We worked with Pearl Bunny Cosplays for this sponsored build – Ryuko’s iconic headpiece from My Hero Academia! Take a look at how she put this together with her tutorial below!
Materials needed: Headband and Wings
- Worbla’s Black Art
- 6mm EVA Foam
- Heat Gun and Heat Gloves
- Exacto Blade
- Contact Cement
- Black Spray Paint
- Rare Earth Magnets 1inch
- Mod Podge
- Tape Measure and Ruler
- Rope or Cord
1. First you’re going to want to measure your head to help determine how big you want to make the wings. You want them to stick out on either side of your head, but not have them so large they go past your shoulders, or so small that they can’t be seen too well. I made mine 22 inches wide. Once you’ve figured out the right length for your head, trace and cut out a wing shape you like. I did this by drawing one side and cutting it out twice to make two sides. Be sure to keep the center band thick since that’s where all the support to hold the wings up is coming from. Trace where you’re going to put the ‘bone’ details of the wings on the front and back. If you had to make multiple sections, tape them together to make one pattern section to be cut out of the EVA foam.
2. Next you’re going to trace the pattern you just made on to 6mm EVA foam and cut it out. You can use either scissors or an exacto blade. If you’re using a blade , be sure to cut away from yourself and to make sure that it’s sharp. I use a knife sharpening tool to help with my blades. Sharp blades and scissors help with a smoother clean cut in the foam. Once the wings are cut out as one piece, draw those ‘bone’ lines on again.
3. Here you can see the wings cut with an exacto blade and what it will look like after. It is OK to have a bit of a rough edge since you’ll be taking a dremel to smooth out the edge. I like to do this since sometimes I can’t always get a clean cut the first time. This also allows me to make a more natural look to the wings with soft edges [image 6].
4. Now that you have all the edges, front and back, smoothed out, cut out a square of EVA foam that’s about an inch big. This is for the square, or knot on the back of Ryuko’s wings. After you’ve cut that out and smoothed out the sides like you did with the wings, use your contact cement and glue it down in the center back of the wings.
5. Now onto the ‘bones’ of the wings! I used a thin rope I found at my local craft store. I decided on this since it’s round already and easy to move and shape. Above I show how long I made each rope and pinned it in place along the line you’d drawn earlier. I used Mod Podge on the ends to stop them fraying. After you’ve cut out the rope and put them in place, you’re going to use the contact cement to glue everything down and use the pins still to help the rope keep its shape. Last photo shows the rope glued down for the ‘bones’. Be sure to do this on both sides of the wings, front and back.
6. Once everything is glued down and dried, we can go on to using the Worbla Black Art! This stuff is great. It heats up nicely, and has a little bit of stretch to it as well making it easy to form into small details. Using your original pattern, trace and cut it out on the Worbla Black Art. You’ll want to trace out a section just a little bit larger to help go over the side of the EVA foam, but not too much. For the Worbla, you can use scissors to cut out your pattern. You’ll want two sections cut out, one for the front and one for the back.
7. Now that we are ready to heat up and cover the EVA foam wings with the Worbla wings, you want to stay safe. Wear heat resistant gloves to help avoid any burns to yourself since you’ll be working with a heat gun. Once you’re ready to start heating up the Worbla, start in the middle and work out. I started on the back with the knot. Be sure to heat up small sections and not to let the Worbla get too hot since it could eventually burn and ruin the EVA foam under it. As the Worbla becomes soft you’ll be able to take a small tool like a popsicle stick or even the non sharp end of your exacto blade to press the Worbla into the corners of the knot and the bones. Take your time doing this, work in small sections.
8. Here you can see that I had a little too much go over the edge. With this you can either roll it over to the other side or you can cut it off. I personally ended up cutting it off. Don’t throw it away though! Worbla Black Art, like with Worbla’s Finest Art, can be heated up and formed into a ball like clay! This is great since you won’t be wasting any small scraps. Small scraps are also useful for fixing any sections you might have heated up too much or pulled on and made a rip. Just heat up the section and the scrap and gently press the scrap into place and smooth it out with your glove or a smooth sided tool.
9. The front of the wings is the section that’s going against the back of my head. I used magnets for this and put them under the Worbla to keep them in place on the final product. I ended up having to add different magnets since the ones I originally got weren’t strong enough. When buying magnets online, make sure to get ‘Rare Earth Magnets’ that are at least 1 inch in diameter. They are very strong and will hold through a few layers of material.
10. Here we can see the seam from the two sides of the wings. This can be fixed by heating up the Worbla Black Art again and carefully smoothing it out with your gloved hand, popsicle stick or any other smooth tool you have on hand. Again, work slow and work in sections. Don’t worry if you can’t get it fully smooth either. Since we’ll be covering the whole thing in Mod Podge shortly. Before you go on to the next step, this is a good time for you to look everything over and make sure that you got everything pressed into place. You’ll also want to trim off any extra and use your Dremel if needed.
11. Now that you have the wings laying flat you’ll want to curve them to fit on the back of your head. I did this by gently heating up the middle section, front and back and gently bending the wings together. Just as before, take your time and work in sections. Bend it a little, let it cool then put it up against the back of your head with your wing on since the back curve of your head is going to be different with your wig on.
12. Once you’ve gotten the curve how you want it you can coat the whole thing in Mod Podge. If you didn’t get some sections smoothed out how you wanted it this is a good time to fix it. The Mod Podge will fill in those cracks and make for a smoother final painted finish. Add as many layers as you think you need.
13. After the Mod Podge has dried you’re ready for paint! I used a black spray paint for the wings. Spray paint outside or in a well ventilated area and wear a mask if needed so you don’t breathe in any of the paint fumes.
14. While the paint dries you can make the head band. I used a white scale vinyl fabric from YaYa Han’s collection and painted it green with acrylic paints for the part that will be seen on my forehead. I sewed a black elastic band for the back that goes under my wig. Using 2 sets, a total of 4 magnets, I set them in place on the elastic to line up with the magnets on the wings. I stacked up on magnets since it makes them stronger and harder for them to slip and fall off during wear.
15. Now that the spray paint is dry, look the wings over and check if you need a second layer of paint. You can now add painted details. I decided on making a grey detailing on the top half of the wings since Ryuko’s wings are two toned.
Now on to the eye cover/claw!
Materials needed: Eye Cover
- Worbla’s Black Art
- 2mm EVA Foam
- Heat Gun and Heat Gloves
- Exacto Blade
- Contact Cement
- Silver Spray Paint
- Black Paint
- Fabric Clips
- Rare Earth Magnets 1inch
- Mod Podge
- Tape Measure
1. First you’re going to want to measure your head and face to help determine how long and wide you want the eye cover to be. The first claw covers her eye completely, so keep that in mind.
For mine, I decided on making the largest claw about 11 inches long, about 10 inches for the second, 8 inches for the third then just under 8 inches for the fourth.
In the first image the measurements I used are shown for one half of each claw.
You’ll need to cut out two of each size, one for the top half and one for the bottom half.
2. For the sides of the claws you need to curve the triangles you just cut out to help get the right shape. The claws curve against your face, so this part is important to get the correct shape and fit. You can either use your heat gun to gently heat up the foam, or run it through your fingers a few times.
To help me find the curve I wanted, I held the triangle up to my face and my wig stand as a visual. The top triangles need to curve a little more than the bottom ones
Once you’ve gotten the curve you want, you’ll want to trace the curve on a sheet of paper two times for each top claw and two more times for each bottom claw. The top sections and the bottom sections of the claws will have slightly different curves, so be sure to mark them as you go.
Also as you cut out the curved sections, mark them as you go too and place them in a neat pile or next to the triangle they belong too so it’s easier to keep track.
3. After you’ve cut everything out it’s time to line all the pieces up and get glueing! I used contact cement for this and left an edge on the top to give the claws a machined look.
For the bottom sections of the claws you’ll need to go back in with your scissors or Exacto Blade to cut out a small section. This allows you to insert the bottom triangle under the top triangle. This helps the two triangles lay flush against each other.
I used contact cement again and then I used fabric clips to hold the two triangles of the claws together as the glue set.
4. Now we get to use the Worbla Black art! It has two sides, so be sure to put the shiny side down against the foam since that’s the sticky side. I’ve found that both sides are sticky to some extent and both sides are smoother than the original Worbla formula which has a textured side and a smooth side.
Be sure to have your heat gloves ready for this part as well. You’ll want a section of Worbla that is slightly larger than the claw you’re working on. You want to be able to cover the sides and have enough to fold over the edge. Don’t worry if you cut too large of a section! It’s easy to cut and the pieces can be reused for patches, or even heated up and rolled into a ball then flattened into another ‘like new’ sheet! Nothing has to go to waste!
However, as you’re heating up the Worbla be careful not to heat it up too much, or you can burn it and melt it. Too much heat can also warp and damage the foam and glue of the piece you’re working to cover.
Once you’ve gotten a section of the Worbla warmed up and it is pliable, take the back of your Exacto blade, pen, or some other small tool to help press the Worbla into all those details you just cut out. Worbla also stretches a little so don’t be afraid to give it a little tug in a direction to get more coverage.
5. You did it! You have all 4 claws covered in Worbla Black Art, yay! Now we have to glue the claws together so that they are one solid prop. This is going to take a lot of finagling and a lot of those fabric clips to figure out the right positioning of the claws. I think I tried out about 10 different possible positions before I found one that looked and felt good on my face.
I also left the back of the claws hollow so that your eye can fit in the back of the larger one and this also saves on weight. Worbla is amazing, but it can be a little on the heavy side, especially for something going on your face.
6. After you’ve found the right positioning for the claws that works best for your face and have glued them in place, you’ll have to add rare earth magnets to the inside to keep the claws against your head band. I just made two little bridges and put the magnets on the inside. The other set of magnets are going on the inside of my head band (see above).
I tried other magnets, but they weren’t strong enough to hold up the claws and hold up to me moving my head around a lot.
7. Now you have a set of black claws. You need to cover them in mod podge or wood glue before painting. This helps the paint adhere to the prop and also allows you to smooth out any small bumps and texture you might have gotten on the Worbla.
8. When spray painting make sure you are outside or in a well ventilated place. I was out in my garage with the door open while spray painting. I was also wearing a mask to make sure that I wasn’t accidentally breathing in any of the fumes. I did two layers to make sure I got everything covered, front and back.
9. Details! More details! That’s what brings a prop to life, right? So once the spray paint was dry and ready to come in, I dry brushed black against the ridges. This helps to give the claws a bit of a weathered look but still keep its shine like metal.
10. You’re done! Put it all together and admire all that hard work you just did! Isn’t it amazing what some foam and plastic can make?