Costume Musings

Worbla’s Mesh Art Comparison and Breakdown

With the announcement of Worbla’s Mesh Art, there were a lot of questions about how it compared to Wonderflex. I spent the last week doing some tests to see for myself, and show anyone curious where the value in using Mesh Art over Wonderflex might be, depending on your project.

(Personally, this was a fun experiment, as many years ago I was one of the first cosplayers to use Wonderflex, long before there was a smooth option. So part of this writeup will also be talking about differences I have found between the ‘old’ Wonderflex, if you use it before the smooth version, and the current ‘smooth’ line.)

Initial breakdown:

Complex Curves:
Mesh Art takes better complex curves than Wonderflex. Wonderflex will take a complex curve, but it just does not stretch enough, and so more extreme curves need to be darted.
(Interestingly I found that smooth Wonderflex takes curves less well than the older product.)
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(Above: you can see how Mesh Art takes a smoother, fuller complex curve. This is without any additional smoothing or ‘smushing’ of the overlap or darts.)

Strength/Torsion:
Wonderflex and Worbla’s Mesh Art are very very close in strength. I find that, with extreme effort I could tear Worbla’s Mesh Art, but it does not warp. Wonderflex is more difficult to tear, but warps in extreme. This is with a D ring, single layered plastic heated and cooled, and twisted back and forth.
In comparison, Finest Art and Black Art both tore, though Finest Art did take more effort to tear.
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Strength/Pull:
Mesh Art and Wonderflex both will take a great deal of ‘pull’ weight. I could not year either with a direct pull, though Wonderflex did warp slightly, it was very minor.


Strength on Curves:

Difficult to photograph, as I don’t have easily quantifiable weights or tools, but have a short video and some books. Basically? Mesh Art is noticeably stronger, even after stretched over a curve.
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Wonderflex also stayed indented and had to be pushed back into shape from the books, and was slightly warped from doing so. Mesh Art did not, even after the larger stack.
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Mesh Art vs Wonderflex test

A video posted by Amanda (@elementalsight) on

Tearing Note:
Wonderflex and Mesh Art are similar to duct tape – when cold and unused (before heating/shaping) they can be torn easily along one of the grids, but not along the other. Once heated and cooled, the activated plastic is much stronger!

Adhesive Qualities:
When I used the oldest Wonderflex, I found the adhesive to be very strong and leave residue all over my hands. Wonderflex Smooth does not leave that residue, which is great! But I found it also doesn’t have quite the same adhesive tackiness. Mesh Art is stickier/tackier.
That said, I didn’t find either was better than the other. Mesh art holds slightly stronger – I was able to pry Wonderflex up from Finest Art and from Black Art, but only at the edge and not all the way. It also took all my strength to do so.
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Sculpting/Scraps:
The mesh in Wonderflex really does make it difficult to engrave detail, recycle scraps, or make ‘noodle’ details. It’s possible, but I would personally never use it for details except in a real pinch. The ‘smooth’ side tears when sculpting into, and the mesh does not want to indent.
Mesh Art can be sculpted and detailed the same as Finest Art, and scraps can be smoothly recycled.
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‘Noodles’ for Mesh Art and Wonderflex:
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Above: Mesh Art will take organic curves much easier than Wonderflex, though not as well as Finest Art or Black Art.

Originally, I tested Mesh Art’s ability to flex against the other Worbla plastics.
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Above: showing how far I could bend Black Art, Finest Art, and Mesh Art.

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Above: While Wonderflex does not snap on curves, it does ‘crease’ and hold the crease. Mesh Art I found would return to its original shape.

Surface Finish:
Both products have a smooth side. Wonderflex has a slightly more pronounced texture when stretched.
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Above: Wonderflex painted without primer.
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Above: Mesh Art painted without primer.

Overworking Finish:
If you overwork your plastic, you probably know it can end up very rough. These pieces were pushed as far as I could take them. Wonderflex gains a much more pronounced texture when overworked and warps easier.
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Above: Left, Wonderflex. Right, Mesh Art.

Overheating Finish:
Just to see how well each handles heat, I overheated Mesh Art and Wonderflex. One of the most interesting things I found was that Mesh Art can be slightly smoothed down again after overheating with a wet finger.
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Above: Top, Wonderflex. Bottom, Mesh Art. Far right side of Mesh Art is slightly smoother – was smoothed with a wet finger while warm.

Smoothing Edges:
One thing I really like about Mesh Art is how easy it is to smooth edges. As shown in the sculpting scraps, you can really make edges disappear by heating and smoothing – working with a wet finger for edges, and over a smooth work surface for ‘noodles’ or rolls, helps.
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Above: Mesh Art noodle, left edge allowed to keep seam, seam smoothed to the right.
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Above: Worbla Mesh on the right, Wonderflex on the left. Wonderflex still has a small noticeable ‘edge’ where the overlap has been added, Mesh Art the overlap can be smoothed completely.

Other Notes:
Mesh Art retains heat longer than Wonderflex, giving you more working time. It also is just hotter on the fingers – more like Worbla’s Black Art! So keep that in mind when working to either let it cool a bit, use gloves, or keep a bowl of water handy for work.

Work Surface:
Because Mesh Art IS so sticky, you really really want to work over a surface that is either a silicone sheet, or a piece of parchment or freezer paper. Wax paper and aluminum foil can still stick (and I nearly ruined a $100 cutting board as the sculpted mesh ‘leaf’ stuck so well it had to be cut away in chunks.

Final Thoughts

If you need a thermoplastic only for flat reinforcement (straps for armor) or minor curves, Wonderflex still does the same work it has always done – it’s an excellent, strong non-toxic thermoplastic.
If you need a strong non-toxic thermoplastic that will take complex curves very well, and has the added benefits of allowing scrap recycling, surface detail sculpting, more strength or resistance to warping, a longer working time and a far smoother surface when overworked, overheated or just fully stretched, consider Mesh Art as a replacement to Wonderflex or a complement to your usual Worbla Armor and Props.

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Now Available: Heat Resistant Gloves

We’ve now added stock of our Heat Resistant Gloves!

Gloves avail

We currently carry sizes from Small to Extra Large. Because of the coating on these gloves, think of the fit more like a leather glove than a knit, and size up not down if you are between sizes.
Measure around the palm of your dominant hand (or whichever hand you know is larger). The measurement around your palm is your glove size.
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We currently carry:
Size 7 Small (7 Inches)
Size 8 Medium (8 Inches)
Size 9 Large (9 Inches)
Size 10 Extra Large (10 Inches)

You can see more information about our gloves here, but for those just looking for a list of plastics we have tested these gloves with:
Worbla’s Finest Art
Worbla’s Black Art
Worbla’s TranspArt
Fosshape Thick and Thin
Sintra
Styrene
Foam

These gloves have been tested and work well with vacuformed plastics/pulls, and while they are not waterproof they can be worn with latex gloves to handle hot water dyeing.

They are NOT recommended for Wonderflex and Friendly Plastic, as both materials just stick to the gloves themselves when heated.

We have not tested these gloves with other thermoplastics, and suggest always testing with new materials to ensure the adhesive qualities are not too strong.


You can find our gloves here
! They ship free with Worbla Purchases!

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Heat Resistant Gloves – The Search is Over!

Cosplay Supplies is excited to announce a new product coming soon – Heat-Resistant Gloves for working with thermoplastics!

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Plenty of people who teach or write about working with plastics like Worbla mention that you ‘get used’ to the higher temperature on your fingers (even me!) – and plenty of us use sculpting tools to help with fiddley bits or when things are too hot. One trick I always suggest is to dip your fingers/hands in room-temperature water to make working with hot Worbla easier, but sometimes you need things to be hotter than you can handle, or you have extra sensitive hands that just won’t ever be comfortable handling hot plastic – and of course, TranspArt, Worbla’s clear thermoplastic, requires an activation temperature that is too hot to handle – so you either have to activate it and let it cool to touch, use tools or water, or – as we suggest – use gloves.

The Problem:

Finding the right sort of gloves to use with Worbla can be tricky! Most work gloves have seam lines, fabric textures, or raised stitching – all things that can transfer onto your project. They can also be bulky and uncomfortable, and difficult to find in your size. Full leather gloves are often what people settle for – but the cost can be too high for something you plan to use in your workshop, and they can be difficult to find in the summer – or if you live somewhere where Winter Happens to Other People.

The Solution:

We’ve sourced Heat-Resistant Gloves that are thin enough you can still work with fine detail – even rolling Worbla ‘noodles’ – that are also completely smooth from palm to fingertip – no rough bumps or seams to get in the way of your smooth finish. The material is a bit like neoprene – enough to let you grip things without having a noticeable surface. All the while providing a great barrier for your hands against the heat!

Exclusive Launch at Anime North!

These gloves will soon be available online – but we’re doing an exclusive launch next weekend at Anime North! If you’re attending, drop by the Cosplay Supplies Booth in the Dealers Hall (V1) and you can buy a pair for yourself – or if you buy TWO Jumbo Worbla of any type, you’ll get a pair of gloves for FREE!

Great for most things but…

These gloves have been tested and work well with Worbla’s Finest Art, TranspArt, and Black Art, as well as Fosshape thick and thin, Sintra, Styrene, PETG and EVA foam. These gloves do NOT play well with Wonderflex, as the glue in Wonderflex just sticks to the gloves instead, and likewise are not recommended for Worbla’s Deco Art/Friendly Plastic/Polymorph as again, the plastic just sticks TO the gloves.

While these gloves are heat-resistant, they will not make you invulnerable. Please always use your heat tools responsibly and work in clear space to prevent injury.

Category: Cosplay, Crafts, News, Worbla | Tags: | 4 comments |

A New Book Approaches! Advanced Prop Making – Guns & Rifles by Kamui

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Kamui Cosplay has revealed her newest book, and it looks excellent! If you’re looking for some advanced help in making your next gun or rifle – or even just tips and tricks to apply to your Worbla props in general – Advanced Prop Making – Guns & Rifles will help you out!

The sixth in her current lineup of Worbla and Wonderflex Guides, Advanced Prop Making – Guns & Rifles covers the following:

Tools and materials
References and scaling
Printing screenshot patterns
Creating your own blueprints
Working with EVA foam
Working with Worbla
Priming EVA foam

As well as the following extensive work examples:

Borderlands 2 – Miss Moxxi’s Rubi
Overwatch – Symmetra’s Photon Projector
League of Legends – Miss Fortune’s Shock and Awe
Heroes of the Storm – Master Nova’s Rifle

High quality print edition. Soft cover, 48 pages high quality full color print. Perfect as a gift or for browsing while you work!

Available for purchase here!

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Worbla Holiday Sale!

We’re putting our Worbla’s Finest Art and Worbla’s TranspArt on sale for the holidays! Take advantage of the discount and make something awesome – and remember Worbla.com is always looking for new content!

Need some inspiration for your next project? Take a look at these awesome pieces below!

Erza Cosplay used Transpart and Worbla’s Finest Art for her Heavy Luminescence Armor and Sword from Guild Wars 2

And used Finest Art for her beautiful dragons

Team Paraluna used TranspArt and Resin to make ‘glass’ slippers and Calypsen Cosplay used TranspArt to make a glowing rose.

This Monk from Diablo III by Littleblondegoth Cosplay was made using Worbla’s Finest Art

With Worbla the limits are often only your own imagination. You can see hundreds of other examples here!

Happy Holidays!

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All the way to Germany for Worbla!

This past weekend part of the Cosplay Supplies team were lucky enough to take a trip to Frankfurt, Germany – where we got to explore the town, meet some local cosplayers and of course visit the Worbla Factory for a tour!

While of course we can’t share all the details (new things are always being worked on, but the what and when are never finalized until we have something ready to ship) we wanted to give you a bit of an idea of what we did and learned while in Germany!

Shops:
Frankfurt is a very international town, with everything from local businesses to big chain stores surrounding their tourist areas. It surprised us to realize that even in such a busy city, everything closed early – many shops closing before 8pm, and everything but cafes and restaurants closed on Sunday! One of our favourite stops was to visit the only cosplay shop in Germany, MyCostumes.de .
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They have an excellent selection of Pebeo paints and mediums, as well as an in-house wig brand that comes in colours we’ve never seen before – especially the blue-green petrol mix! It was great to see their Lolita designs in person as well.

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Meeting Up and New Information:
We got to hang out with the wonderful Kamui Cosplay and her boyfriend, who took us to eat excellent food and show us what craft and hobby shops in Germany are like. One of the most eye-opening things was the fact that what Kamui calls Wood Glue would be called craft glue or PVA here in North America – so we’ve been using very different products! It makes sense though, considering I’ve found North American Wood Glue cracks and flakes, especially off of Worbla Black. We met up with Boris from Cast4Art to talk about Worbla and KobraCast and all the conventions Cast4Art attends every year. (It’s a LOT!)

We also found out Germany has VERY strict rules regarding photography in public spaces. While you can be a tourist and snap photos as you like, if you want to take photos with a model – like cosplay photography – you need to write to the government and get a permit. There went all my plans for an epic photoshoot down some of the pretty older streets of Germany for sure!

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The Worbla Factory!
Getting a chance to meet the people who process Worbla was a real treat! They have dozens of machines in a huge space and we got a chance to watch how the raw material gets processed all the way to a final sheet of TranspArt – plus, meeting with the people who do Research and Development. I can’t say what’s coming next (of course) but we have some really interesting things in the works I can’t wait to see come together! Want to see something really neat?

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This is one of the first runs of Worbla, before it was even Worbla. It’s a lot closer to Wonderflex in texture but in the brown we’re more familiar with.

We also got to see Worbla being die cut, up to 5 layers at a time!

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All in all it was an amazing trip and quite the experience. While we really only saw a tiny part of Germany it was still a great chance to meet new people and experience a place that’s different from home – even if they have so many of the things we’re familiar with, like Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Now it’s time to sleep off the jet lag and catch up on everything! Have a Happy Halloween everyone!

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All that Glitters! Cinderella Shoes and Frozen Accessories to make your costume shine!

Halloween is coming and thanks to Disney’s new remake of Cinderella, everyone’s added the belle of the ball to their costume list. If you’re looking to complete the look, you of course are going to need glass slippers that won’t break the bank. (The new movie’s glass slippers were actually Swarvoski crystal and couldn’t be worn – and came in at £160,000 a pair!)

Of course, if Cinderella isn’t your dream princess and you’re looking for some Frozen Inspired footwear, all of these work as great shoes to compliment Elsa’s beautiful icy-blue gown.

Here are a few options for footwear you can dance the night away in!

CRYSTAL-103 Clear
Low, comfortable heel and enclosed heel and toe and subtle butterfly detail. Sizes 6,7,9,10,11.
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CRYSTAL-100 Clear/Rhinestone
2″ heel, clear lucite with peep toe and rhinestones. Sizes 6-12.
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Ariel Clear Adult Shoes
Low 2” heel and enclosed toe with heart detail. Sizes 6-10.
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BELLE-301RS Clear/Rhinestone
3” heel with open toe and rhinestone detail. Sizes 5-8, 10-14.
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CLEARLY-430RS Clear/Rhinestone
4 1/2″ heel open toe d’orsay-style sandal with rhinestones and ankle strap. Sizes 5-12.
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CLEARLY-420 Clear/Rhinestone
4 1/2″ heel, peep toe pump with rhinestone detail. Sizes 5-12.
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But it’s not just the shoes that make a Princess Costume come to life! Cinderella and Elsa both shimmer and glitter in the light. If you need to add a bit more shine to your costume, consider adding rhinestones to your dress, makeup and hair!

You can glue your own rhinestones using Beacon’s Gem Tac onto fabric and shoes, and you can use skin safe adhesive (I suggest eyelash glue) to add rhinestones to your face.
Stones like the Preciosa Aqua Bohemica Aurora Borealis are a stunning light blue with a pink shimmer when turned in the light. Flat back rhinestones can be bought in almost any colour and size here.
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If you’re working on a budget and want some sparkle, check out these low cost Czech rhinestones. Only available in clear crystal and AB and two sizes, but a great price for adding some glam to a corset or tulle petticoat.

Of course if you want to attach a lot of rhinestones, you may want to use a hotfix applicator and a selection of hotfix stones. These have their own glue the applicator activates – so simply pick up the rhinestone and set it where you want!
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Last – but not least – is adding a bit of sparkle and shine to your makeup. These glitter options will give you the perfect Ballroom Look.

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Graftobian’s Liquid Sparkle is a clear base you can use to turn any glitter into a liquid makeup that dries durable and long-lasting! Mix with your own glitter, makeup pigments, or either of the products below!

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Glitter Dust! A polyester glitter that adds shimmer and sparkle to any look.

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Shimmer and Glitz powders! Buildable colour to go from light shimmer to high-impact colour.

Of course you can always add a bit more glitter with hairspray, but some people might think that’s going too far. (I, of course, think the more glitter the better!)

Whether you’re this Halloween is all about Having Courage and Being Kind or learning to Let It Go, I hope these gave you some ideas to add some sparkle and shine to your costume this fall!

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Worbla Black: Everything you need to know (and why it’s awesome!)

It’s been a while since we’ve done a blog post, and part of that has been because we’ve been working hard over the end of summer convention rush. One of the most exciting things to come out of that hard work has been the newest in Worbla’s line of thermoplastics: Worbla’s Black Art, now available for pre-order!

Image from Erza Cosplay

Image from Erza Cosplay

Worbla’s Black Art (WBA, Worbla Black or Black Worbla, depending on naming conventions) takes the aspects of Worbla’s Finest Art (the ‘original’ Worbla, so to speak) and adjusts it specifically with cosplayers and crafters in mind. There are some fantastic benefits – but also some setbacks – to the new material, and I want to give you as FULL a possible breakdown on this new thermoplastic as possible.

So let’s go!
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The Book of Advanced Armor Making – Helmets & Pauldrons now available!

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If you know Kamui, you know she’s one of the foremost experts on Worbla – and her books are a great help to anyone looking for how to get started with Worbla and Wonderflex. She’s just added a fifth book to her current lineup of Worbla and Wonderflex Guides: Advanced Armor Making – Helmets & Pauldrons.

If you’ve been looking for great information not just on making awesome helmets and complex pauldrons, but advanced Worbla and EVA foam tips in general, check this book out! With 48 full colour pages it covers:
– Tools and Materials
– Basic helmet and pauldron patterns
– Modifying and understanding patterns
– Working with EVA foam (Skulls)
– Working with insulation foam (Horns)
– Working with clay (Antlers)
– Working with expanding foam (Pauldrons)
– Attaching pauldrons
– Attaching masks
As well as the following work examples:
– Crusader Helmet
– Barbarian Pauldron

The Book of Advanced Armor Making – Helmets & Pauldrons is available for $28, and can be combined for a discount with Kamui’s other books – 2 for $26 each, 3 for $25, and shipping is free. Kamui’s books are a great resource if you’re just starting out with thermoplastics, and have a lot of tips and tricks even for the experienced cosplayer.

Looking for a bigger discount? We offer Kamui’s books for $22 each with any Worbla Jumbo or Combo Jumbo order as well. The discount is applied automatically in your cart.

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Worbla’s TranspArt Overview!

