This Instructable will walk through the steps I took to create Link's Bracer. It is based off of the Twilight Princess version. This allows the wearer to wear it on the Left or Right arm, since the GC and Wii versions differed and in the Wii version Link switched to Right Handed.
The image above shows the completed bracer, with leather glove and fleece under the bracer to hold the power for the EL panel. The glove has a built in EL panel, so it glows in lower light settings. I may do a second Instructable on how I made the leather glove and installed the EL panel later.
Materials needed for the Bracer:
- Craft foam - 5mm and 3mm thickness
- Gorilla Glue
- Worbla - thermo plastic
- Wonderflex - thermo plastic, with internal structure
- Acrylic Paint
- Gloss Varnish
- Matte Varnish
- Metal rings - 4 x rectangle 0.5 inch by 1 inch
- Leather - Brown Swede
- Velcro - Brown
- Thread - Golden Yellow
Step 1: Foam
Trace and cut out the main shape on the 5mm craft foam.
Then trace and cut out the raised details onto the 3mm foam. I tried to keep this one piece to make it easier.
Use Gorilla glue (or any other craft glue) to glue to glue the 3mm piece onto the 5mm base.
Step 2: Worbla
Overlay a piece of Worbla, cut to larger than the shape, and using a head gun or hair dryer to form to the shapes.
For the inside details, I use the blunt handle of a butter knife. You don't want to use anything that is sharp enough to cut the Worbla.
I just folded over the extra to form complete sides, but didn't worry about the back side, since it will not be visible. You will see this in the next step.
Step 3: Form Bracer
Use the heat gun again and worm up the entire bracer, just enough so that you can bend it.
The wrist curve is smaller than the forearm curve, so I used a large plastic cup and a small plastic cup to mold the bracer to the correct shape.
It is easier if you can form both at the same time. I taped the two cups together, on a slight angle, so I could mold both curves at once.
Step 4: Rings
To attach the rings, I used 4 - 3/4 inch wide strips of Wonderflex, 3 inches long. You could use Worbla, but Wonderflex has the internal structure that will help make it is a stronger hinge.
Heat up the Wonderflex and attach them to the Rings by pressing the two ends of the Wonderflex strip together around the ring. This leaves you with 4 rings, with little white tails of Wonderflex.
Then simply use two larger strips of Worbla to install these to the Bracer. It helps if you soften the Wonderflex with some heat, when placing it on the bracer, to allow it to take the shape of the curve. Then soften the Worbla over top and press into place.
Step 5: Prime
Use a high quality primer to give a good base for the Acrylic. Apply 2 to 3 coats, with time to dry between.
I didn't prep the Worbla before priming, since I wanted the bracer to look rough like leather. If you want a smoother look, you can fill in the Worbla with wood glue or Gesso to make it smoother before priming.
Step 6: Paint
Paint a brown Acrylic (Burnt Umber in my case) over the whole bracer. I recommend that you tape the rings, so you don't have to remove paint from the metal later.
I would recommend at least 2 coats, but 3 is better, since this will be the main color of the bracer. Allow time to dry between coats.
Step 7: Black Shadows
Using a smaller brush, outline the whole pattern on the top of the bracer.
This really makes the surface pop out from the background and makes it look much more realistic.
Step 8: Highlights
I used some white and yellow mixed in the brown to lighten up the center of the large background spaces in the pattern. Allow time to dry between coats. This adds an additional layer of depth to the colors.
Step 9: More Highlights
Add more highlights to add some wear patterns to the bracer. I used more yellow to lighten up the brown and to give a more drastic difference between the wear pattern and the brown. Allow time to dry between coats.
Step 10: Varnish
First apply 1 coat of the gloss varnish. Allow time to dry.
Then add two coats of the Matte Varnish. Allow time to dry between coats.
Finish by adding 2-3 coats of the gloss varnish, allowing time to dry between coats. Adding the Matte layers will add depth.
Step 11: Straps
Cut 3/4 inch wide strips of the swede, and measure the length to fit your arm size when doubled over on the bracer.
I hand stitched the leather to the metal rings, and added an embellishment to make it a stronger connection.
The first time I tried to glue the Velcro with leather glue, but it didn't hold. The second time, I used Gorilla glue and it seems to be holding better. If that doesn't hold, I suggest that you stitch on the Velcro also.
Step 12: Finished Bracer
The finished product!