Here is the shorthand of our main Instructions Page:
Worbla sheet products (except TranspArt) are used most commonly for Sculpting, Molding, Reinforcing, and Flat Shapes.
Sculpting: Worbla makes an excellent clay that never needs to be conditioned and never dries out. Simply heat your Worbla with a heat gun until it is soft, sticky and pliable. Blend pieces together to form a clay, then shape and sculpt as you would a stiff clay. Heat as needed. When cool the material will be hard and durable. Multiple types of Worbla can be mixed for different textures, detail level, or color. Sculpted details can be added to Worbla builds like props and armor.
Molding: Complex molds without a vacuform are easy with Worbla. Use a mold release, as Worbla’s adhesive can (and in some cases will) bond to your mold material. Heat a sheet slightly larger than your form and drape, press and stretch into shape. Trim excess as needed and blend seams. Use water to help displace heat transfer and smooth shape. If using heat gloves, wear latex or nitrile gloves overtop to prevent the fabric from getting wet and transferring heat.
Reinforcing / Covering: Materials such as pink insulation foam are excellent to create large lightweight shapes fast, but they are brittle and easy to damage, and resin takes time to coat (and is toxic). Wrapping forms made of foam, tinfoil, paper mache or cardboard, with Worbla is a common use for large props and headpieces like horned helmets. Simply heat a sheet evenly and stretch over your form, working in sections and blending seams.
Flat shapes: Probably the most common way Worbla is used, simple to complex armor and props are easy to build with this method. Craft foam or cardstock is sandwiched between Worbla (or the Worbla is folded over the edges) to act as a stabilizer to keep shapes smooth (breastplates, bracers,) or Worbla is single or double layered alone for areas such as breastplates and pauldrons. We have extensive writeups on The Folding Method and The Sandwich Method for more information.
Of course, you’ve probably noticed even in the images above that most builds utilize more than one technique. This is just a primer to get you started on the process of how Worbla’s sheet products work. Many of the above examples are Finest Art, but the techniques can be applied to all the standard Sheet Plastics (Finest, Black, Pearly, Flame Red) and all but sculpting can be applied to Mesh and Kobracast Art.
Worbla’s TranspArt is probably our most difficult products to use, and we always suggest working with test pieces before diving into a larger project to get a feel for the higher working temperature and minimal adhesive. Gloves are necessary to work with this product safely, and we suggest wearing latex or nitrile gloves over work gloves and keeping the outer layer wet to help with shaping and to prevent sticking.
TranspArt does not create a ‘putty’ the way that other Worbla plastics do, but can be heated and blended at high temperatures. We don’t suggest it for highly detailed sculpting, but for hard crystal structures it works very well. Simply heat scraps until very pliable and blend – you’ll need to reheat regularly to properly bond, as TranspArt is only self adhesive for a short temp range (about 5 degrees from 120°C or 250°F). A silicone sheet is highly suggested if you are working with TranspArt: a parchment paper sheet can work as a substitute but your TranspArt may still stick if overheated. When melded into a sculptable form, TranspArt clouds to a more quartz-like appearance.
TranspArt can be molded over and into most molds, and its excellent flexibility makes it easier to remove from complex shapes. It vacuforms very well, and home made deep draw systems are also easily achieved without damaging the plastic, but a mold release is always reccommended. We have videos of various vacuform methods for TranspArt here.
If not shaping over a form, simply heating TranspArt and shaping by hand can create amazing results. Ensure you have fully heated the TranspArt to ‘activate’ it (you should be able to stretch a piece if it is at the correct temperature). If TranspArt isn’t fully heated before shaping, you may find that it will try to ‘relax’ back into it’s original form. Create shapes while the TranspArt is hot, then allow to cool. TranspArt can be dyed with polyester dyes for water and flame effects, check here for more information.
TranspArt is not self adhesive in the way our other products are. TranspArt can stick to itself, and you can blend pieces together, but it must be very hot and the consistency at that point can be closer to hot glue than a solid plastic. As a result glue is often preferred for joining pieces for a more secure bond. TranspArt is solvent stable, so ‘super glues’ made with Cyanoacrylates work well for areas that will not see torque, and will maintain the clarity without fogging the Worbla. Contact cement, 2 part epoxy, and high temp hot glue are also used frequently with TranspArt depending on need. Always test your glue before beginning a large project!
Our pellet products can be tinted and dyed for amazing effects. Take a look at this page for more information. Below is a brief introduction of use: a full breakdown of our pellet instructions can be found here.
Place pellets in a silicone container or ceramic bowl that will not be used for food later. (Worbla is non toxic but not rated for food safety, so it’s better to be safe and not mix tools!) Do not overfill bowl: heat in smaller batches and add on rather than trying to heat a large batch at once. Using a heat gun, heat the pellets. Deco Art will begin to turn clear as it activates. Using wet hands or wet tools (water is absolutely necessary or it will stick) gather and blend the pellets together until you have one semi-fluid shape of plastic.
Crystal Art pellets don’t have a visual indication of activation. As they activate they will begin to stick to each other. Encourage this, making sure you have heated all of the pellets, then gather them into a ball and knead and blend until there are no individual pellets, using parchment paper or silicone sheets for working against a surface. Wear work gloves covered with nitrile or latex gloves and keep said gloves wet. Crystal Art will stick to anything that is dry and will burn unprotected skin. You will likely need to reheat while blending as Crystal Art has a short working time compared to our other products.
Deco Art can be shaped by hand or pushed into a mold. Deco Art stays fluid until cool, so it is best to shock shapes with cold water to prevent them from being pulled out of form by gravity. Deco Art will pick up details in molds, but can be difficult to achieve fine detail by hand and is best for general shapes.
Crystal Art can be shaped by hand but works best in molds for any form of detail. Crystal Art has a flexible, rubber-like texture that will bounce back as reheated when attempting fine detail by hand.
Molds should always be flexible silicone or similar, not plastic, as even with mold release our pellets can bond to plastics and be difficult or impossible to remove.
Deco Art will easily attach to itself or other Worbla products so long as both are heated. Crystal Art needs to be very hot to attach to itself or other products, so epoxy, contact cement, or high temp hot glue is often used to bond it to things.
Crystal Art Examples
Deco Art Examples