Posted in Big Programs, Makerspace

Cosplaying With Teens

Cosplay is dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game.  Making the costume, accessories, and armor is the exciting part of cosplay and can be easily incorporated into your teen or makerspace programming.

Worbla-The Star of the Show

Worbla will be featured in this post.  Worbla is a thermoplastic modeling material.  All that means is that you can mold it by heating it.

  • The Worbla I’ve seen comes in two colors, beige and black. (I am not a Worbla or cosplay expert so I could be mistaken).
    • You can paint Worbla and I recommend priming it first. Acrylic paint and spray paint is recommended.
  • Worbla is expensive. A 29×19 sheet on Amazon cost about $50. If you are only making masks, you can get about 16 masks from one sheet.
    • However, if you already have heat guns, paint, cutting utensils, and gems, your are only paying for the Worbla.
  • Worbla is molded with heat from a heat gun.
  • It’s very easy to teach and use with teens.
6d09065c-332a-436d-8b91-03c802be0917.jpg
The mask is shaped to her face

Making Masks

Supplies Needed

Instructions

  1. I pre cut the Worbla into rectangles that were big enough for the mask template.  I gave each teen a rectangle of Worbla.
  2. I found a basic mask template on Google/Pinterest. You will have to copy and paste
    in Publisher or Photoshop to make the masks fit a face.  I gave teen a template.
  3. Have teens cut out the eye holes.  If you are feeling fancy, you can pre-cut the masks on your cutting machine (Silhouette/Circut) and pre-cut the eye holes and elastic holes.
  4. On the dull side of the Worbla, have teens trace the outside and eye holes from the mask.
  5. Have teens cut out the mask. The eye holes can be cut out using the craft knife.  If you don’t want teens using a craft knife, like I did because they were a little young, you can start the eye holes with the craft knife and let them use scissors to complete the cut.
  6. Have teens place the paper template on the mask and use the hole punch template as a guide to punch holes for the elastic cord.
  7. Turn the mask so that the dull side is facing up and use the heat gun to heat the nose first.
    1. Once the Worbla is pliable, have teens place the mask on their face and pinch the nose until it shapes to their face.
      1. If it is too hot for their face, tell them to let it cool a little bit before dmFaq5skQPy63tuzaqKGPQputting it on their face.  It won’t leave burn marks on their face.
  8. Repeat step seven by heating the mask and pressing onto their face in sections.  Do the under eye, the sides, and the top.
    1. Have teens hold their head back as they press to shape their face.
  9. If they mess up, they can heat the mask, flatten it until it hardens, and start again.
  10. Tie the elastic cord.  The cord should be tight so that it fits snuggly to their face.

Tips

  • Teens thought the mask looked like The Incredibles so you can make this to tie it into the movie release.
  • This activity took about 30 minutes.  To make it longer, teens can create their own template, you can have teens paint their mask or decorate with gems, or teens can add dimension. See my cuff cosplay below for instructions.
    • You can add a writing component by making a comic page.
      • You can take pictures of teens in their mask in superhero poses.  Teens and upload their images into a comic strip template.
      • Teens can turn their superhero persona into a short story
    • You can use a green screen to take pictures or make a short film.
  • Save your scraps; you can use them to make dimension. See cuff project below.
  • Hair dryers will take too long to heat; I recommend a heat gun.

Making Armour

Teens can use Worbla to make cuffs, bracers, or shin guards. See the video below to learn how I made my cuff.

Tips

  • Have teens draw their design before they begin.
  • The Worbla was uncomfortably hot when I shaped it to my wrist. After a Google search, it was recommended that you wear long sleeves and to shape the Worbla over your sleeve.

This is a great summer activity for your teens who love attending comic cons. They can come to your program to save money and to make their cosplay.

If you host own comic con at your library, this can be a great event or competition.

This can also be a Halloween program for teens to make their costumes at the library.

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Author:

YA Librarian. Lover of Sherlock. And all Things Harry Potter.

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