Making a Pillbox Hat

Have you wondered about making a hat with Worbla? Well Isabella Josie, a West Sussex based Milliner, used Mesh Art for the first time to create a pillbox hat – and shared her experience and process with us!

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I’m very excited to be writing my first blog post about experimenting with Worbla Mesh Art. Worbla’s Mesh Art is a thermoplastic which when heated to 90 degrees Celsius becomes flexible (and tacky) so it can be easily moulded – it’s often used to create amazing Cosplay costumes. Worbla Mesh Art is smooth and shiny on the ‘right’ side (shown in the photo) and reinforced with a flexible mesh on the other side to makes it less easy to tear.img_4560

This post is about my first experience of using a thermoplastic product (and a heat gun!), many thanks to Cast4Art for the sample. I must admit I was pretty nervous about working with this new product, I looked at the sheet for days before summoning up the courage to have a go. There are probably lots of different (and better) ways of working with this product that I’ve yet to find out about – I would love to hear about your thermoplastic experience. For any ‘wanna be’ Worbla users, I would recommend checking out the tutorials and how to guides on the Worbla website before you get started.

Are you ready to see the making of my thermoplastic Pillbox Hat?

Step 1: Preparing the mould and cutting the Mesh Art.

Worbla Mesh Art was easy to cut with scissors – for any milliners out there it felt like I was cutting through 3 layers of Sinamay. For a hat block I used an upturned 1970’s wooden bowl on top of a small cup. The bowl / block was covered in aluminium foil which made it easier to separate the Mesh Art from the block once the shape was created.

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Step 2: Heating the Worbla Mesh Art

When Mesh Art is heated it become sticky and pliable and the heat gun gets hot – you will need to mindful of yourself and the work surface you are using. Remember to check out the health and safety advice on the Worbla website. I initially heated the Worbla Mesh Art with my heat gun on its lowest setting until it was soft and pliable. I moved the heat gun in a circular hair dryer type action. Once the Worbla Mesh Art became mouldable I popped it on top of my hat block and pushed the sides down. In a couple of places there were some ridges/fingers marks which a wet / damp sponge were able to smooth out.
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Step 3: Moulding the rest of the shape.

Once I was happy with the appearance of the top of the Worbla Mesh Art, I reheated the side of the Worbla (whilst its was on the mould) and pressed and smoothed the lumps and bumps out with the wet / damp sponge. I concentrated on a section at a time until the sides were lovely and smooth. Once the Worbla Mesh Art was completed cool (after about 10 minutes) I removed it from the hat block and trimmed the bottom.
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Step 4. Adding the fabric covering.

Once the base was trimmed to shape, I popped it back onto the mould and reheated the top so that it became tacky. I then popped the fabric over the top and trimmed the sides so there was a small overhang.

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Step 5: Adding Hat Elastic.

As I was making a Pillbox Hat, I had to figure out the best way to keep it on my head, with normal millinery materials you would catch the elastic and fabric with a few stitches. My ‘work-around’ involved heating a thick wool needle and using it to puncture two holes in each side of the hat band. Thread was then bound between the holes to create an anchorage point I could slip the elastic behind. The two photos below capture the idea.

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Step 6: Covering the side of the hat in fabric.

For this I used more of a traditional ‘tip and side’ band millinery technique. As the fabric was quite thick I found that I needed to add some interfacing behind the fabric to stop a side ridge forming (the first photo is without interfacing so you can see the ridge). I left the side band fabric longer than the hat base to give me something to sew the Petersham ribbon to. Excess fabric was then trimmed off and the Petersham ribbon tucked under to give a neat finish. The inner sideband was heated until it was ‘just tacky’ so I could press the fabric into it. I used a tiny bit of UHU glue in one place where it didn’t stick.

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Step 7: The final part was adding the Hat’s trimmings – I went for a fabric covered button and some curled pheasant feathers.
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Laser Cutting Worbla – Part 2!

The Dangerous Ladies shared with us their fantastic introduction to lasercutting worbla – so we contacted them to do more and share their findings with us! You can find part one here and part two continues below!
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Hello, friends! Last time you saw us laser cutting, we did a bunch of stuff with black worbla and the original stuff. The fine people at Worbla and @heatgunning saw this and thought it was super cool, so they invited us to visit their HQ and offered us more worbla to test on, and we said sure, we’d love more excuses to cut things with lasers. Edgar at Toronto Laser Services also thought it was a good time and invited us back to cut more worbla, too, so now we’re a trifecta of lasercut thermoplastics.

So last week, we went back to TLS give the other three kinds of worbla a run under the laser cutter. We did some basic tests and cuts just to put the materials through their paces, and we’ll be doing more soon! So on the docket for today we have:

Transparent Worbla aka TranspArt.
Mesh Worbla aka MeshArt.
Red Worbla, aka FlameRed.

(Red, right? RED? I had never heard of it when Amanda put it in our hands, and it is live now, but I haven’t seen anyone do anything with it, so it’s kind of exciting to like… be the first people to laser-cut it… maybe… :) )

Anyway, here we go!
Remind me again, Jenn, what is laser cutting?

Getting a robot to do all the grunt work for you because cutting is tedious and is hard on your hands! Hey-oh. Laser cutting is using a computer-controlled powerful laser to cut or etch materials –– anything from paper to acrylic to wood to metal. It uses vector files to cut perfect lines. It is a godsend.

And where does one do laser cutting?
We use Toronto Laser Services, but there are likely laser cutting services in just about any major city –– you just have to do some digging. Many of them are set up to serve industrial manufacturing, but many are also artist-friendly, or can be cajoled into experimenting. Either way, I guarantee you virtually none of them have worked with worbla, so these posts we’re making are sort of meant to show hey, this stuff is stable and safe to cut, and these are the best practices to save time.

Let’s get to that!

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Preparing Worbla

Lasers do best when they’re cutting flat things. You know what often isn’t flat? Worbla. Like 95% of you, we tend to store it in big rolls, and that usually isn’t a problem when you’re just going to heat it up and shape it anyway. It is, however, a growing problem when you need to lay it on the cutting bed flat. Arcing bits of worbla are likely to be cut ever-so-slightly crooked.

Like this:
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The difference here negligible, to my experience, but the more arced it is, the worse the potential for problems. The best preventative measure is to flatten it out completely before you put it in the laser cutter. Roll it the opposite way a few times to get the worst of it out, and then heat it up to get it the rest of the way down.
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TranspArt

I’ll be honest: trying to find projects to do with transparent worbla is kind of interesting. There’s visors and water effects and fire effects, and there’s making domed pieces to go over lights, but it’s mostly limited by what you wouldn’t paint solid. I have a bunch of ideas going forward, but cutting it with the laser actually gave me a bunch of new plans.

So how is it to cut it with the laser?

Interesting.

TranspArt has the roughest cuts. Cutting shapes – especially complex shapes – results in really amorphous, ugly edges with obvious bubbling from melt. While other Worbla cuts very cleanly with minimal to no melted plastic ending up on the cut piece, TranspArt ends up looking melted. Have you ever accidentally hit plastic wrap with your heat gun? Kind of like that. You don’t get clean points, and the tighter your curves, the more likely you’re going to end up with amorphous shapes.

Compare the edge of Flame Red with the TranspArt chickens –– and get ready, you’re going to see a lot of chickens in this post.
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This melt can also mean removing the cut pieces is a little trickier. While a cut piece of Mesh or Flame will pop right out of the “frame” (assuming the cut isn’t too tight – more on that later) the Transparent pieces will sort of fuse back together in spots just from the heat of the melting plastic. We had to force the chickens out of their frames once they cooled because they weren’t going to come out otherwise.

And very small details? Completely out of the question. Bye, chicken legs!
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The other thing about TranspArt is that it is a lot more susceptible to heat, so it is more likely to start arcing. Laser cutting worbla can be a little funny if you store worbla in rolls because then the worbla is probably bent into arcs instead of laying flat, but even if you spend time flattening it out again, the heat of the laser can result in the worbla starting to bend again. Then you end up with things like this on engraved pieces:
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See how there are fewer bubbles on one side than the other? This is because the piece of TranspArt was starting to arc up under the heat, so the laser was touching one side much closer than the other, meaning one side was under more concentrated heat than the other. Be warned!

But what’s with those bubbles anyway?

From the site:
If overheated, TranspArt will start to form small bubbles or blisters in the plastic. These can’t be removed, though they are useful if you are trying to make something appear to be water.

So technically, “engraved” TranspArt isn’t actually engraved; it’s just been nuked, filling it with bubbles. There’s not much texture variation, but visually, it does look pretty neat. I like this effect! When we go back and do some more practical cuts, I’m hoping that we can create pieces that have bubbles strategically “lasered in” to form patterns instead of textures. I’m sure there’s some costume out there that has a practical use for a tiny bubble effect!

And because Edgar had Rub n Buff out, he slapped some black on the bubbles to see what happens. It creates a neat little gritty effect; I imagine it could have some neat visual detail.
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One thing we found, however, is that you need to be prepared for is fogging. Most materials will produce some sort of smoke when cut as the material is lasered away; in TranspArt’s case, this smoke will tarnish the surface of TranspArt and leave a dusty residue that shows every fingerprint, smudge and imperfection. It wipes away, even with just a brush of your fingers, but be prepared to clean TranspArt pieces in order to restore their clarity.
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And I doubt I need to say this, but here it goes: don’t lick it. It’s probably gross and Not Good For You.

MeshArt

Let’s get this bit out of the way first: Mesh doesn’t etch. Not really, anyway.
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It just browns immediately, almost regardless of power setting, and it realllllly doesn’t like being stretched after being etched, so I’d skip etching entirely on this one. In the end, the poor etching doesn’t matter, because this stuff is the absolute best to cut.
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IT JUST CUTS SO CLEAN, PEOPLE! THE EDGES ARE SO NICE! Look at how damn clean that is. Nobody on the planet could cut that clean with scissors. Laser cutters are incredible.

But like any material, it still has some little finicky things I thought I’d run over. Mesh is the strongest of the worblas for fine little details, but it still needs some care and caution in the set-up of its files, specifically for really tiny details.

The problem with cutting any tiny tiny tiny little layers is that they are likely to fall through the grate and be largely impossible to find. The other problem is that they are going to be slightly thinner than your outline; while you can fiddle with laser settings to reduce burn off, the laser still takes up a certain amount of space, so a letter with a 2mm wide appendage is likely to become 1.5 or 1mm. This might not seem like much, but with the laser doing the whole contour, you’re not going to have much in the way of surviving material.

It’s the same as the chickens above; dude’s gonna lose his lil legs because they’re so fine, and the worbla melt off is a lot more intense than the burn off on birch. Check out these worbla chickens with the birch chicken. The red survives better than the transparent, but it still gets amorphous fast. (Also, check out the lil dude that fell into the ash below, haha.)
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So when cutting letters (or any fine narrow piece), everything needs breathing room, not just for the laser but for the heat. Heat radiates through worbla more than something like wood, so if you have two letters side by side, the clearance might be enough for the laser but still so close that the heat warps the next letter.

To show you what I mean, here’s the lettering on Mercy’s “primum no nocere” shoulder piece. (I vectored it myself and it took a thousand hours to do those letters because not even the official ripped meshes have clean copies. Blizzard!!)
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See how this gap between the letters looks wide enough, and is wide enough that the laser doesn’t overlap, but the fallout for the laser’s heat has warped them slightly? That little bar between the letters is toast, and it did a number on the letters, too. While we CAN cut those fine little letters, they’ll survive better if we space them out more and wait for them to cool completely before handling them –– after all, there’s nothing saying we HAVE to cut everything arranged how it will be assembled.

Doing fine little details with worbla is stellar, though. It’s a rigid material so it survives sanding and whatnot without losing shape, while other thin materials like craft foam could just tear and need to be sealed. So I did the filigrees on Lucina’s tiara with laser cut black worbla — tiny fine little points are maintained, and adding it to the piece is just a matter of gently heating and applying. Finishing is just a few layers of primer and sanding. Incredibly clean little details!!
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Yay.

It’s also fun for projects with tons of weird angles:
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This took about 3 minutes to cut –– probably not even. All I’d have to do is back it on something more rigid for durability and voila. I have a shield!

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It’s fire-retardant and red. Otherwise, it seems a great deal like black worbla. It cuts like black worbla, too –– very clean! –– but it puts off far less smoke when it cuts. That’s always nice.

It is neat to etch, too. It gets a little melty if you turn up the power too high, but at low levels it does some neat stuff. (Funny enough but unpictured, you can sort of see it through the back – the heat discolours it slightly.) I’m not sure what kind of use this could have, as the finishing techniques that people use on worbla would decimate this kind of etching, but it’s Fun To Know.
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Fun story: it also takes to tiny letters a fair bit better than others, in my opinion, because it tolerates heat quite a bit better than some other worblas. On the right settings, it cuts pretty finely without warping. This might be the worbla of choice for teeny tiny details.
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Still a tiny bit mangled, though. Did I mention you should wait until it cools completely before handling it?

Fun stuff.

Conclusion… For Now

I have so many more posts to write, guys. I have so much information and this is so long already.

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This is part of our Laser Cutting Worbla Resources list! You can see more here.

Maskmaking Examples with Worbla

We’re often asked about using Worbla for masks, and so we put together this page to showcase the numerous designs, tutorials and projects that have used Worbla for maskmaking. Take a look!



Looking to make a superhero mask? Aigue-Marine shares how she made her Robin mask here.

Vickibunnyangel shared with us this video on making a custom fit Worbla mask.

Axceleration created this great video showing how she made a Domino Mask from Worbla.

Want something more involved?

This Marrowak mask by Termina Cosplay has a detailed tutorial here.


How about more inspiration?

Blue Spirit mask by B3 Designs


Fairy Mask by Angela of FancyFairy.com


Sister’s mask from Kubo and the Two Strings by Elemental Photography and Design

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Plague Doctor Mask by Lyn Sigurdson

Whether you need a last minute mask for Halloween or a Masquerade, or have a complex design you want to render faithfully – Worbla is a fantastic material for Masks and headpieces no matter the scope and size.

Using a Die Cut Machine with Worbla

Darth Cleavage did some tests for us about running Worbla through a Sizzix die cut machine, and shared her results below!

Sizzix Saves the Day!

I find that taking on a massively detailed commission just a few months prior to a major convention often leads to these amazing, “Holy crap! Why didn’t I think of that before?” kind of moments. Crazy, yes. But crazy inspirational, too!

After realizing I was going to spend a few hours hand cutting fabric into detailed leaf motifs, I suddenly recalled those few years I spent dealing ink and paper to the scrapbooking crowd and remembered how quickly I was able to churn out identical designs with my die cutting machine. Once again, my Amazon Prime membership proved it’s worth and I had a new Sizzix Big Shot on my doorstep in less than 24 hours.

Then I started thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know) if this machine could cut through marine vinyl, what other materials could be used? Well, thanks to Worbla, I recently got the opportunity to try it out with their full line products and now I get to share the results with you!
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The Machine

Sizzix has a wide range of machines that meet a variety of applications, but I ultimately opted for the Big Shot because I felt it covered all my bases. You can use just about all of the cutting and embossing tools with this machine, the exception being the extra large dies.

There are many other die cutters out there, but I was familiar with this brand and there are tons of “how to videos” available. For that reason and the sake of brevity, I’m not going to go into detail about how I used the machine. I mean, why read my description when you can go watch the experts show you how to do it?

The Tools

If you head over to the Sizzix site you can look through the entire product line. As much as I would have loved the excuse to stock the shop with one of everything, they do a great job of pointing out the material that each product is most suited to. My own experience with the machine and with Worbla led me to narrow it down to four distinct products that I thought would have the best chance of success in my experiment. As for the specific pieces I chose, I went with designs I thought I’d actually use in the future.

Frameworks Die
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Think of this type of die as a metal cookie cutter encased in foam. When you run it through the machine, the die is pressed down into the material and cuts through it. The foam helps keep the material from getting stuck in the cutting mechanism.

Sizzlits
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These work the same way as the Frameworks Die, but are substantially thinner.

Framelits
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Working much like the Sizzlets, these free floating pieces are thin and allow you to add even more detail into your cutting. You can pair them up with other dies to create custom designs.

Embossing Folder
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Unlike the previous three products, this simply impresses a design on your material rather than cutting it.

The Test

I was able to use all four of the current offerings from Worbla: Finest Art, Black Art, Mesh Art, and TranspArt. I’ve only ever used Finest Art so I was excited to get my greedy little hands on the other options and had formed some hypotheses about how this would go.

Here’s one thing I learned immediately: Everything worked better when the Worbla is heated. You want your pieces warm and slightly pliable but not too hot. The Black Art and TranspArt were the easiest to work with in that I could get them pliable without them getting sticky. I had to walk a finer line with the Mesh Art and Finest art. The good news is that if they do adhere to your cutting tool you can just let them cool down and they’ll pop right off!

Another thing to note is that I used Sizzix’s recommendations for running all of the pieces through the machine. Each product comes with a blurb explaining what materials you need for the given task, the multipurpose platform also has diagrams pointing these out, and you can always head over to their YouTube Channel for videos.

I started off with the Frameworks Die because I had already done a test with one of these babies and knew it would work. Guaranteed success sounded like a good start to me, and all four materials cut as easily as I expected. I rightfully suspected the TranspArt would offer up the least resistance and wondered if the Mesh Art backing would cause an issue, but it didn’t seem to be a problem at all.
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Following on the success of the first die, I decided to go with the Sizzlets next. This was clearly not as successful as I only managed the get the barest of impressions on the TranspArt and Black Art. There’s almost no indication of an impression on the other two which I think can be attributed to both the thinness of the die and the grainier texture of these two types of Worbla. However, if you are looking for something that gives an etched appearance, this could work. I’d just be cautious with your heat application.

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The Framelits were even less successful than the Sizzlets and barely left an impression on the Worbla. With the Finest Art and Black Art I tried both sides of the material to see if there was a difference. Nope.
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After the meh results of the two of my four options I didn’t have much hope for the embossing folders, but ended up really pleasantly surprised. Here they are in order of the highest to lowest quality of embossing: Black Art, TranspArt, Mesh Art, Finest Art.

There is a major caveat to keep in mind, though: If you reheat and stretch the material, you will alter or possibly lose some of the design. Since you’ll have to run all your pieces through the machine before you apply them, this is realllllllllly important to keep in mind.
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Customizing

One of the cool things I discovered along the way is that there are a number of companies that will make custom dies from your designs. If you were going to mass produce a piece for sale or even if a small investment would save you a great deal of time on one costume, it may be worth the price. Unfortunately, they don’t provide general price ranges for the designs so you’ll have to submit a quote request to get detailed information.

Results

As with any experiment, you often learn as much from your failures as your successes and I’m perfectly OK stating that my expectations weren’t 100% on. I can see myself trying out the embossing folders provided that I did some experimentation with the design to make sure I could heat it up without too much distortion. I am also very happy with the results of the large format dies and can see using some of them for future projects.

What’s Next?

I started doing some searching to see if anyone has attempted to use their vinyl cutter on any of the Worbla products and have come up empty, but it seems like a viable option given that my Silhouette Cameo is supposed to be able to handle craft metal and thick cardstock. I’ll let you know once I give it a try!I

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out. I’ve benefited greatly from others who have shared their experiences and am happy to pay it forward.

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With thanks again to Darth Cleavage for sharing her results with us!

Worbla Backing Mother Molds- video

We’ve long thought that Worbla would be a great product to use to make lightweight mother molds, especially when weight or time are an issue – you can always recycle the Worbla when you’re done after all! And we’re so happy to see Lyz Brickley used Worbla for just that purpose in her recent casting video.

Photo by Carlos G Photography
Photo by Carlos G Photography

You can see the video of the whole process of creating her wolf pauldron here:

Embossing Worbla with a Die Cut Machine

Xaljira Cos(tumes) recently shared this quick tutorial on how they used their Sizzix machine to emboss their Worbla for their Phoenix Staff, pictured below:

The Embossing Process:


It is actually a very simple process if you happen to own an embossing tool like a Sizzix (I own this one) You simply cut the Worbla to the size of the textured impression folder – that’s the plastic thing on the left. Then you warm up the Worbla, don’t overdo it, and place it in the folder and run it through the machine.


You can see above that it works with Worblas Finest Art, Worblas Black Art and Worblas TranspaArt.


Once you’ve embossed the Worbla you can reheat it and form it into any shape you want as long as you don’t press on it too much.

When I first tried this I was concerned that the Worbla might stick to the folder after having been pressed onto it so hard, but if you let the WFA cool down a little before you open the folder, there’s no stickiness problem at all. With WBA and WTA you don’t even have to wait for it to cool because both materials are less sticky than WFA.

About the staff:

The staff itself is a paper tube, thickened at the top and bottom with foam and then covered with WFA, which I embossed with my Sizzix embossing tool. The glowing flowers are made of WTA that I first painted with yellow glass paint, then cut to size and heat-shaped before hot gluing it onto a push-light. The petals around the flowers are once again made from WFA. On the staff is an acrylic sphere filled with a Mini-Led chain and painted with glass paints. The cage sphere around that is made from leftover WFA rolled into long strings and formed over a bigger acrylic ball.

With thanks to Xaljira Cos(tumes) for sharing this with us!

Fallout 3 Pip-Boy 3000

This tutorial was shared with us by Chrisx Design and shows the steps she took in creating her Pip Boy 3000.

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In the honor of the new Fallout 4 trailer, here is the tutorial for how I made my Pipboy. Later I also built a Laser Rifle.

I have long wanted to make a pip boy 3000 and suddenly I had an extra smartphone at hand that could be used for this purpose. Also, very fast test makeup of my costume ;)
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This is a fast build and some details could have been crafted a little cleaner, but I still love it.

Cardcoard is the way to go
As always I start off with a piece of cardboard as a base.
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Where I gradually add strips of foam to create the basic shape, 2mm and 4 mm foam.

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Roll it together

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To make it more sturdy I covered it with worbla. You can skip this, but it also makes it easier to attach more details later. (If you don’t want to use worbla then cover the entire thing in wood glue to get a less porous surface.

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Next up I made a case for the phone.

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To get some of the transition shapes I used clay which was later covered with worbla.

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With a marker I add the layout of additional details.

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A few more details added with worbla and red LED.

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As you might see, some of the details are not quite straight, so I used a sharp knife and trimmed the edges.

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Also added several screws to bring out a more manufactured look.

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Woodglue and gesso is used to even out the surface and prime it for paint.

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Silver spray paint
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Basic weathering
I used watered out acryllic paint to smear the prop in with. Wipe off the most and the paint will lay naturally in all the cracks. I did not have a photo of this, but here is a photo of me weathering the Easter egg shaped like a pipboy

You have a “clean surface”

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You smear it with acrylic pain and wipe it off

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No weathering vs all weathering.

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In the end it looked like this, better photos will come ;)
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Fallout 3 AER9 Laser Rifle

This tutorial was shared with us by Chrisx Design and shows the steps she took in creating this awesome large-scale rifle.

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I really, really wanted a retro futiristic rifle in my living room and lucky for me Volpin props is sellig blueprints for a Fallout 3 AER9 Laser Rifle. And in my state of sudden nostalgia for the game I really wanted to build one too. And I buildt mine without power tools and mostly out of worbla. But you can also read Volpin Props tutorials on here.

As I had no deadline for this I worked on it randomly, spending almost half a year completeing it. Here is the tutorial for the Pip Boy 3000
I got the blue prints printed to scale. For the lower rod I used a wooden flag pole with different plastic tubes and foam to create the different circumferences.
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With foam, foamboard, cardboard and worbla I started the build. This will be the tip of the barel.
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Started again with cardboard sandwitched around foam to build up the main shape of the stock. 2015-01-05 20.18.28

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Cover with worbla to make it more sturdy.

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Adding details with worbla

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I used different bottle caps as molds for some of the round parts.
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Back to the barrel. The innter structure is cardboard and everything is again covered with worbla. It is wasy to attach parts together when everything is worbla as this material sticks very well to itself.

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I used foam mats and clay to build up the back part of the barrel.

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More small details were added. I used a sharp knife to get clean edges. Small screw were also added to give a more machine produced feel.

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The forstock was again built out of foam and covered in worbla. To get the details right I figured it would be easier to build it seperate and then attach it when done.

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All parts together, this ended up being quite a large prop.

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Even though a worbla covered Laser rifle looks cool (or unique… or boring) I need a little paint. First the entire prop was primed with wood glue. Then I painted the entire gun in a silver base paint.
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The barrel was painted green and tubes yellow.
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All the base colors are now in place and we are ready for details and all the dirt and grime.
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How to Sculpt a Toothless

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Nightshift Cosplay created this tutorial showing how to sculpt your own little toothless dragon.

First: Gather materials

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First of all, these are the materials you need to build your dragon
a cat for your amusement (not necessary)
2 cabochon Stones for the eyes
nail polish
styrofoam balls
acrylic colors
Worbla scrap material

Step 1 – The eyes

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First, start painting the eyes. You can use black or a dark blue for the pupil.
In the second step i added some sparkling nail polish for a better background.

You also could use some additional white for eye highlights.

Step 2 – The Head

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Now we start with the basic shape of the head. You can use a small styrofoam ball and cover it with worbla.

Then i start modeling the first details and the simpler shapes of the head.

Step 3 – The Head details

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Now its time to add some details like the spikes.

Just heat up little parts of worbla and roll them into little cones and attach them.

Step 4 – The body works

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Now it’s time to start building the body of our little dragon.

You can use the same technique we already showed you at the headpiece.

Just use a tyrofoam shape and start covering it with worbla.

Step 5 – The Extremities

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After building the body toothless need arms and legs.

Therefore, you have to attach the limbs like it’s shown in the picture.

You can also use this step so start smooth out the surface of the body.

Step 6 – bringing the parts together

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Now it’s time to put the head and the body together. Just heat up the contact surfaces and make the two parts stick together.

It really starts looking like our little beloved friend, but a few steps are still missing.

Step 7 – The wings

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Of cause our dragon need some wings. Just roll out some more heated worbla and cut out the form of your wings.

Then you quickly press the two inside lines on your form.

In the last step you just make a little roll and attach it to the upper edge as a bone.

Step 8 – bringing the parts together

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Now it’s time to attach the wings to the back. At this time it’s also recommended to attach the tail.
The tail is also needed to make this dragon stand. So make sure the tail is likely even with the feet.

To build the tail you can attach a rolled up piece of worbla to the back!

Step 9 – The Painting

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Painting toothlees is easy – obviously he’s black! So you mainly just have to prime him in a dark black.

But don’t forget the red tip of the tail!

Step 10 – The Shading

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Just the black priming make toothless quite flat, so we need some shading to make him more natural. Mix white and black to get your favourite highlight.

You can use different shades of grey and make some shading like in the pictures shown.

Final Step – finishing

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Now most of the paint is done! You can add some dragonscales by simply adding some drops of clear coat on the body.

A new dragon is born

There he is, our little heartwarming toothless.
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I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you got any questions, feel free to ask and visit me.

With thanks to Nightshift Cosplay for sharing this tutorial.

High Elf Shadow Warrior Bow (Warhammer)

Belles Crazy Cosplay created this tutorial for the third round of our TranspArt Competition.

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Step 1: Finding Source Material and Getting Ready for the Build
Google is your friend!!!
Knowing what you want to make is half the battle. For this project I knew I wanted to make killer bow and a character that I had a connection with. I went back to my teen years when I played fantasy Warhammer and had a High Elf army. I decided to pick one of my Shadow Warriors, but the game pieces and rule books didn’t have enough images and detail for me, so to the Google I went where I was able to find images from Warhammer Online of the High Elf Shadow Warrior. I also found a book full of great source material on amazon (The Art of WarHammer Online)

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Once you have the source material time to decide the sizing of the bow. For this project I decided to make the bow when standing on the ground come no higher than eye level on me and I am 5’5″. The second way you can do sizing is to uses scaling
I find it easier to plan the build if I do sketches of the different levels of work. I started with the base bow shape to get an idea of proportions making the life size version

Step 2: Building the Base Structure

Material:

  • 2 2″x 4′ boards
  • 4 or more large C Clamps
  • Scrap Wood board the dimensions to fit the full bow plus some extra
  • protective heat covering
  • Sharpie
  • 5″ long 1/4″ bolts (50 count)
  • 6.5′ long 1/2″ PVC pipe
  • Drill and 1/4″ drill bit
  • Heat Gun
  • Protective gloves
  • Dremel and Plastic Cutting attachment
  • Earth Magnets
  • Epoxy (Smooth-On Super Instant)

First things first you will be using heat to shape the PVC pipe so safety first. Wear protective gloves and shape the PVC pipe outside or in a very well ventilated area; maybe even use respirator.

Flattening the PVC pipe:

1) Determine what areas you want flat and what you want to keep the round shape. A 10″ center portion was kept round for this bow for the grip.
heat up one size of the PVC pipe till it is squishy and malleable.
2) Sandwich the PVC between the 2″x 4′ and apply pressure and clamp the two boards together to smash the PVC pipe while it is cooling.
3) Repeat again till you get it the flatness you are wanting. I needed to do this twice for mine.
4) Then repeat for the other side.
5) let the PVC pipe to cool over night before shaping so you do not loose much of the flattening as the reheating of the pipe will make it want to start going back to its original shape.

Prepping the board:
1) First make the scrap wood board heat safe by covering it in the protective heat covering.
2) Draw on the board the shape of the bow.
3) Using the drill drill holes along both sides of the shape to allow just enough room for the PVC pipe to fit. Also adding more holes where the PVC is having to do extreme shaping such as curves.
4) Insert the bolts but only a little ways in.

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Shaping the bow:
1) Center the PVC pipe on the board and working one side then the other start to heat the PVC pipe starting at the first place needing to curve from center and weave it between the bolts working your way to the end.
2) Extend the bolts to lock finished sections for them to cool.
3) Let the bow fully cool over night.
4) Once fully cooled test the shape to see if it feels right as a bow.
4a) Mine was too much of a horse shoe shape for me so I gently reheated and at the curves off the cent and pushing against an even surface made the curve less extreme.
5) For easier travel I cut the bow in half using my cutting bits for the dremel
6) I then attached a PVC connector to one half using epoxy and sanded out the other half to make pulling the pieces apart easier.
7) To make the connection a little stronger I epoxied an earth magnet inside the connector and to the other end of the bow.

Step 3: Adding the Detail
Material:

  • Fine Art Worbla
  • Black Art Worbla
  • TranspART
  • iDye poly in black, brown, yellow, green, red
  • Heat Gun
  • Glue Gun
  • Jaquard Pearl EX pigment powders
  • Clear acrylic paintBase Shaping Continued:
    Using Fine Arts Worbla I made the shapes on the ends of the bow and evened out the connector in the middle of the bow.
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    Once that was done I covered the entire bow in a layer of Black Art Worbla to get an even tone and texture of the Bow

    Dying the TranspART
    When going for the look of Obsidian I did a test of black iDye Poly with other colors to get a good combo of dyed pieces to combine. I chose to go with the Black/Brown, Black/Yellow, and Black/Green combos
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    I used the red dye for the gem pieces

    Adding the Detail
    ​First step was to make the gems by heating up the red TranspART and forming it in my dome silicon molds to get different size gems.
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    Then using Black Art Worbla I added the detail to Bow minus the wings

    I then made the wings using the obsidian dye combos of the TranspART by doing alternating feathers using two combos; black/green with black/brown and black/yellow with black/brown.

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    I created templates that I used to tape to the TranspART mashups to ensure the feathers all matched and lined up with each other.

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    I then used Fine Art Worbla to lock them in at the base and hot glue to glue the feathers together down the length.

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    Once the feathers were made they were added to the bow and shaping around them was created using Fine Art Worbla and then covered in Black Art Worbla.

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    With the feathers on the final wing details were added.

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    Painting:
    I used Jaqucard Pearl EX pigment powders in various metal tones and mixed them with a clear acrylic to paint the bow

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    I did not do a coating as I liked the look and feel that the paints had on the bare Black Art Worbla
    Then I did touch ups to clean up the edges and did a final clear coat in satin to seal it all in

    Final results
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  • Sejuani Helmet & Flail League of Legends

    Kazzy Cosplay created this tutorial for round three of our TranspArt Competition!

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    As part of the final round of the Worbla TranspART contest, all contestants are required to create a tutorial for their build. So buckle up, kiddos! This is a LONG read but hopefully helpful if you are looking to build your own geometric prop with TranspART.

    For this round, I deliberated for quite some time over what I should make. I showcased the fire/visor capabilities of TranspART in my last build, so I wanted to look for something that would showcase alternate uses of TranspART. Many ideas later, I decided to create my own interpretation of Traditional Sejuani’s ice flail and battle helm from League of Legends.
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    First things first – for this oddly shaped flail, I sketched out the shape and started creating a pattern out of card stock. This tutorial should work for most bulky/geometric props that need TranspART sides.

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    This may take a lot of adjusting, but once satisfied with the smaller shape, scaled it up to your size. I multiplied mine by 3 so that I would have a large flail fitting of a battle mistress of the Freljord.

    Translate these pieces to TranspART and add a seam allowance .

    Ice time! Make sure you test your dye on practice pieces before you dye your final pieces! To figure out the appropriate shade of blue, I tested multiple pieces in varying times in different baths. Once satisfied with the test pieces, dye the large pieces. I used varying baths and purposely tried to get a bit of an uneven dye to represent ice.

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    Now let’s shape it up! TranspART does not adhere to itself very well while maintaining a strong, straight edge. To best represent ice, I wanted strong line edges but the TranspART was rounding with the heat shaping.

    To combat this and get geometric edges, cut bits of thick craft foam (I used 5mm) on a 45 degree angle so you have triangular strips with a right angle.

    Now use the angles to align your edges of your pieces. I adhered mine with Loctite but I believe most cyanoacrylate adhesives will work.

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    If your prop is big, use strips of worbla to line the edges for extra structural integrity.

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    Now glue your structure altogether!

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    Use craft foam and worbla-covered craft foam to create any details, structural points, handles, etc. For the flail, I used this for the “metal” bars, spikes, and top of the flail. I used a Gatorade bottle top as the center to connect to the chain!

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    Attach your flail to your chain with worbla and attach the chain to a pvc pipe.

    Now seal your worbla and foam. I used flexbond for the first time with this project and I loved it! Strong and super flexible. You can also use wood glue, mod podge, etc. if you choose.

    Paint and weather your weapon! Don’t be afraid to really dirty up the “metal” with some black and brown paints and bring attention to highlights/snow with a white or silver paint.

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    Ta da! Enjoy your new ice flail and swing that baby around!

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    BUT WAIT! There’s more?!

    Helmet time!
    Because I am a crazy person, I wanted to make Sej’s helm as well. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
    To make this battle helmet, cover your head or wig head with plastic wrap and wrap it in masking tape.

    Use a pen to line off your masking taped head to get a pattern. Carefully cut a long the lines, and translate the masking tape pattern to craft foam.

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    Trace the foam pattern to worbla pieces adding a bit of a “seam allowance” to shape over the foam. Use the “tab method” to fold the allowance of worbla over the foam edges so you get clean pieces. Adhere your pieces together with heat.

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    For the Viking horn, cut out a horn shape in pink foam. Sand and carve down the link foam til you get a nice smooth horn.

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    Use worbla and foam to add details to your helmet. Seal the helmet with flex bond (or your choice of primer).

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    Wrap your horn in HOT pieces of TranspART and be careful of your fingers! Use gloves or silicone finger tips for safety!

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    Adhere your horn with loctite or magnets for easy removal. Paint and weather your helmet and make sure you add some snow to your ice horn!

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    I hope that was helpful and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

    Crafting Felo’melorn: Making TranspArt Blades

    Valkyrie Studios created this tutorial for round three of our TranspART competition.

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    I crafted Felo’melorn for the third and final round of the TranspArt Competition put on by Worbla.com.

    For the final round we were able to build anything we liked using the materials sent to us, and then make a tutorial about our process. My entry for the previous round– The Sword of Fire and Ice– was surprisingly popular, and I received a lot of questions about how I made it. In particular, people were interested in the hollow blades, and how I made my project glow.

    Because of this I wanted to make a project in a similar vein. Since I’m very invested in Blizzard cosplay, and so many of their weapons have a glowy magical blades, I decided to go with something from the World of Warcraft Universe. In honor of Legion — the new expansion that releases in August — I wanted to craft one of the new, super powerful, Artifact Weapons.

    I may not have a Mage in game, but I fell in love with Felo’melorn, Pride of the Sunstriders the minute I saw its design. For my build I decided on the blue and gold version (since it comes in several colors).

    WE WERE GIVEN:

    • 1 Medium Sheet of TranspArt
    • 1 Medium Sheet of Worbla‘s Finest Art
    • 1 Pair of Heat resistant gloves
    • A set of silicone fingertips
    • A set of Earth Magnets
    • 1 small bottle of Flexbond (I promptly misplaced this, but I had been planning on trying it out anyways, so I bought a medium bottle.)

    I ALSO USED:

    • EVA Foam
    • Adafruit Neopixel Strip (1/2 a foot)
    • Adafruit 3V Trinket Pro
    • A Soldering Iron
    • 1″ PVC Pipe
    • Airbrush & Airbrush Paint

    REFERENCE & BLUEPRINTING
    One of the really nice things about crafting things from World of Warcraft is that there’s a 3D model viewer for every item on Wowhead.com. This allowed me to get some nice screenshots of the sword from a few angles.
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    I then took the screen shots into Adobe Illustrator to make vector blueprints (Inkscape is a free alternative). This allows me to scale it, and print it out as templates for my foam and transpArt shapes.
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    I made a Free Blueprint of this project as a download in my store here!

    MAKING THE BLADE
    I made a video tutorial showcasing my method of making hollow TranspArt blades using a soldering iron to ‘weld’ the edges together.

    sofi-300x225You can also fill these blades with resin, colorful fabric, or cover them in more TranspArt to look like fire; such as I did with my Sword of Fire and Ice.

    There are all sorts of possibilities, and super cool projects you can make with this method!

    ELECTRONICS
    I use a pretty similar electronics set up for my builds like this. I plan on making a more exhaustive post about arduinos and neopixels and such, but I’ve been so busy that it keeps getting put off. (Soon™)

    Anyways I hope that a little of what I show here can help out.
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    So this is the blade after it was heat welded together. I generally like to run my strip of Neopixels (programmable LEDs in a chain) down the spine of my blade so that it points down into the more interesting areas. Then I superglue it down so it doesn’t move around.
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    This is my basic setup: an Adafruit 3V Pro Trinket (my arduino), and a JST switch that gets connected to my battery. The switch input (+) from the JST switch goes into the 3V pin on the Pro Trinket as well as connects to the wire (colored red) that will get soldered the positive pad on your Neopixel Strip. The ground (-) from the JST switch goes into the G pin (ground) on the Pro Trinket as well as connects to the wire (colored black) that will get soldered the negative pad on the Neopixels. The third wire comes out of pin 6 on the Pro Trinket, and will be soldered into the Data In pad on the Neopixels.
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    This is your Neopixel strip. You want to solder to the end that has the arrows going away from you because that is the direction of data flow. In this photo the top pad is 5V (+) — it works with 3V, but is dimmer. The middle pad is the Data In pad which carries the signal that tells your lights to do things. The bottom pad is Ground (-).
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    This is what it looks like running the basic Strand Test that is available in the Adafruit Arduino IDE. I tried diffusing the light with some fabric, but it didn’t work as well as I wanted.

    The code I used in the final version of Felo’melorn can be found here.
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    After I airbrushed the blade blue the LEDs diffused pretty nicely, so I was happy with how it turned out.

    The electronics and battery were hidden on the inside of the PVC handle, and the pommel pulls off so I can get at them.
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    The final effect looks really good!

    CRAFTING THE SWORD
    Ok. So now we have a glowy blade, now we have to make it into a sword.
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    I used superglue and hot glue to stick each half to the blade. The worbla ‘wings’ were then heated up and squished together around the sides of the transpArt blade.
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    The reference has the blade and handle float separately, but gravity doesn’t work that way in the real world unfortunately. I tried making a clear piece out of transpArt to connect the two halves, but it wasn’t quite strong enough (and floppy blades are not what I’m after). So I just used regular worbla. This also got wrapped around the PVC handle.
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    I made the decorative hilt the same way as the wings, using my soldering iron to burn designs into the foam.
    ((*Worbla.com note: Please make sure you work in a well ventilated area if soldering or otherwise burning foam, as the fumes released can make you ill and kill small pets.))
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    This also was wrapped in worbla, and I used a tool to press the lines back in.
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    Here’s what it looked like all put together with the detail pieces, and the connecting piece is strong enough to hold the blade.
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    I wasn’t entirely happy with the seams where the wings came together, so I mixed up some Apoxie Sculpt and smoothed them over. It’s an easy way to get a seamless effect without having to dremel the edges– which can get sort of messy.
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    One of my favorite aspects of the design of this sword is the eagle wings that wrap around the blade. Using my blueprint I cut them out of EVA foam floor mat. I used my soldering iron (you can also use a hot knife) to burn in the decorative channel.
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    I then covered this with worbla, electing to use the fold-over method to save material since you woudn’t see the underside anyway. You can use sculpting tools to press designs into the worbla, but it works better if the foam already has indents to start with.

    PRIMING & PAINTING
    Naked props never look as good as you want them to, but the paint job is what makes the magic come to life!
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    Normally I use 6+ coats of wood glue to seal my WFA projects, but since I had been given Flexbond, I decided to try that out instead since I heard it can make worbla smooth in two or three.
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    The Flexbond worked pretty well, but unlike wood glue, it isn’t self leveling, so brush strokes were evident even if you were being careful (which becomes an issue with metallic things, oops). I ended up using three coats, but I probably should have gone to four to make things extra smooth.
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    After everything had dried, I base-coated everything with either blue, black, or a yellow gold using my airbrush. From here I like to build up shadows and highlights.
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    My next step was to add rose gold accents that would add depth– since yellow gold looks super fake and plastic-y by itself.
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    Since the blade was already painted and I didn’t want to get gold on it I like to use scraps of worbla or cardboard to prevent overspray. It’s faster than using masking tape, but I recommend that if you use this method you should be experienced with your airbrush.
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    To add even more depth as well as some weathering, I mixed up an almost black burnt sienna color, and sprayed areas I wanted to have more shadow. I also applied this as a wash to the channels that I cut earlier with my soldering iron.
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    The final step is to hit the edges and raised areas with a gold paint pen. They can be fickle though, so be careful that it not spurt ink all over your project!
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    For silvery metals I like to sponge on gunmetal and aluminum colored paint using a paper towel or sponge to get a more steel-like appearance.
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    As with the gold areas, I highlight the edges with a silver paint pen, to add some weathering, and also to make the details pop.
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    The handle was wrapped with leather to hide the PVC pipe, and some details were painted on. And now you’re finished!

    FINAL GALLERY

    All in all, I’m very happy with how my project tuned out, and I hope you find this useful to make glowing or transparent blades for other projects!
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    Princess Celestia’s Crown

    Gothichamlet of Cowbutt Crunchies Cosplay created this tutorial for our third round of the TranspART Competition.

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    In this tutorial we’ll be creating a crown primarily using Black Worbla and transpART, inspired by My Little Pony’s Princess Celestia! This sun-themed headpiece involves several components and has been broken into several parts for easy reading: 1) the base crown and sculpture motifs 2) the sun “halo, 3) painting and priming, 4) semi-transparent sunbursts, and finally 5) the horn. Keep reading to create your own crown!
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    Since Celestia is the matriarch of the My Little Pony World who seems to have been raising the sun for just about forever, I wanted to go with a regal, sun-themed crown filled with baroque-like horse sculptures. Of course your own crown can deviate from this design as much as you’d like – however to follow this tutorial exactly, you will need the following materials:

    Primary materials:

    • 1 medium sheet black worbla
    • 1 medium sheet transpART
    • 37 wooden BBQ skewers
    • Brown spray paint primer
    • iDye Poly yellow and iDye Poly orange or red
    • Amaco Brush and Leaf antique gold paint (or other gold paint)
    • Flexbond (or other worbla primer)
    • Black and brown acrylic paint
    • Pearl EX powder in pink gold and gold
    • Testors clear lacquer or other sealer

    Additional tools:

    • Heat gun
    • Paintbrushes
    • Clay sculpting tools
    • Scissors and/or tin snips
    • Several sheets of poster board for drafting
    • Masking tape
    • A pen or sharpie
    • Sandpaper (I used 100 grit but anything somewhat rough is fine)
    • Thermal gloves (optional but highly recommended!)
    • 1 pair rare earth magnets (optional)

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    The design I chose for Celestia is heavily sun-influenced, and also involves many baroque-styled “sculptures” for a regal look. However no matter how you decorate your crown, you will want to begin with a solid base.
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    1) Begin by drafting a test version of your tiara from poster board to gage the size and fit. Don’t forget to fit this template on top of your wig, since it will alter the size of your head!

    2) Trace your draft onto your worbla and cut out a worbla version of the base. If you are heavily decorating in motifs, a single layer of worbla should be fine, but if gaps will be showing you may wish to double up your worbla for strength. Cut the side edges into a raggedy, flame-like pattern, and pinch each flame slightly to give it additional dimension.
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    3) Trace a second worbla draft, but leave this at half the height. Cut the entire top into a flame pattern, pinching these like in step 2. With the worbla still heated, lay it over your larger base piece, matching the bottom edges together.
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    4) Heat the entire piece very lightly and bend it into shape to fit your head, over your wig. Hold in shape until it cools. With your base out of the way, it’s time to move on to creating the decorative sculptures.

    To construct a 3D, “sculptured” relief:
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    1) Don your heat proof gloves, heat a pile of worbla scraps with your heat gun, and then kneed them together to create one solid, very thick piece. If your worbla is at a hot enough temperature, you should easily be able to kneed the worbla like playdough to smooth out any folded lines. You do not necessarily have to use a piece this thick, but I wanted more of a sculptural look to my crown, rather than a flat one. Also, the thicker your worbla is, the more freedom you will have to press lines and add dimension later. Sketch the largest “base” part of your sculpture and trace this onto the worbla – for me this was the head and body of my horse. Heat your worbla slightly and then cut your shape – making the worbla pliable will really help with any tight curves.

    2) Use a sculpting tool and trace along any hard lines. Try pressing down with the tool or your finger on one side of the line to add even more dimension (for instance, giving a “pop” to my horse head above). While still heated, prod any raw, jagged edges with your fingers to smooth them out.

    3) Take a new piece of doubled or tripled kneaded worbla, and cut out any additional pieces for your relief. For my horse, this included strands of hair, legs, and wing base. Heat up the tip of your new piece where it will connect to the larger base and press them together to form a bond. If possible, heat the base piece as well for a stronger hold. Once connected, mold or sculpt your top piece into your position.

    4) For more complex shapes like wings, continue to repeat step 3 to build each new layer on top of the last. Here I added a second and third layer of feathers to the wings. Allow the entire piece to cool. Check out the below graphic for some examples of how to make the various sculptures I used in my crown:
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    To construct a 2D, “flat” relief:

    1) Cut two piece of worbla, heat, and press together. Sketch your design and trace it onto your double thick worbla piece. Heat it slightly and then cut the shape out, smoothing out any jagged edges with your fingers before it’s cool.

    2) Re-heat the top of your worbla slightly and use a sculpting tool to gently carve out any decorative lines.

    3) If you have a complicated shape like my large sun design, repeat steps 1 and 2 to cut out any smaller shapes that should be positioned on top of your base. Heat both pieces and then lightly press the smaller shape over the base to bond them together. Allow them to cool.
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    Once all of your reliefs are sculpted, it’s time to attach them to your tiara!

    1) Heat the area of your tiara where you plan on attaching your first sculptures. Simultaneously, heat the back of your relief. Don’t overdo it or you may lose the relief’s fine details – most of the heat can be focused on the tiara itself.

    2) Press the relief into the tiara. If layering sculptures, press in your first relief, add a little more heat, then press in the relief that is positioned over it. Remember, go slow and heat up one crown area at a time to prevent bending the base too much.
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    3) Once all of your sculptures are attached, test the fit of your crown again. If it’s lost its shape slightly, heat the back of your crown and hold the crown against your head in the right position until it’s cooled.

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    We’re going to cheat a little by using BBQ skewers for the Madonna-halo tines. While technically possible to use worbla, I found it fairly difficult to get a straight, thin enough shape. Just be aware that wood /is/ breakable so be gentle, and if sturdiness is a concern, consider coating your skewers in a thin layer of resin.

    1) Place the crown on your head over your wig and measure from back tip to back tip, over the top of your head.

    2) Heat a piece of black worbla, and quadruple fold it together. You can also just mash a bunch of scraps into a thicker piece. Cut it to measure the length of your head measurement by about ¾ths an inch wide. Heat this piece slightly and then – with the worbla touching the edges of your crown – lay it against the curve of your head. Allow to cool and you should now have the shape of your tine base.
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    3) Take your skewers, and using your scissors/tin snips, snip a few millimeters off the pointed tip. Sand this tip with a few strokes of sandpaper until it’s still pointed, but blunt enough to rub your thumb over. This step may seem irrelevant, but it’s important to reduce accidental snags and pulls, since a super-sharp skewer tends to catch on any nearby fabric or wigs.

    4) Measure your skewers and cut 32 of them to 6″ including the point. Cut the remaining 5 to 7.75″.
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    5) I found it easiest to arrange the tines when I had a template to go off of. Trace your tine base onto a sliver of cardboard. Begin laying your tines in a radial circle out from that base outline. You can arrange these however you’d like, but I personally liked spacing the big tines out 2″ from each other, with five smaller tines in between. To save yourself a lot of headache, tape each tine down to your workspace, avoiding taping over the template.

    6) Lay your curved base over a fresh piece of worbla and trace the shape. Widen the width slightly so that you’re left with a semicircle that’s around an inch thick. Repeat this a second time and cut both semicircular shapes out. Eventually these two pieces will form a stability layer that keeps the tines tightly in place and clamped to the flat base.
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    7) Heat your first semicircle and then fold the bottom half upward so that the worbla forms an “L” all the way around. Lay the worbla over your tines so that the bend in the worbla is flush with the bottom of the skewers (you don’t want them sticking out into the open too much). Heat a little more until the worbla is pliable and then begin pressing the worbla down around the skewers for a snug fit. I found that using a spare skewer to push the space in between each stick worked great.
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    8) Allow to cool completely and then flip the whole thing over. Your tines should be pretty secure at this point, but be careful nonetheless. Repeat step 7 for your unused semicircle by first folding it into that “L” shape. Then, lay it over both the tines and the bottom worbla layer so that you fuse both semicircles together and create a snug fit.
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    9) Heat the bottom of your tine contraption where the two “L” shape flaps are exposed. You may also heat your base slightly if you wish, but I did not heat it particularly much, since I didn’t want to risk losing my head imprint shape. Spread the flaps out and place the flaps flush against your worbla base, with the BBQ skewers along the base’s center. Generously press the flaps against the base worbla and allow to cool.

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    10) Heat the ends of your worbla base as well as your crown edges. Press these edges together to fuse the tine base to your crown. If you’re paranoid like me, you can also mush together a big old wob of worbla heated to a high heat, and then press it into the juncture for added security.

    11) Didn’t add enough tines? No problem! Mush together a wob of worbla, heat it severely, and then stick it to the edge of your crown before inserting a tine straight into the plastic. Just be sure to press the worbla in around the tine hole to hold it securely in place.

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    Before moving on to the transpART, it’s time to prime and paint! Priming is an important step in any worbla project, as even black worbla tends to have a slightly gritty texture. To get rid of this, there are a host of different primers you can use, from gesso to wood glue to Flexbond to Plastidip. Because our crown still has the ability to flex slightly, we want to use a primer that will not crack under strain. My pal Kidbunni has a great rundown of primers and their flexibility at http://kidbunni.tumblr.com/post/143657850128/worbla-tutorial-part-1-primer and you can also find some primer comparisons here on Worbla’s own website. I decided to go with Flexbond partially because I was curious about how it would shape up, and also because I knew that sanding this crown would be very difficult because of all the tight edges, which eliminates a big advantage of spray gesso.
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    1) Pour a little of your Flexbond out and select a relatively small-medium sized brush. I’ve read guides where folks preferred to use a damp brush with their Flexbond, but to be honest this did not work out great for me, possibly because I was working with such small shapes. Any added water just made the Flexbond too watery to use efficiently. Instead I simply dipped my brush in and began painting the glue on.

    2) Take care to sweep and thin out any pools of glue – you want a thin, even coat with minimal brush strokes. Work fast and keep to a concentrated space. While the glue is still wet you can easily thin it out to make an even coat, but if you try to go back to that spot after a few minutes you’re just going to make any strokes more obvious.

    3) Allow to dry completely and then repeat steps 1-2 until you are satisfied with the finish. Black worbla can be primed in as little as two coats, but I used four just because I wanted an ultra smooth finish.
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    4) With your prime layer dry, spray your crown with a brown spraypaint or primer. Acrylic paint works too. The brown layer is important as it will give a warm undertone to our gold finish.
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    5) For the gold layer I used Amaco Brush and Leaf in antique gold. This stuff is AWESOME – it’s a lacquer so it’s extremely opaque and shows very few brush strokes; just be sure to ventilate your area while using it. Allow your first layer to dry then add a second. If using acrylic paint you may need to use a third layer.

    6) Weather your gold by drybrushing very small amounts of brown and brown mixed with black into the deeper grooves and recesses of your sculptures. Adding a darker color behind the motifs will help the color pop.

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    Adding transpART to the crown helps really drive home the sun theme and gives a really cool textural contrast!
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    1) Begin with a poster board mock up and cut out various sunburst shapes. Keep each piece to a single point to keep it looking more like a sun and less like fire. Tape your pieces together and arrange them behind the tiara until you like the shape. Trim off any excess poster board.

    (You may notice that I drafted my mock up prior to constructing the halo – this is perfectly fine so long as you attach your finished transpART after the painting step)
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    2) Remove your taped-together poster board pieces. If you layered pieces over each other like I did, add a few more pieces of tape so you can keep the front layer together and separate it from the back row. You will be cutting these two pieces out separately.

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    3) Use a sharpie to trace your patterns onto the transpART. Cut your shapes out.

    4) Bring a pot of iDye yellow poly (without the intensifier) to below boiling (make sure this is poly and not natural or your pieces will not dye!). It is always important to boil dye in a pot you do not use for cooking, in a well ventilated area and away from any pets or children. One at a time, drop your transpART pieces in the dye and allow to boil for 7-10 minutes. A pair of non-food tongs works great for working with the transpART, as it’s a good idea to occasionally move your piece around to make sure that your points do not accidently fold and stick to each other for a long period of time. It is fine if the pieces stick a little as they’ll separate right away once cool, but do not allow the transpART to remain in a hard fold for a long period of time, or the dye may get caught in that folded area.

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    5) Remove your transpART and rinse under cool water. Your shape probably looks pretty floppy right now, but don’t worry! Next, bring your pot of red or orange iDye poly to a boil. (Why orange OR red? Without the intensifier your transpART will only turn orange, even in a red dye bath) This time however, grip your transpART with your tongs and lower the bottom half of the flames into the dye. I did this by rolling the piece together so that I could grip all of the points with my tongs. Continuously raise and lower your flames, taking care to soak the bottom third at all times, while keeping the next third or so only sometimes submerged. This constant movement will help create a gradient ombre effect, rather than a hard line where the orange color stops. The top third should remain completely untouched and will stay a bright yellow color. Once finished, remove and rinse.

    6) Lay your crumpled transpART on your table and apply your heatgun until you can push the piece back into a flat shape. Allow to cool slightly and then heat just the tips of your sunbursts, using your fingers to twist the edges and tips slightly to give them a more three dimensional effect. Once cool, apply superglue to the bottom inch or so of your larger sunburst piece, all along the bottom edge. When gluing transpART, I find that applying a thin layer of glue to a large area works best – oversaturating will mean that the glue takes longer to set. Align your top and bottom sunburst layers along the bottom and hold into place until the glue dries.

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    7) Apply your superglue along the inside base of your worbla where the flames will lay. Hold the transpART piece against the glue and hold in place for several minutes until it’s dry.

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    **If you’re feeling intimidated by the prospect of molding transpART, don’t be! Click the below link for a timelapse demonstration of how I made the horn portion of the crown from both molded transPART as well as flatter pieces. This mini video tutorial covers steps 1-6 below:**

    1) Decide how long you would like your horn and cut out two triangular pieces of transpART to that length. My pieces were approximately 6.5 inches long by .75 inches wide on the widest side.

    2) Put your gloves on! To heat transpART to a moldable temperature the plastic must become very, very hot but loses that heat very, very quickly. It’s important to work fast and not let the heat impede you. When over-heating or getting it to a moldable temperature you will notice that the worbla takes on a cloudy look. This is fine but we do not want to over-damage it to the point where it’s completely opaque or contains bubbles. Try to aim for just hot enough to mold, but not so hot that it begins to cloud. Get your transpART to this magical temperature and begin to roll your first triangle back and forth. Apply more heat to maintain the temperature and roll some more until you have rolled it into a cone shape. Repeat for the second triangle.
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    3) Apply one more final burst of heat and then very quickly pinch the wider base of your triangles together. Twist them upward into a single spiral shape.

    4) Apply heat directly to the base and tip so that you can smooth them into a solid, secure shape.
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    5) For the decorative wings, sketch a shape to your liking on poster board and then trace it onto the transpART. Cut three layers of feathers, each smaller than the last. Use a drop of superglue to affix the smallest feathers on top of the medium layer, and then that on top of the largest layer. Heat the center of your horn to a fairly hot temperature and then press it to the center of your wings – the heat will cause the two piece of transpART to bond.
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    6) Right now your transparent horn is looking pretty cool, but to add a shimmery, pearlescent finish, dip a dry paintbrush in your rose gold Pearl FX powder and liberally brush it on. Add a few strokes of gold powder near the base of the horn as well. Spray with Testor’s clear lacquer to set.
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    7) Create a “holder” for your horn by heating a circular, kneaded wad of worbla and pressing the horn directly into it to obtain the right shape. Trim off any excess, and use decorative rolled worbla pieces to bridge the gap between the holder and where you will attach it to the crown. I pressed down on the edges of my rolled pieces to make a wider surface area, which will help when gluing. Prime and paint following the steps you took in the priming/painting section.

    8) Apply a thin layer of superglue to the flat part of the rolled pieces and press to the inside base of the crown. Apply a layer to the bottom of the horn and hold against the base until dry.

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    While the crown should be well balanced on its own, for extra security you can use a rare earth magnet to clamp it to your wig. This will not provide a huge amount of support but it should help ward off any sliding or small bumps. Take one half of your magnet set and generously apply your glue of choice. Press into the center of the base of your halo. To clamp it to your wig, just take the other magnet half and place it under your wig net. So long as you have aligned the polarity, your magnets should clamp together through the wig.
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    Go be a fabulous horse!
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    Where to use each type of Worbla

    Not sure what type of Worbla to use where? Alice in Cosplayland created this infographic guideline on making a breastplate with Worbla’s Finest, Mesh, Black and TranspArt. (Click to enlarge)
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    Of course, you can mix and match Worbla’s Thermoplastics and find which type suits your needs and style best – there’s no hard ‘rules’ for what to use where! Experiment, and use this as a guideline if you’re getting started or stuck on a project!

    Laser Cutting Worbla – Part 1!

    The Dangerous Ladies gave us this fantastic writeup on the process of Laser Cutting Worbla and what they learned. With pictures!

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    So! Last week I was invited to visit Toronto Laser Services and try out laser-cutting worbla. Fun stuff, right? We had discussed it in the past and wanted to put worbla through its paces and see what it could do, and the answer is, obviously, some cool stuff.

    Time for some preamble.

    What is laser cutting and how does it work?

    You’re basically using a laser to cut and engrave things. Imagine it sort of like a big metal box with a platform inside that can be raised/lowered as needed. This platform has a metal grate that the material sits on. Above the platform is an arm that can move across the entire surface (in this case, 28″x17″) and then a top plexiglass lid that opens and closes to access the bed. There’s a ventilation system underneath as well to draw smoke, fumes, etc, down and away.

    Laser cutting is done with vector and raster files. Vector is for lines (say, the outline of a piece) and raster is for engraving (say, etching “Gary was here, Ash is a loser!” onto a piece of wood, plastic, metal, etc.) Vector is fun to watch because the arm just follows the path however it likes, and very quickly at that, while raster is very much like a printer –– it works side to side and is much slower. The intensity of the engraving laser can be changed, too, to make really shallow cuts or really deep ones.

    Why would I do this?

    Have you ever had a project that involved cutting out a lot of things really, really tediously? I’m sure most of us have, and there’s almost always a point in that project where one is tired of hand cramps and is looking down at a piece with a jagged line and thinking, “Fuck. Well, at least it’s useable!” and hoping no one notices. When you’re cutting stuff out by hand, the first one almost always looks immensely better than the last one: you get tired!

    Laser cutting does away with that, and at lightning speeds and unparalleled precision. If you need 900 silk organza leaves cut, laser cutting can do it in an hour while you sip margaritas and occasionally reposition. If you need a bunch of intricate stuff cut out of wood, lasers can cut it out immaculately without ever having to get your fingers near a blade.

    What can I cut with it?

    Theoretically, almost anything that can be burned through – realistically, anything that your particular laser can achieve. Paper, acrylic, leather, fabric, wool, foam, craft foam, and now… worbla. However, certain things give off certain fumes when you cut them –– you can’t cut sintra because it contains chlorine, and chlorine will kill you. So that’s out, unfortunately.

    Can I get one at home?

    Not yet. At-home models are rare, still expensive, and backordered for literal years.

    So where do I get things laser-cut if I don’t have access to one in my living room, Jenn? How is this helpful to me, Jenn? You’ve got me all excited but now I’m being teased, Jenn.

    You go out and find laser-cutting services like I did. Obviously some cost is involved, but I’d sooner spend $15 to get a bunch of tedious stuff cut rather than spend 6+ hours doing it myself. Plus: cosplay with lasers.

    Also, for low-end cutting things like paper, fabric and other super lightweight stuff, you CAN get a Silhouette Cameo, which uses blades. We are getting one soon! Isn’t that exciting?! It’s not nearly as cool as lasers, but I guess blades are still cool in a medieval sort of way. But it can’t cut worbla, so… :’)

    Get to the worbla!

    I’m there! Yeesh.

    Theory

    Last night I got to play with lasers with Edgar from TLS for four hours. Four. We spent half of that cutting things out of wood (that’s another post) and leather (that’s another post too) but there was lots of worbla too.

    I initially got the idea to laser cut worbla after having seen Tiki’s bracers (and Kat laboring over them) and then seen that Volpin had already done it on his Skyrim armor. Of course Volpin had already done it! Why wouldn’t he? But that gave me incentive to be like “Hey, Edgar from Toronto Laser Services, have you cut worbla before? I hear it works and is safe, unlike sintra.”

    Volpin’s notes on it were pretty limited, though. They were as follows:

    • It gets really hot so don’t try moving it until it’s cooled down again, lest it turn into a tangled gob of soft worbla as you pick it up.
    • It puts off a lot of smoke, so clean your mirrors.
    • It saves so much time.

    He also did it before Black Arts even existed, so his cutting was limited to the original Brown stuff. Time to experiment, so we tested both Worbla’s Finest (I can’t write that with a straight face) and Worbla’s Black Arts (I can’t write that with a straight face either.)

    So I trekked to TLS with a length of both. I had set up a testing file that morning with a bunch of different textures and shapes and engravings, and that looked like this:
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    The red lines are cut lines (vector) and the black lines are engraving lines (raster.) Edgar fixed it up so it wasn’t, you know, CYMK and all crammed on one thing, but I didn’t take a picture of the rearranged file, so that’s what you get.

    Our aims was to test a couple things:

    • Adding texture to worbla; could you engrave a dragon scale pattern into it? How about a quilted pattern? We were intrigued by the idea of being able to make worbla that comes in “patterns”.
    • Engraving worbla; could you engrave details into it without compromising the structure? Could they be deep enough to last the finishing process?
    • Cutting worbla; we knew it could be done but are there rules? A learning curve?

      So let’s jump into it!

      Texturing

      Texturing is neat. It lets you turn blocks of wood into stuff like the first image here, all with illustrator files and a laser cutter:
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      So why not try it with worbla?

      We decided to test black first with texturing, which is just an all-over engraving. Worbla isn’t terribly thick to start with so we wanted to see how far we could push it. It ended up being a bit of a balancing act –– worbla will take shallow engraving quite well, and quite beautifully, but worbla also requires a fair bit of finishing, so the worry was that any shallowly engraved detail would vanish when filled, primed and sanded. So we turned the laser intensity up to the other end of the scale… and ended up cutting right through it. Whoops. Dialed it back down a bit and found a sort of happy medium. Here’s some photos of what we ended up with:
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      The second one looks a little funky there; that’s because Edgar was dialing up the laser strength as we went to see what happened. Check out the melt over the top edge of the raised parts.

