Red Sonja – Leg Bands
The Red Sonja leg bands were constructed out of Worbla(*) , craft foam, elastic, and some leather trim. This was my first experience working with worbla and it was a lot of fun. Definitely understand why everyone loves this stuff!
The bands ended up being about 1.5″ x 15″, enough to wrap almost the entire way around the client’s leg, but not quite. The pattern was free handed and roughly based on the cosplay reference I found on Deviant Art. I was going for a sort of hammered steel look. The core is two layers of 3mm craft foam. The bottom layer is solid, and the top layer has the cut outs. I glued them together using regular PVA (elmer’s) glue and then covered them in Worbla.
Actually wrapping the bands was a learning experience. Worbla actually “stretches” a little, because once it is malleable it can be pulled. I found that it was best to cut the worbla slightly smaller than necessary so that once it was warm I could kind of bring the edges together to seal them. If there is too much overlap or you do not cut enough darts out on curves, you end up with lumpy bits that are difficult to smooth.
I used a darice embossing heatgun(*) that I picked up at Joann to heat the worbla. To protect my floor, I used a 12×12 inch tile that was leftover from the house. As the worbla heats, it will darken a little. If you heat it up too much in a small area it can start to bubble. After a while you learn the right amount and surface area to heat.
After doing a rough wrap with the worbla, I continued to soften it and work it into the depressions created by the foam. The round head of a pin worked surprisingly well to help squish it into the edges. It was also useful to poke a hole in the worbla and let air out if bubbles did form.
Then I added D rings using worbla scraps as fasteners. The rings move freely once the worbla cooled down. Then I heated and bent the band into the shape I wanted
After the bands completely cooled and hardened, I covered the front and backs with PVA glue to smooth out the surface a little bit. Then came painting. First I brushed on a layer of black acrylic, followed by a metallic silver spray paint from Krylon. After that dried, I dry brushed some black back in before finishing with a gloss clear coat. The look I was going for was more cartoon/comic than realistic, so I wasn’t super detailed. I just wanted there to be some high and low tones to make the pattern pop a little more.
To fasten them to the legs, I decided to go with an elastic/velcro contraption, which was covered by a silver leather scrap I found at Joann. I actually wish I had done this differently. I wanted something that looked like it was “one” piece and didn’t want any elastic or modern hardware showing. The silver piece is meant to be trimmed and lie flat once the elastic is taught against the skin, to make the transition between the band and elastic more seamless. This didn’t work out as well as I hoped it would, and I wish I had gone with a more traditional method, or used some leather scraps and a D ring.
And here is the final product!
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