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!

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!

Edward Elric’s Northern Automail

The following is a basic breakdown on using either Worbla’s Finest Art or Worbla’s Black Art to make Automail from Full Metal Alchemist.

Using Worbla’s Black Art and/or Worbla’s Finest Art Tutorial by Rinkujutsu

In this tutorial, I illustrate the basics of using Worbla’s Black Art and/or Worbla’s Finest Art. These two materials are thermoplastics, which can be heated up and shaped however you want. For a breakdown of the differences of the two materials, check out my comparison here.

Materials and tools needed:
Worbla’s Finest Art and/or Worbla’s Black Art
Craft foam pieces
Heat gun
Sculpting tool

Method 1, “Sandwiching”:
Step 1: Cut out your project patterns out of pieces of craft foam. In this particular project, I am making armor, but you can make almost anything. I have also successfully used pieces of cardboard, model magic, and other things as a base for Worbla.

Step 2: Cut out two pieces of Worbla’s Black Art or Finest Art slightly larger than your craft foam pieces so that they have a “seam allowance.” To conserve on the amount of Worbla’s Black Art that I had, I decided to use black on top and regular on the bottom.
Here you can see how there is going to be a layer of plastic on top and bottom. You are going to sandwich the craft foam piece with Worbla, so it is encased in plastic.
Step 3: Before sandwiching, I personally think it is easier to emboss any detailing first when using Worbla’s Black Art. To do this, gently heat up only the top piece of plastic while it is sitting on top of the craft foam. After it becomes soft, stretchy and pliable, use your fingers and/or your sculpting tool to emboss any designs or detailing that you have on your craft foam piece.
Step 4: After you are done embossing the details, heat up the edges of the top piece and the entire bottom piece. Stack the two on top of each other and press firmly to fuse them. Use your sculpting tool around the edges of the craft foam piece to create nice, crisp lines. Trim off the excess material and smooth the edges.
Step 5: If the project you are making needs to be curved in any way, now is the time to do it. Carefully heat up the entire piece and form it over a found object or yourself.
If you have multiple separate pieces that need to be connected to each other, just heat them up and stick them together! The plastic will fuse and make a near permanent bond.

Method 2, “Folding”:
Step 1: For this method, you only need your craft foam piece and one piece of Worbla’s Black Art/ Worbla’s Finest Art that is a bit larger than the craft foam.
Step 2: Like in the first method, heat up and emboss any detailing now.
Step 3: Cut tiny slits on outer edges of the plastic. Leave at least 1/4 allowance between where the slits end and the craft foam begins.
Step 4: Heat up the edges, flip the entire piece over, and fold the edges onto the back. Worbla’s Black Art doesn’t adhere to craft foam as well as Worbla’s Finest Art, so it might take a bit of extra effort to get the edges to stay. Use your sculpting tool to smooth the sides and edges.
Step 5: After you are done folding the edges over, you can shape and curve the entire piece however you want. For this particular piece, I formed it around the palm of my hand.
Whether you are using Worbla’s Black Art or Worbla’s Finest Art, always save your scraps no matter how tiny they are! You can heat them up, smash them and sculpt them. I sculpted all of the bolts and screws for Ed’s automail using scraps.

That’s it for this tutorial! I hope you found it helpful, and feel free to ask questions or make suggestions for improving this tutorial. I am documenting the entire process of making my Worbla automail, so you can expect to see tutorials specific to this build soon.

Thanks again to Rinkujutsu for sharing this tutorial with us!

Fire Emblem Gauntlets and Vambraces

Kat of the Dangerous Ladies (Storenvy, dA, Tumblr) gave this writeup of making the vambraces (forearms) and gauntlets (gloves) for their group’s Fire Emblem Cosplay group.


1: Used cling wrap and tape method to mock up the gauntlet sections/details.

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2-4: Cut apart tape gauntlet and transferred the pattern onto paper. Patterned the flared wrist extension piece by cutting a semi-circle into straight strips and taping them back together, essentially making a paper fan. The edges were cut into a webbed shape. This method of cutting and reattaching the strips was also used in the foam version of the gauntlets; each had strips that needed to be glued into shape before the whole gauntlet base got Worbla’d.


5: I carved the knuckle pieces by hand from Eva foam with scissors and attached them to the foam gauntlet bases so they would show through the Worbla.

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6-8: Finger pieces. You’re looking at 15 pieces of Worbla and 15 pieces of foam per hand. They’re simple to assemble and shape, but time-consuming. Every piece had to be labelled individually and matched with its partner; I used a naming scheme of Finger-Section-Hand, e.g. “Ring 3R” for the third (lowest) section of the ring finger on the right hand.

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9-10: An assembled set of gauntlets and all six gauntlet bases, which are now in the sealing stage. The little yellow pyramids are painter’s pyramids from Lee Valley, which elevate drying objects so that glue/paint doesn’t pool on your working surface.


Vambraces (Forearms) / Notes on Sintra

Here I’ll be talking about my experiences using Sintra. Sintra is used by a number of costumers, particularly on the sci-fi end of things. From Laird Plastics, where I bought my sheets: “Sintra is a lightweight yet rigid board of moderately expanded closed-cell polyvinyl chloride (PVC) extruded in a homogenous sheet with a low gloss matte finish.”

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1, 2: Patterned using the cling wrap and tape method, transferred to cardstock.


3: Ran into some snags using Sintra for the first time. I had seen recommendations to “score” it with a blade and snapping out your pieces. This worked for some of the pieces I cut out, but for others, it caused the brittle material to shatter. This isn’t good when Sintra scraps have limited use! I switched to cutting all Sintra pieces with a band saw and sanding the edges with a belt sander.


4. Another snag was that Sintra doesn’t have any self-adhesive properties, as far as I could tell, and isn’t very malleable. Since the seams can’t just be pressed together like Worbla, assembling raised pieces would require more precise seams than I had time for when I was making these. I switched to making Cynthia and Cordelia’s vambrace “shields” out of Worbla. Sumia’s leafy designs lay flat on her vambraces, so I cut them out of Sintra. Attaching Worbla to Sintra requires no adhesives; if you heat both and attach one piece to the other, it will stay put! I used contact cement to attach Sintra to Sintra. I wanted to avoid hot glue, as it has a weak bond and could warp the Sintra.

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5-7: Our freshly formed vambrace bases. Sintra takes longer to heat up to the point where you can form it, and may not heat very evenly with a heat gun. However, when your only other option is to use an oven (specifically an oven that is only used for crafting and not for food!), you work with what you’ve got. Be careful when forming hot Sintra over your own/someone else’s limbs; you’ll want them to cover their arms with heat-resistant material. We used an apron draped over a forearm.


8-9: The current state of our vambraces. Sumia’s required no sealant, so they got as far as the base coat stage before our armour project went on break. Cynthia’s and Cordelia’s needed their Worbla pieces sealed, and are still in that stage of progress. Sumia’s will be finished in the next few weeks, as Emmy will be wearing Sumia at Otakon!


10: Very important reminder: when working with Sintra, wear a respirator and work in a well-ventilated area!


Thanks again to Kat of the Dangerous Ladies for sharing this with us! You can find their work here:Storenvy, dA, Tumblr.

Demon Hunter Shield and Bracer

Chrix Design shared this detailed writeup covering the Chest Plate, Leg Armor, Pauldrons, Helmet, Shield and Bracer, and Crossbow of her Demon Hunter from Diablo.

The Bracer
Since I did take some in progress photos I might just add a write up of this piece also. For the smooth surfaces I used cardboard as a base, with foam details in layers. The end piece is only foam.
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I wanted arrows to stick out of my shield, but to be able to pack and transport the costume I need to be able to take them off. For this I embedded M5 nuts into the cardboard and secured with worbla, while the corresponding bolt where attached to the arrows (You’ll see later)
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Then I gradually covered the top with worbla (only the top) and wrapped it around the edges.
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Since I was going to cover up the underside with fabric anyways I thought I would save a little by only using worbla on one side. The ornamented back piece would not be covered with fabric, so I tried to blend the surface using paper mache again, and it worked beautifully.
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I also made a bracer and a claw for the other arm.
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Automail Build – Video

Fawnina did a five part work log of her Lan Fan Automail from Fullmetal Alchemist and shared it with us below.

Part one covers materials and basic patterning.

Part two covers more of the eva foam base, and shaping the Worbla.

Part three covers priming the piece with spray Plasti-Dip and wood glue.

Part four covers painting and weathering.

Part five covers the full assembly.

Thanks again to Fawnina for sharing her work with us!