Working with Worbla: Groot Sprout Sculpture – Guardians of the Galaxy

My family and I saw Guardians of the Galaxy opening day! We all agreed Groot and Rocket stole the show. (They had a great Han and Chewy vibe going.) By the time sprout Groot (baby, sappling?) showed up dancing at the end, I was hooked! I knew I had to build one.

Here’s my work in progress (WIP). Sorry I didn’t take a lot of photos. I get involved in a project and forget to stop and take them.

For reference I used a recorded screen shot from the film. I wanted to make him in the pose where he is “frozen” during the dancing. For this post, I couldn’t find the actual one I used. This photo is a bit clearer in quailty than the best I could find only a day after the film was released.

I’ve been working with Worbla lately (King Loki armor build from Worbla). I decided Worbla’s semi-rough texture would make great tree bark.

I started with the face and made a backing out of EVA foam and covered that with Worbla. I wasn’t totally satisfied with the shape (or lack there of) but thought it was good enough to press forward. The main body “stick” is also made from scrap Worbla.

GrootWIP01 GrootWIP02 GrootWIP03


His overall shape is tapered so I added various thickness craft-foam then “smoothed” the transitions with hot glue. The upper parts of the arm are wooden dowels. I wanted them to have a little more strength.

GrootWIP06 GrootWIP07


This is where I neglected to take photos. I first added many pieces of scrap Worbla strips and covered the full body, to simulate bark. Then I made several Worbla “vines” and attached those for the added dimensions. I situated them to wind up around his arms and create his fingers.



The Worbla face was really bugging me and seemed more creepy than cute when compared to the source photo. So I did a little surgery.



I reworked the face with Apoxie-Sculpt and felt it captured the character much better. I haven’t done much sculpting so I enjoyed the practice. The Apoxie-Sculpt allowed me to add more detail which made me much happier.



I primed the Worbla with a couple coats of Shellac then painted with 3 shades of brown acrylic.

BabyGrootCoregeek-1   BabyGrootCoregeek-4    BabyGrootCoregeek-2

The leaves are made from 1mm craft-foam. I scored lines in each leaf with an x-acto knife then applied heat which opened the lines and curled the leaves perfectly. (I learned about the heating EVA lines trick from Will @ WM Armory only a few days ago.)

The matching pot is a cut down yogurt container panted white.

Thank you for reading if you got this far. Not a super technical build but it was fun and I’m quite happy with the results.

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr where I often post WIP’s of props and cosplay I’m working on.

If you have any comments or questions you can contact me on one of the media accounts above or in the comments below.

Working With Worbla: King Loki Build – Staff / Scepter

This post is not meant to be an exact how-to guide. I’ve detailed the main steps first. If you don’t want to read those you can skip down to the gallery which is posted in chronological order. Warning: there are a lot of gaps in the progress shots. I tried to remember to take photos along the way but I missed a lot of steps. (Sorry, I was up to a deadline and had less than two weeks to create this and I was still working on the Loki armor at the same time.)

That said, I completely forgot to take photos of the woodworking portion of this build. I started with a large plank of 3/4″ select pine from my wood bin, I ripped it into 2 pieces and laminated those together. I printed out this photo of the actual prop to the scale of my daughter (who is significantly shorter that Tom Hiddleston) so the staff would be proportionate to her size. I cut out the print and used that as my guide for the staff and blades. The rest I just eyeballed as I worked. I used photos of this amazing staff created by Eldrich Arts for detailing reference.

Main staff and blades shaped from pine.

Main staff and blades shaped from pine.


The details on the staff body are all Worbla which I cut into various strips and wrapped around craft foam to give it some thickness. I heated those strips and hot glued them to the staff. To create the flares I filled the “down-edge” with wood filler until it made a nice smooth transition to the staff body. I later prepped the Worbla using my smooth finishing technique.

Worbla details attached to staff with hot glue.

Worbla details attached to staff with hot glue.


The blade assembly is made from pine and MDF. I shaped the tapered sides of it with my bench belt sander. I then “skinned” each side with 1/32″ birch plywood so I could approximate the “fingers” which are on either side of the middle blade and hold it in place.

Plywood shaped to hold middle blade.

Plywood shaped to hold middle blade.


