Amanda from Elemental Photo and Design created a Stranger Things Demogorgon head for the Worbla Booth at FanExpo Toronto 2019 – and shared the process as a full tutorial.
Want to make your own Demogorgon? Just follow the steps below!
How to build your own Demogorgon from Stranger Things using aluminum foil and Worbla
You will need:
- Worbla (preferably Finest Art) roughly 1 large sheet
- Worbla’s Deco Art 14oz
- Aluminum Foil 2-3 75ft rolls
- Masking Tape
- Craft Foam
- Sculpting Tools
- Heat Gun
- Paint Brushes
Step one: gather your references!
The actual demogorgon from Stranger Things is filmed in the dark and as a result it’s hard to see all the details – or sometimes any of the details. I used a combination of images from web searches – official images as well as some artist renders done by fans. If you’d like to see my references, I have them on a pinterest board here.
Step two: building the base.
Decide your scale and start balling up foil. I wanted something close to human size: I created a half head shape, then used balls of tinfoil to form the shoulders and then neck. I used masking tape to help anchor things, and applied more foil once I started assembling everything to build out the neck, the curve of the mouth, and fill in any general gaps.
Step Three: smooth it out!
Get yourself something palm sized, flat, hard and smooth. I used a coaster! Burnish the surface of your creation until smooth! I used some sculpting tools and a spoon to get into some of the nooks and crannies of the muscles I built up in foil.
To burnish: press the smooth end of your tool to the surface of your foil and with pressure move in circles, this will squish the foil peaks down and help flatten everything!
Remember: any area that isn’t smooth will show up when you layer your Worbla overtop!
Step Four: Worbla!
Once you’re happy with your final foil form, it’s time to apply your Worbla.
I used Worbla’s Finest Art, as it has great stretch for the curves and undercuts and I was going to prime much of the texture away.
I worked with pieces about 8×11 in size: heating them up and pressing them into foil, trimming and adding relief cuts where needed. Worbla is adhesive and sticks to the foil, so I worked from the head down, stretching over curves, overlapping slightly at the seams. I didn’t worry about getting things perfectly neat, since a demogorgon is a veiny, meaty mess! You can always patch areas you miss on your first go around!
Once the body was covered, I blended the seams using burnishing once again, this time with the back of a spoon. Just heat your seam or overlapped area with your heat gun, then wet your spoon and rub it in circles with moderate pressure over the seam. It will blend it! You might still see the join, but you won’t be able to feel it – and it won’t show up when you paint.
Step Five: the petals!
I cut these from 2mm EVA foam (craft foam) and covered them in Worbla using the sandwich method. Heating the bottom edges I applied them to the head, and used extra worbla scraps to reinforce the join.
I realized once they were all attached that I had made them too small, and I also didn’t like how flat they were: I took pieces of Worbla cut into rounded skinny triangles, heated them then wrapped them around the edges of the petals, shaping them to have more of a curve and depth as well as more ‘wiggle’ and folds to them. I did this to all the petals , and also heated and shaped the petals themselves some more.
Step Six: sculpting
Now that everything is covered in Worbla, it’s time to go after the details! I went in and emphasized all the muscle structure, added more detail to the chest, blended out the seams on the petal additions, added another layer to the mouth to make it extra gross by creating ridges and dents for the teeth, and generally added all the dimensional details I wanted before I would be painting it. The sculpting was done with wooden sculpting tools, which I kept wet – this keeps them from sticking to the Worbla!
Step Seven: priming
You could skip this step, but I wanted the texture of the Worbla to be smoother before painting, so I mixed my Flexbond 2:1 with some white acrylic paint. The paint lets me see where I have applied my primer, which is handy as Flexbond dries clear, and also acts as a base coat for later painting. This does mean the Flexbond will leave brush strokes if you’re not using a very soft brush (or add too much paint) so be aware of that. If you have any area that has too may brush strokes you can smooth them out with a wet finger later, or add a coat of pure Flexbond as a last coat.
I did 2-3 coats of this mix, paying special attention to getting the mouth and inner petals smooth.
Step Eight: paint!
There are a million ways you can paint something like this, so use my method as a guideline and feel free to experiment.
I laid down a dark reddish brown base coat over everything but the mouth, which was painted with a mix of magenta and scarlet. You’ll be applying paint in layers, so you can be a bit messy and also play with mixing colors – some areas I used a more reddish brown, others a more greenish brown. I added a deeper darker red to the centre of the mouth and the petals, blending it out into the brighter reds.
Once your base coat is fully dry and you can’t see your primer, you can add your ‘skin’. I mixed a greyish, purplish tan and dry brushed that over the whole of the design, picking up the raised areas (and avoiding all the shading I had already done). If you mess up you can always go back in with your darker brown later.
Once that was done and dry I added a bit more in the shadowed areas, and also dry brushed some green for an extra sickly cast to the whole thing.
Step Nine: TEETH!
Worbla’s Deco Art makes great teeth pretty quickly without a mold! Take your pellets and heat them in hot water until they turn translucent, then knead them together and then flatten it in the bowl to keep them warm.
I worked with a bowl of hot water and a bowl of cold water. In the hot water was the Deco Art, where I’d pull a small amount out and then shape it into a sharp tooth between my fingers, and then drop it into the ice water. The ice water is important as Deco Art will ‘sag’ if you let it cool in room temps and I wouldn’t have gotten the sharp point I wanted for my teeth. I made about 180 teeth at first and had to make more later, and also realized I needed to make a lot more teeny tiny ones, so plan for a long tooth making session!
The teeth harden in about 30 seconds in the cold water so I set them on paper towel to dry completely.
Step Ten: sealer!
I used a satin finish and a gloss finish clear coat on the Demogorgon to get the best result. The mouth and petals were given several heavy passes of gloss where I didn’t mind if it dripped or ran a bit, and the body and back of the petals were coated with 2 coats of satin finish, to help prevent the paint from chipping and scratching in transit. (no photos, I forgot!)
Step Eleven: TEETH pt 2!
I attached all the teeth with hot glue because it was easy and I needed it to be quick. The downside is they’re not the most secure and if the teeth get knocked with force they’ll pop off the gloss coat, but I don’t mind having to reattach the occasional tooth. You could use an epoxy adhesive instead if you had more time, or even a silicone could potentially work (please test first I am not sure about silicone and spraypaint).
Why did I attach the teeth last? Because having to paint inbetween the teeth would have been UTTERLY TERRIBLE and messy and I wanted this build done in a week, not half a year.
I found it was hard to keep hold of the teeth, so I put them in a bowl and coated them lightly with a bit of hair spray. This gave them just enough texture I could keep my grip for glue.
Congratulations! You have a creepy, decently durable, fairly lightweight (ours comes in at 5 lbs) demogorgon you can terrify your friends and family with.