Last month I made a costume based on the new DC Bombshell Supergirl statue. My first attempt at the “S” plate was made with craft foam, but riveting it to the leather belt proved to be too much and the corners got crushed. I needed a stronger material so I figured this would be a good time to test out Worbla. I’d been hearing great things about this thermoplastic and seeing some amazing creations, so I order a large sheet online, but we now also sell it in the shop: Three Muses Worbla
The Worbla comes rolled up and is a little hard to work with in that state, so first I lightly heated it to make it flat. At this point I was using a hair dryer for heating. It seemed to be taking WAY longer than those easy breezy tutorials I had watched. Also, my dryer kept shutting itself off when it got too hot. I finally managed to get it flat enough to trace my pattern and then cut it out with an Exacto knife and scissors.
The curve in it actually worked for my design because I needed it to curve against my body when on. But you can see it didn’t exactly get flat with a hair dryer. Since I was moving on to the heating portion of things, it was time to bring in the big guns. The heat gun to be exact.
I first tried it on a test piece, which is the weird wobbly looking thing to the right of the plate. It started getting wiggly looking if it got too hot. But it stuck to the other piece really easily with a secure hold. Heating it up slowly and steadily seemed to be the best method to make it pliable without warping it too much. I didn’t really get the hang of seeing the color “change from caramel to light brown” like the tutorial on the website says. There was a lot of guessing involved. But attaching it was really easy, smooth and quick.
Next up I started sanding to make it smooth. So I sanded, and sanded, and sanded my little heart out with fine grade sand paper and it still looked rough. I read about covering it with gesso and then sanding it smooth, but all I had handy was resin and I’m impatient. Resin it is! I did 3 coats of resin, letting each one dry for a couple hours and decided a bit of texture was just fine with me. I was tired of sanding and ready to get started painting.
All the tutorials recommend using acrylics, but I just had spray paint and fabric paint so I was determined to make that work. The gold parts were done with spray paint in a cup, which happens to be a favorite technique of mine for getting a nice metallic appearance. The dark part is the first coat of paint, which is Tulip fabric paint in red and black mixed together. It took about 3 layers of paint to get it nice and solid.
I am happy to say that the Worbla held up really well when riveted to the belt and was much more solid than the attempt with the craft foam. I was doing a pretty easy piece, but it still was not as easy to work with as I thought it would be. My next project after this was a full chestplate and that required a lot of heating, messing up and re-doing. It is a material that definitely requires a lot of practice to get just right. The good thing is that is can be reheated when you mess up. I saved every little scrap for future projects and hope to get the hang of it a little better. The Supergirl belt was a success and I’m glad I went the extra step and made it out of something solid and long lasting.