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The Perks of Folding Worbla

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!

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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!

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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.

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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).

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4. This is what it should look like after cutting out the unnecessary pieces. Remember not to cut over the “padded” line!

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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!

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Left: The Stylish Geek, Right: Me wearing my folded Worbla armor set!

FAQs

  • 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:

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Published inTutorials

17 Comments

  1. Anna Anna

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I have been using so much Worbla already for the Tier 14 warrior and had been wondering if I could do it that way for my hips and shoulders. This is really helpful!

    • Tiff Tiff

      Hi Anna,

      I’m so glad to hear that! I’d love to see your Tier 14 Warrior when you’re done! Good luck!

  2. Great idea! I usually use scraps for the inner worlba “sandwich”, but I’ll have to give this a try next time!

    • Tiff Tiff

      Ahhh, I can’t believe I didn’t notice your comment until now! So weird, but anyway, I hope it really helps you in your future cosplays! I honestly thing the advantages outweighs the disadvantages. Thank you! ^_^

  3. Jennifer Smith Jennifer Smith

    If you were concerned about how the inside looks, could you maybe adhere some sort of fabric/felt on the inside to line it? I haven’t really started in making costumes, but I am trying to learn as much as possible before I start.

    • Tiff Tiff

      Yes, you certainly can.

      Or, you can also use Worbla scraps to cover the back! 🙂

  4. This is exactly how I do my Worbla armor, as well. You generally can’t see beneath the armor, so that’s not been a concern for me. However, I do glue a half inch strip of craft foam around the bottom edge of any armor that overlaps another piece, so that the hard Worbla doesn’t wear at the paint job.

    • Tiff Tiff

      That’s a great idea. Thanks for sharing that with me! 🙂

  5. Great tip! I’ll have to use this idea next time.

    • Tiff Tiff

      Thank you! 😀

  6. Abby Dark Star Abby Dark Star

    This is a great tutorial! The only time I’d recommend using the sandwich method is on a load bearing part of the body (like a chest plate/bikini)- you’d want more strength at those failure points, so a double sandwich of worbla might provide that 🙂

    • Tiff Tiff

      Thank you for your input Abby! You’re absolutely right. In some cases, certain parts require more strength and the folding method simply wouldn’t quite suffice. What I usually do though is just create wider borders so that they would cover most if not all of the back side. That way, I can still fold it over and not have to worry about cutting around the edges after it has been sandwiched.

      I should probably add that somewhere in this tutorial. Lol

  7. stephi stephi

    out with the old and in with the new! There were so many tears and tantrums when trying to make some greaves and I couldn’t stop getting air bubbles. I actually gave up for a while because it was sucking the fun out of the process. This should definitely help though! I never understood why everyone was insisting you had to sandwich them.

  8. Sundae Sundae

    Hi!

    Thanks for that method, can it be used for leg armor ? (Not front side only but wrapping all the leg). I’m a bit confused as I need something strong but still being able to put it in my leg.

    Have a nice day

    • Tiff Tiff

      I haven’t tried using it for the whole leg armor yet but I’m going to say most likely yes since I was able to wrap them around my thighs! 😀

  9. Joul Joul

    Great method! thanks for sharing.
    My question is: which eva foam thickness do you use? do you need a stronger foam for folding?
    Thanks again!

    • Tiff Tiff

      Thank you!

      For this tutorial, I used regular craft foam. However, I used EVA foam of different thickness with the folding method and it still worked fine (I used a lot of it for my Grievous Gladiator cosplay). I can upload a picture when I have time to show an example of how I did that.

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