      Here’s the thing, though. When you engrave worbla (and my god, is there a lot of smoke off the black stuff) you’re just burning away the surface rather than compacting it. The result is a durable but almost paper-thin worbla; not so bad if you’re just putting in some details, but if you’re trying to texturize worbla to have, say, dragon scales on it, you’re really just making the worbla untenably thin, and there’s no knowing what will happen to that pattern when it’s heat formed and shaped. You have to texturize it first, so it could get dicey.
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      As such, we decided that texturing worbla is maybe not a super realistic goal. Edgar and I had the thought that it would work very very well for small detail pieces, but wouldn’t really be tenable (yet) for all-over texture. We did think, however, that laser-cutting a textured stamp with which to stamp the worbla could be a tenable alternative.

      Engraving

      Right out of the gates, I’m gonna say this is super viable. I was pretty thrilled by the results; a 1pt line looks wonderful engraved in worbla, particularly if you do it deep enough that it will survive the finishing process. (Assuming you’re one of those people that finishes the worbla surface, anyway.)

      We used a variation on my Marth mask pattern for this, one where the raised yellow details are actually engraved lines differentiating the segments. We engraved first – you always want to engrave first or work from the outside inward, because cutting a piece free from the rest of the material potentially shifts it, and you don’t want to engrave on something that’s shifted. It took maybe 5-7 minutes to do the engraving, as the laser works like a printer does, side to side, but it was neat to watch.

      We did two different depths on this one; the upper part of the mask has a shallow engrave, and the bottom part has a more dramatic engrave. I think both look nice but the top one is definitely more subtle and the bottom is far more likely to survive the process of surface finishing.
      tumblr_inline_oamcabopvD1qhj9wo_500
      And you know, I think this is wonderful for worbla. Think of all the projects where you’ve stacked craft foam, cut out these finicky little lines and then pressed worbla into those seams. That’s basically gone with this! You can just engrave, cut, adhere to your craft foam, and bam. Lots of little detail but much, much, MUCH cleaner and thinner – no need to stack craft foam, adding unnecessary bulk.

      Cutting

      Holy shit is this ever great.

      I remember working on Olivia’s neck piece and being super frustrated. No matter how tiny my embroidery scissors were, I just couldn’t cut clean, tiny curves for the details of her neck piece. They ended up somewhat choppy and I hated the way the edges looked.

      Laser cutting blows that out of the water. I intentionally set up our test file with some obscenely small, elegant little curls, and the laser cutter went through them like nothing. The result was a zillion tiny little filigrees that just need to be heated up a bit and adhered to the surface of the armor. This easily was the most impressive thing of the night –– it honestly makes me want to make a thousand little things and make delicate, intricate armor textured with laser-cut filigree. They’re so perfect, 100% identical and even, and the laser cutter doesn’t damage the adhesive nor warp them terribly. It’s incredible.
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      Do you remember that Daenerys dress from Game of Thrones? The blue one with gold details, the one with the gold filigree belt and shoulder pieces? Qarth or something? I remember reading cosplayers’ how-tos years ago, wherein they manually cut every little hole out with manicure scissors, all out of worbla. Kat used a similar technique with craft foam on Tiki’s bracers, but that was craft foam. Worbla is tough and frustrating to cut cleanly –– the fact that I could vector it and run the pattern through a laser cutter and end up with immaculate, symmetrical entirely-filigree belt and shoulder pieces in under an hour is mind-boggling to me.

      Standing over the laser cutter, holding these tiny little things in my hand, I thought damn, I’d seriously offer commissions on these. They’re so cool, and so very, very, very time saving.

      Also, small shapes you need a million of? Laser cutting can do that. If Kat ever wants to make another set of hand plates for a gauntlet, we can just vector and cut –– it takes 30 pieces of worbla to do a set of finger plates like our Pegasus Knight ones, and instead of taking hours to manually cut it all out, we could cut it all in literally minutes. Amazing.

      Some other discoveries

      Heat radiates in worbla quite a bit. When cutting wood, pretty much only the spot that the laser hits will burn, but with worbla, the heat sort of spreads just enough to soften the worbla. It’s not the end of the world, but it does mean that you need to wait for it to cool almost completely before handling it, lest you warp everything.

      It’s also not a super clean cut like wood or other materials. When worbla is heated it softens, so tiny residue on the edges of the cut will spread out to each other and touch just a tiny bit, meaning when it cools, it bonds again. Comparably, wood just slides away from itself and doesn’t have any adhering properties. So when you laser cut worbla and let it cool, you then need to remove the pieces from the “frame” with a tiny bit of force; pop pop pop. It doesn’t damage them, as they’re plastic and can handle a bit of pressure, but it does mean popping them all from the frame instead of just poking/dropping them out.
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      You have to space worbla apart a little bit more. While wood and other materials can go edge to edge –– some of my Camilla pieces were nestled so close that the lines almost touched –– worbla needs space so it doesn’t melt/overlap other pieces as the heat spreads. It’s not much space, but even a little bit of buffer helps.

      Safety.

      We did some burn tests on both kinds of Worbla to make sure they were safe to use –– lots of plastic products use chemicals like chlorine, and that’s dangerous to inhale. We found that black worbla is actually very different from regular worbla, as far as make-up goes; if you burn it with a lighter, it will eventually melt into a liquid form and just drip, and the flame is very unstable, suggesting the presence of some not-so-fun chemicals. It passed for chlorine, though, which was a positive. Regular worbla was a hell of a lot more stable; it just burned, no dripping.

      But that said, there are some other issues fume-wise. Both have a very strong smell, black worbla in particular. Volpin had warned about smoke on brown worbla but we found the smoke wasn’t too bad on it… but the black was atrocious. That stuff smoked up so much it actually obscured what we could see through the plexiglass.
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      Compare that with cutting wood:
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      Wait one second, Jenn, how much does this cost?

      Toronto Laser Services charges a $15 set-up fee and $1/min for laser time. For engraving this can take a fair bit of time, but for cutting, it’s lightning fast. I mean, those 14 filigrees in the images/gifs above took about a minute. That’s pretty damn affordable. That’s very much worth my time if I don’t have to cut that stuff myself with my own two crappy hands.
      Conclusion

      Lasers are fun. That’s all. I hope you enjoyed how much fun lasers are.

      Many thanks to Edgar and the rest of Toronto Laser Services for making this lunacy possible. Many thanks to Shazz, too, for helping me vector a bunch of shit last-minute for the wood, as well as vectoring the filigrees!

      – Jenn

      ———

      Part two is now up and can be found here!
      This is part of our Laser Cutting Worbla Resources list! You can see more here.

    Using Flexbond to Smooth Worbla


    Rinkujutsu gave us this writeup regarding how she used Flexbond to create a smooth finish for their Magic Armor from Legend of Zelda.

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    I’ve been asked a few times about how I smoothed out my Magic Armor Link Worbla armor before painting, so I decided it’s about time I did a mini tutorial on it! Be prepared for a long text post!

    After trying numerous techniques for smoothing Worbla, I settled on Flexbond as my favorite.

    I first heard about Flexbond from a smoothing guide on Worbla’s website:. Also, here is another guide specifically about Flexbond.

    Why is Flexbond my favorite smoothing product? It 100% flexible. You can do anything to it and it won’t show damage. I can fold a piece of armor in half without it showing any signs of cracking, wrinkling, or pulling away from the Worbla surface. Basically, you’ll destroy your armor before destroying the Flexbond surface.

    Flexbond is also non-toxic and creates very smooth surface.

    I’ve used Flexbond on EVA foam, Worbla, Black Worbla, and Thibra, and it works wonders on all of them.

    You can order Flexbond in 16 oz or gallon sized bottles from Cosplay Supplies here.

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    I discovered that brushstrokes show after a few coats (as you can see in the top left photo above), so I added an extra technique to getting it smooth. I was inspired by Nefeni Cosplay’s guide on buffing wood glue primed Worbla with wet sandpaper. I figured it would work on Flexbond as well.

    In a nutshell, here is how I smoothed the surface with Flexbond:

    To start with, I coated the armor with four coats of Flexbond. Four coats is plenty and I have never needed more. After that, I took a piece of 320 or 400 grit sandpaper and dipped it in water so that it was slightly wet. Using the sandpaper, I buffed the armor surface in a circular motion. The surface turns back into glue (as you can see in the top middle photo), but this isn’t a bad thing since you can use this to your advantage and smooth out the surface more quickly. If there are drip marks after it dries (bottom middle photo), you can go back and re-buff it as many times as you like! This worked best on flatter areas with less detail. On hard to reach areas and the raised Worbla log details, I used my finger dipped in water and smoothed it out that way. Afterwards, you can paint your base coat and proceed to painting!

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    For Black Worbla and other Thermoplastics that are smoother than regular Worbla, you only need to buff the surface with your finger and water to remove the brushstrokes. Wet sanding is only necessary for very rough surfaces.

    I hope this is helpful and if you have any questions feel free to ask!

    Flexbond Test and Review – “…And Sewing is Half the Battle!”

    We sent the awesome people of “…And Sewing is Half the Battle!” a sample of Flexbond to test, to get their impressions and tips and tricks when working with it. Here’s their full detailed review below!

    ———————————————

    By now you’ve probably heard the announcement that CosplaySupplies.com is now carrying Flexbond, a popular theatrical glue that up until now was difficult to come by in small quantities. After the jump, I’ll be testing and reviewing this product so you can see how it works on foam and Worbla!
    I’m no stranger to hijacking theatrical supplies for cosplay purposes; I’ve been using Sculpt Or Coat for years, and I’d heard about Flexbond via discussion on the RPF, though I had not tried it out because at the time it was only available in large quantities. Now it is finally available in smaller bottles, so you don’t have to buy it by the gallon!

    So what is Flexbond?

    Flexbond is an adhesive and coating agent, sold primarily for theatrical set and prop applications (much like competitor Sculpt or Coat, which I’ve talked about previously). It’s similar in appearance and odor to regular white glue, only it’s much thicker. It works both as a glue and as a coating and smoothing agent for foam or plastic. It dries clear and, unlike many coating agents, remains flexible and does not crack. It is also nontoxic, which is always a plus!

    My Test Swatches
    I tested Flexbond on both 2mm EVA craft foam and on new, non-thermoformed Worbla (I used flat pieces, since I wanted to test flexibility rather than structural integrity).
    First, here’s plain black craft foam with a very thick coating of Flexbond:
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    As you can see, when dry it creates a smooth satin finish. Flexbond dries clear, but because it reflects so much more light than the matte foam, the color appears a bit lighter in some conditions. Because the coat was applied thick, there are some brushstrokes visible, and there are also some tiny holes where bubbles were trapped in the glue. (Applying multiple thinner coats would prevent these issues.)

    As its name implies, Flexbond is very flexible when dry and will bend, roll, and curve without cracking.
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    The only way I could succeed in damaging the finish was to fold the coated side in and crease the foam heavily, which crumpled the foam underneath the Flexbond and caused what appeared to be cracks – but on closer examination, the Flexbond itself was still undamaged; just the foam had creased beneath it.
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    Here’s the same surface after a little finger-smoothing. The wrinkles really aren’t visible unless the light is reflecting directly across them.
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    To test the coating and smoothing capabilities, I made a variety of test pieces using Flexbond and acrylic paint. First, I painted the thinnest coat possible of Flexbond on a piece of foam. I also watered the Flexbond down (it’s water soluble) and painted a runny form of it over another piece of foam:
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    The super-thin coat dried without the satin finish of the thick coat; while it smoothed the surface somewhat, it did not seal the foam completely:
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    The watered-down coat, which beaded up and dried in little globules, actually made a neat spotty texture that I think would look good as a form of distressing on some materials:
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    Over these pieces, I painted both a thin and a very thick coat of acrylic paint:
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    When these were dry, I tried distressing them to see how the paint held up to bending and creasing. While the foam itself creased under the paint, the only damage I was able to inflict in the surface treatment was a tiny chip in the thickest area of paint:
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    I also wanted to try painting directly on the foam, so I made a control piece (no Flexbond, just paint), and then separately, mixed equal parts Flexbond and paint and painted that mixture on another piece of foam. (Since the Flexbond is white, it makes the paint look lighter when wet, but it dries the correct color.)
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    When dry, I applied the same stress tests to these pieces. There was no significant difference in the performance of the two pieces when folding or creasing, but the Flexbond mixture (the slightly glossier one that appears lighter in color) held up a little better to scratching with a fingernail.
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    I also made a simple bracer out of scrap foam to test the product’s performance over multiple layers, and covered it with a thick coat of Flexbond:
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    Again, applying a super-thick coat, there are some brushstrokes visible in the finished product:
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    I added some light acrylic painting over the Flexbond, just to see how the brushstrokes looked under paint.

    Important: Just like white glue, Flexbond remains WATER SOLUBLE after it dries. This is good in that you can continue to adjust or smooth it out after you’ve coated your piece, but it’s bad in that if you don’t put a waterproof topcoat on and your armor/prop/etc. gets wet, it will soften and turn white again.
    When I added some surface texture on top of the Flexbond with watered-down acrylic paint, the Flexbond softened and became sticky again wherever I painted:
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    However, I left it alone to dry, and it went back to clear and dried just fine. I was able to go back and do some detail painting with more acrylic (not watered down) with no trouble. It remained just as flexible and crack-proof as the smaller pieces.
    Finished product (in two lighting conditions):
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    The bracer remained very flexible, even with a thick coat of Flexbond; I could not get it to crack at all. Additionally, the Flexbond filled in some of the gaps around the edges of the stacked foam pieces, which looked nice. It would probably do an excellent job sealing the edges of foam core or other porous material, as well.

    Coating Worbla

    Now, on to the Worbla tests. I used Worbla’s Finest Art (a.k.a. plain old tan original Worbla), which has one smooth side and one textured side. In all tests I applied the Flexbond to the textured side of the plastic. One coat of Flexbond was not enough to completely cover the texture, but I was able to get it fairly smooth with three coats. (If I were being super conscientious about brushstrokes, I might do four lighter coats to really smooth it out, but three heavier coats didn’t look bad.)
    I folded and rolled the Worbla pieces to test flexibility. The Worbla itself cracked, but the Flexbond coating never did. This piece had two heavy coats of Flexbond:
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    As with the foam, I made a control piece (no Flexbond, just paint) and then several pieces with varying numbers of coats of Flexbond. I applied the same acrylic paint over part of each piece to evaluate the effect of flexing on each surface treatment (spoiler: Flexing had no discernible effect on the surface treatment). Here are the results, for visual comparison:
    Paint only:
    tumblr_inline_o9i5dbnKEa1tgt7u0_500
    One thin coat of Flexbond + paint:
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    One thick coat of Flexbond + paint:
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    Two thick coats of Flexbond + paint:
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    Three thick coats of Flexbond + paint (this produced the smoothest results out of all the combinations I tried):
    tumblr_inline_o9i6c0q0eW1tgt7u0_500
    Flexbond mixed 50:50 with paint (one coat):
    tumblr_inline_o9i5e6b6Nn1tgt7u0_500
    So to achieve a smooth finish, it took at least two, preferably three, coats of Flexbond under the paint. That finish did look very nice and smooth, but anything less left a bit of the rough surface texture showing through. Also, using thick coats left brushstrokes in the Flexbond that often came through in the paint.

    Bonus round: Sintra!

    Out of curiosity, I tried painting some Flexbond on Sintra (PVC foam board) to see if it would stick. (PVC is notoriously hard to paint and glue without plastic-specific products). As expected, the water-based Flexbond beaded up on the surface, and peeled off relatively easily when dry. Not really surprising, but worth testing, because SCIENCE!
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    Cleanup

    Flexbond is water-based, so cleanup is simple with soap and water. Most water-based glues rinse out easily with water, but the Flexbond is thick enough that I actually did have to use some soap on my brushes to get all the glue out of the bristles.

    Other Comments

    I tried spraying Flexbond using a pump atomizer, to see if I could eliminate the brushstroke issue by spraying it on. It didn’t work; the glue was so thick it clogged the mechanism on the first pump, every time. Thinning it down with water would get it through the atomizer, but by that point it had such a low viscosity it didn’t go on evenly and just made puddles. (But hey, now we know. SCIENCE!)

    Conclusions

    Pros: I was very impressed with the flexibility of Flexbond (not surprising, as that’s its primary selling point). It has a nice satin finish, and I can see plenty of applications for use on materials like foam or flexible plastics that need to bend. I think it could also be used with sculpting materials or to strengthen papier-mâché projects (didn’t have time to try that for this review, but maybe later!). I also like that it can be mixed with paint or pigments for coating, so painted areas will have the same satin finish as any unpainted coated areas.
    Neutral: For pieces that don’t need that kind of flexibility, I’m not sure Flexbond is a significant improvement over other commonly-used smoothing products. While it requires fewer coats than, say, wood glue or Mod Podge, it takes a little more work to even out brushstrokes than it would with a product like Sculpt or Coat or spray-on coatings. However, if you don’t already have a supply of one of those other products on hand, Flexbond is versatile enough to pull double duty (and is less expensive than buying Sculpt or Coat by the gallon).
    Cons: I am not crazy about the fact that it remains water soluble after it dries. I would definitely want to topcoat my pieces with a waterproof sealant or paint to keep them from being damaged by moisture, and even then I would probably not feel comfortable doing any sort of water-based photoshoot or wearing them in heavy rain.

    Overall:

    It’s not necessarily the best for every application, but if you want one good all-around coating agent, Flexbond seems like it will work on just about anything (except, of course, PVC). It is the most flexible coating I’ve worked with, and it coats effectively in fewer layers than many other materials. As long as you avoid very wet environments, it should be durable enough for normal con activities and extended wear.

    So, there you have it! Hopefully this information is useful to you in researching your cosplay projects and materials. If you have any questions about this review or the products I used, feel free to contact me.

    Full disclosure: A small sample of Flexbond was provided to me at no cost by CosplaySupplies.com for me to test and review. However, this is not a sponsored review, and I received no other considerations from the company. This is simply an honest examination of the product I received. I don’t make any money on this stuff.

    Making a Glowing Heart (Once Upon a Time)

    Melting Mirror created this creepy and lifelike glowing heart with TranspArt and shared the process with us!

    Want to be a villain in the Once Upon a Time universe but you don’t want to get your hands dirty? Well, I have to tutorial for you!

    Materials

    • TranspArt (available at Cosplay Supplies)
    • iDye Poly red
    • Fake heart
    • Vaseline (or mold release)
    • Cardboard
    • Glass paint (I use Pebeo)
    • Vacuum
    • Sheer red fabric (I used a veining lace)
    • Red LED(s)

    STEP 1 – Dye the TranspArt5405343

    Cut two pieces of TrasnpArt large enough to cover half the heart. An extra 2 inches on each side is plenty.
    In a pot – specifically used for dyeing and not one you’ll eat in later – bring water to a boil, add dye and intensifier. Mix contents until dispersed then bring to a simmer. Add one sheet of TranspArt and let soak while keeping it submerged. Keep in water for about 10 mins or until TranspArt is properly tinted. Then repeat for the second piece.
    (You can see more info about dying TranspArt here.)

    STEP 2 – Vacuumforming

    Check out this video by Naruvien Art & Design as a primer for the process.

    Cut a circular hole slightly smaller than your vacuum hose opening into some stiff cardboard. Apply some Vaseline to your fake heart and to the cardboard to prevent sticking.

    ​Preheat the TranspArt till it’s soft. Start up the vacuum and place the hose below the hole, place the heart over the hole and the TranspArt above that. Use the heat gun to continue to soften the TranspArt. It will reach a point where the plastic will stick to the cardboard on all side and the last of the air will be sucked out causing a tight seal. Continue heating till all the folds and creases are defined. Be careful not to overheat the plastic or else it will bubble and melt.

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    Let the plastic cool a little before popping the heart out. Repeat this process for the other side of the heart.

    9038625STEP 3 – Trim and Paint

    ​Cut off all the excess plastic around the edges. For one piece cut the plastic along the halfway point of the heart. For the other piece leave a little extra so that you can overlap the pieces essentially snapping them together so that you don’t need to glue them together.

    ​Paint the inside of the TranspArt with glass paint – I use Pebeo Vitrail paint – to define the details. I used a dusty pink colour, but anything pink, orange, or red will do depending on the look you are going for. Let dry for 8 hours.

    STEP 4 – Stuffing and Lights2771092

    I used some bright red vein-like lace​ as stuffing in the heart to diffuse the light and to make the heart more opaque. Other materials you can use are: chiffon, curtain sheers, organza, or anything sheer and red.

    Insert a little red LED inside and you are done! See the before (the prop heart) and after photo below.

    Happy heart ripping fellow Enchanted Forest villains.

    1464298442

    Dragon Age Morrigan Necklace

    Laura Sánchez aka Nebulaluben created this beautifully detailed necklace for her Ballgown Morrigan from Dragon Age Inquisition. You can find her tutorial below!

    Picture by Jesús Clares. Commisioned for EA Spain.
    Picture by Jesús Clares. Commisioned for EA Spain.

    Hello everybody!! Today it’s time to write about my Morrigan necklace so let’s go!

    To make the pattern, I wrapped myself in plastic and masking tape to get a basic shape. I drew its shape with its details and I cut it out to obtain the pieces.
    As always, I just made one half to make it symmetrical later.

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    I made most of the necklace using Worbla but the pendant, that was the same from DAO and I already had its mold. I made the necklace base with a Worbla sheet and I shaped it with the heat gun.

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    Then I cut the strips and the leaf shaped ornaments and I stuck them using the heat gun again. The smaller blue ornaments were made using thin craft foam.
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    I glued the polyurethane resin pendant with epoxi glue.

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    I primed the collar with a couple wood glue layers and priming spray. It needs a lot of work to smooth it out.
    After priming, I had to sand it conscientiously till it looked smooth enough.

    Before sanding.
    Before sanding.
    After sanding.
    After sanding.

    Once the surface was ready, I painted it with a layer of brown acrylic and, to finish it, I used my favourite golden paste.
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    And done!
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    I don’t quite like the final shape of this collar. I mean, it’s not bad, but I’d like it to be a litle wider. I was in a rush while making this costume, so I didn’t have time to remake it. Anyway, I hope you find this tutorial useful.
    As always, you can follow me on my social media and feel free to ask me anything in the comments below.
    Thanks for reading!

    Thanks again to Laura Sánchez for sharing this tutorial with us! You can find her on Instagram, Twitter, and DeviantArt.

    Vacuforming and Molding with Transpart – Video

    If you need to make a copy of something fast, or need a very smooth mold of a prop, you can get a quick and easy pull from TranspArt, a sheet of cardboard, and a vacuum cleaner – all without having to worry abut making a special table or dealing with more toxic plastics.

    If you want a highly detailed or ‘deeper’ draw, or something a bit sturdier for multiple uses, a simple table build can be used as well as shown here!

    Naruvien Art&Design explains two easy ways to create copies of shapes using TranspArt – both of which can be accomplished in minutes with minimal prep!

    (These are in German with English Subtitles, but the process is very easy to follow.)

    Forming with a Table and Frame

    Last Minute Man’s Kitchen shows us the process using a simple table and frame that he used to create both sides of his TranspArt Gunblade.

    EN/DE Here is a short video, how easy you can vacuum form with Worbla's Transpa Art. I made the video a bit sorter, but the whole thing needed about 2min. I heated the WTA a bit before I placed it to the frame. Then you see what I did. After cooling down, you can put the model easy out, and do the other side. If it don't has just one, like a gemstone, which you gird into a armor. Most vacuum cleaner have an air inlet at the handle, it's good to open it a bit, it saves the vacuum cleaner from overheating. At the end of the video, you see this thing. The price for all you need to build it, is about 10€ excluded the vacuum cleaner ;) Hier ist ein kleines Video, vom Tiefziehen des Dolches, wo man sieht, wie einfach es mit Worbla's Transpa Art ist. Ich habe das Video etwas gekürt, aber alles in allem, hat das Abformen ca. 2 min gedauert. Das WTA habe ich etwas erhitzt bevor ich es auf den Rahmen gelegt habe, alles weitere seht ihr ja im Video. Wenn das WTA abgekühlt ist, könnt ihr euer Modell entfernen und die andere Seite fertigen, sofern es nicht nur eine hat, wie bei einem Edelstein zum einfassen in die die Rüstung z.B. Die meisten Staubsauger haben am Griff eine Luftöffnung, es ist sinnvoll diese etwas zu öffnen, da der Staubsauger dann nicht überhitzt. Am Ende des Videos, seht ihr was ich meine. Um das ganze zu bauen, braucht ihr ca 10€ für das Material, den Staubsauger ausgenommen ;) #worbla #worblastranspaart #transparentworbla #transparent #transformation #clearworbla #clear #vacuum #forming #vacuumforming #probmaker #prob #cosplay #cos #costume #costumedesign #larp #larping #liveroleplay #glasmode #armor

    A video posted by Ralf M. Gornetzki (@last_minute_mans_kitchen) on

    Satyr and Minotaur Builds with Digitigrade Legs – Video

    If you’re looking to make a pair of convincing Digitgrade legs, take a look at this fantastic tutorial by Tim who created a great silhouette for his Minotaur and Satyr costumes without requiring stilts. The armor and Minotaur head are also made from Worbla’s Finest Art.

    You can see photos of his build for both costumes below.

    Using Fiberglass Resin to Smooth Worbla – Video

    The awesome 9Flame Creations shared this video showing the process of using fiberglass resin to prime or smooth your Worbla before painting for a smooth finish.
    (Please remember working with resin can be VERY toxic – ALWAYS follow the instructions on your product, especially regarding respirators and gloves!)

    Edward Elric’s Northern Automail

    The following is a basic breakdown on using either Worbla’s Finest Art or Worbla’s Black Art to make Automail from Full Metal Alchemist.

    Using Worbla’s Black Art and/or Worbla’s Finest Art Tutorial by Rinkujutsu

    In this tutorial, I illustrate the basics of using Worbla’s Black Art and/or Worbla’s Finest Art. These two materials are thermoplastics, which can be heated up and shaped however you want. For a breakdown of the differences of the two materials, check out my comparison here.

    Materials and tools needed:
    Worbla’s Finest Art and/or Worbla’s Black Art
    Craft foam pieces
    Heat gun
    Sculpting tool

    Method 1, “Sandwiching”:
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    Step 1: Cut out your project patterns out of pieces of craft foam. In this particular project, I am making armor, but you can make almost anything. I have also successfully used pieces of cardboard, model magic, and other things as a base for Worbla.

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    Step 2: Cut out two pieces of Worbla’s Black Art or Finest Art slightly larger than your craft foam pieces so that they have a “seam allowance.” To conserve on the amount of Worbla’s Black Art that I had, I decided to use black on top and regular on the bottom.
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    Here you can see how there is going to be a layer of plastic on top and bottom. You are going to sandwich the craft foam piece with Worbla, so it is encased in plastic.
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    Step 3: Before sandwiching, I personally think it is easier to emboss any detailing first when using Worbla’s Black Art. To do this, gently heat up only the top piece of plastic while it is sitting on top of the craft foam. After it becomes soft, stretchy and pliable, use your fingers and/or your sculpting tool to emboss any designs or detailing that you have on your craft foam piece.
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    Step 4: After you are done embossing the details, heat up the edges of the top piece and the entire bottom piece. Stack the two on top of each other and press firmly to fuse them. Use your sculpting tool around the edges of the craft foam piece to create nice, crisp lines. Trim off the excess material and smooth the edges.
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    Step 5: If the project you are making needs to be curved in any way, now is the time to do it. Carefully heat up the entire piece and form it over a found object or yourself.
    If you have multiple separate pieces that need to be connected to each other, just heat them up and stick them together! The plastic will fuse and make a near permanent bond.

    Method 2, “Folding”:
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    Step 1: For this method, you only need your craft foam piece and one piece of Worbla’s Black Art/ Worbla’s Finest Art that is a bit larger than the craft foam.
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    Step 2: Like in the first method, heat up and emboss any detailing now.
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    Step 3: Cut tiny slits on outer edges of the plastic. Leave at least 1/4 allowance between where the slits end and the craft foam begins.
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    Step 4: Heat up the edges, flip the entire piece over, and fold the edges onto the back. Worbla’s Black Art doesn’t adhere to craft foam as well as Worbla’s Finest Art, so it might take a bit of extra effort to get the edges to stay. Use your sculpting tool to smooth the sides and edges.
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    Step 5: After you are done folding the edges over, you can shape and curve the entire piece however you want. For this particular piece, I formed it around the palm of my hand.
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    Whether you are using Worbla’s Black Art or Worbla’s Finest Art, always save your scraps no matter how tiny they are! You can heat them up, smash them and sculpt them. I sculpted all of the bolts and screws for Ed’s automail using scraps.

    That’s it for this tutorial! I hope you found it helpful, and feel free to ask questions or make suggestions for improving this tutorial. I am documenting the entire process of making my Worbla automail, so you can expect to see tutorials specific to this build soon.

    ————
    Thanks again to Rinkujutsu for sharing this tutorial with us!

    Legend of Zelda Master Sword

    Rinkujutsu shared this tutorial explaining the build of the base of their fantastic Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Master Sword.

    Reinforced Balsa Wood Blade with Worbla

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    This tutorial is for creating a lightweight but sturdy prop sword blade from reinforced balsa wood covered with Worbla. I have only tried this with a four foot long blade, so I don’t know how it would work with longer lengths. Note: This is for creating just the blade and is NOT a full step-by-step Master Sword tutorial.

    Materials and tools needed:

    – Balsa Wood sheets, at least 3/16” thick. (If the blade you are making is under three feet long, you only need two sheets. If it is over three, you need three sheets. For the Master Sword, I used three balsa wood sheets with the dimensions of 3/16”x4”x36”)

    – Flat rectangular metal steel rod with the dimensions 1/2”x1/8”x48”

    – Wood Glue

    – Worbla, about 1/4 of a jumbo sheet or more depending on the width of your sword blade.

    – Xacto blades: standard tip and 1/2 wide chisel type tip.

    – Paint brush

    – Clamps for gluing.

    1
    Step 1:
    Note, if your blade is going to be under three feet long, skip to step 7.

    Take one of the balsa wood boards and draw a line in the center going across the width of the sheet. Draw another line through this center line with a 45 degree angle

    2
    Step 2: Cut the sheet in half through the diagonal line of your Xacto knife.

    Step 3: Grab your last two balsa sheets and draw a 45 degree angle line on one end of each of them.

    Step 4: Cut off the little end triangles on the diagonal line.

    Step 5: Take one of the longer sections and pair it up with one of the shorter sections to create what looks like a longer plank with a seam. You will have two groups of these.

    3
    Step 6:
    Use a strip of tape to temporarily hold the seam in place. It will be strong enough to hold until you glue it.

    4
    You should now have two layers of balsa wood sheets. We will be inserting a metal rod between them and laminating them together. When picking the balsa wood sheets, select ones that are as flat as possible so that they will fit snugly together.

    5
    Step 7: Get your flat metal rod out since it’s time to cut a slot for it.

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    Step 8: Draw a centered line lengthwise on each of your balsa wood sheets. Draw another lengthwise line on either side of the center line 1/4″ away from it. (Ignore the doubled lines in the picture; the only reason why they are there is because I messed up the alignment the first time)

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    Step 9: Use your Xacto knife to gently score each of the lines that are 1/4″ away from the center. Be careful to only cut no more than halfway through the balsa. It’s very easy to by accident cut through the entire plank.

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    Step 10: Use the 1/2″ Xacto knife chisel tip to cut a groove between the two lines about 1/16″ deep. Do this on both blanks. you’ll know it’s deep enough when the metal rod fits in it snugly without too much extra room.

    Note: Don’t cut the groove all the way from end to end. Start several inches in from the end so that the tip of the sword won’t have an empty hole in it. I forgot about this and it posed some problems once I started carving the tip of the sword.

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    Step 11: Use your brush to slap on a layer of wood glue on both blanks on the side that has the groove for the metal rod. Insert the metal rod and press both layers together. Clamp it to a table top with a flat wood blank on top to prevent the clamps from marring the balsa wood. You can also clamp it between two wooden planks. Let it dry overnight.

    10
    Step 12: You will now have a reinforced and laminated balsa wood plank to use for your sword blade! Get out your sword blade patterns, trace them on, and cut out and carve the blade with your Xacto knife. Balsa is extremely easy to carve; it only took me about 20-30 minutes to shape the Master Sword blade. For the engraved sections like the triforce on the blade, just press hard with a blunt tool on the design and it will easily leave an impression in the balsa wood.

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    Step 13: Sandwich your entire blade in Worbla! Balsa is too weak on its own, so this step is necessary. I didn’t take pictures of this step since it is no different than sandwiching craft foam pieces in Worbla. I suggest working from the tip of the sword to the bottom, heating only a few inches at a time, and sandwiching that section before moving on another few inches. for the engraved sections, just press the Worbla down into the impressions to create an embossed effect. You’ll notice that my trimmed edges are rough. I fixed this by taping sandpaper to a flat board and sanding the edges down until they were flat.

