Instructables
Picture of Creating Costume Armor with Wonderflex
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This Instructable will guide you through the process of creating lightweight and durable armor for costuming using a material called Wonderflex.

While 90% of the armor in this tutorial will be comprised of Wonderflex, it's important to know that the best results come from using a myriad of materials. Wonderflex is a very capable material, but there are certain limitations to what you can accomplish with it. I'll also be using other materials to accent and enhance the appearance of the basic forms, and these will be called out and linked when appropriate.

In the images above, all armor parts except the helmet were made from a mixture of Wonderflex and Apoxie sculpt. If you're interested in the construction of the helmet, check out my other instructable detailing how to make helmets from videogames!
 
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Step 1: What is Wonderflex?

Wonderflex is a low-melt thermoplastic (activation temperature of 150°-170° F) with a woven fiber backing on one side. It sort of looks like very thick plastic duct tape. When heated, the material can flex and stretch into curves, including some basic compound curves as well. Due to the woven grid backing, Wonderflex can only do slight compound curves. You could make a radar-dish type shape but it would be very difficult to get it to make a tight dome.

Wonderflex is also self-adhesive, meaning if you heat up two sheets and press therm together, they will bond to one another as they cure. The more you heat the material up, the stronger this bond will become. I prefer to use a heat gun but you can also microwave smaller pieces if you prefer.

It is available in three thicknesses (.35, .45, and .69") and is shipped/sold in rolls. I buy mine from The Engineer Guy here in Atlanta, but there are plenty of distributors online who also sell it.

Even the thickest of their available products is still pretty thin for very good results, so you'll see in later steps I often double or triple layer the material to make curves smoother and cleaner.
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hannathing1 month ago

Can I use the techniques described here, with the apoxie sculpt, on worbla? Or will this only work with wonderflex?

riverswamp2 months ago

wow just wow you have such great costumes and props.

BasT13 months ago

You can now order Wonderflex at:

WWW.COSPLAYSUPPLY.EU

Fast delivery into Europe!

nwalt313 months ago

dear volpin, i am an aspiring prop maker and this instructable inspired me to make my own suit of armor, its my first costume, check out my instructable on it and tell me what you think!

Only bad thing is, Wonderflex is so expensive.. So if you're poor (like me) you can't afford to really do anything with it.. Sadly.. :(

Amazing btw!! 0.0

try using cardboard instead, then use pepakura armor techniques to finish it, like bondo and fiberglass

geowulf7 months ago

Mr. Krix (Volpin) you are the BEST propmaker of all time!!

Oh, well doesn't this look complicated..... At least it's totally worth it!

honestly i want to make stuff like this, or anything from video games in general, but i have no idea where to start! Extremely jealous! You do brilliant work!

Leopardjoy169 months ago

THIS. IS. CRAZY GOOD! This makes me want to be the dragonborn for halloween :)

PITCHVAPOR11 months ago
Ya I was wondering about the thickness and also, could you give the dimensions of the paper blueprints of this?
DanK113811 months ago

You said that wonderflex comes in three different thicknesses, so I was wondering, what thickness of the wonderflex did you end up using?

Cool.How did you make the mannequin?
liamrk1781 year ago
Hi is it possible if I can buy from you the blueprints for this armor
Super cool! Reminds me of Narnia...
LexyConroy1 year ago
This is just... wow... it looks EXACTLY like the game :O
abradu11 year ago
A really great tutorial, but how did you get the fur on there in the final piece? I might have missed a step or something but did you just glue it on the armor when you finished?
jvicars1 year ago
Amazing
TheZacmann1 year ago
I am now buying wonderflex in truckloads
skyrim-bro1 year ago
Can you help me with extra details just comment back and i will tell you my email i want to make thanks by the way nice cosplay
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skyrim-bro1 year ago
How much did you spend cause im making a helmet right now and a have $60 so will i have enough for the chest piece
Lexagonal1 year ago
I'm gonna try and keep to a 100$ budget. Don't know how it's going to turn out.
Lexagonal1 year ago
:P This will be perfect for Project Mystogan. If you can make this I hope I can make what I need
Mystogan_GMG.png
HE HAS THE WABBAJACK!
sixsmith1 year ago
Early in the video about weathering you were applying decals to the gun.
I was curious as to the method and materials used. It looks to me like it's a screen printing setup, and am wondering what methods you used to create the screen, I've done homemade screen printing before, and it looked nowhere near as nice as that.
awesome + sauce = this !
o__o1 year ago
Smithing increased to 100!
chase326151 year ago
By the gods you are the Dragon Born
jwilliamsen2 years ago
Great stuff, Harrison - really nice instructable.

One thing you might want to check out is Smooth-on's "Free-Form Air Epoxy Putty" as a replacement for Apoxy Sculpt - it is crazy-light, carves and smooths well, is super easy to mix (knead) about the hardness of maple... and did I mention light? (it will float in water).  I've been using it to replace some of my uses of Magic Sculpt and have been impressed with it.
does it shrink when hardening?
Not that I've noticed - no appreciable amount, anyway - and can't think why it would. It's composed of glass micro-spheres and epoxy - so there's nothing to shrink, really.
Thanks for the info on Free-Form Epoxy Putty. It looks like a very useful product.
tmallos2 years ago
Congratulations on your win! Well deserved!
poofrabbit2 years ago
Congratulations on being a finalist in the Halloween contest!!! Can’t wait to see if you win! Good luck!
chakra2 years ago
mother of Gods!! this is one of the most detailed & impressive I'ble i have seen!
any I'ble for the battle axe too??
volpin (author)  chakra2 years ago
I don't have an instructible for the axe, but I did detail the build process of it on my website: http://www.volpinprops.com/steel-axe-skyrim/

Thanks for the compliments!
I'll bet this costume is an attention-getter at all the Renaissance Festivals. :)
McNopants132 years ago
your paint job is pristine. flawless! i can't say enough good about it!

SewWhat!!2 years ago
What an amazing tutorial! I hope to try this out for my Loki!Avengers costume this year!
One question though, about how much wonderflex did you use for this costume? I know it is more the the amount I would need for my armor (Loki's is pretty few and in between for his "casual" costume), but I would like to start stocking some up for more costumes/crazy stuff.
Thank you for taking the time to read my plea, and fo making this fantastic tutorial! :D
The Rambler2 years ago
Funny, I was just checking out your new site like an hour ago. Then I'm looking over instructables and thought, that axe sure looks familiar. Awesome stuff man. Thanks for continuing to sharing your processes. I've been meaning to try some Wonderflex. You and Mike over at Blind Squirrel might just have inspired me to finally do it.
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