The fantastic Arlena Fae partnered with us for her Blood Moon Katarina build, using Worbla’s Black Art and insulation foam to create a pair of fantastic lightweight but durable horns! If you’re looking to make a similar design, check out her video below!
Tutorial by Jenna Elise Cosplay
– L200 Foam
– Worbla (Black and Crystal Art)
– Drawing paper
– Insulation Foam
– Utility knife
– Duct Tape
– 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
- First step is to sketch out the shape you want on to paper. I’m using painters paper here.
- Next, I cut out the shape and pinned it to two layers of pink insulation foam that I glued together.
- 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.
- Now to create the horn pattern! I covered the foam in duct tape and used a sharpie to draw the pattern.
- And don’t forget to draw registration marks which will help with assembling the horns later on.
- 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.
- Cut out foam with a sharpened blade
- With contact cement, glue foam pattern back together, using the registration marks as a guide to make sure the pieces line up correctly.
- Repeat steps to create the second horn!
- Next, I attached the horns to a simple headband with contact cement and used a wood burning tool to burn in the details.
- 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.
- I then sketched the ears/fins. I cut this out and traced it onto L200 twice.
- I cut out those pieces along with 2 separate pieces that will be the detail on the top of the ear.
- 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.
- 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.
- I again used contact cement to attach all pieces to the headband.
- 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.
- 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.
- Gems! Crystals! I wanted to make super organic looking crystals for the crown and I used Worbla Crystal Art to do this!
- 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.
- This is the final result of what the crystal will look like with a light source!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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
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.
Erza Cosplay shows a great way to make lightweight, sturdy horns for your cosplay using Worbla Black Art and Aluminum Foil.
Melting Props,Cosplay & Projects shared this tutorial on how to make lightweight, perfectly smooth horns with Worbla’s TranspArt that you can paint either opaque, or with transparent paints so that they can be lit with an LED!
These horn are lightweight , cheap and easy to make ,you can get insanely creative with this but for the purposes of this tutorial going with some classic bull like horns
Things you need:
Worbla’s Transpa art
DAS (other clays work but DAS is the most predictable, get something that can be baked hard)
fine Sandpaper or Sanding block
life sized sketch of the horns you want to make
Step 2 Knead the clay adding water to make sure it stays soft (skipping this step is lead to cracking) (Follow the instructions on your clay if you are using a different brand!)
Step 6 once the horn is perfect cut out a sheet of transpa worbla longer than your horn with allot of room on both sides if you’re not sure how much you need on both sides it’s better to over estimate than under
step 10 Heat and fold the flashing over to whatever side isn’t facing outwards it’s (right horn fold left left horn fold right) important to do this smoothly or you will be left with on uneven seam lines.
step 11 If you’re horns has more than one curve or has an overhang you may need to break it to break the clay inside it out if the clay was cooked for the right amount of time the very center should still be soft making this step very easy to do clearly if not it’s still pretty easy.
If done right this should be both nice and translucent as well as perfect for lighting effects will get into lighting and electronics in later tutorials but for now I recommend trying this out it may take a couple of attempts
Also if you’re 2nd horn is the same as the 1st it’s possible to fix the broken clay horn by mixing DAS with water and using it as a glue put it back in the oven for an hour and and you’re ready to make a 2nd horn.
Thanks again to Melting Props,Cosplay & Projects for sharing this with us!
1) Pattern that sexy troll face!!! Foil and painters tape is the new Sunday hat guys. Scroll to bottom for instructions on how I made the pattern.
2) I patterned the helmet detail panels in a similar fashion by applying the tape directly onto the helmet. Also see #7, 8 & 9.
3) To maintain flexibility in the worbla helmet, I used the folding technique rather than the sandwich technique. Since the tail adds a lot of weight to the back, the helmet had to be a rather tight fit in order to stay on properly. However, since the helmet covers so much of the facial and neck area, taking it on and off would have been impossible without some movement in the material. Even now it’s a bit tricky. The “hole” details are simply circular shapes pressed into the worbla to create depth.
4) The horns were built by creating the base shape in tin foil. Yes, getting these two horns to be relatively symmetrical is an absolute nightmare and you will cry, throw a tantrum, slam the horns onto the table a few times, and suddenly you’ll have the right shape
5) I covered the tin foil with duct tape to strengthen the structure and smoothen the texture.
