Ryuko Tatsuma Winged Headpiece and Eye Cover

We worked with Pearl Bunny Cosplays for this sponsored build – Ryuko’s iconic headpiece from My Hero Academia! Take a look at how she put this together with her tutorial below!


Materials needed: Headband and Wings
  • Worbla’s Black Art
  • 6mm EVA Foam
  • Heat Gun and Heat Gloves
  • Exacto Blade
  • Scissors
  • Contact Cement
  • Black Spray Paint
  • Rare Earth Magnets 1inch
  • Paper
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Mod Podge
  • Tape Measure and Ruler
  • Rope or Cord
  • Dremel
  • Pins

1. First you’re going to want to measure your head to help determine how big you want to make the wings. You want them to stick out on either side of your head, but not have them so large they go past your shoulders, or so small that they can’t be seen too well. I made mine 22 inches wide. Once you’ve figured out the right length for your head, trace and cut out a wing shape you like. I did this by drawing one side and cutting it out twice to make two sides. Be sure to keep the center band thick since that’s where all the support to hold the wings up is coming from. Trace where you’re going to put the ‘bone’ details of the wings on the front and back. If you had to make multiple sections, tape them together to make one pattern section to be cut out of the EVA foam.

2. Next you’re going to trace the pattern you just made on to 6mm EVA foam and cut it out. You can use either scissors or an exacto blade. If you’re using a blade , be sure to cut away from yourself and to make sure that it’s sharp. I use a knife sharpening tool to help with my blades. Sharp blades and scissors help with a smoother clean cut in the foam. Once the wings are cut out as one piece, draw those ‘bone’ lines on again.

3. Here you can see the wings cut with an exacto blade and what it will look like after. It is OK to have a bit of a rough edge since you’ll be taking a dremel to smooth out the edge. I like to do this since sometimes I can’t always get a clean cut the first time. This also allows me to make a more natural look to the wings with soft edges [image 6].

4. Now that you have all the edges, front and back, smoothed out, cut out a square of EVA foam that’s about an inch big. This is for the square, or knot on the back of Ryuko’s wings. After you’ve cut that out and smoothed out the sides like you did with the wings, use your contact cement and glue it down in the center back of the wings.

5. Now onto the ‘bones’ of the wings! I used a thin rope I found at my local craft store. I decided on this since it’s round already and easy to move and shape. Above I show how long I made each rope and pinned it in place along the line you’d drawn earlier. I used Mod Podge on the ends to stop them fraying. After you’ve cut out the rope and put them in place, you’re going to use the contact cement to glue everything down and use the pins still to help the rope keep its shape. Last photo shows the rope glued down for the ‘bones’. Be sure to do this on both sides of the wings, front and back.

6. Once everything is glued down and dried, we can go on to using the Worbla Black Art! This stuff is great. It heats up nicely, and has a little bit of stretch to it as well making it easy to form into small details. Using your original pattern, trace and cut it out on the Worbla Black Art. You’ll want to trace out a section just a little bit larger to help go over the side of the EVA foam, but not too much. For the Worbla, you can use scissors to cut out your pattern. You’ll want two sections cut out, one for the front and one for the back.

7. Now that we are ready to heat up and cover the EVA foam wings with the Worbla wings, you want to stay safe. Wear heat resistant gloves to help avoid any burns to yourself since you’ll be working with a heat gun. Once you’re ready to start heating up the Worbla, start in the middle and work out. I started on the back with the knot. Be sure to heat up small sections and not to let the Worbla get too hot since it could eventually burn and ruin the EVA foam under it. As the Worbla becomes soft you’ll be able to take a small tool like a popsicle stick or even the non sharp end of your exacto blade to press the Worbla into the corners of the knot and the bones. Take your time doing this, work in small sections.

8. Here you can see that I had a little too much go over the edge. With this you can either roll it over to the other side or you can cut it off. I personally ended up cutting it off. Don’t throw it away though! Worbla Black Art, like with Worbla’s Finest Art, can be heated up and formed into a ball like clay! This is great since you won’t be wasting any small scraps. Small scraps are also useful for fixing any sections you might have heated up too much or pulled on and made a rip. Just heat up the section and the scrap and gently press the scrap into place and smooth it out with your glove or a smooth sided tool.

