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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kat at HealtoDeath shares a video explaining how she prevents air bubbles when working with EVA foam and Worbla, and also offers more detailed advice on popping bubbles that do form. Take a look below!
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:
And I would like it to look more like this:
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!
(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:
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.
…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!