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    That’s it for this tutorial! Go ahead and build the rest of your awesome sword and show it to me when you are done :D ! I am not able to make a step-by-step tutorial on my TP Master Sword because of my lack of progress picture, but I will be doing tutorials on the other techniques that I used to make it. I hope this tutorial was helpful and let me know what other tutorials you would like to see!

    ——-

    With many thanks to Rinkujutsu for sharing this with us!

    Making a TranspArt Handheld Flame

    Amanda of Elemental Photography and Design created this tutorial for making your own TranspArt flame:

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    I wanted to try my hand at dying TranspArt and then turning those pieces into a flame prop for photos. If you want to make one yourself, these are the steps!

    Step One:
    Cut out some basic flamey shapes out of paper. Use them to get an idea of how big you want your finished piece to be.
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    Step Two:
    Cut out the same shapes in your TranspArt.
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    Step Three:
    Dye your TranspArt. For a tutorial on dying, click here!
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    Step Four:
    Heat your pieces one at a time, then pull, stretch and pinch them to help make your individual ‘flame’ shapes.
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    Note:
    Costumes by Cassandra used this tutorial to create her own flame for her Lup costume, and shared a great trick with us regarding shaping: aluminium foil!


    I asked how she acheived the effect and if the foil sticking to the TranspArt was an issue, and here was her response:

    “So if I tried to move it off the foil while it was warm it got a bit sticky, which I played with because it did cool things to the tips of the flames, but for the bodies of the flames, I let it totally cool before I moved it and it peeled off just fine. That said, if I overheated the plastic, it stuck a bit, but the foil bits were easy to pick off. There was just a bit of a learning curve to how long to heat it to get it to sink into the foil and do cool things and how long was too long. I made a few extra pieces assuming I’d mess up a bit.”

    Step Five:
    Heat and shape your pieces around one another, pressing the bottoms together. (I shaped mine around a small ball of parchment paper to help keep the middle open.) If you have trouble joining pieces, you can use hot glue for this.
    If you want a handle, I used a strip of TranspArt and then covered it with thin peach spandex.
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    Elemental-9171 Elemental-9158

    Congrats, you have a hand flame thing! You can also build an LED into it for additional effect. (I just tucked a red LED under mine for photos)

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    Tinting and Dying Worbla’s TranspArt and DecoArt/Friendly Plastic

    Amanda of Elemental Photography and Design created this tutorial for tinting or dying TranspArt with iDyePoly dyes.
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    Worbla’s TranspArt is awesome for clear applications, but sometimes you want it to have a colour while still being able to see through it. Automotive spray tints are an option, but depending on where you live, they’re hard to get – or only come in very limited colours. And if you need the piece to remain flexible, spray tints can flake off your surface.

    It’s possible to dye TranspArt, however, and quite easy – and the dyes are decently priced (though somewhat limited to single day/project use). TranspArt once dyed still retains a great deal of the colour depth (even when stretched) and shaped pieces can be dyed, though they may need to be reformed as the process requires hot water.

    Worbla’s DecoArt is known as Friendly Plastic (or Polycaprolactone) in North America and takes colour very well, allowing great light transparency – though it can be difficult to dye evenly.

    Keep in mind that this tutorial is based on iDyePoly Yellow and Red – and I’ve had success with Blue as well. Always test your dye and plastic before working on a big piece!

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    I used this process for this handflame prop. You can find the short tutorial to make your own here!

    You will need:
    iDyePoly by Jacquard (THE POLY IS THE IMPORTANT PART!)
    A dye-safe container (I use disposable foil trays. Do NOT use a pot you will cook in!)
    Tongs, chopsticks, or something to grab your pieces with (that you won’t use for food again!)
    A stove top
    Paper Towel
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    Step one;
    Hot water: Because I use foil trays and I don’t like dealing with them and high heat, I use a kettle to boil water first.
    Since I was working with small pieces of dye, I only used half the package of the dye and did not use the intensifier for the yellow and red pieces, saving that for later. For the most intense effect, always use the whole package and intensifier.
    I empty the dye into the container, then add the hot water from the kettle and stir to dissolve. I add just enough hot water to cover my pieces.
    (Seriously, do not use any tools that will end up with food later!)

    Step two:
    Once the dye is dissolved, I add my TranspArt and make sure it’s fully submerged (or up to where I want it dyed)

    If dying Friendly Plastic, I keep my pellets spread out inside a strainer.

    Note: Transpart’s activation point is higher than boiling water, but it still gets very soft. I found the shaped pieces I added drooped significantly, but did not become completely flat. If you were dying something like a dome, or a simple curved visor, you will probably have to reshape it – still the best idea if you want the highest concentration of colour.
    If you don’t mind a loss of some colour, you can dye your transpart first, and then shape it.

    Note 2: It’s not very easy to use this method to get an even, predictable gradient. If you need a perfectly smooth shift between colours over a certain area, you will probably have to do a lot of dipping and shifting of the plastic/babysit the piece for a solid 20 minutes or more. An airbrush might be your best bet at that point, with the loss of visibility taken into account.

    Step 3:
    Keep your water hot. I turned my stove on to medium-low.

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    The Friendly Plastic went into a metal strainer to keep them together (right)

    Step 4:
    Leave your plastic alone, coming to stir and shift the water every 5 minutes or so, flipping your plastic over or shaking up the pellets in your strainer. The longer your plastic is in the dye bath, the more dye there is, and using the included intensifier – these will all help give you the deepest colour possible.

    Step 5:
    Remove, rinse, and wipe down with paper towel.

    You’re done! You can play with overdying, gradients, light tints and heavy colours – the possibilities are endless, especially when you then layer different shades of TranspArt together!

    Results!


    From left to right: Friendly Plastic 20 minutes in iDyePoly Red
    Pre-shaped transpart pieces 20 minutes in iDyePoly Red
    Pre-shaped transpart ‘flame’ 10 minutes iDyePoly red (sat bottom first with top exposed) then 10 minutes iDyePoly yellow submerged
     
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    Left: Preshaped flame (very ‘droopy’ 20 minutes in red (base) 10 minutes in yellow (top only). Following same as above.
     
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    Left to right: Sanded TranspArt 20 minutes iDyePoly yellow
    TranspArt 20 minutes iDyePoly yellow
    Sanded TranspArt 10 minutes iDyePoly yellow then 10 minutes iDyePoly red (half)
     
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    Left to right: TranspArt 20 minutes iDyePoly yellow
    TranspArt 10 minutes iDyePoly yellow 10 minutes iDyePoly red (half)
    TranspArt 10 minutes iDyePoly yellow 10 minutes iDyePoly red
     
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    Previous test results left to right: Tintex brand yellow 1 hour
    Blue iDyePoly with intensifier 1 hour. Both of these started in hot water that was allowed to cool.
    Right: Resin dye folded into center of TranspArt.

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    Sanded Transpart: If you want a somewhat frosted look to your TranspArt, it’s absolutely possible to sand your pieces with fine-grit sandpaper first and then dye them. It gives a very slightly deeper colour compared to un-sanded TranspArt.

     

    Notes for DecoArt or Friendly Plastic:
    It’s much easier to dye your pellets instead of dying finished pieces, and try to keep your pellets spread thin in a layer on your strainer, rather than clumped together.

    Pellets evenly dyed and then shaped
    Great if you need to add coloured, smooth, raised details onto TranspArt surfaces!

     

    While the plastic takes dye wonderfully, it’s easy for it to miss some of the pellets, or dye them a bit unevenly if they’re grouped together – which can lead to white pellets in your finished product.

    Friendly Plastic dyed ‘clumped’ together (see first dyed sample pic above) and then shaped into a mould. Undyed/unmelted pellets from the center stay white and hard.
    The front’s a bit better…

     

    The dyed plastic gives a mottled, swirled effect when a light is shone behind it. I think it could be totally useful for some styles of gems, especially as it allows for a lot more light to pass through than just painting the plastic with acrylics or spray paint would!

    On the other hand, I REALLY like this effect. (A red LED was used)

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    Intensity after shaping:

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    iDyePoly maintains a surprising amount of colour depth after the TranspArt is shaped/stretched. This piece was almost doubled in length, but the colour stayed even (didn’t get straky or splotchy) and is only a bit lighter in the center.
     

    Final thoughts
    The amount of colour the TranspArt will pick up depends on the length of time it spends in the water and how much dye is used. The intensifier can help make the colour stronger, but deeper colours (blues, reds) will take more noticeably than yellow or orange.
    Friendly Plastic takes the actual colour very well, but can be tricky to dye evenly, and is best used for small batches and small projects.

    And remember to always, ALWAYS test your plastic before you work on a big project! Some dyes can have surprising results!

    Fire Emblem Gauntlets and Vambraces

    Kat of the Dangerous Ladies (Storenvy, dA, Tumblr) gave this writeup of making the vambraces (forearms) and gauntlets (gloves) for their group’s Fire Emblem Cosplay group.

    Gauntlets:

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    1: Used cling wrap and tape method to mock up the gauntlet sections/details.

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    2-4: Cut apart tape gauntlet and transferred the pattern onto paper. Patterned the flared wrist extension piece by cutting a semi-circle into straight strips and taping them back together, essentially making a paper fan. The edges were cut into a webbed shape. This method of cutting and reattaching the strips was also used in the foam version of the gauntlets; each had strips that needed to be glued into shape before the whole gauntlet base got Worbla’d.

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    5: I carved the knuckle pieces by hand from Eva foam with scissors and attached them to the foam gauntlet bases so they would show through the Worbla.

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    6-8: Finger pieces. You’re looking at 15 pieces of Worbla and 15 pieces of foam per hand. They’re simple to assemble and shape, but time-consuming. Every piece had to be labelled individually and matched with its partner; I used a naming scheme of Finger-Section-Hand, e.g. “Ring 3R” for the third (lowest) section of the ring finger on the right hand.

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    9-10: An assembled set of gauntlets and all six gauntlet bases, which are now in the sealing stage. The little yellow pyramids are painter’s pyramids from Lee Valley, which elevate drying objects so that glue/paint doesn’t pool on your working surface.

     
    Vambraces

    Vambraces (Forearms) / Notes on Sintra

    Here I’ll be talking about my experiences using Sintra. Sintra is used by a number of costumers, particularly on the sci-fi end of things. From Laird Plastics, where I bought my sheets: “Sintra is a lightweight yet rigid board of moderately expanded closed-cell polyvinyl chloride (PVC) extruded in a homogenous sheet with a low gloss matte finish.”

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    1, 2: Patterned using the cling wrap and tape method, transferred to cardstock.

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    3: Ran into some snags using Sintra for the first time. I had seen recommendations to “score” it with a blade and snapping out your pieces. This worked for some of the pieces I cut out, but for others, it caused the brittle material to shatter. This isn’t good when Sintra scraps have limited use! I switched to cutting all Sintra pieces with a band saw and sanding the edges with a belt sander.

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    4. Another snag was that Sintra doesn’t have any self-adhesive properties, as far as I could tell, and isn’t very malleable. Since the seams can’t just be pressed together like Worbla, assembling raised pieces would require more precise seams than I had time for when I was making these. I switched to making Cynthia and Cordelia’s vambrace “shields” out of Worbla. Sumia’s leafy designs lay flat on her vambraces, so I cut them out of Sintra. Attaching Worbla to Sintra requires no adhesives; if you heat both and attach one piece to the other, it will stay put! I used contact cement to attach Sintra to Sintra. I wanted to avoid hot glue, as it has a weak bond and could warp the Sintra.

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    5-7: Our freshly formed vambrace bases. Sintra takes longer to heat up to the point where you can form it, and may not heat very evenly with a heat gun. However, when your only other option is to use an oven (specifically an oven that is only used for crafting and not for food!), you work with what you’ve got. Be careful when forming hot Sintra over your own/someone else’s limbs; you’ll want them to cover their arms with heat-resistant material. We used an apron draped over a forearm.

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    8-9: The current state of our vambraces. Sumia’s required no sealant, so they got as far as the base coat stage before our armour project went on break. Cynthia’s and Cordelia’s needed their Worbla pieces sealed, and are still in that stage of progress. Sumia’s will be finished in the next few weeks, as Emmy will be wearing Sumia at Otakon!

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    10: Very important reminder: when working with Sintra, wear a respirator and work in a well-ventilated area!

    —–

    Thanks again to Kat of the Dangerous Ladies for sharing this with us! You can find their work here:Storenvy, dA, Tumblr.

    Using TranspArt for Clear Domes

    Melting Props,Cosplay & Projects shared this tutorial on using TranspArt to make clear domes you can then paint or tint any colour!

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    So here is a super easy tutorial on how to make clear domes from Worbla’s Transpa Art. These domes are perfect for round crystals, robot eyes and goggles that you can actually see out of.

    What you need:
    Worbla’s TranspArt
    Heat gun
    Empty masking tape roles
    Rounded non stick object (I used half a Gashapon ball ) ((Worbla.com note: if you’re worried about things sticking, you can use a mold release spray or petroleum jelly to help keep things non-stick)
    Lens Tinting Spray
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    Step 1 Stack the empty masking tape roles on top of each other make sure they are higher than the height of the dome you’re using,
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    Step 2 Cut a square of worbla transpa that’s about an inch larger than masking tape trole roles on all sides.

    Step 3 Evenly heath the center of worbla till it starts to sag depending on the heat gun this can take 2-6 seconds.. (Make sure not to overheat or it will lead to imperfections in the form of small bubbles )
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    Step 4 place the dome into the sagging worbla and turn it upside down give it about 3 minutes to cool down and you should have a perfect dome
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    Step 5 Trim around the dome then remove it the flexible nature of worbla transpa means its easy to remove you (can pretty much turn the transpa dome inside out without damaging it )
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    Step 6 you have a choice you can spray tint the inside or outside ,Whichever you choose you need to spray it lightly and evenly.
    the more coats you do the darker it will be (3 coats of this brand seems to be the ideal number)
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    To make the worbla transpa dome stronger you can also stack 2 or 3 domes on top of each other before painting or repeat the forming process mutable times on top of each other
    This tutorial can be used to make other shapes as long as they are smaller than the roll but the larger it is the thinner the worbla will in the end result

    —–
    Thanks again to Melting Props,Cosplay & Projects for sharing this with us!

    Transparent (Glowing) Horns

    Melting Props,Cosplay & Projects shared this tutorial on how to make lightweight, perfectly smooth horns with Worbla’s TranspArt that you can paint either opaque, or with transparent paints so that they can be lit with an LED!

     
     

    How to make light up translucent Demon horns form Worbla’s TranspArt.

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    These horn are lightweight , cheap and easy to make ,you can get insanely creative with this but for the purposes of this tutorial going with some classic bull like horns

    Things you need:
    Worbla’s Transpa art
    DAS (other clays work but DAS is the most predictable, get something that can be baked hard)
    Heat gun
    fine Sandpaper or Sanding block
    scissors
    life sized sketch of the horns you want to make

    Step 1 Size up the sketch and figure out how much clay you you’re going to need for each horn
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    Step 2 Knead the clay adding water to make sure it stays soft (skipping this step is lead to cracking) (Follow the instructions on your clay if you are using a different brand!)

    Step 3 roughly form the clay into the shape you want using water to smooth it out (longer horns may require wire inside to keep their shape)
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    Step 4 once you have the shape you like place in the oven at 80°C the thickness of the horn can mean this step can take an hour or 3 (Again, follow instructions on your clay)
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    Step 5 if done right you should be able to sand it smooth without it breaking or cracks
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    Step 6 once the horn is perfect cut out a sheet of transpa worbla longer than your horn with allot of room on both sides if you’re not sure how much you need on both sides it’s better to over estimate than under
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    step 7 place the worbla on the front facing side of your horn and heat downwards till it gotten the shape of the tip
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    Step 8 you’re going to have to work your way from the top down Stretching and then pinching where the worbla meats on the other side ( high risk for burning heat proof gloves recommended)
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    Step 9 trim the excess worbla so there is only a small bit of even flashing left .
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    step 10 Heat and fold the flashing over to whatever side isn’t facing outwards it’s (right horn fold left left horn fold right) important to do this smoothly or you will be left with on uneven seam lines.
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    step 11 If you’re horns has more than one curve or has an overhang you may need to break it to break the clay inside it out if the clay was cooked for the right amount of time the very center should still be soft making this step very easy to do clearly if not it’s still pretty easy.
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    Step 12 wash the horn to remove any clay dust and let dry
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    Step 13 Painting, nice and evenly applied to layers of the red spray tint once fully dried blend in black (very lightly )
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    If done right this should be both nice and translucent as well as perfect for lighting effects will get into lighting and electronics in later tutorials but for now I recommend trying this out it may take a couple of attempts

    Also if you’re 2nd horn is the same as the 1st it’s possible to fix the broken clay horn by mixing DAS with water and using it as a glue put it back in the oven for an hour and and you’re ready to make a 2nd horn.

