Carmine Warren of Shoot the Look creates amazing pieces using Worbla for his photography looks. He recently shared this tutorial on how he makes his fantastic symmetrical pieces using household materials and Worbla.
Large Molded Details with Worbla
Worbla has allowed me to create costumes for my photoshoots that I could never have imagined possible; I’ve experimented with several methods from the sandwich methods to wrapping Worbla over the edge of the foam. These methods produced remarkable costumes for my creative workshops.
I needed to find a new way to get more complex curves and textures, I tried hand shaping Worbla and this produced fair results, left and right sides weren’t really matching up well. Back to the drawing table and then I tried a mold. Making an impression of some jewelry and odds and ends around the house, I created my first mold.
In this tutorial, I will share how I create these pieces with my molds.
2mm craft foam
Female Dress Form
I started by making a silicone mold, I used cornstarch and 100% silicone. YouTube has plenty of videos on how to create the mold if you check for DIY silicone molds. I dump a box of cornstarch in a bowl and squeeze in a whole tube of silicone and mix it until firm. Use gloves and do this outside. It will smell like vinegar. (I leave the mold in my garage for a few days to get the smell out.)
Once you have a silicone base for the mold, you have to move fast. The Silicone will set in about 10-15 minutes. Get objects from around your house and workshop and then press them into the mold (Worbla.com note: if you want to find pieces like what Carmine uses, try searching for Ekena Millwork to get you started). Adding different shapes to the mold is exciting, once I have molded pieces of Worbla I am able to create designs and then connect different pieces from different molds and heating them together. Every design is a new work of art!
Using an X-Acto knife, I cut additional designs into the Worbla and adding a new dimension to my work and allowing me to have a unique design. You can also use a stencil to cut shapes into the mold.
I cut Worbla into small strips and then heat it. Once the Worbla is at the correct temperature, I roll it into a snake. Pressing the Worbla into the mold and letting it set for a bit, then removing it while it is still warm, this allows me to shape the piece and you have to be careful not to lose the shape of the design. Wooden clay molding tools can help reshape if needed. After a lot a trial and error, I was able to find a process for making the molds I like, using shapes from objects and adding additional cuts.
Once the mold is completely filled, heat it a little and when it’s started to cool down, gently remove the Worbla, remove from the largest end first and then place on a flat surface. You can also place them on a form and shape the pieces or heat them from the back slightly and shape then later.
Once you have all your pieces, assemble them. Heat a few contact points and stick them together and then you can reinforce them in the back with little balls of Worbla pressed into the cracks.
Once the piece is connected, turn it over and warm it from the back. Caution, this is a delicate process. If you over heat it, you will lose the shape. Use small burst of heat and slowly bring the temperature up just enough to shape it. You can mold it on a form for ease and then slightly heat it up to shape it to the body. I add D-Rings to the back and you can add lace, fabric, Velcro or ribbon to secure in the back.
I like the texture rough and don’t add any layer of gesso. I paint the base with spray paint and then use acrylics.