Getting Started – Simple Tutorial Collection

If you’ve recently purchased or been given Worbla and are looking for a project to start with, we’ve curated a list of our simpler tutorials and projects you can use as a launching point for your adventures with the Worbla’s Art product line!

First, we suggest you make yourself familiar with the folding and sandwich methods of Worbla, as they are the foundation of many of the following builds. Don’t forget we have a full list of more than 200 tutorials here!

Building with Worbla

Painting and Priming Worbla


Worbla can be painted with almost any method and material, but here are some tutorials to get you started!

Saragosa Dragon Crown with Worbla and L200 foam

Tutorial by Jenna Elise Cosplay

Materials needed:

– L200 Foam
– Worbla (Black and Crystal Art)
– Drawing paper
– Insulation Foam
– Pins
– Sandpaper
– Utility knife
– Duct Tape
– Sharpie
– Scissors
– Wood Burning Tool
– Plasti Dip
– Wax Paper
– Fairy Lights (or whatever LED’s you choose)
– Heat Gun
– Acrylic Paints
– Silicone Gem Molds
– Clay Molding Tools (Optional)
– Paint Brushes
– Hot Glue
– Contact Cement

 

  1. First step is to sketch out the shape you want on to paper. I’m using painters paper here.
  2. Next, I cut out the shape and pinned it to two layers of pink insulation foam that I glued together.

  3. With a utility knife (snap blade) I cut out and shaped the foam. Once it’s roughly cut, I sanded it down for a smoother shape.

  4. Now to create the horn pattern! I covered the foam in duct tape and used a sharpie to draw the pattern.

  5. And don’t forget to draw registration marks which will help with assembling the horns later on.

  6. With a blade, I cut the tape and flattened out the pattern onto 1/4 inch L200 foam. Make sure to mark registration lines as well.

  7. Cut out foam with a sharpened blade

  8. With contact cement, glue foam pattern back together, using the registration marks as a guide to make sure the pieces line up correctly.

  9. Repeat steps to create the second horn!

  10. Next, I attached the horns to a simple headband with contact cement and used a wood burning tool to burn in the details.

  11. I cut 4 horn-like shaped pieces out of insulation foam and sanded them smooth. I then covered them in black worbla, attached them to the headband and used the wood burning tool again to create texture.
     
  12. I then sketched the ears/fins. I cut this out and traced it onto L200 twice.

  13. I cut out those pieces along with 2 separate pieces that will be the detail on the top of the ear.

  14. I used contact cement to glue the ridge on top and then used a dremel to smooth out the edges and create the shape I wanted.

  15. Just like the ears/fins, I repeated the same process for this shape that will be glued to the front of the crown. I also marked where the gems and lights will eventually go.

  16. I again used contact cement to attach all pieces to the headband.

  17. Next is sealing! I covered the entire piece in 3 thick layers of Plasti Dip, making sure each layer was dry before spraying the next.

  18. Now we’re onto lights! I bought fairy lights online, these work out perfectly for this kind of project. I punched a hole through the center of the headband and strung the wire through. I also re-punched holes where I previously marked on the front of the crown. I made sure to push an individual bulb through each one of the holes. The rest of the lights were glued down to the headband with hot glue.
     
  19. Gems! Crystals! I wanted to make super organic looking crystals for the crown and I used Worbla Crystal Art to do this!
  1. Since I wanted rougher and more organic looking crystals, I tested out a few methods and this was the easiest way by far! I laid out the Crystal Art on wax paper, folded it over and used a heat gun to heat up and melt the worbla pieces together. This helps keep all the little worbla pellets in one spot so they aren’t blowing all over the place. I used clay sculpting tools to mush the worbla together until I had a lump in a size I wanted. Next I let the worbla cool for a minute and used scissors to cut down the sides.  The result is a crystal shape with as many sides and angles you want. I repeated this 25-30 times, creating crystals that were different shapes and sizes.
      
     
  2. This is the final result of what the crystal will look like with a light source!
  3. I used a silicone mold that I bought to make the smaller gems for the front of the crown. I heated up a small amount of Crystal Art, placed it into the mold while still hot and used wax paper to press the worbla into the mold. Let cool in the mold.

  4. Once the worbla is cooled, you can take it out. Now all that’s left for this is to color the gem. I used a pink marker and colored the back of the gem. You can use markers, watered down paint or nail polish to do this with whatever color you need. The last step is to glue these gems and all the crystals we made to the crown.
     
  5. This was the final result after attaching everything to the crown with hot glue. AND LIGHTS. The only other small detail I added was a thin trim around each gem on the front. I just took small pieces of black worbla, heated it up, rolled it into a thin shape and wrapped it around each gem.

  6. The last thing to do is paint! Sticking with Saragosa’s color palette, this is my final result for the headpiece. I used simple acrylic paint to do this. Laid down base colors and weathering to achieve the desired look.

Worbla’s Pearly Art Scales Dragon Bracer Tutorial

Tutorial by Bamzy Cosplay

Worbla’s Pearly Art Scales

The next member of the Worbla family is Worbla’s Pearly Art Scales! These scales apply and act in the same way the Pearly Art Worbla does when applied with heat and used on foam or with other Worbla products. They become soft and malleable, can attach themselves to other Worbla without any adhesives.

Scale Specs

  • Heat activation temperatures 80-90 °C / 175-195 °F
  • Size per scale:  3cm x 1.6cm (1.18inch x 0.62 inch)
  • 5oz/140G package contains 275 individual scales
  • 5oz/140G package coverage estimation: 100 In2 / 645cm2

The Build

Purple Dragon Bracer

With the opportunity to get to try out this new product, I quickly drew up a basic Bracer design to incorporate the scales and practicality of the material in a costume piece.
Inspired by Spyro the Dragon, a simple, purple scale bracer with gold detailing, a few resin gems and some foam clay scales to bring it all together.

The Materials

  1. Worbla’s Pearly Art Scales. 5oz/140g Pack
  2. Double Sided Smooth EVA Foam
  3. Contact Cement
  4. Worbla’s Black Art Detailing
  5. Easy Cast Resin
  6. Lumin’s Workshop Ultra Light Weight Foam Clay

Drafting the Pattern

Seran Wrap Pattern Method

I started the build by wrapping my arm in seran wrap, then covered by masking tape to get a perfect copy of my forearm. You can then draw on the shape of your bracer and then cut your arm out safely to have a perfect base bracer to your body.

 

Pattern Transfer

Next, I take the rough seran wrap base pattern and transfer it onto paper so I can make any adjustments and Apply the details to the paper pattern without ruining the base pattern
Doing this step prevents you from having to cut the original or do any alterations that don’t work out and force you to start the seran wrap process all over again.     

 

Applying the pattern to your materials

Now that you have your base pattern, apply it  to your EVA foam and cut it out. I found that pinning down the pattern into the foam with sewing pins helps anchor it from moving/shifting  around while tracing it out.

Next, I started to line up the individual scales so I had an idea how many it would take to cover the bracer up to the point I wanted them to be. For me, I used 140 scales to get to the point shown below.

 

Applying the scales

This is where it started to get tricky. I first had all the scales lined up perfectly as pictures above and hit them with heat so they would stick and stay where I had placed them. That worked out great flat. Once I tried to reheat the foam and the scales as one and tried to reshape it to go around my arm, The scales then split apart from the points I had them laid out in. 

It’s easier to apply them when the foam is in the desired shape!
I had to start over. Peeled off every scale, reshaped by base bracer and had it being held up with a bottle to make it easier to apply when it was in this new rounded shape.
Heating the scales on my table and applying them back onto the foam one at a time until I returned to my desired height of scales.
You learn from your mistakes.

 

Test Fit
Now that the scales have cooled, the bracer holds the desired shape without the need for any straps or fasteners
Test fit to be sure everything is sitting the way you wanted.  

Foam Details
Now that the base of the bracer is complete, I began to add the EVA foam to build up the raised edge and Foam Clay to make the spikes. I sketched out where I wanted the gems to be positioned and glued everything together with Contact Cement.

 

Final steps to completion
Installing my resin casted gems, with a Worbla trim around them all was left to do before I primed the entire bracer. I used 2 layers of Mod Podge because I wanted the slight texture of the Worbla to remain and look more organic scale like.Finally, I sprayed the entire bracer black and gold, applied the purple to the scales with a dry brush technique. Dabbled some watered down black paint in the crevices for the  shadows with acrylic paint.

I did paint the spikes separate and glued them on at the end. A yellow acrylic for the base colour and brown shadows to finish off the look. An optional step is to seal the paint with a spray varnish. Pick what works best for your project, glossy or matte and your bracer is complete!

Princess Zelda Armor – Pauldrons

Worbla.com is working with Element Creations for her Princess Zelda build, and she shared her first tutorial with us on creating Zelda’s iconic shoulder pauldrons out of Worbla’s Black and Red Art.

The first piece I decided to make for Zelda from Hyrule Warriors is the shoulder armor set. It took around half a Large sheet of worbla, some craft foam, and red worbla for the pauldron detailing.

I started with making the pauldrons. Those have a pretty basic shape, but they do represent a challenge when it comes to adding details and merge them all together to get a seamless look.
The way I did it is rather simple. I used craft foam as a base, then cut the desired shape. You can do that with your own pauldron for any other costumes. It’s always the same patterns, but with a little bit of tweaking.

I did used the sandwich method on these pieces because I want the to be extra solid and I also added some extra support. The pauldron comes in two craft foam pieces in order to get the curved look at the shoulder seam. I merge those two sandwiched pieces together and there was my Pauldron base!

Then the fun but most tedious part! The detailing was very fun and I had the chance to play with red worbla. I did use a tri bead roller to make the square cut on the details, then I placed them together on the pauldron trying to be the most accurate possible.

Zelda’s shoulder armor also have a sculpted detail right on the inside edge. I used red worbla, heated a bunch of it, then sculpted by hand the shape. This took a very long time to get it smooth and perfect and also, to make it look seamless.

The process for Zelda’s shoulder armor is pretty easy, but it takes a lot of time. It’s just a matter of having the desired shape and adding your sculpted details on top.

For the centre chest piece, I used the same process. I drafted it in craft foam, I sandwiched it, then added the details. I did use black worbla on this one. I wanted to test the versatility of the two and how both of them looks primed and painted.

The painting process was quite easy. I primed the whole armor with Mod Podge (one of my fav primers for black and red worbla), then I painted it all black, and used my favorite gold acrylic paint. To achieve the gradient/used look on the armor, I used a fluffy brush, and I slowly dabbled into the armor to gradually add paint and make a gradient effect. Without touching the inner corners, adding the gold gradually makes it looks like the armor is old and used. It’s a really fun process!

I added the gems at the end with some sewing thread.

Adding white highlights is optional for these pieces or any golden armor pieces. I did add them myself because I think it gives a cool look. And since Zelda is cartooned in Hyrule Warriors, I wanted it to pop out.

Easy Mold & Cast with Worbla’s Pearly Art – Video

If you’re creating a piece with a lot of details that are mirrored, it can be frustrating to make sure everything is even on both sides. Gladzy Kei needed a lot of matching designs for her armored Esmerelda design – so she’s shared her process of creating designs from pearly art, then using a simple 2-part mold putty to create molds to make duplicates. Check out the finished piece and her video process below!

Gunner Gretel bow from sinOalice

DiGi Rin Cosplay used Pearly Art and TranspArt to help her bring this amazing bow to life for her sinOalice Gretel costume. She shared the process with us, and you can see the steps she took to create this oversized piece to complement her costume!

This is how I created my Gunner Gretel bow from sinOalice. I started off by patterning this all on a sheet of paper in 2D before I began to plan the rest of it.

Materials:

  • ½ inch Insulation foam
  • Worbla’s Pearly Art
  • Worbla’s TranspArt
  • Foam Clay
  • Paper Clay
  • Model Magic Clay
  • Heat gun
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Floral wire
  • Hot Glue
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Duct Tape
  • In this tutorial I will be highlighting in detail how I made the dragon head, base of the bow and the materials I used for each part of the bow.

    The Dragon Head

    The base of the whole head was made from Worbla’s Pearly Art sandwiched between craft foam (worbla – craft foam – worbla).
    This was the craft foam base of the dragon head. After covered with worbla on either side, the highlighted part was then heated with a heat gun and then attached together.

    I then molded the shape of the the dragon head with foam clay (grey areas) and model magic clay (brown areas). In the picture below you can see this and the area in which the worbla was connected.

    The clay was held on by no glue. The foam clay held on very well but some of the model magic clay needed extra glue to stay on.

    I added more details with Worbla’s Pearly Art.

    I used the worbla – craft foam – worbla sandwich method. This part required me to attach the worbla to the foam clay. The worbla did not bond when heated up with the heat gun to the clay, so I used Gorilla Glue and hot glue to keep it place while the Gorilla Glue dried.

    Gorilla Glue takes a while to cure so I usually use little bits of hot glue to keep it in place.

    Additional details were added on with Paper clay (beige detailed area). Paper clay sometimes needs water to mold, I had a glass of water close by to damp my hands whenever molding these details.

    The Base of the Bow


    The base was ½” Insulation foam cut out with a box cutter. The base made to attach to the bottom of the dragon head.


    Floral Wire was attached to the insulator foam by poking holes through the foam, and taping the other side of the foam with duct tape to hold it down.
    A box cutter was used to carve holes on the top and bottom of the base shapes. A wooden dowel was then glued to the top and bottom insulation foam pieces using hot glue and gorilla glue.
    The head was then glued to a ½ inch Insulation Foam base. This was using Gorilla Glue and Hot Glue to keep it in place until the gorilla glue dried.


    The insulation foam was attached to the base to create the bow shapes.
    The top, bottom and middle of the bow have two layers of ½” insulation foam attached together by hot glue.
    The foam was attached to the base using hot glue and gorilla glue. Any gaps between the pieces were filled in with paper clay.

    Worbla’s TranspArt was heated up with a heat gun and wrapped around the floral wire to make a flame type of effect.
    The TranspArt was required to be glued into place with hot glue to the floral wire and the base of the the bow, to stay in place.

    What material was used for every part of the bow:

    See a gallery of DiGi Rin Cosplay’s complete costume here, photographed by Con Mom Photography.

    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.


    Dyeing Worbla’s Pearly Art, TranspArt, Crystal Art and Deco Art with Rit Dyes

    Worbla was at USITT a few months ago and spoke with RIT about their Polyester DyeMore line and their new Proline series. We’d discussed how these dyes might work on Worbla products – and Rit set us up with dye to test ourselves.

    This ended up being a pretty in-depth test over a few weeks, so below is a LOT of information. If you’d like the TLDR: Rit Dyes Are Pretty Awesome and we’re very happy with the results.

    For more detailed information, continue below!

    To start with – dyeing Worbla?
    Dyes traditionally came in two types – dyes for plant fibers and dyes for protein fibers. Neither of these tend to work on plastics, giving at best a vague tint if they left any color at all.

    Polyester dyes for home use are rather new, and are designed to dye plastics. While originally made for fabrics, folks have turned to using them to color plastic like Lego, acrylic sheeting, wig fiber and of course, Worbla!

    We’ve used other polyester dyes in the past, specifically iDyePoly by Jacquard, so we wanted to run the Rit dyes through the tests and see how they held up.

    Rit Dyes are also non-toxic and safe for septic and sewer systems – which makes for easy disposal when you are done.

    The Rit Dyes


    Rit’s DyeMore is a bottled, liquid dye. It is formulated for synthetics and easily dissolves in water and comes in a wide range of shades.


    Rit’s ProLine is a powdered dye that “contains an advanced mix of direct, acid and disperse dyes enabling you to dye a wide range of fabrics and materials at scale”. These are large re-sealable packages in 1 and 5lb amounts that come with a scoop for measuring and can dye synthetic and natural fibers.

    Both these dyes require heat, so you need to make sure that anything you are dyeing is heat safe, and that you use the right safety gear to avoid injury (or staining).

    Important Notes:

    These are both general safety tips and things we have learned in the process of these tests.

  • Always follow the instructions on the package.
  • Always use the correct safety equipment when dyeing.
  • Always do a small test first to see how your dye will react.
  • Do not dye in or use tools you then use for food.
  • Always have enough room in your container to be able to stir the material for an even color.
  • Work one piece at a time for sheet Worbla, or make sure that the pieces will not touch in the dyebath or they may stick.
  • Stir or agitate gently or Pearly may deform and stick to itself.
  • If Pearly or TranspArt touch the bottom of your pot, they may get darker ‘spots’.
  • It is really hard to remember the e in dyeing every time you type it in a doc this long.
  •  

    Fun Fact:


    Rit has a color guide for their DyeMore line, giving you formulas to create a very wide range of colors. You can also contact them to ask for advice on creating a specific color for your purposes!

    Dyeing TranspArt

    TranspArt is the most commonly dyed of our plastics – dyeing TranspArt to create flames, ice, and water effects has been part of using TranspArt since its inception.

    Rit Dyemore:
    We dyed the TranspArt in a large stainless steel pot on the stove, over medium heat. We used roughly 10 cups of water and 1/4 cup of dye, because we needed enough water in the dyeing vessel to keep the plastic from touching the bottom of the pot while being stirred.


    (Apologies that this is a cellphone pic, the cat has hidden the samples before I got to photograph them with my real camera)

    DyeMore worked very well, giving an even result so long as the TranspArt was agitated/stirred. If left in the pot without movement, the dye could become uneven or splotchy.
    We also noticed that having the heat be consistent helped the TranspArt absorb the dye. When placed in hot water that was removed from heat, the color was less intense.

    Rit Proline
    We dyed the TranspArt in a the same pot with roughly the same amount of water. We started with 1 scoop of dye, but found that the scarlet color was not quite rich enough and added a second scoop to see if that would improve the intensity. All of these pieces were stirred to prevent the color from becoming uneven.

    For the TranspArt the red became a much more orange tone, and also seemed to hit ‘max’ intensity at the 5 minute mark.

    Because we weren’t sure if the color intensity was more a matter of the Scarlet color itself, we did the same test with ProLine purple.

    There is a much clearer difference between the timed samples here. You can see the 5 minute sample is more uneven – that piece was not stirred as often. The darker your desired color, the more apparent this will be, so make sure you have time to stir!

    General notes:
    We expected these dyes to have a strong chemical smell, as the iDyePoly line does, but Rit surprised us: the DyeMore liquid line has no perceptible scent, so much so that we forgot to check for a scent until someone asked. The ProLine smells out of the bag, but once dissolved in water it is a very mild scent that did not linger. For this reason alone we’d use the Rit dyes instead of the Jacquard line going forward.

    In addition, the Rit dyes left very little residue. There was no residue left whatsoever on the TranspArt with the DyeMore liquid dye, and the residue from the ProLine was minimal.

    Dying Crystal Art or Deco Art

    Worbla’s pellet plastics are used for a variety of hand formed and molded shapes. Being able to add color in advance allows you to create pieces that don’t need paint, and surfaces that can’t have the color chipped or worn away, as well as keeping the transparency of Crystal Art. While you are most likely to dye TranspArt or Crystal Art with these dyes, they are handy for Deco Art as well.

    Rit Dyemore process
    We dyed small batches of plastic and so used 1/8th a cup of water and a few drops of dye in a small ramekin. The Deco Art or Crystal Art was added, stirred, and then microwaved for 30 seconds, then for short bursts of 5-10 seconds each until the water had boiled (your microwave times may vary). This allowed a quick way to heat the pellets and have them absorb the dye.

    Please Note:
    Only use the microwave method if you a) own your microwave b) will watch the entire process.
    Do not microwave plastic unattended. Do not microwave without enough water to cover the plastic. Do not use a dish you will eat out of later.

    If microwaving isn’t an option (we did it because it allowed us to run 2 tests at once, since the stove was occupied with a giant steel pot)
    For Deco Art: heat water in the microwave or a kettle, pour into a container you WILL NOT use for food. Add dye, then pellets. Stir occasionally until pellets have absorbed dye.
    For Crystal Art: use a pot for dying, heat water first then add dye. Place pellets in a metal strainer to keep them together and allow them to soak in the water.

    Deco Art and Dyemore:

    The pellets were activated from the hot water enough that we could remove them, let them dry for a moment and then press them into a mold right away without reheating. One thing we noted was that this gave us a somewhat mottled effect. Our second attempt we kneaded the pellets together first into one fluid bit of plastic, and then pressed it into our mold, which created less of a mottled effect – but it was still noticeable.
    Our last attempt, we blended the dyed pellets together and pressed it into a flat shape, then put that back into the warm dye bath for another 2 minutes. When removed we pressed that into our mold – which gave us a very even color.

    In short: if you want an even color, you will want to plan to blend your pellets to unify everything, then redye the piece for a minute or two before shaping.

    Crystal Art and Dyemore:

    Depending on your microwave power, your pellets might be hot enough to shape or you may need to remove them and hit them with a heat gun for a bit before shaping. With Crystal Art it is important to blend the pellets together (check out our page on Crystal Art for more info here) in order to get a smooth translucent effect. You can see we didn’t quite knead the pellets perfectly on the second piece to the right.

    Crystal Art takes the dye exceptionally well – so much so that you will want to work with very little dye to keep a more translucent effect. You can see on our left example just how deep the color can be with only a small amount of dye. The Crystal Art also absorbs the dye from the water more noticeably, meaning when we dyed the second piece in the same container/water it came out lighter, as there was less dye to absorb.

    Rit ProLine Process
    We mixed the ProLine with some warm water to fully dissolve, using 1/8th a cup of water and a tiny 1/8th of a teaspoon of the powdered dye in a ramekin. We then added the pellets. We used a microwave as we did for the DyeMore above.

    Deco Art and ProLine:

    The pellets were activated from the hot water enough that we could remove them, let them dry for a moment and then press them into a mold right away without reheating. Learning from the DyeMore experiment, we kneaded these pellets together, pressed them flat and put them back in the dyebath for another 30 seconds, then kneaded again before pressing into our mold.

    Crystal Art and ProLine:

    Our microwave wasn’t strong enough to activate the pellets, so while they were dyed they needed to be heated further to shape. Keep this in mind when doing your own tests and plan to have something to drain into! The pellets were heated and blended into a putty, then pressed into the mold.


    You can see from the above examples that because we took more care with blending, the individual pellets were less noticeable.

    You can also see how deep the color is here. You need very very little dye for this depth of color – so consider doing serious testing if you want only a tint!
    One thing about this method – we did notice some residue ended up on our fingers because we didn’t rinse the pellets before getting to work. So make sure you use gloves or rinse the pellets before shaping.

    Dyeing Worbla’s Pearly Art

    This probably won’t be your first method of choice for coloring Worbla’s Pearly Art, but we wanted to see if it could be done – and absolutely Rit dyes work on Pearly.

    We dyed the Pearly in our large stainless steel pot on the stove, over medium heat. We used roughly 10 cups of water and 1/4 cup of dye for the DyeMore, and 1 scoop of dye for the ProLine. We needed enough water in the dyeing vessel to keep the plastic from touching the bottom of the pot while being stirred: if the Pearly sat on the bottom of the pot for any extended period of time, it would get a mark where the plastic had melted and become darker.

    With Rit Dyemore:
    We found there was a more clear progression of color intensity over a period of time.

    With Rit ProLine:
    The ProLine absorbed quickly – so much so that there was nearly no difference between 5 and 10 minutes.

    The result is not a fully opaque color as there is still a hint of the Pearly white grain to the piece, but that does not become more pronnounced as it is worked (which we expected would happen). Instead the color remains strong even when stretched or blended.

    And we do think it has interesting possibilities for doing small detail work….

    Can you dye Kobracast Art?

    Worbla’s Kobracast Art is also white, and we thought it could potentially be dyed for pieces such as leaves for hats. Unfortunately Kobracast Art activates in the hot water and sticks to itself very easily, so we would not recommend this process unless you were working somewhere the pieces could be kept completely flat – and we suspect you would not be able to agitate the water so that might result in uneven color.

    But wait! There’s more!

    Of course you won’t always be dying Worbla for your next cosplay – what about wigs?

    Both Rit Proline and Dyemore dyed wigs beautifully, and were easy to rinse to leave zero residue. One thing I loved was the idea of combining one colorway to tie everything together – making accessories out of Worbla dyed with the same color as you colored your wig, for example.


    Rit Proline Scarlet examples

    Guess who forgot to take before pictures….

    Both of these wigs haven’t been flat ironed or styled, so this is the color right out of the pot, so to speak.

    We don’t have a full writeup about how to best dye your wigs with the Rit line, because there are fantastic resources to be found on the subject here and here and here.

    IN CONCLUSION

    Rit’s synthetic line of dyes are a fantastic resource for dying Worbla products. Personally we’ll be using the DyeMore line for the convenience and complete lack of scent, but we absolutely suggest you experiment with these dyes for your next project, not only because they will help you color your Worbla, but because they are a genuinely useful tool to have in your cosplay kit! As always though: test test test! The scarlet for example turned more orange for our TranspArt tests, and the Peacock Green we tried on the Kobracast (not pictured) showed up far more blue. Plastics can be odd, so ALWAYS test before starting a large project!

    Houseki no Kuni wig with TranspArt

    Ivorivet created this stunning wig for her Amethyst from Houseki no Kuni, achieving a glossy, crystalline look. She shared her process with us below!

    Photo by Coffee_cat_cat

    I just got back from Cosplay America in Raleigh, NC and I’m really excited to share how my Amethyst wig turned out! I watched Houseki no Kuni after seeing a bunch of lovely pictures of people cosplaying from it, and once I finished the show I started kicking around a few ideas of how I could make a wig that had a glass-like finish like the way the 3D models are rendered.

    Using iridescent cellophane and other shiny materials for the gems’ wigs is not something that’s new, and I had the benefit of seeing how a lot of other people completed their wigs so I could see how things translated to real life. A couple of really lovely cosplayers I drew inspiration from before I started making my own wig are Kleiner Pixel, Schmemy Cosplay, Taaarte, and Sorairo Days.

    A neat twist on the cellophane technique that I wanted to try out was to incorporate compound curves into the wig to make things look more organic. Cellophane is usually sold in rolls or flat sheets and is difficult to manipulate into curved shapes. My solution for that was to use a clear thermoplastic called TranspArt as a “carrier” for the cellophane, which provided enough support that I was able to glue the cellophane down into more organic shapes. An added bonus is that the TranspArt is shiny itself and really made the whole of the wig look super slick and glassy. I picked Amethyst’s wig to test out this technique on because she has a very round head and also a distinct stop at the end of her hairline because of the braid that’s wrapped around her head. I might try to adapt this to other gems in the future, but for this time around it was really nice knowing I had the braid to help disguise the ends of the TranspArt.

    The materials that went into the wig are:

    I also used the following tools for this project:

    • Heat gun
    • Metal baking sheet
    • Frog tape/painters tape
    • Got2B Freeze spray
    • Ice cubes
    • Sharpie marker
    • Nail polish remover/acetone
    • X-acto knife
    • Plastic Christmas ornament on a wig stand – this was to help stretch curves in the TranspArt, any other convex curve will do
    • Head cast – I did most of my styling on a slightly distorted resin head cast that I made a couple years ago. You absolutely do NOT need one to make a houseki wig, but I have a very deep curvature at the name of my neck that is not shaped like any of the wig heads I own (my chiropractor says this is a problem, yay!). Since I wanted the back of the wig to be as fitted as possible to the nape of my neck, I decided to use the head cast as a base since I already had it made. If I didn’t have it, I could have used a box cutter to modify a styrofoam wig head to the same effect.
    • Prepping the Base Wig

      The first step was to cut and style the base wig. The Dark Lavender color from Arda was pretty close to what I wanted but I was worried it might look a little dull, so I dyed the base wig and the wefts with a very dilute bath of RIT Dyemore in red to warm up the color a bit. I straightened the wig and wefts back out again using a blow dryer to direct heat down the lengths of the fibers as I brushed them out with a wig brush.

      To give myself a guide to determine where hair needed to stop (and later act as a backing where the braid would be sewn on), I used some purple craft felt to extend the cap of the wig. I put the wig on and then slid the felt between the wig and my head, marked with a sharpie where I wanted the felt to end, and used straight pins to hold it in place. After that I took the whole thing off my head, sewed the felt to the wig with a needle and thread, and then trimmed the excess felt off.

      The Grace was longer than I needed it to be but it was the only wig that was available in the color I wanted that wasn’t on backorder, haha. There was a lot of extra hair that needed to be cut off, but I found the added length made things easier when I was teasing out the wig. I sectioned the wig with alligator clips, started teasing the sections of hair, hitting them with some heat from a blow dryer to kink the fibers, brushing them out, teasing again, etc. until I got the volume I wanted. I did a blunt cut of the wig hair about 2 inches past the felt and then used thinning shears to feather the ends up until the ends of the sections were even with the felt. A lot of Got2B hairspray and blow drying later and I had the base style done!

      I knew that during this process I would have to handle and roll the wig around at a lot of different angles which would cause the styling I just did to fall out, so to reinforce the bottom edge of the wig I ran a bead of Pattex glue over the edges of the hair and squished it into the fibers/felt with my fingers. Tacky Glue would have also worked in this situation but the Pattex dries faster and I wanted an excuse to try it out.

      Adding the TranspArt

      The next step of the project was to create a TranspArt shell that would sit on the exterior of the wig. To figure out what shapes I had to cut out, I used strips of painters tape and stuck them to the vertical sections I had previously styled. The tape barely stuck to the hair, which was nice for removal but not so much for when I was creating the patterns. I had to use a couple of straight pins to hold the tape in place for some of the sections. This particular wig had 18 strips – I made sure to number them and also indicate which side was up.

      The nice thing about the painters tape is that it was super easy to stick onto the TranspArt sheet to determine the cutting layout. I gave myself a few millimeters of extra room around each template, but things ended up being pretty tight on a medium sheet (20″x30″). If you want to do a gem with longer hair than Amethyst, it would probably be a good idea to get a large sheet. Once I cut out all the TranspArt pieces, I was able to peel off the templates and stick them to my wall for storage and easy access for when I needed them again.

      The next step was to tint the TranspArt to a slight purple shade so it would blend in with the wig. I made a very dilute dye bath with a mix of the red and purple RIT Dyemore and did test pieces until I figured out how to get the translucency and color that I wanted. To avoid over-dyeing the TranspArt I ended up dunking the pieces in one at a time for about 20 seconds per piece. To keep the pieces from getting mixed up, I made sure to re-label them with painters tape as soon as I had rinsed them off and dried them. I also dyed the larger scraps of TranspArt just in case I needed a backup piece. (Eventually I’d like to use the backup pieces to add TranspArt to the braid as well, but that’s another mini project.)

      To mold the TranspArt into the correct shape, I set up my work space with a metal baking sheet in front of me, a heat gun, a small bowl of ice cubes, and a plastic Christmas ornament on a wig stand. I followed these rough steps to form each TranspArt carrier to the correct shape:

      • Heat up the whole carrier until it is soft enough to be tugged into a relatively flat shape. It’s probably still a little wonky from the dye bath. Allow it to cool to the point where it’s no longer stretchable.
      • Heat up only the center of the carrier, trying to avoid the outer edges as much as possible. The goal is to make the center malleable while leaving the edges as cool as you can so they will stretch less.
      • Immediately stretch the center of the carrier over the Christmas ornament to start forming the compound curve.
      • Pin the top of the carrier to the wig head over the area where you want it to lie, and clip the bottom of the carrier to the end of your hair section. This will help it to form a curve in the general shape that you need. The carrier will be a little too large at this point and also the edges won’t be curved in too much – this is okay. Allow it to completely cool.
      • While the carrier is cooling from the last step, use a sharpie marker to trace the exact outline of the hair section onto the TranspArt to use as a cutting guide. You can use a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover/acetone to remove these marks at any time, so don’t be shy about where you mark things. It’s also a good time to write whatever number the piece is directly onto it so you can get rid of the painters tape labels.
      • Remove the carrier from the wig and cut the excess TranspArt off the edges of the carrier, following your guideline from the previous step.
      • To tuck the edges of the carrier in even more and really exaggerate the compound curve, use your heat gun to heat up a small length of the very edge of the carrier. A rough guideline to use is that you want to heat up about 2″ of the edge, going only 1/4″ of the way into the piece. This will make the edges flexible and able to be tucked in while preserving the overall shape of the carrier that you established in the previous steps.
      • While the edge of the carrier is flexible, hold the piece so the concave side is facing you and the heated edge of the carrier is pointing down. Press the heated edge against the baking sheet and gently roll the carrier towards you, using your thumbs to press into the curve to exaggerate it more. In the pictures below I’m only using one hand because the other is holding my camera, but it’s easier when you can use both of your thumbs.
      • When you’ve got the shape you want, you can either let it cool on its own, which is suuuuper slow and boring, or you can greatly speed up the process by running an ice cube along the edge a couple times. This will eventually create a cold pool of water that can be used to cool things as well.
      • Work your way around the edges of the piece, heating up small sections at a time and using the ice cubes/cold water to cool them. Try not to let the center of the carrier become too flexible – every so often hold the carrier up against the wig to make sure your overall shape hasn’t become distorted.
      • Once your carrier is molded into the right shape, pin it to the wig and keep it there. This will help you figure out how to trim the other carriers so that there isn’t too much overlap between them.
      • Here’s what my wig looked like once I had all the carriers molded into their correct shapes:

        At this point I used a sharpie marker to mark where I wanted all of the horizontal highlights to go. (For those of you who spent all of middle/high school drawing 90’s anime hair, NOW IS YOUR TIME TO SHINE.) With the carriers on the wig, I was able to create a continuous highlight strip all around the wig and know exactly where to place the cellophane for it later.

        Adding the Cellophane

        Having the carriers and painters tape templates available for me to draw on made it very easy to draw specific shapes and cut them out of cellophane for particular parts of the wig. I started out with the horizontal highlights and used two iridescent types of cellophane for them (see materials list above). Using the general marks I had made to indicate where the horizontal highlight would go on each carrier, I put painters tape over the outer surface/convex side of the carrier and drew a more detailed version of each highlight, then removed the painters tape and stuck it to my cutting mat. Then I placed my cellophane over the painters tape, and using a light cutting pressure, cut a matching shape out of the cellophane with an X-acto knife. I did this twice, cutting out a slightly larger piece the second time to help soften the edges of the highlight. The painters tape template was peeled off my cutting mat and discarded.

        To attach the cellophane highlights to the TranspArt carrier, I used Elmer’s spray adhesive and applied everything to the underside/concave side of the carrier. I first put down the small horizontal highlight, then the large one, using the sharpie marks as an indicator of where I should place things. I really like this technique because the sharpie marks and the cellophane go on opposite sides of the carrier, which allowed me to wipe off the sharpie marks later without touching the cellophane. It also helps to protect the cellophane from getting peeled off, since it was sandwiched between the wig and the carriers.

        The spray adhesive is initially very tacky but gets less so after it dries for about 24 hours, so it’s best to apply the cellophane to the carrier as soon as you hit it with the adhesive and smooth it out as much as you can to get rid of wrinkles and air bubbles.

        To make the vertical highlights, I used a metallic purple mylar and a slightly more opaque non-iridescent cellophane. My large painters tape templates were looking pretty haggard at this point, but I was still able to use them as a cutting guide for these. I sketched a couple of large vertical swoops on them, placed the cellophane/mylar on top, and cut some strips out. Unlike with the horizontal highlights where I went one carrier at a time, I found that with these vertical highlights it was easier to work with 3-4 carriers at a time so I didn’t have to move the large cellophane/mylar sheets that I had to tape down on top of the cutting templates.

        I then used the Elmer’s spray adhesive to attach the highlights to the concave side of the carriers, pretty much the same as before.

        Making the Braid and Assembling the Wig

        Initially when I planned to make this wig, I wanted to make little eye-shaped TranspArt bits to go over each section of braid, but I ran out of time before the con. (This has never happened to me before, ever. Not at ALL.) Instead what I ended up doing was cutting several strips of the iridescent and dark purple cellophane and incorporating them into each third of the braid, which gave it enough of a shiny look to blend in with the TranspArt portion of the wig. I also got super lucky and had JUST enough hair in Arda’s long wefts to wrap around the wig and have the braid end exactly where I wanted it to. I used Pattex glue and a little bit of hot glue on the backside of the braid ends to create a smooth taper on both ends.

        To make it easier to sew the braid down to the wig, I decided to give myself a felt backing similar to what I had done before. I cut a few strips of felt that were slightly smaller in width than the braid, pinned them around the wig head where I wanted to place the braid, and tacked them together with hot glue. I removed the felt from around the wig, and attached the braid to the felt using more hot glue.

        Next came attaching everything to the base wig! I removed all the carriers from the wig and kept them stored in the correct order by pinning them to a second wig head. Then I took one at a time and pinned it back on the base wig, pulled the wig off the wig head, sewed the top end of the carrier to the wig, then put the wig back on the wig head to make sure it was sewn in the correct place before moving onto the next carrier. Once all the carriers were attached to the top of the wig, I did the same thing for the bottom edge of the carriers, making sure my thread actually went through the felt at the bottom edge of the wig to form a TranspArt/wig hair/felt sandwich. Attaching the braid went the same way – I strategically pinned it down on the wig head, carefully removed the wig and braid from the wig head with the pins still in place, and sewed through both layers of felt as I worked my way around the periphery of the wig.

        At this point, it was ready to wear!

        Care and Maintenance

        For those of you who followed my Instagram stories over the weekend of Cosplay America, you’ll already know this wig survived a near disaster. For those who didn’t, the lesson learned is do not put pressure on these wigs (e.g. stuffing them in a cramped bag) and allow them to sit in a hot environment for a long period of time. Because of traffic around Chicago, it took me two hours to drive to the airport, it was 95° F outside, and I don’t have air conditioning in my car. I wanted to be able to grab my luggage and sprint immediately to the airport so I had stuffed the wig into my carry-on bag ahead of time. (To be fair, I kept the wig on the wig head, wrapped it up in its own bag for protection, and then packed it in my carry-on… but unfortunately it was a little too full of other stuff.) This put enough pressure on the TranspArt that combined with the high temperatures during the drive that it caused the TranspArt to slump and get somewhat reformed to the squished shape it was in my bag. I almost screamed when I took it out at the con and saw what had happened. :(

        Fortunately, I was able to use the hotel’s blow dryer to heat the TranspArt up enough to reform it into the correct shape, and everything turned out okay. So if your wig gets damaged in transport, it is possible to fix things with a blow dryer, but it’s best to take proper precautions so you don’t have to fix anything at all!

        I did notice that by the end of the weekend, the styling I had done on my base wig was falling out because the hairspray was starting to break down. I’m probably going to have to snip through the threads that are attaching the braid and the bottoms of the carriers, so I can lift up the carriers to get at the wig hair underneath and do some touch ups. I’ll edit this post with any further tips I have about maintaining this type of wig, but I have a feeling this type of maintenance is something I’m going to have to do each time the wig gets worn and transported over long distances.

        Anyway, I hope this write-up had helped given you some ideas of your own about how to make a Houseki no Kuni wig! I would love to see any pictures you have of your own wig if this helped you out in any way, so please drop me a line on Instagram/Tumblr/Twitter. Thanks so much for reading!


        (photo taken by my fiance who when I asked how he wanted to be credited for the photo made the :I face and shrugged)

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        Thanks again to Ivorivet for sharing this tutorial with us!

    Attaching Armor: the Punch/Stud Method

    We worked with Kimchi4U Cosplay & Props recently to create a tutorial for how he created this innovative way of attaching his Mordred (Fate/Apocrypha) armor. Take a look!

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    In partnership with Cosplay Supplies I was able to make a full armor build for Mordred from the anime Fate Apocrypha.

    This is a tutorial for a type of mounting system I have not yet seen before in other cosplay builds. Since I was making most of the armor out of worbla, I knew that I would be needing something substantially durable for fixing parts of the armor to my body.

    Seeing as I have not yet seen this before in other projects, I am going to call it the Punch/Stud method. This method of mounting systems uses the expansion of your body to keep armor parts on your person by friction.

    The Punch/Stud method is comprised of 2 parts of armor having holes punched into once piece, and studs made of worbla on the other. The sandwich method for both pieces would probably be ideal as this mounting depends on having both pieces of armor fairly resistant to forces in order to perform as intended.

    The two pieces of armor is encased around a part of the body and the studs are fitted through the punched holes to lock in place. It should be a fairly tight fit, and if this is done your body trying to expand back into place from the compression will secure your armor in place.

    I punched the holes in the armor pieces by taking a power drill to it with a bit intended for putting holes in wood. The studs were made with scrap pieces of worbla and fixed to the surface of the armor. Both stud and punch holes were reheated and smoothed over.

    Make sure to do lots of test fits before finalizing the location of the studs. Otherwise you may end up with armor that is either too small or too big to securely fit onto your person.

    Mordred on the official art does not show having studs on parts of her armor. I took some creative liberties in order to use this method of mounting by accepting that I would not be able to hide the hole and stud and placed them in areas where it would make sense.

    This method was used to fix my chest/back pieces and calf/shin pieces to my body. Its a method of mounting that is deceptively simple, but also depends on being custom fitted to your body to remain effective.
    Pros:
    – does not take up a lot of space in order to work
    – very secure and durable way of mounting armor
    – simple in technique. not very complicated to pull off

    Cons:
    – substantial changes in body dimensions may result in armor no longer fitting as intended
    – visible on the finished product. there is no real way of hiding the fact that this exists on your armor. there is a visible hole and a stud protruding (best to use in areas where it makes sense for the armor to have studs or rivets)
    – requires sturdy materials. using this with foam alone will probably result in a fit that is not as secure

    —————–

    Thanks again to Kimchi4U Cosplay & Props for sharing this technique with us!

    Large Molded Details with Worbla

    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.

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    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.

    Materials Used:
    100% Silicone
    Cornstarch
    X-Acto Knife
    2mm craft foam
    Heat gun
    Sculpting tools
    Female Dress Form
    Worbla

    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.

    Thanks again to Carmine for sharing this process with us! Be sure to check out his Facebook, Instagram, and Website for more of his creations!

    Bikini Style Breastplate With Cut out Details with Pearly Art


    We contacted Termina Cosplay to create a tutorial with the new Worbla’s Pearly Art, and she shared how she made this bikini styled breastplate armor with negative details. Take a look at her tutorial below!

    Materials/Tools

    Heat Gun
    Clay Tools
    Worbla (I use Worbla’s Pearly Art)
    Craft Foam
    Scissors
    Pencil
    Resin Gem (optional)
    Large Styrofoam Ball
    Masking Tape
    Plastic Wrap

    Step 1: Prepare Foam Ball

    To make the cups for this breastplate, I use a styrofoam ball.

    To start, cut the ball in half and wrap it in masking tape. Covering the ball with masking tape will keep the Worbla from sticking to it and keep the heat from the heat gun from melting it.

    Step 2: Make the Cups

    To make the cups, cut out two pieces of Worbla big enough to cover the ball. Heat those pieces up and stick them together to make a double layer thick sheet.


    Then, make sure the sheet is completely heated and stretch it over the ball, making sure to get it as smooth as possible. You can heat it back up as you work if you need to.


    After that, cut off the excess Worbla from the bottom and let it cool. Once its cool, its safe to remove. Repeat the process for the second cup.


    Next, its time to shape the cups to your liking! To do this, I cover the cup in masking tape and draw the lines I want to cut. Then, I just cut along the lines while the tape is still on.


    To copy the shape onto the second cup, carefully take the tape off, turn it inside out, cover the sticky side with plastic wrap, and use it as a pattern to shape the other cup. You’ll get a perfectly symmetrical cup this way!


    It may be hard to see which side is up and which side is down once they’re cut, so be sure to mark your pieces accordingly to make sure you can remember. I use arrows to indicate which side is the bottom.

    Step 3: Connect the Cups

    To connect the cups, I used a resin cast gem as the center and connected the two sides with a setting.


    Make the setting, start by taking your gem and pressing it into a double layer thick piece of Worbla.


    Then, make a “noodle” out of Worbla by taking a long, flat piece, heating it up, and rolling it up from one side. Once it is the thickness you want, cut the excess off, heat it up again, and roll it to seal the edge.


    Take your noodle and make the outside edge of the setting by heating the base and pressing it down around the shape of the gem. You can use clay tools and heat to seal up the gap left behind as well! Lastly, cut the setting out and you’re ready to connect the cups with it!


    Now, heat up the inner corner of the breastplate and the gem setting and press them together. Do the same with the other side. To make it easier to line up symmetrically, draw guidelines on the back to help you!

    You can also reinforce the back with a strip of Worbla if you want to make sure it doesn’t come apart.

    It may not fit correctly right after attaching everything together, so to shape it, heat up ONLY the center and fit it directly to your body while it cools. If you heat up more than just the center, your risk warping the cups out of shape, so be careful!

    Step 4: Add Details

    To make the details, we’re going to use more Worbla noodles! Start with the edges and carefully add on the noodles using your heat gun. Be sure not to heat the cups so much that they warp out of shape! I little heat goes a long way.


    To do any details on the inside, you’ll need to make a pattern to ensure both sides will be symmetrical. Cover the inside area with masking tape again and draw your pattern. A pencil is best for this part because it makes it easy to transfer the pattern.

    To transfer the lines to the other side, carefully take the masking tape pattern off, flip it inside out, and transfer the lines by drawing over the back so that the pencil lines transfer onto the Worbla. Remember, pen or marker lines will not transfer this way, so be sure to use a pencil!

    Then, make more Worbla noodles and add them on with your heat gun following the lines.


    You can also add cut out details using your noodles. While the noodle is still warm and flexible, heat up the area on the breastplate you want to attach it to. Then, press one end on and shape it to fit how you want! Be sure to heat up the other end before attaching it on.

    Once that noodle has cooled and is in place, you can add more, smaller pieces to connect it to the rest of the breastplate, making some really cool cut out designs in the process! Just cut your noodle piece to fit, heat the area you want to attach it to, and press it on! to strengthen the bond, add a small flat strip of Worbla to the back!


    Step 5: Add Side Panels.

    Side panels will give your breastplate more structure and help it fit better. To make them, start by making a pattern for the shape and size. You’ll want it to fit along the outside edges and wrap around your body a bit.

    Once you’re happy with the size and fit, transfer the pattern onto craft foam. Cut two pieces so you have one for each side.

    Then, cover each one with Worbla. Cut a piece of Worbla a bit bigger than your foam piece, heat it up over one side of the foam, and then wrap the edges over to the back. Seal up the edges and cut off the extra Worbla on the corners that form after folding!


    Then, heat the entire piece back up, attach it onto the breastplate, and shape it to fit.

    Last, You can add a bit of detail to the side panels to match the rest of the breastplate.

    Step 6: Add D Rings

    For the last step, we add D rings. D rings make it easy to add straps on, so they’re very useful!

    To add them on, take a small strip of Worbla, heat it up, put it through the ring, fold it onto itself, and then press it onto the inside of the breastplate. Be sure to heat the spot on the breastplate as well to ensure maximum hold!

    As the arrows below indicate, add D rings to the side panels and to the tops of the cups. This way you’ll be able to attach straps over the shoulders and around the back.

    After that, all that is left to do is finish it with some primer and paint. There are many different ways you can do this, so do a bit of research and choose the way that’s best for you!

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    Thanks again to Termina Cosplay for sharing this tutorial with us!

    Molding Details with Worbla Pearly Art – A Review of Worbla’s New Thermoplastic


    We reached out to Cowbuttcrunchies Cosplay to test the new Worbla’s Pearly Art and let us know their thoughts. They shared this review and tutorial with us and it’s a great breakdown of some of the differences of Pearly and how it handles compared to other Worbla products!

    Worbla has recently added a new plastic to their lineup! Pearly Art is a smooth, light-colored plastic that claims great smoothness and stretchability. I was really excited to give this a try since it sounded like a smoother version of Black Worbla, but I was surprised to find that the plastic actually handles very differently. Pearly Art is available in Europe and North America at Cosplay Supplies, and will run you $91 for a Jumbo sided sheet.


    Heating
    Heating Pearly Art was the biggest surprise for me, and the part that it took the longest to get used to. Unlike Black Worbla or Worbla’s finest, Pearly Art does not activate with its telltale “sheen” that indicates that it’s warm enough to mold (or rather, the white color makes this very difficult to see if it does). Pearly Art also activates very quickly and at a lower temperature, which meant that more than once I was sitting there waiting for it to activate, not realizing that this had already long since happened. The other surprising bit is that Pearly Art de-activates and hardens far faster than any other Worbla line except maybe transpArt – within a minute your plastic will be back to its hardened state. If you’re an impatient person like me who likes to heat an entire strip edge or armor piece, then work the entire thing into place over the course of a few minutes, you’re going to need to re-think your plan of attack because this is simply impossible. Instead, Pearly Art forces you to work with a portion at a time – when applying a raised edge to my breastplate, I needed to re-heat it twice before reaching the end.

    The method I eventually settled on was to heat the entire piece to start and then begin sandwiching my edges. After making it a little bit around the piece, I’d re-heat just the next spot, sandwich more, and continue until finished. Try not to blast the entire piece with more heat in order to avoid off-gassing from your foam.

    A lower activation temperature also means that this plastic does not always require heatproof gloves when working with it.

    Stickiness and Stretchability
    The confusing conundrum of Pearly Art is that it doesn’t “look” sticky because of the lack of shine, but it definitely is! Once heated, I found that sandwiched edges bonded to both itself and to Worbla’s Finest just fine, with about the same amount of stick as Black Art. This plastic does not have the same bananas level of stick as Mesh Art or even highly heated Worbla’s Finest – I was able to separate two pieces of heated Pearly Art without warping. However this trick only works if your pieces have not been pressed into each other; once bonded you will not be able to separate your plastic without ripping. I quite enjoyed how sticky Pearly Art becomes with a much smaller amount of heat when compared to the other worbla lines. While the stick itself is not anything to call home about, it does not require that the plastic be as hot, which means it’s easier to attach things and to avoid air bubbles from off-gassing foam.

    Personally I did not find Pearly Art to be particularly stretchier than Black Art – however take that with a grain of salt as other folks have had great success with the stretchiness. One of the first things I did was rip right through my Pearly Art top layer, while reinforcing my heated sandwich edges with a clay tool – something that has not ever happened to me with Black Worbla. So be mindful when working with this plastic when its activated: the tearability and stretchability seems to vary wildly depending on how hot it is, which could explain the mixed results.

    Smoothness and Detail Work
    This is where Pearly Art really shines – the final texture is even smoother than Black Art. This means that your pieces will require less priming, especially when little warping or stretching needs to be done. For pieces that are ‘overworked’ by either folding the plastic into itself, stretching, or sculpting to create 3D objects, you will notice that – like Black Worbla – the plastic does tend to texturize and will require more priming than usual. Below are the basic breastplate componants I made in the following detailing tutorial, with unprimed Pearly Art and Finest Art pieces:

    And below is the detailed breastplate after one layer of paint primer. underneath the paint I used two layers of flexbond over the Pearly Art portions, and three layers of flexbond over the curved Finest Art portions, which still has a rougher texture:

    Pearly Art is also excellent for detail work such as 3d sculping, and noticably better for this sort of detail than even Black Art. Black Art is great for sculping as it can be molded but retains a firm hand so your item does not collapse. However details look better with Pearl Art in part because of the texture, but also because that moldable phase begins at a far lower temperature than it does with Black Worbla. This means that it’s not only easier to heat and mold your pieces, but you can even use your bare hands if you’re so inclined. Pearly Art also does not have the tendency to stick to everything once it’s in this phase, which helps with cutting and small detail movement:

    Pearly Art also takes the cake when using a silicone mold to shape your plastic. I’ve tried molding black art before and I don’t really like it – like all worbla it takes on a rough texture once overworked into the clay-like phase, so any details get overshadowed by this rough texture. It’s also not great at picking up detail because of that grain. Pearly Art avoids both of these unless you have severely overworked your plastic.

    This is great if you need to make many repetitive items like in my walkthrough below, so read on for detailed instructions!

    Pearly Art Tutorial: Creating Molded Needles

    For a sewing-themed breastplate, I decided to add several identical needles on top of my armor. Rather than mold each of these by hand (time consuming) or use resin (difficult to get the right curve and also time consuming), I tried instead molding my Pearly Art, using a silicone mold of that needle shape. This worked far, far better than my attempts with Black Art, and while it did not capture quite as much smoothness as one would if working with Deco Art, the final needle turned out to be sturdier and could be later touched up and bent into shape, unlike Deco Art which can warp under re-added heat.

    Necessary Tools:
    Worbla Pearly Art
    Silicone or metal mold
    Heat Gun

    An important component for this is your mold, which can be either something you cast yourself, or a pre-purchased silicone mold that you can find in craft baking stores. In this case we had already made a mold of a needle-shaped button out of Smooth-On’s Moldstar silicone. When choosing your mold, be sure that this is composed of silicone or metal, NOT plastic. While Pearly Art does not have the wildly sticky properties of Mesh Worbla, you still run the risk of accidentally bonding your Pearly Art to the mold’s plastic if you press too hard or heat it too much.

    1) Begin by heating up a piece of Pearly Art or plastic scraps until you can mush them together into a plastic ball. Remember that Pearly Art reaches that floppy, moldable stage very quickly and will not gain a glossy seen. Try not to over-heat the plastic in order to keep the texture minimal.

    2) Stretch the plastic into the approximate shape of your mold – Pearly Art loses heat amazingly quickly and so you really only have a max of maybe 20 seconds to sculpt.

    3) Squish the Pearly Art down into the mold, pressing pretty firmly until everything’s flat on top. Allow to cool for a few seconds, then pull it out.

    4) It’d be pretty difficult to pull a perfect mold since you’re basically shoving the plastic in with your thumb – even with resin you’re often left with a little bit of excess from where the material overflowed from the mold itself. If you have a lot of this overflow, you can trim it off with scissors. Properly estimating how much plastic you need in your mold helps a lot, as does trimming off large amounts of excess with scissors. However for a small amount of spillover, re-heat the needle with just a small amount of heat from your heatgun until it is soft enough to press but not so floppy that it completely loses its shape. Using your finger, pat down any excess down until the edges are smooth.

    5) Set aside and allow to fully harden.

    If you don’t like how your cast turned out, just re-heat your plastic and mold it again! Pearly Art is completely recyclable and may be re-heated over and over again.


    6) Heat the underside of your finished needles slightly, and heat the area of your armor. Remember, only a small amount of heat is required! Position your needle and press down firmly to bond.

    Prime your armor and paint as desired!

    ——————

    Thanks again to Cowbuttcrunchies Cosplay for this excellent writeup and tutorial!

    Sarah Kerrigan – Shoulder Armor

    We asked Neocoolstar Cosplay to create a tutorial for us using Worbla’s Black Art, and she created this writeup on how she created her Shoulder Pauldron for Sarah Kerrigan from Star Craft 2.

    Materials used:
    Black Worbla
    Foam
    Paper
    Pencil
    Box Knife
    Weldwood Contact Cement
    Heat Gun
    Googly Eyes

    The Process:
    Human Sarah Kerrigan doesn’t have a lot of reference photos, but before she became part of the Zerg, she was a Confederate ghost. Since Nova is a ghost in the same universe, you can use her armor design as reference. But I’ll be using the cut scenes in Star Craft 2 to get my references for Kerrigan’s armor.

    I started out with a free template from PunishedProps.com, cut it out, and traced the pattern over foam.

    Once the foam is cut, I use Weldwood Contact Cement to glue the two foam pieces together.
    Pro Tip: To speed up the contact cement curing process, use a heat gun on the glue until it bubbles and dries.

    I placed the glued foam on my shoulder to test how it would look relative to my body. Then I made marks to redefine the shape so it looked like Kerrigan’s armor piece. The tip is more pointed so I added more foam to the end with contact cement.

    Now the piece is ready for details. Here I just eyeballed the design, drew it on the foam, and made shallow cuts with a box knife. I then heated up the cuts to open the foam. I also added googly eyes for the rivets.

    Here was the difficult part. Worbla does well with uniform caved objects like spheres. My shoulder armor had caved and concave areas as well as a cut out which would be where I’d include transparent Worbla to the piece. Since I didn’t have transparent worbla at the time, I had to leave it as an open hole.

    This whole process takes time and requires a bit of coaxing for the Worbla to wrap around certain areas. It did break in certain points where I’ve stretched it too thin, but I patched it with scrap Worbla since the new Worbla still maintains its self-stick property.


    Here I finished wrapping worbla around the piece and took some of the extra worbla lying around to see if I can still roll it into a pipe which is typically used for decoration.

    Here I’m cleaning underneath the Worbla where the cutout is. I did the wrap method since that’s the method I’m most familiar with and it has saved me money in the past. Also, people won’t typically see underneath your armor piece.

    Here is the finished piece.

    Dragon Bracer

    Nibu Cosplay created this bracer for us using Worbla’s Black Art and shared the process in this simple writeup below.

    The base of the bracer is 3 individual sandwiches with regular 2mm EVA foam.

    Then, I made a ring with scraps and placed it on the bracer to imitate a leather strap with metal ring.

    After that, I molded some edges with more scraps and started the dragon head, claws and tail. As always, I used scraps and molded all this by hand. When it was done, I started doing the scales on the dragon with carving tools while heating the piece.

    When completed, I added battle damage and scratches all around the bracer!

    Gauntlet Tutorial from Patterning to Assembly!

    We asked Piratica (Captain Pira on Instagram) to create a tutorial for us using Black Worbla and she shared this great writeup on making a gauntlet, using Flemmeth from Dragon Age as an example!

    You will need:
    Cheap gloves with minimal stretch (these will be ruined, don’t use the gloves for your costume)
    A marker
    Paper
    Sharp Scissors (not your fabric scissors!)
    Worbla (approx 11×17 or 6×20, twice your paper pattern)
    Pencil
    Heat Gun
    Heat Protection Gloves
    Glue of choice (hot glue, E6000 or crazy glue)


    1. Gather your references. Front, back, sides. Trying to understand how it works before you start always makes things go smoother.

    2. Put on your glove. If you’re only making one (like McCree or Asami’s glove) put on the wrong glove inside out. You’ll be ruining this glove so don’t use the one you’ll want in your finished piece.

    3. Using your marker, draw circles around your knuckles and lines where your fingers bend onto your glove. Whatever design you’re making, you’ll want to be able to bend your fingers. Remember your thumbs.

    4. Start to draw your design. This glove has pointed fingers and knuckles, so I continued segments into points over the knuckles. Also draw on any panels for the back of your hand, or indications where rivets or crests might go. Drawing a line around where your wrist bends can also help you build a more wearable glove.

    5. When your glove has all the details you want in your gauntlet, take it off and cut out your finger segments. I recommend cutting across around the knuckles, and then snipping them open on the palm-side to create a flat piece. Trace this piece out onto paper.

    If your design has overlap, like the knuckle spikes here, it’s usually easiest to cut it at the knuckle, then when you draw your piece on paper, to continue the circle you marked your knuckles with. This allows me to make sure the knuckle is covered at the hidden end, and shows me how big to draw my spikes on the pointed end.

    For finger tips, if you want finger shaped ones (like Iron Man) use the glove tips, but cut more darts to get your flat pattern. Spiky fingers are done by adding to the flattened design. I added an extra cm at the tip, and tapered to it. If you want your fingertips to curve in like claws, you’ll want a Star Trek logo shape (as I switched to after this step), but if you want them to curve straight on the top, you’ll want to make a shield shape (as above).

    6. Continue to cut pieces out from your glove and trace them onto paper until you have all your pieces. Label as you go! Finger pieces tend to look similar but fit very differently. A naming system like Pinky 1, Pinky 2, Pinky 3, Ring 1, etc can save you a lot of headache later.

    7. TEST YOUR PATTERN. Cut out all your paper finger joints and try them on, over a new, whole glove. If your original glove stretched to fit your hand, you’ll probably need a few extra mm at each end to compensate, plus the added bulk of the glove itself.

    The easiest way to test and expand a pattern is to put masking tape on one end, put the piece in place on your gloved hand, then connect the other end with the tape, where it closes comfortably. Then slide the segment off your finger, and snip apart the masking tape to have your new fitted size.

    8. When you’re happy with the fit of your pattern, trace your paper pattern onto the matte side of your Worbla with pencil. Label these too! Finger joints are small, so instead of covering a layer of foam, use two layers of Worbla. Try to Tetris your pieces to save material, and have enough space to either fold your Worbla over or cut out another piece the same size.

    9. Heat your sheet! Before cutting out every piece, cut out the whole area you’ve drawn pieces on, and a second piece the same size (if your shape isn’t a rectangle, make sure to cut the 2nd shape mirrored). Put on you heat gloves and use your heat gun to warm both pieces until they are approaching the activation temperature. Press them together with the shiny sides in. Place this on a flat surface and continue to heat it until it reaches the activation point. Press gently and make sure your pieces are joined evenly.


    10. Allow to cool enough your pieces won’t warp, then cut out all your pattern pieces.

    Keep your scraps for making rivets, details or other projects.


    11. Now the fun part. Grab a finger joint and heat it up. Wrap it around a heat glove covered finger until it is cool enough to touch.

    Then put on your costume glove, and wrap the piece around the appropriate joint, connecting the sides around your finger and smooshing them flat and securely. In this design I wanted a ridge leading to the points, you can add that by pinching along a line. Also curving the opposite end around your knuckle will help it tuck underneath the next segment.


    Rows 2 and 3 should be made this way.

    12. Fingertips are a bit different, but mostly consist of pinching the heated Worbla from the ends to the tip, then bending the amount of curve you want. Try your pieces on together as you go, and don’t be afraid to reheat parts to adjust the fit.

    13. Hand panels are even easier. Just heat them then shape them on your hand where you need them. Do any pieces that connect in order, so they’ll still be warm when you join them. This design has an open palm, so all the hand pieces can be connected without hindering movement.

    14. If you have any details, like the knuckle mounds here, add them now. For these knuckles, little balls of scrap Worbla were rolled and stuffed underneath the diamond shapes to give them dimension, then the diamonds were pinched to create ridges.

    15. Try on all your pieces at once! You should be able to wear most of these like rings, and fit the tips on far enough to test the motion. Spread your fingers, make a fist. Make sure you’ll be able to do whatever cool pose you’ll want to make at con. If you’re satisfied with the fit, it’s time to prime. When you’re done painting and want to finish your gauntlet, put on your glove and put a drop of glue on your glove’s finger segment, slide on your Worbla, and press it down. Repeat for each piece.

    How to build and decorate neck armor

    We asked Rhoulette Cosplay to create a tutorial for us using Black Worbla, and she shared this great build of a decorated gorget that uses items to create detailed relief designs!

    Glam Up Your Gorget
    A Guide on Embracing the Bubble by Rhoulette Cosplay

    One of the biggest concerns cosplayers have with shaping thermoplastics to foam is the risk of creating air bubbles. This is especially likely to occur when covering large surface areas. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how you can circumvent this problem while also adding a little flair to your piece! I’ll be demonstrating this with a gorget I bedazzled with Black Worbla.

    Materials:
    • Black Worbla
    • 2mm craft foam
    • Scissors (preferably an old pair you don’t mind using on Worbla; I recommend not using
    fabric scissors!)
    • Sewing pins
    • Heat gun
    • Contact cement (or hot glue if you prefer to use that to adhere foam)
    • A respirator (if you plan to use contact cement)
    • A heat-resistant surface (like a workshop table—preferably nothing plastic to avoid warping from the heat gun)
    • A foam-tip brush (if you plan to use contact cement)
    • Oddly-shaped accessories or small knick knacks (such as an intricately-designed hair clip, detailed buttons, seasonal decorations, etc.)
    • A pattern (see below)
    • A sharp blade (such as an X-ACTO knife)
    • A cutting mat (do not aim your heat gun at your mat or it will warp!)
    • A marker for tracing (silver usually works best)

    Step 1:
    It’s important to have a baseline of what you want to create to avoid wasting precious materials on a foundation you’re unhappy with. I used a page out of Kamui Cosplay’s Female Armor Pattern Collection to pattern my gorget. Alternatively, you can quickly whip you your own (but may need a friend):
    1) Cover your neck, upper torso, and shoulders with clear wrap.
    2) Cut out small pieces of duct or masking tape.
    3) Place these pieces all over the clear wrap section that you’d like to pattern.
    4) Ask a friend to help you draw out the lines in Sharpie for your pattern. Alternatively, you can also use a mirror to accomplish this.
    5) Carefully ask your friend cut it down the middle and remove from your body (if you feel unsafe at any point, consider patterning off of a mannequin and adjusting to your neck measurements),
    6) Cut the pattern into pieces and lay it onto paper or card-stock.
    7) Trace onto paper or card-stock and cut it out.
    8) You have a gorget pattern! :D If you prefer to watch a demonstration of this, check out Kamui’s Cosplay video here.

    Step 2:
    Make any adjustments to your pattern by drawing on outer details. I opted to work with the base of Kamui’s pattern and build on top of it. Cut out your pattern with a pair of scissors. You can also use an X-ACTO blade on a cutting mat if you find this is easier.

    Step 3:
    Lay the pattern on your 2mm craft foam and pin down the edges with sewing pins. Since I keep my foam rolled up during storage, this ensures the pattern doesn’t shift around a lot while the foam curls. I also recommend marking your pattern pieces prior to cutting to ensure you don’t lose track of them. I find it very helpful to have arrows pointing with the corresponding numbers to where the other pieces attach.

    Step 4:
    Trace the pattern with a marker. A silver Sharpie shows up best on black foam while darker colors show up best on white. Remove the pins and pattern from your foam. Lay the pinned pattern and craft foam duo onto your cutting mat. Use a sharp blade to slowly cut out the foam. Alternatively, you can use scissors if they’re not too dull.

    Step 5:
    Flip your gorget pattern and repeat steps 3 and 4. Since foam doesn’t have a “grain” like fabric does, you can turn it in any direction to make the most out of your material and be economical. : ) Now that you have the necessary pieces, tape them together and see how it feels on yourself or a mannequin. Draw on any adjustments, and cut off the excess foam. Less is more—it’s best to make many small adjustments instead of accidentally hacking off too much. To ensure the adjustments are symmetrical, draw and cut out on one side, flip it onto the other piece of foam, trace, and cut!

    Step 6:
    Don your respirator with sass, because it’s gluing time! I find that contact cement creates the strongest and cleanest seams with foam, and you don’t need very much! However, if you’re worried about toxic fumes or are on a crunch, you can use hot glue. Please do not work with contact system without a respirator or a well-ventilated work area! Along the seam where you intend to join the pieces of foam, coat both sides in a light layer of contact cement with your foam-tip brush. You can speed up the curing process by turning your heat gun on low and evenly heating both sides until it looks tacky. This typically only takes a few seconds. Alternatively, you can use a glue gun with hot glue.

    Step 7:
    Line up the top or bottom edge of the seams and gently press them together. If you feel it’s uneven, you can quickly undo some parts of the seam and re-attach before the glue dries. Once you’re satisfied, press the seams together firmly and wipe off any excess glue. If the glue dries in lumps that you’re afraid will show through the Worbla, use a Dremel to smooth out the seam.

    Step 8:
    Lay your piece out on your Black Worbla and trace with a silver Sharpie, leaving an inch to an inch and a half around the perimeter of your foam. Cut it out with a pair of scissors.

    Step 9:
    Take your fun knick knacks and lay them flat in whatever way you please! I found these decorative keys on sale at my local craft store for less than a buck! Ideally, find something that can parallel nicely with the shape of your piece. You don’t want anything too bulgy or else you may have to recut your Worbla.

    Step 10:
    Use low heat to slowly warm up either side of your Worbla piece. In my case, once the Worbla was warm (not hot) and semi-soft (not floppy), I laid it over my gorget with my keys, sticky side (shiny side) facing the foam. I worked from top to bottom, using one hand to adjust the keys (in case they moved) while pressing the Worbla down with the other. Don’t worry if the Worbla catches the shape of the accessory when it’s out of place—you can simply reheat and reshape once it’s in the right spot!

    Step 11:
    Once you’re happy with the position, continue to heat the Worbla over the foam gorget and accessory. Press around the accessory until a bubble mold is made from it, avoiding to touch the Worbla immediately in case it is too hot. Reheat and continue pressing as desired until the optimum detail is achieved

    Step 12:
    Wait for the Worbla to fully cool until it has returned to its hardened state. Flip the piece and carefully begin to slide your hand between the foam and the Worbla. As you apply slow and even force, the foam should break free from the Worbla without tearing. Pop out the accessory with your nails, a sewing pin, or simply press gently from the other side.

    Step 13:
    You did it! You made a fancy bubble! Carefully reheat the Worbla on low heat around the edges, avoiding the area where you detailed with the accessory. Wrap the Worbla around the edges of the foam and press down. If seams are overlapping, you can snip away excess chunks with scissors, quickly reheat, and press down to get a clean finish on the other side. I prefer not to Worbla both sides of my piece, because it allows the pieces to be more flexible, and it saves on material.

    Step 14:
    If you find that your piece lost it’s shape, you can reheat around the bubble design and reshape it to yourself or the mannequin (ensure it is not too hot before putting it on your neck directly!). I use pins to hold up my piece on my mannequin while I shape it across the collar-bone region.

    Step 15:
    Time to decorate! You can now freely use your additional knick knacks to make fun indentations and shapes! In the following pictures, I shaped the Worbla over fine details on an old, metal hair clip. You can cut out these details with sharp scissors or a hot knife. Be careful to test the hot knife on a piece of scrap Worbla, so you can get used to how quickly it slices through it. This ensures you don’t ruin a detailed piece you’ve been working hard on!

    To attach it to my main piece, I simply heated the area of my gorget I planned to decorate as well as the back of my detailed Worbla, and I pressed them gently together. I applied even pressure as it cooled to cement the fine detail from the Worbla “mold”. I found discount buttons at my local craft store as well as some mismatched ones in an old cookie tin to emboss fine details into my Worbla. I discovered that waiting until the Worbla cooled also made it easier to remove the accessories. I was able to use this method to cut out tiny roses and filigrees to add intricate detail to my piece.

    Step 16:
    For strapping, I decided to create loops on the ends from which I eventually plan to braid multi-colored ribbons! This is a great time to gather up all that scrap Worbla! Heat up your pile with even, low heat until it begins to stick together. Knead the pile without burning yourself until it becomes one. If you have one big chunk, I’ve found that cutting it into smaller segments makes it easier to heat and work with. Once the smaller chunk is pliable, press down wth your palms and roll it back and forth into a little Worbla string. Roll outwards with even pressure to make the string longer and thinner. If it becomes too thin, simply fold it back onto itself, reheat, and reshape! I made one long, thin string of Worbla, cut it into even pieces, heated up the ends, and looped them onto the back of the gorget. I held each one in place as it cooled to ensure it didn’t flop and cool in an undesirable angle.


    You can also use this string effect to frame pieces of your armor that may look unfinished. I did this to add an additional level of detail to the top of the gorget. While it was still warm, I used scissors and gently pressed small, equidistant lines into the strip.

    I hope you found this tutorial helpful in overcoming air bubble issues when working with thermoplastics. So many fun shapes can be molded with Black Worbla as it is incredibly flexible, strong, and adhesive! : )

    Building a Dagger from World of Warcraft

    We asked Sayakat Cosplay to create a tutorial for us using Worbla’s Black Art and she shared this fun writeup on the process of making a detailed dagger from World of Warcraft!

    Materials
    Exacto knife
    Scissors
    Pencil
    Paper
    Craft foam
    Hot glue
    Heat gun
    Black Worbla
    Gloves to protect hands

    Dagger Build
    The first step in this build is to draw and size the pattern for the dagger.  I used a dagger from World of Warcraft as my reference, and altered the design to simplify the hilt, but you can use any reference you like. Warcraft daggers are generally actually quite large, and this one is no exception, coming in at approximately 22 inches in total length. It does require a paper pattern first to account for scaling and details accordingly. I draw all my patterns by hand and destroy them in the process of building, so this is one of a kind.

    Draw out the pattern for your blade, and include all details. The next step is to cut out the base of the pattern in foam. This dagger is 5 layers of craft foam; one base piece, and 2 detail layers on each side.

    You will need to cut up your paper pattern in order to cut out all the detail. Trace around the whole pattern once to get the base piece. Then cut off the blade pieces from the pattern, and trace the remaining shape onto foam as pictured above. Finally cut out the details, using scissors and the exacto knife, and also trace that onto foam.

    Once all pieces have been traced onto the craft foam, cut them out. Next, take your hot glue, and glue all layers together to create a foam sandwich. If there are any edges that do not line up, trim them with scissors to get your foam core.

    The next step is to cut out pieces of worbla slightly bigger than your piece. It needs to be bigger in order to fully cover all the edges. Cut one piece for each side. Save the scraps for the handle piece! Once cut, take one piece and start to heat it with a heat gun. I recommend wearing gloves for the part, as worbla can burn your hands when hot. Using even passes over the surface of the worbla, heat up the whole piece until it becomes soft. Carefully place it over the craft foam, and reheat it a bit to start to mold it into the details. Flip it over and place the other piece of worbla over the other side. Repeat the heating process on this piece until it starts to mold into the details of the craft foam. Using a wooden clay tool or other such tool (I actually used a pencil with the lead broken off), carefully push the worbla into the details to bring out all the raised lines. Reheat and warm the worbla as necessary to get the details to pop. Once done with one side, reheat the edges of both sides to cut off any excess worbla from the seams. Repeat the same detailing procedure with the other side.

    If anything is uneven or needs to be bent, carefully reheat that section, bend and hold the piece until it fully cools and sets.

    For the handle, cut up and heat small scraps of worbla to roll together into a ball. Once rolled together, roll around in the palms of your hands until the seams of the pieces are no longer visible. Smash the ball down into a rectangular shape about an inch wide, one and a half long, and about three eighths thick. Reheat the base of the blade where the handle will attach, and attach the rectangle shape.

    For the handle itself, do the same procedure as above, but use a lot of scraps and heat the worbla into a log. Roll it out to a log about an inch thick and 6 inches long. If you need more scraps, heat and roll them into the log. Once the roll is big enough, flatten out the log until it is a little over an inch wide and a half inch thick. Reheat the base of the blade, and the end of the handle that you are attaching to the blade, and stick together. Since the worbla log was so thick, it will take awhile to cool. Make sure to hold it in the shape that you want while it cools. The end of the pommel can be made using the same techniques as above, shaping scraps into balls and shaping accordingly. The joints of the handle and the blade and pommel were reinforced with small worbla snakes.

    The whole process is a lot of heating, shaping, and waiting, but the end result is pretty neat!

    Wonder Woman Tiara

    We asked Methyl Ethyl Cosplay to create a tutorial for us using Black Worbla, and she shared this great writeup for making your own Wonder Woman tiara from the new movie designs.

    Materials Used:
    Paper
    Pen
    Scissors
    Straight pins
    Exacto pen
    Dremel
    2mm craft foam
    Heat gun
    Sculpting tools
    Worbla

    Step 1:
    First things first, using paper, a pen, a mirror, and a reference of Gal wearing the WW tiara, I sketched out my base pattern to fit my forehead in as close proportion to my reference as possible. I then cut the pattern out, folding it in half when cutting to achieve symmetry. Next, I
    sketched out the details onto one side of the base pattern to match my reference. I transferred the pattern to 2mm craft foam. I incorporated slits on either end of the tiara for attaching straps to secure the tiara in place for wear.

    Step 2:
    I tend to make my patterns by way of dissection. For this, I cut the base pattern in half, and cut out pieces from it to make my first detail layer. Once the first layer was cut out, I transferred the detail pattern to foam.
    Tip: I like to use pins to secure the pattern in place when transferring them to foam.

    Step 3:
    Once my first detail layer was transferred, I then cut the pattern once more to reveal my second detail layer. I transferred this to the foam.

    Step 4:
    I cut all three layers out using an Exacto pen.

    Step 5:
    I wanted the tiara to protrude outward a tad at the centerline so I heated a small piece of Worbla, rolled it into a thin cylinder, and superglued it to the centerline of the base foam piece.

    Step 6:
    I then adhered the second detail layer with super glue.

    Step 7:
    I wanted the edges of the central “V” shape to be thin, so I tapered them some with a Dremel tool.


    Step 8:
    I then adhered the final detail layer with super glue.


    Step 9:
    I tapered the “V” edges once more with my Dremel tool.

    Step 10:
    Now on to the fun part! When working with Worbla, I prefer to use the sandwich method. I traced my tiara outline with about an inch to spare on all sides onto Worbla, twice. I then cut these two pieces out. I heated the Worbla pieces with a heat gun and sandwiched my foam piece between the two Worbla layers with the glue sides (shiny side) of the Worbla each facing the middle (interfacing with the foam). Using my heat gun and sculpting tools, I accentuated all of the foam details beneath and removed the excess Worbla around the edges of the tiara with scissors.

    Step 11:
    I next made additional details with Worbla and added them to the tiara, adhering and and shaping them with heat and sculpting tools.



    Step 12:

    Once the detailing was officially complete, I heated the piece once more and shaped it to my forehead.

    And she’s built!

    Come at me bro.

    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.

    Materials
    Black Worbla
    3mm Craft Foam
    Heatgun
    Scissors
    Hot Glue
    Super 77 Spray Glue
    Felt
    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

    How to make Elizabeth Bathory’s Horns

    We asked Jessie Pridemore to create a tutorial for us using Black Worbla, and she shared this excellent breakdown on how she made her unique horns for Elizabeth Bathory below.

    Elizabeth Bathory’s Horns

    Elizabeth’s horns are very unique and different than normal horns because they are flat and have a lot of deep texture. These horns are deceptive in their difficulty and it took a few methods to get exactly the look I wanted. At the end of the tutorial, I’ll show my mistakes and ways you can avoid them.

    Here’s what her horns look like


    I started with styrofoam discs from Michaels since I felt they were the right size.


    Using the bottom of a can of spraypaint, I imprint a ring into the styrofoam

    Take a spoon and slowly start digging the insides away. This doesn’t have to be perfect since it’s going to get covered and it’s going to be really hard to see the insides.

    I took some sandpaper to it to make it a little more even.

    Using foamy sheets from Michaels, I make rings (that will go on the outside) and strips that will cover the outer ring

    Using hot glue, I cover the inside of the ring with fabric.
    **THIS IS THE ONLY TIME I WILL BE USING HOT GLUE** It is VERY important when working with thermoplastics that you do not use hot glue where heat will be applied. You’ll undo the glue and it will be a huge mess.

    I will be using Zap a Gap for my glue. You can order it on amazon or get it at hobby shops. It’s a very fast drying super glue (you can get even faster versions too). It’s dries REALLY fast, so be careful if you use this. Always test glues on the styrofoam you are using since a lot of chemicals eat it.

    Put glue on the ring and foam

    I put them under some weighs for 45 seconds to make sure it’s on there nice and good, but since we are covering everything with Worbla, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

    Time to glue the foam on the outside!

    Go into the crevices and glue them shut. Worbla picks up on minor details and you want to make sure it’s as smooth as possible.

    At this point I will be cutting out the “ridges” for the groove effect in her horns.

    **TIP** When gluing down your strips, keep in mind that when you put the Worbla over it, it will make the grooves smaller. So over compensate how you place them, putting them wider apart than you would.

    Using the thicker foam sheets (also from Michaels), cut out strips and start gluing them around the edges.

    The thicker sheets aren’t as large, so you’ll have to do it in segments, just place it smartly and use a gap as a “seam.”

    Now take a knife and cut away the parts at the openings.

    Take out some wax paper. This is important because the Worbla won’t stick to it. Heat up a strip of Worbla to where it gets soft.

    **TIP** I use silicone finger guards to put the Worbla into the shape because it doesn’t stick to the plastic and I don’t have to worry about the heat.

    I use my finger indent the groove so I can go in with a tiny tool and start pushing in the Worbla into the groove. This is a very slow process. You don’t want to rip the Worbla.

    There’s no clear shots of the side of her horns and I wanted to do something more stylistic than I normally would. I cut slits into the plastic where each groove is and start folding down each section, folding it under and into the ring.

    Now I can heat up the rest and start pushing in the remaining grooves. Remember when you are pushing Worbla out, always push it away and out. So choose a center point and always push Worbla away from the point.

    Now that the ring is complete, I can start working on the horns. First and foremost, I need to figure out how long they are. When figuring out how big a part of a costume is, I use my head as a basis. My head is eight inches tall. Using PS, I see how many “heads” tall the part is so that I know how big it needs to be on me to be accurate. I have determined that the smallest horn is 12 inches and the tallest 14.5.

    Using a bendable ruler, I can see how long the horn is to be 14.5 inches tall. In this case, it needs to be 17 inches long.

    I make a paper pattern of what I want the horn to look like.

    Each horn has one foam base and two sets of “strips” for ridges.

    I glue the strips onto on side. This will be the inside. The side you have to do first because it’s flatter.

    I cut out a piece of Worbla slightly bigger than the piece. Heat it up and push it onto the plastic. Remember to use your wax paper!

    Just like with the ring, heat it up and push through the grooves taking your time. This time I’m using one of my leather working tools to drag it out. Push the edges down flat to the wax paper.

    Once it cools, flip it over and glue the frame onto the other side. Cut out the grooves like you did with the ring.

    Heat up the Worbla and slowly start pushing it on like you have done many times before.

    Push the edges of both sides together and after it cools, cut off the excess.

    Dremel the edges flat.

    Heat up both sides thoroughly and slowly start shaping the horn. Let it cool.
    **See end notes for a better tip on this than what I did**

    Heat up the tab that goes inside the ring and push it in and fold it over. Place the horn in the position you want it to cool in.

    The final horn. Though I want to play with the shape a little more. For more progress on this costume, or to see more of my work, please follow me on Instagram as @jessie.pridemore or on Facebook at Jessie Pridemore

    MISTAKES


    I really only made one. I should have shaped the horn after the inside layer or Worbla was put down then put of outer later of Worbla on. It would have prevented this from happening.

    How To Build A Sword With Worbla

    We asked Termina Cosplay to craft a tutorial for us using Worbla’s Black Art, and this was her fantastic result! See below for the step-by-step process!

    The sword I use for my example is Erza Scarlet’s Flight Armor sword from Fairy Tail, but you can use this method to make any sword you want. The methods and techiniques I describe here are universal and can be used an a wide variety of projects, whether it be a sword, another kind of prop, or even armor!

    Materials/Tools:
    Worbla
    Plywood, foam board, or Balsa wood
    Insulation foam
    Heat gun
    X-acto, craft knives
    Clay roller (optional)
    Paper
    Spray adhesive or tape
    Writing utensils
    Scissors
    Rulers, yard sticks, etc.
    Square
    Dremel with sanding wheel
    Palm Sander (if you work with wood)
    Sand paper
    Other Woodworking tools (if you choose to use wood)

    Step 1: Make a Template

    The first thing you’ll do is make a full size template for your sword. You’ll need to use this template to cut the base of your sword out. Unless you’re able to find a template already made online, you’ll need to draw one from scratch. I used a large sheet of paper, a pencil, a yard stick, a square, and some reference images to get the job done.

    As long as your sword is symmetrical, you only need to draw one side. Draw one half, then fold your paper over at the center, and transfer the lines to the other side by tracing over them. Then, you’ll have a perfectly symmetrical sword template!

    Some sword designs may have some extra details that are harder to draw on a flat template. Instead of drawing all these on, I only drew what was most important. This template is going to be a guide to help you build the sword in the proper dimensions, so you don’t necessarily need all the details drawn as long as you know where they’ll go. For example, mine has spikes going around the hilt. I drew one to gauge size, and left the other 7 I would need off the template since I didn’t need to draw them to know where they’d go.

    Once you’re happy with your template, you’ll want to make a second one, but this time without the hilt. The first template is simply for reference. This new template will be the one you use to cut the base of your sword out. The base doesn’t need to have the hilt on it, and it will actually make things easier to not include it, so leave it off this time.

    To make things easier, get another sheet of paper and trace the second template out. That way you don’t have to start from scratch!

    Step 2: Cut Out Your Base

    Once you have a template, its time to cut out a base for your sword. You need to use something rigid and somewhat thick that will hold its shape. I used 1/2 inch plywood, but if you don’t have the means to work with plywood, you can easily use another material, such as foam board or balsa wood instead, though you may need to use multiple layers if your material starts out thinner. Whatever you use, just make sure its at least 1/2 inch thick in the end, so you can shape the blade later.

    The first thing you’ll do is stick your template down to your choice of base material. I used a spray adhesive. I sprayed a thin layer of glue onto the pattern and then stuck it right to the plywood I was using. This made it very easy to cut the shape out. If you don’t want to use spray adhesive, just tape the template down and trace the shape out.

    Next, cut the base out. Since my material of choice was plywood, I used using a jigsaw. If you’re using another material, such as foam board or Balsa wood, you can simply use a craft knife or X-Acto knife to cut it out.

    Once you’re done, you’ll have a nice, solid base layer to build your sword off of!

    Step 3: Shape the Blade:

    Now that you have a base layer, it’s time to shape the blade. This is why it was important to use at least 1/2 inch thick base layer, so you’d have room to bevel the edges of the blade. If you’re using foam board you can use X-Acto or craft knives to carve your blade, and sand paper to clean it up and shape it. With Balsa, its easy to use a sander and sand the edges all the way down. With my Plywood base, I used a large sanding drum and a palm sander to cut the bevel in. Before you start, draw some reference lines for the bevel on the blade to help keep you on track while shaping. To keep the blade from moving, you can clamp it down to your workspace with just a few simple clamps.


    Whatever material you’re using, be sure to shape all the way around the base, even on the handle.


    After I had the blade shaped as much as I could, I went back in with my smaller Dremel and sand paper to clean it up even further.


    Your finished base layer should look something like what you see below, and it should fit right into your first template.

    Step 4: Build The Hilt

    Next it’s on to the hilt! Start by making a template for the shape of your hilt. Mine needed to be an oval, so I drew the cross in the middle using a ruler and a square first, and then drew the curve around it.


    Once you have the shape of your hilt drawn, you’ll need to mark where the base will go through. The hilt should be able to slide right over the base and fit snugly in its spot, so measure out how large your base layer is where the hilt will sit, and draw a rectangle on your hilt template where the base will fit. I used the cross I initially drew as a starting point and drew the rectangle around the center of that.


    Next is to cut your hilt out of a material of your choice. I’m using insulation foam because its simple to cut and shape. You could also use EVA foam for this if you wanted, and you’d end up with essentially the same results. Using a marker, I just traced the template, including the base hole in the center, and cut it out using a scroll saw. If you don’t have a scroll saw, a craft knife works just fine.

    You’ll need to cut the base hole out too. Its hard to do with a normal X-Acto knife blade, but if you switch a flat “chisel” type blade it makes things a lot easier. All you have to do is poke down into the foam with your blade all along the lines and you’ll have a nice little hole to stick your base layer through. If your blade isn’t long enough to go through the whole piece (like mine was) just flip the piece over, use your template to draw the guide lines on that side, and poke through again.


    As you can see below, the hilt fits perfectly on the sword base.


    After all that, shape it up! I use a Dremel with a sanding wheel and some sandpaper. Of course, if you’re sanding foam, be sure to wear a mask! You don’t want to breath in those dust particles you’ll be stirring up!


    With some patience, you can get a nice, smooth shape like you see below.

    Step 5: Apply Worbla to your Base

    Finally, it’s on to Worbla! First, you’re going to cover just the blade. Cut a piece out that is at least inch larger on each side than your blade is.


    Then, place that piece over your blade and heat it up. Place it right where the hilt will meet the blade, heat it up, and let the Worbla fall into place around the blade. Then, use your fingers to press the Worbla down and around the edges. Do not wrap all the way around, let it stop at the edge of the blade. Be careful though! Worbla can get extremely really hot!


    You can also use clay or leather working tools to help you out. Just use a bit of water with them to keep them from stick to the hot Worbla.


    Once you’ve formed the entire first side, let it cool off. Once it’s cool, take a craft knife and cut the excess Worbla off, getting as close as you can to a smooth edge as possible.


    Next, repeat the same process for the other side. Be sure to seal the edges together! If you need to, you can always reheat the Worbla to help it stick to itself.


    Once you’re done, the blade should be left with a nice, smooth edge, as you see below.


    If you’re having problems with the edges not sealing shut, you can always heat them back up and use a tool to press them together. This can also help get rid of seam lines.


    My favorite way to get rid of seam lines is to use my Dremel. With a sanding wheel on a low setting, I just run the Dremel over the seam line, which sands it down and leaves a nice smooth edge.


    Next, cover the hilt. If you’ve used insulation foam like I did, you’ll need to be extra careful here. Insulation foam does not take heat well, and will melt if you hit it with your heat gun. To get around this, heat your Worbla up away from the insulation foam, and then work very quickly and shape it over the foam before it cools off. Be sure you heat it enough so that its easy to work with. It should be floppy and completely bendable and stretchable before trying to form it over the foam.


    Remember to work quickly, and try your best to press all the bumps and bubbles out before it cools. We’re only going to cover about half of the hilt with this piece, so no need to try and stretch it all the way around.


    Once it cools, find a nice, easy spot to cut the excess Worbla off. With Erza’s Flight Armor Sword, had a nice edge along the center that was the perfect place to end the first layer of Worbla.


    Next, repeat the process for the other side. Make sure the second side seals to the first, and then use a pair of sharp scissors to cut the excess Worbla off.


    Then, use a Dremel to sand the seam line smooth.


    Last, you’ll need to cut the Worbla out of the hole for your sword base I just used my X-Acto knife for this.

    Step 6: Add Extra Details

    Now is the time to add any extra details you might need. You can do this simply by using up all your Worbla scraps you’ve accumulated during the build! I needed some spikes, so I gathered a bunch of scraps, heated them up, smashed them together, and shaped them until I was happy with how it looked. Don’t forget you can always use tools to help you!

    I repeated this process until every spike was complete. I also used my Dremel to clean up the edges and make the edges sharper.

    Step 7: Attach the hilt to the base

    It’s as easy as it sounds! Just heat up both pieces, slide the hilt onto the base, and press! The Worbla will glue to itself and keep the hilt on.

    Step 8: Build up the handle.

    Now its time to start building up the handle. How you want your handle to look will determine how you proceed. With mine, I needed a rounded end, so I built the area up with some scraps of Worbla. I just heated them up, pressed them on, and shaped them until they generally looked how I wanted. Then, I covered the whole handle with a piece of Worbla. The shape was a bit lumpy, so I then used my Dremel to smooth it out.


    Here’s a tip: If you want to turn your scraps back into a flat sheet, use a clay roller! All you have to do is heat them up, smash them together, and run them through the roller to make a nice, flat sheet. I used this method to make new sheets for the details on my handle.


    For the rest of he handle, I needed some “wrapping” so I made a new sheet of Worbla from some scraps, cut it to a 1 inch thick strip, and used it to wrap 1 inch thick pieces all around the handle.

    I then used my Dremel to sand away all the seam lines, and then heated it back up and used a flat tool to redefine each section.


    I then added a “cap” to the pommel with more scraps.

    Step 9: Last Details

    You might have some more intricate details that still need to be added. Erza’s Flight Armor sword has some spiky, thorny details that extend off of the hilt around the blade. To make these, I used nothing but scraps! I made the basic shape by rolling some scraps into a noodle, then I shaped it, sanded down any seam lines, and added the little spikes with more scrap material.


    Then, to attach them on, I simply heated all points of contact with my heat gun and pressed the pieces together. You don’t want to heat them up so much that they start to become bendable. Instead, heat just enough to make the ends a bit tacky. They just need to be able to grab onto each other to be able to stick. Once it cools, you’ll have a hard time getting them back off!


    And with the final details complete, you have a finished sword! All that’s left to do is prime and paint!


    The possibilities of building with Worbla are virtually endless! My example might be Erza’s Flight Armor Sword, but you can use these methods to create anything you want! You’re not limited to what you see here!

    Here is the finished project, unpainted, below!

    Carmine Warren

    Carmine Warren of ShootTheLook.com recently discovered Worbla and has created some fantastic pieces with it. We had the chance to reach out to Carmine and ask about his work, and he shared his thoughts on Worbla and the process that went behind creating some of his iconic looks with us!

    Carmine Warren is a creative Photographer located in Orlando Florida and focuses on blending textures, color and custom designs to create Fashion Art. Blending different genres, styles and unique concepts allows Carmine to create one of a kind looks with a Fashion Flair.

    This year Carmine was determined to take his unique photography and designs to a new level and he needed something different. A product that was easy to use and capable of making changes in the middle of a shoot. Searching for a product that is both easy to use and that can be incorporated into his designs proved challenging.

    One night Carmine was introduced to Worbla, his excitement went through the roof. This product seemed easy to use, capable of things never seen before and you can get started quickly! The Dark Series was born, with a passion for Worbla and several full sheets purchased from CosplaySupplies.com and watching a few videos on Worbla.com, inspiration was endless.

    Carmine Warren is excited to announce Worbla as his official thermoplastic. With so many to choose from, Worbla meets the demands of his designs and the ability to hold its shape when fitting a model with a piece.

    Dark Wedding

    “This piece incorporates Worbla into the Headpiece, The Horns and Base is made of Worbla. By using Worbla, this allowed me to go bigger and still be cautious of the weight of the headpiece.”

    Dark Inspired Medusa

    “This piece incorporates Worbla into the Headpiece, The Horns and Base is made of Worbla. By using Worbla, this allowed me to go bigger and build a frame for this headpiece and support to stay on the head. I couldn’t have made this without Worbla.”

    Medusa Version 2


    “In this version the headpiece is made of Worbla, the neckpiece and body piece is all Worbla. I wanted to create a more dominant version of this look and used pieces from other designs to blend and make a second version of this.”

    Medusa Version 3


    “The 3rd version of this image is without the headpiece and it takes on a very elegant formal look. This is what amazes me with Worbla, you can mix the looks for endless possibilities. With the versatility Worbla has provided. My Dark Series has exploded. If you are not using Worbla in your designs, start today. If you are a photographer that wants to be different, get Worbla!”

    Black Wedding


    “This piece incorporates Worbla into the Headpiece, The Horns and Base is made of Worbla. By using Worbla, this allowed me to go bigger and still be cautious of the weight of the headpiece. This look was inspired by the Dark Wedding look and I wanted to changes the colors up and show designers and photographers. Once you understand Worbla and how to make a base. The ideas are endless!”

    Harvest Moon


    “This look pushed me into a new direction. I needed to mix it up some. After I shot my first version, It was just another headpiece. It needed more and below you will see 2 versions.
    Version 1- A headpiece made of Worbla
    Version 2- Headpiece was made with Worbla. Then I created a chest piece and then tried something new. I created molds of designs and rolled up Worbla and pushed it into the mold. Once it hardened I heated it slightly and began connecting pieces and shaping them to the Model.”

    Dark Princess


    “This incorporates Worbla into the headpiece. I also attached Worbla the ends of the black and silver braided Fabric and molded then into the design. These braided pieces stay in place with the help of Velcro. Worbla helped make these braids stay on and come off very easily.”

    Dark Warrior


    “The helmet was my first Worbla design and I have a special fondness of it. I really didn’t have an idea of where it would go. I just started making some pieces and started sticking them together. The came the Body Armor next. This was a fun today and I had an idea of what I wanted to do and it all changed. Once you get the hang of Worbla, you experiment. That’s what I did with this piece and loved the outcome. The bracelets and neck piece are also made of Worbla.”

    —————————

    You can find Carmine’s work at his website, ShootTheLook.com, or follow him on Facebook or Instagram

    DIY Prosthetic Cover

    Prosthesis can leave a lot to be desired, especially when worn under clothing where the silhouette is changed due to the void of space. This can be specially noticeable when walking or when wind is pushing against fabric.
    leg8

    One of the folks at our receiving warehouse has a leg prosthesis and mentioned the cost of a ‘shell’ cover was prohibitively expensive. When she asked if we thought a Worbla cover could be made for her, we decided to give it a try!

    This was our first ever attempt and had to be done in very short sessions, so don’t think this is the only method – this is just a base idea you can expand upon!

    Step One: Making a tape duplicate of the body part.
    We wrapped our model’s other leg in cellophane and then masking tape to get the basic shape we’d need, then transferred that to Worbla’s Mesh Art. We chose Mesh Art because it’s the most durable of Worbla products.
    Note: Obviously this would give us two left calves, but the difference under clothing was not particularly noticeable.

    Step Two: Shaping
    We cut out our Worbla and heated it over a piece of parchment paper (to keep it from sticking to our table). When it was fully heated and soft, we let it cool enough that it wasn’t too hot to touch, and then wrapped it around our model’s leg. It’s important to be careful of the heat! You can wear an old sock over the skin to keep it insulated if you are very sensitive to heat. Mesh art is very sticky and can leave residue, so don’t use anything you don’t want to risk getting damaged as a buffer layer.

    Once we had the piece shaped, we trimmed it down and folded over the edges at the top for additional strength.

    Our model's prosthetic, the tape double of her other leg for the pattern, and the formed worbla wrapped around the bare prosthetic - clearly too small, but a good start!
    Our model’s prosthetic, the tape double of her other leg for the pattern, and the formed worbla wrapped around the bare prosthetic – clearly too small, but a good start!

    Step Three: Padding
    We needed something to bulk up the prosthetic leg, and went for as simple and easy as we could: 1/2 inch floor mat foam, cut into 4 strips. We hot glued 2 together (I actually suggest contact cement for a better bond) and added elastic and hook and eye tape for strapping. This allows our model to add the shell when she wants to without permanently modifying her prosthesis.

    leg6

    Step Four: Attachments
    Again, as simple as we could go: Hook and loop tape on elastic. We added this by using hot glue to attach the elastic and then layering a piece of Mesh Art over that, the smooth (glue) side down. This created a very strong bond where we didn’t have to worry about the elastic pulling away with use.

    The shell of the leg and the velcro and elastic attachment. You can see the top edge of the Worbla was folded down for a smoother finish and added strength.
    The shell of the leg and the hook and loop tape with elastic attachment. You can see the top edge of the Worbla was folded down for a smoother finish and added strength.
    For a super strong bond, we wrapped the flastic in Mesh Art first, then attached that to the shell. The adhesive in Mesh Art is so strong we didn't have to worry about the elastic pulling out with use.
    For a super strong bond, we wrapped the flastic in Mesh Art first, then attached that to the shell. The adhesive in Mesh Art is so strong we didn’t have to worry about the elastic pulling out with use.

    leg7

    The finished product isn’t perfect but it does the job of filling up our model’s empty space around her leg and was done with a medium sheet of Mesh Art. It’s lightweight and the cost including elastic and hook loop tape was under $50. And of course you can paint it with spray paint, acrylics, or cover it with fabric to add your own flair!

    leg8

    Overwatch Costumes!

    Sigrun Mercy by Grumpycat Cosplay, photo by Milos Mlady Photography
    Sigrun Mercy by Grumpycat Cosplay, photo by Milos Mlady Photography

    The Worbla team has a few Overwatch enthusiasts on board, so we wanted to create a gallery showcasing Overwatch costumes from around the world that used Worbla in some way!

    Each Cosplayer (and if available, Photographer) is credited on their image. Be sure to check their work out!

    Of course we don’t just have these fantastic cosplayers, we also have tutorials and in-depth galleries for those who want to make their own Overwatch costume! Check out our Soldier 76 mask and gun tutorial, Cyberspace Sombra Pauldron tutorial, Aubis Pharah gallery and Cyberspace Sombra gallery!

    Do you have an Overwatch costume featuring Worbla? Send us your photo (with photographer credit) to Lenore@worbla.com and we’ll add it to our gallery!

    Clay Molds for Intricate Details on Worbla

    Termina Cosplay shared this fantastic tutorial on how to give your Worbla intense filigree detail without hours of sculpting work!

    ——————

    You can make very tiny, very intricate details in Worbla or other thermoplastics easily by making and using a Super Sculpey clay mold! It’s much easier and faster than just sculpting the details into your thermoplastic itself (and you’ll probably burn yourself less).

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    I needed some tiny filigree type details for an armor build I was working on, and sculpting them into my TerraFlex directly was not nearly fast enough. So I thought, “Why not make a mold and smash the details in?” It worked so well I wanted to share the method!

    First off you’ll need a pattern for your details. Just draw it out however you want it to be.

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    Then use that pattern to trace your design onto a flat piece of clay. Something fairly strong is needed, so I used Super Sculpey. Make sure your pencil lines are dark, place it face down on your clay and trace over the lines to transfer the lines to the clay.

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    Once you peel the paper off, you should be left with the design.

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    Next, just press all those lines down into the clay with a tool. Once done, bake it according to instructions, and let it cool completely when it’s done.

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    Next, Take some scraps of whatever thermoplastic you’re using, heat them up, and flatten them out.

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    Also, coat your new Super Sculpey mold with a bit of petroleum jelly to prevent it from sticking.

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    While the thermoplastic you’re using is still warm and moldable, smash it into your mold! Mask sure you smash hard enough to get all the details. When you pop it off, you should have a perfect copy!

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    Now all you have to do is trim the edges!

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    Now you have tiny intricate details and it hardly took any effort at all!

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    Fabric Stamps with Worbla

    Elemental Photography and Design shared this quick tutorial on how she created simple fabric stamps from Worbla and 6mm Foam.

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    The plan is to create this costume using only fabric from my stash, but I don’t have something with these pronnounced circle spirals… painting that many would be time consuming by hand and I have a tight deadline so: 6mm foam pictured left, 2 circles cut out and glued together. On the right, one circle and one spiral cut by hand and then gently sanded by hand, glued together.

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    The foam shapes are covered with Worbla’s Finest Art. WFA has better stretch which was important for the spiral (and they were what scraps I had handy). For the spiral, I heated the Worbla and then pressed around the raised foam working from the inside out. This is important to let the Worbla stretch without tearing, though you can see it’s quite thin at the lowest points.
    I wrapped the Worbla around the back and made simple handles.

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    I used normal acrylic paint for this. Top, I applied the paint with a roller used for lino-printing, which gave a very fingerprint effect.
    Bottom, the paint was spread out on a flat plastic palette and the stamp was dipped in the paint.

    The results aren’t perfectly opaque or even, its a bit rustic or grunge, but for a mad hatter costume the effect will work well.

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    Top left: Attempting to apply paint to the stamp with a paintbrush. Not suggested.
    The rest: All dipped into paint spread in a thin layer on wax paper.

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    Tip: Make sure your paint isn’t too thick on the surface of the stamp, or it will create a ‘ring; around the edge of thicker paint lines (shown top)
    I usually work the paint onto my stamp, then dab off the excess onto paper before applying to fabric.

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    You don’t have to use Worbla for this – you could probably use just foam if you only needed to do it once or twice, but i wanted something that would be easy to apply pressure to evenly/lift up without making a mess and also be durable enough for 40+ uses.

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    Anubis Pharah – Overwatch

    Photo by Milos Mlady Photography

    Germia used Worbla and EVA foam to create her stunning Anubis Pharah with wings that move! It’s an amazing build and you can see her progress and the final build below!

    Photos by Emzone and Milos Mlady Photography

    You can see the wings move in this clip here:

    Mio Design NYC

    Miodrag Guberinic is a costume designer and artisan working out of NYC. His studio, Mio Design NYC, has done work for Madonna, Katy Perry, Shiseido and others, and was a winner of 3 separate awards in 2016’s World of Wearable Art competition. His work has been featured in window displays, music videos, and magazine spreads, and we have been ecstatic to learn he loves to use Worbla in his work!

    We’ve collected a gallery of some of Mio’s work you can see below. And be sure to check out his website and instagram for more amazing, awe-inspiring images!

    World of Wearable Art

    Khepri:
    By Miodrag Guberinic & Alexa Cach,
    Winner of the Wellington International Award: Americas and Second in the David Jones Avant Garde Section

    Eden: Cruise Show


    Helia‘ headpiece
    Base created with Worbla’s Mesh Art, structure made out of brass and swarowski crystals with vintage brass components.

    Sweden’s Elephant Ball


    Mask created as part of the fashion project and fundraiser “The Perfect World Foundation” for the “Elephant ball” in Sweden.
    Last image credit to josespaillat

    Shiseido RougeRouge


    Red Queen Hat base made of Wobla’s Finest Art


    SHISEIDO ROUGE ROUGE-30sec from AMBER GRAY on Vimeo.

    Theia Bridal Collection.


    Clear & Crystal Corset made out of Worbla’s TranspArt
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    Clear crystal corset finale. ♡ collaboration with @theiacouture @dononeilldesign

    A post shared by Miodrag Guberinic (@miodesignnyc) on

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    Want to find more of Mio Design NYC’s work? Check out his website and instagram

    Squaring Up Edges


    “…And Sewing is Half the Battle!” shared this great tip for getting cleaner, squared edges on Worbla armor and designs!

    One drawback of hand-forming costume accessories is that they can sometimes come out looking bumpy or uneven, an appearance that persists no matter how many layers of coating agent or primer you add. An easy way to make your pieces look more “finished” and professional is to clean up the edges!

    Here, I’m using Worbla’s Finest Art to make a piece of armor that has a raised edge. I built this edge by rolling a Worbla snake and sticking it on top of the flat base, then blending over the seam with another thin strip of Worbla. However, even after carefully blending the pieces, it still looks lumpy:
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    And I would like it to look more like this:
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    So we’re going to square the edge!
    During this process, keep the Worbla warm (just enough to remain pliable, not sticky). If necessary, give it a few more passes of the heat gun from time to time.
    First, press the top of the rolled edge flat. You can use fingers for this, or use a rolling pin or glass bottle if you have a large area to cover.
    Next, keep pressure on the flattened top while pressing against the side with a smooth, flat object (in this case, the smooth back side of a plastic pencil sharpener that was conveniently lying nearby). Make sure whatever you’re pressing into the Worbla won’t stick to the warm plastic!
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    (Pretend my right hand is holding the pencil sharpener, instead of taking the photo.)
    For curved or complex forms, you can use any smooth object of the right shape and size. Drinking glasses and spice containers are convenient cylinders for inside curves:
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    Work progressively along the side of your piece until you have a neat, even corner running along the outer edge. You can also use a large cylinder such as a glass and roll it along the outside edge to even out lumpy areas.
    If you’re forming small designs that you can’t easily square by hand, you can use a flat-sided tool for those hard-to-reach areas. Here I’m using a dental spatula, but you could also try a butter knife or a metal nail file.
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    …And that’s it! It’s an easy step to make your pieces look cleaner and more finished. Give it a try on your next project. Happy crafting!

    Worbla Sheet Instructions

    Worbla’s sheet form plastics (Currently Finest Art, TranspArt, Black Art, Mesh Art, FlameRed Art) do not have hard ‘instructions’ the way Worbla’s pellet plastics do, but this page will hopefully give you an understanding of the basic process of how to work with Worbla’s sheet plastics to achieve a variety of effects and results.
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    Working with Finest Art, Black Art, Mesh Art, FlameRed Art.

    Heating:
    These products activate at 90°C (195°F). Heating can be done with a heat gun or oven. Water is also possible but can be more difficult to control.
    Once heated, the material will become flexible, malleable, stretchy and adhesive. When cool, they will return to a hard plastic.

    Sculpting:
    When activated, these Worbla sheets resemble warm beeswax: detail can be sculpted in but the plastic is resilient enough to avoid ‘squishing’ as you work.
    Worbla can be combined to create a putty to sculpt from, or be added to an armature or form. No adhesive is required to attach Worbla to most forms or to itself. These types of Worbla can be reheated endlessly, and will cool in the shape they have been given. There is no shelf life for Worbla, a project can be worked on endlessly.

    Dragon sculpted from Worbla's Finest Art by Accessories for the Universe.
    Dragon sculpted from Worbla’s Finest Art by Accessories for the Universe.

    Molding:
    Heated Worbla can be draped over a form and pressed into shape, pushed into a mold, or vacuformed. Complicated shapes may need you to work in sections, avoid undercuts, or have a second pair of hands to achieve a smooth look. A mold release is suggested for most molds to prevent the adhesive in Worbla from sticking.

    Worbla's Finest Art draped over a clay form to create a bird skull by Pretzl Cosplay
    Worbla’s Finest Art draped over a clay form to create a bird skull by Pretzl Cosplay

    You can see another example of Worbla being cast here.

    Flat Shapes:
    These Worbla products are usually backed with either the fold method or the sandwich method to create flat shapes, to give the plastic body and prevent it from warping while being shaped. This involves creating the shape in flat foam, often in separate pieces, covering the foam in Worbla, and then joining the pieces together to create the final result.

    Top and right: Worbla sandwiched over foam to create overlapping plates for leg armor. Bottom left: shoulder pauldron made of overlapped sandwiched foam and Worbla's Finest Art. By Kamui.
    Top and right: Worbla sandwiched over foam to create overlapping plates for leg armor. Bottom left: shoulder pauldron made of overlapped sandwiched foam and Worbla’s Finest Art. By Kamui.

    Reinforcing:
    Worbla is often used to cover a structure made of foam, paper, or other lightweight material. Cut a piece of Worbla larger than your shape, heat and wrap. Some darting (removing material) may be needed for very complex shapes, or you may need to work in sections to get a smooth finish.

    expanding foam carved into shape and then covered in Worbla for a lightweight prop. By Kamui.
    Expanding foam carved into shape and then covered in Worbla for a lightweight prop. By Kamui.

    Differences in the above materials:
    Mesh Art is the ‘stickiest’ of the sheet plastics. The mesh structure in it lends strength, but can make molding and sculpting more difficult.
    Finest Art and FlameRed art are less sticky/adhesive than Mesh Art but still have a strong adhesive property for joining parts. FlameRed has a flame retardant built in and is smoother and will stretch further without tearing. Finest Art has the roughest texture (like an orange peel).
    Black Art has a smoother texture (close to fine-grit sandpaper) and will tear if stretched. Black Art takes fine detail the best, but is the least adhesive of the group and will require additional heat and pressure for secure joins.

    You can learn more about each product here.

    Working with TranspArt:

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    Worbla’s TranspArt (Transpa Art) is currently the most difficult of Worbla products to use, due to the high activation temperature and lack of adhesive. We always suggest researching this product thoroughly before working with it to avoid frustration.

    Heating:
    TranspArt can be heated by a heat gun or oven, and activates at 120°C (250°F). That is above boiling and as a result heat-resistant gloves are highly suggested to avoid injury or discomfort.

    Sculpting:
    TranspArt does not create a ‘putty’ the way that other Worbla plastics do. When activated it is a very flexible, malleable plastic that can be melded: however it must be quite hot and it is easy to overheat and turn the plastic to something closer to hot glue which can stick to your work surface. 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.

    This skull was molded and sculpted by  Naruvien Art&Design. TranspArt becomes milky and more crystal-like the more it is worked.
    This skull was molded and sculpted by Naruvien Art&Design. TranspArt becomes milky and more crystal-like the more it is worked.

    Molding:
    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. We have videos of various vacuform methods for TranspArt here.

    Flat Shapes:
    TranspArt does not adhere to itself and is a much more flexible plastic. As a result the sandwich and fold methods are much more difficult to achieve. Large completely flat shapes may droop and require additional support (such as wings) but curved shapes hold better. Consider adding curves or large base support to create more stability.

    This 'splash' wearable art was created by Abrahamd Levy. Note that the large base allows the TranspArt to hold its shape against gravity.
    This ‘splash’ wearable art was created by Abrahamd Levy. Note that the large base allows the TranspArt to hold its shape against gravity.

    Coloring:
    TranspArt can be dyed with polyester dyes such as iDye poly, painted with spray paints and spray tints, colored with alcohol inks (like sharpies), and painted with glass paints.

    TranspArt gradient dyed for a pheonix headdress by  Gothichamlet of Cowbuttcrunchies.
    TranspArt gradient dyed for a pheonix headdress by Gothichamlet of Cowbuttcrunchies.

    Note:
    TranspArt does technically self adhere, but the temperature range is so narrow to create a solid join we do not generally suggest relying on TranspArt’s adhesive properties, instead instant glues (such as crazy glue) work well. TranspArt is solvent stable and glues will not fog it.

    To learn more about TranspArt, click here.

    We have a wide range of tutorials, in text, pictorial and video form. Take a look at our list here!