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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!

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 distributorsonline 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.
<p>The photos really look like that is an action figure... Great costume and great photos!</p>
<p>Damn, what enb/graphics mod are you using? The textures on that armor is amazing.</p><p>But in all seriousness this looks great. Thanks for the in depth tutorial on wonderflex. I don't have much armor on my upcoming cosplay and I'm still deciding on what material to use, but wonderflex seems like a good medium so far :)</p>
<p>wondering if anyone had made any armor with this technique that will stand up to larp weapons in combat?</p>
What is a reasonable DIY price range for something like this? I want to make a more minimalist Viking-style leather armor, and am trying to figure out how much a set would cost to make. Please and thank you!
<p>This is really a great tutorial for us to read. </p><p>I would like to share you the alice cosplay costume here. http://www.alicestyless.com/</p>
<p>This is one of the best instructions I've seen. Very thorough. Sometimes people just post a video, and that's fine, but I like taking things all the way. You're doing very high quality stuff. And thanks for siting all your actual product usage, that's also so helpful!</p>
Hello! I have a question about this stuff. How are you??
<p>Love Apoxie Sculpt. Have used it to mend everything from cups, and ceramics to a dent in my car :X Stuff is amazing.</p>
<p>Have anytips for making a turtle shell? I'm cosplaying Leonardo from TMNT 2012. It will be difficult to shape the back of the shell. Tips please. They would be greatly appreciated. :)</p>
<p>When you say &quot;NOTE: I got a little overzealous and did this before I had the armor strapping and rigging sorted. Its a better idea to wait until you've got all the snaps and screws in place before painting the inside of your armor.&quot; in step 15. Can you please elaborate on what you mean?</p>
<p>could I purchase one?</p>
<p>Do you take commissions? If so please let me know, I would love to commission you for a simple chest plate and headdress :)</p>
<p>He does do commission work and might be willing to take on your project. Check out his website at</p><p>http://www.volpinprops.com</p>
<p>What is the purpose of the damp towel in Step 7? Does it affect the texture of the Wonderflex? Did you have any problems with the wonderflex sticking to the towel?</p>
I love the depth and detail of this instructable and of how you created everything! Thank you so much!
<p>Thank you so much, this tutorial is so in depth and easy to follow! </p>
<p>Can I use the techniques described here, with the apoxie sculpt, on worbla? Or will this only work with wonderflex?</p>
<p>wow just wow you have such great costumes and props. </p>
<p>You can now order Wonderflex at:</p><p>WWW.COSPLAYSUPPLY.EU</p><p>Fast delivery into Europe!</p>
<p>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! </p>
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.. :(<br><br>Amazing btw!! 0.0
<p>try using cardboard instead, then use pepakura armor techniques to finish it, like bondo and fiberglass</p>
<p>Mr. Krix (Volpin) you are the BEST propmaker of all time!!</p>
<p>Oh, well doesn't this look complicated..... At least it's totally worth it!</p>
<p>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!</p>
<p>THIS. IS. CRAZY GOOD! This makes me want to be the dragonborn for halloween :)</p>
Ya I was wondering about the thickness and also, could you give the dimensions of the paper blueprints of this?
<p>You said that wonderflex comes in three different thicknesses, so I was wondering, what thickness of the wonderflex did you end up using?</p>
Cool.How did you make the mannequin?
Hi is it possible if I can buy from you the blueprints for this armor
Super cool! Reminds me of Narnia...
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?
Amazing
I am now buying wonderflex in truckloads
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
How much did you spend cause im making a helmet right now and a have $60 so will i have enough for the chest piece
I'm gonna try and keep to a 100$ budget. Don't know how it's going to turn out.
:P This will be perfect for Project Mystogan. If you can make this I hope I can make what I need
HE HAS THE WABBAJACK!
Early in the video about weathering you were applying decals to the gun. <br>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 !
Smithing increased to 100!
By the gods you are the Dragon Born
Great stuff, Harrison - really nice instructable.<br> <br> One thing you might want to check out is Smooth-on's <a href="http://www.smooth-on.com/Epoxy-Putty-Free-F/c1390_1391/index.html" rel="nofollow">&quot;Free-Form Air Epoxy Putty&quot;</a> 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).&nbsp; 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.
Congratulations on your win! Well deserved! <br>
Congratulations on being a finalist in the Halloween contest!!! Can&rsquo;t wait to see if you win! Good luck!

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More by volpin:Building a Small Format Vacuumformer from an Old Toaster Oven Creating Costume Armor with Wonderflex Creating Helmets and Armor from Videogames for Fun and Profit! 
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