I shaped the top portion of the staff (which has three flares that the main blade connect into) out of pink insulation foam. Those were extremely tricky and time consuming as they were not only curved and rounded they also taper in width/thickness. Once I adhered them to the staff I covered them in Bondo and sanded them down. I ultimately was not happy with the Bondo so I skim coated them with Wood filler and got a better prepped surface.

Test fit of top portion, blades, lower blade assembly.

Test fit of top portion, blades, lower blade assembly.


The lower blade has two uniquely shaped little “brackets” that hold it in place. To create those I first wired the blade in place then sculpted Worbla around the wire to get the desired shape. (No in Worbla progress pics for this step. There are a couple of shots of the wiring in place in the gallery below.)


The orb is made from a clear plastic egg I found here. To make it more orb like I hit it with some 80 grit sand paper and my hand held grinder until I got the look I wanted. I wired it with three 10mm blue LED’s and utilized the battery holder from an old LED glow-stick. The coil that the orb is connected to was made from Worbla which I rolled out into a long snake then wrapped around pvc pipe. Originally I made the mistake of not coloring the orb blue also. Indoors the blue LED’s looked pretty good so I wasn’t concerned. We ended up doing a lot of outdoor photos at ECCC 2014 and the orb was totally washed out in the sun light. I have since painted it with watered down acrylic and it looks great on or off. (All of the finished hero shots in the gallery below are with the LED’s off, easier to photograph that way.)

Orb assembly. Made from a "rope" of worbla wrapped around the end of an LED glow stick.

Orb assembly. Made from a “rope” of worbla wrapped around the end of an LED glow stick.


Well, I think that covers all of the main parts. This was actually a fun build other than the time constraints and I am pretty happy with the finished product.


Final gold paint. Still need to dark wash crevasses and clear coat.

Working With Worbla: King Loki Build – Helmet

In preparation for the King Loki cosplay build, the helm was one of the pieces that intimidated me the most. That thing is crazy detailed and those horns! I thought about it for weeks and researched like crazy. I found some other creators on the interwebs (most notably Eldritch ArtsSithcamaro and Timbo’s Creations) and who had posted their excellent work. The thing I realized quickly was I preferred the look of the helms that had been sculpted. I’m not a sculptor and wasn’t ready to tackle yet another new medium for this project so I finally decided I’d do something similar to Timbo’s and start with a foam base and build it up from there.

Sometime later I was at Goodwill looking around for random stuff (you never know what discarded item you may find that can be tuned into something cool) and I saw one of these:


Easton Batting Helmet

It’s hard to tell because of the photo’s angle but something about the shape reminded me of the Loki helm. (I forgot to take picture of the actual helmet but this is a stock photo of the exact model.) It hit me that maybe basing the Loki helm on a preexisting helmet would be a better place to start. So I bought the helmet for $6 and the rest follows.

The more I studied the batting helmet in comparison to Loki’s Avengers helm I realized the dome shape of the batting helmet was much rounder than the Loki’s more squared off Helm. I really try to strive for screen accuracy but quickly realized that I would have to modify the overall look of my build if I was going to stick with the batting helmet base. What I ended up with is a helm that copies the main lines of the Avengers helm and actually takes on a bit of the style of the Thor style helm. Yup, his helm is actually different between the two films. This picture isn’t the best but it get the point across:


When I started modifying the batting helmet I was in a bit of a rush so I didn’t take photos to being with. My progress photos start with the batting helmet already cut down and heavily modified. Besides removing the bill I also chopped out a part of the midsection, pretty much the whole part that is painted silver to compress the profile of the forehead.

This post is not meant to be an exact how-to guide. What you’ll find is a whole bunch of progressive photos of the build and painting prep process. I’m not done with the final painting. The photos stop at the first base paint layer. I’ll add the painting photos when I’m done and satisfied. Thanks for reading this far. If you have questions please feel free to ask in the comments section.

If you liked this post you can see my work in progress over at my Facebook page: Coregeek Cosplay and Creations which I update regularly as I build. I write these longer build posts after the project is finished. I’d appreciate you “liking” my page while you are there.


Final helm and costume. Photo by Azimedes Photography

Loki Worbla Shoulder 3

Working with Worbla: King Loki Armor Build – Spaulders

*Although I was happy with the painting prep process I outline below, I’ve actually changed it a bit and like the new results better. See Worbla Finishing Take 2 for quick details on the newer process.

