Cosplay is a fun and creative way to show your support and enthusiasm for particular characters in any media. Those serious about Cosplay go to great lengths to make a costume that represents the character they are portraying, while adding individual touches. In fact, this is why many Cosplayers make their costumes instead of buying them.
Due to its popularity, there are many products being marketed to the Cosplay world. One of these products is a plastic known as Wonderflex.
What is Wonderflex?
Wonderflex is a type of thermoplastic that is easy for home use. The plastic does not need to go in the oven, and is nontoxic, so it doesn’t have the strong chemical smell that most thermoplastics have. All users need is a hard, flat surface, a heat gun, and paper and/or foam for shaping. That’s it! Wonderflex is easy to use, and is malleable enough that you can create whatever your imagination can think of!
Do I need experience working with thermoplastics?
No! One of the benefits of Wonderflex is that it is so easy to use, you don’t need to have ever used the material before. Because it is heat activated, the user can experiment with different temperatures in order to see how he or she can work best with the material. The heat also acts as an “eraser” when you need it. If you mess up, simply heat it again, and do it over! It’s that simple!
How can I shape the plastic?
There are three recommended ways of molding the plastic depending on your needs. If you’re brave enough, you can shape the plastic using just your hands. You should wear gloves when doing this, as the plastic will be hot. If you’re confident you can create the shape you want on your own, simply heat, shape, and let cool.
The second method is to use a mold or form. You can buy a pre-shaped foam mold, or you can make your own with upholstery or insulation foam, or even duct tape. To shape your plastic, simply heat it, place over your mold, let cool, then remove. It’s really that easy!
The third suggestion is to use a negative mold. Negative molds are hollow, and you will push your heated Wonderflex into the mold. This will allow your creation to have the same hollow effects of the mold.
And to cut your plastic you can just use a simple utility knife that can be bought at an affordably at many online vendors.
Will my prop withstand heat?
Since heat is used to mold Wonderflex it may seem as though natural heat (a hot day, or being stuck in a hot room) can ruin your piece–don’t worry, it won’t! If you accidentally leave your piece in a hot car, it may soften, but will go back to its shape once it is placed somewhere cooler. The same is for being out in the sun. The heat from the sun is not strong enough to warp the shape of your prop.
Photo: RYC – Behind the Lens