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    11698995_934066003326440_7873492364710877107_o 11058702_934067006659673_7290118012340606824_o 11709950_934066983326342_292693876242485360_o

    —–
    Thanks again to Melting Props,Cosplay & Projects for sharing this with us!

    Horned Helmet – Darkflame Shyvana

    Captain Izzy Cosplay (also on instagram and DeviantArt) shared this Helmet Tutorial from her Darkflame Shyvana costume with us.

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    1) Pattern that sexy troll face!!! Foil and painters tape is the new Sunday hat guys. Scroll to bottom for instructions on how I made the pattern.

    2) I patterned the helmet detail panels in a similar fashion by applying the tape directly onto the helmet. Also see #7, 8 & 9.

    3) To maintain flexibility in the worbla helmet, I used the folding technique rather than the sandwich technique. Since the tail adds a lot of weight to the back, the helmet had to be a rather tight fit in order to stay on properly. However, since the helmet covers so much of the facial and neck area, taking it on and off would have been impossible without some movement in the material. Even now it’s a bit tricky. The “hole” details are simply circular shapes pressed into the worbla to create depth.

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    4) The horns were built by creating the base shape in tin foil. Yes, getting these two horns to be relatively symmetrical is an absolute nightmare and you will cry, throw a tantrum, slam the horns onto the table a few times, and suddenly you’ll have the right shape

    5) I covered the tin foil with duct tape to strengthen the structure and smoothen the texture.

    6) I covered the horns in strips of worbla that overlap each other. This made covering the horn with worbla more cost efficient as you can primarily use scraps, which gave the horns a ribbed texture at the same time for some extra detail.
    h3
    7) More detail panel patterning.

    8) Cutting the patterns from EVA foam & worbla.

    9) Folding technique for the detail panels to save some worbla and therefore money. The money you will need to buy comfort food after all the crying you have been doing from the painful test fittings
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    10) Still needs trims and a tail, but this is more or less what it should look like. At this point I was ready to mount some human heads onto the horns! No really, I have fun making cosplays

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    11) The tail is built from connecting vertebrae. Each vertebra is built from 3 basic pieces for which I used the worbla folding technique (with the exception of the few top and bottom pieces) to keep the weight as light as possible.

    12) The 3 pieces combined create a triangle shape, allowing for a hollow tail.

    13) Overall, with the exception of the base neck and bottom piece, the same triangle shape is repeated all along the tail, decreasing slightly in size per vertebra. Each vertebra is slid slightly over the previous one.
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    14) The top vertebra is connected directly to the helmet. However, each following vertebra had two holes in the middle on the backside (the side that rests on my back), both on the top and bottom. Through these holes I looped some fishing wire, tying two vertebrae together both on the top side and bottom. Doing so allows for movement in both a forward and backward direction, as well as sideways. Also, since the tail is hollow, it provided the perfect hiding spot for my own long hair, which was braided and tucked just inside the tail.
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    Lastly, the tail hair was a wig weft, glued to the bottom of the wig. To darken the eye sockets I simply glued the glasses of an old pair of sunglasses to the inside and sanded down the edges.

    Photo by Lexa One Photography
    Photo by Lexa One Photography

    === Pattern Making ===

    To pattern anything for worbla, including the head, I wrap the intended area in foil and cover the foil with painters tape. For this helmet, I drew the outline onto the tape. To “flatten” the 3D pattern piece, I cut the pattern in half from the nose to the neck along the topside, and I created darts (like the sewing technique) for the rounded shape at the top of the head. Lastly I took the two pattern halves and applied them to EVA foam and worbla, which created the base helmet structure. Most of these seam lines that were created when I connected the worbla pieces were hidden by my helmet’s detail patterns. The others I worked into the design as details.

    Making BJD Armor / Making a Body Double for your Doll

    Dirili had a great way of skipping the tape-pattern method and heat-worry for armor making for your BJD’s, and explains how to make a plaster double as a first step to your armor process!

    This tutorial example is done using a bjd. If you are doing this on a plastic or vinyl doll, you don’t necessarily have to make a casting of the body part that you’re working on. You can form it directly on the doll since plastic and vinyl are not as sensitive to heat as resin is. Resin can discolor or weaken if exposed to too much heat. If you do not need to create a form, you can skip steps 1-3, although you may still want to do steps 1 and 2 to make sure the thermoplastic does not stick to the doll and/or to create some padding under your armor piece so that the armor will fit over clothing.

    A few months ago I discovered Worbla, a thermoplastic with some amazing crafting capabilities! Comes in sheets, you can heat it and shape it and when it cools it hardens back up again. It also adheres to itself when in it’s heated state. There’s already some tutorials about the basics of using the material that are worth looking at, but since we’re working on a smaller scale for dolls we generally don’t have to worry about foam layers or doubling up so much.

    Wonderflex is similar, but not quite as easy to work with. It has a mesh backing so it doesn’t stretch well and it doesn’t adhere to itself as well as worbla does. But it does have it’s uses.

    What I’m going to write in this thread are some tips about things specific to working with worbla on dolls since dolls don’t have squishy flesh that can fit into rigid shapes.

    If you want to try this process my way, you’ll need:
    paper
    pencil
    paper masking tape
    worbla
    Wonderflex
    plastic wrap
    small scissors
    pourable plaster
    white elmer’s glue
    heat gun
    hot knife
    paint primer
    paints and/or spray paints
    spray lacquer or varnish
    felt
    paint brushes
    small cardboard box
    some packing materials

    My first fairly successful attempt (2nd attempt overall) a few more pics of it further down in the thread:

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    Here was my first semi-successful attempt which taught me a lot about what not to do:
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    lai13_zps11f92b69

    I learned from that first attempt that you can’t use a cotton stuffed duct tape dress form because it doesn’t hold the doll’s shape EXACTLY. Since worbla is solid, any bumps inside it will keep it from fitting on your doll properly so you need an exact shape of your doll’s body to for your pieces on. You don’t want to form thermoplastic directly on your doll since it involves heat and a bit of adhesive. It’s not super hot since you’re handling it with your hands, but still, I hesitate to form thermoplastic directly on resin just in case.

    The 2nd thing I had tried was filling the duct tape form with resin, but even though the taped form was tight, it still deformed when filled with the liquid resin

    3d try took a few steps and succeeded! So here’s what I did:

    Step 1:
    Wrap your doll in plastic wrap. Just a single layer because you don’t want to bulk things up. You’re actually sort of making a cast of the torso.

    Step 2:
    Use small pieces of paper masking tape to make as smooth a cover all over the torso as you can. You use small pieces so that there aren’t wrinkles, particularly around curves and small details and crevices.

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    Step 3:
    Veeery carefully cut the wrap up both sides of the torso and the tops of the shoulders so that it can be removed as a front and back piece. But DON’T remove it yet.

    Step 4:
    Measure and cut pieces of Wonderflex to form over the tape, doesn’t matter if you do the front or back first, but remember to maintain the seams at the sides. Use more masking tape on the edges of the Wonderflex at the sides to make sure that your front and back templates do not stick to each other. You want to make sure that you form it as close and tight as possible.

    Wonderflex is good for this step because it’s just strong enough to hold it’s shape while still fitting in the details.

    Step 5
    You should now be able to remove the front and back torso templates and have something like this:

    df2_zps01d6a79b

    If the tape and plastic wrap came apart from the Wonderflex, that’s ok, because it should still be in the same shape and be able to be pressed back into the Wonderflex “mold”.

    Step 6
    Smooth out the insides of your mold pieces a bit. If there are some pieces of plastic that are a bit too puffy or wrinkled and sticking out, you can use some light heat to shrivel and remove it. don’t use too much heat because you don’t want the mold to soften and deform. If needed, use more paper tape inside.

    Step 7
    Put the 2 sides of the mold together, tape the sides up on the outsides, no need to worry about the inside. Cover the neck hole and the arm holes, leaving the bottom open. To make sure that the mold halves stay together tight, you can either use rubber bands, or wrap more tape all the way around the mold at the shoulders, waist and at the hem.

    Step 8
    Set the mold upside down with the open bottom up in the air, inside a small box and set packing material around it to ensure that it will stay in place and not fall over.

    Step 9
    Mix the plaster. Since plaster can be pretty crumbly, I add elmer’s glue to the mix, about 1 part glue for 3 parts plaster should make it a bit more solid. Pour into the mold and wait for it to harden. The Elmer’s glue will likely make the plaster take longer to harden than the directions of the plaster will say. If it’s a plaster that hardens quickly, it is likely a heat curing plaster, so you want to make sure that you let it cool completely before demolding if you want to preserve your mold pieces in case you want to or might need them in the future.

    Step 10
    Remove the extra tape and demold. Now you should have a nice facsimile of your doll’s torso! Just use an exacto blade to trim the seams off the sides and the shoulders and you’re ready to form some perfectly fitting pieces on it! I used some putty to round out around the nipples a bit because I didn’t want the armor to have pointy nipples built into it -_-

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    Now for the fun stuff.

    Step 11
    create your base pattern pieces on paper to make sure that they will fit right on your form before you cut your worbla. The worbla has some elasticity, but it’s fairly thin, so you don’t want to stretch it TOO much. You can press some wrinkles down too, but that’s not always easy either if it’s bunched up too much, so cutting proper patterns is key to making good fitting pieces.

    Step 12
    tape your pattern to the worbla and cut the pieces.

    Step 13
    Use your heat gun, to heat one piece at a time and form them on the plaster torso. Careful not to heat it too much and burn yourself. Worbla sticks to itself VERY easily, so you have to be careful not to let it touch itself accidentally if you don’t want it to stick. You can use various tools to press any edges together. I have some sculpting tools with flat edges that I use to press things.

    Step 14
    Now that you have your base shape, you can cut the shapes for your 2nd layer details and press them on top of that. Both surfaces have to be heated to stick properly. I like to use a hot knife and hoover it over the place where the piece is being added, and then heat the piece and press it down. You CANNOT put the details on BEFORE the initial forming because the edges where the thicker details join the thinner layer become weak points and when you try to stretch, it will stretch at those weak points and tear. If it needs to be pressed, it will wrinkle and be difficult if not impossible to smooth back out again. A hot knife is really great for smoothing out things and working on small details.

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    Step 15
    Prime the pieces to make them smooth for painting. I like Rustoleum’s Painter’s Touch 2x coverage primer: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BWORRW/ref=oh_details_o00_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1. You will need several layers of this. Follow the directions and add as many layers as you feel you need. You can sand between priming sprays if you like.

    Unfortunately on the piece that I’m working on, I tried out a different Rustoleum primer that I thought was similar enough to the one I had been using, but apparently it’s not! Because it cracked like crazy! T_T I had to try to sand it out some which is crazy difficult in such crevices. I just hope it’s salvagable and the new primer will cover it well:

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    Step 16
    After this point, it really all depends on how you want to go about it. I like to use automobile spray paints because I want a finish kind of like Iron Man’s armor. I think it’s easiest to first spray the whole thing the color that your raised details will be. I would wait at least a day to make sure that it was completely dry and then use masking tape to cover those raised details so that you can paint or spray paint the recesses whatever color you choose. I feel that masking the raised details is easier than masking the recesses and I think that it comes off easier that way as well. But that could be subjective.

    Step 17
    Sealing, you could use various materials, laquer, laquer spray, matte finishes, whatever is compatible with the painting materials you used. Again, wait at least a day to try to make sure the finish is hard enough for you to handle it in the next step without finger prints getting pressed into it.

    Step 18
    Line the inside with felt. You can use various types of adhesives to stick the felt to the inside of your piece. I used hot glue on my first piece, but I was a litttle worried about any little deformations happening so I think I may try a spray adhesive with the piece I’m working on if I can get it to focus in the right area properly.

    And you’re done! Here’s a few bad pics of my piece:

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    —–
    Thanks again to Dirili for sharing this with us!

    Airbrush and Drybrush Painting Technique

    AllieCat Art and Cosplay shared this great tutorial on how to achieve the look of her painted armor for her Lieutenant Allison Jakes from Privateer Press: Warmachine which you can see the build gallery of here.
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    What I used:

    Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet air compressor
    Iwata Eclipse Gun
    Hot knife
    Drybrushes
    Rust-Oleum Black Primer Spray Paint
    Createx Airbrush Paints
    P3 Paints
    FolkArt Acrylic Paints
    LePage Wood glue
    scotch tape
    paper

    *I mixed the Createx and P3 together for the perfect shades of Cygnar Blue/Yellows

    1. Before painting your armor piece be sure to clean the surface of any remaining residues. For the damage/scratches use a hot knife to cut into the worbla at random and be careful not to cut too deep. PSA: If you’re not sure if it’s on *DO NOT TOUCH IT* A good way to test is flicking a bit of water on it to see if it sizzles =]

    2. To begin priming your piece smooth I used 4 layers of woodglue. *The advantages to wood gluing is that the drying time is much faster but you can’t sand it while Gesso takes longer to dry and requires more coats but can be sanded. It can also be used in combination but whatever your preference is will work fine!

    3. After the wood glue has dried smooth out any lumpy surfaces by wetting your fingers and buffing it out or sanded smooth if you used Gesso.

    4. First prime the whole piece black with the Rust-Oleum spray paint as a basecoat.

    5. Then switch to the airbrush to create the darker blue base coat and careful to not go too far to the edges to create the black-blue gradient.

    6. After thats done airbrush on a lighter shade of blue as the middle highlight.

    7. And then airbrush the white highlights.

    8. After the blue is done mask off the inner areas that you want to keep blue with the scotch tape and paper then airbrush the inside edges white.

    9. Airbrush black in the corners and create a white-black gradient on both edges.

    10. Remove the tape and make sure everything looks nice, don’t worry too much if some paint seeped through cause you can just take care of it in the dry brushing stages. =]

    11. At this point all the airbrushing is complete and you can switch over to your Acrylic paints and dry brushes.You can now paint all the detailing bolts and trim silver.

    12. Using black drybrush along all the edges and creat a drop shadow around each bolt/all the trim, cleaning up any white around the edges.

    13. I then painted the Cygnar crest black and added all the drop shadows around it then painted in the damage/scartches with more black and subtle while/light blue highlights along the edges of the scratches to help make them pop.

    14. I carefully painted the crest in with yellow and it took 8 coats to make it really pop.

    15. After the crest was done I outlined it again with black to make the edges super crisp and dry brushed in some brown for low lights.

    16. To finish it off I dry brushed on a few white highlights to the crest and voila! Painting complete heart emoticon

    Now the only thing you have to consider is if you want a gloss, semi-gloss or matte finish to your armor. I personally use Semi-Gloss but it also depends on what kind of armor/prop you’re painting. ^^

    **One thing I would advise though is to paint all your armor first to make sure it’s all matching before putting on the final finishes**

    This was my first time using this painting method and as well my first painting tutorial so I hope you enjoyed it!! Big thank you to Vancouver Cosplay for all the awesome progress pics and to NefeniCosplay for giving me ideas of how I wanted to paint my armor

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    Using TranspArt as a Protective Topcoat

    Elemental-8732
    I wanted to see how well Worbla’s TranspArt would work as a clear layer that would add shine and protect my paintjob, as well as allowing me to use cutout stencil shapes instead of having to paint geometric designs on props. I chose to make a small Captain America shield as a test.

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    First, I made the base out of some scraps of Wonderflex, pressed into am old lampshade. The finished product was pretty bumpy, so I coated it in woodglue before painting it. Then I added a silver ring made of plastic vinyl, and the star was cut from white wrapping paper.

    Edges folded around the back
    Edges folded around the back

    Once the paint and glue were dry, I cut a piece of Worbla’s TranspArt larger than my shield, heated it, and carefully stretched it overtop, folding the edges over.

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    The final product is a super shiny shield that’s indestructable – I can throw it into walls and down stairs and it doesn’t take a scratch, so I don’t have to worry about scratching or chipping my paint, and as a bonus it was much faster to cut out the silver ring and star than masking and painting them both by hand.