6) I covered the horns in strips of worbla that overlap each other. This made covering the horn with worbla more cost efficient as you can primarily use scraps, which gave the horns a ribbed texture at the same time for some extra detail.
7) More detail panel patterning.
8) Cutting the patterns from EVA foam & worbla.
9) Folding technique for the detail panels to save some worbla and therefore money. The money you will need to buy comfort food after all the crying you have been doing from the painful test fittings
10) Still needs trims and a tail, but this is more or less what it should look like. At this point I was ready to mount some human heads onto the horns! No really, I have fun making cosplays
11) The tail is built from connecting vertebrae. Each vertebra is built from 3 basic pieces for which I used the worbla folding technique (with the exception of the few top and bottom pieces) to keep the weight as light as possible.
12) The 3 pieces combined create a triangle shape, allowing for a hollow tail.
13) Overall, with the exception of the base neck and bottom piece, the same triangle shape is repeated all along the tail, decreasing slightly in size per vertebra. Each vertebra is slid slightly over the previous one.
14) The top vertebra is connected directly to the helmet. However, each following vertebra had two holes in the middle on the backside (the side that rests on my back), both on the top and bottom. Through these holes I looped some fishing wire, tying two vertebrae together both on the top side and bottom. Doing so allows for movement in both a forward and backward direction, as well as sideways. Also, since the tail is hollow, it provided the perfect hiding spot for my own long hair, which was braided and tucked just inside the tail.
Lastly, the tail hair was a wig weft, glued to the bottom of the wig. To darken the eye sockets I simply glued the glasses of an old pair of sunglasses to the inside and sanded down the edges.
=== Pattern Making ===
To pattern anything for worbla, including the head, I wrap the intended area in foil and cover the foil with painters tape. For this helmet, I drew the outline onto the tape. To “flatten” the 3D pattern piece, I cut the pattern in half from the nose to the neck along the topside, and I created darts (like the sewing technique) for the rounded shape at the top of the head. Lastly I took the two pattern halves and applied them to EVA foam and worbla, which created the base helmet structure. Most of these seam lines that were created when I connected the worbla pieces were hidden by my helmet’s detail patterns. The others I worked into the design as details.
When standard Acrylic isn’t viable, Worbla’s TranspArt (WTA) is a clear thermoplastic that offers amazing flexibility and resilience that is solvent-stable, as well as Non-Toxic and Skin-Safe. TranspArt can be vacuformed, both on an actual machine/table as well as by hand with simple tools, can be tinted and dyed, and is incredibly difficult to tear, dent or rip. Look below to see examples of what our customers have done with our product.
These amazing Coffee Splash and Milk Pour props are frozen in time and made from Worbla’s Transpa Art and Worbla’s Deco Art. Finished with Heritage glass stain and acrylic varnish. Created by Rochelle Redgard with Lida Marx from The Worx Distribution.
Abraham Levy created these amazing TranspArt water pieces, inspired by designer Iris Van Herpen. Videos can be seen here, here, and here. The yellow dress was created for Shea Couleé and used in her Crème Brûlée video seen here (explicit), the pink dress was photographed by thedragphotographer and featured on Drag Race All Stars 4 seen here.
Zeratul’s Blade by Nightshift Cosplay
This amazing crystal sabretooth skull was created by Naruvien Art&Design using Worbla’s TranspArt and Worbla’s Finest art, and has a red and green led for interior lighting!
Erza Cosplay used Transpart and Worbla’s Finest Art for her Heavy Luminescence Armor and Sword from Guild Wars 2.
TranspArt rose by Calypsen Cosplay
TranspArt Phoenix Headpiece by Gothichamlet of Cowbuttcrunchies.
Celestial Staff by Whimsy-Mimsy, dyed with iDye Poly
TranspArt Visor with Worbla Helmet, and Demon Horns by Melting Props, Cosplay and Projects
These ice crowns were made by Lightning Cosplay
LED Butterfly Wings by Whimsy-Mimsy Cosplay.
TranspArt Bluebird headpiece by Atelier Licorice.
Javakat Cosplay created these glowing apples from Once Upon A Time with TranspArt.
Omni Blade from Mass Effect by Vmachina.
Dungeons and Dragons Rose Cross by Careko
Dragoon Meru from Legend of Dragoon bySpyrah. Wings made from TranspArt, armor made from Worbla’s Finest.
TranspArt flowers and leaves pressed into sillicone moulds, by Worbla Latinoamerica
Worbla’s Finest art bracers covered in TranspArt for an ‘encased in ice’ appearance by Naruvien Art&Design
Sue Storm figure made of clay and then gently vacuformed with TranspArt. Plugsuit made with Finest Art, by the team at Cast4Art. Note the TranspArt even picked up the detail on the bra!
Aurora from Child of Light Crown and Wings made by Maija Cosplay, photos by Patrick Rotthier.
Sarcasm-hime‘s beautiful “Moondragon” costume won Best in Show recently at Costume-Con 31 in Denver. She has shared her tutorial with us detailing how she made the headdress and spine out of Worbla.
Hi, Sarcasm-hime here.
This is an illustrated description of how I made my headdress and spine; it was an experiment since I’d never worked with Worbla before, and I wasn’t disappointed!
I chose Worbla because I wanted to do a lot of cutouts, and its lack of an internal mesh (unlike Wonderflex) made it ideal.
Tools and materials used:
- hard insulation foam
- Wonderflex & Worbla
- heat gun
- utility knife
- hot-glue gun
- respirator mask
- mold release
- aluminum tape
- cellophane & organza
First I sketched out my horn shape and glued several layers of hard pink insulation foam together, then carved it to the right shape. You need a very sharp x-acto knife for this or the foam will shred. For finishing the surface, use sandpaper (outdoors, and wear a dust mask!).
Once I had the shape smooth and finished, I covered it in aluminum tape to protect it from the heat necessary to shape the Worbla. This step may not be necessary (I didn’t test it without the aluminum) but I didn’t want to take the chance. I tried aluminum foil at first, but it didn’t stay put.
Then I sprayed the form liberally with mold release, just in case the Worbla decided to stick.
Once the mold release had dried, I started covering the horn in Worbla. I knew I would be cutting a lot of holes and wanted them to be sturdy despite that, so I used two layers of Worbla. I used a paper pattern to get the general shape, and spliced in extra bits where necessary. Worbla can be stretched a bit when hot, so I was able to get a fairly smooth surface.
I completely covered the horn in one layer, then added the second layer. I did this to minimize any lumps where edges joined.
Here’s the horn covered in 2 layers of Worbla.
Once I had the surface finished, it was time to get the foam horn out. Since I was using the same mold for both horns (you don’t have to do this, I just chose to), I needed to get it out with a minimum of damage to the original sculpt. I used a regular utility knife to cut all along the bottom edge of the horn in order to free the foam inside. It took some yanking (because of the curve involved) but it did eventually come out intact.
I repeated the process for the second horn, and sealed up the cut using some hot-glue and patching from the back using scraps of Worbla. Now it was time for cutting the holes!
For this, I used a hot-knife. I had a hot-knife attachment on my woodburning tool, but you can also buy hot-knife tools or even hot-knife attachments on mini-irons.
I first drew the pattern out on the Worbla using a permanent marker. I wanted a sort of random, organic pattern so wasn’t too fussy about this part. The hot-knife made cutting through the 2 layers of Worbla fairly easy; it didn’t take as much brute strength as it otherwise would with an x-acto knife. The hot-knife slides through the Worbla fairly smoothly with a little pressure. However, because the hot-knife is actually burning some of the Worbla as it cuts, I strongly recommend doing this outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. I had to work indoors as it was too cold outside, so I bought a respirator mask designed for use with paint fumes.
Please note that I don’t mean just a dust mask, I mean a proper respirator mask of the type with filters on each side, designed to protect you against paint and other fumes.
The cutting process left the edges of my holes kind of rough, probably because I was working with 2 layers. So to smooth the edges once I’d finished cutting, I swapped out the point of my woodburning tool to a rounded point and used that to soften the edges, which I then smoothed with my fingers while they were still warm. I also tried using my mini-iron, and that also worked well for heating and smoothing the edges.
You want to do only spot-heating in this kind of situation, because the form is hollow and you don’t want to heat enough of it that the whole thing can deform. Here the smoothing process is half-finished:
Once my horns were cut out and smoothed, it was time to make the mask and attach them.
I had a mold of my forehead from a previous project (**for info on how to make one, see below), so I used that to shape the base mask out of Wonderflex. Either Worbla or Wonderflex would have worked fine, it didn’t really matter. I just needed something that would fit flush against my face.
Once I had the base mask, I positioned the horns, trimmed where necessary to make them sit correctly, and attached them to the base mask using Worbla scraps. I had to be a bit careful here to only heat the very bottom of the horns where they would be attaching, so as to keep the overall horn from deforming and slumping. I added some hot glue at the attachment points just for security.
At this point it didn’t really matter what the attachment part looked like, as it would be all covered with the main mask layer.
For the main mask, I made a paper pattern and transferred it to craft foam, making sure that the placement of the holes lined up with the eye-holes of the under-mask enough to allow me to see. Again, I wanted an asymmetric, organic pattern so drew out my holes and cut them out using a craft knife.
I then lay warm Worbla over the craft foam, cut a slice in the centre of each hole, and wrapped the Worbla over the foam to enclose the foam edges. Covering craft foam with Worbla is great for when you want a very smooth surface on your finished piece, such as for armour. I also used this technique to make my spine (see below).
I then used hot-glue to adhere a sheet of iridescent cellophane and iridescent organza to the back of the mask. This allowed for visibility but offered enough opacity to hide my eyes.
Here’s the outer mask, in the process of being attached to the horns and understructure:
And here’s the outer mask firmly attached. I’ve started embellishing by sculpting some details on the forehead and adding spikes on the side.
For the spikes, all those cut-out scraps of Worbla came in handy. One of the great things about Worbla is that the leftovers can be heated up, mashed together and reused. So my scraps got heated, mashed together, rolled out flat again and shaped by hand into the spiky protrusions on the side of the mask. I didn’t want them super smooth as I wanted an organic look, so I just shaped them with my fingers.
Once all the sculpting was done, it was time for paint. Here’s the base layer of black acrylic (over a layer of gesso, not shown):
I had to paint carefully by hand to avoid the cutouts on the face.
And here’s a layer of “Black Mica” paint which creates a cool texture, with added black glitter for extra sparkle:
I cut slits in the base Wonderflex mask directly under each horn to make flaps to which I could attach my LEDs. They shine upwards and illuminate the iridescent organza I stuffed up inside the horns.
Sturdy elastic is glued to the inside of the mask, and secures behind the neck with snaps.
The finished product:
For the spine, I made a cardboard template and cut out the pieces from craft foam. I cut out pieces of Worbla a bit bigger than the craft foam.
I then heated the Worbla using a heat gun and shaped it by hand over the foam, pressing the edges over the foam to cover it.
When making structural pieces like armour, people usually prefer to sandwich the foam between two layers of Worbla for stability. My spine wasn’t going to be under any stress, so I decided I didn’t need the extra layer and left the back of the foam uncovered.
Once the individual pieces were covered, I re-heated them and pinched them, shaping with fingers to get the right angle.
They were then painted and glued to a ribbon which attaches to my costume using Velcro.
And that’s it!
**Want to know how to make a cast of your head/face? Look up ‘life casting’, there are tons of tutorials.
You basically need alginate (a seaweed-based casting material used by dentists to take molds of your teeth) which will exactly replicate your features and is totally skin-safe, and then plaster bandages to put on top of the alginate as a rigid shell so the mold will keep its shape.
Once your alginate and plaster bandages have set, you remove the negative mold and immediately fill it with plaster of Paris or Ultracal. You must do it right away because the alginate doesn’t keep, it will dry out and shrink.
You then have an exact replica of your face/head, which you can then use to sculpt custom prosthetics and all sorts of stuff :D
PLEASE NOTE this process is not something you can do yourself; you need a friend to apply the materials to your face, and you must be careful to leave breathing holes if you’re covering the nose/mouth. Your friend must also be ready to remove the casting materials if you start to freak out (some people do).