9. The front of the wings is the section that’s going against the back of my head. I used magnets for this and put them under the Worbla to keep them in place on the final product. I ended up having to add different magnets since the ones I originally got weren’t strong enough. When buying magnets online, make sure to get ‘Rare Earth Magnets’ that are at least 1 inch in diameter. They are very strong and will hold through a few layers of material.

10. Here we can see the seam from the two sides of the wings. This can be fixed by heating up the Worbla Black Art again and carefully smoothing it out with your gloved hand, popsicle stick or any other smooth tool you have on hand. Again, work slow and work in sections. Don’t worry if you can’t get it fully smooth either. Since we’ll be covering the whole thing in Mod Podge shortly. Before you go on to the next step, this is a good time for you to look everything over and make sure that you got everything pressed into place. You’ll also want to trim off any extra and use your Dremel if needed.

11. Now that you have the wings laying flat you’ll want to curve them to fit on the back of your head. I did this by gently heating up the middle section, front and back and gently bending the wings together. Just as before, take your time and work in sections. Bend it a little, let it cool then put it up against the back of your head with your wing on since the back curve of your head is going to be different with your wig on.

12. Once you’ve gotten the curve how you want it you can coat the whole thing in Mod Podge. If you didn’t get some sections smoothed out how you wanted it this is a good time to fix it. The Mod Podge will fill in those cracks and make for a smoother final painted finish. Add as many layers as you think you need.

13. After the Mod Podge has dried you’re ready for paint! I used a black spray paint for the wings. Spray paint outside or in a well ventilated area and wear a mask if needed so you don’t breathe in any of the paint fumes.

14. While the paint dries you can make the head band. I used a white scale vinyl fabric from YaYa Han’s collection and painted it green with acrylic paints for the part that will be seen on my forehead. I sewed a black elastic band for the back that goes under my wig. Using 2 sets, a total of 4 magnets, I set them in place on the elastic to line up with the magnets on the wings. I stacked up on magnets since it makes them stronger and harder for them to slip and fall off during wear.

15. Now that the spray paint is dry, look the wings over and check if you need a second layer of paint. You can now add painted details. I decided on making a grey detailing on the top half of the wings since Ryuko’s wings are two toned.

Now on to the eye cover/claw!


Materials needed: Eye Cover

  • Worbla’s Black Art
  • 2mm EVA Foam
  • Heat Gun and Heat Gloves
  • Exacto Blade
  • Scissors
  • Contact Cement
  • Silver Spray Paint
  • Black Paint
  • Fabric Clips
  • Rare Earth Magnets 1inch
  • Paper
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Mod Podge
  • Tape Measure

1. First you’re going to want to measure your head and face to help determine how long and wide you want the eye cover to be. The first claw covers her eye completely, so keep that in mind.
For mine, I decided on making the largest claw about 11 inches long, about 10 inches for the second, 8 inches for the third then just under 8 inches for the fourth.
In the first image the measurements I used are shown for one half of each claw.
You’ll need to cut out two of each size, one for the top half and one for the bottom half.


2. For the sides of the claws you need to curve the triangles you just cut out to help get the right shape. The claws curve against your face, so this part is important to get the correct shape and fit. You can either use your heat gun to gently heat up the foam, or run it through your fingers a few times.
To help me find the curve I wanted, I held the triangle up to my face and my wig stand as a visual. The top triangles need to curve a little more than the bottom ones
Once you’ve gotten the curve you want, you’ll want to trace the curve on a sheet of paper two times for each top claw and two more times for each bottom claw. The top sections and the bottom sections of the claws will have slightly different curves, so be sure to mark them as you go.
Also as you cut out the curved sections, mark them as you go too and place them in a neat pile or next to the triangle they belong too so it’s easier to keep track. 

3. After you’ve cut everything out it’s time to line all the pieces up and get glueing! I used contact cement for this and left an edge on the top to give the claws a machined look. 
For the bottom sections of the claws you’ll need to go back in with your scissors or Exacto Blade to cut out a small section. This allows you to insert the bottom triangle under the top triangle.  This helps the two triangles lay flush against each other.
I used contact cement again and then I used fabric clips to hold the two triangles of the claws together as the glue set.

4. Now we get to use the Worbla Black art! It has two sides, so be sure to put the shiny side down against the foam since that’s the sticky side. I’ve found that both sides are sticky to some extent and both sides are smoother than the original Worbla formula which has a textured side and a smooth side.
Be sure to have your heat gloves ready for this part as well. You’ll want a section of Worbla that is slightly larger than the claw you’re working on. You want to be able to cover the sides and have enough to fold over the edge. Don’t worry if you cut too large of a section! It’s easy to cut and the pieces can be reused for patches, or even heated up and rolled into a ball then flattened into another ‘like new’ sheet! Nothing has to go to waste!
However, as you’re heating up the Worbla be careful not to heat it up too much, or you can burn it and melt it. Too much heat can also warp and damage the foam and glue of the piece you’re working to cover.
Once you’ve gotten a section of the Worbla warmed up and it is pliable, take the back of your Exacto blade, pen, or some other small tool to help press the Worbla into all those details you just cut out. Worbla also stretches a little so don’t be afraid to give it a little tug in a direction to get more coverage.

5. You did it! You have all 4 claws covered in Worbla Black Art, yay! Now we have to glue the claws together so that they are one solid prop. This is going to take a lot of finagling and a lot of those fabric clips to figure out the right positioning of the claws. I think I tried out about 10 different possible positions before I found one that looked and felt good on my face.
I also left the back of the claws hollow so that your eye can fit in the back of the larger one and this also saves on weight. Worbla is amazing, but it can be a little on the heavy side, especially for something going on your face.

6. After you’ve found the right positioning for the claws that works best for your face and have glued them in place, you’ll have to add rare earth magnets to the inside to keep the claws against your head band. I just made two little bridges and put the magnets on the inside. The other set of magnets are going on the inside of my head band (see above).
I tried other magnets, but they weren’t strong enough to hold up the claws and hold up to me moving my head around a lot.

7. Now you have a set of black claws. You need to cover them in mod podge or wood glue before painting. This helps the paint adhere to the prop and also allows you to smooth out any small bumps and texture you might have gotten on the Worbla.

8. When spray painting make sure you are outside or in a well ventilated place. I was out in my garage with the door open while spray painting. I was also wearing a mask to make sure that I wasn’t accidentally breathing in any of the fumes. I did two layers to make sure I got everything covered, front and back.

9. Details! More details! That’s what brings a prop to life, right? So once the spray paint was dry and ready to come in, I dry brushed black against the ridges. This helps to give the claws a bit of a weathered look but still keep its shine like metal.

10. You’re done! Put it all together and admire all that hard work you just did! Isn’t it amazing what some foam and plastic can make?

Deco Art Fox Ears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apply your decorations to your headband.

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

And voila!

Dragon Horns and Ears from Worbla – Video

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

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

Making Lightweight Ears from Kobracast Art – Video

We sent Worbla’s Kobracast Art to some intrepid cosplayers and they gave us back a series of different ways to use the material for lightweight headgear – specifically ears!

We’ll be adding more posts through the coming weeks, but first our first is Pokemon Ears by Thermo Cosplay!

Next is these poseable ears by Kimidori Cosplay, which use wire and Kobracast Art to hold their shape.

Una, The Skyhunter’s Headdress

We asked Air Bubbles to create a tutorial for us using Black Worbla, and she shared the process of making her headdress or Helmet for her Una costume, a character from Warmachine.

Black Worbla
3mm Craft Foam
Hot Glue
Super 77 Spray Glue
Wood Stick

Reference and Blueprinting

Thankfully there are many reference photos for Una, The Skyhunter since she is a minifigure and character from the tabletop game, Warmachine. I took the reference for her headdress and hood and created a vector pattern which I was able to resize and print to fit my head. (Inkscape is a free program and great for this use)

Making the Headdress
Overall the headdress is quite simple, but getting the correct shape and size and keeping it symmetrical is always a difficult task! Also, since this would be going on my head, it needed to be kept light. To start, I cut the pattern out of 3mm craft foam:

After that, I traced out the foam pattern onto the new black worbla and cut out a piece that is about a ½” wider on all sides. This leaves space to fold over the extra worbla under the design. This is known as the ‘fold over method’. I chose this method over sandwiching the foam with worbla to help keep the headdress light.

Once all the piece of foam were wrapped in their worbla counterpart, I tested strength at the seams to ensure this headdress was not going to fall apart. Despite the bond between the worbla pieces being strong, I wanted to give extra reinforcement and lined the interior of the top of the head seam with regular worbla:

After that, it was all about assembly and shaping the piece to fit my head. Since the headdress goes over a hood I would shape the headdress on my head while I was wearing a hood to ensure the shape would not be too small for the actual hood.

