Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Minion Goggles


As you can see I have a base pillow thing that will soon become my Minion (Despicable Me). Along with some spare parts of all stuff.  
  • Blank Minion Body
  • Stretchy Black Elastic
  • Mason Jar Lids (2x)
  • White Eyes, using white fleece
  • Black Pupils, using wood circle pieces that are painted black


Using the Mason Jar bases I am able to make perfect cirles for the eyes


These wood blocks were suppose to be pendants, an unfinished project that is now re purposed for the pupils.


Measuring the goggle headband right on Dave (Minion's name is Dave)


Glue the headband to the mason jar lids


Using the Mason jar rings to make the goggle frames and we have MINION GOGGLES




Friday, March 14, 2014

Worbla Armor - Embossed Technique

 Here's a sneak preview of the Diablo III Barbarian Tier 5 armor I am building. All of these pieces were made using a thermoplastic called Worbla.



One reason you might use Worbla instead of Wonderflex to create your cosplay armor is in the unique ways that you can manipulate Worbla.

Here's how I create a embossed look on Worbla armor. This technique is more cost-effective than layering extra Worbla on top. Instead, you are layering your less-expensive (and easier-to-cut) craft foam.
You need:
Sheets of craft foam (in two contrasting colors)
Worbla (available from cosplaysupplies.com or yayahan.com)
Heat Gun
A pointy wooden tool
Sharpie for drawing your design
Good scissors
Elmer’s glue
A surface to work on that the Worbla will not stick to (I use a piece of glass shelving from IKEA)


First, cut out your design in craft foam and glue it to your craft foam pattern piece. Then layer Worbla over the craft foam and use a pointed wooden tool to press the thermoplastic down around the edges of the design. Let’s see an example:
WorblaDesign2
This is going to be a plate that wraps around the outside of my upper arm.
Here I layered my design in green foam over yellow. The yellow will become my pattern piece for an upper-arm plate.
First I heated a piece of Worbla, then stuck the pattern piece on it with the green design side against the shiny side of the Worbla sheet.
WorblaDesign3
Then I flipped it over.
WorblaDesign4
Here you can see that it helps to use contrasting craft foam colors because you can see the darker green design through the plastic.
Next, I used the pointy tool to press the heated Worbla down around the design shapes and get nice, smooth edges.
WorblaDesign5
The Worbla cools and hardens pretty quickly so I heated and worked on one quadrant of the piece at a time.
WorblaDesign6
After finishing the relief, I heated a second piece of Worbla and stuck it to the back of the craft foam. Then I pressed the edges together to seal in the craft foam (sandwich!) and trimmed the excess.
Save your Worbla scraps, you can heat them up and use them for decorations, like claws and scrollwork!
WorblaDesign7
Lastly I heated up the whole piece and curve it into shape around my upper arm, then let it cool.
WorblaDesign8
Here is the completed piece after adding the spike and painting it.
WorblaDesign10
In this last image you can see the hand plate on which I used both the craft foam relief technique and also layered strips of Worbla for the edge details. Here it is easy to see the visual difference you get – with the relief technique you will have smooth, rounded edges, and with the layering technique you will have sharp edges., which looks great for border outlines.
Did you know? Worbla (or "Worbla's Finest Art") is made from renewable natural raw materials is also known as Rhenoflex RX 5050 which was originally engineered by a German company for the purpose of industrial shoe-making. You can buy it in the U.S. from cosplaysupplies.com or yayahan.com

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Softening Crafting Leather

Leather found at craft stores isn't high quality, rather think, and minimally treated. If you ever find it in an misbent shape or curly from being wound on a spool, fear not, it's quite easy to fix.


I purchased a spool of leather cord for some necklaces, but they came out with this intense curl which was hard to straighten.


Didn't think you can put it in hot water?  Well if it's not fancy treated, you actually can.  I soaked the leather in hot water, a treatment also used to soften the leather before stamping, a method I learned from some real CowBoys!


Hang to dry.  But be careful of the position in which it dries, it will keep it's shape as well.  My ending strands ended up with a fold in the middle, luckily I didn't mind because that's where my pendant for my necklace is going to sit anyways.


TaDa, from Curly to Straight (ish)



Friday, March 7, 2014

Wonderflex Armor

Thermoplastics are all the rage for cosplayers in the convention circuit right now. You may have even heard of some these fun names: "Friendly Plastic", "Wonderflex", and "Worbla". But how do they work? What's the difference between Worbla and Wonderflex? And how do you even start using something like this?

Let's start with a brief overview of Wonderflex and how you might use it in your costume-making, using an example. Here is a very simple piece of armor I made out of Wonderflex, it is a back plate (quite literally a plate you wear on your back):


So how do you even begin to make something like this? Well, if you know how to use scissors, Sharpies, a hair dryer, a paintbrush, and a ruler, then you have all of the skills you need!

Wonderflex starts in a rolled-up sheet. When you heat it up you can bend it into shape, then cool it fast (dunk it under cold water) and it will harden and hold its shape. It also sticks to itself so you don't need to use a glue gun.

You can form structure of your armor piece by sandwiching a piece of craft foam between two pieces of Wonderflex (this is the same process for Worbla armor). Start by creating a pattern on butcher paper, then trace that pattern onto sheets of craft foam. Then trace each piece of foam onto Wonderflex (twice), leaving about 1/4" extra around the edge (like a "seam allowance" if this was fabric). Heat up both pieces of Wonderflex with your heat gun until they are all soft and floppy, then sandwich the craft foam between the Wonderflex. You can fold the excess edges over to the back side of the armor piece and press them down. Mold it into the curved shape you want by pressing it against your bold, then cool it quickly under cold water.


After you have built the piece, you can prime it and paint it. In the images above, you can see how I primed it with gesso and wood glue. Then I sprayed on a black primer and silver spray paint. Then I did a black wash and dry brush with black acrylic paint. Lastly, I added white line details for highlights to give it some pop and character.

Wonderflex is a little cheaper than Worbla, but in my opinion it is more difficult to work with (not as forgiving). With Worbla, you can use all of your scraps by melting them down and molding them like hot clay - you can't do that with Wonderflex. Worbla stretches and can be molded into bra cups, but Wonderflex can't stretch much because it has a fabric structure. Wonderflex is slightly stronger in a single or double-layer though because of that fabric structure. It's also smoother in texture than Worbla.

So these are my two recommendations. Use Wonderflex for:
- straps/loops for affixing D-rings to thermoplastic armor (recommend using 2 layers)
- large structures that require a lot of plastic which you want to do as cheaply as possible (like the armor piece above)
- thin, delicate items made with a single flexed sheet, like custom masks.

Stayed tuned for Worbla armor!

Where can you get Wonderflex? I bought mine at cosplaysupplies.com