I finished the manga a few weeks back, no more spoilers for me! However, the anime continues on. Right now I'm up to episode 288 of Shippuden, right in the midst of fillers. I don't really mind the fillers though - sometimes they do more to develop the characters than the manga ever did.
Since I can't be spoiled too badly, I've decided it's time to dive right into some Naruto cosplay!
The first thing to make is obviously the Konoha headband. While the plate varies in size across episodes, and even on the same person, I chose a few random sizes and picked one that looked right on my own head.
Things you'll need:
- Craft foam (usually 2mm)
- Metal ruler
- Sharp knife (preferably a hobby knife)
- Crappy pearl stickers from the $2 shop used as mobile decoration
- Heat gun
- Snaps - the kind you hammer into fabric is what I used
I made mine 13cm x 5cm. Here, you can even have the template:
After that, print it out and use a sharp hobby knife to cut it. If you look closely, you'll see I left a gap under the triangle to keep the placement correct.
This is very fiddly, and accuracy is important in the early stages. Since you'll be transferring this to foam, then layering Worbla on top, a small mistake now will be made more obvious.
Now transfer that design to foam. Having a very sharp hobby knife helps. Don't get too worried about jagged edges - the Worbla will smooth it out. Just make sure your edges are all straight around the outside. You'll end up with a small triangle left over - don't lose this, it's important!
In the previous photo, you'll see a packet of stickers I used for the rivet texture. Stick them on in sort of the right place. As long as they are symmetrical, you're all good.
Here's the fun part! Cut out some Worbla slightly bigger than the foam template. I cut mine much too large, I think. Place it shiny side up on a surface - I used some plywood; the Worbla didn't stick to it. Blast it with your heat gun until the whole thing is floppy and looks a little wet. Yuck. You can carefully move it around to make sure it isn't sticking to the table or whatever you're using.
Now take your foam template and lay it onto the Worbla. Remember using Duracel over your schoolbooks? The principal is the same. Get the angle right, then start from one end and press it gently onto the Worbla as you go. This helps minimise bubbles. Also make sure you aren't sticking the Worbla to the table.
Now take that little triangle - you didn't lose it, right? - and plop it into the right spot.
Now you'll heat the other half (shiny side up) until it is floppy and wet looking. Quickly run over the other piece - the two bits of Worbla should be warm to make a nice bond.
Using the same technique as before, lay the Worbla over the other piece. Since there are bumps and texture, you're going to get bubbles. When that happens, take a pin and piece the bubble from the side while it is still hot, then meld it down flat.
Now you'll want to bring out all the details. I'm using the end of a hobby scraper thing - it's meant to be used to apply modelling paste but it works well here. Start pressing into the hot Worbla, piercing bubbles if they come up. Press all along the outside as well. Heat the Worbla up every now and then; cold Worbla won't be easy to form.
Are you happy with it now? I hope so. Now you'll want to trim the edges. Heat the whole thing up again, then trim as close as you damn can to the foam, but not so close that the foam starts peeking out. While it's still hot, use your fingers to meld the seams downwards into nothing, then use a metal ruler to straighten all the edges up. Yes, it's hot, stop complaining.
From here you can heat form the whole thing into a curve so it fits snugly on your head, or you can move to the optional step that I'm not actually sure will work well but it looks cool anyway.
Take the male halves of four snaps, and lay them out on the underside of your headband. Draw around them so you can remember the placement. Heat up a section, then cut an "X" where the snap will go. Use your knife to peel the edges up and off the foam.
Now jam the snap in there. Fold over the Worbla, but press it down as flat as you can - you want to make sure the other half of the snap will still fit. Do one snap at a time.
Once they are all in place, let it cool down a little, then press the other halves of the snaps into place. This will ensure the Worbla cools down in the right shape.
WARNING: Applying heat to metal makes the metal very hot. These snaps are metal. I hope I don't need to explain any further.
The last step is to heat form the whole thing. Rest it on something with the right shape (I placed a piece of foam on my head then let it rest there) and wait for it to cool down.
And that's it! That's the base. Next up we'll be sealing and painting, and making the fabric component.
The idea behind the snaps is that you can make a different fabric component to attach to it. This headband would be fine for Naruto, Iruka, Kakashi, Shikamaru etc. Just swap em out!