The fantastic Arlena Fae partnered with us for her Blood Moon Katarina build, using Worbla’s Black Art and insulation foam to create a pair of fantastic lightweight but durable horns! If you’re looking to make a similar design, check out her video below!
The incredibly talented NsomniaksDream is known for her amazing makeup and illustration work, but she’s also used Worbla to create fantastical accessories to complete her looks.
Her Dragon Makeup included horns and ears made from Worbla and she’s shared with us two video tutorials on the process so you can create your own below!
We asked Jessie Pridemore to create a tutorial for us using Black Worbla, and she shared this excellent breakdown on how she made her unique horns for Elizabeth Bathory below.
Elizabeth Bathory’s Horns
Elizabeth’s horns are very unique and different than normal horns because they are flat and have a lot of deep texture. These horns are deceptive in their difficulty and it took a few methods to get exactly the look I wanted. At the end of the tutorial, I’ll show my mistakes and ways you can avoid them.
Here’s what her horns look like
I started with styrofoam discs from Michaels since I felt they were the right size.
Using the bottom of a can of spraypaint, I imprint a ring into the styrofoam
Take a spoon and slowly start digging the insides away. This doesn’t have to be perfect since it’s going to get covered and it’s going to be really hard to see the insides.
I took some sandpaper to it to make it a little more even.
Using foamy sheets from Michaels, I make rings (that will go on the outside) and strips that will cover the outer ring
Using hot glue, I cover the inside of the ring with fabric.
**THIS IS THE ONLY TIME I WILL BE USING HOT GLUE** It is VERY important when working with thermoplastics that you do not use hot glue where heat will be applied. You’ll undo the glue and it will be a huge mess.
I will be using Zap a Gap for my glue. You can order it on amazon or get it at hobby shops. It’s a very fast drying super glue (you can get even faster versions too). It’s dries REALLY fast, so be careful if you use this. Always test glues on the styrofoam you are using since a lot of chemicals eat it.
Put glue on the ring and foam
I put them under some weighs for 45 seconds to make sure it’s on there nice and good, but since we are covering everything with Worbla, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Time to glue the foam on the outside!
Go into the crevices and glue them shut. Worbla picks up on minor details and you want to make sure it’s as smooth as possible.
At this point I will be cutting out the “ridges” for the groove effect in her horns.
**TIP** When gluing down your strips, keep in mind that when you put the Worbla over it, it will make the grooves smaller. So over compensate how you place them, putting them wider apart than you would.
Using the thicker foam sheets (also from Michaels), cut out strips and start gluing them around the edges.
The thicker sheets aren’t as large, so you’ll have to do it in segments, just place it smartly and use a gap as a “seam.”
Now take a knife and cut away the parts at the openings.
Take out some wax paper. This is important because the Worbla won’t stick to it. Heat up a strip of Worbla to where it gets soft.
**TIP** I use silicone finger guards to put the Worbla into the shape because it doesn’t stick to the plastic and I don’t have to worry about the heat.
I use my finger indent the groove so I can go in with a tiny tool and start pushing in the Worbla into the groove. This is a very slow process. You don’t want to rip the Worbla.
There’s no clear shots of the side of her horns and I wanted to do something more stylistic than I normally would. I cut slits into the plastic where each groove is and start folding down each section, folding it under and into the ring.
Now I can heat up the rest and start pushing in the remaining grooves. Remember when you are pushing Worbla out, always push it away and out. So choose a center point and always push Worbla away from the point.
Now that the ring is complete, I can start working on the horns. First and foremost, I need to figure out how long they are. When figuring out how big a part of a costume is, I use my head as a basis. My head is eight inches tall. Using PS, I see how many “heads” tall the part is so that I know how big it needs to be on me to be accurate. I have determined that the smallest horn is 12 inches and the tallest 14.5.
Using a bendable ruler, I can see how long the horn is to be 14.5 inches tall. In this case, it needs to be 17 inches long.
I make a paper pattern of what I want the horn to look like.
Each horn has one foam base and two sets of “strips” for ridges.
I glue the strips onto on side. This will be the inside. The side you have to do first because it’s flatter.
I cut out a piece of Worbla slightly bigger than the piece. Heat it up and push it onto the plastic. Remember to use your wax paper!
Just like with the ring, heat it up and push through the grooves taking your time. This time I’m using one of my leather working tools to drag it out. Push the edges down flat to the wax paper.
Once it cools, flip it over and glue the frame onto the other side. Cut out the grooves like you did with the ring.
Heat up the Worbla and slowly start pushing it on like you have done many times before.
Push the edges of both sides together and after it cools, cut off the excess.
Dremel the edges flat.
Heat up both sides thoroughly and slowly start shaping the horn. Let it cool.
**See end notes for a better tip on this than what I did**
Heat up the tab that goes inside the ring and push it in and fold it over. Place the horn in the position you want it to cool in.
The final horn. Though I want to play with the shape a little more. For more progress on this costume, or to see more of my work, please follow me on Instagram as @jessie.pridemore or on Facebook at Jessie Pridemore
I really only made one. I should have shaped the horn after the inside layer or Worbla was put down then put of outer later of Worbla on. It would have prevented this from happening.
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!
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)
fine Sandpaper or Sanding block
life sized sketch of the horns you want to make
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 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
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.
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.
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.
Thanks again to Melting Props,Cosplay & Projects for sharing this with us!
Sarcasm-hime‘s beautiful “Moondragon” costume won Best in Show recently at Costume-Con 31 in Denver. She has shared her tutorial with us detailing how she made the headdress and spine out of Worbla.
Hi, Sarcasm-hime here.
This is an illustrated description of how I made my headdress and spine; it was an experiment since I’d never worked with Worbla before, and I wasn’t disappointed!
I chose Worbla because I wanted to do a lot of cutouts, and its lack of an internal mesh (unlike Wonderflex) made it ideal.
Tools and materials used:
- hard insulation foam
- Wonderflex & Worbla
- heat gun
- utility knife
- hot-glue gun
- respirator mask
- mold release
- aluminum tape
- cellophane & organza
First I sketched out my horn shape and glued several layers of hard pink insulation foam together, then carved it to the right shape. You need a very sharp x-acto knife for this or the foam will shred. For finishing the surface, use sandpaper (outdoors, and wear a dust mask!).
Once I had the shape smooth and finished, I covered it in aluminum tape to protect it from the heat necessary to shape the Worbla. This step may not be necessary (I didn’t test it without the aluminum) but I didn’t want to take the chance. I tried aluminum foil at first, but it didn’t stay put.
Then I sprayed the form liberally with mold release, just in case the Worbla decided to stick.
Once the mold release had dried, I started covering the horn in Worbla. I knew I would be cutting a lot of holes and wanted them to be sturdy despite that, so I used two layers of Worbla. I used a paper pattern to get the general shape, and spliced in extra bits where necessary. Worbla can be stretched a bit when hot, so I was able to get a fairly smooth surface.
I completely covered the horn in one layer, then added the second layer. I did this to minimize any lumps where edges joined.
Here’s the horn covered in 2 layers of Worbla.
Once I had the surface finished, it was time to get the foam horn out. Since I was using the same mold for both horns (you don’t have to do this, I just chose to), I needed to get it out with a minimum of damage to the original sculpt. I used a regular utility knife to cut all along the bottom edge of the horn in order to free the foam inside. It took some yanking (because of the curve involved) but it did eventually come out intact.
I repeated the process for the second horn, and sealed up the cut using some hot-glue and patching from the back using scraps of Worbla. Now it was time for cutting the holes!
For this, I used a hot-knife. I had a hot-knife attachment on my woodburning tool, but you can also buy hot-knife tools or even hot-knife attachments on mini-irons.
I first drew the pattern out on the Worbla using a permanent marker. I wanted a sort of random, organic pattern so wasn’t too fussy about this part. The hot-knife made cutting through the 2 layers of Worbla fairly easy; it didn’t take as much brute strength as it otherwise would with an x-acto knife. The hot-knife slides through the Worbla fairly smoothly with a little pressure. However, because the hot-knife is actually burning some of the Worbla as it cuts, I strongly recommend doing this outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. I had to work indoors as it was too cold outside, so I bought a respirator mask designed for use with paint fumes.
Please note that I don’t mean just a dust mask, I mean a proper respirator mask of the type with filters on each side, designed to protect you against paint and other fumes.
The cutting process left the edges of my holes kind of rough, probably because I was working with 2 layers. So to smooth the edges once I’d finished cutting, I swapped out the point of my woodburning tool to a rounded point and used that to soften the edges, which I then smoothed with my fingers while they were still warm. I also tried using my mini-iron, and that also worked well for heating and smoothing the edges.
You want to do only spot-heating in this kind of situation, because the form is hollow and you don’t want to heat enough of it that the whole thing can deform. Here the smoothing process is half-finished:
Once my horns were cut out and smoothed, it was time to make the mask and attach them.
I had a mold of my forehead from a previous project (**for info on how to make one, see below), so I used that to shape the base mask out of Wonderflex. Either Worbla or Wonderflex would have worked fine, it didn’t really matter. I just needed something that would fit flush against my face.
Once I had the base mask, I positioned the horns, trimmed where necessary to make them sit correctly, and attached them to the base mask using Worbla scraps. I had to be a bit careful here to only heat the very bottom of the horns where they would be attaching, so as to keep the overall horn from deforming and slumping. I added some hot glue at the attachment points just for security.
At this point it didn’t really matter what the attachment part looked like, as it would be all covered with the main mask layer.
For the main mask, I made a paper pattern and transferred it to craft foam, making sure that the placement of the holes lined up with the eye-holes of the under-mask enough to allow me to see. Again, I wanted an asymmetric, organic pattern so drew out my holes and cut them out using a craft knife.
I then lay warm Worbla over the craft foam, cut a slice in the centre of each hole, and wrapped the Worbla over the foam to enclose the foam edges. Covering craft foam with Worbla is great for when you want a very smooth surface on your finished piece, such as for armour. I also used this technique to make my spine (see below).
I then used hot-glue to adhere a sheet of iridescent cellophane and iridescent organza to the back of the mask. This allowed for visibility but offered enough opacity to hide my eyes.
Here’s the outer mask, in the process of being attached to the horns and understructure:
And here’s the outer mask firmly attached. I’ve started embellishing by sculpting some details on the forehead and adding spikes on the side.
For the spikes, all those cut-out scraps of Worbla came in handy. One of the great things about Worbla is that the leftovers can be heated up, mashed together and reused. So my scraps got heated, mashed together, rolled out flat again and shaped by hand into the spiky protrusions on the side of the mask. I didn’t want them super smooth as I wanted an organic look, so I just shaped them with my fingers.
Once all the sculpting was done, it was time for paint. Here’s the base layer of black acrylic (over a layer of gesso, not shown):
I had to paint carefully by hand to avoid the cutouts on the face.
And here’s a layer of “Black Mica” paint which creates a cool texture, with added black glitter for extra sparkle:
I cut slits in the base Wonderflex mask directly under each horn to make flaps to which I could attach my LEDs. They shine upwards and illuminate the iridescent organza I stuffed up inside the horns.
Sturdy elastic is glued to the inside of the mask, and secures behind the neck with snaps.
The finished product:
For the spine, I made a cardboard template and cut out the pieces from craft foam. I cut out pieces of Worbla a bit bigger than the craft foam.
I then heated the Worbla using a heat gun and shaped it by hand over the foam, pressing the edges over the foam to cover it.
When making structural pieces like armour, people usually prefer to sandwich the foam between two layers of Worbla for stability. My spine wasn’t going to be under any stress, so I decided I didn’t need the extra layer and left the back of the foam uncovered.
Once the individual pieces were covered, I re-heated them and pinched them, shaping with fingers to get the right angle.
They were then painted and glued to a ribbon which attaches to my costume using Velcro.
And that’s it!
**Want to know how to make a cast of your head/face? Look up ‘life casting’, there are tons of tutorials.
You basically need alginate (a seaweed-based casting material used by dentists to take molds of your teeth) which will exactly replicate your features and is totally skin-safe, and then plaster bandages to put on top of the alginate as a rigid shell so the mold will keep its shape.
Once your alginate and plaster bandages have set, you remove the negative mold and immediately fill it with plaster of Paris or Ultracal. You must do it right away because the alginate doesn’t keep, it will dry out and shrink.
You then have an exact replica of your face/head, which you can then use to sculpt custom prosthetics and all sorts of stuff :D
PLEASE NOTE this process is not something you can do yourself; you need a friend to apply the materials to your face, and you must be careful to leave breathing holes if you’re covering the nose/mouth. Your friend must also be ready to remove the casting materials if you start to freak out (some people do).