Depending on how the hood will be secured to my head, the headdress will most likely be velcroed onto the hood and strapped to ensure it will not fall off!

It’s all in the Details

Now that the base of the headdress is done we need to add the details. At first I thought of cutting out the details in the foam prior to pressing the worbla on top, however, that would jeopardize the stability and integrity of the headdress. In order to keep the headdress lightweight, a foam overlay would be the best method. Using the same pattern drawn out in a vector before hand, I cut out another set of foam pieces, but this time with the holes cut out:

After cutting the detail out of foam I took some Super 77 glue spray and glued them down directly to the worbla. It came out to look like this:

To finish off the headdress I needed some feathers. To make a feather I printed a vector pattern of a feather from Una and cut it out of felt. To get a nice stiff feather with some weight, I cut out the pattern twice and stuck a small stick in the center. I glued the two halves and the stick with some more Super 77 Spray Glue. To tint the tip black, I used some regular spray paint (safe for felt/foam) and sprayed the tip black:

After that, just rinse and repeat to make a few more feathers and you’re done! You’re ready to be an all powerful warlock and summon your feathered friends for aid in battle.

Photos by Eurobeat Kasumi Photography

Laser Cut Jester Hat

SmallRiniLady used Worbla Mesh, Finest and Black Art to create this adorable jester hat, with the details laser cut! She shared the process below.

I love Mini hats, so I’m making my own mini jester hat for my HarleyQuinn outfit
I wanted my hat to include her signature diamond pattern and some white bubble lace similar to her 90’s collar. I built up my design using Microsoft Expressions and imported it to a SVG file.



Because my hat doesn’t need to fit “perfect” I scaled to approx. 10 inches in width. I used an Epilog Helix laser cutter to cut my pieces. The cuts came out smooth, but with a little bit of burnt marks on the edge.

I found it hard to adhere the Worbla TranspArt with the other worbla types so I ended up switching out the 4th panel with another Worbla FinestArt piece.

My pieces are all cut and ready for assembly. Let’s start forming our flat Worbla into a hat.

To give my jester points a nice rounded shape I looked for a ball shape mold to use, that happened to be a foam head. To get matching pieces symmetrical I would form the adjacent pieces on the left/right hemisphere.

As I attach the edges together I reinforce the seam lines with thin strips of Worbla.

While working on this I realized my jester points would be too skinny with my current pieces so I cut out an additional third segment for some width.

Back to the foam head for some forming and giving it a lip to attach to the inside of the side pieces.

Time to add some color; acrylic paints, sparkle glitter, bead glitter, and glass glitter.

I want it to be obvious that the checkboard pattern is indeed cut through instead of just a fancy paint job, so I used a bright white on the inside. For the outside I painted a base coat of red and black and covered them using the different glitter types.

Time to build my lace.

After some experimentation I learned. Avoid heating thin pieces as it will sag, lose its shape, and break (you can see on the left two floral elements). Larger elements will be more stable so heat activing it and laying the fragile pieces on top with added pressure to ensure that the position is secured together. Once you know the two pieces are connected add additional heat to guarantee the bond is throughout both surfaces.

I painted lace trim base with white acrylic and used a dry paint method to add the black for dimension.

To attach the lace I heated up both the back of the lace and the bottom edge of the hat PLUS big strips of worbla reinforcements in the inside to secure the lace through the all those layers of *sparkles*
Last to add some soft elements, I’m using fluffy pompons to decorate the tips of my jester points.
My wig is actually three pieces. The main wig plus two pony tail clips. The hat sits securely over one of the pony tails.

For more of my projects check me out on Facebook!

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!


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.




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.


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.



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.



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.



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.




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

Princess Celestia’s Crown

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


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!
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)

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.
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.
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.
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:
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:

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.
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.
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.

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.

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″.
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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.
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.
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.
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.

Adding transpART to the crown helps really drive home the sun theme and gives a really cool textural contrast!
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)


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.

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.


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.


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.

**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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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.
Go be a fabulous horse!

Moondragon Horns and Spine by Sarcasm-Hime

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
  • hot-knife
  • utility knife
  • hot-glue gun
  • respirator mask
  • sandpaper
  • 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).