Last week we got a chance to finally play with Worbla’s TranspArt, the new product that’s been called ‘clear Worbla’ when it was announced. After a full day of work and testing a bunch of theories, we found ourselves surprisingly enlightened.

What we learned:

Differences between TranspArt and Finest Art: First off, Worbla’s TranspArt is not simply a clear version of Worbla’s Finest Art – they’re different plastics, and heat and shape and sculpt and react differently. Transpart has a higher working temp and a shorter working time, and works best when heated more gradually. This means it takes longer to get it to a malleable point, and it cools back to unworkable (but stil flexible) faster than Worbla’s Finest. Transpart will pick up fingerprints, the texture from work gloves (recommended when doing extensive shaping) and while it does not become brittle or crack, it does stretch to a thin, almost brittle quality. Transpart is not completely clear, though it is transparent – it has a wavy appearance though the plastic is leveled flat, and marks from the injection moulding can be seen on the surface. While this becomes less noticeable as the plastic is heated and shaped, it’s difficult to remove completely and therefore is not the best material for visibility items such as simple curve visors and eyeglasses. If you have the opportunity to work with standard acrylic, PETG plastics or vacuform materials, you may find those better suited for vision-centric props. IMG_8451 Transpart is much more flexible than Finest Art – it lacks some of the rigidity inch for inch that Finest Art has, but as a trade off it is incredibly resilient. At the moment we still haven’t been able to break or tear a piece of TranspArt, even after it had been stretched and cooled to the ‘brittle’ consistency point. When bent in sharp half or even turned inside out from a shaped form, it does not stress fracture – there’s no stress lines and extreme crumpling gives only the slightest denting when returning to the original shape – though paint will flake off.

Complex sphere painted with windshield tint, crumpled.

Complex sphere painted with windshield tint, crumpled.

Sphere returned to shape with no damage. (Paint has flaked, and was scratched off to easier show the lack of stress lines)

Sphere returned to shape with no damage. (Paint has flaked, and was scratched off to easier show the lack of stress lines)

Attaching pieces and layers: TranspArt sticks to itself when heated in a similar way to Finest Art, but we quickly discovered that while it ‘sticks’ it doesn’t ‘glue’ in the same way – it’s very difficult to form a solid bond between TranspArt pieces just with heat, and we can see why the Worbla manufacturers suggest solvent-free glues instead. You can use a soldering iron or heat knife to melt joins of TranspArt together, and for layering pieces to keep clarity, crazy glue is best. We’ve also found hot glue worked decently well, though it generally became cloudy, and rubber cement does also work though it is plainly visible within the join. Likewise, joining TranspArt to Finest art is tricky – when hot, they’re easy to stick together, but we found that it was just as easy to snap pieces apart once cooled. Because of this, we suggest again melting the pieces together with a soldiering iron or hot knife, using hot glue, or rubber cement, all depending on what you need the final look to be. Always test your joins once cool/glued, to make sure they’ll hold before progressing on!

Making things Shine: One of the most exciting things we really discovered from TranspArt is how glossy it is. You can paint the underside of your piece once it’s been formed (if you’re doing an extreme curve) or even before it’s been shaped if you’re doing a more simple shape. This leaves you with a perfectly smooth surface with a high gloss, almost chromed effect – and leaves you with a surface that is impossible to chip, meaning no touch-ups are required! For example, I made this simple bracer in under an hour, without needing to sand or prime anything.

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And this quick test of a breastcup for armor is very promising.