King Loki – Step 1
I just learned a new word. Yup, I had no idea what a spaulder was until I looked it up. I was just going to call this piece the shoulder armor thingy but I figured there was a fancier armorers name.

The spaulders are the first piece of the King Loki build I decided to tackle. Not sure why I decided to start there. Turns out they’re quite complicated due to the need of being curved over the shoulder. For the most part I am happy with the progress so far.

Loki Worbla Shoulder 1

Bases built using the craft foam (EVA) “sandwich technique”.


Worbla is so easy, yet finicky at the same time. One thing I was not prepared for was the massive amount of prep needed to get Worbla’s surface somewhat smooth. In my research I discovered most techniques involve many coats of either gesso, wood glue or primer. I used these to test what process I like the most. What I’ve learned is it really doesn’t matter. If you want a smooth surface you’re pretty much going to have to do a lot of sanding.

My process was: 4 coats of spray on shellac, sanded with 120 grit, 2 coats of brushed on wood glue, rough spots sanded with 150 grit. Then 2 or 3 coats of Krylon primer 150 grit sanded between coats on the rough spots. Total PITA so I’m trying something different on the other to get the process down less. Some have just used 4-6 coats of wood glue but I really hate hand painting that stuff so many times.

Loki Worbla Shoulder 2

Added edging and beginning of ornamental elements. All done with extra Worbla, which adheres to itself when heated.


Layers of Shellac, wood glue and first primer coat applied and sanded ready for 3 more primer coats.

Layers of Shellac, wood glue and first primer coat applied and sanded ready for 3 more primer coats.


The reason you only see one of the spaulders ready for paint is I’ve put off the second because it needs to be sanded and primed and sanded again. Ugh, I hate sanding.

Loki Worbla Shoulder 3

First piece of armor built, sealed, smoothed and primed, all ready for final paint.


Final paint base coat,

Final paint base coat,


Final Helm, Spaulder, Belt armor and Spaulder

Final Helm, Vambrace, Belt armor and Spaulder

For building technique I pretty much followed the Worbla tutorials posted online by the amazing Kamui Cosplay. I also purchased a copy of her ebook which I highly recommend if you want her excellent info in an easy to read/research/return-to format.

For the detail “rivets” I used these metal round domes.


The domes are the perfect size but I was hoping the tacks would easily press into the Worbla; they don’t. It would probably work fine if I was able to heat the Worbla, I can’t because the heat makes the primer begin to lift. So instead I have to clip off every single one of those tiny little tacks then adhere them instead. The rest of the details were hand painted on with dimension fabric paint. I thought I took a picture of the spaulder after I applied the dimension paint and domes (prior to covering with primer) but I couldn’t find it. Apparently I only thought of taking that specific shot.

For those wondering you can order Worbla from The stuff is not cheap but it is quite easy to shape and mold. Worbla adheres to itself, you can cut it with scissors, heat it up, shape it and once it cools it becomes hard plastic again. Pretty fantastic for armor building, if you can put up with the prep for finishing.

Update: Discovered that my little project got a mention on the Facebook page for Cast4Art.


I hadn’t heard of Cast4Art before but apparently they’re the worldwide distributor for Worbla’s Finest Art (that’s the actual full name for the stuff we just plainly refer to as Worbla.)

Also I didn’t realize I had comments turned off when I made this post. Comments are on now. So if you found my page and have any questions feel free to ask. One of my favorite things about building stuff is sharing ideas with others.

If you liked this post you can see my work in progress over at my Facebook page: Coregeek Cosplay and Creations which I update regularly as I build. I write these longer build posts after the project is finished. I’d appreciate you “liking” my page while you are there.

Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you The TARDIS Fez

Thanks to the wonders of the interwebs we’ve been posted on Reddit and Cheezburger
Click on the links to give the TARDIS Fez a like vote!



This is a little project my teenage daughter and I dreamed up a while back. I decided to surprise her with it as a Birthday present. She’s delighted to say the least. Features all the coolness of 100 bow-ties and has an integrated LED lantern on top!

Special thanks to Tally’s Treasury whom provided the inspiration and base pattern for the project.





See my other Doctor Who themed projects too: