The majority of people who use worbla for their cosplays appear to be using the “sandwich” method which involves covering a piece of craft foam with a piece of Worbla on each side. This is what I used to do when I first started working on thermoplastics–and while this is a great method to stiffen a piece of armor, I die a little inside every time I have to cut four huge pieces of Worbla just to create TWO armor parts for my thighs. >_<
A great alternative to the sandwich method is the folding method. Here’s why:
- Saving: You’re using a lot less Worbla so you’re saving a lot more compared to the sandwich method.
- Reduced weight: Less Worbla means less weight. If anyone has ever used Worbla for armor sets and/or weapons, then they’d know the weight of it can be quite burdensome on the body.
- No air bubbles: So far, I haven’t gotten ANY air bubbles when folding it. The sandwich method, in my experience, is a lot more prone to them. Air bubbles are my worst enemy.
- More flexibility: The material remains sturdy but can still “give” at the same time. This is exceptionally important when making bracers, belts and anything else that wraps around the body.
- Cleaner and sharper edges: Since you’re folding the Worbla over the edges of the foam, you won’t have to worry about cutting the excess around it ’cause there ain’t none!
Here’s how it’s done!
1. Cut the exact shape you need out of craft foam. Use the craft foam to outline the shape on Worbla. Cut about 1-2 inches around it; if you need your armor part to be stiffer and stronger simply increase the size of the border!
2. Color or draw a “padding” right outside of the lines. The padding has to be roughly the same size of the edge of the foam you are going to use to cover the Worbla with. This is exceptionally important and will act as your guide on where not to cut, if you want smooth edges.
3. Draw the rest of the lines that will show you what to cut out before folding it. Edges that are straight are pretty straight forward (heh), and edges that are curved or rounded would have to be cut into triangles or little “shark teeth” (as pictured).
4. This is what it should look like after cutting out the unnecessary pieces. Remember not to cut over the “padded” line!
5. Turn up the heat gun and fold away! If the “teeth” feels like it is loose and not sticking on to the craft foam, you can heat it up again and press it down. Edges can also be easily adjusted and fixed.
This is what I used for my Psylocke cosplay and it worked wonderfully when I wore it to SDCC! Sure, it may not look very pretty on the inside but no one’s going to see it as long as I have it on!
- How do I attach my armor if the back side of it doesn’t have enough Worbla area to attach my D-rings to?
You have two different options:
1. When you’re cutting a “border” around the actual shape, just increase the size of that border.
2. If you’ve already gone past that, use what little Worbla area you have in the back and attach the D-rings to it. Take a thermoplastic scrap (Wonderflex or Worbla) and put it through the D-ring. Cover all the areas with hot glue, and while it’s still hot, add another thermoplastic scrap over it and press down. See picture below: