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Knowing how to build stuff isn’t about being smart, it’s about experience.
Making is, by its nature, communal and cooperative and it happens to be filled with people who love to teach new skills.
Dropping a design problem in front of a bunch of Makers on an internet forum or in a makerspace is like throwing a Porterhouse steak to a pack of starving hyenas… with Leatherman tools.
Don’t let those ideas sit in your brain, come to Vocademy and we’ll help guide you into making them a reality. Join us for any of our free introductory classes, or come talk to fellow Makers at our Do-It-Together Tuesdays open collaboration time every Tuesday from 6PM – 9PM. Come by for a tour of Vocademy any time – we’re open 7 days a week, from 11AM – 11PM!
People have seen “Worbla” pop up on our class calendar a few times now, and it leaves most people wondering what
it is and what they can do with it. Worbla is a thermoplastic that comes in various sized sheets. It’s become a popular material for people who cosplay, because ease of use make creating realistic looking armor and props a snap. But it is also used for making sculpture, making toys, masks, and jewelry.
Using it can be simple once you learn the basics and get a bit of practice: create a paper pattern (whether it is
for a Halloween costume, scroll work for a walking stick, or a pendant to be worn on a necklace) and trace the pattern onto the Worbla with a Sharpie marker or a pen. Use scissors or a hot knife to cut the pattern out of the Worbla. Using a heat gun, you can then apply heat to shape the thermoplastic to the desired form. Right now, I am working on a Faun (half human, half goat/hooved animal) cosplay which will have an armor-like torso piece made with Worbla. I created a plaster mannequin of my own body (duct tape mannequins are also a frequently used method) which I will be using to form and mold the Worbla, I will be posting progress pictures next week.
Once you have the pieces formed to match what you imagined with the original paper pattern, it is time to apply finishing techniques. Worbla can be layered, sanded, textured, hot glued, and painted with a variety of mediums from acrylic to spray paint. When the Worbla is still warm you can gently press items into it to create a desired pattern or texture. Or, when it is completely cooled, you can sand it down to the desired smoothness.
We can teach you the hands-on basics of working with Worbla – from designing a pattern, to making the proper cut of the material, heat gun and pressure techniques to mold the Worbla, and how to correctly layer – on September 20th in our Armor Making: Worbla Forming class. Then, on September 21st, we will be teaching students the finishing techniques that will take Worbla from a plastic-looking material to the look of battle-worn metal armor in our Prop and Armor Finishing: Battle Damaged Painting class.
To sign up for these or any of our other Cosplay Workshop Weekend classes, call 951.266.6630.
Another Worbla work-in-progress. This Elder Scrolls Emperor armor is designed and built by The Tragic Shrew: