black Art in around the edges of the strap. This allowed me to keep things very thin as an alternative to adding a bezel via foam and/or additional thermoplastic. You can see I put the pilot hole for the split pin in as well.

 

Prep & Paint

I did a little work on these with a rotary tool, which you can see showing up a bit lighter here. Worbla is capable of highlighting even small differences in foam surfaces, so you could see the seam where the two halves of the pattern met up. I chose to leave the surface as it was, so the finished pieces will reflect the native texture of the material, rather than looking for a mirror finish. You can similar results on the piece of leg armor. I used a rotary sander to take off some of the spots where I hadn’t lined up the seams very well. I was good with a dented-and-hand-hammered type of finish, but it needed to be somewhat clean,

 

Base Layer:
I actually rather like the base texture of Worbla’s Black Art, so I didn’t prime the surface or try to smooth it further. I had some VERY old silver acrylic on hand, so I mixed that with some Flexbond and applied a thin layer over the pauldron pieces. I did some paint tests to see what depth of colour/shine I wanted to go with and you can see some of the results in the following comparison photos.
On the right is acrylic silver paint with some Flexbond. On the left, the same base, but with a layer of PlaidFX’s Armour series paint in Samurai on top.

Here’s what the painting steps looked like for the shoulder straps, after using some dark grey acrylic to weather it and try to bring out the “edge” I put on the armor as well.

 

 

For areas like the backplate, I repeated the weathering process several times to try to get more difference and depth between the high and low areas. I also went in and applied some black sharpie before adding a bit of the brighter silver as highlights.

From left to right is the evolution of small buckles made from Worbla’s Black Art. These used up some of the scraps that were left after cutting out the bigger pieces for the armor parts.

I also needed to make some fasteners and buckles that were non-standard sizes and shapes. For this, I also used up some scrap Worbla’s Black Art. For the large belt buckle, I made a paper template, then used two layers fused to each other. For the pin, I used a short length of jewelry wire as a core.

Elastic straps run underneath the soft pleather pauldron, while the armored strap sits on top of it. One half of the hook and loop tape is sewn to the outside of the pauldron, while the other side is glued to the underside of the strap. While most pieces are secured with hook and loop tape, the glove plates only used the split pins to attach them to the glove base. Little pockets on the inside of the glove protect the wearer from the ends of the pins.

 

For a few spots, like the cuirass, there’s a mix of hook and loop tape and split pins. The main connection between the breastplate and back plate here is via hook and loop tape to a fabric modesty panel. The actual closures on top are attached on one side with split pins, whereas, for the other side, the split pins are merely decorative and the connection is via hook and loop tape underneath. For the greaves, a similar fabric connector holds the seam together with hook and loop tape. The leather strapping in this case is purely aesthetic and is affixed with hook and loop tape.

 

The Complete Costume

Daggers – Foam, Worbla, and Resin

We sponsored the wonderful CheeseCakePanda Cosplay for a cool tutorial on dagger variations, and wow the results are amazing! Check out the video of the process and the gallery below!

Ningguang from Genshin Impact – Gloves, Hair Ornaments, Shoes

We worked with December Wynn (on IG), supplying the Worbla’s Black Art for their Ningguang build, and the final look is amazing! They shared the process of how they built the costume, specifically the Gloves, Hair Ornaments, and Shoes – and we’ve collected them here to share with you!

Part One: Gloves

Materials:
  • 4-way black stretch material (or pre-assembled gloves),
  • Worbla’s Black Art,
  • contact cement,
  • superglue,
  • thread,
  • 4-way stretch gold material,
  • gold-toned filigrees.
Step 1:

Assemble a pair of gloves using a 4-way stretch material, or purchase a pre-assembled pair of gloves. (Worbla.com note: If you need a glove pattern, we’ve used McCalls 7397 ourselves to good result)

Step 2:

Create a paper pattern of the gold glove “attachments”.  Tip: label every piece of the pattern with the handedness of the glove and the finger.

Step 3:

Trace the paper pattern onto black Worbla and cut out all the pieces, making sure to mark each piece with its designated hand and finger. Tip: using a little spray adhesive on the paper pattern makes tracing much easier and accurate.

Step 4:

Cut out all the pieces using a pair of scissors or a craft knife. Using a heat gun will make cutting the pieces out a little easier, particularly along curves.

Step 5:

Once the pieces are cut out, use a heat gun to shape the pieces to your fingers. For this process, carefully heat the pieces and then shape them around your fingers. Do not touch any piece that is hot enough to burn or injure skin, and wearing heat resistant gloves during this process is recommended.

Step 6:

Pull out 4-way metallic stretch fabric. Cut the pieces that will go on the finger units, make sure to leave a lip or “seam allowance” around all edges of the fabric.

Step 7:

Using a glue of your choice, adhere the fabric pieces to the outside of the Worbla finger units. This step is not the permanent glue step, so any glue will suffice. My recommendation is spray adhesive.

Step 8:

Apply contact cement to the insides of the black Worbla pieces and the fabric lip on the pieces. Allow the contact cement to set, then fold the fabric lip under, adhering it to the underside of the finger units.

Step 9:

Put the glove base on and apply the finger units to the glove using superglue. Using standard thread and needle, reinforce the glue by tacking the corners of the units to the gloves.

Step 10:

Using a healthy collection of gold-toned filigrees, apply filigree decoratively to the tops of the fingers. The pieces can either be glued using small dots of superglue, or they can be stitched through the fabric cover. Cut the filigree pieces to fit comfortably on the finger units, and use pliers to gently bend the pieces to better fit the curves of the units.

 

 

Part 2:  Hair Ornaments

 

Materials:

  • Worbla’s Black Art
  • EVA foam,
  • jump rings,
  • spray primer,
  • black lacquer paint,
  • gold paint,
  • gold rhinestones
Step 1:

Pattern and cut an EVA foam base for the hair stick.

Step 2:

Cut two pieces of Worbla to cover the EVA base. Make sure these pieces are slightly larger than the base.

Step 3:

Sandwich the foam in-between the Worbla pieces. Using a heat gun, wrap the Worbla around the base so that the entire base is covered.

Step 4:

Decorate the ornaments using other Worbla cuts and texturing the Worbla using tools and continuous heat. If the ornament has any dangling attributes, insert a jump ring into heated Worbla and allow it to cool.

Step 5:

Once all detailing is complete, prime and sand the piece until desired smoothness. 

Step 6:

Spray paint the entire ornament gold and allow to dry entirely.

Step 7:

Mask off the parts of the ornament to remain gold and then spray paint the piece with black lacquer.

Step 8:

Using a heat gun, heat up a pile of black Worbla scraps to melt them together.

Step 9:

Roll the scraps together to create a Worbla snake, and then shape the snake into the desired shape.

Step 10:

If rhinestones are desired, heat the piece slightly and press the rhinestones down where desired to create a space where they will sit once the ornament is painted.

Step 11:

Use a wig head to create a comfortable shape for the ornament, laying it on the wig head and allowing it to harden.

Step 12:

Prime and sand the ornament as desired.

Step 13:

Spray paint the ornament gold.

Step 14:

Once the paint is fully dry, glue the rhinestones in place. If using E-6000 or resin glue, make sure to wear gloves, work in a well-ventilated area and wear a respirator.

 

 

Part 3: Shoes

 

Materials:

  • Pre-made black shoes,
  • Worbla’s Black Art,
  • primer spray,
  • gold spray paint,
  • clear lacquer,
  • strong adhesive (superglue, E-6000 or contact cement.)
Step 1:

Use paper to create a pattern for the shoe decorations. Trace the pattern on black Worbla 4 times and cut out the pieces with a sharp pair of scissors or craft knife.

Step 2:

Stack 2 pieces on top of each other and apply heat to fuse them together – because the shoe is a high contact area, doubling the worbla will help with the longevity of the piece.

Step 3:

Apply heat and do any desired carving to the soft surface of the pieces, using a carving tool.

 

Step 4:

Using the shoes as a base, apply heat to the pieces and shape them over the shoes to make them lay flat against the surface of the shoe.

Step 5:

Prime the pieces with a spray primer, and then sand as necessary to create a smooth surface.

Step 6:

Apply a layer of gold spray paint and allow to dry fully. Finish with a layer of clear spray lacquer.

Step 7:

Using a strong adhesive, glue the Worbla pieces to the shoe base.

 

 

And there you go! Thanks again to December Wynn for sharing their work with us!  

Hendry’s Art – Glorious Worbla Home Dec for Gifts and More

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! 

 

Hypnos Wings Tutorial with Worbla’s Black Art

We partnered with squeakadeekn on their Hypnos build and they created 2 tutorials for us. The second is sharing how to create a simple wing harness to wear under a cape such as Hypnos’ design from Supergiant’s Hades.

A key feature of Hypnos’s design is two sets of gold wings that stick out of his big blanket cape. As cute as this is, it poses quite a rigging challenge when translating this to a cosplay. Without the proper support making something as long and heavy as wings, then attaching them to a blanket is likely to result in them both drooping downwards and flopping back and forth; all the while stretching and warping the blanket.

Luckily, Worbla’s Black Art is a great material to use to circumvent this. If you’re able to make a rigid support for the wings under the blanket, it will prevent the sagging and flopping that would happen if they were only attached to a soft, fabric object. So, to make Hypnos’s wings secure, I created a Worbla frame that attaches onto the wings and sticks through the blanket, that most importantly has structure in the vertical direction along the wings to keep them upright, and in the horizontal direction to keep them from falling forwards.

Materials:
⦁ 6 mm EVA foam
⦁ Worbla’s Black Art
⦁ Hot glue
⦁ Heat gun
⦁ PVA Glue/ Filler Primer/ Foam Priming materials
⦁ Gold Feathers
⦁ Exacto knife
⦁ Rust-oleum Gold Paint
⦁ Velcro

Part One: Base Wings

To start the wings, I took a paper template with the shape I wanted and traced it onto 6 mm EVA foam. The template was made through guess-and-check using paper to be sure the size and shape were nice.

Once the template was traced, I cut out 4 identical wings using an exacto knife and a straight 90 degree angle cut.
I did a quick pass of primer using PVA glues and filler primer spray on them to establish a base gold paint. It really doesn’t need to be pretty since it will be covered by feathers, but the backside should get a little extra attention since it will be bare/unfeathered.
I then took Rust-oleum metallic gold spray paint and painted the base color of gold, using two coats of paint.

With the base color on, I started gluing down gold craft feathers. Typically when I glue feathers down for wings, I like to stub the feathers by cutting the tips off and make sure to only use hot glue on the very very bottom/tips of the feathers, that way they can still have some fluff and bounce to them without looking too flat.


Here’s what the front pair of wings looked like feathered, it’s worth it to pre-plan how you’re going to be laying down your feathers in a neat, organized fashion. It’s also handy to stub your feathers shorter as you get closer to the base of the wing for a more realistic look.


To finish the wings, I added a bulb at the base with the styled swirlies his design has. The bulbs were made out of 6 mm EVA foam, primed and painted using the same rustoleum gold paint as the body of the wings.

Part Two: Worbla’s Black Art Support Structure

To start with the base pieces for the support structure, draw and cut out what are essentially lopsided boomerang shapes onto Worbla’s Black Art. To be specific, there should be a longer strip on top with a smaller strip section below at a shallow angle around ~140 degrees. I highly recommend using your wing pattern and lightly tracing it onto the Worbla, and then making your Worbla supports look like “bones” / run semi-parallel to the top and front of the overall wing. Once drawn and cut, you should have 4 angled Worbla strips, 2 for each side.
To reinforce them, heat the two Worbla pieces for each side and press them together on the adhesive sides, making sure to leave a 2-3 inch section at the bottom/short end below the angle separate/unsandwiched.
With the 2-3 inches of Worbla on the bottom that is still separate/unfused, heat and splay it outwards at a 90 degree angle to form a T-shape.

Since some of the geometry and terms get a little confusing, here’s what the supports should look like, kind of a funky angled T. This is great because the vertical parts provide a backbone for the wings keeping them from flopping all over the place/sagging at the ends, and the T-base gives them something to be anchored to that keeps them from falling over.

To get the supports onto the costume, I tried everything on and marked where the wings sprout out of the blanket. I then (with much agony) cut a 2-3 inch incision all the way through the blanket where the wings should be.


With the incision made, I stuck the top/vertical parts of the Worbla through the blanket; making sure the bottom T-base was flush to the underside of the blanket.
I also recognized that the section of supports that will be on the wings didn’t need to be as long as it was, so I stubbed them down to a slightly shorter length. I also used this as the time to strongly glue down the T-base sections of the supports to the underside of the blanket.


With the Worbla bits sticking out and the bottom parts secure, I hot glued the front of the Worbla supports to the back of the first pair of wings, and then back of the Worbla support to the front of the second pair of wings.


To attach everything to the costume; I mainly used velcro. The blanket itself already attaches using a few velcro patches and magnets, however the Worbla support structure needed its own attachment to keep it really REALLY secure. This was just a velcro patch on the underside of the T-base that hooks onto the neck armor.

And that’s just about all folks, Hypnos’s finished wings were nice, shiny and virtually wiggle-proof! I hope this was informative and can be cross-costume applicable as well :^)

 

Hypnos Neck Armor – Using Worbla’s Black Art to reinforce EVA foam

We partnered with squeakadeekn on their Hypnos build and they created 2 tutorials for us. The first we’re sharing is this fantastic breakdown on how to make neck armor, using Worbla as a base under EVA foam for a sturdy but lightweight, durable piece of armor!

A challenge of working with EVA foam is it can be too soft and too flexible; this makes it difficult to use for foundation pieces that have to support big costume parts and often leads to excessive wrinkling. A fantastic solution to this is using Worbla as an understructure beneath your foam. The Worbla increases its overall strength and limits how much it’s allowed to flex. This allows you to still use foam priming and assembly methods, but have more versatility in terms of using it to support heavy items and reduce the speed of foam aging.

When making Hypnos’s neck armor I planned it to also be the attachment mechanism for his big blanket cape, so it needs to support a lot of weight. Plain foam would wrinkle and tear, but the Worbla understructure makes it strong enough to do this, and even helps enforce its shape too!

Materials:
⦁ Saran Wrap
⦁ Duct tape
⦁ 4 and 2 mm EVA foam
⦁ Worbla’s Black Art
⦁ Kwick Seal
⦁ Contact Cement
⦁ Hot Glue
⦁ PVA glue / PlastiDip + Filler Primer / foam primers
⦁ Rustoleum gold spray paint + gold/brown acrylic paints
⦁ Velcro closures
⦁ Magnets

Patterning:
To get the pattern for Hypnos’s neck armor, I started by covering a dress form in the saran wrap and duct tape. On the duct tape cover, I used a pen to draw on the shape of the neck armor including seam lines and potential spots for velcro/magnets to attach the blanket cape. In general I try to add seam lines in the areas where there’s a nonlinear curve in the silhouette (in this case, the shoulders, neck line, and front of the armor). It’s worth including that the flat neck section shown here was just a placeholder, since I will be using a much more shaped and articulated neck pattern I had modified from Evil Ted Smith.

After this I cut out the duct tape pattern and tried it on for a quick sanity check to make sure that it fits and is shaped generally how I want it.


Once the pattern is made, I then transferred it onto 4 mm EVA foam. Here you can also see the more articulated neck pattern I had mentioned previously. The neck and shoulder sections are separate to allow for a more pronounced transition from neck to shoulder.

Assembly:
With the pieces cut out, I then assembled the base of the armor using contact cement. The neck and shoulders are still separate, but after a test fit I marked where the transition line is for reference (seen as the silver pen line in the first image below).

At this point I secured the neck and the shoulder pieces together using hot glue and trimmed the excess foam overlap underneath.
Now that it was one unified piece, I sketched out potential placements for the detailing using a silver pen. Once I knew the positions, I cut out small strips of 2 mm eva foam and began laying them down on the armor using contact cement.

Worbla Understructure:

Now for creating the Worbla’s Black Art understructure! Since this armor was also going to be used as a support for Hypnos’s very heavy blanket cape and wings, plain unsupported foam would have torn, wrinkled, and put a lot of stress on the front of my neck. This was a good solution to all of those problems, resulting in an armor piece that let me use the priming methods I like for foam and had the durability of Worbla!

To make the understructure, I took the same duct tape pattern pieces I had used for the foam armor and traced them onto Worbla’s Black Art, making sure to cut around 1/4th of an inch smaller along the outer edges so it won’t poke out from the corners. I also added around ½ of an inch of extra length on the sides to allow all of the pieces to overlap. You may notice that I only added Worbla to the shoulder section, this is because the neck section won’t be used to support the blanket or wings, so it was fine to leave it as plain foam.


The Worbla’s Black Art was then heated and pressed onto the underside of the foam armor on the adhesive side, section by section with occasional dabs of hot glue to secure the Worbla extra tight to the foam. I also overlapped the Worbla pieces to solidify the structure. The back edges overlap/wrap slightly around the foam for added security.

I had concerns about the comfort of the edges and seams against my skin, but for the test fits I’d worn it for, I didn’t experience any poking or pain. However If you are worried about this, you can always add in an additional layer of felt, fleece, or other soft fabric as a comfort lining.

Priming and Painting:
With the structure done, it was time for priming and painting! I followed my go-to procedure for priming EVA foam with is as follows:

  •  Heat seal the foam until smooth
  •  I also used kwick seal with water after heat sealing to smooth the seams on the neck and shoulder portions.
  •  Apply 3 layers of a PVA glue/water mixture with a brush, sanding down with a 200 grit sandpaper at the end
  •  2 coats of PlastiDip
  •  One coat of filler Primer (I only do this step if something goes hinky with the plastidip, in this case a few drops of rain fell onto it while drying so it needed one last filler layer to smooth everything over)


The gold I used for the color was 2 coats of Rust-oleum Metallic gold; I also included additional details such as contouring with a metallic gold/darker brown acrylic paint mix and used rhinestones to match the fancy energy the rest of the costume has.


Now that the base was made and the painting was done, I added in the attachments and closures. I glued the ropes directly onto the armor since the logistics of making it separate/attached to the cape ended up getting pretty cumbersome. It’s secured tightly with lots of hot glue on the edges and the area directly underneath the velcro patch to avoid it lifting up. There’s two squares of velcro and two magnets at the corners of the blanket to keep it in place, as well as a patch of velcro all along the back. The wings use two squares of velcro each on the shoulders.

To close the armor itself, there’s an additional small velcro strip along the back edge to keep it nice and tight, but because the shape is so molded it’s able to stay on and look fitted even if the velcro in the back doesn’t hook.

And that’s mostly that, folks! In summary, Hypnos’s neck armor was created first by using a duct tape neck armor pattern, then a main base of 4 mm EVA foam which was reinforced with Worbla’s Black Art underneath, primed and painted with fun details and secured with velcro and magnets.

 

And here’s the final costume! The neck armor did its job well and supported everything like a champ without the usual damage that occurs with EVA foam. It was also comfortable (albeit a little tricky to get on, haha)
I hope this was informative and useful! :^)

Hypnos Neck Armor – Using Worbla’s Black Art to reinforce EVA foam

We partnered with squeakadeekn on their Hypnos build and they created 2 tutorials for us. The first we’re sharing is this fantastic breakdown on how to make neck armor, using Worbla as a base under EVA foam for a sturdy but lightweight, durable piece of armor!

A challenge of working with EVA foam is it can be too soft and too flexible; this makes it difficult to use for foundation pieces that have to support big costume parts and often leads to excessive wrinkling. A fantastic solution to this is using Worbla as an understructure beneath your foam. The Worbla increases its overall strength and limits how much it’s allowed to flex. This allows you to still use foam priming and assembly methods, but have more versatility in terms of using it to support heavy items and reduce the speed of foam aging.

When making Hypnos’s neck armor I planned it to also be the attachment mechanism for his big blanket cape, so it needs to support a lot of weight. Plain foam would wrinkle and tear, but the Worbla understructure makes it strong enough to do this, and even helps enforce its shape too!

Materials:
⦁ Saran Wrap
⦁ Duct tape
⦁ 4 and 2 mm EVA foam
⦁ Worbla’s Black Art
⦁ Kwick Seal
⦁ Contact Cement
⦁ Hot Glue
⦁ PVA glue / PlastiDip + Filler Primer / foam primers
⦁ Rustoleum gold spray paint + gold/brown acrylic paints
⦁ Velcro closures
⦁ Magnets

Patterning:
To get the pattern for Hypnos’s neck armor, I started by covering a dress form in the saran wrap and duct tape. On the duct tape cover, I used a pen to draw on the shape of the neck armor including seam lines and potential spots for velcro/magnets to attach the blanket cape. In general I try to add seam lines in the areas where there’s a nonlinear curve in the silhouette (in this case, the shoulders, neck line, and front of the armor). It’s worth including that the flat neck section shown here was just a placeholder, since I will be using a much more shaped and articulated neck pattern I had modified from Evil Ted Smith.

After this I cut out the duct tape pattern and tried it on for a quick sanity check to make sure that it fits and is shaped generally how I want it.


Once the pattern is made, I then transferred it onto 4 mm EVA foam. Here you can also see the more articulated neck pattern I had mentioned previously. The neck and shoulder sections are separate to allow for a more pronounced transition from neck to shoulder.

Assembly:
With the pieces cut out, I then assembled the base of the armor using contact cement. The neck and shoulders are still separate, but after a test fit I marked where the transition line is for reference (seen as the silver pen line in the first image below).

At this point I secured the neck and the shoulder pieces together using hot glue and trimmed the excess foam overlap underneath.
Now that it was one unified piece, I sketched out potential placements for the detailing using a silver pen. Once I knew the positions, I cut out small strips of 2 mm eva foam and began laying them down on the armor using contact cement.

Worbla Understructure:

Now for creating the Worbla’s Black Art understructure! Since this armor was also going to be used as a support for Hypnos’s very heavy blanket cape and wings, plain unsupported foam would have torn, wrinkled, and put a lot of stress on the front of my neck. This was a good solution to all of those problems, resulting in an armor piece that let me use the priming methods I like for foam and had the durability of Worbla!

To make the understructure, I took the same duct tape pattern pieces I had used for the foam armor and traced them onto Worbla’s Black Art, making sure to cut around 1/4th of an inch smaller along the outer edges so it won’t poke out from the corners. I also added around ½ of an inch of extra length on the sides to allow all of the pieces to overlap. You may notice that I only added Worbla to the shoulder section, this is because the neck section won’t be used to support the blanket or wings, so it was fine to leave it as plain foam.


The Worbla’s Black Art was then heated and pressed onto the underside of the foam armor on the adhesive side, section by section with occasional dabs of hot glue to secure the Worbla extra tight to the foam. I also overlapped the Worbla pieces to solidify the structure. The back edges overlap/wrap slightly around the foam for added security.

I had concerns about the comfort of the edges and seams against my skin, but for the test fits I’d worn it for, I didn’t experience any poking or pain. However If you are worried about this, you can always add in an additional layer of felt, fleece, or other soft fabric as a comfort lining.

Priming and Painting:
With the structure done, it was time for priming and painting! I followed my go-to procedure for priming EVA foam with is as follows:

  •  Heat seal the foam until smooth
  •  I also used kwick seal with water after heat sealing to smooth the seams on the neck and shoulder portions.
  •  Apply 3 layers of a PVA glue/water mixture with a brush, sanding down with a 200 grit sandpaper at the end
  •  2 coats of PlastiDip
  •  One coat of filler Primer (I only do this step if something goes hinky with the plastidip, in this case a few drops of rain fell onto it while drying so it needed one last filler layer to smooth everything over)


The gold I used for the color was 2 coats of Rust-oleum Metallic gold; I also included additional details such as contouring with a metallic gold/darker brown acrylic paint mix and used rhinestones to match the fancy energy the rest of the costume has.


Now that the base was made and the painting was done, I added in the attachments and closures. I glued the ropes directly onto the armor since the logistics of making it separate/attached to the cape ended up getting pretty cumbersome. It’s secured tightly with lots of hot glue on the edges and the area directly underneath the velcro patch to avoid it lifting up. There’s two squares of velcro and two magnets at the corners of the blanket to keep it in place, as well as a patch of velcro all along the back. The wings use two squares of velcro each on the shoulders.

To close the armor itself, there’s an additional small velcro strip along the back edge to keep it nice and tight, but because the shape is so molded it’s able to stay on and look fitted even if the velcro in the back doesn’t hook.

And that’s mostly that, folks! In summary, Hypnos’s neck armor was created first by using a duct tape neck armor pattern, then a main base of 4 mm EVA foam which was reinforced with Worbla’s Black Art underneath, primed and painted with fun details and secured with velcro and magnets.

 

And here’s the final costume! The neck armor did its job well and supported everything like a champ without the usual damage that occurs with EVA foam. It was also comfortable (albeit a little tricky to get on, haha)
I hope this was informative and useful! :^)

Sewn Construction for Armor with Worbla’s Black Art

One of the most interesting builds we have seen in a while, we sponsored All Tomorrow’s Patterns (GillianConahan on IG)  in this sewn armor build using Worbla’s Black Art, and shared the process with us! Take a look at this method, and see if it might help you in your next build!

Foam may be the most common support material to use with Worbla materials, but it’s far from the only option. I’m always looking for options that will retain Worbla’s most useful properties but add structure and strength as needed – especially those that won’t off-gas when heated, which can cause bubbles in your worbla in addition to being hazardous for your health.

For this armor I decided to try using the cotton canvas I’d already purchased for the base layer vest and harnesses. Although cotton can scorch at very high temperatures, it’s perfectly fine in the normal working range for Worbla’s Black Art, and it’s nicely crisp and easy to work with and doesn’t fray excessively. You can control fraying still further by zigzag stitching over the edges and/or running a line of water-based glue along each cut edge, working it into the fabric and allowing it to dry before you continue.

Since I was already adding fabric to the equation, I decided I’d go ahead and try sewing my armor together. It was even more effective than I would have hoped! Worbla’s Black Art is sticky enough to bond to the fabric while working, but still moves through the machine easily even when warm – so you can sew it while it’s soft and flexible. While stickier Worbla materials like Mesh Art are also theoretically sewable, they have to be worked while cool (or at least partially cooled) so they’ll be harder to manipulate into shaped seams.

Unlike foam and other materials that are typically held together with glues or the Worbla’s own adhesive, the fabric substrate retains its proportions and structure even when the Worbla is in its softened state, so it resists distortion and can be restored after crumpling or crushing. Also, by placing a solid object behind the fabric you can create a hard base that won’t squish or dent when you press on it with a sculpting tool, so it’s easier to smooth and sculpt as well.

MATERIALS:

  • Canvas or heavyweight muslin (100% cotton is best)
  • 1/4″ Cotton twill tape for reinforcing edges
  • Water-based fabric glue to prevent fraying
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Denim needles
  • Worbla’s Black Art
  • Fasteners and attachments of your choice
  • Scraps of Worbla’s Mesh Art for reinforcement
  • Flexible primer (such as Flexbond) and paints

 

PAULDRONS

The pauldrons are simple pieces shaped with darts, so they’re a great place to start. Create a rough version of the shape with tinfoil covered in masking tape, (01) then cut darts or seams into any curved areas until the piece can lie flat. The darts will be smoother and easier to sew if you curve them a little, so the transition at the point is as gentle as possible. Mock up your preliminary pattern in heavyweight non-woven craft interfacing, using a zigzag stitch to join the edges with no seam allowance required. (02) Refine the shape as needed, making sure that you know how you plan to join the layers. The lowest layer in my example is more fitted, with three short darts to round it around the shoulder. The middle layer has one long dart for a more gently curved shape, and the top tier has a seam down the middle. Each pair of tiers joins at two pivot points, front and back. (I was still thinking some things through, so I patterned the first two tiers and started the final version before going back and figuring out the top tier, but in other situations it might be more sensible to do them all at once.)

Once you’re happy with the pattern, cut your pattern pieces out of the canvas, omitting all seam allowances. Cut the same pieces out of Black Art, leaving about a half inch to fold in around the edges but cutting exactly at the edge of the fabric for any internal seams and darts. (03) Heat your Worbla’s Black Art and place the fabric, making sure it’s smooth and flat and evenly adhered. The Black Art isn’t very sticky, so you need to get it quite hot and press down firmly on a hard surface to prevent the layers from separating as you work with them.

Set your machine up with all-purpose thread and a zigzag stitch, about 1.5-2mm length and as wide as the stitch will go (6mm on my machine). I got good results with a universal needle, approximately size 14. A denim needle might help if you need more piercing power. Start sewing at the point end of the dart, making sure that the zigzag catches both sides and easing the sides of the dart together as you sew toward the open end. (04) You may find it easier to pull the dart closed if you soften the worbla before sewing, but you may also get some crumpling or buckling in the areas around the seam that you’ll need to correct afterward. The fabric helps the piece to retain its shape, so you don’t need to worry about stretching or distortion too much. (05)

After sewing, reheat the piece and press it on a smooth surface (I use a glass trivet) to bond the Black Art across the dart and also bury the stitches slightly so they’re easier to smooth over later. (06) You can leave the seam as is at this point and smooth the area when you prime the piece (the stitches absorb the first coat but disappear nicely after 2-3 coats of Flexbond) or use an additional strip of Black Art to cover and blend the seam. Trim the ‘hem’ to an even width and fold the edges in. Heat thoroughly and use a sculpting tool to blend the edges into the fabric lining so they stick. (07) If not adding a sculpted border, I also like to run a flat tool along the edge of the piece so it’s crisp and square.

 

To attach the pauldrons, I made a canvas cuff to go around my upper arm with a short length of elastic on the underside and an extension at the top to go through a small rectangular ring. (08) Once you have the cuff fitted to the correct size and length, join it to the inner layer of the pauldron with stitches or rivets. You may need to reheat the pauldron piece slightly to get it to move through the machine nicely, but then you can attach the strap with a simple back and forth straight stitch. For the multi-tiered pauldron, I used snap tabs looped through the rings to join the tiers, which allows for some movement and allows the pieces to be separated if necessary. Another snap tab joins the pauldron to the base vest. The back banners are attached to a spring clip that hooks onto a small D-ring on a strap riveted to the inside of the pauldron. (09)

BREASTPLATE

The breastplate uses a similar but slightly more involved construction method. I developed the pattern from my personal block using flat drafting techniques, but you could also use a commercial pattern or the tape wrap method to get the necessary shapes. (10) Use heavyweight muslin or similar for the first mockup, then draw in any extra seams and construction details and transfer them back to the base pattern.

Since I planned to combine the Black Art breastplate with a leather and canvas base vest, I constructed the vest first to ensure the pieces would fit together correctly (11) and then mocked up the breastplate in more craft interfacing and made any necessary corrections. (12) When fitting a rigid breastplate, remember that the front chest measurement between the shoulders is important for mobility. If you make this area too wide, it will prevent you from moving your arms forward. If you look at historical breastplates, they usually cut in here for exactly that reason.

The breastplate design uses a three-piece cup set into a frame piece that goes almost all the way around. In this case, I decided it would be easiest to use a lapped construction to set the cup into the frame, so I added a 3/8″ seam allowance on the cup pieces only for both fabric and Black Art. As with the pauldrons, first stabilize the fabric pieces to prevent fraying. All edges without seam allowances get zigzagged and brushed with glue, and the edges with allowances were straight stitched along the seam line. You may also wish to trim these edges with pinking shears to soften the edge and make it less visible. Clip into the seam allowance up to just before the stitching line to allow it to flex. (Space the clips about 3/8″-1/2″ apart, using the pinked edge as a guide to keep them even.) (13)

Even sturdy fabrics like this canvas can be prone to stretching on the bias, especially along curves and narrow extensions like the lower part of the frame. These areas can be stabilized by stitching cotton twill tape along the edge where the cup will be inserted – zigzagging at the cut edge and straight stitching along the interior edge. (14) If your tape is 100% cotton, you can shape it around the curve by pressing and steaming it with an iron. If I was doing it again, I would have also stabilized all the outer edges of the piece in the same way.

Adhere the cups to their Black Art layer just as before. (15) Trim exactly to the cut edge along the internal seams, but you can leave a little extra along the frame edge to help with blending. Cut the Black Art for the frame piece as well, but don’t apply it to the canvas yet. The full breastplate gets a little large and unwieldy to maneuver through a domestic sewing machine, so the cups will be sewn into the canvas layer alone and the Black Art applied afterward.

Assemble the cups using the same method that was used for the darts, using a wide zigzag stitch with a short stitch length and easing the edges together from one end to the other. Heat and press on a hard surface to smooth and blend. Then, heat the outer edges and bend them outward a little so they’ll be flat and ready to go into the frame. (This is why the canvas edges needed to be clipped, since they don’t stretch the way the Black Art does. If you missed that step, just clip into both layers now.) (16) Transfer the placement line for the lapped seam to the outside of the cup by stitching along the seam line again, this time through all layers.

Get the edges of one cup piece nice and hot so they’ll stick to the canvas frame and hold it in place for stitching. Place the frame on top, making sure to match any construction marks and pressing down firmly. Place it in the machine with the cup to the left of the foot, so it doesn’t get in the way of the needle bar as you stitch, and zigzag flat all the way around the cup. (17) Repeat for the second cup, which may be somewhat harder to maneuver depending on the size of your breastplate and machine. You may need to soften the Black Art so it can be manipulated out of the way, then reheat to restore the shape afterward.

Once the cups have been inserted, you can apply the Black Art to the frame. (18) Fold the hem extensions in around the edges just like we did on the pauldrons. If you forgot to leave a hem allowance on any of the pieces, you can apply a separate strip of Black Art to the inside and blend it over the edge to join it.

The large breastplate piece will probably take some work to get smooth, since the cups will want to pull the piece into a body shape while gravity wants to pull everything flat. One solution might be to do this on a dress form, if you have one that will tolerate the heat well, or just heat and shape small sections at a time, shaping the piece over a hard ball or your knee to help get smooth curves. The canvas will tend to pull the piece smooth and take the shape that you’ve patterned in as long as everything is well supported and not sagging under gravity. (19)

Most of the breastplate does pretty well with the basic layers of canvas and Black Art, but I found that the ‘bridge’ area between the cups was particularly prone to buckling and wrinkling due to the contrast between the more rigid seam allowance and the flat fabric between. I added a small piece of Worbla’s Mesh Art to the inside to help fill and support this gap, as it’s stickier and sturdier than Black Art and thus perfect for reinforcement. I also blended strips of Black Art across the seams in the cups, to help smooth and add structure before I sculpted details on top. (20)

Choose your breastplate fasteners according to the type of support needed as well as the underlying structure. I used trouser hooks at the shoulders to take the main weight, and magnetic snaps at the underarms as an easy way to keep the plate from shifting around. The trouser hooks are the prong-back kind, with little teeth that pass through the fabric and worbla layers and clamp onto a support plate. (21) I usually stick a dime under the edge of the hook to prevent me from squishing it flat while I bend the teeth down with pliers. (22) The magnetic snaps (usually sold as purse clasps) are similar, but because the tabs are wider and rounded you’ll need to cut slits in the material to fit them through, so be careful to get the placement right on the first try. (23) After applying the fastener, you can conceal the back plate by blending another scrap of Black Art across it. (24)

For the lower corner of the breastplate I simply cut a hole that allows the side strap to snap through onto the base layer. (25) This works because these heavy-duty snaps have a certain amount of inherent thickness, but you need to be careful that your canvas and Black Art layers don’t exceed that thickness or they’ll interfere with the functioning of the snap.

HIP FINS

This is a slightly eccentric detail of this armor, but I include it because it uses a third type of assembly that doesn’t appear elsewhere on the set. For this piece, both sides are visible, so the final piece has a ‘sandwich’ construction with Black Art on both sides.

The pattern for this piece was developed using the same method as the pauldrons, building up the shape with aluminum foil and masking tape and then cutting the pieces apart. I also made note of where it crossed the underlying harness straps, so that I would have a guide for adding attachments later. The components have different curves and join at an odd angle, (26) so they seemed like they would be difficult to ease together in a butted seam. The solution was to apply Black Art to one side of each piece, sew them together with a conventional seam, and then apply the other side of the ‘sandwich’ to cover the seam allowance.

When cutting out the fin pieces, include about a 3/8″ seam allowance on the canvas only. The Black Art does not extend into the seam, but it has a 1/2″ foldover allowance around the outer edges. Cut one pair of fins in canvas and two pairs in Black Art, and sew twill tape just inside the stitching line as described for the breastplate. Clip the seam allowances as necessary around any sharp curves. Apply Black Art to the outward-facing side of each piece, and zigzag stitch over the edge right along where the seam will be to keep it in place during assembly. (27)

When sewing Black Art face to Black Art face, make sure you place something between the layers so that they don’t bond together under the pressure of the foot. I used a strip of cotton bias tape, as it’s easy to manipulate along the seam line and can be peeled up once the Black Art is cool. (28)

It’s normal for one or both pieces to ripple as you’re easing two different curves together, but this can make the piece difficult to maneuver if it stiffens too much while you’re still sewing. You may need to stitch the seam in sections, reheating in between to keep the whole piece soft and workable. Make sure your tape barrier remains in position between any areas where the Black Art layers are in contact, but doesn’t cross the actual stitching line or you won’t be able to remove it. Overlap several stitches each time you stop and restart the seam to prevent it from unraveling. Afterward, make sure you neatly clip all your thread ends to keep them from getting fried by the heat. (29)

Fold the outer edges over, and blend them in as smoothly as possible as another layer of Black Art will be added on top. (30) The pieces get much more rigid once the other layer of is applied, so it’s a good idea to add any sewn-on hardware at this stage as well. I sewed in three snap tabs, one at the peak of the curve and one on either side where the armor piece lines up with the harness underneath. (31) The other half of the snap can be applied to the base harness once the shape and placement of the fin are finalized.

If you notice that the seam is taking a lot of stress in certain areas, or if you want a little extra reinforcement and rigidity, you can add a strip of Mesh Art across the seam line on the less visible side. You’ll be able to smooth it out some by blending the backing layer of Black Art across it, but the seam allowances still tend to create a bit of a lump that needs some work to look neat. Apply the second layer of Black Art and smooth all seams with a sculpting tool. You can trim off the foldover allowance for the second layer, or leave the excess material in order to sculpt a raised edge detail. (32)

SCULPTED DETAILING

Once the base forms are complete, you can go back and plan out your detailing. You can draw the design on your original pattern pieces, (33) or design directly on your assembled armor with a pencil (34) or by laying down a layer of masking tape to draw on. (The nice thing about this is that when you’re happy with the design, you can peel up the tape, cut out individual design elements, and stick them directly to another piece of Black Art as a guide for cutting.)

Preshape the sculpted elements as much as possible to avoid distorting the base pieces when you reheat to attach them. (Some sculpting in place will still be necessary as you will need to shape the detail pieces over a curved surface, but the more you can minimize it the better.) Spirals and swirls are easiest to create by starting with a plain strip, folding and rolling it into a snake, and then coiling it into the final shape. (35) For simpler leaf, scale, or petal shapes, it may be easiest to cut out the finished shape with scissors and then refine with sculpting tools. (36) For repeated elements of consistent size, like when you’re building a symmetrical design, I like to cut 1/4″ or 1/2″ strips of Black Art and snip off matching pieces in order to make sure that each component starts with the same amount of raw material.

I also like to finish my armor pieces with a sculpted border, which is usually a simple strip of Black Art cut to roughly twice the desired width and then folded in half lengthwise to give it more substance. I coil this strip into a spiral and heat until the whole thing is very flexible, then lightly warm the edge of the armor piece so it’s tacky and lay the whole border in place. From there it’s an incremental process of reheating and refining a few inches at a time to create your desired border shape, which can be rounded, square, beveled, or have more elaborate sculpted details as you prefer. (37)

ADDITIONAL PIECES

I used the same fabric-backed method to construct the vambraces (38) and helmet (39). The small wings on the back of the costume were constructed similarly to the sword, (link to sword tutorial), with a cardboard base and a mix of Worbla products to assemble the structure and add sculpted details. They’re built around a wire core repurposed from a heavy-duty drapery hanger, which slides into a loop sewn to the back of the armor to attach. (40)

PRIME AND PAINT

Because all the pieces go together with snap tabs and Chicago screws, the multi-tiered pauldrons and vambraces can be completely disassembled for paint. (41) The combination of fabric and one or two layers of Black Art remains fairly springy, so you will want a primer with some flexibility to avoid issues with cracking. I used Flexbond for most of these pieces, which can be smoothed with a soft wet brush between coats. For anything with exposed cardboard (like the wings,) use caution selecting primers and do a test to make sure you won’t cause warping or rippling, but good quality backing board or book board may be fine even with water-based primers like Flexbond. Most of the armor is painted with a light-bodied matte black acrylic, with gold metallic acrylic that I dulled down with some pewter to get a more subdued shade for the accents. The metallic is not entirely opaque, and I applied light coats over the black with a dry brush to give it a slightly weathered finish. (42)

The Finished Build!

Gillian also created the sword you see pictured using Worbla’s Black Art and cardstock – and shared the process to make your own! You can find that tutorial here: Cardboard Sword Build

Jeanne D’Arc Alter – Worbla and Foam Armor

 

We sponsored the wonderful CheeseCakePanda Cosplay for her Jeanne D’Arc costume from Fate Grand Order and the final build is amazing! She shared her progress with us and you can see just how she used Worbla and basic foam to create this build – and you can use the same techniques for your own armor! If you want to make this version of Jeanne, CheeseCakePanda is also offering the pattern on her Etsy here!
 

 

KobraCast Art for Lightweight Collars

If you have a character with a large collar it can be difficult to really execute from design to reality without relying on heavy materials that require you to be careful with handling – buckram is great but doesn’t handle sweat well and can’t be allowed to get wet, interfacing slowly breaks down and shows creasing, and wire can add a lot of weight, snap, or rust through fabric, and Fosshape can be too thick when a thin, sharp look is required.

KobraCast Art is an excellent alternative when those elements are a concern. It can be laminated to your fabrics, sewn through, is waterproof, and has memory that allows it to be handled far more roughly than most stabilizers and simply snaps back into place. If under extreme pressure it creases, you can simply iron or heat it back into shape.  We used it to make this extreme raised collar as an example of what you can create: your next witch, wizard, or Sakizou design just got easier! 

(Oh and did we mention light weight? The whole collar pictured below weighs 123g or 4.3 ounces.)

Here’s how we did it – and how you can too!

Step One: Patterning
Figure out your pattern with paper first. This collar was just eyeballed and drafted into the dress form, then cleaned up to make sure it was symmetrical. 

Step 2: Fabric

Note: For this build we created a sort of slip cover for the KobraCast, so there would be a seam along the outside edge, instead of simply laminating the fabrics to each side and cutting the shape out. The pros of this process are that you have a completely closed, clean edge on the outside of your build. The cons are that your stitching/cutting need to be very exact, or there will be areas your fabric extends past your KobraCast, your closed edge can be visually thicker than you’d like depending on your fabric, and stretch fabrics (like we used here) might stretch as you heart and laminate the fabrics later.
(In short, you can do it this way, but if I make a collar like this for myself I’d just laminate the fabrics to the KobraCast and cut them out together, and hide the edge with trim)

Cut out your fabric using your pattern. We used some leftover spandex scraps – red for one side, black for the other. Stitch them together along the outside edge and turn inside out.

Step Three: KobraCast

Cut your KobraCast out using your paper pattern, then slip it inside. Make sure you have the edges matched as close as possible and if necessary, clip in place, then iron both sides flat. The Kobracast will fuse to your fabric, so be careful of stretching the fabric as you iron (you can see I didn’t pay attention and have some excess fabric on the right side of the third image)

Step Four: Shaping

To shape this collar, I pinned the neckline into place onto my dress form and then heated each area I wanted to work on one at a time. KobraCast is very soft when heated, so hand shaping big, flat areas can be tricky, especially because KobraCast has stretch along one side, so you can warp a piece if you aren’t careful. I rolled some craft foam into a cone, placed it between my dress form and the collar, heated the collar with my heat gun (being careful not to burn the fabric!) and then taped the collar in place while it cooled.

Step Five: Decorate

I covered half the collar to show how things might look with additional details – and to show that said details can be sewn on. The overlap fabric is sewn, as is the trim around the outside edge, and the lace appliques are glued down. You can sew the collar into your costume or create a removeable system – snaps, Velcro, magnets, hooks – whatever works best for you and your design. This makes transportation and storage a LOT easier, as you don’t have to worry about the collar getting damaged when in a suitcase or hanging from a hanger.

Here’s a video of how simple it is to move, pack, or store the collar. Now go and make your own outsized collar – and share it with us!

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Lenore (@elementalsight)

Childe’s Mask from Genshin Impact

If you play Genshin Impact you’re probably familiar with Childe’s iconic mask from his default outfit. We teamed up with Winterstar Cosplay for this build, supplying the Worbla as she created this tutorial on how to make your own mask from Worbla’s Black Art, some EVA foam, acrylic paints and simple tools! You can see how it came together, and the video following the whole process below!

 


 

Removeable Armored Shoe Covers (Layered)

Using Worbla to Make Sturdy and Removable Cosplay Boots!

 

By Maker Fishmeal (also on YouTube and Facebook)

I like to use Worbla for my boots since it provides structure and stability on a piece of armor that has to withstand wear and tear. I also always make my boot armor removable so that I can wear my comfiest pair of boots! Here’s how I do it:

Pattern
Your first step is to pattern! For this project, I began with my basic boot armor pattern (which you can make yourself using the saran wrap and tape method). Building from there, I refined the shapes and did some additional saran wrap and taping to emulate the reference. Of course, all patterning is done on the actual shoes I’ll be wearing with the costume.

Foamsmith
Using your pattern, cut your pieces from 2mm foam and then contact cement them into shape. Using a rotary tool, round down the edges and sand the seams to get a cleaner Worbla application.

Worbla smith
Cut pieces of Worbla (I used Worbla’s Black Art for my project since it has a smooth texture) slightly larger than your foamsmithed pieces. Heat the Worbla and form it to your pieces. Fold the excess material to the underside of the foam to create clean edges.

Perfect the Worbla
You can reheat the Worbla to perfect your application (pop out dents, round edges etc.). You can also use a rotary tool to clean seams. Make sure that you shape your pieces to fit the contours of the shoes you’ll be wearing under the armor!

Seal
Use a foam brush to apply wood glue to the Worbla. The smoother your application the easier your smoothing and sanding will be later – you can tell from my drips that I didn’t do a great job…

Perfect your finish
Alternate sanding and filler primer until you’re happy with the surface of your armor. To correct my sloppy sealing I used sandpaper grits from 60 up to 400.

Paint and top coat
Paint to your taste! In this case I used rattle cans for color and Rust-Oleum Universal High-gloss Clear for the top coat, but acrylics, Mod Podge, airbrushing, etc. all work perfectly.

Strap
This step can be tricky – it’s time to strap your armor so that you can either put the armor on after you put on your shoes or put your shoes on your feet after the armor’s on the boots. I chose the latter, and used a combination of purse snaps, elastic, and Velcro to connect all of the pieces. I like to use elastic on my boots so that there’s flexibility to allow for comfortable walking.

And with that, you’re done! I use this strategy for almost every armor cosplay I make. I love that I can walk on them at a con or shoot and not worry about wearing through soft foam. Thank you for reading – I can’t wait to see what you make!

Darth Maul Samurai Build

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! 

An image of Brian's Samurai costume

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

 

 

With much thanks to Brian for sharing his amazing skills with us! Check out his work as  Perler Tricks on Facebook and on Instagram

Creating a Creepy Anglerfish from Worbla

Amanda of Elemental Photography and Design created this piece for display using Worbla’s Finest Art and some supplies from the local discount/dollar store and shared her process with us below!

Sculpting with Worbla – especially off cuts and scraps – is easy especially if you work from a base to bulk up a design. You can use aluminum foil and foam, but I love repurposing other lightweight items from discount stores. Like hollow acrylic shapes like balls or Easter eggs! 

 

You will need:

  • Easter egg that can be separated into halves
  • masking tape
  • craft foam
  • Worbla scraps / off cuts
  • some paper or aluminum foil (for bulk)
  • references (optional)
  • scissors (not pictured)
  • sculpting tools (not pictured)

Step One: Build Your Base

Take your egg apart and nest the pieces together to get the base angle you want your fish to have. Tape or glue in place – you’re covering this in Worbla later so neatness isn’t a priority. 
Next build up your base layers with some craft foam, including the lips and any major ridges you want the fish to have.

Step Two: Base Worbla!

Take your Worbla scraps and starting with the largest pieces, heat them up and wrap your fish in them! They will stick to one another and to the foam, and you just want to get everything covered here.  Decide where your large folds, gills, and eyes are going to go and sculpt them up with more scraps – you can see the eyes are just a ball of Worbla pressed flat and the flesh around the eyes are just more scraps folded in half to add depth and pressed into place.

Step Three: ALL THE DETAILS

Add more scraps! More layers! Then sculpt with tools – keep your tools wet to keep them from sticking to your Worbla. To blend your seams, hit the area where you have a seam with high heat for a moment until it is very soft, then use a WET smooth tool (like a spoon or curved wooden tool) and using circling motions ‘burnish’ the seam away. You can see how the seams have been blended around the eyes and back in the 3rd and 4th picture. Do this to avoid needing to add primer later!

 

Step Four: FINS and LIGHT

Create your fins – I did two types, one with 2 layers of Worbla and the spines just pressed in, and two with 2 layers of Worbla and little Worbla snake ‘spines’. 
The lure is a snake made of Worbla scraps heated and rolled together then sculpted details. 

Step Five: Attach Bits Part One

Attach your pieces and blend seams as you have before.

Step Six: THE MOUTH

Start by filling in the mouth with some Worbla to hide the interior. Then paint it! You don’t wanna try to paint it AFTER adding teeth, trust me….

Step Seven: TEETH and final details

Roll Worbla noodle snakes, add points, and then attach as your teeth. Finish any last details like more gills and smoothing seams.

Step Eight: Paint!

I used Jacquard Lumiere paints and pigments for this fish – any acrylics will work but I love the coverage Jacquard gives for Worbla projects! For extra fun you could add some glow in the dark pigments which is something I hope to do later :D You can prime first if you want a smoother surface but I love the Worbla texture on this creature so this was painted unprimed!

 

Now go forth and create your own monster fish! 

Owl Mask with Pearly Art

A great project to learn the basics of working with Worbla, this build uses Pearly Art but can be done with any of the standard sheet types. 

 

Step 1: Create your basic template on paper, then when happy with it transfer it to 2mm foam (craft or EVA foam).  For the second layer of foam, cut circles and tack down with glue or double sided tape, then cut out eye holes using a craft knife.  Optional: Heat seal the foam by heating it with the heat gun for a few seconds. Only do this if you have a well ventilated area.

 

Step 2:  Cut a piece of Worbla larger than the foam. Heat the Worbla until it is soft and pliable. If it is too hot to touch, let it cool slightly before working with it. Place your foam template (raised layers down) onto the Worbla, making sure there is excess at all sides, then flip it over. Using a sculpting tool or your fingers, press down on all the edges. (Use water to help your fingers or tools glide over the Worbla.)

Step 3: When you’ve finished pressing the Worbla around the foam, let it cool then flip it over. Cut relief triangles all around the outside excess, saving the scraps, and stopping before the foam edge.  Heating one section at a time, fold the tabs over and press together where they meet. Worbla is self adhesive and will stick to itself when warm. If you have an area where you mis-cut or have too large a gap, use your scraps to patch the opening. This is known as the ‘folding method’.

Step 4 and 5: Flip the mask over and heating one side at a time, use a tool to further emphasize the foam layers and smooth the curves where the ‘tabs’ may have created a slight bump or angle.  Allow the mask to cool before using a craft knife to cut a horizontal and vertical slit in the eyes: do this while the plastic is cool, not warm, as when warm it may tear. Once you’ve made the cut, heat the eye area and press the eyes open, folding the edges under. Now you have a finished base.

Step 6: If you want the mask to have a specific curve and intend to keep heating it to add more details, you’ll want it to rest on something once you shape it. This is a piece of cardboard bent in a V and held by a piece of tape. If you want a curve instead of a sharper V, bottles, tailors hams, bowls, or even crumpled paper can be used to support your form.  Heat your mask and shape as you’d like your final form to take. Add loops for your ties with some Worbla scraps on the back here if this is to be worn. 

Tip:
You can shape your mask as the last step instead of now, but the more layers you add to your Worbla, or the more details that are not sitting flat to the mask, the more heat it will take to warm the Worbla all the way through to shape later. Shaping later can also cause raised details to ‘deflate’ and need to be adjusted. We suggest shaping here for best results.

Step 7: Details! You can heat and sculpt into Worbla, being careful not to tear it away from the foam base.  Metal or wooden tools work best, with water to help prevent them from sticking. Additional layers can be added – the V detail was made with 2 layers of Worbla heated together first then cut to shape for more body, while the feather/scale details are just single layers of Worbla cut from the scraps. Always make sure you heat both the mask and the Worbla you want to attach to each other. Both need to be warm to create a strong bond!

Tip 1: Heating too much can create air bubbles if your foam off-gasses. You can press many down with fingers, but stubborn ones can be popped by 1) letting the Worbla cool and pressing a sharp pin through the plastic where the bubble is and 2) reheating and pressing the air though the pin hole. 

Tip 2: If you’re not sure about placement, you can heat a detail until it’s just warm and then press it in place on a cold mask. It will stick, but not bond, allowing you to play with placement and design elements until you are happy.

Step 8: Paint! Worbla products all have some surface texture and Pearly Art has something close to a fine grade sandpaper. If left as is the texture will be obvious through paint. Priming can smooth the texture easily. The beak, gold feathers along the beak, and V forehead were all primed with 2 coats of Flexbond, our favorite primer for Worbla.  (Our gold paint let us down a bit on the brush stroke department however.)
You can see a close up of the difference in texture between primed and unprimed in the second image above. 

Step 9: Not really a step – we just added more shadows and details. Note: You can still shape your Worbla even now. Keep in mind your paint needs to be flexible if you do so, or the Worbla will shift and your paint may crack or wrinkle.  

Remember to always save your Worbla scraps. They can be reused in new projects!

Working with Cardboard Instead of Foam – Sword Build

We teamed up with Gillian of All Tomorrow’s Patterns (GillianConahan on IG) for a tutorial on building a sword with her preferred stabilizer – cardboard or cardstock instead of foam! This allows a lighter, sharper finish, which can be excellent for bladed weapons and large builds! 

 

Materials:

– Thin cardboard or book board (about 1.2mm thickness, solid all the way through and smooth on both sides)
– carbon kite rod or other thin, rigid support core
– Worbla’s Kobracast Art for internal support on the blade
– Worbla’s Black Art for the hilt and detailing
– twine to wrap the hilt for bulk
– light-bodied acrylic gesso or your preferred primer
– light-bodied acrylic paints in your preferred metallic shades plus black
– glass cabochons for gems
– leather scrap and heavy linen thread for hilt wrap, plus a scrap of felt for padding.

I like to use cardboard as a base for sword props, especially the blade portion, because it’s lightweight, can be cut with just a craft knife, and it creates flat, smooth surfaces and edges with relatively little effort. You can also crease it to create added structure and rigidity, which I used to my advantage for this large unusually-shaped blade. The cardboard is solid all the way through, smooth and uncoated on both sides and about 1.2–1.5mm thick. I got a large sheet from an art store, but also stole the cardboard off the backs of several notebooks to cut smaller pieces. (I’ve used thinner oak tag for other projects, but found that it wasn’t rigid enough for this wide blade and tended to curl and lose its shape.)

For this build, which is based on the Dawn Court Warlord’s battle gear from volume 5 of Monstress, I started by drawing the pattern out by hand on tracing paper. I find it easiest to work full size for large props, as it gives a more intuitive sense of the proportions.

 

Blade

Transfer the blade design to the cardboard by rubbing a soft pencil on the back of the pattern and using a hard pencil or ball-point stylus to go over the outline from the front. Draw in the crease lines down the center of the blade and around each of the curved edge bevels, then score them with an awl so they bend cleanly. This gives the blade almost enough dimension to hold its shape even before adding the support.

Next, rough cut Worbla’s Kobracast Art to fit each half of the blade. Kobracast has a pronounced texture that can require a lot of finishing if you use it on a surface face, so I like to use it on the inside of the cardboard and use the smoother, sandable paper as the outside. Kobracast is very lightweight and can warp and flutter unpredictably as it heats, so it helps to leave a little extra and trim it off later. It’s also important to heat it evenly all the way across the piece so that the stiff cold areas don’t pull the softened areas out of shape. Weight one end to prevent it from shifting and start heating from the other end, sweeping slowly back and forth across the blade while moving along its length.  The material is very sticky and just needs to be pressed down lightly to adhere it to the cardboard. Once the piece is smoothly covered, trim away the excess and make sure all areas are firmly adhered, reheating and pressing down as necessary. 

The large projection on one side of this blade turned out to need a little extra support, so I cut an additional piece of cardboard that I just stuck to the inside of the Kobracast, making sure to keep it a little way from the edges so there’d still be enough adhesive to hold the two halves of the sword together. This is also a good time to insert the core support for the sword, in this case a 12mm pultruded carbon tube that I ordered from a kite shop and cut to length with a hand saw. Kobracast is very sticky when activated, so usually nothing special is needed to keep the support rod in place. If you have a thin rod or thicker blade and need to pad the support to keep it centered, you can roll up your Kobracast trimmings into sticky ‘snakes’ that will cradle the rod and hold it in place. 

Next, heat both halves of the blade evenly around the edges and carefully match them up, adjusting the creases so they meet perfectly around the edges. If there are points where the curves are a little sharper and the edges don’t want to stay together, you can roll up more Kobracast scraps and insert them between the layers like an adhesive putty.  After everything is well adhered and cool, use a craft knife to smooth the edges and bevel away a little of the cardboard thickness so the edge is thinner and more bladelike – though obviously for safety reasons you don’t want to go TOO sharp. Fine-grit sandpaper also works well for smoothing and getting rid of paper fuzzies. 

I cut out and scored the wedge-shaped detail for the base of the blade in the same way, but beveled the underside of the cardboard before adding the Kobracast to make the join a little smoother. To attach pieces like this, simply heat the edges to activate the adhesive and press in place. (9) Low-relief details like the flame shape on this blade can be cut from cardstock and adhered with a glue stick, but you may wish to test your paper with the primer you’ll be using later as some types will warp and ripple when moistened.


Hilt and Pommel

Next is building up the hilt of the sword, as it’s easier to wrap and smooth before the cross guard is in place. Start by roughly sculpting a stopper on the end of the support rod, using a scrap of Kobracast for the stickiness covered with Worbla’s Black Art for the main shape. To get an easy disc shape, cut a narrow strip of Black Art and wind it around the support rod in a spiral to the desired radius. 

Kite rods are too thin to make a comfortable hilt, so bulk it up with twine to achieve your desired thickness. First, wrap a scrap of Kobracast around the support rod, which helps to secure the twine and prevent it from rotating around the rod. For a more oval-shaped hilt, first cut scraps into strips and lay them along each side to create a wider, flatter profile. (This is a great place to use up your very ugliest scraps – these were from a failed experiment and still have paper shreds stuck in them.) 

Secure the end of the twine and start wrapping, heating as you go so that the first layer is solidly adhered to the hilt, although I try not to heat the bare support rod too long or too directly to avoid any chance of warping it or potentially releasing harmful fumes (depending on the composition of the support material.)  Continue wrapping the twine until the hilt is nearly large enough, then tie off the end and made sure it’s well stuck in the Kobracast.  Measure the circumference and cut a strip of Black Art just large enough to cover it. Some bumpiness is likely depending on the smoothness of your twine wrap, and you can either leave it for an interesting grippy texture or go back in and smooth it by hand with sculpting tools. I planned to finish my hilt with a leather wrap, so I just did a cursory smoothing pass.

 

Sculpt the pommel by shaping Worbla’s Black Art around the stopper you already built. There’s no real trick to this – I started by rough cutting a stack of scraps for each side of the pommel and squishing them together around the end of the support rod, then progressively smoothed and sharpened the details on one side at a time.  I do almost everything with one basic wooden sculpting tool, which I’ve rubbed with olive oil to prevent it from sticking to the Worbla. To avoid inadvertently squishing parts you’re not actively working on, try to heat only a small area at a time and allow it to cool and firm up before moving on to another area.

When working with a solid mass of Worbla like this, I try to time the heating/cooling cycle depending on what kind of sculpting I need to do. Blending edges and smoothing wrinkles is best done right after heating, when the outermost layer of Worbla is as hot and soft as it’s going to get but the interior is still firm. As the heat distributes through the whole thickness of material, large-scale reshaping becomes possible. Finally, sharp edges and fine details are easiest to achieve as the surface cools and begins to firm up again, when it’s just on the edge of being too hard to work with.

Crossguard

Once the hilt is wrapped, you can start building the crossguard on top of it. For complex designs, you may need to build this up in layers, looking at which components are thicker or overlap other components. In this case, I identified three distinct segments: the cat’s eye shape that holds an inset gem, lower prongs, and upper prongs. Each would be patterned individually and then assembled around the hilt.

I’ve gotten great results from a ‘sandwich’ method using Kobracast on the inside and Black Art on the outside, as the extremely sticky Kobracast is helpful for joining pieces and the Black Art is great for sculpting surface detail. 

Joining up the crossguard can get a little tricky because it needs to wrap around the widest part of the blade and hilt but still meet at the edges of the prongs. Unless you’re an outstanding patternmaker or do a ton of trial and error, you’re likely to have some gaps where the pieces are supposed to meet at the edges. You can compensate for this by adding a rolled-up Kobracast scrap to each side to increase the contact area when the pieces were squished together, then sculpting Black Art scraps across the edges to smooth and refine them.  If you need more material to work with in any particular spot, like I did when sculpting the bevels, you can lay down scraps wherever they’re needed and blend them into the surface with a sculpting tool. 

Gems and Detail Sculpting

My favorite way to do custom gems is with clear glass cabochons, which can be ordered inexpensively in lots of different sizes and shapes. Paint the back of the stone with metallic paints, using a soft brush and several thin coats to get smooth coverage, or place metallic paper in the Worbla setting behind the stone, and the result is a very clear, shiny stone with a surprising amount of depth.  You can also basically ignore them when painting the prop, as any stray smudges of acrylic can be scratched off the glass without damage using your fingernails or a wood or plastic tool.

To create the relief design, roll small pieces of Black Art into snakes and shape them into tapered bevels by hand. For repeated elements like the symmetrical designs in front and back, make sure they’re all the same size by cutting half-inch strips of material from your scraps and measuring off the same length for each element of a set. Keep a copy of the detailing pattern handy so you can check the shapes as you go. 

To set the gem in, first level the area by cutting away overlays and building up layers of Black Art around it as needed. Place your prepared stone and lay doubled strips of Black Art over the edges to hold it in place, then use sculpting tools to shape them into your desired bezel shape. The glass stone retains heat, so it helps the surrounding area to stay soft longer and makes it very easy to sculpt. Once the gem is secured, heat both the surface of the hilt and your additional embellishment pieces and gently press them in place. Finally, go back over the details with a tool to sharpen them up.  Make sure the piece is fully cool and hardened before flipping it over to repeat for the other side of the hilt.

Here you can see the finished sword base, ready to prime and paint.

 

Primer and painting

As soon as the blade is done, even before you finish sculpting the hilt and crossguard, you can start applying coats of primer to help seal and protect the paper surface. I like using acrylic gesso for the exposed cardboard blade, because it’s relatively dry for a brush-on water-based sealer and it dries to a semi-flexible sandable finish. Although the gesso needs multiple coats with up to a day to cure before sanding, this is an easy step to do on a weeknight when you might not have the time or energy for sculpting. If you’re impatient like I am, you may want to also work on other parts of the costume so you’re not tempted to rush the dry time. Black Art tends to acquire a very smooth, hard surface after sculpting, so you may need to sand it lightly to help the primer adhere. Apply several thin coats, being careful to avoid drips as they can cause the primer to chip or peel when sanded. 

Make sure to use breathing protection when sanding. I use a fine grit sandpaper and sand until the surface has a smooth, papery texture, as more than that is probably overkill for brush painting. If airbrushing or using another spray finish you may wish to go smoother. The water-based primer does not respond especially well to wet sanding, but you can use a slightly damp cloth to wipe away any dust once you’re finished.
Follow with a base coat of acrylic – black works well for most metallics, or you can try red for warm golds. I paint with light-bodied flexible acrylics to minimize brush strokes and cracking.  I often find gold and bronze metallic acrylics to be too warm-toned for my taste, but I’ve noticed that metallics tend to get muddier and less saturated when mixed so I dull the too-brassy golds down by mixing with silver or black metallics.
In addition to the main colors for the hilt and blade, select or mix at least one highlight and shadow color for each. Put down your base layer of mid-tone metallic, then look at where the shadows and highlights fall naturally on the surface and follow those lines to exaggerate the effect. For example, the weight balance of this blade means that it naturally orients itself in a particular direction when held, so the same side always faces down. This allowed me to paint the lower face of the blade a darker color to emphasize the shadow, and be confident that it will look natural in most lighting. Finish off by dry-brushing black into the corners and crevices, where grime and patina would naturally accumulate and not be removed by polishing. You can also add more highlights to corners and edges that would be likely to be rubbed smooth by wear. 

Leather Wrap

To finish off the hilt, you can sculpt and paint like the rest of the sword, wrap the handle with strips of fabric or decoratively patterned cord, or make a stitched wrap with leather or fabric. For a leather wrap, cut a piece of leather to fit around the hilt, with enough extra around the edges to tuck them to the inside for a neat finish. Fold in the edges and hand or machine stitch, then glue a piece of felt to the inside to smooth and pad the grip.  Spread glue on the inside of the wrap to hold it in place while you stitch it closed, then stitch the two sides together around the hilt, positioning the seam on the downward side of the handle to keep it unobtrusive.  You can also embellish the wrap however you like before stitching – details like cording, studs, or embroidery are all great options for adding texture and grip.

 

There you have it! A lightweight sword with a core of cardboard, some Kobracast Art, and details made from Worbla’s Black Art.

 

Thanks again to Gillian, Gillian Conahan on IG,  All Tomorrow’s Patterns, for partnering with us on this build! 

Low Profile Worbla Attachments: Using Magnets for Nyx from Hades

Vicious.Frockery recently built Nyx from Supergiant’s game of the year, Hades. She used Worbla’s Black Art and magnets to create a low profile attachment system, and shared her process with us!

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Approaching Nyx from Hades, I wanted to prioritize durability for storing her costume in limited space (like a suitcase for easy travel!) and prevent the build from becoming so heavy that it’s uncomfortable to wear. The first thing that popped into my head was foam clay and Worbla elements- but I’ve had bad luck with foam clay getting crushed/cracked in transport. The solution was Worbla’s Black Art for base pieces, and MAGNETS to attach delicate foam sculpts! Here is a tutorial on how to make her armor specifically, and how to incorporate magnets into low-profile projects that aren’t suited to foam.

Firstly, start your pattern. For Nyx, the elements of the chest piece come up around her neck, so I wanted to create a neck piece that leaves the “choker” part of her armor detached. Wearing a separate choker gives me a full range of motion and prevents me from feeling claustrophobic.

For any character with high-necked armor, I recommend using yourself or a mannequin (like this display mannequin) to check sizing and how close to the neck the armor will be. I patterned the vague shapes for Nyx with just plain drawing paper.

 

The X’s mark where I’ll use magnets to attach the sculpted foam pieces (more on that later). When making your own pattern, make sure to write labels on pieces and mark any attachments beforehand- this can be incredibly helpful down the line and speed up your production. I used a combination of duct tape and plain-old guess and check to create this pattern.

Use drawing paper to test fit and size all armor pieces. This can be a long process to get right, so be patient and make sure that you adjust size in order to be economical with your Worbla in the future!

After patterning, I traced most pieces that needed inner structure (pauldrons, crowns, arm bands) to 2MM craft foam. Trace ONE of each piece needed to foam.

Transfer these same patterns to Worbla with a little seam allowance. Trace TWO of each pattern piece to Worbla so that it creates a “sandwich” around the foam. I use two pencils taped together to get a consistent seam allowance around the pattern.

For striped details, I cut apart my paper patterns as I use them, and trace each section to Worbla. This is totally optional, but helps guide you in the future.

For the pieces that need to stay thin and compact, like the armor over the shoulders and chest, I decided to omit the foam core for strength and to prevent extra bulk. This chest piece is in three pieces: one for each shoulder, and one center “circle” that will serve as a base for a little foam skull.

Here I’ve traced one of my shoulders….

 

And my center circle. Be sure to transfer the X for your magnetic attachment to your Worbla- pencil lines can be erased later or painted over!

After tracing, cut out your designs. Then you can start heating up two pieces of Worbla, and carefully use your hands (I also used the assistance of a rolling pin) to sandwich the two pieces together. STOP when you get to the X.

When you reach the X in your pattern, it’s time to put in your magnetic attachment. Lift up one side of the soft Worbla Sandwich (Black Art is very good at peeling apart without damaging the final product, should you make a mistake) and put down your magnet.

Gently lay down the Worbla on top of the magnet, and heat up the top layer again. For this project I’m using cheap ceramic magnets from the home improvement store, but rare earth magnets would also work great. Once the Worbla is heated through, use your fingers to press around the magnet and seal it between the two layers, then let it completely cool before picking it up. It’s okay if it protrudes from the final a little bit- You can adjust your foam sculpt if you need to in order to get the perfect fit.

Now that the magnet is in place, go ahead and trim off your seam allowance. Use your heat gun to soften sections of the seam, and then cut with scissors, making sure to cut through BOTH layers of Worbla at once. The pressure from your scissors will seal the two layers of Worbla together and leave you with a beautiful clean edge. If you need to, working in small sections works best for me- the goal is not to start shaping JUST yet, but a little heat will make this process ten times faster and cleaner.

Do the same sandwich method for the remaining pieces of armor, using your hands or rolling pin to prevent bubbling and keep things even. Use scissors to trim off all seam allowance as close to the foam core as possible.
Since pauldrons can be rather difficult to shape over a form, I decided to make this moon-shaped pauldron out of two pieces, and use Black Art to join them in the center. Since Worbla’s Black Art is tacky but very smooth, it’s great for hiding seams.

Heat up the edges of your two pieces that you intend to join, and gently press them together with your fingertips, working in small sections at a time.

Do the same sandwich method for the remaining pieces of armor, using your hands or rolling pin to prevent bubbling and keep things even. Use scissors to trim off all seam allowance as close to the foam core as possible.
Since pauldrons can be rather difficult to shape over a form, I decided to make this moon-shaped pauldron out of two pieces, and use Black Art to join them in the center. Since Worbla’s Black Art is tacky but very smooth, it’s great for hiding seams.

Heat up the edges of your two pieces that you intend to join, and gently press them together with your fingertips, working in small sections at a time.

In order to hide the seams further, simply use a little more heat and your fingertips to blend the two armor pieces together, being careful not to over-heat the foam and lose your shape.

 

To create details on top of all my armor pieces, I used all my scrap Worbla and formed it into snakes with my heat gun and hands, being careful not to over- or under-heat the thermoplastic. Since Black Art is already so smooth, it didn’t need much working to create smooth details. If you want your snakes to behave more like smoothed clay, use a piece of 2mm foam on your fingers to roll the clay and flatten the texture. I do all my heating on top of a piece of tin foil since it’s nonstick and can help with keeping things smooth as well.

Back to the chestpiece, I used my pattern to arrange my details before translating them to the final. Since this is a symmetrical design, I wanted to be as careful as possible and make sure everything lines up before attaching the final.

Piece by piece, heat up your pre-assembled sculpts and attach them to the chest/shoulders, sculpting as you go. Keep your work as flat as possible to keep things symmetrical, and check in with your pattern often.

I did the same for the crown, adding a piped edge with the same “snake” technique. Continue building layers of texture to flat pieces until you’re totally happy!

From here, start shaping your pieces. It’s good practice to use your mannequin (or yourself) to check in with other pieces as you shape them- Here, I’ve shaped the shoulder over myself, let it cool, and then checked it on my mannequin with the pauldron and necklace

Once one side is shaped, go ahead and translate to the other side. It’s easy to re-heat sections and make sure that they are even once the initial shape is done!

To connect these two, I held my center magnet (“connector piece”) in the middle and traced any overlap with a pencil. The idea is to make sure that there is plenty of surface area for the worbla to adhere to.

Then, heat up the center piece and attach it, following your pencil lines-

And reinforce the join in the back with scrap pieces of Worbla. The inside of this doesn’t matter much, but extra surface area means a stronger bond.

In order to join the necklace and the rest of the armor, I added a 1” strip of worbla around the neck, curving it with my fingers away from my neck slightly. This step is optional.

Next, it’s time to paint! You can seal your Worbla with 2 layers of wood glue. I used a 60/40 glue-to-water mix and did about 2 coats. Black Art is already smooth, so it needed much less working time than traditional Worbla.

Two coats of wood glue plus one coat of gold spray paint

To weather and bring out the detail, use dark values and a dry brush to rub paint into any recesses. I used a gold/black acrylic mix, and a slightly damp paper towel to wipe away any excess.

In between sculpting and paint steps, I sculpted my skulls. These are 1” balls of tin foil, resin cast gems, and Foam-Mo Foam Clay. The foam clay takes about 2 days to dry, but can easily house magnets in the back as shown below. Make sure that you remove magnets after sculpting in order to let the clay completely dry. They can be glued back in when everything is good and cured (shown).

Once painted, use hot glue or contact cement to re-anchor your magnets.

Now that everything is painted, foam pieces can be easily removed, adjusted, and stored separate from the hard parts!

Try everything on as needed, and adjust your attachments before finalizing them. Pauldrons for this build are easily detached with snaps, as shown.

 

Attach the snaps to the base using strips of twill tape (I used a woven twill ribbon in matching Greek key print, for fun). Hot glue around the edges will help your attachments stay anchored and prevent the edges from catching on anything.

And that’s it! Go forth, and wear your magnetic armor with confidence!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stained Glass Effect with Worbla’s TranspArt

Avera Cosplay shared this amazing tutorial with us showing her technique for creating a beautiful stained glass effect using Worbla’s TranspArt – shown above with her Mercy Sugar Plum Fairy costume from Overwatch, photographed above by Tonya Barnes Photography

If you’ve wanted to create a stained glass effect and haven’t been sure where to start, take a look at Avera’s process below! She walks us through the process of making a Beauty and the Beast shield for an armored Belle build! 

Stained-Glass Belle Shield – Beauty and the Beast
Materials:
  • 2mm Craft foam (EVA foam)
  • Thicker Craft foam 4, 5 or 6mm (EVA Foam)
  • Worbla Transpart
  • Unicorn Spit Sparkling Gel Stain- Variety of colors
  • Unicorn Spit- artistic vivations- Zeus 24k gold
  • Mod Podge
  • Polyurethane – Floor Wax
  • Exacto knife
  • Contact Cement
  • Super Glue
  • Acrylic Paints for base layer on EVA foam

Step 1: Make Your Pattern
Find or create your pattern. Two options: find an image that is already stained glass or find a simple design you can alter to create the stained-glass appearance. Coloring Book pages are a good source for simple images and designs that can be easily turned into stained glass. Just make sure that your lines are relatively thick. If the foam is very thin, the gel stain could bleed, also it is not as sturdy. Cut out the parts of the pattern that will be the glass using an exacto knife.

Step 2: EVA Foam
The foam will act as your pattern and to give structure to the worbla. Transfer the pattern to both 2mm and 4mm eva foam and using an exacto knife cut out the pattern. The 2mm will be the front of the glass and the thicker foam will be the back. Heat seal the foam by using a heat gun.

Step 3: Flatten the Transparent Worbla
Transparent Worbla usually comes in rolls so you will need to heat it up to get it flat. Get all the wrinkles out. Transparent worbla will stick to itself so make sure it does not touch itself heated. Trace the base shape of the object and cut it out with scissors.

Step 4: Mod Podge
Apply a generous layer of mod podge to the worbla. You do not have to let it dry. Place the 2mm top layer on the top of the worbla and add more Mod podge. This will glue to the top layer to the worbla, but it will dry clear. In addition, it helps absorb the gel stain, and seals the 2mm foam for painting. Let this layer dry. If there are gaps between the foam and worbla that heat and mod podge is not solving, you can use super glue to make sure that the foam and worbla are connected. If there is a gap the colors will bleed into each other.

Step 5: Unicorn Spit
Unicorn Spit is a gel-based stain. There are a few different formulas. I use the sparkle version here, which is thinner and more transparent than standard formulas. Mod Podge is what will keep the spit stuck to the worbla and it also helps the spit dry translucent. For the Sparkle Version of Unicorn Spit: mix unicorn spit to mod podge in a 70:30 ratio, that will help to increase opacity and speed up drying time. If you use other formulas of Unicorn Spit, you will have to have mix with more mod podge to get the translucent effect at least 50:50. Do not apply it thicker than the foam, or it will spill over. You can mix colors directly in the cell to add depth and shading. You can also mix colors and mod podge first and apply. I use squeeze bottles to apply, just squeezing the spit in a circular motion. You can also play with the ratios of mod podge to get different levels of opacity.

Step 6 LET IT DRY
It is going to take a while, depending on how thick it was applied. Do not touch it, do not fix it, let it do its thing. It may appear like it is “pulling” away from the edge, or that it is getting bubbles. It is ok. Glass is not perfect, let it dry. It may look like it is losing its color, it is not. Once it is sealed it will be vibrant again. Right now, the stain is attached to the mod podge for the most part. If you mess with it, it will peel. It may take up to 48 hours to dry completely. If you must add a dab or two after it is dried to any mistakes.

Step 7: Assemble the Back
Using the thicker foam, follow the same steps as the 2mm, treated it with the heat gun and then seal it with mod podge. You will want to use super glue, in small dots around each part of the design to attach the foam to the back side of the worbla.

Optional Step: Details and Decorations
I added more details to the Shield, this is not necessarily specific to the stained-glass effect and may or may not be relevant to your project.
Using contact cement added as glue an additional boarder to the 4mm foam back. I drew a wood grain pattern and wood burned the pattern into the foam. I made the strap from 2mm foam and the handle from 4mm foam. The rivets on the front and back are painted googly eyes. I created foam flowers and filigrees by pressing foam clay in silicone cake molds. I put the molds in the freezer for 15 min to help them form quickly and dry faster. All these details were sealed with mod podge.

Step 8: Paint the EVA Foam and Any Details
Using a black acrylic paint, you will want to go over the black foam on the stained glass. This will clean it up a bit if there was any spit that spilled over. Pro-tip: use black foam it will minimize painting. I used a gilding wax for the base layer of gold. Then I used unicorn spit artistic vivations in Zeus to help the details pop.

Step 9: Seal with Polyurethane.
Unicorn spit is water based, if you use an acrylic sealer or anything water based it will reactivate it. You must use an oil-based sealer. Polyurethane will give it a gloss that helps the glass effect. Sealing it will bring the colors back to life as well as protect the shield from peeling or cracking. You can also use epoxy or lacquer on the spit depending on the project and how flexible you need it to be.

Enjoy! I have made bunny ears, wings and armor parts using the technique, so it is truly versatile. 
(Belle photographed by Tonya Barnes Photography )

Making an Armored Corset for Cersei Lannister with Worbla!

Game of Thrones might be over, but we’ll be seeing cosplay of the characters costume designer Michele Clapton brought to life for years to come!

Pretzel Cosplay shares how she used Worbla’s Black Art to create Cersei’s armored corset in this video below!

Building a Demogorgon Head from Aluminum Foil and Worbla!

Amanda from Elemental Photo and Design created a Stranger Things Demogorgon head for the Worbla Booth at FanExpo Toronto 2019 – and shared the process as a full tutorial.

Want to make your own Demogorgon? Just follow the steps below!

How to build your own Demogorgon from Stranger Things using aluminum foil and Worbla

You will need:

  • Worbla (preferably Finest Art) roughly 1 large sheet
  • Worbla’s Deco Art 14oz
  • Aluminum Foil 2-3 75ft rolls
  • Masking Tape
  • Craft Foam
  • Sculpting Tools
  • Scissors
  • Heat Gun
  • Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Flexbond

Step one: gather your references!

The actual demogorgon from Stranger Things is filmed in the dark and as a result it’s hard to see all the details – or sometimes any of the details. I used a combination of images from web searches – official images as well as some artist renders done by fans. If you’d like to see my references, I have them on a pinterest board here.

Step two: building the base.

Decide your scale and start balling up foil. I wanted something close to human size: I created a half head shape, then used balls of tinfoil to form the shoulders and then neck. I used masking tape to help anchor things, and applied more foil once I started assembling everything to build out the neck, the curve of the mouth, and fill in any general gaps.

Step Three: smooth it out!

Get yourself something palm sized, flat, hard and smooth. I used a coaster! Burnish the surface of your creation until smooth! I used some sculpting tools and a spoon to get into some of the nooks and crannies of the muscles I built up in foil.
To burnish: press the smooth end of your tool to the surface of your foil and with pressure move in circles, this will squish the foil peaks down and help flatten everything!
Remember: any area that isn’t smooth will show up when you layer your Worbla overtop!

Step Four: Worbla!

Once you’re happy with your final foil form, it’s time to apply your Worbla.
I used Worbla’s Finest Art, as it has great stretch for the curves and undercuts and I was going to prime much of the texture away.

I worked with pieces about 8×11 in size: heating them up and pressing them into foil, trimming and adding relief cuts where needed. Worbla is adhesive and sticks to the foil, so I worked from the head down, stretching over curves, overlapping slightly at the seams. I didn’t worry about getting things perfectly neat, since a demogorgon is a veiny, meaty mess! You can always patch areas you miss on your first go around!

Once the body was covered, I blended the seams using burnishing once again, this time with the back of a spoon. Just heat your seam or overlapped area with your heat gun, then wet your spoon and rub it in circles with moderate pressure over the seam. It will blend it! You might still see the join, but you won’t be able to feel it – and it won’t show up when you paint.

Step Five: the petals!

I cut these from 2mm EVA foam (craft foam) and covered them in Worbla using the sandwich method. Heating the bottom edges I applied them to the head, and used extra worbla scraps to reinforce the join.

I realized once they were all attached that I had made them too small, and I also didn’t like how flat they were: I took pieces of Worbla cut into rounded skinny triangles, heated them then wrapped them around the edges of the petals, shaping them to have more of a curve and depth as well as more ‘wiggle’ and folds to them. I did this to all the petals , and also heated and shaped the petals themselves some more.

Step Six: sculpting

Now that everything is covered in Worbla, it’s time to go after the details! I went in and emphasized all the muscle structure, added more detail to the chest, blended out the seams on the petal additions, added another layer to the mouth to make it extra gross by creating ridges and dents for the teeth, and generally added all the dimensional details I wanted before I would be painting it. The sculpting was done with wooden sculpting tools, which I kept wet – this keeps them from sticking to the Worbla!

Step Seven: priming

You could skip this step, but I wanted the texture of the Worbla to be smoother before painting, so I mixed my Flexbond 2:1 with some white acrylic paint. The paint lets me see where I have applied my primer, which is handy as Flexbond dries clear, and also acts as a base coat for later painting. This does mean the Flexbond will leave brush strokes if you’re not using a very soft brush (or add too much paint) so be aware of that. If you have any area that has too may brush strokes you can smooth them out with a wet finger later, or add a coat of pure Flexbond as a last coat.

Primed and waiting for paint

I did 2-3 coats of this mix, paying special attention to getting the mouth and inner petals smooth.

Step Eight: paint!

There are a million ways you can paint something like this, so use my method as a guideline and feel free to experiment.

I laid down a dark reddish brown base coat over everything but the mouth, which was painted with a mix of magenta and scarlet. You’ll be applying paint in layers, so you can be a bit messy and also play with mixing colors – some areas I used a more reddish brown, others a more greenish brown. I added a deeper darker red to the centre of the mouth and the petals, blending it out into the brighter reds.

Once your base coat is fully dry and you can’t see your primer, you can add your ‘skin’. I mixed a greyish, purplish tan and dry brushed that over the whole of the design, picking up the raised areas (and avoiding all the shading I had already done). If you mess up you can always go back in with your darker brown later.

Once that was done and dry I added a bit more in the shadowed areas, and also dry brushed some green for an extra sickly cast to the whole thing.

Step Nine: TEETH!

Worbla’s Deco Art makes great teeth pretty quickly without a mold! Take your pellets and heat them in hot water until they turn translucent, then knead them together and then flatten it in the bowl to keep them warm.

I worked with a bowl of hot water and a bowl of cold water. In the hot water was the Deco Art, where I’d pull a small amount out and then shape it into a sharp tooth between my fingers, and then drop it into the ice water. The ice water is important as Deco Art will ‘sag’ if you let it cool in room temps and I wouldn’t have gotten the sharp point I wanted for my teeth. I made about 180 teeth at first and had to make more later, and also realized I needed to make a lot more teeny tiny ones, so plan for a long tooth making session!

The teeth harden in about 30 seconds in the cold water so I set them on paper towel to dry completely.

Step Ten: sealer!

I used a satin finish and a gloss finish clear coat on the Demogorgon to get the best result. The mouth and petals were given several heavy passes of gloss where I didn’t mind if it dripped or ran a bit, and the body and back of the petals were coated with 2 coats of satin finish, to help prevent the paint from chipping and scratching in transit. (no photos, I forgot!)

Step Eleven: TEETH pt 2!

I attached all the teeth with hot glue because it was easy and I needed it to be quick. The downside is they’re not the most secure and if the teeth get knocked with force they’ll pop off the gloss coat, but I don’t mind having to reattach the occasional tooth. You could use an epoxy adhesive instead if you had more time, or even a silicone could potentially work (please test first I am not sure about silicone and spraypaint).

Why did I attach the teeth last? Because having to paint inbetween the teeth would have been UTTERLY TERRIBLE and messy and I wanted this build done in a week, not half a year.

I found it was hard to keep hold of the teeth, so I put them in a bowl and coated them lightly with a bit of hair spray. This gave them just enough texture I could keep my grip for glue.

Congratulations! You have a creepy, decently durable, fairly lightweight (ours comes in at 5 lbs) demogorgon you can terrify your friends and family with.

Camilla’s Breastplate with Foam and Worbla Tutorial [Fire Emblem]

Breastplates can be a daunting task, but AllieCat Cosplay created this tutorial in partnership with Cosplaysupplies showing how she created her fantastic breastplate for her Camilla build, using Worbla and Foam. You can use this process to build your own Camilla armor, or a similar character’s design. Take a look at the steps below!

Camilla’s Breastplate with Foam and Worbla Tutorial

Make a Tape Pattern over your body and cut directly down the middle and back (getting assistance so as to not cut yourself upon removal).

Cut out breast cup making dart-notches so the pattern lays completely flat

Transfer to 1/4 inch L200 foam and glue together at seams. Start with notches first then merge middle seam.

Transfer stomach portion to 1/4 inch L200 foam and glue down the middle making sure they line up.

Connect back portions to the front panel and it will start to take shape on its own.

Wrapping corset around pillows, put torso of breastplate on top and heat with a heat gun, slightly pulling the foam towards the back and waiting for the foam to cool. It will hold a curved shape after cooling.

Attach Breast cups to torso portion. At the bottom where the armor lip is, score the line with an exacto knife making sure to not cut all the way through.

Pinch the L200 foam where you scored it and heat with a heat gun. Hold in place until it has cooled.

Add details using the original pattern as a stencil with sheets of 2mm craft foam and contact cement.

Wrap bodice around pillow for support and slowly but carefully heat a large sheet of Black Worbla from the middle to the outside making sure not to rip the sheet.

Prime with 4-5 layers of woodglue and prime with grey spray primer.

Paint with matte black and gold/white details with metallic paints so that they pop in photos.

The breastplate will be seamless and strong to wear in battle!

Armored Shoe Cover Tutorial [Camilla from Fire Emblem]

Need to make armor for your shoes? AllieCat Cosplay created this tutorial in partnership with Cosplaysupplies showing how she created her armored shoes in her Camilla build. It’s a straightforward process that you can do easily with eva foam and Worbla. Take a look at the steps below!

 

How to Make Camilla’s Armored Shoe Covers

Step 1: Start with a comfortable shoe.
Cover the shoe with plastic wrap (cling film) and then tape to mark your pattern onto.

Step 2: Pattern
Using a marker, draw out your details, then carefully cut your pattern apart. Transfer pattern pieces to 2mm foam, creating a ½ inch lip to connect pieces together.

Step 3: Shape
Cover shoe with towel and heat shape 2mm foam pieces to the curvature of the shoe, then glue foam armor pieces together at the ½ inch lip.

Step 4: Worbla
Heat Black Worbla and cover the armor pieces completely. Press your layer details in with a sculpting tool and trim the excess. Use Worbla scraps to create rivet details.

Step 5: Attaching
Use 2 inch wide elastic and glue to the bottom of the armor near the arch of the foot. This will be the strap to keep the armor on. 

Step 6: Paint!
Prime the Black Worbla with 4-5 layers of wood glue, then paint and seal. (Worbla.com note: you can also use other methods for priming, check out our guide here!)

And you’re done!

Thanks to AllieCat Cosplay for this tutorial! Photo credit for the last image goes to Lafeetz Photography.

Yojimbo FFX – a Cosplay Build (Part 6-10)

The fantastic ThermoCosplay used Worbla’s Kobracast Art for her amazing Yojimbo costume, and shared a complete breakdown with us on her process from armor to sewing to painting and details! It’s such a hugs writeup we broke it down into two parts! You can find part 1 here.

This page covers
6: Capelet
7: Skirts
8: Belt and Bandages
9: Armor Attachment and Getting Dressed
10: Testing Fit and Appearance and Final Thoughts

Step 6: Capelet

SUPPLIES / TOOLS

  • 1 yard of stretch polyester in purple
  • 1.5 yards of ombre 4 way stretch YaYa Han Fabric in orange
  • .25 yards of gold vinyl trim
  • 1 gold snap
  • Gold or Yellow bias tape
  • Tulip Aerosol Fabric Paint
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread
  • Gorilla Glue Hot Glue & Glue Gun
  • For the capelet I wanted some structure underneath for support. I created a purple bolero. I used an old button up shirt as my pattern but you can follow THIS TUTORIAL for more on how to sew a bolero. You could also just buy a purple shirt and cut/alter it to become a bolero following THIS METHOD.

    For the capelet itself I folded a 1.5 yard of fabric length wise and sewed down the middle. Then I folded it width wise and sewed the edges together (be sure the fabric is inside out). I left a small opening so I could flip it so the outside ombre was visible and I sewed up the little hole.

    Next I sewed and glue the capelet to the bolero collar area, leaving some room for the gold design work that I created from scraps of vinyl trim.

    After wearing this once (and getting professional photographs) I DID NOT like how vibrant the color was. I mean, Yojimbo is ANCIENT and he lives in a CAVE. So, I laid the capelet on a tarp outside and proceeded to spray horizontal lines across in different colors. I started with a light, glittering gold then moved on to a deep red, next was a deep purple and finally I used the gold again to blend the lines and edges.

    The paint needed 12 hours to dry but once it settled NO GLITTER ESCAPED. That was AMAZING because glitter is scary to work with. Finally, I added bias tape to the collar and installed a snap at the hollow of my neck seam so I could easily remove the garment.

    Step 7: Skirts


    SUPPLIES / TOOLS

  • 4.5 yards of deep purplish navy bridal satin
  • 4.5 yards of red stretch knit polyester (heavy weight)
  • 1 yard of metallic burgundy
  • 3 packages of red bias tape (double fold wide)
  • 2 yards of gold performance fabric
  • 1 package of blue bias tape (double fold wide)
  • 3 yards of gold vinyl trim
  • 1 yard of purple polyester
  • LOTS OF THREAD
  • Sewing Machine
  • Fabric Clips and/or Pins
  • Double Sided Velcro (Sew on)
  • Fabric Chalk
  • Measuring Tape
  • Sewing needles
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Ok, this looks SUPER intimidating but it wasn’t THAT hard. It’s just A LOT of measuring and A LOT of clipping/pinning.

    Outer Skirt
    1. Go to THIS SITE and calculate a circle skirt. The over skirt is a FULL LENGTH circle skirt. That means you MUST get fabric that is 60″ or wider or you won’t have the proper length. If you can’t find wider fabric then be prepared to add fabric to the bottom (which you have to do with this design anyways as the bottom is red).
    2. You will need to create a Maxi length circle skirt in both the purple satin and red stretch (red is the lining and trim/bottom while purple is the outside).
    3. Clip the waist of both together so the red is inside and the purple outside. Cut a line down the front center then pin your skirt to your dress form OR yourself (be careful).
    4. Create pleats at the back so the front opening widens.
    5. Take off the skirt and create the bottom trim (Mine is 4 inches tall)
    6. Clip/pin the trim to the bottom and sew (DO NOT SEW THE WAIST YET)
    7. Once you have the bottom and front side sewn, flip the fabric inside out so your seams are hidden.
    8. Sew the waist by folding the fabric in and using a straight stitch at the top (this also sews your pleats in)

    Inner Skirt
    1. Create a 1/2 circle skirt using the metallic burgundy fabric and the purple polyester
    2. Sew the bottom and edges together (leaving the front and waist open)
    3. Sew bias tape everywhere except the waist (red bias)

    Waist Belt
    1. Using the remaining metallic burgundy fabric, create a waist band 4 inches tall by whatever your waist length is + 3″.
    2. Pin/Clip the inner skirt to the waist band and sew it on (do not start at the edge, you need 1.5″ on either side available in the front)
    3. Pin/Clip the Outer skirt to the waist band and sew it on (ditto)
    4. Where the excess 1.5″ on either side is sew on velcro. (under side for one flap and outer side for other flap)
    5. Try on your skirt using velcro to keep it on

    Underskirt
    1. Measure your hips and draw a straight line on the fabric that matches that measurement
    2. Make sure the skirt is as long as the over skirt (to your feet)
    3. Cut out long rectangle
    4. Hem bottom
    5. Apply blue bias to front sides
    6. Use velcro to create wrap around skirt style (should be big enough if you matched your hip measurements)

    Final Details
    1. Add gold Trim to outer skirt front edges using gold vinyl
    2. Add small details using gold vinyl to inner skirt
    3. Spray fabric with metallic gold tulip glitter spray

    Step 8: Belt and Bandages

    SUPPLIES / TOOLS

  • Fabric Scissors
  • Tailor’s Chalk
  • Measuring Tape
  • 1 yard of 4 way stretch nude spandex
  • .5 yards of polycotton blend in red
  • Iron On Gold Vinyl
  • Red Bias Tape (single fold)
  • Markers
  • Paint Brushes / Sponges
  • Fabric Paint Textile Medium
  • Acrylic Paints (brown and black)
  • Interfacing (mid weight)
  • Velcro
  • Bias Tape Red (double fold wide)
  • Paint Palette
  • Plain Scissors or Exacto Blade
  • Bandages / Waist

    For the waist “bandages” I took a full yard of 4 way stretch nude spandex and made sure the width matched my waist measurement. I folded the fabric in half and sewed along all edges except where the two ends were to meet. I flipped the fabric inside out (so there were no raw edges) and sewed the two opposing sides together. When sewing I pulled the fabric taught so it would create pleating when I slid it onto the dress form. Essentially you are creating a tube with your folded over fabric.

    Since the bandages are meant to look bloodied and old I used the Fabric Paint Textile Medium mixed 1:1 with acrylic paints. I watered down the fabric paint so I could layer the color and “soot” texture on the fabric. Once it was painted I allowed it to dry for 24 hours before machine washing it so it was soft when worn.

    Crotch Cover Thing

    For the front flap thing (I really don’t know what to call this…it’s not really a Sporran although it resembles one) I took .5 a yard of fabric and doubled it up (so I would not have to sew lining, the back WAS the lining). Next I drew a oblong shape and cut it out. I added some fabric interfacing to the top then sewed all sides except the top. I flipped the fabric inside out (so the interfacing was now inside) and used bias tape to seal the top.

    Next I drew the swirly patterns onto some Siserweed iron on vinly in gold and cut them out. I carefully laid the patterns onto the fabric and ironed them on (be sure to use parchment paper on top of the iron on vinyl as direct contact with an iron can melt it). Once ironed on I added details with a purple sharpie and put velcro on the back.

    To attach the “sporran” to the “bandages” I used spare Double Fold Wide Bias Tape in red and wrapped it around my waist twice. At the front I added velcro so everything could secure together

    Step 9: Armor Attachment & Getting Dressed



    Armor Attachment

    This is fairly easy. For the Pauldrons I used Nylon Belt Webbing and attached a 3 inch long strip to either side of the bolero shoulder under the capelet. Then I cut a small slit in the capelet on each shoulder and slid the webbing through. I glued on some velcro to the webbing and also added velcro to the Pauldron. Please see the 30 second video explaining how I did this for visuals or check out the image above.

    Getting Dressed

    This outfit includes the following parts…

    1. Hat
    2. Wig
    3. Hair Accessories (just clip in)
    4. 2 Pauldrons
    5. Bolero with attached capelet
    6. Two Fingerless Yellow Opera Gloves
    7. Tank top with attached Breast Plate
    8. Breast Form
    9. Waist “bandages”
    10. Waist Belt Sporran Thing
    11. Over Skirt with attached inner skirt
    12. Under Skirt
    13. Blue Opaque Tights
    14. Geta
    15. One Sword

    Please watch the video above showing how I attach/wear all of these pieces.

    Step 10: Testing Fit and Appearance


    I met my goal of completing this costume by March of 2019 however; after have professional photos taken of it I realized it was missing that Final Fantasy Grunge. So I made the following modifications between March and May of 2019…

    1. I added MORE shading to the skirts. I even painted the INSIDE of them.
    2. I painted the waist bandages as they were too plain.
    3. I added MORE COLOR to the hat and increased the magnet count for stability.
    4. I created a scabbard for my sword using scrap fabric and foam.
    5. I painted the capelet with a more dingy gradient.
    6. I changed the sealant on the pauldrons to Gloss Mod Podge after the Plasti-Dip Glossifier failed.
    7. I changed my tights to blue from black for more color.
    8. I changed my face makeup (and still plan on adding more detail the next go around).
    9. I re-styled the wig and raised the bun up higher so the hat had a better tilt when I tipped my head down.
    10. I added a waist pouch.

    These improvements made moving around in this costume easier, increased my love for its design and truly met the vision I had in my head.

    Final thoughts? Well…I WANT TO WEAR IT AGAIN.

    It was a TERRIFIC costume. I decided to NEVER WEAR GETA again. They broke while I was competing and I BARELY avoided face planting in front of hundreds of people. I have platform Geta inspired sandals that are MUCH safer that I will stick to.

    I also want to add MORE White and Orange to my face paint. I want to mimic Yojimbo’s mask from the game.

    I also want to meet MORE Final Fantasy cosplayers.

    Honestly…ALL positives. I learned lessons but they were worth. I also cannot stress enough how WONDERFUL COSPLAYSUPPLIES is. Seriously, go give them some love :)

    Feel free to ask questions and happy creating!

    Professional Photos taken by Kincart Photography and Zar Photo.

    Deco Art Fox Ears

    Amanda from Elemental Photography and Design created this simple and cute flower and fox ear headband using Worbla’s Deco Art, and shared the process of how she created it with us below!

    I needed to make an example piece using Deco Art, so I decided on some cute animal ears. Step one was to heat my Worbla Deco Art – while I usually use a silicone cup, I didn’t have one handy and so lined a bowl with parchment paper.

    Once heated, the pellets turn clear – I blended them together and shaped an ear.

    Deco Art will ‘sag’ with gravity as it cools – so I flash cooled the ear in cold water.

    Next I took a headband and applied Deco Art to it where I wanted to place the ears, so that it would act like a glue. You could also use hot glue! I think if I did this again, I would use Finest or Mesh Art, as the Deco Art is less flexible when cool and made the headband a bit tight on my head.

    Just heat both the ear and the Deco Art base to attach.

    Next was decorations. I shaped the leaves by hand, and the flowers were pressed into a simple mold I made using Amazing Mold Putty and a flower pin.

    Apply your decorations to your headband.

    And then paint! Deco Art is so smooth it really needs a primer first – I used a quick autobody spray primer because I had it around, but any primer for plastics should work.

    And voila!

    Octopus Mask with Worbla’s Black Art

    Amanda from Elemental Photography and Design created this outlandish octopus mask using Worbla’s Black Art, and shared the process with us below!

    Step One: Make a paper template and size it to fit. You can use an online template or freehand.

    Step 2: Using the template, cut the shape from 2mm EVA foam or craft foam.

    Step 3:
    Cut two pieces of Worbla larger than your mask, heating both with your heat gun until they are soft and pliable. Press the foam shape onto one piece of Worbla, and then lay the other overtop. Keeping the Worbla warm, use a sculpting tool or your fingers to trace where the Worbla meets around the outside of the foam, pressing firmly to create a bond. This is called the ‘sandwich method’ of working with Worbla.

    Step 4: Cut around the mask where the edges meet (making sure not to cut too close to the foam). Use a craft knife to better cut the holes for the eyes. A Dremel or sand paper can be used to smooth areas that seem exceptionally rough, or areas can be heated and smoothed manually.  Heat and shape mask as desired. If shaping on your face, make sure the Worbla is cool enough. Never press freshly heated Worbla to sensitive skin. A good rule of thumb is that if you can hold the Worbla against your thumbs for several seconds comfortably, it is cool enough for other skin, but always be careful.

    Step 5: To create the octopus, take your scraps from cutting out the mask and heat them together. Blend and roll – the Worbla at this point will behave as a dense clay. Sculpt the body and arms of the octopus. 
    Tip: If you have thick seams, heat the Worbla until it’s very warm, then useing a smooth tool (such as a sculpting tool or spoon) and water to prevent sticking, burnish the area with the seam until it is flat. Seams will still be visible, but usually won’t show up through paint: always check if they are raised by using your fingertips.

    Step 6: Worbla is self adhesive. Heat the mask and sculpted octopus where you intend to join them until they feel slightly tacky, then press together with firm pressure. Adjust the arms as needed to make for a comfortable fit.

    Step 7: Loops for ties can be added with more scrap Worbla on the back of the Mask. You could also add a dowel to hold the mask by hand instead. (This mask ended up a bit too heavy for one side and worked better as a handheld design after these photos.)

    Step 8: Paint! Black art has a slight texture that was left for this project, but if you’d like a smoother surface, prime with your favorite primer. (We suggest Flexbond!)

    And there you go! Keep in mind a mask like this can be unbalanced, so if you’re tying it on you’ll need to plan to anchor it into your hair or wig. Another option would be to consider having one of the arms sneak across the top of your head to help support the weight.

    Crystal and Flower Headband with Crystal Art

    Amanda from Elemental Photography and Design created this crystal headband using Worbla’s Crystal Art, and shared the process of creating it below!

    Step one was to make a mold – you could skip this step and shape the crystals by hand, but I thought this would be an easier way of getting more uniform sizes through the design in less time. I sculpted some crystal positives from Sculpy, baked them, then used the Amaze Mold putty to create this simple mold.

    Next up – heat up your pellets inside a silicone container (I like using a silicone cupcake liner or an egg poacher) and when they’re heated, blend the pellets into a putty until there are no individual pellets to be seen, then press into the mold and let cool.

    Always wear gloves when working with Crystal Art!

    You can speed up the cooling process by dunking the whole mold into cold water, or placing it into a freezer.

    Next I made the headband base. The headband I had was just a skinny thing from the dollar store, and I needed enough space on the headband to give me something to glue the crystals onto. I created a sort of half moon shaped base out of card stock, and then hot glued it onto the band for support.

    You could make your headband itself from Worbla’s Finest Art for something custom sized.

    The band with the cardstock glued down

    I wrapped the band with some silk scraps, gluing them down along the top of the band so I had a platform to sit the crystals onto. I also decided what flowers I’d be adding, and trimmed some of the Crystal Art shapes into sharper points.

    Then you just have to hot glue the Crystal Art onto the headband, then cover the base with some flowers to keep everything neat!

    And you’re done! You can also color your crystals using pigments when you’re heating them, but I liked the clear crystal effect this time around.

    Laser Cutting Worbla on a Glowforge

    Because we are often asked about laser cutting Worbla, we reached out to SmallRiniLady to run tests with her new Glowforge desktop laser printer, as she had previously run tests on cutting Worbla on the Universal & Epilog Laser Cutters for us (that you can see here). You can read her full report with examples below!

    Laser cutting with Worbla

    Laser cutting with Worbla is an amazing way to create intricate patterns and consistent copies of small details in Worbla.

    Glowforge
    Glowforge is a hobbyist laser cutting machine that has come onto the market recently. The software is all cloud based so it can be accessed from any browser.

    Glowforge Settings
    Worbla isn’t one of the Proofgrade materials that is sold by Glowforge so you will not have pre defined settings for the material. SmallRIniLady has done testing and provided a settings chart for Glowforge usage. Pick your material and settings based on your project needs. A lasercutter is burning through the material so there may be some surprises for first time users.

  • Burn residue, which will stick back to the material
  • Edges have been heated, so often they result in a shiny and/or raised edges.
  • Softening of the Worbla. We’re playing with heat and thermoplastics so softening of the material may occur depending on how close your cuts are. Give your Worbla an extra 30 seconds to cool down and harden before picking up
  • By going slow you can create cleaner cuts with limited residue that would need to be sanded off or painted over. But if you want to get something done in a hurry, Fast settings that can be used. Each Worbla has it’s own behaviors when burned, please refer to the observations found below.

    Slow

    For projects that will not be painted, minimal residue

    MaterialThicknessPowerSpeed
    Finest Art0.04″20080
    Black Art0.04″15080
    Mesh Art0.04″275100
    TranspArt0.03″15080
    Flame Red Art0.04″15080
    Pearly Art0.04″20080
    KobraCast Art0.02″50080

    Fast

    For projects that will be painted, increased residue

    MaterialThicknessPowerSpeed
    Finest Art0.04″225100
    Black Art0.04″200100
    Mesh Art0.04″275100
    TranspArtNot Recommended
    Flame Red Art0.04″200100
    Pearly Art0.04″225100
    KobraCast ArtNot Recommended

    Pre Steps

    To ensure the best results when working with any laser cutter with your Worbla it is best to prep your sheets. Please refer to the Prepping the Worbla section in the Laser Cutting Worbla: Creating a Digital Template tutorial

    Cutting Observations

    Worbla’s Finest Art
    Finest Art works great with the Glowforge. Folks usually paint over Finest Art so the darkening of the edges should not be a problem.

    Worbla’s Black Art
    Black Art is good to use with the Glowforge if you intend of painting the piece. It produces a little bit of white smudging which is notable when looking at an arms length away. Because of the vacuum in the Glowforge the white smudge is primarily on the underside, however there is still a bit on the top, especially for corner locations due to Glowforges corner overburn issues (as described below).

    Worbla’s Mesh Art
    Mesh Art is great for the Glowforge. Very clean lines considering there’s mesh crossing through it. There is some darkening of edges, but folks usually paint over Mesh Art anyways.

    Worbla’s TranspArt
    TranspArt is extremely aggravating to work with for the Glowforge.
    The laser is directed at a pin point location on the Worbla during cutting but the heat will disperse in the process causing the surrounding Worbla surface to heat up and activate the glue. As the laser is cutting away the material there will be tiny particles flying around and landing nearby. These particles land on the activated TranspArt and cool, creating a foggy effect. The vacuum in the Glowforge system also directs most of the particles in a single direction as you can see from the photo results here.
    Therefore I do not recommend laser cutting TranspArt with the Glowforge for most projects. Only use this method if the final project does not require clear nor evenly frosted TranspArt.

    Worbla’s FlameRed Art
    Similar to how a grey colour car will not show dirt as obviously as a white or black car, the same concept benefits FlameRed Art. There may be a slight darkening to the edges which could be mistaken for shadowing. FlameRed Art is great for cutting in the GlowForge and being displayed as is afterwards.

    Worbla’s Pearly Art
    PearlyArt came with mixed results on the Glowforge. You can’t prevent the dark discoloration that occurs on the bottom side of the cut pieces, however it seems to not be a problem on the top side. If you are planning on making pieces that only show one side of the Pearly Art then this technique will work wonders for you. However if you plan on having the piece visible from both side, prepare for some sanding work.
    The corners overburn issues (as described below) can be quite apparent with Pearly Art and can may not produce a clean 90 degree corner. I would not recommend using the fast settings for your final cuts.

    Worbla’s KobraCast Art
    KobraCastArt is thinner then Worbla so it needs a gentler touch when working with the Glowforge. It must be cut on a lower power. The edges show signs of melting with shininess and raised edges. If your power is set even a little too high then the edges start to melt away like a candle and dissolve. I recommend testing out your KobraCast Art on a smaller sample before beginning with the larger pieces.

    Trial Run before you Commit

    * Recommended to test a small sample piece before continuing with your larger projects. Glowforge results may vary based on
    1) The condition of the mirror and laser tube
    2) Cleanliness of your device
    3) Flatness of your material; an uneven piece of Worbla may result in an uneven cutting due to the focus being set to an expected height

    Overburn Issues

    Glowforge has an overburn issue when it comes to corners; a noticeable bump action can be seen when the laser needs to rotate sharp directions. The bump action seems to cause the laser to stay at that point a little longer which results in uneven cutting results. Worbla is no exception to this which can lead to extra melty corners. Please view the photos provided for some example and do some sample testing prior to your final cuts. Many in the Glowforge community get around this by modifying their designs by rounding the corners which will guide the laser a smooth path and avoid the bump action.

    Worbla’s Pearly Art Scales Dragon Bracer Tutorial

    Tutorial by Bamzy Cosplay

    Worbla’s Pearly Art Scales

    The next member of the Worbla family is Worbla’s Pearly Art Scales! These scales apply and act in the same way the Pearly Art Worbla does when applied with heat and used on foam or with other Worbla products. They become soft and malleable, can attach themselves to other Worbla without any adhesives.

