Creating an Embossed Look for Surface Details

Creating a stamped, tooled or raised/relief look is something a lot of armor requires, especially if it’s supposed to look like leather but act like metal. The awesome folks at 519geeks have shared this tutorial for how they get an embossed effect for their Worbla pieces.


Creating an Embossed Look: Part 1


The things you will need are:

A Pen
Heat gun
EVA Foam
A Crafting Knife
Your pattern
 First step is to create the embossed design. A simple way to tackle it is to cut the design out of the whole sheet of EVA foam (as pictured). Make sure if there is a lot of detail there is enough space to push the worbla down into it so it doesn’t look like you just mashed it in. 
Next you need to trace your pattern for whatever you are making onto the EVA foam and cut that out 
Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.31.51 PM
Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.31.01 PM
  Alright got that done? Awesome.
Now do it again….ON THE WORBLA YAY!
So for cutting out the worbla you will need two of each piece. Our Armour had three pieces to it, two in the front and one in the back so we needed to cut out 6 pieces of worbla in total. What I did was traced around the patterns once then just eyeballed the second of each piece larger to make sure it would fit over the pattern with a bit to spare on each side. That way you can do lots of trimming.
Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.32.22 PM 
The next step is to cut it out.
Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.33.49 PM

Below you see me just eyeballing the second pieces for the front of the armour. Just making sure there is enough to cover and enough to trim off. 
Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.50.29 PM
Finally whip out the trusty old heat gun and start slowly heating up both sides of your worbla. Make sure to heat it up slowly on both sides until it is malleable and starts to get floppy. Then take the side that was shiny before heating it up and apply your foam to that side.
Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.34.31 PM
Trim all the extra foam from around all your edges. I flip the design over to make it easier to see where the foam is sticking out.
Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.34.46 PM

Now remember those second pieces you made? The ones that were just eyeballed and bigger and didn’t really have anything traced on them? Those ones. Now you get to heat that up slowly on both sides and place it on the other side of the EVA foam, Making a Worbla Sammich and trim that up leaving about an inch and a half on each side.Normally you would actually sandwich the pieces so the worbla would meet in the middle of the EVA foam on the side. However for the look I was going for I needed something that looked big and clunky. Also since I was doing embossing on some of the edges I needed to re-enforce those edges with an extra bit of worbla on the side so I folded the front piece over to make a lip.

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.35.31 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.35.50 PM
I did use a sculpting tool to help me flatten the edges.
Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.36.54 PM
After getting everything sandwiched and ready to go you have to heat up your worbla again. yes slowly on both sides, but it won’t be as floppy as before. do be careful tho the worbla can warp and you may not get it back to the shape you want it to.
Of course the best way to shape your worbla and make sure it’s not going to be uncomfortable for you model is to shape it on them. You can also shape it on a dress form if that model is you.
Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.37.16 PM
And there you have it. Now you’re ready to emboss your design.
To see the process come together, we have a video of the whole thing!

Part 2!

The things you will need:
Paint brushes 
(of varying sizes)
Heat gun
Sclupting Modeling tools
(I paid about 5$ at Michael’s for mine)
The first thing you need to do is pick a small area on either side of your armour and heat it up with the heat gun. (I usually work my way from one side to the other from top to bottom, that way you don’t miss any parts.)
Once the part is heated use your sculpting tools to gently push down into the sections you have cut away from your EVA foam. Don’t press too hard or you will find the worbla will tear and it will be hard to get it to look the way you want.
Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 9.50.41 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-10 at 9.50.56 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-10 at 9.51.22 PM
This is an optional step but I’m going to quickly show you hae to put edging on your armour if you so want it.
It’s super easy. Just cut out a bit of worbla the length you need and figure out what width you want it. Slowly heat up the strip of worbla you have cut on both sides then run the heat gun over the already embossed armour to make sure the worbla will adhere to itself and apply it along the edges. make sure to measure your corners and make sure they fit together before applying the edging.
Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 9.52.01 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-10 at 9.52.37 PM
You’re on the home stretch. It’s time to finish the worbla assuming you don’t want the rough pattern that worbla has. if you do you can just skip this….I wanted something rough but not quite as rough as worbla so I went with about 5 layers of Gesso.
Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 9.54.03 PM
Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 9.55.10 PM
After that take a very fine grit sand paper and sand it to the smoothness you want. There are several methods you can use when doing this part.
Some people use friendly plastic and roll it on a marble or concrete surface to get it smooth. Core geeks also came up with a pretty incredible way of making smooth worbla you can see linked here.
Check out the video at the bottom to see how I did it sped up.


Thanks again to Elicia and 519geeks for sharing their work with us!