Costume Musings

Interview with Marty (Punko) from Cosplay Melee

Episode 3 of Cosplay Melee featured Angels, Demons, and Wings! We interviewed Marty about her work on the episode and her amazing gilded fallen angel, Numilliel.

First of all, congrats on your episode! It was so awesome to see everything come together – when everyone at the office realized the first challenge was wings, and to be done in 8 hours, we groaned collectively! What was the hardest part of getting things done for the first challenge?
Well, the hardest part for me was the fact that I’d never MADE wings before! Once or twice in the past I’ve made cheap little coat-hanger-and-nylons fairy wings for temporary use. This was my first attempt at actual wings. I was dying of nerves! Plus I had no idea when I tried to design mine that I would have a problem building up a 3D effect for my paper “feathers.” I wanted to mount them over foam at first, but there just wasn’t time to individually do that for each feather.

We loved how you got your wings to move! It was seriously impressive and you had such a great wingspan. How long do you think you were working on the problem before you had your ‘a-ha!’ moment?

AGES. LOL I would have had more armor for my legs and arms if I hadn’t had to go back and work over and over on getting my wings to properly work! It was more of a dozen little mini “aha moments”…from just getting the bare bones to move, to figuring out how to string the bigger feathers together so they would open up with the wings, to putting emergency elastic braces into the wings when they were too heavy to open by themselves at the end. I’m still amazed I managed to get it done at all.

Just how heavy were those wings when you were done, anyway?

I have a nice permanent scar on my shoulder now from wearing them for a few hours during shooting. Let’s just say they were heavy.

You used Worbla for your breastplate, and explained it was for the speed and ease while you were constructing it. Did you end up using Worbla for other parts of the costume, or was it foam? Those shoulder feathers had us intrigued!

I used worbla not only for the breastplate, but for the gauntlet bases to give them shape around my arms. You can’t see it on the inside, but there are bits of worbla in the wings as well, giving strcture underneath where needed. The shoulder feathers are actually craft foam, but I have also made them in worbla and prefer to do it that way sometimes. I think if I’d had more time, this would have been a worbla BEAST, with lots more armor and worbla feathers :3

What other work have you done with Worbla? Do you have a favorite costume you’ve constructed with it?
I like worbla for armor, but I’m also actually using worbla right now to construct a Wreck-It Ralph Sugar Racer go-kart! It’s going to be perfect for the hood, and I’m excited to get my hands on some clear worbla to make the headlights and chair back. Never worked with the clear stuff before but VERY stoked to try it! I hear it’s amazing. I have some plans in mind for clear wings and visors as well, once I get some. Basically I’m going to sell all my possessions and buy a kiddie pool full of worbla and just wiggle around in it while I plan a million new costumes.

We noticed that SyFy doesn’t list anyone’s handles, everyone is going by their real name and none of their website info lists your handles either. I was pretty surprised at that – did they ever explain to you the reasoning why
Not sure, you’d have to ask them. I don’t really have a handle, I just go by Marty, or by Punko on Twitch and some other places, so it didn’t really crease me.

The workshop is out of a cosplayer’s dream: what tool did you get to use for the first time while working there? IS there anything you wish you could take home with you?
If I had a big enough trenchcoat, I woulda smuggled out the whole shop. XD But definitely the big drill press. I’ve used one before on projects and at various jobs, but I don’t have one of my own and MAN was it the best. Glad they didn’t show the clip of me smooching the drill press. That got a little weird.

Did working on Cosplay Melee inspire you to any new or bigger projects? Anything you were scared to try that you want to dive into next?
Oh, TOTALLY. I gained so much confidence from this show! I never knew I could actually use pneumatic stuff until I really tried with that actuator! Now I’m looking into wings, go-karts, you name it! You wouldn’t believe the stuff I have in store. It’s blowing my mind just thinking about it.

Last question: What advice would you give cosplayers who want to participate in next season’s Cosplay Melee?

Just have fun with it! Don’t freak out or start trying to guess what the judges will say while you’re still building. I had fun on the show and didn’t let myself get sick with stress or worry. Just relax and go with your gut instinct. Don’t let the competition get in the way of having fun.

You can find Marty on Facebook and Instagram!

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Interview with Emily (Go Big or Go Home Cosplay)

Cosplay Melee Episode 3 is due to air tonight, and we have an interview with the fantastic Emily of Go Big or Go Home Cosplay from Episode 2, who was awesome enough to share some of her experience of working on the series with us and answer burning questions like was your paint still wet when you donned your costume?

First of all, congrats on your amazing work on Cosplay Meele! It was so much fun watching you put everything together, and we were in love with your giant flail! What was the hardest part of the construction?

Funny story, when I picked the flail from the “Bowl of Scrolls” YNB and I laughed because neither one of use knew what a flail was! They did not include this edit in the final cut. Originally I was going to use green floral foam as a base for a Dire Wolf’s face on my flail. I thought a ball with spikes was too basic. When I started working with the green floral foam it just crumbled in my hands. I knew that it would not withstand adding Worbla on top of it and opted to change my design. I have worked with other types of soft foam in the past, but the material available at the shop was not practical for the technique I was trying to use. Ultimately I feel like the decision to go with a 6 blade design worked in my favor. It was super simple to replicate the same piece 6 times rather than try to make an organic wolfs face. Thankfully I only wasted 45 mins in my crafting time on my original design. They did not show this on the show, but if you keep an eye out on my work bench you can see the start of a wolfs nose and ears on the table. Other than that I think that the hardest part of the construction really comes down to durability. The reason why people use Worbla in the first place is so your props don’t break. I am so thankful that I decided to use this product on the show because it allowed me to make links from my scraps that self adhered to the base of the flail. I knew that their connection would hold as I swung it around on the stage. That flail was not going to break!

You were dual wielding heatguns in your build, which had all of us here cheering. Was that just because you had more tools available, or do you usually pack double the heat?

I knew that I was going to be working with a lot of material in a short amount of time and wanted to utilize my resources as best as possible. I gotta admit, dual wielding heat guns on the show made me feel like a boss. My favorite part is when I hold both heat guns in one hand as I flip my Worbla over to heat the other side! At home I will often use two heat guns at the same time. It helps me heat up larger patterns of Worbla at one time. For example if you are making shin guards you want to use two heat guns because the size of your leg is almost two feet long. Depending on the temperature in your work space your Worbla could get cool. You wouldn’t want this because this could create creases or bubbles on your surface when you go to mold it around your body. Using two heat guns helps prevent these issues from happening and I consider it to be a proactive approach to crafting. Learning how to understand the working time and temperament of any product that you use is important. Just because you are using two heat guns that does not mean that you are increasing how hot you are making the material, rather you are expediting how quickly you evenly heat up the material.

You used Worbla instead of foam or metal for the majority of your build. Why was Worbla your go-to material?

During casting I told myself if I ever got the opportunity to be on the show I needed to stick with what I knew. In this competition you do not want to try something that you’ve never done before. That doesn’t mean that you can’t experiment on some components for your costume. Rather this refers to the base construction of your build. For example, it would not have been smart of me to try my first full EVA build on the show. Trust me, I thought about it. I heard from multiple people that foam is light and fast to work with. I had definitely done my research and understood the fundamentals of foamsmithing, but I had never executed a build entirely made out of foam. It is a completely different form of art, even if it has many similarities to working with Worbla. Some of the main differences that I have learned since filming on the show is that you have to make modifications on your patterns to compensate for the thickness that EVA foam has when compared to normal craft foam. If you do not account for this your pieces could be too small when you go to wrap them around your body. Another main difference is how you prime, seal, and put attachments onto foam directly. I had never done any of this to EVA foam before going on the show. I could have really sabotaged myself. My smartest choice was to use Worbla, and more specifically, Black Worbla. I had worked with it in the past and knew how smooth the surface was compared to normal Worbla. In this competition you have to cut corners. I made the decision to not prime my armor before I painted it. I would normally NEVER do this, but when you only have 2 days to complete a full armor you do what you have to do. Black Worbla was the best choice for this because the surface is so smooth.

The magic of TV editing makes it look like the final bell tolls and you all instantly don your costumes – but paint has to dry and makeup and wigs have to be applied, and somewhere along the way you needed to eat! How long did they give you, between the ‘end’ of your second work day and when you walked on stage. Was some of the paint still wet?

TV time is not real world time. We filmed my episode over the course of a week. We only had three build days, but the other days were filled with travel time, settling into our hotel rooms, wardrobe and tool checks, as well as various interviews. I am from the East Coast so trying to adjust to the West Coast time zone was definitely difficult for me. I was on a three hour time difference, staying up three hours later than I was used to, so really I was going on a six hour time change. We would go onto the set in the early afternoon and not leave until sometimes after 2am. “Lunch” was not served until around 6pm. Talk about weird film time lingo. Going onto set was like being in Vegas. It was daytime when you went in and dark when you left. We never knew what time it was. The food was amazing. Some days the crew had food catered in and it was like eating your families famous recipes. I was really impressed, however that could have been the lack of sleep and stress that made anything taste like Heaven. The breakfast burritos were the BOMB, and I got to try In-and-Out Burger for the first time. We were able to have around 8 hours of sleep time each night, however some people did not sleep due to nerves. Before we went on stage during the first challenge I had just slung blood onto my flail and had to tell the crew to not touch it until the paint dried. As far as the actual time between the end of our second work day and our on stage appearance was probably a couple hours. This was due to us having make up applied and getting dressed.

Speaking of being onstage – your wig and makeup looked great, and they don’t show that process at all! Now in Face Off, the contestants get some costume work done for them and their molds get poured while they’re resting – did SyFy provide you with styled wigs to your directions or help with makeup, or were those all yours just not shown on the final cut?

After we were judged and learned that we needed to modify our characters origin story we were able to have consultations for make-up and wig design. The network had brought in a professional make-up artist to style our wigs and apply our make-ups for our character’s debut. However the overall styling look was based on our creative influence. I wanted to look like I had not had sleep for days, been rolling around in the dirt, and had not showered in weeks. Because I was thirsty for revenge I said that I wanted a huge scar down the middle of my face. I was the first one to give my wig off to the stylist. Going into the second round I knew that I wanted to have braids, beads, and feathers styled into my wig. This was to help portray the more feminine side of Goditha. I think that it turned out great and I’m very pleased with the final look.

References are so important when doing Cosplay work, even just interpretive things! Did they let you google for inspiration, or have references handy to look up? I mean, if I’d been given GoT I would have been completely lost knowing the different families, and staying on theme is so important….

I think that staying on theme is one of the key components to winning Cosplay Melee. On the show you can see how excited I was to find out that our theme was Game of Thrones. I am a huge fan! It was so fun to make up a story background for our characters. I knew going in that I wanted to incorporate Stark influences. Having to make a flail was a complete surprise. I really tried to wing it and make the best prop possible in such a short amount of time. Winning the first challenge was a HUGE advantage. My first spin landed on Dothraki. If I was not able to spin again this could have completely sabotaged me. I knew that it would have been very difficult to change my original design to fit a half naked character who rides on a horse. Thankfully on my second spin I landed on Wildling. I knew that I could work with this and it ended up really elevating my overall character design. I loved working with the rich fabric textiles. On set we did have tablets available to search various reference materials. I think an advantage to being on “Throne Off” was that I knew the background origins of the theme. I tried to stay true to the fandom and show my appreciation for the show in my character. It helps being a fan!

The workroom is just right out of a cosplayer’s dream! What tool do you wish you could have taken back home with you?

The set had an incredible iwata airbrush! Hands down the coolest tool I used on the show. It was my first time really weathering armor using an airbrush technique. It seriously expedited my paint job. It would have taken FOREVER to dry brush that intire costume. I highly recommend cosplayers investing in a high quality gravity feed airbrush gun. It is on my cosplay wish list! It was so fun to use on set.

You’ve used Worbla for many of your own costumes: what is your favorite Worbla project you have done for yourself?

I definitely think that the costume that I am most proud of is my Valkyrie Leona cosplay from League of Legends. It was my first time working with Worbla. I wanted to challenge myself by making an armor from head to toe with a sword and a shield. I learned so much about the temperament of Worbla and how to troubleshoot various issues you have throughout the process of your armor build. It was my first time drafting patters, using the “sandwich technique”, priming with Gesso and woodglue, dry brushing, and sealing with a clear satin lacquer. It was the cornerstone of my armor making hobby. I came up with my cosplay name on this build. I realized that I was addicted. I was bitten by the Worbla bug and never wanted to turn back. It’s Go Big or Go Home.


Lastly, what piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to compete in Cosplay Meele Season 2?

Be prepared for anything. This show will throw you curve balls that you will have to adjust to. Come organized. Have a sound game plan and stick to what you know. Remember to have fun and enjoy the experience. You will meet some pretty amazing crafters and make life long friends. Understand that it is a really long casting process and you will be required to fill out a lot of paperwork for the show. It is the hurry up and wait mentality. You are always on their time. The production team is very nice and go out of their way to accommodate you. Try not to get discouraged when things may not go your way. You may have to work with material that you are not used to using. Be adaptable and use your time wisely. Remember this is friendly competition, don’t be afraid to help one another. Think of it as you are in “con crunch” mode and you all are trying to finish making your costumes in time.

Actually I lied: LASTLY: Who would YOU put on the Iron Throne?

Haha! I think that Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen should form a political marriage and rule the Iron Throne together in the final season of Game of Thrones.

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Interview with Jinglebooboo (Jennifer) from Cosplay Melee

Have you been watching Cosplay Melee? We have! While we can’t say the new reality series by SyFy is practically perfect in every way, it is such a huge and positive jump forward for the Cosplay Community as a whole that we’ve been tuning into every episode and cheering all the contestants along!

What is Cosplay Mele? A reality competition show based on cosplay – a mashup of Face Off and Chopped, as a friend has described it. Four contestants per episode have a theme and make a prop or accessory (the first two have been Space Opera Helmets and Game of Thrones Weapons) for the first half of the show. The top three then go on to make a whole costume, and the prize for the winner is $10 000!
(Warning, of course, that there will be some small spoilers in this post!)

One real treat for us has been seeing how much Worbla is ubiquitous throughout the show! That’s not product placement on our part, but rather that the cosplayers polled in advance of the show gave their list of supplies they’d need to have on hand and Worbla was just as expected as foam and glue! So of course, we cheered to see some of the amazing pieces made with Worbla on Cosplay Melee, and reached out to some of the contestants to ask them a bit about being on the show!

First up is Jennifer aka Jinglebooboo, who created a beautifully sleek design that was inspired by the Children of the Forest and House Baratheon.


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Q: Cosplay Melee has proven itself to be a fan favorite with only two episodes. I think we all heaved a sigh of relief when the first episode proved it was going to be a very different show than that Other Cosplay Reality Show that happened. Were you nervous applying for it? Did the interview process give you a sense that it was going to be much more about the creation process and not about drama?
A: When I first heard about the show I was a little bit worried about what kind of light they were going to put me and the cosplay community in. The more I talked to the network and casting agents I become much less worried. They seemed so welcoming and interested in what we cosplayers create and I knew when I went to my first face to face interview that they were planning on a show based on the creation process and I loved that! I completely lost all my fear at that point and never for a second regretted being a contestant.

Q: It’s pretty clear that the contestants know about their themes – no one on your episode was clueless about Game of Thrones (While I would have had to ask “So wait, which ones are which?” when the houses were named.) Did you fill out surveys or were you asked about what media you were comfortable with?
A: They did have us all answer questionnaires on what types of materials we loved and what subject matter we tended to cosplay beforehand. That being said we were unaware of what our subject would officially be until the show. I am a HUGE Game of Thrones fan but I had actually not mentioned that beforehand so it was pretty exciting for them to put me onto an episode with something I did not expect in the slightest.

Q: Did they let you keep your project? Or is it on display somewhere with SyFy?
A: We did not get to keep our cosplays afterwards, which is probably a good thing because I would totally wear it everyday XD I am not sure what will happen with them afterwards but I do hope to see it again someday.

Q: What was your favorite part of the workshop? Any tools you wanted to take home?
A: I was so in love with the airbrush. I had used one a long long time ago in high school but never on cosplay armor. It kind of changed my life and even though it was my first time using one (on tv at that ha) it was so easy and made all my worbla pieces look so good. I definitely am getting one now because I can’t stop thinking about how magical they are and keep borrowing my friends.

Q: One part of your episode that made us laugh was the editing around your breastplate. Watching, I knew for a fact you were going to be fine pulling it from your form – were you really worried it might tear? Or is that the magic of editing going on there?
A: I wasn’t too worried but even the tiniest worry probably comes off as fear on tv. I had never put worbla on a mannequin in that fashion before so of course a little bit of the unfamiliar fear kicked in. But with the amount of safety precaution vaseline I used if that breastplate did stick it would of been pretty shocking looking back.

Q: So you used Worbla instead of foam for a lot of your build – why was it your go-to material?
A: I have always been a huge fan of Worbla and have used it on almost all my cosplays. I love that it is sturdy and durable and i love how well it can take curves and fine details. I tried the black worbla for the first time on the show and was in love with how smooth it was post heating and it honestly saved me a lot of time smoothing my pieces in the end.

Q: What Worbla project are you most proud of, that you’ve made in your own time?
A: My favorite Worbla cosplay I made was a character named Cherche from Fire Emblem. I had leg armor, arm armor, a chest plate, hip things, a neck guard, and well, I was pretty much just armored out everywhere.

Photo by JwaiDesign Photography


Q: And lastly: What suggestions would you give someone who wants to compete in the next series of Cosplay Melee?
A: My suggestion to you is to not hold back and push yourself. I was going to play it really safe on the show but am so proud of myself for pushing my abilities and in the end I am so proud of my cosplay. Never hold back 🙂

Jennifer has created some amazing work, and we have a gallery of some of our favourite images below. Check them out or find her full gallery on Facebook, at Jinglebooboo. Finished costume photos below by JwaiDesignPhotography and WeNeals Photography and Retouching.

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USITT – Let Your Creativity Soar!

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Can you get to St Louis? Interested in seeing products for stage and screen, and getting a chance to meet some Worbla Experts and see our products hands on? The USITT Conference and Stage Expo is March 9th – 11th and Cosplaysupplies and Worbla will be there!

From their webpage:

“USITT is the place where theatre and live entertainment production technicians, designers, managers and consultants meet. Where the industry learns about the latest technologies and methods available to them. Where people connect with each other and make a network that last their entire careers.”

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What does this mean for you? Well if you’ve wanted a chance to see and handle Worbla products live, we will have examples on display and will be doing live demonstrations for the whole of the show and allowing booth visitors to handle Worbla and see how easy it is to shape and use. If you’ve got a project you’re working on and need some advice, this is a great way to get some troubleshooting done as well!

Interested in attending and seeing us? We have free badges to the show floor we’d love to share! Email me at Amanda@worbla.com for more info.

USITT 2016 in Salt Lake City. Photo ©2016 Richard Finkelstein -
Want to learn more about the expo? Take a look at their website here for details, hours, vendor lists and much more!

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Just in Time for the Holidays: The Costume Making Guide

Looking for a great gift for the cosplayer in your life? Kamui’s written a whole new guide, a fantastic step-by-step book introducing the fun and fantastic world of cosplay. It covers multiple techniques and tutorials for armor and props.


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Bring your cosplay dreams to life with your own two hands. The Costume Maker’s Guide is a beginner’s guide to armor and prop making so that anyone – no matter their background knowledge – can make their costume dreams a reality.

Internationally known cosplayer Kamui Cosplay (a.k.a. Svetlana Quindt) shows you how to easily create elaborate costume armor and successful props out of items available at your local arts and craft or hardware stores: turn foam into a realistic axe, create a breastplate from scratch and use a glue gun to modify just about anything. Also includes the basic process of building and working with Worbla!

Packed with more than 30 step-by-step demonstrations that teach the skills you need to bring all your favorite characters to life no matter the genre, Kamui Cosplay deconstructs the work that goes into making a complete costume, from the first thought to the final photo. Tutorials cover design planning, fabricating body armor, 3D painting techniques and more.

Includes:

How to choose a costume and find good reference art
Patterning and Construction advice
A short shopping list of necessary materials and tools for beginning cosplayers
Basic safety tips
How to create realistic paint jobs with simple acrylics.
A beautiful photo gallery featuring inspiring images from other cosplayers
How to grow your workshop, take professional photos, participate in contests and join the cosplay community

128 full color pages.

Available for purchase here!

Category: Cosplay, Costumes | Tags: | 2 comments |

Holtzmann’s Iconic Screw U Necklace

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The summer movie hit Ghostbusters has already inspired cosplay based on the new characters and designs, and the fan favorite has to be Holtzmann – played by the fantastic Kate McKinnon – who has several iconic looks throughout the movie.

One piece of official Ghostbusters merchandise we’ve brought in for cosplayers is Holtzmann’s iconic necklace – a pewter toned ‘U’ with a screw drilled through it on an 18″ chain. It’s sold out almost everywhere – and we have limited stock ourselves! Once it’s gone, we have no idea when a second batch will be made.
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The necklace is available while supplies last for $25 including shipping and you can see the product listing on our site here.

We have the stock on hand which means I was able to get a close look at the piece: it’s solid metal and a fun piece to wear normally if you want to show your fandom. The chain is just long enough that the pendant sits about 2 inches below my collarbone – but the pendant can easily be switched to a different chain.
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Need a refresher on how awesome Holtzmann was? Here’s an official feature on her. And if you haven’t seen the gag reel on the DVD and Blue-Ray? I highly suggest you check those out.

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Fosshape Tutorial Videos

The following three videos showcase Costume and Prop building with Fosshape.

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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.
Smooth
Above: Mesh Art noodle, left edge allowed to keep seam, seam smoothed to the right.
Elemental-9033
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.
Glovesize copy
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!

Gloves1

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.

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