    Scale Specs

    • Heat activation temperatures 80-90 °C / 175-195 °F
    • Size per scale:  3cm x 1.6cm (1.18inch x 0.62 inch)
    • 5oz/140G package contains 275 individual scales
    • 5oz/140G package coverage estimation: 100 In2 / 645cm2

    The Build

    Purple Dragon Bracer

    With the opportunity to get to try out this new product, I quickly drew up a basic Bracer design to incorporate the scales and practicality of the material in a costume piece.
    Inspired by Spyro the Dragon, a simple, purple scale bracer with gold detailing, a few resin gems and some foam clay scales to bring it all together.

    The Materials

    1. Worbla’s Pearly Art Scales. 5oz/140g Pack
    2. Double Sided Smooth EVA Foam
    3. Contact Cement
    4. Worbla’s Black Art Detailing
    5. Easy Cast Resin
    6. Lumin’s Workshop Ultra Light Weight Foam Clay

    Drafting the Pattern

    Seran Wrap Pattern Method

    I started the build by wrapping my arm in seran wrap, then covered by masking tape to get a perfect copy of my forearm. You can then draw on the shape of your bracer and then cut your arm out safely to have a perfect base bracer to your body.

     

    Pattern Transfer

    Next, I take the rough seran wrap base pattern and transfer it onto paper so I can make any adjustments and Apply the details to the paper pattern without ruining the base pattern
    Doing this step prevents you from having to cut the original or do any alterations that don’t work out and force you to start the seran wrap process all over again.     

     

    Applying the pattern to your materials

    Now that you have your base pattern, apply it  to your EVA foam and cut it out. I found that pinning down the pattern into the foam with sewing pins helps anchor it from moving/shifting  around while tracing it out.

    Next, I started to line up the individual scales so I had an idea how many it would take to cover the bracer up to the point I wanted them to be. For me, I used 140 scales to get to the point shown below.

     

    Applying the scales

    This is where it started to get tricky. I first had all the scales lined up perfectly as pictures above and hit them with heat so they would stick and stay where I had placed them. That worked out great flat. Once I tried to reheat the foam and the scales as one and tried to reshape it to go around my arm, The scales then split apart from the points I had them laid out in. 

    It’s easier to apply them when the foam is in the desired shape!
    I had to start over. Peeled off every scale, reshaped by base bracer and had it being held up with a bottle to make it easier to apply when it was in this new rounded shape.
    Heating the scales on my table and applying them back onto the foam one at a time until I returned to my desired height of scales.
    You learn from your mistakes.

     

    Test Fit
    Now that the scales have cooled, the bracer holds the desired shape without the need for any straps or fasteners
    Test fit to be sure everything is sitting the way you wanted.  

    Foam Details
    Now that the base of the bracer is complete, I began to add the EVA foam to build up the raised edge and Foam Clay to make the spikes. I sketched out where I wanted the gems to be positioned and glued everything together with Contact Cement.

     

    Final steps to completion
    Installing my resin casted gems, with a Worbla trim around them all was left to do before I primed the entire bracer. I used 2 layers of Mod Podge because I wanted the slight texture of the Worbla to remain and look more organic scale like.Finally, I sprayed the entire bracer black and gold, applied the purple to the scales with a dry brush technique. Dabbled some watered down black paint in the crevices for the  shadows with acrylic paint.

    I did paint the spikes separate and glued them on at the end. A yellow acrylic for the base colour and brown shadows to finish off the look. An optional step is to seal the paint with a spray varnish. Pick what works best for your project, glossy or matte and your bracer is complete!

    Princess Zelda Armor – Pauldrons

    Worbla.com is working with Element Creations for her Princess Zelda build, and she shared her first tutorial with us on creating Zelda’s iconic shoulder pauldrons out of Worbla’s Black and Red Art.

    The first piece I decided to make for Zelda from Hyrule Warriors is the shoulder armor set. It took around half a Large sheet of worbla, some craft foam, and red worbla for the pauldron detailing.

    I started with making the pauldrons. Those have a pretty basic shape, but they do represent a challenge when it comes to adding details and merge them all together to get a seamless look.
    The way I did it is rather simple. I used craft foam as a base, then cut the desired shape. You can do that with your own pauldron for any other costumes. It’s always the same patterns, but with a little bit of tweaking.

    I did used the sandwich method on these pieces because I want the to be extra solid and I also added some extra support. The pauldron comes in two craft foam pieces in order to get the curved look at the shoulder seam. I merge those two sandwiched pieces together and there was my Pauldron base!

    Then the fun but most tedious part! The detailing was very fun and I had the chance to play with red worbla. I did use a tri bead roller to make the square cut on the details, then I placed them together on the pauldron trying to be the most accurate possible.

    Zelda’s shoulder armor also have a sculpted detail right on the inside edge. I used red worbla, heated a bunch of it, then sculpted by hand the shape. This took a very long time to get it smooth and perfect and also, to make it look seamless.

    The process for Zelda’s shoulder armor is pretty easy, but it takes a lot of time. It’s just a matter of having the desired shape and adding your sculpted details on top.

    For the centre chest piece, I used the same process. I drafted it in craft foam, I sandwiched it, then added the details. I did use black worbla on this one. I wanted to test the versatility of the two and how both of them looks primed and painted.

    The painting process was quite easy. I primed the whole armor with Mod Podge (one of my fav primers for black and red worbla), then I painted it all black, and used my favorite gold acrylic paint. To achieve the gradient/used look on the armor, I used a fluffy brush, and I slowly dabbled into the armor to gradually add paint and make a gradient effect. Without touching the inner corners, adding the gold gradually makes it looks like the armor is old and used. It’s a really fun process!

    I added the gems at the end with some sewing thread.

    Adding white highlights is optional for these pieces or any golden armor pieces. I did add them myself because I think it gives a cool look. And since Zelda is cartooned in Hyrule Warriors, I wanted it to pop out.

    Easy Mold & Cast with Worbla’s Pearly Art – Video

    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!

    Gunner Gretel bow from sinOalice

    DiGi Rin Cosplay used Pearly Art and TranspArt to help her bring this amazing bow to life for her sinOalice Gretel costume. She shared the process with us, and you can see the steps she took to create this oversized piece to complement her costume!

    This is how I created my Gunner Gretel bow from sinOalice. I started off by patterning this all on a sheet of paper in 2D before I began to plan the rest of it.

    Materials:

  • ½ inch Insulation foam
  • Worbla’s Pearly Art
  • Worbla’s TranspArt
  • Foam Clay
  • Paper Clay
  • Model Magic Clay
  • Heat gun
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Floral wire
  • Hot Glue
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Duct Tape
  • In this tutorial I will be highlighting in detail how I made the dragon head, base of the bow and the materials I used for each part of the bow.

    The Dragon Head

    The base of the whole head was made from Worbla’s Pearly Art sandwiched between craft foam (worbla – craft foam – worbla).
    This was the craft foam base of the dragon head. After covered with worbla on either side, the highlighted part was then heated with a heat gun and then attached together.

    I then molded the shape of the the dragon head with foam clay (grey areas) and model magic clay (brown areas). In the picture below you can see this and the area in which the worbla was connected.

    The clay was held on by no glue. The foam clay held on very well but some of the model magic clay needed extra glue to stay on.

    I added more details with Worbla’s Pearly Art.

    I used the worbla – craft foam – worbla sandwich method. This part required me to attach the worbla to the foam clay. The worbla did not bond when heated up with the heat gun to the clay, so I used Gorilla Glue and hot glue to keep it place while the Gorilla Glue dried.

    Gorilla Glue takes a while to cure so I usually use little bits of hot glue to keep it in place.

    Additional details were added on with Paper clay (beige detailed area). Paper clay sometimes needs water to mold, I had a glass of water close by to damp my hands whenever molding these details.

    The Base of the Bow


    The base was ½” Insulation foam cut out with a box cutter. The base made to attach to the bottom of the dragon head.


    Floral Wire was attached to the insulator foam by poking holes through the foam, and taping the other side of the foam with duct tape to hold it down.
    A box cutter was used to carve holes on the top and bottom of the base shapes. A wooden dowel was then glued to the top and bottom insulation foam pieces using hot glue and gorilla glue.
    The head was then glued to a ½ inch Insulation Foam base. This was using Gorilla Glue and Hot Glue to keep it in place until the gorilla glue dried.


    The insulation foam was attached to the base to create the bow shapes.
    The top, bottom and middle of the bow have two layers of ½” insulation foam attached together by hot glue.
    The foam was attached to the base using hot glue and gorilla glue. Any gaps between the pieces were filled in with paper clay.

    Worbla’s TranspArt was heated up with a heat gun and wrapped around the floral wire to make a flame type of effect.
    The TranspArt was required to be glued into place with hot glue to the floral wire and the base of the the bow, to stay in place.

    What material was used for every part of the bow:

    See a gallery of DiGi Rin Cosplay’s complete costume here, photographed by Con Mom Photography.

    Dragon Horns and Ears from Worbla – Video

    The incredibly talented NsomniaksDream is known for her amazing makeup and illustration work, but she’s also used Worbla to create fantastical accessories to complete her looks.

    Her Dragon Makeup included horns and ears made from Worbla and she’s shared with us two video tutorials on the process so you can create your own below!


    Houseki no Kuni wig with TranspArt

    Ivorivet created this stunning wig for her Amethyst from Houseki no Kuni, achieving a glossy, crystalline look. She shared her process with us below!

    Photo by Coffee_cat_cat

    I just got back from Cosplay America in Raleigh, NC and I’m really excited to share how my Amethyst wig turned out! I watched Houseki no Kuni after seeing a bunch of lovely pictures of people cosplaying from it, and once I finished the show I started kicking around a few ideas of how I could make a wig that had a glass-like finish like the way the 3D models are rendered.

    Using iridescent cellophane and other shiny materials for the gems’ wigs is not something that’s new, and I had the benefit of seeing how a lot of other people completed their wigs so I could see how things translated to real life. A couple of really lovely cosplayers I drew inspiration from before I started making my own wig are Kleiner Pixel, Schmemy Cosplay, Taaarte, and Sorairo Days.

    A neat twist on the cellophane technique that I wanted to try out was to incorporate compound curves into the wig to make things look more organic. Cellophane is usually sold in rolls or flat sheets and is difficult to manipulate into curved shapes. My solution for that was to use a clear thermoplastic called TranspArt as a “carrier” for the cellophane, which provided enough support that I was able to glue the cellophane down into more organic shapes. An added bonus is that the TranspArt is shiny itself and really made the whole of the wig look super slick and glassy. I picked Amethyst’s wig to test out this technique on because she has a very round head and also a distinct stop at the end of her hairline because of the braid that’s wrapped around her head. I might try to adapt this to other gems in the future, but for this time around it was really nice knowing I had the braid to help disguise the ends of the TranspArt.

    The materials that went into the wig are:

    I also used the following tools for this project:

    • Heat gun
    • Metal baking sheet
    • Frog tape/painters tape
    • Got2B Freeze spray
    • Ice cubes
    • Sharpie marker
    • Nail polish remover/acetone
    • X-acto knife
    • Plastic Christmas ornament on a wig stand – this was to help stretch curves in the TranspArt, any other convex curve will do
    • Head cast – I did most of my styling on a slightly distorted resin head cast that I made a couple years ago. You absolutely do NOT need one to make a houseki wig, but I have a very deep curvature at the name of my neck that is not shaped like any of the wig heads I own (my chiropractor says this is a problem, yay!). Since I wanted the back of the wig to be as fitted as possible to the nape of my neck, I decided to use the head cast as a base since I already had it made. If I didn’t have it, I could have used a box cutter to modify a styrofoam wig head to the same effect.
    • Prepping the Base Wig

      The first step was to cut and style the base wig. The Dark Lavender color from Arda was pretty close to what I wanted but I was worried it might look a little dull, so I dyed the base wig and the wefts with a very dilute bath of RIT Dyemore in red to warm up the color a bit. I straightened the wig and wefts back out again using a blow dryer to direct heat down the lengths of the fibers as I brushed them out with a wig brush.

      To give myself a guide to determine where hair needed to stop (and later act as a backing where the braid would be sewn on), I used some purple craft felt to extend the cap of the wig. I put the wig on and then slid the felt between the wig and my head, marked with a sharpie where I wanted the felt to end, and used straight pins to hold it in place. After that I took the whole thing off my head, sewed the felt to the wig with a needle and thread, and then trimmed the excess felt off.

      The Grace was longer than I needed it to be but it was the only wig that was available in the color I wanted that wasn’t on backorder, haha. There was a lot of extra hair that needed to be cut off, but I found the added length made things easier when I was teasing out the wig. I sectioned the wig with alligator clips, started teasing the sections of hair, hitting them with some heat from a blow dryer to kink the fibers, brushing them out, teasing again, etc. until I got the volume I wanted. I did a blunt cut of the wig hair about 2 inches past the felt and then used thinning shears to feather the ends up until the ends of the sections were even with the felt. A lot of Got2B hairspray and blow drying later and I had the base style done!

      I knew that during this process I would have to handle and roll the wig around at a lot of different angles which would cause the styling I just did to fall out, so to reinforce the bottom edge of the wig I ran a bead of Pattex glue over the edges of the hair and squished it into the fibers/felt with my fingers. Tacky Glue would have also worked in this situation but the Pattex dries faster and I wanted an excuse to try it out.

      Adding the TranspArt

      The next step of the project was to create a TranspArt shell that would sit on the exterior of the wig. To figure out what shapes I had to cut out, I used strips of painters tape and stuck them to the vertical sections I had previously styled. The tape barely stuck to the hair, which was nice for removal but not so much for when I was creating the patterns. I had to use a couple of straight pins to hold the tape in place for some of the sections. This particular wig had 18 strips – I made sure to number them and also indicate which side was up.

      The nice thing about the painters tape is that it was super easy to stick onto the TranspArt sheet to determine the cutting layout. I gave myself a few millimeters of extra room around each template, but things ended up being pretty tight on a medium sheet (20″x30″). If you want to do a gem with longer hair than Amethyst, it would probably be a good idea to get a large sheet. Once I cut out all the TranspArt pieces, I was able to peel off the templates and stick them to my wall for storage and easy access for when I needed them again.

      The next step was to tint the TranspArt to a slight purple shade so it would blend in with the wig. I made a very dilute dye bath with a mix of the red and purple RIT Dyemore and did test pieces until I figured out how to get the translucency and color that I wanted. To avoid over-dyeing the TranspArt I ended up dunking the pieces in one at a time for about 20 seconds per piece. To keep the pieces from getting mixed up, I made sure to re-label them with painters tape as soon as I had rinsed them off and dried them. I also dyed the larger scraps of TranspArt just in case I needed a backup piece. (Eventually I’d like to use the backup pieces to add TranspArt to the braid as well, but that’s another mini project.)

      To mold the TranspArt into the correct shape, I set up my work space with a metal baking sheet in front of me, a heat gun, a small bowl of ice cubes, and a plastic Christmas ornament on a wig stand. I followed these rough steps to form each TranspArt carrier to the correct shape:

      • Heat up the whole carrier until it is soft enough to be tugged into a relatively flat shape. It’s probably still a little wonky from the dye bath. Allow it to cool to the point where it’s no longer stretchable.
      • Heat up only the center of the carrier, trying to avoid the outer edges as much as possible. The goal is to make the center malleable while leaving the edges as cool as you can so they will stretch less.
      • Immediately stretch the center of the carrier over the Christmas ornament to start forming the compound curve.
      • Pin the top of the carrier to the wig head over the area where you want it to lie, and clip the bottom of the carrier to the end of your hair section. This will help it to form a curve in the general shape that you need. The carrier will be a little too large at this point and also the edges won’t be curved in too much – this is okay. Allow it to completely cool.
      • While the carrier is cooling from the last step, use a sharpie marker to trace the exact outline of the hair section onto the TranspArt to use as a cutting guide. You can use a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover/acetone to remove these marks at any time, so don’t be shy about where you mark things. It’s also a good time to write whatever number the piece is directly onto it so you can get rid of the painters tape labels.
      • Remove the carrier from the wig and cut the excess TranspArt off the edges of the carrier, following your guideline from the previous step.
      • To tuck the edges of the carrier in even more and really exaggerate the compound curve, use your heat gun to heat up a small length of the very edge of the carrier. A rough guideline to use is that you want to heat up about 2″ of the edge, going only 1/4″ of the way into the piece. This will make the edges flexible and able to be tucked in while preserving the overall shape of the carrier that you established in the previous steps.
      • While the edge of the carrier is flexible, hold the piece so the concave side is facing you and the heated edge of the carrier is pointing down. Press the heated edge against the baking sheet and gently roll the carrier towards you, using your thumbs to press into the curve to exaggerate it more. In the pictures below I’m only using one hand because the other is holding my camera, but it’s easier when you can use both of your thumbs.
      • When you’ve got the shape you want, you can either let it cool on its own, which is suuuuper slow and boring, or you can greatly speed up the process by running an ice cube along the edge a couple times. This will eventually create a cold pool of water that can be used to cool things as well.
      • Work your way around the edges of the piece, heating up small sections at a time and using the ice cubes/cold water to cool them. Try not to let the center of the carrier become too flexible – every so often hold the carrier up against the wig to make sure your overall shape hasn’t become distorted.
      • Once your carrier is molded into the right shape, pin it to the wig and keep it there. This will help you figure out how to trim the other carriers so that there isn’t too much overlap between them.
      • Here’s what my wig looked like once I had all the carriers molded into their correct shapes:

        At this point I used a sharpie marker to mark where I wanted all of the horizontal highlights to go. (For those of you who spent all of middle/high school drawing 90’s anime hair, NOW IS YOUR TIME TO SHINE.) With the carriers on the wig, I was able to create a continuous highlight strip all around the wig and know exactly where to place the cellophane for it later.

        Adding the Cellophane

        Having the carriers and painters tape templates available for me to draw on made it very easy to draw specific shapes and cut them out of cellophane for particular parts of the wig. I started out with the horizontal highlights and used two iridescent types of cellophane for them (see materials list above). Using the general marks I had made to indicate where the horizontal highlight would go on each carrier, I put painters tape over the outer surface/convex side of the carrier and drew a more detailed version of each highlight, then removed the painters tape and stuck it to my cutting mat. Then I placed my cellophane over the painters tape, and using a light cutting pressure, cut a matching shape out of the cellophane with an X-acto knife. I did this twice, cutting out a slightly larger piece the second time to help soften the edges of the highlight. The painters tape template was peeled off my cutting mat and discarded.