Because TranspArt is less rigid than Finest Art, for the above bracer I used the sandwich method – instead of Finest Art, craft foam, Finest Art, I used finest art for the bottom, craft foam, and TranspArt on top. That gave me the stability and rigidity I needed, While gluing TranspArt and Finest Art together can be tricky, the bracer wasn’t likely to be in a position for the edges to pry away from one another much, so I mostly just mushed them together while hot. The parts that didn’t stick enough once cool, I joined with hot glue. If you’re using heavier foam, such as the EVA foam that’s used for floor matting, you’ll find you don’t need the layer of Finest Art for strength, it’s often rigid enough with TranspArt alone.
For the breastcup, I shaped Finest Art and TranspArt over a styrofoam half sphere and drew out the design I wanted. I painted the inside of the Transpart black, and joined the pieces together with hot glue. For this sort of work I do suggest making sure at least one area has a ‘lip’ of Finest Art that wraps around to the TranspArt to help keep things together. (Pictured above)

 

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In a similar idea, you can also layer stencil cutouts of foil or other materials underneath your TranspArt. Making a Captain America Shield? You could cut your star out first without ever having to worry about perfect paint lines.

Transpart layered over craftfoam with cardstock foil shapes. Thinner foil would give a more seamless approach.

Transpart layered over craftfoam with cardstock foil shapes. Thinner foil would give a more seamless approach.

Dye and colour: TranspArt can be dyed, and it’s a great way to get a solid, translucent colour. We got the best results with iDyePoly, getting a deep rich blue fairly easily – but we also found that cheap brands like tintex (which is meant for cotton and other natural fibers) does give a very slight tint, which may be useful if you’re looking for slight changes. Of course, you should always test before dying your piece – and for complex shapes, we do suggest dying after you’ve shaped them to keep the colour even. We mixed the dye in a container large enough submerge our piece, using boiling water from a kettle – though we did not keep it continuously hot. The heat from the dye bath didn’t affect or warp our shaped pieces at all.

Elemental-8504 We also found that Transpart can be shaped into easy ice gems and lit with LEDs. We dyed some with resin dye, others with nail polish or iDyePoly, to get different effects. Scraps that were recycled and reblended became cloudy, which was great for diffuse light. IMG_8458 IMG_8476 And for shapes like swords – we used sandpaper to frost the inside to help the light diffuse. Elemental-8487

Shaping/Working with TranspArt: Shaping TranspArt took a bit of getting used to, because there’s no real way to ‘see’ if it’s hot enough. For some things, we just laid our TranspArt sheet over the form we needed and heated and pulled as we went, but that could be slow – especially with one set of hands, heating and setting down the heat gun to test the sheet, then picking it up again to reheat as you weren’t at the right temp was frustrating. We quickly found an Infared Thermometer was very useful. It let us know when our TranspArt hit the right temperature and also kept us from overheating it. Once our TranspArt was warm enough, for sphere shapes we just pulled the sheet over our form (with a mould release to keep it from sticking) and removed it when cool. For more complex shapes we pressed in our details using wet fingers as well as a damp sponge, working from one area at a time. Using wet tools and smooth work gloves is very important – rough textured gloves will leave a small but noticeable, almost cloudy texture on your finished piece. We did manage to get rid of small marks from gloves and even fingerprints by heating the areas again carefully, but your mileage may vary. For most things, TranspArt will do best when shaped over a form, as it’s a bit too floppy when heated to hand shape with ease.

Cutting tools: Lastly, we found that TranspArt can be more difficult to cut – probably because of the flexibility and resilience, it’s just harder on scissors and hands, and using a cutting blade was even more difficult. We suggest heating pieces that give you trouble slightly before cutting them, and investing in heavy duty scissors or tin snips or aviation shears if you’re layering and cutting TranspArt and or Finest Art together. You can absolutely use a hot knife to cut through TranspArt, but a respirator is heavily suggested if you intend on doing so extensively, as the fumes of burning Worbla is not meant to be inhaled.

Other neat things: TranspArt, once stretched somewhat, will work over a touch screen like a phone. And while the Worbla Thermoplastic guys have warned about overheating creating bubbles, what we found most of all was that overheating TranspArt gave us goop – we’d melt it and would have to wait for it to cool before it would harden, as it was much closer to friendly plastic or hot glue at that point. We still haven’t been able to tear TranspArt at all, and we’re excited to see what else we can do with it next!

Have any questions about Transpart? You can always comment here, or email me at Amanda@worbla.com!

 

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