        To attach the cellophane highlights to the TranspArt carrier, I used Elmer’s spray adhesive and applied everything to the underside/concave side of the carrier. I first put down the small horizontal highlight, then the large one, using the sharpie marks as an indicator of where I should place things. I really like this technique because the sharpie marks and the cellophane go on opposite sides of the carrier, which allowed me to wipe off the sharpie marks later without touching the cellophane. It also helps to protect the cellophane from getting peeled off, since it was sandwiched between the wig and the carriers.

        The spray adhesive is initially very tacky but gets less so after it dries for about 24 hours, so it’s best to apply the cellophane to the carrier as soon as you hit it with the adhesive and smooth it out as much as you can to get rid of wrinkles and air bubbles.

        To make the vertical highlights, I used a metallic purple mylar and a slightly more opaque non-iridescent cellophane. My large painters tape templates were looking pretty haggard at this point, but I was still able to use them as a cutting guide for these. I sketched a couple of large vertical swoops on them, placed the cellophane/mylar on top, and cut some strips out. Unlike with the horizontal highlights where I went one carrier at a time, I found that with these vertical highlights it was easier to work with 3-4 carriers at a time so I didn’t have to move the large cellophane/mylar sheets that I had to tape down on top of the cutting templates.

        I then used the Elmer’s spray adhesive to attach the highlights to the concave side of the carriers, pretty much the same as before.

        Making the Braid and Assembling the Wig

        Initially when I planned to make this wig, I wanted to make little eye-shaped TranspArt bits to go over each section of braid, but I ran out of time before the con. (This has never happened to me before, ever. Not at ALL.) Instead what I ended up doing was cutting several strips of the iridescent and dark purple cellophane and incorporating them into each third of the braid, which gave it enough of a shiny look to blend in with the TranspArt portion of the wig. I also got super lucky and had JUST enough hair in Arda’s long wefts to wrap around the wig and have the braid end exactly where I wanted it to. I used Pattex glue and a little bit of hot glue on the backside of the braid ends to create a smooth taper on both ends.

        To make it easier to sew the braid down to the wig, I decided to give myself a felt backing similar to what I had done before. I cut a few strips of felt that were slightly smaller in width than the braid, pinned them around the wig head where I wanted to place the braid, and tacked them together with hot glue. I removed the felt from around the wig, and attached the braid to the felt using more hot glue.

        Next came attaching everything to the base wig! I removed all the carriers from the wig and kept them stored in the correct order by pinning them to a second wig head. Then I took one at a time and pinned it back on the base wig, pulled the wig off the wig head, sewed the top end of the carrier to the wig, then put the wig back on the wig head to make sure it was sewn in the correct place before moving onto the next carrier. Once all the carriers were attached to the top of the wig, I did the same thing for the bottom edge of the carriers, making sure my thread actually went through the felt at the bottom edge of the wig to form a TranspArt/wig hair/felt sandwich. Attaching the braid went the same way – I strategically pinned it down on the wig head, carefully removed the wig and braid from the wig head with the pins still in place, and sewed through both layers of felt as I worked my way around the periphery of the wig.

        At this point, it was ready to wear!

        Care and Maintenance

        For those of you who followed my Instagram stories over the weekend of Cosplay America, you’ll already know this wig survived a near disaster. For those who didn’t, the lesson learned is do not put pressure on these wigs (e.g. stuffing them in a cramped bag) and allow them to sit in a hot environment for a long period of time. Because of traffic around Chicago, it took me two hours to drive to the airport, it was 95° F outside, and I don’t have air conditioning in my car. I wanted to be able to grab my luggage and sprint immediately to the airport so I had stuffed the wig into my carry-on bag ahead of time. (To be fair, I kept the wig on the wig head, wrapped it up in its own bag for protection, and then packed it in my carry-on… but unfortunately it was a little too full of other stuff.) This put enough pressure on the TranspArt that combined with the high temperatures during the drive that it caused the TranspArt to slump and get somewhat reformed to the squished shape it was in my bag. I almost screamed when I took it out at the con and saw what had happened. :(

        Fortunately, I was able to use the hotel’s blow dryer to heat the TranspArt up enough to reform it into the correct shape, and everything turned out okay. So if your wig gets damaged in transport, it is possible to fix things with a blow dryer, but it’s best to take proper precautions so you don’t have to fix anything at all!

        I did notice that by the end of the weekend, the styling I had done on my base wig was falling out because the hairspray was starting to break down. I’m probably going to have to snip through the threads that are attaching the braid and the bottoms of the carriers, so I can lift up the carriers to get at the wig hair underneath and do some touch ups. I’ll edit this post with any further tips I have about maintaining this type of wig, but I have a feeling this type of maintenance is something I’m going to have to do each time the wig gets worn and transported over long distances.

        Anyway, I hope this write-up had helped given you some ideas of your own about how to make a Houseki no Kuni wig! I would love to see any pictures you have of your own wig if this helped you out in any way, so please drop me a line on Instagram/Tumblr/Twitter. Thanks so much for reading!


        (photo taken by my fiance who when I asked how he wanted to be credited for the photo made the :I face and shrugged)

        ———

        Thanks again to Ivorivet for sharing this tutorial with us!

    Attaching Armor: the Punch/Stud Method

    We worked with Kimchi4U Cosplay & Props recently to create a tutorial for how he created this innovative way of attaching his Mordred (Fate/Apocrypha) armor. Take a look!

    —————–

    In partnership with Cosplay Supplies I was able to make a full armor build for Mordred from the anime Fate Apocrypha.

    This is a tutorial for a type of mounting system I have not yet seen before in other cosplay builds. Since I was making most of the armor out of worbla, I knew that I would be needing something substantially durable for fixing parts of the armor to my body.

    Seeing as I have not yet seen this before in other projects, I am going to call it the Punch/Stud method. This method of mounting systems uses the expansion of your body to keep armor parts on your person by friction.

    The Punch/Stud method is comprised of 2 parts of armor having holes punched into once piece, and studs made of worbla on the other. The sandwich method for both pieces would probably be ideal as this mounting depends on having both pieces of armor fairly resistant to forces in order to perform as intended.

    The two pieces of armor is encased around a part of the body and the studs are fitted through the punched holes to lock in place. It should be a fairly tight fit, and if this is done your body trying to expand back into place from the compression will secure your armor in place.

    I punched the holes in the armor pieces by taking a power drill to it with a bit intended for putting holes in wood. The studs were made with scrap pieces of worbla and fixed to the surface of the armor. Both stud and punch holes were reheated and smoothed over.

    Make sure to do lots of test fits before finalizing the location of the studs. Otherwise you may end up with armor that is either too small or too big to securely fit onto your person.

    Mordred on the official art does not show having studs on parts of her armor. I took some creative liberties in order to use this method of mounting by accepting that I would not be able to hide the hole and stud and placed them in areas where it would make sense.

    This method was used to fix my chest/back pieces and calf/shin pieces to my body. Its a method of mounting that is deceptively simple, but also depends on being custom fitted to your body to remain effective.
    Pros:
    – does not take up a lot of space in order to work
    – very secure and durable way of mounting armor
    – simple in technique. not very complicated to pull off

    Cons:
    – substantial changes in body dimensions may result in armor no longer fitting as intended
    – visible on the finished product. there is no real way of hiding the fact that this exists on your armor. there is a visible hole and a stud protruding (best to use in areas where it makes sense for the armor to have studs or rivets)
    – requires sturdy materials. using this with foam alone will probably result in a fit that is not as secure

    —————–

    Thanks again to Kimchi4U Cosplay & Props for sharing this technique with us!

    Large Molded Details with Worbla

    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.

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    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.

    Materials Used:
    100% Silicone
    Cornstarch
    X-Acto Knife
    2mm craft foam
    Heat gun
    Sculpting tools
    Female Dress Form
    Worbla

    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.

    Thanks again to Carmine for sharing this process with us! Be sure to check out his Facebook, Instagram, and Website for more of his creations!

    Bikini Style Breastplate With Cut out Details with Pearly Art


    We contacted Termina Cosplay to create a tutorial with the new Worbla’s Pearly Art, and she shared how she made this bikini styled breastplate armor with negative details. Take a look at her tutorial below!

    Materials/Tools

    Heat Gun
    Clay Tools
    Worbla (I use Worbla’s Pearly Art)
    Craft Foam
    Scissors
    Pencil
    Resin Gem (optional)
    Large Styrofoam Ball
    Masking Tape
    Plastic Wrap

    Step 1: Prepare Foam Ball

    To make the cups for this breastplate, I use a styrofoam ball.

    To start, cut the ball in half and wrap it in masking tape. Covering the ball with masking tape will keep the Worbla from sticking to it and keep the heat from the heat gun from melting it.

    Step 2: Make the Cups

    To make the cups, cut out two pieces of Worbla big enough to cover the ball. Heat those pieces up and stick them together to make a double layer thick sheet.


    Then, make sure the sheet is completely heated and stretch it over the ball, making sure to get it as smooth as possible. You can heat it back up as you work if you need to.


    After that, cut off the excess Worbla from the bottom and let it cool. Once its cool, its safe to remove. Repeat the process for the second cup.


    Next, its time to shape the cups to your liking! To do this, I cover the cup in masking tape and draw the lines I want to cut. Then, I just cut along the lines while the tape is still on.


    To copy the shape onto the second cup, carefully take the tape off, turn it inside out, cover the sticky side with plastic wrap, and use it as a pattern to shape the other cup. You’ll get a perfectly symmetrical cup this way!


    It may be hard to see which side is up and which side is down once they’re cut, so be sure to mark your pieces accordingly to make sure you can remember. I use arrows to indicate which side is the bottom.

    Step 3: Connect the Cups

    To connect the cups, I used a resin cast gem as the center and connected the two sides with a setting.


    Make the setting, start by taking your gem and pressing it into a double layer thick piece of Worbla.


    Then, make a “noodle” out of Worbla by taking a long, flat piece, heating it up, and rolling it up from one side. Once it is the thickness you want, cut the excess off, heat it up again, and roll it to seal the edge.


    Take your noodle and make the outside edge of the setting by heating the base and pressing it down around the shape of the gem. You can use clay tools and heat to seal up the gap left behind as well! Lastly, cut the setting out and you’re ready to connect the cups with it!


    Now, heat up the inner corner of the breastplate and the gem setting and press them together. Do the same with the other side. To make it easier to line up symmetrically, draw guidelines on the back to help you!

    You can also reinforce the back with a strip of Worbla if you want to make sure it doesn’t come apart.

    It may not fit correctly right after attaching everything together, so to shape it, heat up ONLY the center and fit it directly to your body while it cools. If you heat up more than just the center, your risk warping the cups out of shape, so be careful!

    Step 4: Add Details

    To make the details, we’re going to use more Worbla noodles! Start with the edges and carefully add on the noodles using your heat gun. Be sure not to heat the cups so much that they warp out of shape! I little heat goes a long way.


    To do any details on the inside, you’ll need to make a pattern to ensure both sides will be symmetrical. Cover the inside area with masking tape again and draw your pattern. A pencil is best for this part because it makes it easy to transfer the pattern.

    To transfer the lines to the other side, carefully take the masking tape pattern off, flip it inside out, and transfer the lines by drawing over the back so that the pencil lines transfer onto the Worbla. Remember, pen or marker lines will not transfer this way, so be sure to use a pencil!

    Then, make more Worbla noodles and add them on with your heat gun following the lines.


    You can also add cut out details using your noodles. While the noodle is still warm and flexible, heat up the area on the breastplate you want to attach it to. Then, press one end on and shape it to fit how you want! Be sure to heat up the other end before attaching it on.

    Once that noodle has cooled and is in place, you can add more, smaller pieces to connect it to the rest of the breastplate, making some really cool cut out designs in the process! Just cut your noodle piece to fit, heat the area you want to attach it to, and press it on! to strengthen the bond, add a small flat strip of Worbla to the back!


    Step 5: Add Side Panels.

    Side panels will give your breastplate more structure and help it fit better. To make them, start by making a pattern for the shape and size. You’ll want it to fit along the outside edges and wrap around your body a bit.

    Once you’re happy with the size and fit, transfer the pattern onto craft foam. Cut two pieces so you have one for each side.

    Then, cover each one with Worbla. Cut a piece of Worbla a bit bigger than your foam piece, heat it up over one side of the foam, and then wrap the edges over to the back. Seal up the edges and cut off the extra Worbla on the corners that form after folding!


    Then, heat the entire piece back up, attach it onto the breastplate, and shape it to fit.

    Last, You can add a bit of detail to the side panels to match the rest of the breastplate.

    Step 6: Add D Rings

    For the last step, we add D rings. D rings make it easy to add straps on, so they’re very useful!

    To add them on, take a small strip of Worbla, heat it up, put it through the ring, fold it onto itself, and then press it onto the inside of the breastplate. Be sure to heat the spot on the breastplate as well to ensure maximum hold!

    As the arrows below indicate, add D rings to the side panels and to the tops of the cups. This way you’ll be able to attach straps over the shoulders and around the back.

    After that, all that is left to do is finish it with some primer and paint. There are many different ways you can do this, so do a bit of research and choose the way that’s best for you!

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    Thanks again to Termina Cosplay for sharing this tutorial with us!

    Molding Details with Worbla Pearly Art – A Review of Worbla’s New Thermoplastic


    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
    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.

    Necessary Tools:
    Worbla Pearly Art
    Silicone or metal mold
    Heat Gun

    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!

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    Thanks again to Cowbuttcrunchies Cosplay for this excellent writeup and tutorial!

    Dragon Bracer

    Nibu Cosplay created this bracer for us using Worbla’s Black Art and shared the process in this simple writeup below.

    The base of the bracer is 3 individual sandwiches with regular 2mm EVA foam.

    Then, I made a ring with scraps and placed it on the bracer to imitate a leather strap with metal ring.

    After that, I molded some edges with more scraps and started the dragon head, claws and tail. As always, I used scraps and molded all this by hand. When it was done, I started doing the scales on the dragon with carving tools while heating the piece.

    When completed, I added battle damage and scratches all around the bracer!

    Gauntlet Tutorial from Patterning to Assembly!

    We asked Piratica (Captain Pira on Instagram) to create a tutorial for us using Black Worbla and she shared this great writeup on making a gauntlet, using Flemmeth from Dragon Age as an example!

    You will need:
    Cheap gloves with minimal stretch (these will be ruined, don’t use the gloves for your costume)
    A marker
    Paper
    Sharp Scissors (not your fabric scissors!)
    Worbla (approx 11×17 or 6×20, twice your paper pattern)
    Pencil
    Heat Gun
    Heat Protection Gloves
    Glue of choice (hot glue, E6000 or crazy glue)


    1. Gather your references. Front, back, sides. Trying to understand how it works before you start always makes things go smoother.

    2. Put on your glove. If you’re only making one (like McCree or Asami’s glove) put on the wrong glove inside out. You’ll be ruining this glove so don’t use the one you’ll want in your finished piece.

    3. Using your marker, draw circles around your knuckles and lines where your fingers bend onto your glove. Whatever design you’re making, you’ll want to be able to bend your fingers. Remember your thumbs.

    4. Start to draw your design. This glove has pointed fingers and knuckles, so I continued segments into points over the knuckles. Also draw on any panels for the back of your hand, or indications where rivets or crests might go. Drawing a line around where your wrist bends can also help you build a more wearable glove.

    5. When your glove has all the details you want in your gauntlet, take it off and cut out your finger segments. I recommend cutting across around the knuckles, and then snipping them open on the palm-side to create a flat piece. Trace this piece out onto paper.

    If your design has overlap, like the knuckle spikes here, it’s usually easiest to cut it at the knuckle, then when you draw your piece on paper, to continue the circle you marked your knuckles with. This allows me to make sure the knuckle is covered at the hidden end, and shows me how big to draw my spikes on the pointed end.

    For finger tips, if you want finger shaped ones (like Iron Man) use the glove tips, but cut more darts to get your flat pattern. Spiky fingers are done by adding to the flattened design. I added an extra cm at the tip, and tapered to it. If you want your fingertips to curve in like claws, you’ll want a Star Trek logo shape (as I switched to after this step), but if you want them to curve straight on the top, you’ll want to make a shield shape (as above).

    6. Continue to cut pieces out from your glove and trace them onto paper until you have all your pieces. Label as you go! Finger pieces tend to look similar but fit very differently. A naming system like Pinky 1, Pinky 2, Pinky 3, Ring 1, etc can save you a lot of headache later.

    7. TEST YOUR PATTERN. Cut out all your paper finger joints and try them on, over a new, whole glove. If your original glove stretched to fit your hand, you’ll probably need a few extra mm at each end to compensate, plus the added bulk of the glove itself.

    The easiest way to test and expand a pattern is to put masking tape on one end, put the piece in place on your gloved hand, then connect the other end with the tape, where it closes comfortably. Then slide the segment off your finger, and snip apart the masking tape to have your new fitted size.

    8. When you’re happy with the fit of your pattern, trace your paper pattern onto the matte side of your Worbla with pencil. Label these too! Finger joints are small, so instead of covering a layer of foam, use two layers of Worbla. Try to Tetris your pieces to save material, and have enough space to either fold your Worbla over or cut out another piece the same size.

    9. Heat your sheet! Before cutting out every piece, cut out the whole area you’ve drawn pieces on, and a second piece the same size (if your shape isn’t a rectangle, make sure to cut the 2nd shape mirrored). Put on you heat gloves and use your heat gun to warm both pieces until they are approaching the activation temperature. Press them together with the shiny sides in. Place this on a flat surface and continue to heat it until it reaches the activation point. Press gently and make sure your pieces are joined evenly.


    10. Allow to cool enough your pieces won’t warp, then cut out all your pattern pieces.

    Keep your scraps for making rivets, details or other projects.


    11. Now the fun part. Grab a finger joint and heat it up. Wrap it around a heat glove covered finger until it is cool enough to touch.

    Then put on your costume glove, and wrap the piece around the appropriate joint, connecting the sides around your finger and smooshing them flat and securely. In this design I wanted a ridge leading to the points, you can add that by pinching along a line. Also curving the opposite end around your knuckle will help it tuck underneath the next segment.


    Rows 2 and 3 should be made this way.

    12. Fingertips are a bit different, but mostly consist of pinching the heated Worbla from the ends to the tip, then bending the amount of curve you want. Try your pieces on together as you go, and don’t be afraid to reheat parts to adjust the fit.